Delicious Library

I have known of Delicious Library for a while now. Basically it’s an app for cataloguing DVDs, books and CDs. The beauty of it is the input method: using the webcam on a Mac, simply scan the barcodes of the media and it appears as if by magic in your library, with cover art if available and a synopsis from Amazon.

You may wonder what the point of this is, and if you are wondering, it’s probably not the app for you. However, if, like me, it made sense as soon as you saw it, read on…

I decided against it in its version 1 days. It seemed too lacking in features for my liking. It came into my mind again a few months ago and I was sure I would be able to find it as an iPhone app. Not so. It seems to me that this app would make far much more sense on an iPhone than on a laptop, especially for newcomers who have shelves and shelves of media to scan.

I logged in to the new Mac App Store a few days ago and Delicious Library 2 was on the front page. Given that I wanted to try the App Store (what other company can make you want to buy stuff to try the store?!), I thought I would make the jump and buy DL2.

The first thing to mention was my absolute disbelief that this app doesn’t have a tagging feature. I use Lightroom for photos and Clipstart for video, both of which use tagging to great aplomb. Not to mention Spotlight! So, I had to create shelves. Aha, I thought, they allow smart shelves. So I moved all the kids’ DVDs to their own shelf and then tried to create a smart shelf that showed all DVDs except those on the kids’ shelf. Imagine my dismay to find that there was no mention of shelves in the drop-down menus for smart shelves, so I couldn’t do what I wanted to do .

Next up, cover art. I’ll start by stating that I am absolutely amazed at some of the obscure material I have for which the cover art appeared. I’m not sure what they use as the back end, but it was truly amazing. However, for those media for which no cover art appeared, there was no simple and intuitive way to add one’s own. There’s a right-click option to search Google images for cover art and that works well, but then what? I tried dragging images into the library, but no. That would be a good feature to implement. I did figure it out: it’s done by enabling the sample Apple scripts and using the ‘Set Cover Image of Selected Media’ script. Simples, but not intuitive.

Next up: publishing. You can publish to Mobile Me or FTP. I use Squarespace for my website and there is no way of sharing to Squarespace that I can work out. FTP is clunky and so 20th Century, but that’s what I’m having to do. The whole publishing aspect of this software needs to be rethought.

And how about the social aspect? Surely it uses algorithms to find compatible libraries and allows you to interact with them? Er, no. How about Facebook integration, so you can Like your content and share it with your friends? No again. Twitter? No again. As with publishing, this needs to be overhauled.

So, in short:

  • needs tagging
  • publishing needs to be overhauled
  • social networking
  • iPhone / iPad syncing and integration

You’d think after all that I’ve said that I am not recommending this software. But actually I am. Like a typical nerd, I like cataloguing my stuff. Viewing a shelf filled with DVD spines for the thousandth time doesn’t inspire me; I don’t see the titles any longer. But viewing them on a digital shelf is like rediscovering them, the same as happened with my CDs when I ripped them all and started using iPeng on the iPhone / iPad to control music playback on the Squeezebox players. Same with books. There are bookshelves that aren’t easily accessible and now they don’t need to be. I like that.

I have published my library to my old website using FTP. That too is useful: I can give links to friends and family to see if there is anything they would like to borrow. Once they do borrow something, I can drag the title over their name (added from my Address Book) and keep track of who has what.

Overall I think this is an app with a lot of potential, but until they implement new features and bring it into the social media age, I don’t see it taking off in any big way. I’ll keep using it though and hope to see some updates coming soon.

My library is here:

Delicious Library

The software is made by Delicious Monster