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Rules for doing Jefferson

Legacy Libraries

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Sep 3, 2007, 12:57pm Top

Okay, the leader (jbd1?), who shall henceforth be known as the Bibliothecarius Mortui, needs to come up with rules on doing Jefferson.

I propose:

1. We work off the LOC version. We put a link to LOC page in the comments field.
2. We start a thread where people claim sections.
3. We use only libraries, not Amazon.
4. We try to get the exact edition, using the libraries at our disposal. But we don't sprain anything and aren't required to do it manually. If the edition is not exact, we tag it "wrong edition."
5. We put a little more effort into making sure books are connected to the appropriate work.
6. People—or at least the leader—look at Jefferson's classification and tells us how to translate that into tags.
7. We add other tags as appropriate.

Agree, disagree?

Sep 3, 2007, 1:07pm Top

1. The LOC version of Jefferson's library shall be our starting point; the assistance of Digital Sowerby may be useful as a resource as well.
2. I'll start said thread as soon as I finish this post.
3. Agreed entirely - this ought to be library-based for sure.
4. Yes, right edition would be great, but in some cases may prove elusive. Perhaps we can put "wrong edition" in the comments field, though, rather than as a tag?
5. My thinking is that for each entry we ought to try and connect them wherever possible (I suspect we'll have more than a few orphans here, but those that can be connected should be).
6-7. I'll start a tag-ideas thread too; I think TJ's own system is a very good starting point, and we can build as we see fit.

Sep 3, 2007, 1:10pm Top

1. I was thinking we work off the Sowerby. The other version has almost no bibliographic data and indeed is basically Jefferson naming books his way, without much attention to the title. Shouldn't we try?

Sep 3, 2007, 1:17pm Top

Oh, I strongly recommend Sowerby. It's got the LC data in it, so it's *very* easy to catalog using the LC.

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 1:26pm Top

Sowerby has better bibliographic descriptions for sure, but Gilreath/Wilson's list is considered more complete and authoritative. It's totally cool by me if we enter from Sowerby though, I can just do a quick cross-check against the other list.

Edited to say, after looking at it, yes, using Sowerby will certainly make entering things easier!

Sep 3, 2007, 1:36pm Top

For books not lost in the fire, there is an LCCN for the exact volume, right? If that is given to LT, there is no question of a wrong edition. Is there an easy way to segregate those? Like can they all be found via some keyword search in the LOC OPAC?

Sep 3, 2007, 1:42pm Top

I don't see the LCCN—just the LCC.

I just did 18 books and will do some more before going back to work.


1. Adding links to the GIF version is going to be slavery. No way.
2. Getting the right edition is fairly easy. Using the commas between terms and using the *date* is key.
3. The LC is the best source. Here's my breakdown:

18 — Library of Congress
3 — Yale University
2 — University of Chicago
2 — Columbia (CLIO)
1 — Université de Montréal

4. We need a wiki to coordinate this better. Fortunately, we'll have one soon.

Sep 3, 2007, 1:45pm Top

MMcM - Theoretically, yes; the call numbers all include "Jefferson Coll" at the end, but unfortunately I haven't succeeded in completely segregating them from some other titles that seem to sneak in no matter which search I use. There's got to be a way to do it, though. The main search page is here if anyone wants to give it a go.

9ThomasJefferson First Message
Sep 3, 2007, 2:04pm Top

Adding more I have more notes:

1. I'm tagging things as 'combined' if I made an effort to combine them—whether or not it succeeded. It's a separate process from entry, so I do it in batches. I think we should have a convention.
2. I'm combining his Latin and Greek with the top English edition. I think it's time to reconsider that rule anyway, but the point here is to make connections, and Jefferson didn't read the Latin editions because he had an interest in classics per se.

Sep 3, 2007, 2:06pm Top

That was Tim Spalding.

Let's post passwords. We have to trust people. After all, you could go change the Welsh translation of LibraryThing right now. Nobody does. What fun is that?

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 2:22pm Top

I guess I don't mind if we post passwords, but we definitely ought to try and post here as ourselves, or we'll all be posting as ThomasJefferson all the time (and that will get confusing real fast).

As with "wrong edition" &c. I think "combined" ought to go in the notes or comments field rather than be a tag - how do others feel about this? Seeing "combined" in a tag-cloud just doesn't make sense to me. But I'm open to whatever others think.

Edited to remove an extra word.

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 2:24pm Top

I think we need some conventions for manual entry, in particular when no edition of the book can be found in any LT-supported library.

As an experiment, I picked one that looked like it would be trouble from Agriculture:
50. Maupin sur la vigne, 8º

Maupin published a bunch of similar books, but LOC doesn't have them.

Sowerby has a typo in the record number, but does identify a specific title. OCLC finds this at UMD.

What's the best way to record such an investigation? (I'm not signing up for this section, just seeing how hard this is.) I know what I'd do in my library, but I suspect stronger standardization is needed in a group effort.

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 2:35pm Top

Aha, MMcM, the perfect example of the troubles with Sowerby. As you note, there are several potential candidates for "Maupin sur la vigne" in the list of Maupin's works (at least six by my count). Sowerby's picked one, but there's not really any way of knowing (unless it's one of those books that survived the fire) which TJ actually had.

I think in cases like this, cataloging notes should go into the "Notes" field in the record, and/or should be posted about here for assistance. Yes, standardization in how we go about this is going to be very much a necessity.

How do others feel - put things like this in Notes?

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 5:51pm Top

I have put the one-line Gilreath / Wilson entry in the comments for every record I added, prefixed by the Chapter number. This seems simple enough and provides some linkage back even for the ones that aren't complicated in any way.

I also found logging in as Jefferson to lt.fr in another tab made it easier to keep it separate.

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 5:58pm Top

MMcM, an excellent idea - I'm going to add the G/W line to those I have done/will do as well.
And an even more excellent idea logging in on lt.fr, I have been driving myself batty trying to keep things straight!

Sep 3, 2007, 6:03pm Top

I use two browsers. (Indeed, I use them all the time.) Tabs are great, but sometimes you want windows you can flip between quickly.

Sep 3, 2007, 6:34pm Top

I'm a cataloger and don't mind doing manual / original entry work, if there's any that needs to be done. I'm also comfortable cataloging in French, German and Russian (either transliterated or in Cyrillic).

Sep 3, 2007, 6:48pm Top

I have two reasons to avoid manual edits:

1. Keeping this light means it will get done.
2. We're redoing the MARC-parsing routines. So, for example, an author with a name like "from old catalog" will be "going away" soon anyway.

Sep 3, 2007, 7:12pm Top

Six thousand books?! So this Jefferson person was a reader, eh? How many are tagged "TBR"? :)

I'm afraid I don't have any special wisdom to share. I entered the entire library manually (with the exception of a couple entries at the beginning), so the editions are EXACTLY RIGHT. For tags (to begin with) I adopted the classification provided with the list of Kis's books. I intend to tag more extensively, probably using some of the LOC subject headings, where I can find them. Finally, I'll translate the titles in languages other than English and French.

Once this is done, I intend to turn over the "curatorship" of this library to the Kis foundation--I hope they'll be willing to provide cover scans and ISBNs, which are at present all missing.

Tim, thank you kindly for the blog mention.

Er... I can't tell if you have enough people working on this or not. I'd offer my help but I'm going on a vacation shortly--sans teh internets!

Sep 3, 2007, 7:17pm Top

We're gonna miss you...

Sep 3, 2007, 7:28pm Top

I don't mind doing some manual editing to clean up dates and author names and editions (where known). If others don't want to that's fine, but I'll probably clean up the records (it's a librarian-neurosis kind of thing).

This will take some time; it's definitely not going to be a project that we measure in days ... and that's okay.

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 7:30pm Top

I think if we can make this simple, we can get a lot more people involved. I see involvement as the key. For example, I suggest the group description have a little chart of what's claimed and unclaimed and include the URLs.

(penned by my secretary, Tim Spalding)

Edited: Sep 3, 2007, 7:33pm Top

Mr. Jefferson, might I suggest a wiki?

(note: a sentence I never could've imagined before this moment.)

Sep 3, 2007, 7:34pm Top

Oops. Mr. Jefferson is posting again. Spooky. :-)

I have no problem with manual entry or editing. My books aren't quite as old as TJ's, but I have to do it with most of them. :-)

Sep 3, 2007, 8:06pm Top

I've posted the list of chapters on the main group page. I'll add the links as I can, but feel free to do that as well for any sections.

Sep 3, 2007, 8:41pm Top


(Awww... Not as much as I'll miss y'all!)

(P.S. When you see a painted cat--think of me!!)

(P.P.S. How could you not...)

Sep 3, 2007, 11:55pm Top

Everyone who's joined the group now has the password for ThomasJefferson; I think it makes sense to keep it at that, unless others are incredibly strongly otherwise-inclined? I feel like we need to keep at least that level of control over who's able to edit/add/subtract things. Thoughts?

I really am going to bed now, but I'll catch up in the a.m.

Sep 4, 2007, 12:10am Top

Well, as I said, you could go write fuck fuck fuck all over any of LT's translations right now. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I'm afraid that 16-year-old vandals are positively repelled by the idea of spending time thinking about Jefferson...

Sep 4, 2007, 7:55am Top

But - correct me if I'm wrong here - you also can track who's making changes to translations, no? We would not have that ability in this case, since the person would be using the TJ username. I just don't see why limiting the passcode to (all of the) members of the group is so horrible; it doesn't make sense to me that any random person/non-LT member who stumbles across this project from a blog or anywhere else should be able to sign in and make changes to it ... if they want to help, great, they can join the group and have at it.

Sep 4, 2007, 8:32pm Top

I would be happy to join the effort. If 'Astronomy' is not yet taken, I'd be happy to enter those. And if I'm reading the LOC list correctly, there only about 3 dozen titles in that category. I'll take 'Natural Philosphy' as well. Just let me know what I need to start.

BTW: I've been benjfrank for a long time. If you ever decide to do do benjaminfranklin after Jefferson and Adams, count me in on that, too!

Sep 4, 2007, 10:10pm Top

>30 benjfrank: - Great! Glad to have you on board! I'll add your name to the list of claimed subjects.

Franklin's library would be delightful to do, but I'm not sure there's a list of his books - do you know of one?

Sep 5, 2007, 12:28pm Top

I've finished ecclesiastical history, and have gone back through and manually edited for those "wrong editions" that were in OCLC - a few of those still remain but I whittled it down to a few.

We're making great progress!

Sep 5, 2007, 12:33pm Top

Read a certain way, the title of this thread can be quite amusing.

Sep 10, 2007, 12:34pm Top

The claimed-and-unclaimed list would work great on the new WikiThing wiki, don't you think?

Sep 10, 2007, 2:06pm Top

The wiki looks great, and I'm sure it will be useful, but it seems like it makes a bit more sense at this point to keep the TJ list on the main group page, where people are used to seeing it (and where it was put on your recommendation, if I remember correctly). Otherwise we'd either have to route people from the main group page to the wiki or update the list twice, which seems redundant. The ball's rolling well on this project, I think we ought to keep our focus on the books and make the library content as good as we can.

Sep 10, 2007, 2:22pm Top

Fair enough. I was thinking it would be easier for you than dealing with a big blob of HTML.

Sep 10, 2007, 2:24pm Top

But the big blob of html and I have gotten to be such close friends!

Sep 10, 2007, 3:13pm Top

jbd1: you should acquire "A Boy and his Blob".

Sep 11, 2007, 7:22am Top

Tim et. al - Could someone take a peek at Anacreon Teius, poeta lyricus, summa cura & diligentia, ad fidem etiam vet.ms. vatican. emendatus Item Anacreontis in TJ's catalog? rsterling pointed out to me that it's auto-combining with Montaigne's Essays for some reason, but it's not on the works page to be separated out ...

Sep 11, 2007, 7:54am Top

Interesting. If you search for the work, you find:
Anacreon Teius, poeta lyricus, summa cura & diligentia, ad fidem etiam vet.ms. vatican. emendatus Item Anacreontis vita by Anacreon (861 copies) — matched on Michel de Montaigne - The Complete Essays (Penguin Classics)

Never seen a notice like that before. Is this one of the cases in which LT insists upon combining 2 different books because of binary code or something?

Edited: Sep 11, 2007, 8:01am Top

Yeah I've never seen anything quite like this one before either ... but at least that search result explains what's happening, if not why :-).

Sep 11, 2007, 8:11am Top

I have a book that I entered back in 2006 that combines with a book with a totally different title and author. In that case, it was something to do with the way LT reads the info. No cure yet, as far as I know. There are a few of those combos kicking around.

I got mine sorted out by making a small change to my title. If you leave spaces, or change punctuation, it may work.

Sep 11, 2007, 9:27am Top

Re: Anacreon Teius -- thanks, jbd1, I was going to point that out myself. I couldn't figure it out either: I was the one who entered it, and when I searched for it, LT pulled up Anacreon just fine. Even weirder, it seems to be only that edition (1721) that LT confuses with Montaigne -- no matter what library the record comes from.

I'll try tweaking the title a bit. I could always re-enter it using another edition and add a "wrong edition" note, if that doesn't work.

Sep 11, 2007, 11:11am Top

How very odd. Let's leave it as the right edition (I'd rather it combine funny than be the wrong data) but hopefully we can somehow force-disconnect it from the Montaigne.

Sep 11, 2007, 12:58pm Top

44: Talk to Tim.

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