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That Pesky "New Entry" Dialog

I just came across an article that appeared in the June 2010 issue of Linux Journal. Entitled Economy Size Geek - Organizing a Library, the article includes reviews of Alexandria, GCstar, and Tellico, along with some online sites and full-blown library management software.

Somewhat unfortunately, the author's review of Tellico really got stuck on adding a new book to the collection using data from Amazon.

After creating a new collection of books, my first step was to add one of the test books. The process of adding a book was the most confusing out of the three applications. I clicked Create a new entry, which pulled up a dialog with a lot of options spread out over six different tabs. Title was on the first tab. ISBN was on the Publishing tab. I entered in a title for a book and clicked Save Entry. On the other applications, doing that triggered a lookup, but Tellico just sat there with no additional data. Eventually, I found an option to say Update Entry, which was able to pull down information and update it (though no book cover was provided). I tried a second time, and this time, I filled out only the ISBN field. I saved the entry and asked it to update, but nothing changed.

He's not the first user to hit the same problem. I really need to rename the menu commands or adjust the whole dialog to make it clear that the New Entry dialog is only for entering data completely from scratch. In order to add a new book from Amazon, the best way is to hit the Search... button. (Suggestions for renaming this command are welcome!) Select Amazon as the data source, search for the book, and when you find it, select it and click Add Entry. It's that easy. And yes, you can search by ISBN in the same dialog.

Also, the reviewer noted this bug:

I tried to import the ISBNs into Tellico, but each time, it crashed on the import. I wasn't able to confirm whether this was a problem with the program or the way I installed it.

So far, that functionality has worked for me. But I won't jump to the conclusion that the reviewer had an installation problem. I just wish that he had followed up by either emailing the Tellico user mailing list, posting on the Tellico forum, or even filing a bug.

Oh, well. At least, the exposure for Tellico is always good!

Search vs. New Entry

When I saw the icon I though about a wizard or a magic wand. Magic fill vs. manual fill? Auto vs. manual fill? Search and fill vs. new entry/manual fill?
Or just combine the new entry and search button in one with drop down option where you can select the mode. When you click the icon open search, when using a small arrow show option to manual add entry or allow switching of button behaviour.

> New Entry dialog is only

> New Entry dialog is only for entering data completely from scratch
Imho, it's a little bit confusing. In my case i renamed "new entry" button to "empty entry" and "Search internet" to "new entry". Mostly everything i have already exist in internet, so it's easier to download data instead of writing everything.

But the best way is, to get rid of "two different entry ways" paradigm and moving "update entry (via internet)" button to entry window.
Something like "update" on left side of entry window (instead of help button - how often do you use it? and inside of entry window?) and "save entry/ close" button on right side.

Sketch for example - http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/18/snapshot24.png

Switching modes

My wife has made similar suggestions, like having a link or button in the dialog to switch between two modes of data entry. That's a good point about the help button in the dialog, its been there from the beginning, but does probably belong somewhere else. I can use the space for some sort of update/switch mode button.

The "update entry" will still be in the menus, since you can select multiple entries with that and update them all at once. But differentiating between updating and downloading an entry has no value, indeed.

And actually, I didn't call the "search" button "internet search" since there could be non-internet data sources, but that's a distinction without value, too.

Thanks for the good ideas!