Tip of the Quill: A Journal
Things that don’t live up to expectations: Delicious Library 2.

Maybe it’s because I’m just getting back into it after letting it lie dormant for so long, or maybe it’s because it had been gathering hype for a ridiculous amount of time (approximately 3.5 years) before shipping, or maybe it’s because my imagination almost always outstrips what reality finally serves up on a chipped, faded platter… But Delicious Library 2 isn’t delivering on its hype yet.
I still love the premise of Delicious Library, which is part of the problem – a gorgeous app that packs amazing potential, such as the ability to not only catalog my vast collection of media but make it available online to help me find out whether or not I already own a hardcover copy of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (I don’t) or Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (I do), and enable my friends peruse that collection to see if there’s anything they’d like to borrow (and, honestly, hopefully gape at the wide array of awesome that I’ve managed to accumulate over the years) AND help me track which of those friends have borrowed what, so I can remember whose fingers I need to break for never giving me back that copy of The Arabian Nights that my grandfather gave me before he died (I’m looking at you, Yvonne).
Delicious Library 1 suggested that these features were coming, but Delicious Library 2 only delivered a half-baked (and incredibly download-heavy) web publishing system that, as near as I can tell, won’t let me sort or search my published library from my iPhone, nor does it include any component of social networking whatsoever. What would be awesome is if I could search my library for a book and have it give three tiers of results: first, whether or not I own a copy; second, whether or not any of my friends own a copy that I could borrow; and third, what the going price for that book is currently on Amazon, Powell’s, eBay or wherever. I cannot, as near as I can tell, use the camera on my iPhone to scan a barcode in the store and have the software give me any of that data, which is ludicrous. Granted, the iPhone camera is notoriously bad, but similar services have existed in other phones for years now and not having it in what is supposed to be the flagship library management software for the Mac (it even has an entire “Delicious Generation” named after it, for crying out loud!) is frustrating in the extreme. It doesn’t even have a custom iPhone icon included in the published pages. This is amateur hour.
Yo! Wil Shipley! What gives? Is all this stuff still coming down the pike, or is Library doomed to remain a half-baked shadow of the glorious golden exemplar that its potential suggests it could be?
Update: well, I guess Shipley warned us:

Mike and I have talked a lot about Delicious Library 2.0 on wired.com and slashdot.com, respectively. I’d like to weasel a bit here and point out that although we have a ton of lofty goals that we’re calling “2.0,” not all of them will actually be in “2.0” the product. We’d love it if they were, but PLEASE don’t buy the app based how cool you think 2.0 might be. If you like what 1.0 does, buy it now, and if you think 2.0 sounds like the first version that will be useful to you, then go ahead and wait.

Weasel, indeed. If you check out the original Wired interview, you find this:

Matas and Shipley have big plans. Delicious Library is now a cataloging program, appealing to those with an obsessive, Nick Hornby-esque desire to catalog every song, book and movie on their living room shelves.
But from the start, the software was planned to be social, allowing friends, neighbors and colleagues to see what’s in each others’ media libraries, and turn collections into personal lending libraries.
Version two, due later this year, will allow users to browse each other’s libraries. It will be location-aware, letting users know who has what in their neighborhood or city.
It will also work on local networks (using Apple Computer’s Rendezvous), so people can browse their colleagues’ or fellow students’ collections, just as Apple’s iTunes exposes other users’ playlists.
The current version already has a checkout manager for keeping track of loans.
As well as running personal lending libraries, the software can set up social connections: What better barometer of someone’s personality than their taste in books and film?
“If you look at my movie collection, you can learn a ton about me,” said Matas. “It’s like a personal profile on Friendster listing interests and hobbies, but it’s much more natural. It’s not done consciously. It’s a natural profile of yourself.”
The software also includes a recommendation engine built on Amazon.com’s recommendation system.
Matas said the company talked to Amazon about a partnership, but the retailer didn’t like the lending feature. Why would people buy when they could borrow?
Matas said he convinced Amazon that people buy movies expressly to lend them out. They watch a movie two or three times, but want to own it so they can lend it to family or friends.
“I love the movie Baraka,” he said. “I’ve seen it three times but I’ve lent it out a million times. And my friends have bought it also because they also want to spread the word.”
Matas said cataloging books is just a first step in the grand scheme.
“The bigger picture is social idea sharing,” he said. “Right now it’s for obsessive-compulsive collectors, but we’re going to flip a switch in the next version and it will turn into social software.”

I bought both versions of this software, and so far I don’t see any switch having been thrown. There’s an ability to mark what books you’ve loaned people, and you can e-mail a book to your friends, and you can email your friends the URL of where you’ve posted your stuff (my work-in-progress library is up at http://homepage.mac.com/geoffreylong/deliciouslibrary/ but is woefully incomplete) but all of this does not social software make. I could do much the same thing with simple cut-and-paste in Safari, Excel and Mail.app — so what gives, Shipley? What happened to the Delicious Library 2 we were promised?