Delicious Library

Posted in books, programming, reviews at 12:25 am by danvk

Delicious LibraryEarlier today, Ars linked over to a great list of Mac applications that make switching worthwhile. I’ve used plenty of them, (Adium, Transmit, VLC, Firefox, Thunderbird) but there was one app I’d never heard of that especially stood out to me. It’s one of those brilliantly simple ideas that I wish I’d thought of first.

Delicious Library turns your MacBook’s iSight camera into a barcode scanner. Just put wave a book in front of the screen and DL fills in all the details. This is so spectacularly cool that it just must be tried. The scanning was accurate whenever it worked, which was about 90% of the time. Some books have smaller-than-normal ISBN barcodes, and these gave it trouble. The only downside is that it’s a limited demo, and the full application costs an outrageous $40.

Before I discovered the San Jose library, I had an idea for a 20% project at Google. Wouldn’t it be cool if every Google employee made a list of the books they owned and were willing to share? I doubt there’s any library that could beat the Google workforce in sci-fi or CS literature. The problem with this idea is that data entry is painful. I can’t imagine typing every single ISBN of all my hundreds of books onto a computer, let alone convincing other people to do it. Delicious Library turns this problem completely on its head. Not only does it make entering ISBNs easy, it makes it exciting. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible before discovering this program.

I really wish Delicious Library was open source. If it were, I’d implement that Google Book share. But as it is, I’d be stuck learning Apple’s iSight API, the intricacies of barcodes, and probably Objective-C/Cocoa. I’m sure it would all be very interesting, but not when I’m already developing software fifty hours a week…

1 Comment

  1. Matt said,

    October 22, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    thanks for the link
    great post about delicious library!