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Topic: Who Uses a Barcode scanner

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bridget avatar
Subject: Who Uses a Barcode scanner
Date Posted: 8/11/2007 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2006
Posts: 568
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Someone mentioned using a barcode scanner to post books.  I would love to hear more about these.  I get boxes of books at a time, and I'm always mistyping the ISBN numbers.

What do they cost? How hard are they to use?

Bast avatar
Bast -
Date Posted: 8/12/2007 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2006
Posts: 547
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is the one my friend talked about getting.

Patouie avatar
Standard Member medalMember of the Month medalBook Cover Image Coordinator medalBook Data Approver medalTour Guide Asst. Coord. medalBooks for Schools medalFriend of PBS-Silver medalPBS Cruise Attendee medalPBS Blog Contributor medalPrintable Postage medal
Date Posted: 8/12/2007 2:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,406
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My daughter has a Mac with one of those little built-in cameras.  She scans those babies right and left.  I am so jealous.

Generic Profile avatar
Friend of PBS-Silver medal
Date Posted: 8/12/2007 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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I got a cuecat (technically a :Cue:Cat TM) when Radio Shack was offering them free; Ebay still has some. They were intended to be used to scan codes on ads and take you to specific websites, but they work great for scanning ISBN barcodes on book for cataloging in Readerware or other software that can accept such things.

Searching on Froogle finds cuecats for sale for as little as $15 -- much better than the $150 for the 'professional-grade' ones.

Last Edited on: 8/12/07 10:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
mpmarus avatar
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Date Posted: 8/12/2007 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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The original :CueCats output encrypted info; they can be easily modified so that they scan & the output is the actual numbers.

I bought mine from an eBay seller who had already done the modification (which they call "de-clawing"). There is an article at this http://members.aol.com/cuecatguy/ but honestly,  just buy an already modified one. They are cheap...I paid less than $15, including shipping, for mine on eBay.

Plug it in, get a pile of books, open a plain text document (Notepad works fine) and start scanning ISBNs into a plain text file, which you can then upload to PBS.

In my experience, while scanning ISBNs was much less time-consuming than typing in individual ISBNs, it is not foolproof. Keep your keyboard handy - you will be entering info by hand, editing, etc.

Lessons I learned:

- WalMart, Kmart, etc often cover over the barcode on the back cover. The code on the front label is not usually an ISBN, you'll need to scan the code inside the front cover.

- Not everything that scans in is an ISBN. ISBNs are 10 or 13 digits. If the code you scanned in is longer, it may have price info stuck on the end (for example, "00599") - this is common with newer mass-market paperbacks. Or the code may not be an ISBN at all, I found this out the hard way after scanning 100 books, uploading the file, and PBS recognized only 23 ISBNs. This is a problem mostly on older mass-market paperbacks. If the scanned-in ISBN looks too long, just compare it to the actual ISBN on the book.

-Put a new line/hard carriage return between codes. Depending on your scanner, it may do it for you. Basically, you want each code on its own line, even if you have to scan, hit [enter], etc.

This sounds complex, but don't let it scare you off. I scanned my first 100 books in less than an hour, uploaded and found I only had 23 ISBN numbers, and rescanned the whole hundred, checking as above and hand-typing when the scan wasn't right. Second scan only took 1.5 hours and was MUCH easier than typing ISBNs into PBS.

And because PBS only lets you have 1 copy of any book on your shelf, I didn't have to figure out which 23 it took - I re-submitted 100 codes, and the 23 it had already listed, PBS itself didn't take the 2nd time.

 ETA the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CueCat to the Wikipedia article on CueCats and the http://grocery-list.sourceforge.net/ to software to make your grocery list with a barcode scanner!

Last Edited on: 8/12/07 12:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Guinan avatar
Date Posted: 8/12/2007 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2006
Posts: 4,110
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oooh I really want one of those scanners!  I have the trial version of the book collecting software, but am considering upgrading to the licensed version.  I guess I need to leave LARGE hints for the hubby!!!

: D

connieb118 avatar
Friend of PBS-Gold medal
Date Posted: 8/12/2007 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Library Thing offers the Cue Cat for $15.  I got my Cue Cat 'free' when I bought the Readerware software. They're easy to use--the aggravating part is carrying all my books to the computer so I can use the Cue Cat!


Try this link: http://www.librarything.com/tools

Last Edited on: 8/12/07 4:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Generic Profile avatar
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Date Posted: 8/12/2007 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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A real trick with barcode-scanning off newish paperbacks -- one of the barcodes will say 'ISBN' by it somewhere, and the other will say 'EAN'. You want the former. The latter is a number not unlike a UPC code, put there so supermarkets an so on can scan it.

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