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il.LibraryThing.com (LibraryThing in Hebrew)

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Edited: Dec 5, 2007, 1:33pm Top

http://il.LibraryThing.com is now officially live and ready for translation.

1. A blank translation is a daunting thing. Don't bite off more than you can chew. It's okay if this happens slowly.
2. I'll be interested to see how it goes, particularly whether the left-right user-interface is too disruptive.
3. I've put a note in the group message for LibraryThing in Hebrew. When we start a new language site, we always make a group called "LibraryThing in X." But that group already existed, made by someone else. So I'm proposing this group also take on the translation. If that's not acceptable we can make a new group. Alternately, we could use this name for translation and move other discussion into a "Book discussion in Hebrew" group.
4. I'm letting Hebrew out ahead of a dozen or so other languages because the Early Reviewers program has netted an Israeli publisher! The books are in English, but we're hoping that the release—which will happen today—will spark some interest.
5. We have a major Israeli library source queued up for release. Right now the problem is searching. The records come in okay, but searching doesn't. We'll get it out as soon as we can.

Dec 5, 2007, 3:39pm Top

I've done some tweaks on the home page (here), changing directionality and alignment. It looks better to me that way.

I also notice that someone is editing it—hooray. I'm going to take a screen shot every hour or so as it develops :)

Dec 5, 2007, 3:55pm Top

I got searches working for the Israeli library source (Israel Union List) and made it available. Let me know if there are any problems with it.

Dec 5, 2007, 5:14pm Top

This is very cool. Even if it's of no use to me whatsoever, it is still very cool that you've been looking at the issue, doing the background work, and then getting free books about it!

Dec 5, 2007, 5:35pm Top

I made lots of changes to the Hebrew CSS. Some works, some doesn't. All of it is weird to my eye!

Dec 5, 2007, 5:38pm Top

Now you only need a right-aligned bookpile. (Contest!)

Dec 5, 2007, 6:29pm Top

With right-aligned titles!

Dec 5, 2007, 6:54pm Top

This is great, thanks! And the Early Reviewers books offered by Gefen also look really good!

Dec 5, 2007, 8:50pm Top

--> 5

All of it is weird to my eye!

It's a total pleasure to my eye. Minus a Hebrew-English keyboard, I'll leave the editing to others, but I'm so happy LibraryThing has gone Israeli.

Dec 5, 2007, 8:54pm Top

Fantastic!! Thanks!

Dec 5, 2007, 9:48pm Top

I can't read any Hebrew, but I couldn't resist to check it out. One glitch in the current layout: If I go to the frontpage and then click Zeitgeist it messes up the tabs at the top of the page in IE7 under Windows XP (Zeitgeist tab becomes white and extemely long).

Dec 6, 2007, 6:48am Top

Also in FF and Windows XP.

Dec 7, 2007, 5:59am Top

The profile page is slightly messed up. The field names are to the left of the content itself instead of to the right. :)

Dec 7, 2007, 11:20am Top

> 3

I re-added a book, but it's stuck in
Error: Work does not exist.
Maybe just a coincidence. It's been a day, so it's not the normal cache problem.

The counterflow text causes problems in the English catalog display because of parens (for the year or n copies) switching directions. I mentioned this ages ago in the Google group. I think the only way to fix it is to add explicit direction markers and/or push/pop using spans or Unicode.

Edited: Dec 7, 2007, 9:39pm Top


The author's name was completely in the Hebrew alphabet I guess? If so, try adding the authors name using the latin alphabet and I probably magically fixes itself (I have similar problems when adding Japanese books to my library).

... Of course, this is just a hack and not a real fix...

Dec 8, 2007, 1:41am Top

"I mentioned this ages ago in the Google group. I think the only way to fix it is to add explicit direction markers and/or push/pop using spans or Unicode."

Why would this matter before? Were you forcing the directional change?

"Of course, this is just a hack and not a real fix..."

I'm not getting the problem when I hit that book. Is it only on adding?

Dec 8, 2007, 1:41am Top

Author problem is very real. It's why we changed the whole system—that and another thing we can get out of it, disambiguation. It's going to take some time to fix.

Edited: Dec 8, 2007, 2:03am Top


Go to the work details (not the book details). You'll get a Work does not exist (or at least I'm getting one from every computer I've access to).

Dec 8, 2007, 2:09am Top

Oh, crap. That work does exist, as the db makes clear. Chris must have some other error that's getting reported as that. Forwarding to him.


Edited: Dec 8, 2007, 2:46am Top

>16 timspalding: Why would this matter before? Were you forcing the directional change?

Absent direction indicators in the HTML (i.e., before you made any of these changes), Roman is LTR and Hebrew is RTL. Space is neither. Parens and other punctuation are switchable, going by the one they are near. So, you get:
בעשור לישראל by אברהם הרמן (1958)
Which looks wrong, at least on Windows (FF and IE7).

Edited: Dec 8, 2007, 2:16am Top


You might want to look at this seriously. I'm lately encountering a lot of books that give me work does not exist errors (I can give you or Chris more examples if you want).

I'd like to add that this is the single most annoying problem I'm having at the moment (inhibits combining for example).

Dec 8, 2007, 2:15am Top

>15 koffieyahoo: If so, try adding the authors name using the latin alphabet and I probably magically fixes itself

Yes, probably so. To be clear, I already had this work in my library that way, from LOC + manual edits. I wanted to see how well IUL would do without the editing.

Dec 8, 2007, 2:28am Top


Dec 8, 2007, 2:29am Top

Regarding directional spans, I think the answer is to put RTL around a book's title, author and so forth unless it's in Hebrew (etc.), right?

Dec 8, 2007, 2:40am Top


Was that a response to my post or to MMcM's post?


No one said that running an Internet social-networking/cataloging site was all fun ;-)

Dec 8, 2007, 2:42am Top

I was gyped!

That was to 20.

Dec 8, 2007, 3:02am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Dec 8, 2007, 10:46am Top

> 24, 26, 27

Apparently I shouldn't have tried that late. Again, my apologies.

For reference, here is the Unicode bidi algorithm.

Trying to code all the directions explicitly is problematic. The best solution is to explicitly embed the pieces that come from the database rather than the UI template, so that they don't interfere with their neighbors. Of course, you'd do that with CSS, but Talk doesn't allow <style>, so I'll do it here by hand.

Situation now:
Be-ʻaśor le-Yiśraʾel by Avraham Harman (1958)
בעשור לישראל by אברהם הרמן (1958)
In Hebrew:
Be-ʻaśor le-Yiśraʾel מאת Avraham Harman (1958)
בעשור לישראל מאת אברהם הרמן (1958)
With bidi embeddings:
Be-ʻaśor le-Yiśraʾel by Avraham Harman (1958)
בעשור לישראל by אברהם הרמן (1958)
Be-ʻaśor le-Yiśraʾel מאת Avraham Harman (1958)
בעשור לישראל מאת אברהם הרמן (1958)

This works on Windows with modern browsers, for me, at least.

Dec 8, 2007, 10:59am Top

Interesting. I'll take a look.

Edited: Dec 9, 2007, 9:31pm Top

Sorry, I hadn't seen this discussion when I wrote this: http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=25155

The problem is that *every* Hebrew book added from the IUL is added with an author name completely in Hebrew letters. For every such book I get the "work does not exist" error (even when the book has an ISBN identical to that of copies with the author name in Latin letters).

I understand that the author problem is not something that has an easy solution.

As a temporary solution, would it be possible to add to the "add books" page a note for people who add from the IUL, asking them to change the name of the author in the entries that they add to its Latin spelling?
I am sure not everyone will bother to actually do this, but it might reduce the mess for the time being...

Dec 13, 2007, 1:59am Top

Serious trouble. As I said above, when a book is added from the Israel Union List, the author name is in Hebrew characters. LT does not recognize it as an author.
Using the work search, I found several books added over the last week from IUL. There is no way to combine them with their respective works or list them under their respective authors.

The work page for a Hebrew book recently added by a user from IUL:

I have a copy of the same work in my library:

When I try to add the book to my library from IUL and then change the author name, it gets uncombined from the "problem" copy.

I tried this for several books. One of them - which had a valid ISBN - not only uncombined from its Hebrew-character counterpart, but somehow got combined to a work in Thai, which didn't even have the same ISBN (the horror!)

Does anyone have an idea how to cope with this problem?

Dec 13, 2007, 11:27am Top

> 31

Because of their screwed up state, none of the MARC records are accessible on these books' Debris pages, but I'm guessing that they don't have a romanized form anywhere in them, do they? The mirror of English libraries, which might have the vernacular script somewhere.

Doing it via a program isn't gonna be any good because it won't have the vowels.

Edited: Dec 13, 2007, 1:13pm Top

Hmmm.. not such a bad idea. If a program does raw transliteration (only of the primary author field) - without vowels - it won't be a problem to manually combine the weird words that would result with the correct Latin character spelling of the author name. Tedious, but possible. I'm willing to do this.

If ע and א both become "a", י becomes "y" and ו becomes "o", this is what we would get:

עגנון, שמואל יוסף
would become
agnon, shmoal yosf
easily recognized as Agnon, Shmuel Yosef

ברנר, יוסף חיים
would become
brnr, yosf hhyym
easily recognized as Brenner, Yosef Hayim

In the unlikely case that there is an ambiguity, all that is needed is check out the works.

א a
ב b
ג g
ד d
ה h
ו o
ז z
ח hh
ט t
י y
כ k
ך kh
ל l
מ m
ם m
נ n
ן n
ס s
ע a
פ p
ף f
צ ts
ץ ts
ק q
ר r
ש sh
ת t

Dec 13, 2007, 10:43pm Top

I have an interim fix for this I need to implement. I'll let you know when I have.

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