Book Crawler

Say goodbye to manual data entry for your classroom library and hello to an easy-to-use book cataloging system. Its many customizable features include community sharing, organization by custom collection, and sorting by title or author. With so many ways to organize and search, you'll never need to spend time wondering, "Do I already have that book on the shelf?"

6th - 12th 21st Century Skills 11 Views 2 Downloads
App Overview

This app is simply loaded with features, yet is designed elegantly enough that it is not overwhelming once you gain your bearings. A Question button is ever present to the right of the BookCrawler title, offering a FAQ and Help section to answer questions you may have. 

The app is organized into four tabs: Books, Authors, Community, and Settings. Let's walk through what is offered with each. 

Books:

  1. Click on New to add books to the digital library
  2. You'll be presented with a pop-up listing three ways to enter the books:
    • Manually: A bit tedious, so only use if you don't have a camera and the search form does not work
    • Search Form: Easier to use than manual, but does not always find the book being searched for
    • ISBN Scanner: Simply hold the camera lens over the barcode on the back of the book, let it focus, and the app takes care of the rest
  3. Once a book is entered, you can edit or add any information. Most pertinent to teachers and students is the ability to mark whether the book has been read or not, to customize two fields (e.g. designate a book reading level), a Dewey Decimal System (DDC) field, and a field to tag key words about the book.
  4. Once all information is updated, tap the SAVE button located next to the subtitle field

When you're on the Books tab, the left side of the page displays a list of books in your library (see the next paragraph), while the right side displays the most recent book in your list that has been looked at, or the book currently being edited. 

At the top-left side, you will find three highly customizable ways to sort and view the books in your library, making it easy to quickly find books with a specific commonality: 

  • Collection: Organize books into custom collections. A SmartCollection feature allows you to set rules for books that should go in a collection, such as words in the book title, genres, whether the book was read or not, and many more.
  • Tag: These are descriptive labels entered into the book detail page while in edit mode
  • Sort By: This allows you to sort books by any of the book details

At the top-right side, you will see a flower-like symbol. Press this and a pop-up appears that goes through pictures of all the book covers in your library. 

Next to this is a Share symbol, from which you can e-mail a database of all books, e-mail a certain collection or book, or share a comment about the book with any of the social communities that you have signed in to through the app. 

Authors:

The left side of the page on this tab displays a list of all the authors associated with books in your library. 

Select one of the authors, and the right-side screen displays all the books in your library by that author.

Community:

On the right side, this tab displays a geolocation map, pinpointing your approximate location.

  • Profile lets you log in to and share information with a GoodReads, Facebook, or Twitter account. This is also where the control for Privacy resides, allowing your geolocation pin to be placed anywhere from 1 to 25 miles from your actual location.
  • An Activity button allows you to see your recent activity surrounding a book, and a drill-down menu also brings you to a spot where you can see GoodReads member reviews of the book, a timeline of when you last interacted with the book, and, if social media is activated, a list of your shares

On the left side, you can select All to see books that have been shared by others in the Book Crawler community, My to see what you've shared recently, or Top to see the most-commented on or shared books on Book Crawler.

Settings:

  • The Statistics and Entry Default sections on this tab give information about whatever book is currently selected on the Books tab, and serve as a second place for editing details about the book
  • A Database section allows for import and export of .CSV files to make uploading and sharing your library list easier. Dropbox integration is also available here so you can backup your Book Crawler data to the cloud.
  • Miscellaneous Settings allows you to customize preference about how book details are displayed and auto-entered
  • There's also a section for managing CSV imports, including whether it will be coming from a Windows or Macintosh computer, and whether a comma or tab will be used as the delimiter in importing the information
  • A slide ruler allows you to control the font size used in the app
  • Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy are also located in this section

 

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Instructional Ideas

Have weekly classroom jobs? Assign the role of classroom librarian and have that person use Book Crawler to add new classroom library books to the app. As part of the job, have the librarian create a collection of his/her favorite genre. Or allow each student to create a collection in his own name that lists all his favorite books and all those he would like to read. 

Classroom Considerations

  • When Book Crawler opens for the first time, a handy pop-up series of tips appears. For each tip, there's an option to have the message displayed again
  • If one tablet is being shared by multiple users, consider leaving the Information pop-up messages on so that each new user can see the instructions
  • The app only displays in landscape position, so be sure the tablet case allows the device to sit or stand horizontally
  • The app requires a GoodReader account and a few other set-up steps, so be sure to prep before it's time to use the app
  • If a student is allowed to share a community post, be sure he zooms out the geographical post so that it does not identify the school itself (safety first!)
Pros

  • Title search and bar code scan make quick work of entering books in the catalog 
  • Customizable categories and a huge list of sorting options make organizing and searching for books a breeze
  • The app recognizes and pops up an alert if you're trying to enter a duplicate book
Cons

  • Some fields, such as Price, won't allow you to input information if it can not be verified. In other words, if the publisher has not attached this information to the bar code, then the app won't let you add a price.
  • The Search Form link does not work for all titles. For example, a search for the book Think and Grow Rich yields no results, so you either have to scan the book or put it in manually.