Delicious Library 2 (for Mac) review

With motley content support and made-for-Mac good looks, Delicious Library 2 is the best way to electronically catalog your analogue life.
Photo of Delicious Library 2 (for Mac)

Volumes of my life remain intractably material. For all my cloud-based ebooks, movies, albums, and apps, I also have a physical library—and not well-organized one—of books, DVDs, CDs, and software. Delicious Library 2 ($35) reconciles libraries by amalgamating everything from booklets to applets and MP3s to bikinis. In addition to automatically subscribing to iTunes music, movies, TV shows, and audiobooks, Delicious makes adding a book or board game as simple as typing in a few keywords or scanning a barcode with your Mac’s built-in iSight camera.

With Smart Shelves, you can create a dynamic shelves around a set of criteria, and with iCal loan tracking, you will never lose another album to a forgetful friend. That Delicious manages all of these items with the visual aplomb of  iTunes (free, 4.5 stars) and the dexterity of  VLC (free, 4 stars) make it simply the best cataloging software available for the Mac.

Entering the Library
Delicious offers two options when you first launch the application. You can either begin with a sample library, which showcases the versatility of the software, or create a new library altogether. Delicious has limited import options: It will automatically open previous libraries, or manually cull times a delimited text file. Although I chose to start fresh, I have included a screenshot of the sample library in my slideshow.

By default, Delicious subscribes to your iTunes audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music. The software automatically captures iTunes artwork, which you can double-click to play items through iTunes. As an avid podcast listener, I was a bit disappointed that Delicious did not subscribe to my iTunes Podcasts and iTunes U lectures—an issue perhaps attributable to the latest version of iTunes, but one that will hopefully be resolved in the next iteration of Delicious.

Cataloging Your Library
Given the anarchic state of my library, I decided to use Delicious Library to catalogue two rogue bookshelves. I relied upon my Macbook’s iSight camera to scan barcodes, but had I dedicated barcode reader (Bluetooth or USB), I could have used that, also. I added the vast majority of the four hundred books on those shelves using my iSight camera. At times, the scanner was less than precise, requiring me to maneuver a book forward and backward in front of my webcam. On a couple of occasions, Delicious rendered my books as something altogether different. (An inexpensive copy of Three Classic African-American Novels produced Oxycise, a 15-minute workout DVD.) For the most part, however, the scanner read barcodes without issue. Given how fast you can add items using the scanner, it may even be advisable to disable the Speak Allowed Scanned Titles option (in Preferences).

For items without barcodes, I tended to enter ISBNs, though Delicious is surprisingly savvy with keywords. (I located The Shining using the keyword “Room 237.”) In the case of various editions or formats, you can peruse results by clicking More Info, which opens the item in Amazon. The metadata that Delicious retrieves is typically spot-on; however, because the software relies upon Amazon, artwork can be grainy. Finding higher-resolution artwork is somewhat cumbersome. The Search for Cover Art feature simply opens Google Image results, from which you must cull a selection and manually drag it back into the application.

Aesthetic Aplomb
That a drag-and-drop action feels cumbersome attests to the delectable UI of Delicious Library. The software weds the lean dexterity of VLC with the shrewd aesthetics of iTunes. I configured both Shelves and Smart Shelves (à la iTunes Playlists and Smart Playlists), and even emailed items to friends. Delicious lavishes visual garnishes throughout the application. Added items spill into view. When you delete an item, it catches fire (in the case of books) or shatters to bits (DVDs, gadgets, and software). Delicious even uses metadata to approximate the relative size of items.

Loans and Sharing
Perhaps my favorite feature is the ability to loan items to friends. You can add friends to your sidebar using Apple’s Contacts application. From there, you can drag and drop items onto contacts, at which point those items will be flagged Out. Delicious interoperates with Apple Calendar, so you can use either application to set and track due dates.

Given the inherent sociability of libraries, I wish there were more ways to share bookshelves with friends. Delicious lets users publish libraries (or specific shelves) as local folders or via FTP or the now-defunct MobileMe. I hope that the next iteration brings expanded sharing options, be it through an integrated service or support for third-party alternatives such as Dropbox (free, 4 stars).

The Library Never Looked So Good
Software often disregards with the materiality of life. When it comes to ripping a disk, the compromise is minimal; however, some things—that first edition of Blood Meridian or your favorite childhood board game—cannot be so easily digitized. Delicious Library has earned our Editors’ Choice award because it both bridges the gap between the items on and around your Macintosh and envisions a heterogeneous library in which books, audiobooks, and eBooks share the same shelf. If you own a Mac and you feel as though the tentacles of libraries have dragged you in different directions, tame those tendrils with Delicious Library 2.

Specifications
OS Compatibility Mac OS
Type Personal, Professional

Verdict
With motley content support and made-for-Mac good looks, Delicious Library 2 is the best way to electronically catalog your analogue life.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc