How I Catalog My Books (Redux)

Back in January, I made a post detailing how I catalog my books.  Since then, I have slightly altered how I do it, changing certain aspects and adding fields. (Note, some aspects of my previous post are no longer available due to the altering of my spreadsheet)

Combining my personal books and my library books

One of the biggest changes that I have made is that the page for books in my personal collection and the page for books that I have taken out from the library are now combined into one page, and included in that page are items that I have downloaded such as eBooks and eAudiobooks, these are downloaded using my library cards and the Libby and Hoopla apps.  Doing this decreases the number of pages in  my excel spreadsheet and also simplifies the calculations that I use in the stats page.

In order to differentiate where the books in my spreadsheet come from, I added a field called “Collection.”  As of now, there are three different types of collections: personal, library, and edownload.  Books in the personal collection are those that I own.  Books in the library collection are ones that I have checked out from my library system.  And books in the edownload collection are those that I have taken out on the aforementioned apps, Libby and Hoopla.

Call #s to IDs

In my original post, I have a section about call numbers and how I created an individual call number for each book, using the authors last name, the name of the book or series, the number in the series, and the number of copies of that book that I owned.  I used the cutter number system that the Library of Congress uses (because I thought that it was cool) however I was noticing that it was becoming more cumbersome to create new call numbers as I was acquiring new books.  So I created new IDs for my books.  These IDs contain at most, four parts to them. 

1) The first part uses the first four letters of the main author’s last name.  If authors have the same last name, or the same first four letters, I extend the number of letters that I use in their IDs.  This way, I can differentiate between the different authors, and when the books are sorted by their IDs they will stay in alphabetical order.  

2) The second part uses the first four letters of the book’s title, or series title if the book is part of a series (this does not include words like “the or “a”. 

3) The next portion of the ID is for books that are part of a series.  It simply shows the number that book is in a series.  If it is a single number, it is preceded by “0”. 

4) The final part of the ID is to account for multiple copies of books that I own.  The first copy has “C1” at the end, the next copy has “C2” at the end, and so on.  There are three main reasons why I would have multiple copies of a book.  One is that I lent a book out to a friend and never got it back, this would prompt me to purchase a new copy of it.  I keep the information for my original book though.  The second reason is any bibliophile’s Achilles heel, new and updated versions.  A prime example of this is the Harry Potter books.  The third reason for having multiple copies of a title in my spreadsheet is that if I had taken an item out from the library, or downloaded an audiobook from Libby, and enjoyed it a lot, I will purchase a copy for myself.

Each section of the ID is separated by a period.  These IDs are used as a means to sort the books.  This way, the books will not just be sorted by author, but also by title and series title, number of within the series, and in the order the copies were acquired.

Here is an exampled of these IDs:


Another field that I have added to my spreadsheet is “Medium.”  This is used to specify what each book is, whether it is a manga, a comic, an audiobook, a graphic novel, an anthology, a picture book, an omnibus, or just a regular book.  This field became really important this year as I have started reading more comics and listening to more audiobooks.

Extra Author Fields

The original author field was cluttered in certain cases where there were multiple authors for a single book.  To declutter that field, I added two additional author fields.  This is used to show multiple authors, illustrators, and audiobook readers.


Some other fields that I added include the “Series/Standalone field, to indicate whether a title is a standalone title or part of a series. A “Length” field for audiobooks, represented in hours.  “Library” and “Call #” fields to indicate the library I took a title out from, and the call number that library uses for it.  I added a “Reread” field to indicate when a title has been reread. 

The last field to be added is a “Notes” field.  There are actually three of these in my spreadsheet.  These are used to indicate special aspects of my books.  If they were gifts, who they were given by, if they are signed, special or anniversary editions, Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs), if they are in a language other than English, if I got them at a special event, or anything else that is unusual about it.

I am occasionally changing certain aspects of my catalog, trying out different formulas for the stats page, and just playing around with it.  At this point in time, however, I do believe that I have found the best way for me to catalog my books.  To see my catalog, click here!

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