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Common Knowledge, WikiThing, HelpThing

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Oct 10, 2007, 7:37am Top

Works should have a contents field particularly for collections and anthologies. The book description field is inadequate for this, particularly as it seems to remove line breaks.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:00am Top

Nix on that. We're not adding fields we can get out of the MARC and ONIX data. We need to mine what we have there, and only then let users add to it. Also, works often cluster across minor diferences in essays (eg., first edition, second, etc.), so it would have to be an edition-level thing.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 8:08am Top

I'll repost from the blog and expand:

Series information? (work)
Blurbers? (edition)
Cover designers? (edition)
Books about an author? (work)
Tag notes? (tag)
Other classification schemes? (work)
Text font (edition)
Grave site (author)
Publicists? (author)

New page types required
Book fairs?

Oct 10, 2007, 8:08am Top

Do you think there should be a separate field for place of birth? Or should that just be included in the "places of residence" field?

Oct 10, 2007, 8:14am Top

In my first two minutes of playing with it:

Maybe separate but related fields for Award and Year won? So that clicking on an Award could bring up the list of winner by year? Or maybe that's possible from the current data structure?

I'm sure I'll find more as I play with it. I'm not going to get any work done today, darn it.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:21am Top

No, we're just not showing the year info. Basically, every field has the data and the stuff in the parenthesis. The parenthesis don't get included in the link, so that Yale (1943) and Yale (1954) go to the same page. But they should be on the Yale page.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:32am Top

Should "organizations" include where an author works? None of the examples are work-y, so I'm finding it hard to tell. For academic authors, we get space to show where they went to school, but not to show where they teach - this seems important, but should it have a new field or should we use organizations?

Oct 10, 2007, 8:42am Top

Yeah, I agree. I'm finding "organizations" hard. Suggest alternatives that are general? Maybe I'm wrong but having a field for "places they've taught" is too specific.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:46am Top

I did put the Yankees as an organization on the mickey mantle author page. I'm crazy that way.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:48am Top

Mickey Mantle is my favorite page.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:53am Top

I really would like to have a Work field for Wikipedia page (of that work). Many important classical works have their own page in Wikipedia.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:12am Top

What about an editor field on the author page where we could list the publications or works they've edited?

I'd find it really useful in identifying which works on the page they wrote vs which they edited. *Shrug* if that risks being too unwieldy eg Jim Baen, Robert Silverbeg etc, instead can we have a field on the works page to indicate if it's written by an author or created* by an editor?

edited to add: Look I know most works on LT have an editor involved in the work. I was meaning more the many anthologies, short story collections, periodicals etc where many people (me included) have have put the name of the editor in their author field, with (ed) in the name. Both these author names are combined (which I agree with), but the main name that wins out on the work page often doesn't give that (ed) clue any more for that work.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:05am Top

#6: Please add some kind of explanation text for this somewhere (maybe as part of the field names). It's not intuitive that dates should go inside parentheses.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:11am Top

I would think that fields for:
Works Cited (other books this one cites)
Places Cited (other books that cite this one)
Prices(a field for list price, a field for lowest price someone purchased it for and the highest price someone paid)

Particularly the first two could be fun and useful in a sort of Kevin Bacon like way.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:16am Top

I would say not series -- unless you also still add a proper Series field to the work. The main thing that I would want a series field for is for sorting my catalog. (Well, ok, just recording it is a close second, but recording it without being able to sort on it would be very disappointing.)

Oct 10, 2007, 9:17am Top

Is it too tacky to ask for a Dead or Alive field for authors? I actually checked on a few authors in my library on Wikipedia last week to see if they were still among us.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:27am Top

Series information is in MARC - field 440 or 490.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:29am Top

I want to second the request for a "current institution" or some such field where we can indicate an author's current residence as faculty. I realize that this won't be a necessary field for all authors, but do all the fields have to be filled in for every author? Isn't the point to collect relevant information, period? The information about where a person is currently a member of faculty is going to be relevant for about 50% of my books, and I'd guess the same is true for most LT users who are in academia.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:35am Top

>14 kurtabeard:

I feel the works fields required differ for fiction and non-fiction. Those provided at present are generally more suitable to fiction while citation information is more suited to non fiction.

> 16
Those without a date of death are probably alive. Those with one are definitely not.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:34am Top

> 19

I had the same thought, though I haven't thought enough (hey, I'm still on my first cup of tea this morning!) to come up with ideas for non-fiction.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:37am Top

>16 VisibleGhost: Isn't dead/alive covered by the "Date of Death" field? I don't think exact date has to be known; it looks like year (or even something less specific?) will suffice.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:42am Top

I do think it would be nice to have place of birth and/or place of death.

What do you think about having a field next to a book title to indicate where it was on the (NYT) bestseller listing?

Oct 10, 2007, 9:45am Top

>22 VictoriaPL: line 2
Would that be an "Award and Honour" like a Blue Peter Badge!

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:50am Top

I would like to be the first to clamor for an author page nationality field.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:50am Top

Series would be nice, as long as you allow a book to be in more than one series.

A place for cover artists (designer too, maybe, but personally I'm more interested in the artist) would be wonderful. I've thought about putting mine in tags (now they're in comments) just so I can see them all together, but this would be even better. Especially if there was some way to view only the books in my library.

I don't know if the Common Knowledge is the best place for it, but I'd also like somewhere to put the people who write introductions and such. That would probably also have to be on the edition. Except when it wouldn't, of course ;)

Oct 10, 2007, 9:55am Top

For non-fiction, it would be incredible to be able to list all the books cited (Amazon has a feature like this, no?) A lot of work, but I'm salivating just thinking about what you could do with that kind of data...

Oct 10, 2007, 9:59am Top

>26 kelsey: *hands kelsey a drool rag*

*keeps one for herself*

Can you tell I like the idea? REALLY REALLY like the idea? I LOOOOVE reading book lists in books I love.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:00am Top

And a field for other books that cite it.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 10:17am Top

8: I don't have a problem with the word "organizations" for places of work. It might sound slightly businessy, but people do talk about their organization to mean their company or institution or whatever.

"Current institution" as suggested in 18 is okay, but I wouldn't necessarily want to limit it to current. I'm thinking you could get some really interesting info here with who was on the faculty at such-and-such U while someone else was a student there, stuff like that.

ETA: What I meant to say in the first paragraph is that I think it's okay if the field is called "organization" but in the little examples for it you added something that was clearly a workplace, like a university or even a company (Bill Gates writes books, right, and Microsoft is his organization). (No, the US Senate does not count as clearly a workplace.)

Oct 10, 2007, 10:16am Top

23 ringman

I wasn't sure if the NYT bestseller list counted as an award. I also like the idea of it being up next to the book title.

I like the idea of a cover artist spot too.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:24am Top

'Organizations' is fine I think. How about 'affiliations'?

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 10:27am Top

How about time periods covered?

I can see wanting to look up books that take place in (or discuss, for non-fiction) the 1930s just as easily as I'd want to look up books that take place in London.

On another note... are there plans to make the field pages (i.e. what you get if you click on one of the fields) subdivided, sortable and/or searchable? This has only been up and running for less than a day and some field content pages (i.e. London) are already getting unwieldy.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:43am Top

cover artist is tricky even at edition level as the cover is often changed without changing the ISBN. It would be better if there was some way of attaching the artist/photographer (and posibly the designer) to the cover image itself.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:50am Top

28: it could be automatically generated! maybe some sort of touchstone syntax could be used...

Oct 10, 2007, 11:20am Top

Another interesting author field would be occupations.

For example Brian Jacques has had several occupations.

Railway Fireman,
Long-distance Truck Driver
Bus Driver
Bobby (Police Constable 216D)
Stand-up Comic

I'd love to see all the authors who were at one time boxers. :-)

Oct 10, 2007, 11:22am Top

What about connections? For instance, Stephen King and Tabitha King who are married. Or J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis who were in the Inklings together.

Oct 10, 2007, 11:37am Top

yes, i was thinking about connections too. it could be a touchstone setup, where you use some sort of touchstone system to select the other author, and then fill in how they are connected. you could make neat graphs! i have a feeling, though, that this would take a LOT of work.

i would like a field for magazines/journals that an author has published in.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 12:02pm Top

>4 KromesTomes: Do you think there should be a separate field for place of birth? Or should that just be included in the "places of residence" field?

I think it should be a separate field. You can be born (or die) in a place where you've never resided. I know several people that lived in small towns or on farms all their lives but were born (or died) in a hospital in a nearby city.

Oct 10, 2007, 12:29pm Top

>33 ringman:, oh, true about the different covers... I hadn't thought of that. Yes, adding info to the cover image would be nice.

Oct 10, 2007, 12:31pm Top

#3 > Series information? (work)

I would love a way to track series information for a work (other than by tags).

When the WikiThing first came out, someone (Tim maybe?) suggested that we wait for the community knowledge fields to be available rather than adding series information to the wiki.

Oct 10, 2007, 12:55pm Top

What about prefered name? Or 'nickname' (if you must). I know there are the common ones like Liz for Elizabeth, etc. But there are others like C.S. Lewis who went by Jack...

Oct 10, 2007, 1:42pm Top

I know I like things more structured than Tim, so probably these end up in other, more general, fields. But anyway.

* Original title in original language.
It may not be in LibraryThing.

* For authors who were scholars, famous students.
Luke Trevigar (full touchstone doesn't work) was Horace Walpole's (full touchstone doesn't work) maths tutor at Cambridge.

* For works, people that they inspired in significant ways.
Soul of the Far East persuaded Lafcadio Hearn to go to Japan.

Oct 10, 2007, 2:03pm Top

Publisher's editor is really more of an edition-specific field, than a work-specific field.

Oct 10, 2007, 2:59pm Top

Do people think it would be too contentious to have a "fiction/nonfiction/other" radio button on work pages?

Oct 10, 2007, 3:04pm Top

My wife actually came up with the idea of previous occupations for an author before we went live. We just haven't given it the proper amount of thought yet. But it sounds promising. Just the kind of borderline crazy yet interesting information that CK was born to do.

Cover artist/designer is something that is very near and dear to me so it will come into play eventually. Probably at the edition level. Remember that there can be multiple values for some things, so there could be multiple artists for a single edition/ISBN.

Oct 10, 2007, 3:31pm Top

I like the idea of a radio button for fiction/non-fiction.

Oct 10, 2007, 3:35pm Top

>44 nperrin:

How many times per day would the fiction/nonfiction setting be changed for various religious and holy texts, I wonder.

Oct 10, 2007, 3:55pm Top

Well I've mentioned that in the past. But they could be "other"...

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 4:17pm Top

>44 nperrin: Plus, how does one categorize poetry, essays, memoirs, graphic novels depicting historical events, etc.? Standard library cataloging puts poetry into non-fiction, so I could see the poetry setting being changed constantly.

For a discussion of how poetry, essays and other forms can be categorized, visit the Art is Life group topic, Poetry as non-fiction.

Edited to fix link.

Oct 10, 2007, 4:23pm Top

47, 49: I already know many reasons why it could be contentious, that's why I asked if people thought it would. A frequently complained-of issue is that the suggester doesn't properly sort through fiction and nonfiction, and people have discussed ways of specifying before. Seems like if that's something we want to do, common knowledge is a good tool for it.

Oct 10, 2007, 4:36pm Top

>50 nperrin: Actually, I think it would be a good idea for Common Knowledge, although I think there should either be more categories or it should be an open field (although that could be problematic, too). If there are only three categories - fiction, non-fiction and other - then I think it will be contentious.

Oct 10, 2007, 4:55pm Top

51: Yeah, I thought about an open field too, but it seems like you would get too many nonstandard answers to make it worthwhile. It would be good if we could narrow down to something like half a dozen categories. Actually, thinking about it more, that would be sort of neat - you could have one for "sacred text" or something, I think you could get some cool information that way.

Oct 10, 2007, 4:56pm Top

How 'bout a field for authors who have already been contacted regarding permission for author photos. So we don't duplicate on those who refuse. Shel Silverstein, in particular, comes to mind. I'm not sure what you would call it.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:00pm Top

Not exactly a field suggestion:

It would be nice if there were a way to handle inappropriate fields. For instance "characters" for nonfiction works.

From the user perspective, maybe clicking a little red "x" or the flag method. This could "hide" a field, to be shown under a "show all" option. Probably a "unhide" flag/toggle would also be needed.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:01pm Top

What about fields for short story titles within works? Currently I use the comments field to list the contents of anthologies, but having that info on the CK page seems like a natural fit.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:05pm Top

People mentioned in non-fiction books should be included in the "Characters" section. It's more a problem of proper labeling than of changing the underlying data.

By the way, we don't presume that the labels we have started with are set in stone.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:19pm Top

Reposting from the other thread:

I'd like to see more options for non-fiction and older books (e.g. fields like, I dunno, key concepts used/discussed, historical events discussed, etc.) - and on that note it would be good to relabel "characters" then to something that works across F and NF.

Other field suggestions:
-Table of contents
-Contributing authors (though this might need a different kind of database solution - I'm thinking of something that would deal with edited volumes with chapters by different authors, but where the data would link back to the author pages)
-Links to online, full-text versions of the work (e.g. to Project Gutenberg, etc.)

Oct 10, 2007, 5:25pm Top

57: Links to other online references are handled in the links section for a work. Links need to have special handling. I can't remember if the links section has been transitioned over to the new works yet, but if it hasn't then it will soon.

Table of contents is a strange one. It requires a sense of order and CK currently does that, but it isn't shown to the user as such. I'm not sure about TOC, but it's something to think about. This might be an edition-based item also, since TOCs can change between editions.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:55pm Top

would radio buttons for in print/out of print work? Or is it too edition-specific?

Oct 10, 2007, 5:59pm Top

For books in exotic languages or translated from exotic languages:

Author's name in native script
Title in native script
Original title (of translated works) in native script
Romaji/Pinyin for Japanese/Chinese author name, title, original title

Oct 10, 2007, 6:47pm Top

How about titles of movies adapted from the work?

Oct 10, 2007, 6:48pm Top

> 56

I was going to say, non-fiction books often have so many "characters" that the list would be endless (thinking of something like John Julius Norwich*'s History of Venice, but then I thought about War and Peace and realized the same could be said of some fiction.

So I withdraw the comment.

*Why are author touchstones being so touchy lately??

Oct 10, 2007, 7:55pm Top

I'm sorry if this has been mentioned already, or (even worse) if it's already available somewhere in CK and I haven't seen it yet: Original publication date of the work.

It seems like much (all?) of LT is geared toward the year an *edition* was published, but whether you have a copy of Pride and Prejudice that came out a few years ago with the most recent movie version, a paperback from 1975, or a fine binding copy that was published in 1925, they're all still the same *work* that was first published in the early 1800s. I don't know the exact year off the top of my head - maybe somewhere around 1814? A-ha, once I verify the year, I can enter it in Common Knowledge!

(I'm supposed to put away the laundry and then walk on the treadmill, but I'm truly seriously GIDDY thinking of how much FUN this feature is, & it's hard to get off the computer! Chris & all, you really have done a marvelous thing. Glee!)

Oct 10, 2007, 8:07pm Top

Oh, yes, original publication date, that's a fantastic idea!

(Aside: this is inifinitely cooler than I thought it would be when it was called the 'fwiki', which I had wrongly envisioned as a separate thing rather than an integral part of the work and author pages. Yay LT!)

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:40pm Top

I'd love a section for an author's employment history. Many authors are also professors, journalists, doctors, etc. "Organizations" doesn't seem to capture this.

Oh, I also might like a section for nationality on the author pages...though I guess that might get complicated and maybe controversial...

Oct 10, 2007, 9:51pm Top

fannyprice: See messages 35 and 24. For the nationality, past and present nationalities could be listed.

For example, Arthur C. Clarke holds a U.K. passport and a Sri Lanka passport.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:03pm Top

Oops, sorry, I tried to check the thread and not ask for anything that had been requested already. Guess I screwed up.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 10:10pm Top

I'm not sure how this could be done, but I'd love to see a way to show different author connections.

For example, Israel Scheffler is Samuel Scheffler's father, and George Sher and Emily Fox Gordon are married, etc.

edited to try and fix touchstone. Still not working :(

Oct 10, 2007, 10:11pm Top

fannyprice: No, no. It's good that you mentioned them again. I just wanted you to see that I was thinking your way also. You know, great minds think alike. :-)

Oct 10, 2007, 10:55pm Top

Thanks for the great work! This is fantastic. It's bound to be a fine source. And I especially appreciate the way you have interacted with us as users and asked for our input.

Yes, from here too--On the detail page: Books cited, Books citing this book
Links to other webpages about book (publisher descriptions, author's supplements, reading guides, etc.)

On the author pages:
Links to related persons would add to the content--People have mentioned authors who are married, working relationships. Adding biographers, followers, even critics to the listing could help research. What about a link to an authority file for the author in a library database-say LOC authorities?

Will the Links that have already been created be moved into Common Knowledge?

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 11:05pm Top

I'd like to see nationality as well. That's one of the things I usually am most interested in about authors of world literature.

Is there anything you can do to the fields so that we could scroll entries up or down within each field? I'd like to see the entries be arrangeable into chronological order.

Oct 10, 2007, 11:08pm Top

The links system will probably not (never say never) be incorporated into the CK system. Links should be handled differently and the links system works well for them. The two systems will stay apart for the short term.

Squeaky, what do you mean in your question? I'm not understanding what you are trying to do. Sorry. The items within a field are stored with an order. So, yes, we can do a kind of manual sorting mechanism later on, if that's what you meant.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 11:21pm Top

--> 72

Say you list three places of residence for an author. Later you find out that the author first lived in place A, then B, then C...but you initially listed the order as C, then B, then A. I'd like to move entries up or down within each field to correct the chronology.

Oct 10, 2007, 11:26pm Top

Some thoughts on field suggestions, up to message 56. (I'm writing this on a plane from an old window.)

many: Series

This is a tough one. The MARC fields do have it, but not always very well. MARC isn't a relational model--relationships are catch-as-catch-can. Before we go decide this, I need to talk to Casey about this, and have him run some tests on the data.

11: hnn "I really would like to have a Work field for Wikipedia page..."

We're not going to use this for web links, at least not yet. Links are at least a two-field field--URL and description. At present, Common Knowledge is a one-field thing. Also, we have some link code, used on authors. We need to move it.

12: ryn_books "What about an editor field on the author page where we could list the publications or works they've edited?

I think that gets into deep author issues. What we want is for book-level control of multiple authors and rolls. I think adding that on the work level is a recipe for disaster. After all, editions that are socially similar--the LibraryThing test--can have different editors. For example, very similar editions of college textbooks often play musical chairs with editors.

kurtabeard and others: Works cited

Interesting, but where do you stop? It seems that Google can do this well. LibraryThing? I don't know.

I would, however, be in favor of a more specific "about this" section, so that a critical study of the Divine Commedy can be linked to that work, or a study of Lovecraft's influence on Gaiman can get linked.

It's going to be a little complex, because we'll need a touchstone-like entry field. We can't do that as free text. It needs to link up with other works.

Assuming that others like this idea, what's the field name?

kurtabear: Prices

No; I'm not into this one. All kinds of reasons here.

birth and/or place of death

I think the answer here is to put something like this in the locations fields:

Birmingham, AL (death)

I want to press for where someone is buried. Maybe I'm alone. I'm looking forward to doing a dragnet through Cambridge's Mt. Auburn cemetary.


This is probably okay, but I see fights coming. When I was in Bodrum, Turkey, there were boat trips from Cos. Apparently, when they arrived, the Greek tour operators would yield to the Turkish ones, and as they stepped off the boat the Turkish operator would state loudly, "Welcome to Bodrum, home of the great Turkish historian Herodotus!"

I think we have a rule like "when in doubt, more." So, if there was a case to be made, you can't remove something like this. But you can add more.

30: VictoriaPL: not sure "NYT bestseller list counted as an award"

We need a better term then, because we certanly want those.

32: fyrefly98: "How about time periods covered?"

I like this. It overlaps somewhat with LCSH subjects, but still, I like it. What's the title of this field?

36: VictoriaPL: "What about connection ... married ... Inklings

I think Inklings can go under organizations. (Rename "organizations and associations"?) As for spouses, we could certainly add something for relationships of all kind. I picture:

Tabitha King (wife)
So-and-so (lover)
So-and-so (professor) — MMcM raised this too.

The parenthesis will have to carry a lot of weight. But I'd love to see all the connections for, say, Anais Nin. The trick, however, would be linking to author pages, agents, etc. Maybe we should avoid linking to LibraryThing users. My affair with Eudora Welty must never become known.

44: nperrin, "Do people think it would be too contentious to have a "fiction/nonfiction/other" radio button on work pages?"

LibraryThing could pre-populate it with its guesses, which are okay when they're up to date. But ultimately, I want a percentage for this. How fiction is it? Dunno. Torn.

fleela: How many times per day would the fiction/nonfiction setting be changed for various religious and holy texts, I wonder.

Blech, good point.

Talbin: Standard library cataloging puts poetry into non-fiction

Okay, the Theriaka, the Hellenistic poison antidote poem is non-fiction. Novels in verse? fiction. Grumble.

Okay, I'm torn again.

53: VictoriaPL. "How 'bout a field for authors who have already been contacted regarding permission for author photos. So we don't duplicate on those who refuse. Shel Silverstein, in particular, comes to mind. I'm not sure what you would call it."

Good point. I'm torn. It would be a good idea, but I also hold out hope that if they get a letter every month they're eventually going to cave!

It would be nice if there were a way to handle inappropriate fields. For instance "characters" for nonfiction works.

We need a better name, then. The hint text tried to point that that was okay--one was "Andrew Jackson." I want to see that Byron appears in this history of the Greek Revolution AND in the Anubis Gates.

Oct 10, 2007, 11:28pm Top

Wow. I need to read messages 56-73. Not now. Sleeping is necessary.

Oct 11, 2007, 12:01am Top

This is possible with the underlying data. We are already storing ordered data. I'll just have to make some adjustments on the presentation and UI side (non-trivial adjustments, to be sure).

Oct 11, 2007, 12:05am Top

--> 76

Thanks, Chris!

Oct 11, 2007, 12:30am Top

>74 timspalding: critical study of the Divine Comedy can be linked to that work

Likewise link writer biographies to author pages.

Edited: Oct 11, 2007, 1:02am Top

>74 timspalding: kurtabeard and others: Works cited ...more specific "about this" section...
what's the field name?

Related works

What about a Links section for works pages, as already done on author pages? Could link to TOC in LOC, publisher descriptions, reading group guides, open access scholarly journal articles, etc.

Oct 11, 2007, 1:00am Top

another vote for a field with the short stories making up an anthology. My true wish is then to be able to tag those short stories as individual works....

Oct 11, 2007, 1:01am Top

> 79

Related works

Not sure that's specific enough. Assuming all of this stuff gets cross-linked, etc, we probably want to keep "books/authors this book talks about" separate from "books/authors that talk about this book" - whatever we decide to call the fields.

Oct 11, 2007, 1:10am Top

>80 Diabolical_DrZ:

good, fine distinction.

Oct 11, 2007, 1:10am Top

81, et.al.:
I'd like to see only ONE of those fields. The idea is great but you really only want to have data pointing in one direction and let the other direction be implied from the aggregate data coming in.

So... "Authors/Works mentioned" for a work is probably the better one because it deals with information actually in that particular work.

Then we can use all of that data from other works to create a list of items that mention a particular work or author.

We'll need to have touchstones working in some capacity with Common Knowledge for this to work correctly though.

Oct 11, 2007, 7:17am Top

New work field idea - I'd like to know which books of mine were adapted* into plays, TV or movies - and what those plays, movies etc were called.
Can we add field/s for that?

Yep - I know this won't work with the works which already are DVDs or movies. Nor with some books of mine which are playscripts already.

*"Adapted", not the best word but the best I can think of for now.
But it doesn't work with other books of mine that are novelisations from movies or tv.
sigh... I'd still like to see fields like this though, especially as the editor idea will be some time off :-) (msg 74)

Oct 11, 2007, 7:47am Top

Is LT ever going handle anthologies? I mean will there be a place for story/novel/work titles and corresponding authors within the larger work?

Message 2 sounded like a no to me, but really seemed to address editions rather than anthologies.

Oct 11, 2007, 7:59am Top

It's possible I missed this, but I think we should have a field for authors' birth names ... I'm thinking it would be valuable for both writers like Mark Twain and Joseph Conrad.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:07am Top

another vote for a field with the short stories making up an anthology. My true wish is then to be able to tag those short stories as individual works....

Maybe the LT Members' description could house this data. I would like it, too.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:10am Top

32: fyrefly98: "How about time periods covered?"

I like this. It overlaps somewhat with LCSH subjects, but still, I like it. What's the title of this field?

I'm no good at naming. In my brain it's another facet of "Setting", but then I read mostly fiction. In trying to make it applicable to both, "Time Periods Covered" was the best I could come up with. :)

A little help, please?

Oct 11, 2007, 8:15am Top

>88 fyrefly98:

Depends what you're looking for - dates or things like, um, Regency or Ancient Rome or Middle Ages or whatever.

If it's the latter maybe "Era"? If it's the former, well I'm equally blank.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:33am Top

I may be confused about how to enter information but I would find it useful to have more fields in the education section. I've entered information as institution (degree, program, year). It would be nice to have a field for each of these so I can check to see what other authors have PHD not just who went to Princeton or I can see who graduated in 1992.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:49am Top

Can we have a work disambiguation field - see http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=2233# for an example when this would be very helpful. Of course it could appear as a comment in the description section, but maybe as it's "trivial" a seperate field near the top of the work would be good.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:54am Top

Perhaps a field for military service?

Oct 11, 2007, 9:30am Top

Well a careers field was semi-promised, which would allow one to enter military service.

Oct 11, 2007, 10:13am Top

> 14 etc.:
Even more useful than Works Cited, in my opinion, would be something to describe the format of citations. Books that just have a bit of "suggested reading" are obviously of little use for research compared to books with proper citations and bibliography. And I personally find it annoying when a book has footnotes but no bibliography, since hunting down the full citation requires lengthy searching.

Edited: Dec 4, 2008, 8:06am Top

24 – And I’ll second that. (Oh, ~71~, I’ll third that, then.) I was just playing with the author, E. Pauline Johnson, who has an interesting history as a Mohawk Indian, but there is no place in which to note that. She brought me to the conclusion that a field for a brief genealogy might be interesting, too.

eta: countrylife.key CK

Oct 11, 2007, 11:51am Top

I think a field for the retail price would be a great addition. I'd like to be able to calculate the value of my collection, or when books are out of print their increase in value, etc. The field could be manual or draw from Amazon, etc.

Oct 11, 2007, 11:54am Top

Retail price wouldn't work, as these fields aren't attached to individual books, but to the work. Different people could enter multiple retail price records, but there would be no indication which applied to your copy.

Oct 11, 2007, 11:57am Top

countrylife: the genealogy field would also allow for inputting marriage info ...

Oct 11, 2007, 12:27pm Top

Not a "field suggestion" per se but I thought this might be the best place for this?

Is it possible to add the same information to multiple books at the same time (in the same way we can add tags to lots of books as we add the books by putting those tags in the box on the "add books" page). This would be ideal for series that feature the same characters book after book. It's pretty time-consuming to go into each book individual.

Just wondering! I'm having fun putting character names and places into some of my favorite books!

Oct 11, 2007, 12:50pm Top

Just to add another vote, I really want original publication date too.

Oct 11, 2007, 12:55pm Top

I second original publication date

Oct 11, 2007, 1:26pm Top

#64, 100, 101 - THANK YOU!!

I'm a bit fixated on original publication date because I arrange my "fiction & literature" books (the largest part of my collection) chronologically. As users enter more dates, even authors' birth and death dates, that will be a great help to me to finally "nail down" the order of my books, but having the original year published would be SO GREAT.

Edited: Oct 11, 2007, 1:40pm Top

Never mind ...

Oct 11, 2007, 3:53pm Top

original publication date would be great (as i've argued before) although i'm not sure that CK is the right place for it -- would we be able to sort by it in CK? Also, it's not the kind of thing that needs many fields or many changes and refinements, so wiki-ness seems a bit wasted on it. I still prefer having it be a basic field in the edition/work.

Oct 11, 2007, 4:23pm Top

I would love to see a (large) field on works pages for quotes from that work, currently I'm entering all my quotes into the comments section, but that gets unwieldy.

Oct 11, 2007, 4:23pm Top

>104 lquilter: lquilter

I want to be sure I understand what you mean. When you say, "I still prefer having it be a basic field in the edition/work," do you mean that instead of in the Common Knowledge area, it would be on the "Details" page, maybe added to the "About the work" section? Here's an example:


It's The Bell Jar, I'm sorry I haven't gotten the hang of making the links active!

Edited: Oct 11, 2007, 5:29pm Top

#106 HeathMochaFrost
Exactly - "original publication date" should be in details, just as "original publication language" is currently. (Original publication date is certainly right up there with original language as an important basic fact about a work, wouldn't you agree?) ...

I personally think it could provide a stabilizing feature for the "works" page, helping to resolve interminable combiner disputes and anxiety about "the annotated x" versus the original x versus the original + significantly revised x. But if the Powers That Be deem it to be just too specific then it could be an edition-specific detail.


Edited: Oct 11, 2007, 6:48pm Top

Not exactly a suggestion for adding a new field... Can something be done to bring up subject headings that are available in the linked MARC record, but which don't show up on the detail screen? Some of the subject headings contain information that we could rely on for linking related works, but since the existing information can't be seen from that screen, someone will probably enter again. I'm thinking of subject headings for Arthur, King, etc. The lack of subject headings from a record can be seen in A Summa of the Summa (Touchstone not working).

Oct 11, 2007, 6:49pm Top

107 laura
Hmmm... I've only been on LT a few months, and haven't followed combiner discussions, but when you mention "original + significantly revised x," that reminds me of Leaves of Grass - didn't Whitman publish, revise & expand & publish again, and then AGAIN, etc.? I have one called "The Deathbed Edition," I think. I could see where those situations would be troublesome for combiners, and more difficult to say "original publication date."

But darn, I want the field so very much! I could see it in Common Knowledge, but I think I like your idea of having it in the Details section of the Work page even more. I just wish it could be SOMEWHERE - and yes, if we could sort on it, even better. Thanks for helping me think this through. :-)

Edited: Oct 11, 2007, 7:43pm Top

#109 - There will definitely be problem cases. Leaves of Grass is one; Frankenstein is another (it was originally published in 1809 and significantly revised in 1831). And many long-standing nonfiction works undergo multiple revisions.

But the vast majority of works of fiction have a single, obvious, first publication date, and I believe that most stand-alone nonfiction monographs do as well. The problem cases perhaps suggest they should be different works, which is what I meant when I said it could maybe help sort out those kinds of issues. Or maybe it would complicate them. Whatever, those are the troublesome works, and we deal with that kind of troublesomeness in other areas too. (Authors, languages, etc.)

IMO it would be really useful for 90% + of the works in LT.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:57pm Top

For a long time I've wanted not just original publication date but also:

Original publication date in the original language.

Original publication date of the first translation into English (etc).

Original publication date of this English (etc) translation.

Publication date of the first printing of this edition.

Date of this printing of this edition.

But the most important for me are true original vs english translation original vs my copy. The first two belong to the work, the last to the book. But to do it properly really might need the "edition" concept mentioned recently and long overdue.

Oct 12, 2007, 7:46am Top

How about a biography field for authors for facts that don't fit into the other fields?

Oct 12, 2007, 8:37am Top

Good one. We're going to grab bios from ONIX data soon. But, after we do, an LT one wouldn't go amiss.

Oct 12, 2007, 9:49am Top

Regarding series data...

Would it be possible to have two "series" fields-- one for those who prefer 'story order' and one for those who prefer 'written order by date'?

Oct 12, 2007, 12:46pm Top

32, 88 > "Time Periods Covered". Please, please, please could we have this? I'd like it to be by years, rather than descriptive, and ideally "Time Period Start" and "Time Period End" would be separate fields.

This would eventually allow the possibility of all sorts of sophisticated stuff: "Find me all books set in Egypt between 1780 and 1850" (as an example off the top of my head!)

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 12:55pm Top

115: "...years, rather than descriptive"

I would say that the would have to be by convention and support both. Non-fiction would go by years certainly, but fiction (sf&f for example) may not be able.

A begin and end field would be good.

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 12:58pm Top

--> 116

Perhaps an option called "future" if no particular time period is specified?

Oct 12, 2007, 1:00pm Top

Not to mention many ancient texts which would deal with time periods covered like:
Early Bronze II to Late Bronze III

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 1:10pm Top

Well, Frank Herbert's Dune series comes to mind. His books and his son Brian Herbert's all occur in a future 16,000 year time period within the Dune Universe.

From Wikipedia:
* The Butlerian Jihad (Legends of Dune trilogy)
* The Corrino-led Imperium (Prelude to Dune trilogy)
* The ascension of the Atreides (Dune - Dune Messiah - Children of Dune)
* The reign and fall of the God Emperor (God Emperor of Dune)
* The return from the Scattering (Heretics of Dune - Chapterhouse Dune - Hunters of Dune - Sandworms of Dune)

It is true that this would not link very many books as "future" but, it would be useful for Dune fans.

ETA: touchstones not working. Darn!

Oct 12, 2007, 2:29pm Top

All this talk of information people want to add about living authors makes me uncomfortable. I don't plan to put my full birthdate on my author page, nor my institutions. And I ask that others don't "help me out" by filling it in for me.

Not that either is a big secret, but I see it as an area to tread lightly due to:
1) identity theft considerations,
2) people targeted for their beliefs (for example, Rushdie),
3) people targeted due to where they work or what they do for a living (for example, those who work in abortion clinics).

I am a firm believer in the right to privacy (not a constitutional right, but perhaps a more basically human one), and that each person should have some minimal control over their public persona (e.g., if an author does not want a picture posted here, that is fine by me).

So -- fields for posting author geneologies and personal relationships start getting dicey in my book (so to speak).

Oct 12, 2007, 2:37pm Top

You could perhaps put a note to that effect in the disambiguation field. (Not ideal, but there isn't really any other generic comments field.)

Of course, that doesn't help other authors who would feel the same way, but don't use LibraryThing themselves.

Oct 12, 2007, 2:50pm Top

Personally if it isn't someplace public like a personal website for themselves or maybe Wikipedia then I'd have a hard time with some of the personal data for living authors.

Oct 12, 2007, 3:21pm Top


If it appears on a public site, it's fair game. (The phone book doesn't count.) If there were some known problem with it, ie., you found out what hotel Rushdie was staying in from an Al Qaeda site...

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 3:39pm Top

Sites I use:
Official Websites (many times the author has a biography)
Publisher Websites
Respected Genre websites (for SF&F, Locus would come to mind)
Mainstream News sites

Sites I would not use:
Unofficial fan sites
Speculative News Sites

ETA: bibliography -> biography

Oct 12, 2007, 3:40pm Top

>115 benskinner:, 116, others -

I was thinking (hoping) for a "Time Periods Covered" that could eventually do both general and specific... I'm sure there are books out there that are set in, say, the 1960s, without clearly being set in 1964. Ideally, a search for books set in Ohio from 1950-1970 would pick up both books marked as "1964", "1968-1975", and "1960s".

I've no idea how hard that is to actually implement, though.

Oct 12, 2007, 4:38pm Top

Re Authors Biographical Information -

What do people think about information published in books by the author? E.g. Katherine Kurtz has three paragraphs at the back of some of the Deryni books detailing her place of birth, education, and (rough) current place of residence.

My feeling is that if the author has published it, it's fair game too.

What do you think, EowynA?

Oct 12, 2007, 4:46pm Top

RE: bio data

and book cover flaps...

Oct 12, 2007, 4:46pm Top

It makes sense to me that if someone has published it, it's fair game -- whether the bio is on the web or in their books.

Oct 12, 2007, 4:53pm Top

I did put in my husband's birthdate and the town where we receive mail on his author page. However if someone ferreted out our phone number and exact address and posted them I would find that intrusive.

A lot of info is very easy to find but for those who want privacy we should respect their wishes.

Oct 12, 2007, 5:39pm Top

I agree - if the author has published it, it is fair game.

But one can also Google for a pseudonym, possibly find out the real name, determine an address and phone number from zabasearch, etc. So taking a couple extra steps to find out what is essentially "not public as an author" is not really hard. And Google might reveal the person's place of employment for a day job, etc.

I just wanted to cool some of the ferver for adding lots of new author fields that were starting to sound like fascinating info for authors long dead, and intrusive info for authors still alive.

Oct 12, 2007, 5:57pm Top

EowynA, you were definitely right to do so, and thanks for speaking up -- I can think of any number of people I know whose standard bios say something like "she lives in New York with her husband and daughter," but who would be rightly horrified to find "her daughter Molly is 11 and attends blahblahblah school" somewhere out there.

Oct 13, 2007, 3:05am Top

74> Tim: Series. This is a tough one

Why? This field doesn't have to be filled in automatically, does it? It really doesn't have to be all that different from the awards field. The same field could be used for publisher series (Loeb Classical Library, Bollingen Series, Knopf Poetry Series, etc.) or author series (Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, fantasy series, Manga/Comic/Graphic novel sequences, etc.), with the LT community filling in the data.

114> Would it be possible to have two "series" fields-- one for those who prefer 'story order' and one for those who prefer 'written order by date'

This could be handled in one field. For an author series where the books were not written/published chronologically (Narnia is a classic example) one could include both pieces of information parenthetically:

Chronicles of Narnia (3, 1954)
Chronicles of Narnia (1, 1955)
Chronicles of Narnia (4, 1951)
Chronicles of Narnia (2, 1950)

Oct 13, 2007, 5:15am Top


I will see your Dune and raise you Vacuum Diagrams by Stephen Baxter.

It ranges from 20 billion years ago to AD 10,000,000 albeit with a big gap or two. All the past events are 1 billion years ago or earlier, all the future events are in AD 3000 or later and there are no present events.

Oct 13, 2007, 11:01am Top


I woke up this morning realizing that I disagree with myself (that is, in addition to my usual morning diagreeableness):

There should be two series fields. An author series should be, I think, associated with a work, whereas a publisher series (Loeb, Bollingen, etc.) properly belongs to an edition (along with publisher's editor, as lquilter mentioned above).

Oct 13, 2007, 2:35pm Top

#134 - If one goes with this author/publisher series distinction (which I think is an important distinction, and SilentInAWay placed them correctly) I think *author* series is much more important.

...The possible complexity has to do with sub-series ("The Last Herald-Mage" versus "Valdemar"), right? Can't that just be handled with multiple series fields, like multiple award fields, multiple "important location" fields, etc.?

As for ordering - if we had an "original publication date" field for the work then we wouldn't need to worry about the publication order field; Tim et al could just create a nifty combination routine for a "sort by original publication date". <g>

Oct 14, 2007, 5:53pm Top

I will third the suggestion for a 'price' field, Tim's negative response not withstanding. For a book/edition (rather than work) you could surely automatically strip prices from Amazon for new and abebooks for secondhand; with users free to amend either of these on the data for "their copy" of the book. Price has been a long-time request since whenever I joined LT and it would be nice to see it tackled properly for those of us who worry about insurance etc.

Oct 14, 2007, 6:22pm Top

I think price would be better as a catalogue field rather than a CK field.

Edited: Oct 14, 2007, 6:33pm Top

I think perhaps a *value* field would be better than a price field in the catalog section of LT (and not in CK). Each person could then value his books as he chooses - or perhaps even use the condition (F-VG-G-F-P) rather than a price (assuming this field would allow letters as well as numbers).

I'd love to list the purchase price of my books just for the interest of it as I buy most of my books at a used book store very cheaply. At the last bag sale I attended, each book cost me only 14 cents. :-)

I also would not mind having a field in which to list where I bought each book (again - in the catalog, not in CK). I often add that to the comments section anyway.

Oct 14, 2007, 6:35pm Top

14 cents! And here I thought I was doing well when I bought a lot of books for $2 or $3 each on Friday. I actually try to avoid bag sales, though, because they seem to result in huge piles of books that I never get around to reading....

I'd rather just have numbers in a price/value field, because then there would be the possibility of getting a numerical total (which, horrifying as it might be, would still be interesting).

Oct 14, 2007, 10:34pm Top

I want a price field but I don't care how much a US edition costs new at an online US book company. I care how much I paid for the copy I actually have.

Currently I use the comments field where I record which currency and amount, often that price converted to Australian dollars at the time of my purchase, and whether I bought it new or used.

While an Amazon price field will be useful for some people, a generic field called "price" is just not enough for all uses.

Also note that prices at the "work" level will be tricky because the same work will be available in various editions at different prices. It makes a little more sense at the "book" level though.

Edited: Oct 14, 2007, 11:17pm Top

-->139 _Zoe_:

I actually try to avoid bag sales, though, because they seem to result in huge piles of books that I never get around to reading....

I'm not usually lucky enough to catch bag sales. I usually buy used trade paperbacks for $2 each at my local Friends of the Library used book stores (2). I am picky about which books I pick up and put into the bags at bag sales. Not all qualify! :-) Of the 50 books I brought home recently, I kept 10 for myself (one signed by the author) and gave four to a friend (including a book signed by Margaret Drabble). The remaining books I will be giving away free to other people and/or wild releasing as part of BookCrossing (my other online addiction).

Oct 15, 2007, 12:21am Top

I am picky about which books I pick up and put into the bags at bag sales. Not all qualify!

Well, I guess it's different if you have some sort of willpower....

Oct 15, 2007, 1:57am Top

Hey, can we get back to CK field suggestions?

Just for the record, price isn't going into CK. There are an infinitude of problems with tying a price to the work level, dealing with the Amazon data restrictions and so forth. A haircut field, maybe. A price field, no. I get to win one now and then!

Oct 15, 2007, 5:46am Top

Well if you've won the price field debate can "we" win the series field one? Please?

Oct 15, 2007, 7:04am Top

Also, it's not a field as such, but getting the link code onto works pages would be very, very good.

Edited: Oct 15, 2007, 7:09am Top

Author pages - "Appearing at:" field, for broadcasting signings/ cons / events etc.

I'm sure I've come across reference to this on the wiki, but its hard to find if it is there, and probably makes more sense to be on the author page anyway?

Edited: Oct 15, 2007, 11:36am Top

I didn't see any resolution of what to call a field for the period(s) of a book. If you called it When, you could change "Characters" to Who, which would cover both fiction and non-fiction.

Oct 15, 2007, 12:26pm Top

>146 reading_fox:

This brings up a good question -- if it hasn't already been addressed elsewhere: is CK the appropriate repository for transitory data, or should it be used only for relatively unchanging facts. As it stands, all of the current CK fields represent data about works or authors that will, for the most part, not change over time (that is, other than the inclusion of additional entries for awards, places of residence, etc.). But, once entered, members need not worry about removing obsolete entries.

An "Appearing at" field would likely be a different kind of beast. Although a history of everywhere that an author has appeared may be of interest to some, most members would probably be happier seeing only a list of upcoming appearances.

So, my question is: generally speaking, is CK the appropriate repository for data that it would be desirable to delete when it becomes obsolete?

Oct 15, 2007, 4:31pm Top

The "appearing at" functionality is going to come via another feature that we have planned already. Time. We just need more of it.

Oct 15, 2007, 4:57pm Top

>91 reading_fox:

Disambiguation note for works would be useful. It would be nice to be able to add an explanation why some works should not be combined.

151twomoredays First Message
Oct 16, 2007, 8:00am Top

I'd really like to see a field for quotes from works. This is one of my favorite things about reading and though I can currently use the comments section for them, I think the social aspect - sharing my favorite quotes from works and seeing others' favorites - would be greatly enhanced by the common knowledge feature.

Also, I really like the idea of connections. I am endlessly fascinated by the relationships of authors, so it would be great to see that.

Oct 16, 2007, 10:03am Top

Quotes! I love quotes! They could be on the author pages, too, although how they'd get separated out when the fabled days of Authors of the Same Name Separated come to pass.

I'd also love to see somewhere to mark a work an anthology. Does it make sense to have "select all that apply" set of radio buttons for fiction, short stories, anthology, coffee-table book, whatever?

Fields for edited by, additional authors, or illustrated by would be a temporary fix for some current entry problems, too.

Oct 16, 2007, 10:21am Top


You anthology, short-story collection, coffee-table book etc is best handled with a tag.

Oct 16, 2007, 11:57am Top

re #152, yes, I do tag my own books as anthologies or short story collections. However, if I am looking at the works page for a book I do not own, it would be nice to have that information.

Edited: Oct 16, 2007, 12:32pm Top

(Price would never work for CK btw because of currency, sales, etc. Even list price wouldn't work because of multiple prints. This is a good candidate for a private inventory field attached to users' individual copies of the work.)

CK field suggestions: Copyright status and copyright holder. This should apply to the edition record, not the work, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

Reasoning: Copyright status is ideal for "form (modifier)" format, and is the sort of thing that is VERY hard to track down and would be useful for people to update in commonality. The ability to have multiple fields for the same kind of thing would be really useful for copyright status, which varies from country to country. And the CK pages created would be REALLY useful and interesting, to see what works came into the public domain at a given time.

And while the data wouldn't be wholly reliable for, say, an institution to rely upon, it would provide a STARTING point for institutions to investigate & verify works with public domain status for extra features or whatever. Copyright owner is similarly very difficult to find out and if someone has that information it would be great to make it commonly available.

Example Peter Kropotkin's Memoirs of a Revolutionist, originally published in 1889; Kropotkin died in 1921. CK "copyright status" field could say:
* public domain since 1972 (Australia)*
* public domain since 1945 (USA) *
* copyrighted until 2021 (Mexico)*
* copyrighted until infinity (Marybonolandia)*
* copyrighted until 2075 (Maximalandia)*

Or perhaps the format should be "copyrighted until DATE" for everything; then public domain status is inferred from the date.

* I haven't verified copyright status of the work in any of these countries.

One way to make the process more informative would be to enable a "comment" field on CK, so when you add the copyright expiration date you could describe the formula. For example:
* Copyrighted until 1939 (USA)
* field description when entering: "Term applied to work first published in 1915 with no renewal was 'copyright 50 years'")
* Copyright holder: none

Oct 17, 2007, 11:57am Top

Going back to the date/time period suggestion, would an "Event" field be useful? For example, there are plenty of books, both fiction and non-fiction, based around the Battle of Trafalgar. Granted, it would theoretically be possible using date and location to find them, but I think this would be easier.

Right now, all I can come up with are battles/wars as examples, but I'm pretty sure that it could be used more generally.

Oct 17, 2007, 12:21pm Top


Great idea. If you want something other than battles there are also stories about assassinations, the crucifixtion of Jesus and others.

Oct 17, 2007, 5:53pm Top

Not to mention the Titanic, various world fairs, centennials...

Oct 17, 2007, 7:36pm Top

And various revolutions (American ... French ... Industrial ...)

Edited: Oct 17, 2007, 7:57pm Top

After we've invested our time and effort, will we have better access than is currently provided by LCSH?
example: Subject: United States > History > Revolution, 1775-1783

Oct 18, 2007, 10:40am Top

I want to say there should be an "era" field, but that strikes me as too... weird. And confusing. How are we going to exemplify this kind of thing? Does, say, the Black Death get classified as "Middle Ages" or as "14th century"? And what if a book covers more than one era?

But perhaps the nearest plausibly manageable possibility is Scorbet's "Event" field idea.

Oct 18, 2007, 11:12am Top

>160 jlane:

I don't know all that much about the LCSH, are how they are applied. But I do think that Shakespeare's Henry V should be on a list of books featuring the Battle of Agincourt, and a biography of Oliver Cromwell on the list of books about the English Civil War.

Oct 18, 2007, 1:00pm Top

And most biographies of Joan of Arc -- except the few that concentrate almost exclusively on her trial -- would, naturally, include relieving Orléans. There are plenty of books, too, that feature the Wars of the Roses, without being "about" them. (In fact, I just finished reading one, Blood and Roses.)

Conversely, there are plenty of books that could fall into subject categories that are more general than the subject of the book. Take Bread and Roses (different book, just similar titles). It might be classified as being about the labor movement, if the subject line had anything in it. But really it's about a small piece of the labor movement, the Lawrence textile strike.

Having an "events" field allows the system to be at once more general and more specific: more general by allowing users to find books that share a major event, and more specific by allowing users to find books on a (perhaps "unoficcial") sub-subject.

Oct 19, 2007, 9:03am Top

>160 jlane:-163

As a working historian, I'm with Scorbet and Anna Claire on this one: An "Events" field would give readers access to subjects that, though significant in the reader's and author's eyes, wouldn't show up in LC subject headings (or, for that matter, in all but the most obsessive tagging schemes). It would also "catch" historical events that appear in fiction, which the LC is not especially good at (the subject headings for Thomas Berger's Little Big Man, for example, don't mention the Battle of the Little Bighorn, despite the prominent role it plays in the story).

An "Events" field will--like the existing fields for people and places--raise fresh issues about naming things. Names change over time ("Custer's Last Stand" --> "Battle of the Little Big Horn"), different sides give different geographic names to the same battle ("First Battle of Manassas" v. "Battle of Bull Run"), and so on. I think, though, that resolving them would be far easier than resolving the equivalent issues that would come with an "Era" field (especially since "era" names are even more culturally contingent than event names).

Oct 19, 2007, 10:40am Top

That last thing is part of why I said I "wanted" to ask for an Era field but had thought better of it. Not to mention that eras are not just culturally contingent but geographically so as well. The Renaissance, for example, got going at different times in different places -- even within western Europe.

(The other part was that we would have to establish how detailed things get, and how much we subdivide things.)

Edited: Oct 24, 2007, 5:39pm Top

Similar to the events idea, it would be nice to be able to add subjects that LOC doesn't cover where. I've post this example elsewhere:

Work: Sophie's World

LOC subjects:
Didactic fiction
Philosophy > Fiction
Philosophy > History > Fiction
Young adult fiction. lcsh

Some subjects I would like to add to common knowledge:
Ancient Greek Natural Philosophers
George Berkeley

Obviously there would be more problems with uncontrolled terminology (Kant or Immanuel Kant, etc.)

Oct 25, 2007, 3:26am Top

> 160-164

I also think an event field would be great and would probably show really interesting results.
I'm all for it :-)

Oct 25, 2007, 8:33am Top

New fields have arrived.

Oct 25, 2007, 1:09pm Top

>166 dchaikin:

How would this differ from tags, though?

Oct 25, 2007, 1:13pm Top

They wouldn't get lost in the shuffle (well, probably not).

For example, here the tags that show up for Sophie's Worlsd:

20th century(21) childhood(7) children(9) children's(12) Contemporary(10) Contemporary Fiction(14) dutch(9) fantasy(37) fiction(724) Gaarder(30) german(10) gift(6) historical(7) history(81) history of philosophy(42) ideas(8) Jugendbuch(7) literature(44) metafiction(11) Mystery(28) non-fiction(31) Norway(40) norwegian(55) norwegian literature(16) novel(122) own(34) owned(11) paperback(8) philosophy(1,071) read(61) reference(13) roman(25) Romance(7) school(6) tbr(15) translated(15) translation(31) unfinished(16) unread(49) young adult(47) youth

Of those 40 top tags, I see 4 subjects (history, history of philosophy, philosophy and maybe Romance).

Oct 26, 2007, 10:46pm Top

I love the "original publication date" field, but how about an "original title" field? I usually sneak it in the Summary section, but it would be helpful as a CK field. It could be used for the foreign language title of a translated work, too.

Nov 2, 2007, 7:02am Top

"For non-fiction, it would be incredible to be able to list all the books cited (Amazon has a feature like this, no?) A lot of work, but I'm salivating just thinking about what you could do with that kind of data..."

Similar to this idea, I was just thinking that Terry Pratchett's books could really use a field where you could add books that he is making reference to. Not quite citing like in non-fiction, but which are referenced in his work (eg Wyrd Sisters is based in some ways upon Macbeth, in other books her refers to a fictional character based on Tacitus (called Tacticus) and a book written by this character, and also refers to 'The Art of War', also with a slightly altered author). I feel it would be wonderful to have a way to include the real world works that he is refering to (and perhaps the fictional versions as well, if we got really fancy), and perhaps that could be achieved using a similar mechanism to that suggested for non-fiction? It would be a joy to behold, and I would be forced to spend my life working to track down all the works to add :)

Nov 2, 2007, 12:46pm Top

ggslibtech @172:

Let's not reinvent the wheel, or in this case the Annotated Pratchett File.

Nov 2, 2007, 1:49pm Top

re: 166

I really don't agree with that at all. A lot of books I feel already have too many subjects associated with them as is. Secondly, why would I want to know every philosopher covered in Sophie's World? Isn't knowing that it's fiction about the history of philosophy enough? That's practically the whole table of contents.

Nov 2, 2007, 5:14pm Top

I think there's always a tension in subjects between what's useful on the page and what's useful for searching. Listing every philosopher makes for a boring page, but if you're researching recent appearances of Epictetus in novels, you might want that data there.

More broadly, this is what's so great about tagging—relevancy ranking. It doesn't matter that the tag list of "chick lit" is *enormous*, because Bridget Jones's Diary is tagged so many times, and Wuthering Heights only a few.

Nov 2, 2007, 8:43pm Top

Ah, I can see your point there. And I wholeheartedly agree that tagging is awesome for that very same reason. Tagging actually led me to pick up a book that deals somewhat with a subject I'm very interested in, but after looking at the book, reading blurbs, etc. it wasn't clear that it did. But the tags led me right to it.

However, I think the problem with tags is that I wouldn't think to tag every philosopher that appears in Sophie's World. Regardless, I'm sure there must be a way for someone to find that information without bombarding common knowledge with a million and one subjects.

Hmm, maybe the lesson is that we should all be better, more detail oriented taggers. Shall think about that one.

Nov 2, 2007, 8:51pm Top

Maybe we need another tag field for all the excessively detailed tags that might potentially be useful but that we don't actually want to look at all the time?

Nov 4, 2007, 8:49am Top

So, if we add subjects to CK, should we just let people make up subjects and hope some order emerges or should we use LCSH?

Nov 4, 2007, 9:09am Top

Personally, I vote LCSH. "Hoping some order emerges" sounds like tags to me, and we already do that.

Nov 4, 2007, 9:50am Top

Wait, aren't the LCSH subjects on the details page? What would be the point of including them in CK? I'm confused.

Nov 4, 2007, 10:26am Top

The point would be to add key events that aren't listed in the LC headings. They can be spotty with this.

Nov 4, 2007, 6:39pm Top

The problem with LCSH is that a lot of the rules aren't "coded." So people will be putting things together in ways that are not really LCSH. Then of course there's the lost opportunity to use terms and structures that don't exist in LCSH.

The advantage of subjects—either type—is, I think:

1. To allow people to enter terms which are both true and not common in the tag cloud.
2. To allow people to use (or create and use) hierarchical organizations.


Nov 5, 2007, 11:42am Top

I don't think this has been suggested yet (although I'm sure it must have been considered). How about a general "trivia" field. I hesitate to ask for an open miscellaneous field, but the type of information I have in mind doesn't really fit in anywhere else (as far as I can tell).

For instance, I just finished reading You Suck, which is the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends. So, an obvious connection exists between those two books. However, there was also a crossover scene from another of Christopher Moore's books, A Dirty Job.

The characters weren't significant enough to add to the Character fields, and this little bit of trivia isn't enough to warrant a full Book Description, but it is still fun information to share with others - I know I would have read this book sooner had I known this.

And that's just one example. Other examples might be (I'm making these up) "first work after author attempted suicide," ""work was turned down by fourteen publishers before it became a bestseller," etc.

So, is there a way to work interesting information like this into Common Knowledge, in a similar fashion to IMDb's "trivia" section?

Nov 12, 2007, 1:33pm Top

I second or third the idea of having a field or whatever for the time period a book takes place. I have a lot of non-fiction and I think this would be helpful.

Nov 12, 2007, 1:48pm Top

I really don't think CK is the best place for allowing people to enter terms which are both true and not common in the tag cloud. One of the main advantages of tags is that they can be sorted by relevance, and that's lost when the data is only entered once per work. Why not just add a tag-like editable subject field to our personal catalogues? People frequently say they want to be able to edit the subject field already.

Nov 12, 2007, 3:14pm Top

_Zoe_ (#185) -- Sure, if it's tag-like enough to allow any given user to enter more than one subject per book. This is especially neccesary for books like Washington's Crossing, which are, in theory, "about" one particular event (the Battle of Trenton), but which really cover other things just as much (the Battle of Princeton and American Revolution generally). Allowing a "subject-tag cloud" would give a fuller idea of what such-and-such a book was really about. And when you get down to it, isn't that kinda the point of the Common Knowledge fields?

Nov 12, 2007, 3:24pm Top

Yeah, it would be pretty useless if you could only enter one subject per book. I'm going to adopt your term subject-tag: what I'd like is a subject-tag field that could generate subject-tag clouds, subject-tag lists, etc. It would allow for much deeper analysis than a plain CK field.

Nov 21, 2007, 4:53am Top

lorax @ 173

It would be less detailed than the annotated pratchett file, in that the APF gives a specific line reference and a discussion of the way that it relates to another text, and it would be searchable, which the APF is not. If I wanted to search for works which reference Macbeth then Wyrd Sisters would be only one of many books that would be found. The other major difference of course, is that this makes it possible for all books, not just Pratchett novels.

Dec 16, 2007, 7:38pm Top

> 61, 84

One more vote for "Adaptation" field. Probably one can use IMDB for identifying movies.

Dec 20, 2007, 9:29pm Top

A suggestion for an author field -- Society, Fan Club or Organizations. This could be for information about groups such as:

L.M Montgomery Institute (L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, etc)
The Wolfe Pack/Nero Wolfe Society (Rex Stout)
Betsy-Tacy Society (Maud Hart Lovelace)
JASNA/Jane Austen Society of North America
Dorothy Dunnett Readers Association
Friends of the Chalet School (Elinor Brent-Dyer)

Dec 22, 2007, 9:59am Top

190: I'm on and off of Talk while I'm recovering from surgery and the wife's not yelling at me to get off the computer because of it, but I can answer this one: There is already an 'Organizations' field for authors. It's used for exactly what you are speaking of.

Dec 22, 2007, 8:22pm Top

CK field suggestion: Number of Words.

Dec 22, 2007, 8:53pm Top

Sure, but who's gonna sit there and count words?

Edited: Dec 23, 2007, 8:02pm Top

> 193

Some important facts re. counting words:
(a) you don't have to;
(b) it's not as hard as you might think (see here).

Dec 23, 2007, 9:55pm Top

I've been putting the shelf location into the "Tag" field, which at least makes it searchable, but thats clearly a hack. The tag is surely meant for semantic information.

Shouldnt there be a separate field for shelf location?

Mar 27, 2008, 2:40pm Top

I'd like to make another vote for an 'Adaptation' field for CK. I find it interesting to see how a story morphs with a different medium. I'm not sure if we could use radio buttons or checkboxes or just freeform text because there are so many different variations.

Rocket Boys was filmed as 'October Sky' and that The Secret Garden was done as a Broadway musical and Bluegrass was turned into a mini-series, etc, etc.


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