Managing your Book Collection with Alexandria

Mon, Mar 2, 2009

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Alexandria is an application for Linux allows you to sort and track your book collection. It makes it easy to manage your collection by allowing you to sort items into multiple libraries (for example, books at your office, in your home, or elsewhere), and adding books is as simple as entering its ISBN. Once you’ve setup your collection, you can even export it to an HTML file, to share with other users over the web.

Installation is as simple as running the following command on debian-based distrobutions (such as Ubuntu):

sudo apt-get install alexandria

Or, you can visit the Alexandria Homepage to see more information on installing Alexandria on your own distrobution.

The main interface for Alexandria is a simple, sleek window, separated into two columns; on the left side is your library collections, allowing you to sort books in whatever manner you please, be it by location, genre, owner, etc. The right column displays the books contained within the selected library.

Adding an Item
Adding an item to your library is as simple as clicking the “Add Book” icon, and entering its ISBN. Alexandria will search several sites, including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and several non-English sites. When it finds your item, it is added to the library with all the relevant information, including its cover image, author, publisher, and binding.

For items without ISBNs (mainly older items), you can manually add the book’s information, and select a cover image manually from a website like Amazon.com, or scan in your own image.

Managing Items
Once an item is added to the database, you can then rate the book on a scale from one to five stars, with the highest-rated items receiving a “heart” icon, indicating that it is one of your favorites. You can also add notes, or indicate whether you’ve loaned the book out, including the date of the loan, and who it has been loaned to; so you never lose track of your books.

Searching your Collection
One of my favorite features of Alexandria is its search function. The program allows you to search by author, publisher, title, or other characteristics. This is particularly useful if you have a large collection, and you’re looking for a specific item; or to see if you’re missing a title by a favorite author.

Aleandria allows you to export to various formats, including Tellico, KDE’s physical media collection software (which also supports music and videos, among others). But my favorite is the ability to export to a static web page, to show off your library to friends. The webpage displays book covers, titles, publishers, and ISBNs. This is a great feature to share with friends that are as interested in reading as you are; you can view each other’s libraries and borrow books – and then indicate that the book has been loaned out using Alexandria’s interface.

Web View

While Alexandria has some limitations that don’t make it as powerful as Tellico, it’s more than adequate for small to mid-sized home libraries. It’s a great way to keep track of your books, and show off your collection to friends and family. I haven’t had any stability problems, and I look forward to the new features that are currently in the works!

Alexandria Homepage
Tellico Homepage

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One Response to “Managing your Book Collection with Alexandria”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you this looks awesom

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