Readerware Auto-Catalog Wizard

One of the more powerful features of Readerware is Readerware auto-catalog. Readerware can scan the internet looking for information about the items you own, extract that information, including cover art and build your Readerware database. Cataloging your collection has never been easier and the Readerware auto-catalog wizard will guide you through the process step by step.

These are the basic steps:

  1. Pick the internet sites you want to search
  2. Identify the items you want to catalog by scanning a barcode or entering an ISBN
  3. Run Readerware auto-catalog
  4. Check the results

Site Selection

This is the first page of the Readerware auto-catalog wizard. This first step is to select which sites you want to search. You can select one or more sites.

To select the sites start by displaying the list of sites available by  clicking on the down arrow on the site selection box. A list of available sites is displayed.

To select your first site, just click on it. Notice that the list does not automatically disappear at this point like a conventional drop down list. This is because you can select more than one site. To add another site, use the standard list selection keys for your operating system to select other sites or a range of sites. For example on Windows hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on the next site. On Mac OS X hold down the Command key and click on the next site. Notice that the names of both sites now appear at the top of the list. To select a range of sites, hold down the Shift key and click on a site, all sites between the new and previous selections are now selected.

When you have completed selecting the sites, click on the up arrow to close the list.

If the Merge data from all selected sites box is checked, Readerware will search all the sites you select and merge the data. Readerware gets as much information as possible from each site before moving on to the next site looking for still more information. This means that the order you search sites is important.

For example, suppose you like the Amazon listing but would also like to include the dewey number in your Readerware database. In this case you would search Amazon first and then the Library of Congress.

But supposing you prefer the Library of Congress listing but would also like to get images from Amazon. You simply search the sites in the reverse order, The Library of Congress first.

If the Merge data from all selected sites box is not checked, Readerware will extract data from the first site with a match and then move on to the next item in the list.

Either way, the order you search sites can be important, it can make a big difference to the data you collect during a Readerware auto-catalog run. Each site maintains different data about an item. Many sites categorize items for example and Readerware will extract the category information for you. But sites use different categorization schemes. So which is better? That is really for you to decide, you need to look at the data each site returns and determine which site provides the best data for your needs. Then you can set up the search sequence to search that site first. That way, if your favorite site has the item, Readerware will extract the information from that site. If not it goes on to check the other sites. You change the search order using Readerware Site Preferences.


You tell Readerware which items to look for by entering the ISBN or LCCN of the book, the UPC of a CD or video. There are two ways to do this, you can simply scan the item with a barcode reader or you can type in the data, with or without the punctuation.

If you are typing in CD and DVD barcodes, you must ensure that you type in all digits. A US barcode currently contains 12 digits, a European barcode contains 13.

In the above example, you would enter 731458917724, you must include the digits to the left and right of the barcode.

Using a barcode reader is often the fastest way to enter the list of items to catalog. Each day more and more companies make low cost bar code readers available to consumers. Check the barcode reader section on the Readerware web site for more information.

To enter the ISBN, LCCN or UPC manually, simply type it in and press the enter key. Readerware will then validate the data and if valid, move it to the list below. If invalid, Readerware will display an error message. Readerware also uses audible queues to indicate a valid or invalid item number, so you don't have to keep looking at your screen each time you enter an item.

Normally when Readerware indicates that an ISBN is invalid, it means that you typed in the number incorrectly. Simply correct the mistake and try again. Very rarely Readerware will display the error, even when you entered the ISBN exactly as printed on a book. This is because the publisher included an invalid ISBN on the book. This does occasionally happen, especially on older books when the ISBN system was new. You can tell Readerware to accept this ISBN anyway and try and find it by clicking on the Accept button in the dialog.

To scan in a barcode, refer to the instructions  that came with your scanner. Simply ensure that the input field has the focus and scan. Readerware then receives the data, converts it if necessary and adds it to the list.

To delete an item from the list, select it and hit the Delete key.

Duplicate Entries

The Allow Duplicates option affects how Readerware handles a duplicate ISBN or UPC.

When the Allow Duplicates option is on, you can enter duplicate ISBNs and UPCs in the database. So you can enter or scan the same ISBN/UPC any number of times. If you scan an ISBN three times, three separate entries are added to the database.

When the Allow Duplicates option is off you can only enter an ISBN or UPC once, the copies field is used to track the number of copies of the same item you own. If you enter the same ISBN or UPC more than once in the auto-catalog wizard, Readerware displays a duplicate error. However if you have more than one copy of the same item, you can check the Allow duplicates and increment copies option. With this option checked Readerware lets you enter the same ISBN or UPC as many times as you want. Readerware will use this information to update the copies field as the book is cataloged. So if you enter the same ISBN five times, Readerware will add the book once and set the copies count to five. If the book is already in the database, Readerware updates the copies count. So if the book is already in the database with the copies count set to three and you enter the ISBN three times, after auto-catalog completes the copies count for that item will be set to six.

Rerunning auto-catalog

You can rerun Readerware auto-catalog, maybe your internet connection went down while auto-catalog was running, maybe you want to select more sites and try again to match not found books. You don't have to scan all the items again, simply hit the Reload button to reload your last item list.

If the Allow Duplicates option is off, when you rerun auto-catalog, Readerware skips any items that are already in its database and just searches for the items it doesn't already have cataloged.

If the Allow Duplicates option is on, you must delete the ISBNs of books already cataloged from the list or they will be cataloged again.

Using a file of ISBN, LCCN, UPC or barcode scans

Readerware can also read ISBN and barcode scans from a file. Select the Load List button and a file selection dialog is displayed. Select the file and click on Open. The file must be a standard text file and contain one ISBN or bar code scan per line. The ISBN can be entered with or without the hyphens. Readerware will then replace the contents of the list with the contents of the file. You can use this feature to prepare a list of items to catalog ahead of time either in Readerware or another program like a text editor.

Using a batch barcode reader

Readerware supports several batch barcode readers including the LaserChamp (Flic), Symbol CS-1504 and CS-2000 readers. Batch barcode readers are not connected directly to your computer, You can scan barcodes into the reader and at a later time, upload them into Readerware. This means that you can take the barcode reader to your shelves rather than drag your books, CDs and videos to your PC. To upload barcodes from a batch barcode reader, click on the Upload button.

Saving entered barcodes

You can optionally save the item list you just entered before continuing. Normally after you have entered your data you continue through the wizard and catalog your new items. But maybe you are at a remote location and do not have access to an internet connection. You can save the data you entered to a file for later use. Click on the Save List button and select the location and name for your file. To use the saved file, start auto-catalog again and click on the Load List button

Verification Page

Next up is the verification page. This is your last chance to change your settings prior to running Readerware auto-catalog. A quick summary of your choices is listed. Click on Next if you are ready to go. Click on Back if you want to change your choices.

Auto-Catalog Running Page

When you reach this page, Readerware auto-catalog is running. You will see a progress window that will update as Readerware catalogs your items. In the background Readerware also updates the list each time an item is processed. If you want, you can move the progress window out of the way to see more of the auto-catalog activity. Simply click on the title bar and drag the window out of the way. The progress window will close automatically once Readerware auto-catalog completes. Don't hit the Cancel button though, this will abort the Readerware auto-catalog run.

You may have noticed that as you added an item to the list, a  question mark icon was displayed next to it. This indicates that Readerware auto-catalog has not yet searched the internet for this item. As it processes each item, Readerware changes the icon to indicate the results. The icons are:

- The item has been processed, the item and product image have been added to the database.
- The item has been processed and added to the database, no product image was found
- The item has been processed but could not be found at any of the sites searched
- The item was already found in the Readerware database, this item was skipped
- A site returned multiple results for this item, Readerware cataloged the first match. You might want to check the site manually.
- A site was busy and returned an HTTP status code of 503. This is a temporary condition, try again later.
In addition to the icons, Readerware adds the title to any item it finds. This is a very handy way to identify the items that were not found by Readerware, it effectively gives you their location on your shelves.

You can save the item list by clicking on the Save List button.

When you have reviewed the status of each item you entered, click on the Next button to proceed to the final page of this wizard.

Auto-Catalog Complete Page

This page displays the overall auto-catalog statistics:
Note that you can use the Back and Next buttons to toggle between the results and the auto-catalog summary page. When you are done, click the Finish  button. Readerware will then display all the new items added to your database in the main window. You can optionally review and edit these new items. Click on the toolbar browse button to return to the full database display.

This statistics information and a complete item by item listing is also written to a log file, if user logging is enabled. You will find this file in your Documents->Readerware->Logs folder. You can view this file in any text editor

There is no easier way to catalog your collection!

Top of Page

Copyright © 1999-2018 Readerware Corporation