Barcode + smartphone for home inventory?

Is it possible to use a smartphone as a barcode reader such that I can use it for a home inventory? I know the first part is possible, but what about the second? I’d like the end result to be an Excel spreadsheet detailing exactly what I’ve got. E.g. one afternoon I might inventory my collection of CDs, DVDs, and BDs, scanning all their barcodes and end up with a spreadsheet listing by name each and every disk I own. which I can then annotate. The next few days day I might similarly inventory my library and end up with a similar spreadsheet.

I don’t yet have a smartphone, BTW.

Yes, you can do this. Pre-built solutions include LibraryThing for books and Readerware for books+music+movies. They usually crawl Amazon and other ISBN/UPC databases to match your scans with metadata, downloading titles, authors, cover images, etc. for you.

My experience is with scanning books with Readerware. A $20 barcode scanner and a Windows laptop works a LOT better than a smartphone; their smartphone app wasn’t very advanced and the smartphone focusing is slower and more error-prone than the lightning-quick laser barcode reader.

If you want to homebrew it, there are websites that let you do batch UPC lookups. You can also make your own barcode using one of: Excel plugins, custom software, barcode fonts.

ETA: Sorry, I wasn’t very clear about the smartphone aspect. Readerware specifically lets you scan with your smartphone and add titles to your catalog, but ONLY if you have their desktop software too. There are other similar apps out there, or you can just scan a list of barcodes from the phone and process them on a PC later. In any case, though I personally found the PC + laser barcode reader easier/quicker than a smartphone-based solution. Not to mention cheaper by a few hundred dollars.

What’s the end goal here? Is this just a list of your DVD/CD/BDs? If that’s the case, I’d just type them in. The problem is, even if you can find a decent scanner app that can scan, cross refrence it to the title and export it to Excel/OO, you’ve still got to pull out every case, find the barcode and hold the phone in some clumsy way. The part that’s going to slow you down is likely to be trying to hold the phone. They’re just not economical for this kind of thing. If you’ve got more then, say, 50, you’re hand is going to be really sore and you’re probably going to drop your phone a lot. But, if you can type fast, you can just bring your lap top over to your DVD stand and type them in without even pulling them out.

If you’ve got, say 1000’s of things to scan in, you’re almost better off going to ebay and picking up a real barcode scanner and seeing if you can configure that to work for you. Not only will they be ergonomic, but you won’t have to buy a smart phone and it’ll be doing something that it was designed to do.

Missed edit window.

  1. Here’s one app that does what you want without needing software running on a computer.

  2. If you do get a PC barcode reader instead, a laser one like I linked would typically be faster than a CCD-based one (which basically uses a camera, like your smartphone). CueCats are usually the cheapest possible option you can get (less than $10) but they’re so hard to use that it’s worth spending another $10 to get the awesome laser kind. Aaaaand the laser ones are really fun for office pew-pew fights.

I used Readerware to scan and inventory my books/CDs/DVDs/BluRay discs. I also bought a CueCat from Readerware but as said, it’s slow. I borrowed a real barcode scanner from work to use for the mass scanning when I first inventoried everything. Now I just type in any UPC/ISBN codes for stuff I newly acquire. It works, and I now have inventories on my computer of the books, music and movies. I’m glad I have this, partly for insurance purposes. But now that I have a smartphone, it might be nice to have the inventory on it, so that I can see if I already have something before I buy it again. (I’ve done that far too often.)

While in a body cast and being home-bound for months, I decided to create a home inventory.
Boredom is like that.

I listed every book, CD, painting, shirt - everything in the house that wasn’t wall or carpet.
Being the old days, it took some time. Since it was about 1990, I didn’t even have a computer yet!

Now, of course, it’s a 40-page spreadsheet with values calcuated, and serial numbers for everything that has one. This is invaluable for insurance purposes.

You never know when a burglary or fire can happen; a picture of Grandma’s brooch linked in Excel can be given to the cops. Serial numbers of your mower or Xbox or laptops or cameras? Same.

I’d love to see an easy method of getting everything into Excel, so more folks would do it.
The bar code reader is a great start.

On the software side, I’m testing out Tap Forms for iOS. It’s a database/form software. What you do is define a form, which has fields. Fields can be set to text, number, date, date and time, picture, and lots more.

So if I wanted to use it to make an inventory, I’d make a form like:
Item type: (book, CD, equipment)
Location: (text)
Value: (number formatted as cash)
Purchase date: (date)
Serial number: (text)
Barcode: (text, but it includes a built-in barcode reader so any text field can be scanned)

Then I’d import it into Excel and use filters/pivottables to organize/format it. Unfortunately it can’t automatically lookup barcodes for titles.

PS: I already have a form for vouchers/coupons, value and expiry date so I can see what’s expiring next.

As a first step or just for insurance purposes, it might be easier to just set up all the CDs or books with spines facing out and take a good digital picture. Or 50 pictures, if you have a lot of books like me.

While CDs and DVDs probably have very complete databases of barcodes, less than a third of my books even have ISBN numbers.

With a barcode reader and a barcode Excel add-in, I believe it is quite possible for you to do that. And of course, you got to have a smartphone first.
A useful link for you:

Thank you.

Reported post by makaveiljojo as spam.

sure , i know the barcode reading app for android and iphone