I love books, but find it can be difficult to read more than one at a time. This means that there are many books that I make a mental note to read; a kind of book interest queue. I work the queue when I next get a chance. One challenge is that my mental book queue often exceeds my capacity for good recall. There are also many books that I have read that have made some positive contribution to my life. These special books drive me to share the experience with others. Please see the following prior article “Three things you can do today to change the world” This just means that I need another book queue, a “wow that was a really great read” queue. As you might guess this creates an additional strain on the mental queue capacity.

I have tried many ways to track my books, movies and more with varying success. If you do the same, you have likely encountered some of the same challenges to each method. Paper for example can become quite large, onerous to update and slow to search. I have experimented with various software solutions and databases, each sported its pros and cons.

The solution that has worked best for me is Data Crow. Among other reasons, I like it because it is simple to use, works on various computing platforms and is free. I find it easy to insert new content, search and edit. The following is an example screen for browsing books in a category of read1.

Scale conversation

When you see a book, movie or other media described on this site, chances are high that I have details about it stored in my Data Crow library. Most will also have a page of their own2 on this site (as I get the pages added). You should be able to find them listed at the reviews page linked at the top of the site. I will include a simple export of the the Data Crow catalog card on the page as well, for those items defined in my own library.

The export will be in the form of a zip archive. One can download the archive, expand the zip file3 and import it into one’s own Data Crow library using the import wizard. I am adding new cards all the time for media that I “want to have”. Once I experience the item I update the entry while my reactions are still fresh.

I find it quite nice that Data Crow can produce reports. I find a “want to have” report to be handy when shopping or browsing the local library. Does anybody use mobile phones for making phone calls anymore?

I hope you will try Data Crow and share your thoughts about the experience, or share your experience with an alternate method. Read any good books lately?

  1. Why not some fun books for the example. :-) 
  2. Here is an example for a book about inflation. 
  3. Even though this archive does not contain any executable code, you should scan it for viruses just like you scan all content you download from the Internet. You do scan your downloads don’t you?