Readerware Auto-Update Wizard

One of the more powerful features of Readerware is Readerware auto-update. Readerware can scan the internet looking for information about the items you own, extract that information, including cover art and update your existing Readerware database.

Use Readerware auto-catalog to build your initial database and Readerware auto-update to add new information and update existing data. Cataloging your collection has never been easier and the Readerware auto-update wizard will guide your through the process step by step.

These are the basic steps:

  1. Pick the internet sites you want to search
  2. Identify the items you want to update
  3. Identify the database columns you want to update
  4. Run Readerware auto-update
  5. Check the results

Site Selection

This is the first page of the Readerware auto-update wizard. This first step is to select which sites you want to search. You can select one or more sites.

To select the sites start by displaying the list of sites available by clicking on the down arrow on the site selection box. A list of available sites is displayed.

To select your first site, just click on it. Notice that the list does not automatically disappear at this point like a conventional drop down list. This is because you can select more than one site. To add another site, use the standard list selection keys for your operating system to select other sites or a range of sites. For example on Windows hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on the next site. On Mac OS X hold down the Command key and click on the next site. Notice that the names of both sites now appear at the top of the list. To select a range of sites, hold down the Shift key and click on a site, all sites between the new and previous selections are now selected.

When you have completed selecting the sites, click on the up arrow to close the list.

You might be wondering why you would select multiple sites to search. The answer is that no one site will have every item and each site will have different information about an item. When trying to update an item, Readerware searches each site in turn looking for a match. Readerware extracts the data from that site and updates the database. Then it searches the next site looking for more data. When all sites have been searched, it goes on to the next item in the list.

Advanced tip: You can control the order in which the sites are searched. This can make a big difference to the data you collect during a Readerware auto-update run. As mentioned earlier, each site maintains different data about an item. Many sites categorize items for example and Readerware will extract the category information for you. But sites use different categorization schemes. So which is better? That is really for you to decide, you need to look at the data each site returns and determine which site provides the best data for your needs. Then you can set up the search sequence to search that site first. That way, if your favorite site has the item, Readerware will extract the information from that site. If not it goes on to check the other sites. So it is important that if you have a site preference, you place it at the top of the list. You change the search order using Readerware Site Preferences.

Item Selection

The next step is to select the items you want to update. Readerware gives you a number of options, some based on the current search results. If using one of these options you must perform a search before launching the Readerware auto-update wizard. This will establish the items you want to update.

On this panel you can select on of the following choices:

Auto-Update is ISBN/UPC based. This means that if the Allow Duplicates option is on, all items with the same ISBN/UPC will be updated. For example if you use Readerware auto-update to fetch a new image for a book, the image will be updated on all books with this ISBN.


If you selected the Input option on the last panel, the ISBN/UPC input panel is displayed next. Otherwise you go straight to database column selection. You tell Readerware which items to look for by entering the ISBN of the book, the UPC of a CD, video etc. There are two ways to do this, you can simply scan the item with a barcode reader or type in the data, with or without the punctuation.

If you are typing in CD and DVD barcodes, you must ensure that you type in all digits. A US barcode currently contains 12 digits, a European barcode contains 13.

In the above example, you would enter 731458917724, you must include the digits to the left and right of the barcode.

Using a bar code scanner is often the fastest way to enter the list of items to update. Each day more and more companies make low cost bar code readers available to consumers. Check the barcode reader section on the Readerware web site for more information.

To enter the ISBN or UPC manually, simply type it in and press the enter key. Readerware will then validate the data and if valid, move it to the list below. If invalid, Readerware will display an error message. Readerware also uses audible queues to indicate a valid or invalid item number, so you don't have to keep looking at your screen each time you enter an item.

Normally when Readerware indicates that an ISBN is invalid, it means that you typed in the number incorrectly. Simply correct the mistake and try again. Very rarely Readerware will display the error, even when you entered the ISBN exactly as printed on a book. This is because the publisher included an invalid ISBN on the book. This does occasionally happen, especially on older books when the ISBN was new. You can tell Readerware to accept this ISBN anyway and try and find it by clicking on the Accept button in the dialog.

To scan in a barcode, refer to the instructions  that came with your scanner. Simply ensure that the input field has the focus and scan. Readerware then receives the data, converts it if necessary and adds it to the list.

To delete an item from the list, select it and hit the Delete key.

Rerunning auto-update

You can rerun Readerware auto-update, maybe your internet connection went down while auto-update was running, maybe you want to select more sites and look for more data. You don't have to scan all the items again, simply hit the Reload button to reload you last item list.

Using a file of ISBN, UPC or barcode scans

Readerware can also read ISBN and barcode scans from a file. Select the Load List button and a file selection dialog is displayed. Select the file and click on Open. The file must be a standard text file and contain one ISBN or bar code scan per line. The ISBN can be entered with or without the hyphens. Readerware will then replace the contents of the list with the contents of the file. You can use this feature to prepare a list of items to update ahead of time either in Readerware or another program like a text editor.

Using a batch barcode reader

Readerware supports several batch barcode readers including the LaserChamp (Flic), Symbol CS-1504 and CS-2000 readers. Batch barcode readers are not connected directly to your computer, You can scan barcodes into the reader and at a later time, upload them into Readerware. This means that you can take the barcode reader to your shelves rather than drag your books, CDs and videos to your PC. To upload barcodes from a batch barcode reader, click on the Upload button.

Saving entered barcodes

You can optionally save the item list you just entered before continuing. Normally after you have entered your data you continue through the wizard and update your items. But maybe you are at a remote location and do not have access to an internet connection. You can save the data you entered to a file for later use. Click on the Save List button and select the location and name for your file. To use the saved file, start auto-update again and click on the Load List button

Column Selection

Your last task is to identify which database columns to update and how Readerware should update each column.

You will see a list of all database columns. Those with a check mark next to them will be updated. Those with a X next to them will not. You  can double click on any item in the list to toggle its status. You can use the buttons to the right of the list to select or deselect all columns.

As you select each item in the list, you can also specify how the column should be updated:

This option is specified on a column by column basis. For example you could tell Readerware to update the Dimensions column only if it is empty and always replace the Value column. So it is important to first select the column in the list, then set this option. When you set this option it applies to the currently selected column only.

Verification Page

Next up is the verification page. This is your last chance to change your settings prior to running Readerware auto-update. A quick summary of your choices is listed. Click on Next if you are ready to go. Click on Back if you want to change your choices.

Auto-Update Running Page

When you reach this page, Readerware auto-update is running. You will see a progress window that will update as Readerware processes your items. In the background Readerware also updates the list each time an item is processed. If you want, you can move the progress window out of the way to see more of the auto-update activity. Simply click on the title bar and drag the window out of the way. The progress window will close automatically once Readerware auto-update completes. Don't hit the Cancel button though, this will abort the Readerware auto-update run.

Initially each item in the list will have a question mark icon displayed next to it. This indicates that Readerware auto-update has not yet searched the internet for this item. As it processes each item, Readerware changes the icon to indicate the results. The icons are:

- The item has been updated
- The item was not changed.
- The item has been processed but could not be found at any of the sites searched
- The item does not have an ISBN or UPC, so it could not be processed
- A site returned multiple results for this item, Readerware cataloged the first match. You might want to check the site manually.
- A site was busy and returned an HTTP status code of 503. This is a temporary condition, try again later.
In addition to the icons, Readerware adds the title to each item. This is a very handy way to identify the items, it effectively gives you their location on your shelves.

You can save the item list by clicking on the Save List button.

When you have reviewed the status of each item, click on the Next button to proceed to the final page of this wizard.

Auto-Update Complete Page

This page displays the overall auto-update statistics:
Note that you can use the Back and Next buttons to toggle between the results and the auto-catalog summary page. When you are done, click the Finish  button. Readerware will then display all the updated items in the main window. You can optionally review and edit these updated items. Click on the toolbar browse button to return to the full database display.

This statistics information and a complete item by item listing is also written to a log filr, if user logging is enabled. You will find this file in your Documents->Readerware->Logs folder. You can view this file in any text editor

There is no easier way to catalog your collection!

Top of Page

Copyright © 1999-2022 Readerware Corporation