Book Search plugin - only for searching?

Does anyone use the Book Search plugin ONLY for searching/downloading the book data?

It feels kind of messy to try to merge my existing book notes with what the template creates, and I’m hesitant to rely on Dataview-generated pages too much because they don’t seem as future-proof as more “hardcoded” notes.

But am I overlooking any major reasons this can’t work or shouldn’t be attempted?

I don’t use Book Search or DataView, but it looks like it’s not generating anything DataView-specific, just YAML. You won’t be able to use that everywhere, but it is used in various apps (and supported by many programming languages, if it comes to that). It’s also pretty readable as plain text, and the example I saw in the plugin page could easily be converted to (say) a Markdown list with a fancy search-replace.

It looks like the plugin makes you create a new note each time? That does seem inconvenient if you have existing book notes.

You’re correct. But most people who are using the plugin (at least most I’ve seen using the plugin) are using it primarily for the displays that can be built in other notes using dataview. e.g. Keeping track of to-be-read books, etc. There are some benefits to that, but I don’t think I want hundreds of books in my vault that I haven’t read, so I’m only interested in what it generates directly. Which, as you noted, is fine for a new book, but awkward if I’m trying to update existing ones.

What I’ve been doing, which is kind of a pain, but works, is to use the plugin to generate the file, Ctrl-X to cut all the YAML information, etc., delete that note, navigate back to my existing note, and Ctrl-V to paste all the generated data into the existing note. This is giving me new information – like publication data and page counts – that I didn’t have in most of my book notes already.

You might be able to slightly smooth the process by using the Note Composer core plugin (or maybe the Note Refactor or Text Transporter community plugins).

1 Like

The difficulty is that they merge “backward.” The information the plugin makes has to stay at the top. But the notes with the titles I want to keep are the existing notes. So it’s multiple steps any way around it – either I have to merge and then rename, or I have to merge and then rearrange. It’s doable, just a bit of a process.

I guess I ought to put in a feature request to the plugin creator to offer an option to download a book’s data to the top of the current note or to the cursor location. I don’t know if that’s viable because I’m not a programmer, but you never know unless you ask, right?

The link I posted says you can merge to the top: “Shift+Enter: Adds the source note at the start of the destination note”.

It’s not obvious, and I don’t know how you’re supposed to do it on mobile. I thought I remembered it having a visible option but I just tried it on my phone and that’s not the case.

Actually you might be able to just do Shift+Enter on the on-screen keyboard — I think I might have done it before.

Oooh. That’s definitely something I’d overlooked. I’ll have to look more closely. Thank you!

I had to come back and update this for anyone reading the thread later. I did put in a feature request at the plugin’s repository…and another user brought to my attention that there’s a feature hidden in the Command palette that will do this already. BookSearch: Insert the metadata will insert the template at the top of the current note.

2 Likes