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Preview: Most Recent Messages from LibraryThing Group: CueCat questions and help

Most Recent Messages from LibraryThing Group: CueCat questions and help

LibraryThing sell CueCats! (See here.) Many users already have them. I've started this group to answer questions, and let CueCaters trade info. For more help with your CueCat, check out the FAQ


jjmcgaffey: Macbook: help. cuecat does not work

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 14:27:55 -0500

november 28, 2017
Sounds to me like it's a speed/pressure and possibly direction thing - which is something you learn by doing. Since you have gotten output a few times, the Cat is working just fine with your computer - numlock is fine, etc. Up and down - I meant, the Cat's head and paws are parallel to the bars, rather than being set across them - the top of the Cat is towards either the spine or the open side, not the top (or bottom) of the book. Left to right or right to left don't make any difference. Again, you've gotten it to work sometimes, so you're doing that right - though one thing that might be causing problems is if you're (sometimes) holding the Cat slightly skewed to the bar code. As straight as possible, hold it lightly on the page (or even just barely above the page), move at the right speed (not one fast swipe, but not creeping over the bar code either). It's perfectly capable of reading 99% of bar codes in a little box on the back of the book - a few are either too small, or damaged (scratched or whatever) and it can't handle that. But you might try checking inside the front cover and if there's a barcode there (not the short/long bars, but a normal one with thick/thin bars), try scanning that instead. Beyond that, all I can say is keep trying. As I said in >14, when I started I was getting maybe one scan in 20; it took a while, but finally it clicked for me and now I can scan just about every time.

EdwinKort: Scanner Reader instead of CueCat?

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 14:47:19 -0400

april 2017
Just curious, did this work okay?

jjmcgaffey: Not Scanning Bar Codes

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 02:07:25 -0500

december 2016
I'm not sure TinyCat can handle an unmodified CueCat (that outputs the letter-and-number stuff). It should work for entering books into LT, and for searching for them in your catalog - but I'm not sure the translation software got put into TinyCat. It might be worth modifying your Cat. It's a quick and not too difficult procedure, and afterward the Cat will output exactly what it scans rather than the scramble. The instructions are in the wiki, at - basically you unscrew the bottom of the Cat, find one particular chip, and cut one particular leg of the chip (nail scissors, the ones with curved sharp tips, work well). The most difficult part is determining which leg of the chip to cut - and it's not all that difficult. It makes the Cat a lot more useful.

abingtonmeeting: Church library setup with CueCat - HELP!

Sun, 21 Feb 2016 08:31:12 -0500

februari 2016
Hi, folks! I'm working to set up a library for my church. We have most of our library entered into an Excel spreadsheet, which I could scan into LibraryThing. The csv does NOT have ISBN numbers, though. Or I could use my new CueCat to start over and just scan everything. I'm wondering what workflow system you recommend using, so that we have a high level of confidence that all the books on our shelves are the book in our LibraryThing library, and so that we have something that will be fairly easy to maintain going forward. So, here are some questions I have: - Should we 1) import all the books from our CSV, or 2) go into the library and scan them? - Should we buy those little number stickers that LibraryThing sells, and put a number sticker on each book as we are scanning them? But if we do that, then do we scan the number? Or the ISBN code? - If we scan ISBN codes, how do we signal for ourselves that a book on the shelf is one that is in our LT library? We currently have problems with people donating books, and not having a way to be sure that the book has been properly catalogued. Any recommendations for a start-up situation like this one? Thanks so much!

timspalding: Computer says USB device not recognized.

Sat, 30 Jan 2016 20:57:40 -0500

januari 2016
What operating system are you on? Can you transcribe the exact message?

hfox: CueCats only work on Linux

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 08:21:32 -0500

november 2015
I have 2 cuecats. Both work on Linux, but not Mac OS X, not Win 7, not Win 8, and not Win 10. Only Linux. Anyone have any ideas as to why and how I can get them working on these other platforms?

hnau: Macbook Air - PS2 CueCat + Adapter

Thu, 22 Oct 2015 10:06:33 -0400

oktober 2015
PS2 and USB are not compatible, but some mice and keyboards have special electronics to support both. Those just need a cheap adapter. The PS2 CueCat only works with PS2, so you need an active converter to translate PS2 to USB and vice versa. You might want to try your CueCat on a PC that still has a PS2 port, just to be sure that it works there.

jjmcgaffey: Does CueCat work on Windows 8?

Thu, 25 Jun 2015 23:27:38 -0400

juni 2015
Still don't have a Win 8 machine, so no, I haven't checked. But I still believe it will, no problem. It doesn't take a driver - or rather, it takes a standard keyboard driver - so if you can plug in a USB keyboard and it works, so will a CueCat.

lorax: Who's using CueCat?

Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:45:41 -0500

december 2014
Tim wants to know:

bnielsen: What is the real difference between these two barcodes? I don't get it.

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 05:21:46 -0400

augustus 2014
I tend to pick up a few books when on holiday in another country and now my children have started bringing me books from their journeys too, so once in a while I get a book that is really a challenge to find in any of LT's sources. AND once in a while when I _do_ find it, the library source has a really wonky catalogueing practice or a not-so-good z39.50 profile resulting in some very strange data. (I tried to make sense out of the character issues with the Subject field and some of my books in Catalan came back to haunt me :-)

wdfarr: Has anyone figured out a portable option?

Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:01:17 -0400

augustus 2014
Anyone tried a cordless barcode reader?

CaitlinCake: ps/2 cue cat driver?

Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:43:09 -0400

april 2014
I know this topic is ancient but I was having the same problem with a PS/2 CueCat and I thought it was just a windows 7 thing. I was using a usb Keyboard and windows wouldn't recognize a PS/2 keyboard (the CueCat), so I just went to the thrift store, bought a PS/2 keyboard, plugged it into the CueCat's PS/2 connection and viola! The PS/2 CueCat works perfectly. Hope that helps anyone having this same problem and seeing as this is the first result that comes up when I searched "CueCat PS/2 windows 7" maybe some people are still coming to this thread. The short version: PS/2 CueCat not working on windows 7? Try using a PS/2 keyboard.

matthewmason: Cuecat not working

Fri, 21 Feb 2014 14:34:53 -0500

februari 2014
Hi Faye, Have you tried legal's suggestions? If you can't get it to work on any of your USB ports--even on a different computer, if you have one available, then you likely do have a defective CueCat. Send me an email, and we'll talk through it. (matt @

legallypuzzled: Use of CueCat brings up web camera settings box every time I try to use it.

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 20:15:38 -0500

november 2013
Two ways to solve this: * Change the web camera settings not to run when ALT-F10 is sent; ie, change the "hotkey" startup if that's possible * "Declaw" your CueCat. See this prior thread:

dutchgirldtd: No results found for book no matter which I scan in

Tue, 01 Oct 2013 17:36:53 -0400

oktober 2013
DID we get all over that? Because I've been having a lot of trouble with the cuecat. When it works, it's amazing but I've gotten a lot of messages like the one above - "No results found for..." and I've been typing in a lot of isbn's (or the titles).

jjmcgaffey: Does USB CueCat work on Windows 7

Sun, 22 Sep 2013 11:41:38 -0400

september 2013
Want to give some details? I've walked some people through it before, and gotten them to function - also discovered some that simply don't function, there are broken ones. Which Tim will replace...though maybe not after 6 years. First step - when you plug it in, is there a red light in the nose? It should be solidly on, and then after a while (a minute or two) start to blink. If there's no red light, yeah, it's broken.

jjmcgaffey: Problems using the cue cat

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:28:11 -0400

juli 2013
I've been using mine (modified) to scan food and so on - yes, it works fine. In fact, an unmodified CueCat will scan a bar code and output _something_ - but unless you've modified it or the other project has a Cat reader (the way LT does - scan with an unmodified Cat into the Add Books search box and it reads it as an ISBN), you'll have to have some way to translate the scan output. Modifying it is far simpler, I think.

jjmcgaffey: skip confirmation

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 14:50:45 -0500

februari 2013
Oof. I'd add it to the bug report - linked in msg 6.

jjmcgaffey: Possible to use 2CueCats at same time?

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 01:30:46 -0400

maart 2012
Shouldn't be a problem - one Cat per computer works fine. Does the one that didn't work work if you're _not_ using the other simultaneously? I suspect that either the Cat has a problem, or the person scanning wasn't doing it exactly right. I've done multiple-person entry, with multiple Cats involved. It worked fine. There have also been flash-mob cataloging parties, with lots of people working simultaneously to catalog a library - I don't recall anyone mentioning Cats, but I suspect they have been involved.

jjmcgaffey: Mac OS X 10.5.8 not working

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 22:10:59 -0500

februari 2012
When I first got my Cat, yes, it did take many (many many) attempts. I got better at it and it only took tens or (rarely) only two or three attempts - then I declawed the Cat and now 90% of my scans work the first time. The ones that don't work the first time usually work within 5-10 swipes, or I _do_ type it in manually. I'm on a Windows computer, not a Mac, but that shouldn't relate to accuracy in reading.

jjmcgaffey: Works CueCat without Numpad?

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 13:55:11 -0500

januari 2012
I've used a declawed Cat with a netbook, which has no number pad, and it worked fine. A computer with a number pad uses it as arrow keys if NumLock is switched off, but I would guess that one without a number pad would just accept the numbers. Note that if you don't declaw the Cat, you'll need to add a EN-US keyboard to your computer (in software), because it would get confused with a German keyboard - but if you're planning to declaw it, there's only the number pad question. And usually a laptop without a number pad will have a hidden one on some of the letter keys and a function key that turns them on - if the Cat doesn't work, try that. But I suspect it will work without difficulty.

jjmcgaffey: No red light on cue cat

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 23:41:44 -0500

november 2011
It may be. That's very odd, actually - could it have been dropped while you weren't using it? Oh, and do try it in a different USB port - it may be the port that's dead and not the cat. There's no reason for it to spontaneously stop working - it's very simple inside, with no moving parts - but if it refuses to light up, yeah, it's dead.

jjmcgaffey: Cuecat triggers complete system back up

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 09:49:10 -0400

november 2011
Well, as above - your computer probably has a backup program that's triggered by Alt-F10, which an unmodified Cat puts out on every scan (I'm pretty sure that's the combo it puts out, but I know it puts out some Alt+Fkey combo). You can either find the backup program and change the hotkey, or declaw the Cat to solve the problem. One or the other has to change.

jjmcgaffey: ISBNs entered with CueCat not on Librarything ISBN column

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 02:34:30 -0400

oktober 2011
I see quite a few of your books (about 250 of them) without ISBNs - all the ones I noticed were published before 1970 or so, so they don't have ISBNs at all. I don't see any ISBNs that are green data - that's one way something you can see on LT doesn't export, but apparently it doesn't apply to ISBNs. Can you give an example of a book that has an ISBN on LT but not in the export?

legallypuzzled: Using CueCat off of the "add books" page

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 17:57:45 -0400

augustus 2011
If you de-claw the CueCat, you can search your library via ISBN (the barcode).

ojy: PS/2 CueCat and Windows 7

Fri, 12 Aug 2011 06:01:02 -0400

augustus 2011
I am so glad that someone else had this problem. I have an old PS2 CC that I never used, and recently I have been trying to get it to work with my W7, but to no avail. My keyboard is a USB Zboard, so that is probably where the issue lies. Looks like time to give in and order a USB one.

suitable1: Cat or mouse? (or: are our homes getting a bit too electronic?)

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 21:52:39 -0400

juli 2011
Well, at least it wasn't left on your bed.

jjmcgaffey: MacBook and the CCat

Sun, 15 May 2011 19:35:54 -0400

mei 2011
That's right, it's (probably) working correctly. You're supposed to get the scramble, unless you modify the Cat. Now try scanning with your cursor placed in the Search box on the Add Books page and see if the book comes up. Do make sure the bar code you're scanning is actually an ISBN - a lot of paperbacks have a different bar code on the back cover, not the ISBN. If so, they often have the ISBN barcode on the inside front cover. An ISBN should be 13 digits beginning with 978 or 10 digits, and is usually displayed labeled ISBN on the back cover above the bar code (whether or not the bar code is the ISBN) or on the copyright page. If you're still having trouble, scan a couple bar codes into a new post here and show us what you're getting so we can help.

jjmcgaffey: help with cuecat

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 01:46:02 -0400

april 2011
7> Yeah, it's that tiny little twist or slant that you don't even notice that can mess you up, all too often. Yay, glad you got it working!

jsmog: Sleepy Kitty

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 02:30:48 -0500

februari 2011
I've had my CueCat for about 3 years, and I've started to have this problem recently...tried taking it apart, moving things, but it is harder and harder to get my kitty to wake up.

jjmcgaffey: CueCat not bringing up correct titles

Tue, 01 Feb 2011 20:59:13 -0500

februari 2011
Glad to hear it. I still have no idea what was going on, but yeah, a neutered CueCat is much simpler to use. BTW, have you noticed that you now have a barcode scanner? I track my kitchen consumables as well as my books...

bluejeep: Apple MacBook Pro Notebook

Sat, 29 Jan 2011 11:33:41 -0500

januari 2011
CueCat will scan if you turn on the Caps Lock.

jjmcgaffey: CueCat output has bad first character

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 14:07:10 -0500

december 2010
Huh. It's probably the control character (Alt(Cmd)+F10 or something like that), which has been giving some people on Mac or Vista systems fits because it opens another program (a camera, a backup, something). I've never seen anyone say that it showed up as a character before, though. The only workaround I can think of offhand is the one I always suggest - declaw/neuter your CueCat. Then it won't produce gibberish or control characters, just straight numbers. That makes it more useful elsewhere (outside LT), makes it easier to see what it's giving to the search, etc. There's a Wiki page on declawing your Cat here, or Google 'declaw cuecat' and several dozen pages will show up.

jjmcgaffey: I want to return this Cuecat for a do I do it?

Sat, 21 Aug 2010 21:27:01 -0400

augustus 2010
Email Tim - click the Contact link at the bottom of every page to find all the emails. How is it not working? No red light at all, or red light but no scanned results, or...what?

jjmcgaffey: Declawing

Sat, 07 Aug 2010 13:22:49 -0400

augustus 2010
Glad you solved your own problem, and congrats on your newly-declawed Cat!

jjmcgaffey: Cue Cat no light/malfunction

Sat, 17 Jul 2010 05:24:30 -0400

juli 2010
Since you're getting the Windows error, it does sound like the Cat is damaged. Email Tim about it - usually he'll send you a new one. It should plug in with no messages (or just one about installing your new hardware) and the light should come up.

jjmcgaffey: UPC Converter?

Tue, 13 Jul 2010 00:05:11 -0400

juli 2010
You might ask this on Talk about LibraryThing - it's not directly related to the CueCat and not many people read this group. I'll be interested to see if you get any answers...

jjmcgaffey: Another sleepy kitty!

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 23:36:49 -0500

februari 2010
Did you declaw it yourself? You might unscrew it and make sure all the bits in the nose are in their proper places. There's a (very small) mirror and lens in there, and if they get misaligned sometimes the wakeup doesn't work (and sometimes it won't scan at all).

WholeHouseLibrary: How long to get CueCat?

Wed, 03 Feb 2010 14:30:38 -0500

februari 2010
Usually less than a week.

jjmcgaffey: Cue cat doesn't work with wireless keyboard

Fri, 22 Jan 2010 07:53:24 -0500

januari 2010
Some converters will, but not the ones that are just a plug. They have to be bigger and do more translating. Sorry, I don't know any more details. And - I've tried to use a PS/2 CueCat with a USB keyboard and had a lot of problems - yours may be the same, the computer is 'listening' to the wireless keyboard and ignoring the PS/2 port. Unfortunately I don't have a solution - I just went back to my USB Cat and that worked fine. You may have to get a new one.

jjmcgaffey: Help: Using CueCat to remove inventory?

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 02:27:48 -0500

januari 2010
You can find a book, either in your catalog or from the Search page, by entering the ISBN. So yes, the CueCat can be used for that. The only thing is, on the Add Books page if you get the last five digits (the smaller bar code on the right, which is the price) it's discarded; in either of the Search spots, you'll have to scan carefully to avoid it or delete it if it appears. Oh. Just occurred to me - as far as I know it won't work with an unmodified CueCat. LT has translators that pick up from the Add Books page but I don't believe they look at the Search fields. So you'd have to declaw your Cat to make it work. I find my modified Cat much easier to use (faster, more likely to scan first time) than when it was outputting the scramble, and the declawing was pretty simple - I generally advise people to declaw anyway, it solves a lot of problems.

jjmcgaffey: Can I use Cue Cat to make a book list in Excel?

Sun, 20 Dec 2009 01:06:20 -0500

december 2009
Note that one export, CSV, has many fewer fields in it, but all of those fields are capable of being re-imported back into LT. I use the Tab-Delimited export - it has a lot more fields, and I don't care about re-importing.

jjmcgaffey: Windows

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 04:22:20 -0500

december 2009
Interesting! I've never had to install a driver for a USB Cat - the PS/2 ones need a driver, but not the USB. Interesting that Win7 sees it better with a PS/2 driver. I'll keep this in mind for others who may run into similar problems - thanks for finding the info and passing it on!

vs36: CueCat to ISBN-13 at Add books page

Mon, 21 Sep 2009 17:04:03 -0400

september 2009
Thanks. I worried that the answer would be such. I prefer software manipulations to hardware ones... And I swore :-) that when "no results found" is displayed, the search string displayed is ISBN-10. Probably this function was implemented in time when barcode (encoding ISBN-13) was new and there were ISBN-10 still printed above the barcode and inside and thus cataloged. I have some such books, but it seems to me that now all new books use ISBN-13.

rags309: CueCat and Amazon

Thu, 17 Sep 2009 06:27:54 -0400

september 2009
I took the plunge and de-clawed it myself. Much easier than I expected and works a treat! Thank you.

jjmcgaffey: Does CueCat work with other applications?

Mon, 31 Aug 2009 02:08:21 -0400

augustus 2009
5> The CueCat just reads the numbers. LT accepts an ISBN scan as numbers and searches for it as an ISBN - but it would work exactly the same if you typed in the numbers (that is, the Cat doesn't do anything special). So if you want to enter a unique barcode for each of your copies, you can - as legallypuzzled said, you can put it in a Comments field, or Summary, or anywhere else. If you put it in the ISBN field, you'll mess up your book combining with other editions of the same work (your other copies, and everyone else's books on LT).

timspalding: can't get consistent results when scanning.

Wed, 12 Aug 2009 21:39:58 -0400

augustus 2009
You work part time at BestBuy? Do they have a barcode scanner you could get a deal on?

VineLibrary: Make the CueCat beep when you scan (firefox only)

Sun, 21 Jun 2009 12:05:24 -0400

juni 2009
Hey thanks! It works and I like it! JM

alfredd: The CueCat also works with Linux.

Thu, 04 Jun 2009 00:44:19 -0400

juni 2009
I had a old PS2 (keyboard) CueCat in my junk box and finally decided to put it to use. It works fine with Ubuntu Linux. I thought it would. It seems like the computers recognize barcode scanners as a keyboard so the CueCat should work with an modern computer & OS. Also, my PS2 version was very easy to "declaw" but I couldn't figure-out how to fix the encryption because my version had a big blob of epoxy over the chip that needed to be modified. But, of course, LT understands the encrypted output.

WholeHouseLibrary: delivery cuecat to the netherlands

Sat, 14 Mar 2009 14:06:14 -0400

maart 2009
Contact Abby.