[52WeToBeGeneChall] Challenge #48 – Your Personal Genealogy Library

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Geneabloggers.com and Amy at WeTree have done it again! This year they’re bringing us 52 weeks of genealogy challenges to blog about. As Amy said in her kick-off post, this year is meant to stretch our brains, work our skills, and build us into top notch researchers! She goes on to say:

The goal is to get genealogists to stretch their brains a bit. Beginning researchers will discover some new resources. You are encouraged to push buttons, click links and study all corners of the web sites. Some of you will be familiar with all of the tools used in the challenges. If that’s the case, approach them from a different angle. Don’t use them to search your ancestors, experiment with other ideas and explore the different ways the tool can be used.

This week’s challenge: Your Personal Genealogy Library. Examine different online tools for cataloging your personal genealogy library and keeping track of the books you read. LibraryThing is a site where you can catalog and tag the books in your own personal library. It is a great tool for keeping track of the genealogy books you have. You can ever create tags for books you want to purchase. Good Reads and Shelfari are web sites that help you keep track of books you have read. All three of these sites have social networking components. Your challenge this week is to browse these sites and see how genealogists use them. Bloggers, do you use any of these tools? How do you organize your own personal genealogy library?

[box type=”note”]Apologies for this edition of 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy for coming out late.  I was much more concerned about finishing my research and post on Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Tree Ornaments[/box]

Library on the Social Web

Like many things that have gone viral, sites for readers to social network have been popping up everywhere!  I have a profile on both GoodReads and Shelfari, and I keep a running list of the books that I need to review for research on WorldCat.  I find that I keep up fairly regularly with GoodReads, but I haven’t imported the new books that I’ve acquired.  I use it more for tracking what I’ve read throughout the year.  I’ve completely let my Shelfari account go; I should really just delete it all together.  WorldCat is my only tool that I use to keep track of what books I still need to research; I use this one fairly regularly and I like how it integrates into their search system.  But I must confess that my main library tool isn’t an online site.


Bookpedia by Bruji is a fantastic, robust library cataloging program for the Mac.  I’ve been using it for several years now, and I like how easy that they’ve made it to import new books into your catalog.  With an internet connection and at least an iSight camera, you can import books into the catalog by scanning the ISBN number.  This fail-safe way ensures that you’re selecting the exact edition that you’ve purchased!  You can add on to your system by purchasing a small hand held barcode scanner, but it’s not necessary.

In addition to being able to import books there are a number of features that make it incredibly useful:

  • Customizable HTML exports (and exports in a variety of different formats, even exporting to some of the online lists mentioned above)
  • Tracking for book loaning that’s integrated with your address book, complete with due dates!
  • Create customized folders for better organization
  • Smart collections for creating “shelves” automatically based on the specifications that you design

In my catalog I’ve created a separate folder to quickly identify all of my genealogical titles, and further designated different shelves for future purchases, Books, and Magazines & Periodicals.  I’ve been terrible about exporting my collection to keep up with GoodReads, but I have successfully done it in the past and it was a breeze.  The details window for each book allows for further customization.  It would be possible to tag each book with key surnames or other important research notes to be able to find them at a moment’s notice!

What’s better is that by storing the Bookpedia repository in my DropBox I’m able to share the same catalog on all my computers!  It’s not necessary for me to worry about whether the catalogs are synced properly or if they’re missing information.

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