01
Sep
written by: unwesen

PackRat is an application for packrats such as myself: if you’ve got an extensive collection of music, videos, books, video games, etc. chances are that when you’re in one of those second hand book shops on Charing Cross Road, you’re not always entirely certain whether you already own a particular book or not.

Well, that’s my problem at least: I’ve bought a few books twice that way.

My father’s solution to this is to carry a printed list of his library with him whenever he thinks that he might enter a book shop. I think that solution, while workable, is tedious and error-prone. I should have an application on my mobile phone for keeping such lists.

And that’s what PackRat is: it lets you enter information about your media quickly. Scan a barcode, and PackRat will attempt to fetch the item’s title, publisher, and various other bits of data from Google Base.

Sometimes there’ll be more than one barcode for the same book1, and you won’t find your book this way. Or the book your holding pre-dates barcodes. Just search for the title, author, or any other bit you might enter into a search engine, and PackRat will again try Google Base for you.

And if all that fails, you can still enter items manually.

PackRat will automatically sort your collections by media types, but you can also create shelves and sort your collections as you see fit. There’s a special wishlist shelf to hold all the stuff you don’t actually have yet. And of course all the shelves are fully searchable, so you can quickly find out if you did end up buying that CD you’re holding last time you went shopping.

Want a glimpse of what it looks like? Head over to the screenshots page!

  1. For the more technically minded, ISBNs have to change if the content of a book changed beyond minor spelling corrections, and the barcode quite often contains only the ISBN (or EAN). []