Finding Duplicates

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Last Updated: August 16, 2016
Keywords: database, duplicates. search

A question that comes up quite a bit is how can you detect duplicate entries in a Readerware database?

Readerware has a duplicate search in all products to let you quickly find possible duplicates. Select Duplicates from the search by drop down list and click on the Search button. Readerware will display a list of possible duplicate entries. If you do not see the Duplicates entry in the search list, remember that you can customize the search list. You can hide the searches you never use and move the searches you use all the time to the top of the list. If you don't see the Duplicates search, you just need to enable it. Select the Preferences menu item, then Search list.

Before you use the Duplicates search, there is one more question you need to consider, what is a duplicate? You have to tell Readerware how to detect a duplicate entry, you do this by selecting the columns Readerware should match on. Select the Preferences menu item, then Database, then Duplicates.

You might consider a duplicate to be a book with the same ISBN. You would select the ISBN column and then Readerware will display a list of books with duplicate ISBNs. The results list will include all books where two or more books have the same ISBN. However you could have the same title with different ISBNs, if you want to check for all copies of a particular title you could select the Author and Title columns. What about format? Would you consider a hardcover and paperback edition of the same title to be duplicates? If you have both CD and vinyl versions of a favorite album, would you consider them duplicates? If you do, then select the Artist and Title columns in preferences. If you do not consider them duplicates, include the format column too. Now Readerware will only display titles with the same format as duplicates.

You determine what constitutes a duplicate. If you are storing your books in different locations, you might only consider books in the same location to be duplicates, the same title in another location is not considered a duplicate. So you include the Location column in the duplicate check. This is a very flexible approach and you can always change the selection as the term duplicate may mean different things to you in different situations.

When Readerware displays the duplicates it lists only items that have two or more matches and it lists all duplicate items. If you only have one book with a specific ISBN, it will not appear in the search results. If you have two books with the same ISBN, both books are listed. Four books with the same ISBN, all four books are listed. You can then examine each book and decide what to do. If you want to delete duplicates, you can decide what entry to keep and what entries to delete etc.