The year 2005 will be the year of library software. Well, at least that's our prediction. Databases used to be boring things for computer technicians to get in a lather over, but now that Apple has shown us how databases can be both fun and useful with iTunes and iPhoto, we're going to see them all over the place. In the coming year we'll see further developments in library software for keeping track of your books, DVDs, CDs and computer games, and most of the development is down to Amazon, the ubiquitous online store.
Delicious is the start of this 2005 trend: a library package that works by harnessing the power of the barcodes printed on the back of most books, CDs and DVDs. This program uses the number of the barcode to pillage Amazon's online database and then downloads information such as track listings, album art and prices.
You end up with a database without having to type it all in. So what makes Delicious stand out amongst programs in this class? Well, for one thing it's got a great interface that stacks your items up on a shelf, just like a real library. If you click on an item on the shelf you see track listings and other info.
It's slick, and can be used with any USB barcode scanner or an iSight to quickly catalogue a large collection. You can even enter ASINs (Amazon Stock Index Numbers) and look up items directly on Amazon. Now for the bad news. Delicious has problems finding information on non-US items scanned in with a barcode scanner.
However, if you scan the barcode into Amazon's own search engine and look up the ASIN, you can use that as a Delicious reference and it all works a treat. So, there's some sloppy programming going on and the preferences need to be better-tailored to UK users. That aside, this piece of software has a lot going for it. Mark Sparrow