Last Updated: September 2nd, 2010

You bought an Android phone because you’re into cool functionality, right? Don’t attempt to deny it, something that creates a database of your books, CDs, DVDs and video games is exactly the kind of thing you like.

Here we have Shelves. Putting to use your phone’s camera, Shelves scans the barcodes of your collections and automagically creates a virtual representation of them on your phone, for cataloguing, loaning, or just admiring.

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Shelves purports to recognize a whole host of item types, seemingly nearly everything that isn’t food. All modes operate identically - you select 'Scan' from the pop-up menu, and point your phone’s camera at the barcode of your item. When you are building up your catalogue for the first time, this one-item-at-a-time method is obviously a tedious operation, but thankfully Shelves also includes a bulk-scan mode where you can go directly from one scan to the next.

If your barcode is disfigured or the item can’t be found, you can search for it manually, and choose the item from a list of results within the application.

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Once you have built up your collection, you can tag your items, rate them, search for them, and also mark them as loaned. This loan functionality allows you to assign an item to one of your phone contacts, and to note a date that it is due to be returned by. This information can even be added to your Google Calendar. This may seem extremely possessive, but the loaning functionality is useful merely as a method to track where all your stuff has gone.

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It would be generous say that the UI of Shelves is an homage to popular Mac OS X cataloguing client Delicious Library, as it appears to be a direct clone. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, especially if you're partial to the faux-bookshelf style. Shelves also supports exporting of your database to a format that is easily importable into Delicious Library itself, if you like to keep your desktop and mobile catalogues in sync.

Shelves is available for free from the Android Market, and is in active development. The cataloguing database is quite limited in scope right now, and not everything will be found, especially more obscure books and electronics. However, further updates to Shelves will hopefully increase the information database being tapped into for item recognition. You can follow the progress of the application at the twitter account @Shelves4Android, leave feedback in the app’s XDA-Developers thread or track the latest updates at ShelvesForAndroid.com.

Download it here :

QR code for market://details?id=com.miadzin.shelves

Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Can you add items that don't have barcodes or that are not recognized?

    Btw, the loaning functionality is brilliant.

    Seems like the next step needed is an ability to back up and edit the catalog online, as it is a lot faster than on my phone (for bulk adding stuff without barcodes or corrections after a large import).

    • http://www.shelvesforandroid.com Garen Torikian

      Developer of Shelves here. Yes, you can manually enter the name of an item (its title, or author, or whatever) to do a lookup.

      You can also export/import your data as TSV files. I'm currently looking into synching with a Google Docs spreadsheet for online backup.

      • Mark

        Will it recognise IMEI barcodes? Ability to sync to a Google Docs spreadsheet would make it a must at work:-)

    • http://androidpolice.com Brian

      Updated post with more info.

  • Matt

    Just wanted to add that Endtroducing is one of the best EP's ever made.

  • http://justanotherclaypot.blogspot.com Betsy

    I'm enjoying "Shelves" very much. But I'm wondering if there are plans to add the following features:

    -The ability to add your own photo of a book if the picture isn't supplied with the barcode scan (which happens often), and to add photos of your clothes from your closet (which obviously don't have barcodes).

    -The ability to catalog books that you have borrowed from others, including library books and loans from friends.

    Thanks for this great product!

    • http://www.shelvesforandroid.com Garen Torikian

      Hi Betsy—

      To adding photos: yes, that's planned, for both items with a cover and items without.

      To catalog books you've borrowed: I hadn't considered it but I could make it work in the future.

  • http://www.tattoomyheart.com Valerie

    Love it the only feature I'd like to see added is on the gadgets portion maybe a way to log the serial number.