Calibre

Does anybody use Calibre as part of their knowledge management workflow? Curious to know how it fits in. I use it to manage e-books, but am wondering if it can do more than that for me, e.g. if it makes sense for archiving literature notes or anything like that.

In my case Calibre is part of my system, but only to convert ePubs to .mobi files to read them in my Kindle app. But Obsidian is a much better option for notes and general processing.

Nope. I theory you can add also audiobooks…But Calibre is really only for managing books and probably e-reader. Plus e-book conversion. Other then that is overkill.

I have used Calibre to convert whole books from Epub or Mobi or whatever into TXT files but with the markdown formatting option, Its not perfect but it works OK. Then I change the file extension and pop it into Obsidian. It doesn’t convert PDF’s so well.

Also I use the new annotations function in Calibre’s Ebook viewer, which allows me to highlight and make comments on any type of text document and then export these as TXT, again with limited markdown. The import consists of the highlighted text, the comment I made and the time I made it. I have to manually include in my comment, the location in the document where the text is located.

There are probably better programs that do things better but I like Calibre and its frequent update/small company vibe.

1 Like

Actually it is open-source software, where developer lives on generosity of users.

Recent versions of Calibre have added export to markdown, calibre:// links and other great features. https://calibre-ebook.com/whats-new

I downloaded the calibre recently in order to use it as a manager for my digital library. At first I had sought this solution also with Mendeley or Zotero, but I understood the proposals of each program. Nowadays I have been studying the caliber a little more so that it is the place where I manage my library, since I usually do not read by computer, only on paper or when necessary in kindle. Reading on the pc is always an exception because of my vision issues.

I am thinking of the following way in this testing phase:

  1. Transpose all my digital books from the cloud to the coomputer and edit their metadata by caliber, as well as organize to always access the library through it, and no longer through the files themselves.
    This is because, as I understand it, the caliber creates a copy of the files in its own folder for storing the files, so they would be saved and I can access the computer easily and quickly if I need to.

  2. Maybe create a folder that will serve as a step prior to the caliber, so that I always know which new books I will need to add to the caliber to edit the metadata and organize them there.

  3. Use the zotero only as a reference manager, always creating from the projects and without the need to add the book / article physically, as these will already be organized by caliber. Thus, the zotero will remain only for the information of citations and bibliographies.

  4. Then after all correct edition on the metadatas, from the folder of the caliber, go up to the cloud to create the backup.

I know that there is an integration between zotero and obsidian, but I haven’t explored it yet.

I don’t like zotero or mendeley, and I find the caliber very intuitive and I can easily access everything.

So, it depends on your e-reading setup (and this is what the entire ebook ecosystem suffers from…). Because of Amazon Kindle’s stranglehold on the market, very few standards are in place so no one can/does build something reliable AND pleasant to use (too much investment for too much risk).

The way Calibre CAN and (for me) DOES integrate with one’s PKM (Obsidian or otherwise) is that as a by-product of managing your ebooks (etc) AND your in-situ (on ebook reader) annotations, you can create context in Obsidian. e.g.: autogenerated reference notes, complete with any annotations you make on your Kindle/Kobo/etc e-reader.

The problem is, the way to do this with Calibre involves using plugins and some of your own code and the way Calibre provides database access to plugins makes it a PITA do develop any kind of reliable “one click install and use” solution.

That’s a lot of blahblah. Let me show you what I mean. I have not integrated this with Obsidian yet (and that is why I am here today), but I have built for myself a hack which exports my Calibre data into nicely assembled, contextualized reference materials in the form of a website.

For example, here is the “reference card” webpage for the book I just finished reading this morning: L / B / "Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy With Latin Europe" - Verena Krebs It includes relevant metadata of the book, as well as my annotations (highlights and in-situ notes).

Now, I have some general thoughts/notes I want to add, which are not annotations (remember, annotations are notes in situ of the text: they are contextually connected to some passage, either as a highlighted quote, or a note attached to a span of or a point in a text). I might also want to write a “review” for publishing somewhere. For this I would want to write a note/post in Obsidian, and relate it to this “reference card”

That is where I am now. How do I generate a “reference card” from Calibre into my Vault. Fairly easy with a bit of code added to my existing system… but there is no way for me to share that with anyone. :\