While most of us are using our computers to create graphics during the day, hopefully we all find time to do other useful things with them. I recently ran across a cool utility that helps you to manage your library of books, games, music and movies. It is named Libra and you can download a copy for free.
The hardest thing to do with programs like this is to build your database, especially if you have a large library of media. Libra attempts to make the process easy by searching for the products on the Amazon Web sites. You can also hold up the bar code on the product to your Web cam to have the product found automatically. While this part sounds cool, I was unable to get a clear image of a barcode on my Webcam. Thus I had to search manually. Even this isn’t terribly difficult as long as the product exists on Amazon. If you have older, obscure media, then you might not have luck when searching for the product.
Libra also helps you keep track of who borrowed what. This should at least help you to make sure you get things back from your friends. This reminds me that I need to talk to my neighbor about a movie she borrowed about 18 month ago, but I digress.
When you have stocked your library, the screen will displays rows of covers. Users on Vista will even notice that the cover is reflected on the shelves. You can even print out a catalog of your library that is very attractive, though it will probably use a lot of ink. I think it might be better to print it to a PDF file to distribute to friends who may want to borrow from you.
The way that the program is released is also quite interesting. The developers are giving away the software in hopes that its links to Amazon will generate enough revenue to keep the company funded. Currently Libra is labeled as a beta and there are certainly some rough edges. But it sure looks to have a lot of promise and is certainly worth exploring if you have a large library to catalog.