Wherein I shake my fist at the sky

I attended the webinar that OCLC held on November 15th called “Get your library on Goodreads.”  You can watch a recording of it here:


I was very interested in this topic, as I had just opened a Goodreads account for my library in my widget quest.  At 43:13 in the talk we find out that although you can not transfer lists between accounts, it is possible to import lists as .CSV files.  How wonderful!  I decided to do this today.  Here is what I have to share:

1.  My list came from Worldcat.  Lists made in Worldcat are wonderful things, as they connect to our library catalog and can provide availability data with a click.  Unfortunately, they do not have the foot traffic or the adaptable widgets that are available in Goodreads.  Fortunately, there is a link on the list that will export to a .CSV file.  The headers for this file are

OCLC # “Title” “Author” “Language” “Item type” “Publication” “Publisher” “Database” “Notes” “Added date”

2.  There is also a sample .CSV file on the Import page here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/import  It has the headers

Title Author ISBN My Rating Average Rating Publisher Binding Year Published Original Publication Year Date Read Date Added Bookshelves My Review

It was a relatively simple, if tedious, job to clean up the OCLC .CSV and put it into the Goodreads  approved headings. I removed the quotation marks from the headers, changed “Notes” to “My Review,” and changed “Added Date” to “Date Added.”  Re-formatting the “Publisher” column from OCLC to one that matched Goodreads took a bit more work.  The OCLC Publisher column includes Place: Publisher, Date information.  I used the “Text to Columns” tool on Microsoft Excel’s Data tab to separate the one column into many more.   I used the comma and the colon as delimiters, but this still required manual cleanup.  For the record, don’t use “Find and Replace” to remove the spaces from the front of a column.  Instead use the Trim function.  Just trust me on this one.

3.  After everything was cleaned up on my .CSV file, I had to throw up my hands and curse the skies.  Despite having ISBN data in the Worldcat database, it was not included in the export.  THE ISBN IS REQUIRED BY GOODREADS.  I went through my entire list on Worldcat and copy/pasted the ISBN number into the .CSV file, fighting Excel to format it as a simple number without decimal points.  For. Each. Book.   My list wasn’t unmanageably long, but what if I had over a hundred books on my list?   I have sent off an e-mail to OCLC about this issue.  I hope they’ll respond.  They haven’t responded to my first e-mail that I sent shortly after the webcast, so I’m not holding my breath.

4. The import went very well on the Goodreads side of things.  Only one book could not be imported, and that was easily done manually.  From the new bookshelf created from this import I was able to create a lovely widget for a Libguide I hope to publish soon.


One thought on “Wherein I shake my fist at the sky

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s