The Fast Way to Remember Which Books You Own While Away From Home (Evernote)

Organize Library EvernoteOne difficulty that comes from owning a large and growing personal library is remembering what you own. Typically I buy most of my books online from the comfort of my desk. I can easily determine if I already own a book by either looking at the shelves or checking Zotero. Other times though, I will see several new titles added to the ‘bargain’ wall at the bookstore and not remember if I already own them (not often, but it does happen).

Those who use Evernote can fix this problem in a matter of minutes. A few days ago, author and blogger  Jamie Todd Rubin shared how he created “a digital version of [his] bookshelves in Evernote”. He writes,

I know there are database systems out there for keeping track of books, and I’ve tried many of them but they are too time consuming for me. It occurred to me that, thanks to Evernote’s ability to identify text in images and allow you to search that text, an “image library” of my books might be just the trick.

Rubin takes pictures of his bookshelves and adds them to Evernote. Evernote’s OCR identifies the titles from the spines of the books (yes, even when they are vertical!) and allows you to instantly search your library for a given title. Wow! While I am one of those ‘database users’, this is a quick and simple way to keep track of titles away from home. At the bookstore? Just open Evernote on your smartphone and search the title. Evernote will show you the shelf picture with the title highlighted in yellow.

This would not be my primary organizational method, but for on-the-go purposes it is hard to beat. Check out his full post to see several images of what this looks like and his step-by-step process (he uses this as a master organizational tool).

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