Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Miss You, Springpad! Using Android's Barcode Scanner and Evernote for Collection Development

I was very disappointed when Springpad
shut down their personal assistant app a few months ago. It was a superior app and none of its alternatives come close to its easy-to-use and powerful features. In addition to using collaborative notebooks, which no one else does very well for free, I was using Springpad's integrated barcode scanner to easily scan and store books that I wanted to buy for my library. I could access all of the books in my "Collection Development" folder from anywhere and on any device. Unfortunately, I have tried many other apps and they just don't do it correctly, even EvernoteI miss this feature! 

Furthermore, I've noticed that people have been submitting feature requests to try and get Evernote to add a barcode scanner for over 4 years now and still nothing.  Google Goggles can process the images that it scans, but I don't think it can store/send all of its history to another service and/or within its own app for manually processing later. If it is possible, then please let me know. I even thought of creating my own barcode scanner app via MIT's App Inventor to automatically query my OPAC first, then store the ISBN's that aren't in my library's collection, and to then send them to a spreadsheet somewhere so I could import it into Baker and Taylor. I don't have enough time for that right now, but it can totally be done! One of these days ... 

So, the other day I was browsing at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore and I saw a ton of books that I wanted to read, and consequently, add to my library's public collection. I tried using Evernote again and it just wasn't working the way I wanted it to, so I decided to look a little closer at Android's stock barcode scanner app to see if I could do something similar. I miss you Springpad. Anyway, here is my workaround.

1. Open the Barcode Scanner app and then scan the ISBN barcode on the back of the book.

2. Select the History option to see all your scanned barcodes and then hit the Share button.

3. Select Evernote as the destination app.

4.  Evernote will store the history of scanned barcodes.

5. You can download/share the spreadsheet and simply paste the ISBN's or import the cleaned-up spreadsheet into your favorite online ordering tool (e.g., Baker and Taylor etc.)


  1. I recently just started my own business, and so far we've been doing really well. I just feel like getting a barcode scanner would make such a big difference, and I'm sure it would save us a bunch of time. How much do these things usually cost, and do you think I could get a discount for buying them in bulk?

  2. You could get a good scanner for probably $100 - $200. Visit http://goo.gl/Fj0AKx for some examples.