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I wonder how you keep tracks of what you've been reading over the years. I'm not talking about things that are 'relevant' and 'precious' to your academic work (to that end, all hail to EndNote or Docear and such, perhaps), but I'm keen to know how you track the 'miscellaneous' books you have in your personal library and other reading materials that you've laid your hands and eyes on in some other 'unusual' contexts.

How do you help yourself with remembering some dots (over the years) so that you have an even better chance to connect the dots?

[Story time, skip if you please] When I was 6 and started to have some sort of grasp of the alphabet , I was immediately told to make a 'Book of Books' by my godmother. It was a spiral notebook dedicated to the purpose of keeping tracks of all the things I was reading with details such as "title", "author", "page no.", "fav. quotes", and "one-liner summary". I also used colors, stickers and colossal-sized drawings/mind-maps while doing my catalogue work; simply because - ehem - the more stuff I filled up in there, the more sweets and ice-cream I got from my godmother. I kept up with this practice until I was 10 (then all good things come to an end, they say). Anyways, I love this spiral notebook to pieces, and to this date whenever I look at it I can vividly recall the books that appeared in my life around that time. It's been super helpful and wonderful.

[Q&A time] Now at age 26, I'm at a loss as to how to produce something similar: something simple enough but effective enough. I've tried to do it both manually (notebook/folder) and digitally (Excel spreadsheet/Goodreads) but nothing works anymore and nothing feels the same anymore.

With good old-fashioned lists, it's hard to retrieve things sometimes and it's almost impossible to 'share' it with anyone else. With catchy modern things, I can see book covers and retrieve/share book lists/recommendations with ease, that's wonderful. But because of this there's just too much 'noise' and 'temptation', and it's not like my life isn't miserable enough with Facebook and other ADHD-inducing platforms.

Please help! Any recommendation is much appreciated. How do you (digitally) track your personal libraries over the years?

  • Find someone that gives you an ice-cream each time you add a record. – Davide Visentin Apr 23 at 12:35
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I use a wiki these days! I've been using a personal wiki to collect notes about everything I learn, read and watch since last year and it's great. I've installed a DokuWiki on my personal website, and it's like my micro-wikipedia.

Installation is not complicated and anyone willing to tinker with tech should be able to find a way to get it working in a couple of hours.

Before that, I've used Evernote, and also note taking capabilities of my kindle for that.

  • Thank you, that's a nice suggestion! I will look into DokuWiki. – T.NT Oct 11 '15 at 9:28
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The online service librarything can help you with this. You can use it to catalogue all your books. Records can be added by searching for book records in Amazon and other sources, or you can manually add or import book records. You can add your notes in the 'private comments' section.

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