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Proposed change to "Add books" tab

Recommend Site Improvements

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1timspalding
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 3:38pm Top

I'm working on a change to the "Add books" screen. The change looks like this:



Notes:

1. When you add a book it "opens up" to give those fields.
2. You can click to "open up" other books. But how to communicate that. I think it may require a "> more" link. Ideas appreciated.
3. The fields we show are not fixed. I'm pretty against showing date acquired, date started and date finished—I think potential members will be put off by the specificity of that, feeling like LibraryThing is only for obsessive catalogers. (It is for them, but not only for them.)
4. Clicking on the review thing would either open up an edit thing there or "lightbox" it over the page, for more space.

Edited: Added a "save" button.

2nperrin
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 3:30pm Top

WHOAAAAAAA there's a wish list button!

This has been discussed, but I'm of the opinion that rating, review, and date read don't rate real estate on the add books page. There are users that add as they finish, but they're in the minority. Once they do the first bulk add, most users will never have occasion to fill out those fields. So the fact that it's changeable is good.

3timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 3:31pm Top

Oh, don't get distracted by whether there's a wish list button or not. Just throwing out ideas.

4nperrin
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 3:35pm Top

Well, that's not fair.

Anyway, personally I'm not into lightboxes, they feel sort of advert-y, but on this page that seems like the best way to do the review box. Would the same thing happen if you put comments or private comments on the page?

I think the green arrow should do the trick for your #2. Especially since it's on the page where you're already using it.

ETA: Will it be possible to specify any fields here? For example, I would probably want title and author editable there, among others.

5bnielsen
Feb 26, 2008, 3:36pm Top

Looks okay to me, but I don't like that the Edit icon is missing on the recently added books. I like this shortcut to the 10 latest additions and often add tags and fix missing information that way.

6VictoriaPL
Feb 26, 2008, 3:40pm Top

I like it.

7fyrefly98
Feb 26, 2008, 3:43pm Top

Looks fine, for the most part.

It feels weird to me the way it's pictured, with a "currently reading" and a "date read" but no "date started" - to me these naturally go together, and having two but not the third is strange.

I could also make an argument for including the date acquired, since I think a lot of people catalog books within a day or two of when they get them (after the initial cataloging spike, of course).

The phrase "Advanced edit" also seems a little off, if we're trying not to scare off the new/casual user - we want them to go in and check and add more data, not make it seem like "don't click here unless you know what you're doing". Maybe "Full edit" or "Edit all"?

8royalhistorian
Feb 26, 2008, 3:43pm Top

I think it's an improvement over the current page. I am quite a poweruser of LT, and I think it is handy to rate it, review it and give it a status after I added the book(s). It saves me the steps of going to my catalog and find the books I added and then rate it and review it.

For adding reviews: I propose a lightbox, usability-wise.

9sabreuse
Feb 26, 2008, 3:44pm Top

I like it (and approve of your choice of book). Is a pencil icon (the one that bnielsen feels the lack of) the thing you want to indicate that other books in the list can be unfolded and tweaked?

(Also, will someone take away my parenthesis keys before I hurt something?)

10conceptDawg
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 3:56pm Top

Tim asked me to post my version of the expander up here to see what the reaction is. This is a 2 minute photoshop so the "look" will change....just the idea of the expand/collapse interface is what matters.



11DaynaRT
Feb 26, 2008, 3:46pm Top

Dear Tim,

I like it, with an echo of nperrin's opinion about review and rating taking up space on the add books page. Light box is ok in this setting.

Your Friend,
Obsessive Cataloger

:)

12timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 3:49pm Top

For adding reviews: I propose a lightbox, usability-wise.

Wait, I proposed it. You can't propose it again. I proposed first! (stomps foot)

It feels weird to me the way it's pictured, with a "currently reading" and a "date read" but no "date started" - to me these naturally go together, and having two but not the third is strange.

So clearly that's the question. I feel like having all three is way too much. As noted before, use of any of the three fields was a 1% activity. We can increase that by making it easier, but 1% is small no matter how you look at it. I think "read" is best, if we show any at all.

The other big question here is how to show that other books can be "twiddled" into this full view. The pencil is the logical icon, but it means "go to the full edit page." The > sign is Mac only. The PC sign + is used with other meanings on LT and anyway is stupid. "> (more)" is probably what I'll settle on. It will, however, take up even more screen real estate. I want to keep this box as small as possible.

13timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 3:52pm Top

Nperrin

I didn't notice your comment "I think the green arrow should do the trick for your #2. Especially since it's on the page where you're already using it."

What do you mean? I'm confused.

14lilithcat
Feb 26, 2008, 3:56pm Top

Personally, I would not use any of those items except for the "tags" field and the "edit" icon. They are just clutter and a waste of space, as far as I am concerned.

And there needs to be an edit pencil for more than just the most recently added book. Since I often add more than one book at a sitting, it would be helpful to be able to go to the edit page from the list.

What's a "lightbox"?

15_Zoe_
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 3:59pm Top

It looks nice. The ratings add a bit of colour, and the fonts seem a bit more welcoming.

I do think the status buttons seem incomplete without an "already read" option, even though I know you didn't want to impose that on people.

I don't know if this is too complicated, but if you added "already read" maybe the date started and read fields could appear when you check "currently reading" or "already read"?

The save button is a bit unclear. Is it just for the date, or for everything?

I still think date acquired is the most useful field to have available on the add books screen.

It might be helpful if the search results could stay visible (for adding multiple books by an author, etc.), though I don't know how that could fit on the page.

16DaynaRT
Feb 26, 2008, 3:59pm Top

>14 lilithcat:
An example here - click on any of the Example Images.

17timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 4:00pm Top

The idea would be that the pencil shows up when you open the book area up, the way the first one is opened up. So, two clicks to the edit page.

Alternately, we could have it up by the deleting-x. I still want a way to open up this "quick edit" screen.

They are just clutter and a waste of space, as far as I am concerned.

Can someone please remember this quote the next time it's said that by leaving X-field off I'm ignoring users? That is, every thing I add makes someone happy, but ever element also makes someone else unhappy. It's a balance. Maybe we should add or delete features after a cash auction?

18HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 4:02pm Top

Oh dear Lord did that little wish list checkbox get my heart to racin. Had it been a checkbox for read but not owned I probably would have passed out from happiness!

19HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 4:03pm Top

I'm also a little confused why the date read field would be there. Most of the time when I enter a book, I've just bought it and haven't read it yet. I would love to see a date acquired box there. That I actually would use.

20LolaWalser
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 4:06pm Top

it looks awfully busy. I'd at least remove the rating and the review.

If you must have all the date fields, could you fit them in a single line somehow? And move the (putative) wish list button next to the title, say?

I agree with others that other books showing ought to have the pencil (edit) capability.

21timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 4:05pm Top

The save button is a bit unclear. Is it just for the date, or for everything?

Yeah, okay. The fact that you were uncertain means that it needs to be by itself, taking up yet more vertical real estate. Damn.

I still think date acquired is the most useful field to have available on the add books screen.

More than date read? Didn't you hit me over the head with Goodread's date-read field--who don't even have date-acquired?

It might be helpful if the search results could stay visible (for adding multiple books by an author, etc.), though I don't know how that could fit on the page.

Let's leave that topic for another discussion. I want to do this somehow--as an option, not default behavior. But you'd never see both books added AND a list of results, so it's not this "page." I am split too many ways as it is to think about that too hard.

22DaynaRT
Feb 26, 2008, 4:05pm Top

I would totally pitch in $50 for collections and more viewable fields in my catalog.

Seriously though, nothing in your proposal image makes me unhappy. Nothing there would make me not use the Add Books page. Maybe I'm just a little jealous that Safari looks nice than Firefox.

23fyrefly98
Feb 26, 2008, 4:06pm Top

As noted before, use of any of the three fields was a 1% activity. ... I think "read" is best, if we show any at all.

You mean of the three date fields (Acquired/Started/Finished)? I'm assuming the "currently reading" checkbox is staying, since that seems to be what prompted this redesign in the first place.

This is what seems weird to me, if you're worried about minimizing screen real-estate. With the exception of people who only enter books into their catalog when they're starting to read them (very few, at least from what I've heard in Talk - not a representative sample, I know), the number of books that a person is entering that they are currently reading is going to be WAY less than the number that they acquired, or have started/finished some time in the past.

Personally, it makes no difference, since I enter books as I get them, so the only fields I'd use are the tags, the date acquired (if it were there), and the to-read (or wishlist!!!) checkboxes. But I'm trying to expand to what most people are entering most of the time, and I think that either during initial cataloging or catalog updating, "Acquired" and "Started/Finished" are going to applicable to a higher proportion of books than "Currently Reading".

24HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 4:08pm Top

I agree that the date acquired field is the one to go with on the add books screen. I would much rather see that than date read. If I'm entering a book on LT, chances are great that I haven't read it yet.

There seem to be a lot of little changes going on here and it's hard to figure out what's going on. What ever happened with the currently reading checkbox? What happens with that info? Does it go on our profile?

25jjwilson61
Feb 26, 2008, 4:08pm Top

It looks like those fields are tailored to people who only add books after they've read them, which I agree with nperrin is probably the minority. I also agree with nperrin in that I'd rather see Title and Author here as those are fields that often need to be updated when Amazon is the source. I'd also rather see Date Acquired since that is the date you need if you enter the book within a few days of bringing it home.

If you wanted to be fancy you could let people tell LT when they most often enter books, with an initial value for mass entry of books from their personal libraries and options for soon after acquiring the book and soon after reading the book (any others), with that choice guiding the fields that should go on the Add Book page.

26_Zoe_
Feb 26, 2008, 4:09pm Top

>17 timspalding: I think that lilithcat is uncommonly vocal in expressing a dislike for features that she wouldn't use, especially given that in the last thread she expressed a strong preference in favour of having date acquired there. Most people are willing to accept the addition of some features they don't care about, as long as they get some features that they do care about as well.

27tcgardner
Feb 26, 2008, 4:10pm Top

The choice of fields seems odd to me. The status fields have to do with a book you have not read and the rating, review, and date read deal with a book that is already read. I know people enter books differently, but after I have entering my existing library, I have entered my books as I have acquired them before I read them. So, no rating, review, or date read. Just a check of To Read.

28trollsdotter
Feb 26, 2008, 4:10pm Top

>12 timspalding:

I think that all the current triangle needs is a small note at the top of the results that says "Click the arrows for more details."

I like your example even though I don't anticipate using it regularly. As such, if it needs to be saved before I can add the next book, please place the cursor (or is that focus?) on the save button so all I need to do is hit "enter." I dislike having to go back and forth from the keyboard to the mouse—it's inefficient.

29timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 4:10pm Top

it looks awfully busy. I'd at least remove the rating and the review.

Again, this is the problem. I feel that whatever fields are on, some users will prefer they're left off. By stats, ratings are 5-10 times more used than any of the date fields. People LIKE to rate things, just not all people :)

Unfortunately, I think there's a bias to these things insofar as Talk has the power users, who tend to be more catalog-y. And people tend to express when something is missing more readily than when something is there and they don't want it.

30fyrefly98
Feb 26, 2008, 4:11pm Top

>15 _Zoe_: I don't know if this is too complicated, but if you added "already read" maybe the date started and read fields could appear when you check "currently reading" or "already read"?

If this is possible to implement, this seems like an elegant solution.

31lilithcat
Feb 26, 2008, 4:12pm Top

> 17

That is, every thing I add makes someone happy, but ever element also makes someone else unhappy.

On websites, as it is in life! ;-))

Maybe we should add or delete features after a cash auction?

You'd make a fortune!!!

32VictoriaPL
Feb 26, 2008, 4:13pm Top

Tim, I just want to say thanks for being so approachable and letting us have some input. I'm on some other sites and when I email them, I rarely get a response. So, THANK YOU.

33HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 4:14pm Top

It seems to me that most people wouldn't be ready to rate or review the book when they are entering it. I know for me, those steps come later. Yes, they are great features that people use, but do they really need to be at this step of adding books?

Most people are willing to accept the addition of some features they don't care about, as long as they get some features that they do care about as well.
Yup. Most of these features I'm sure are lovely, but deep down, they don't really matter that much to me.

It's interesting that in the past week we have all these new features being talked about- checkboxes, total messages posted, new screen for adding books. What I'm waiting (not so patiently) for is collections. Everything else is just masterbation!

34lilithcat
Feb 26, 2008, 4:15pm Top

> 21

I still think date acquired is the most useful field to have available on the add books screen.

More than date read? Didn't you hit me over the head with Goodread's date-read field--who don't even have date-acquired?


But isn't there a fundamental difference between Goodreads and LibraryThing? It's my understanding that Goodreads is primarily about listing books you have read, whereas LT is about listing all your books, including the gazillion and one you haven't yet gotten around to reading.

So it makes sense that "date acquired" would be more valuable here, and "date read" more valuable there.

35nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 4:16pm Top

13: I didn't notice your comment "I think the green arrow should do the trick for your #2. Especially since it's on the page where you're already using it."

What do you mean? I'm confused.


Well...for the "more," doesn't it make sense to use the "twisty," the green turny arrow thing, which is already used on the add books page when you do the search?

36lilithcat
Feb 26, 2008, 4:17pm Top

> 26

I think that lilithcat is uncommonly vocal in expressing a dislike for features that she wouldn't use,

No, I'm just uncommonly vocal, period!

;-))

37hailelib
Feb 26, 2008, 4:19pm Top

I'm another that would add books as acquired and before reading. But, once I get used to a change I just figure that's the way it is. However I do want to be able to open up more than the first book to editing.

38ablachly
Feb 26, 2008, 4:22pm Top

Alternately, we could have it up by the deleting-x. I still want a way to open up this "quick edit" screen.
I vote (do I get a vote?) to have the edit pencil always up, and for the deleting X to only appear once you've opened the book area up.

(Tim, are you working from the *car*?)

39_Zoe_
Feb 26, 2008, 4:22pm Top

The fact that you were uncertain means that it needs to be by itself, taking up yet more vertical real estate.

But if this means that we would have to click save every time, that's bad. As things are now we can add tags without an extra saving step.

Didn't you hit me over the head with Goodread's date-read field--who don't even have date-acquired?

Context is everything. I love it that Goodreads has Date Read in their default catalogue view and at the top of their edit page, and I do think that way more people would use it here if they saw it somewhere. But I don't think of Add Books as just a prominent place to display fields that people use in general, I think of it as a place to display the fields that people need at the particular time when they're adding a book. I have nothing against adding all sorts of other fields that I wouldn't use while adding books (like review, for example), because I think they'll make the site better for a lot of people. But at the same time, I think you should remember that the Add Books page has a specific purpose and make sure that the fields people will want to edit from that page more than from any other page are there.

40nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 4:27pm Top

29: Again, this is the problem. I feel that whatever fields are on, some users will prefer they're left off. By stats, ratings are 5-10 times more used than any of the date fields. People LIKE to rate things, just not all people :)

I like to rate things too--I rate all my books as soon as I finish them (same time as when I fill in date read and most of my tags). But I can't rate books as I add them, because I've just brought them home or opened an amazon package and haven't read them yet. But anyway, you said:

The fields we show are not fixed. I'm pretty against showing date acquired, date started and date finished—I think potential members will be put off by the specificity of that, feeling like LibraryThing is only for obsessive catalogers. (It is for them, but not only for them.)

I took this to mean that it could be user-defined. I guess if we're all arguing about it, that would be too complicated. Because if I could pick five things editable there, they would be title, author, tags, publication info, and date acquired--completely different than what you've got, and mostly for the catalogue-y among us. I get that not everyone wants that but I think add-as-you-finish users are a small minority too.

Also, I think if you move the "save" button to the right a bit, like say under "wish list," it would be clearer that it was meant to save the whole form rather than just the date.

41hailelib
Feb 26, 2008, 4:28pm Top

Will we still be able to specify tags when we search as we do now? And have them sticky so we can add several books with the same tags before we edit? That IS important to me.

42DaynaRT
Feb 26, 2008, 4:30pm Top

>41 hailelib:

Yes! Sticky tags between searches are muy importante!

43timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 4:37pm Top

... the number of books that a person is entering that they are currently reading is going to be WAY less than the number that they acquired, or have started/finished some time in the past.

Okay, but (1) the total times you use a feature is not the only consideration; you also care about bang-for-the-buck. After all, fewer than 1% of books are deleted, probably. But the delete button is needed even so. I think that currently-reading is good here because it increases the "currency" of LibraryThing. The complaint is that LT is about cataloging dead items, and not about relating around books because how are people to distinguish between the crap you read in highschool and haven't the heart to throw out, and the crap you're reading now. Well, "currently reading" is one way to make that distinction. And it lends itself easily to a block on the Profile page too.

As for all books having been acquired in the past, that's logical, but also misses the point. The question is do people really want to log the date they bought a book? The current answer to that is, roughly, "no, they don't" the number being something like 1%. If the UI had it, the number would be higher. But tags, ratings and reviews will always be an order of magnitude more used than those, however much some users would wish otherwise.

What ever happened with the currently reading checkbox? What happens with that info? Does it go on our profile?

No, not yet. It will.

I also agree with nperrin in that I'd rather see Title and Author here as those are fields that often need to be updated when Amazon is the source.

Okay, but if they're there, then what about books with multiple authors. Okay, we add that. Well, what about their roles. Okay, what about publishers, publication date, etc. until we have the full edit page.

Fundamentally, I see this as "quick hits" while you catalog. Most users do NOT edit the titles and authors. That's minority thing. I'm IN that group, so I sympathize, but it's still not a common activity in the larger scheme of things.

Everything else is just masterbation!

I'm going to take that out of context.

But isn't there a fundamental difference between Goodreads and LibraryThing? It's my understanding that Goodreads is primarily about listing books you have read, whereas LT is about listing all your books, including the gazillion and one you haven't yet gotten around to reading.

People use both sites for both things, even if there is a slight tilt. Many many users use LT as a reading list. There are people on GR with ten thouand books--mostly LT members, of course, who exported.

the green turny arrow thing, which is already used on the add books page when you do the search?

Oh, it's black, however. Unless I'm blind. That's what threw me.

(Tim, are you working from the *car*?)

Yes. I wrote that on 95. No joke.

But if this means that we would have to click save every time, that's bad. As things are now we can add tags without an extra saving step.

No, no. You still need to save. Try for yourself. You can't just type. You have to hit save (or "enter").

I love it that Goodreads has Date Read in their default catalogue view and at the top of their edit page...

They have it when you add a book too.

I think of it as a place to display the fields that people need at the particular time when they're adding a book.

But surely you have the book in mind best when you're adding, so it's best time to add date-read and date-acquired. After all, much of the time they will be TODAY.

I took this to mean that it could be user-defined

No. That way lies madness. Too much special coding.

Will we still be able to specify tags when we search as we do now?

Yes. I'm not taking that away.

44lorax
Feb 26, 2008, 4:41pm Top

I keep getting distracted by that beautiful "wishlist" button, though I'd like to know whether it would actually do anything before getting too excited.

#29:

I know that ratings are used far more often than dates -- I've rated most of my books and haven't ever touched the date fields (except to clear one that was auto-populated when I tested the "currently reading" checkbox.) But I also agree with the consensus that after the initial burst people enter their books as they acquire them. Some people wait until they're done reading a book to enter it, but I'd guess they're in the minority. So the fraction of people, even the fraction of people who rate books, who use the rating field at entry time would be very small, while almost everyone who uses the "date acquired" field would use it at entry time.

I would switch 'date read' to 'date acquired' on that basis. People who want to use 'date read' would use 'date started', too, and all three dates would be way too much clutter; thus, if you only want one date in the entry area, I would think 'acquired' would make the most sense.

Oh, and I agree 100% with nperrin about the positioning of the "save" button. I didn't realize until I read his post that it was SUPPOSED to affect the entire form -- it looked so clearly associated with the date to me.

45ryvre
Feb 26, 2008, 4:42pm Top

I, for one, really like having the rating and review fields right there. I wish it had been there when I opened my account so I could have rated all my books as I added them. These days, I add books as I acquire them, but I only acquire a few books a week, so it's no problem to ignore the fields I don't need. I think this will be great for new users who otherwise might not rate their books.

46HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 4:44pm Top

I really think the 1% figure is low for who uses the date acquired field. It also took me a while to even find it, and I know that is true for others as well. Once I found it, I use it.

And Tim, you said: How are people to distinguish between the crap you read in highschool and haven't the heart to throw out, and the crap you're reading now.

I can't include the "crap I'm reading now" until there is a collections feature. In 2007, I read 75 books. Only 34 of those books are on my LT. The rest aren't here because they were borrowed and therefore, aren't on my LT. Until we have collections and a way to distinguish those books we read but don't own, my catalog is incomplete and LT isn't all that it should and can be.

47jjwilson61
Feb 26, 2008, 4:46pm Top

Given all that, I'm in favor of only adding the currently-reading checkbox (and the wish-list checkbox although if it's here what about Collections?). That one makes sense that you might start reading a book as it is acquired. The rest doesn't make sense to me and just makes the page more cluttered.

48mvrdrk
Feb 26, 2008, 4:50pm Top

>21 timspalding: The save button doesn't need more vertical space? It could be over on the right with the pencil icon?

I would like to see the pencil and x icon on all unexpanded items, to preserve the old functionality in a sort of 'least surprise' way.

Perhaps the 'twisty' should be on the left of the item, in the same way that it is when you get multiple hits on an add books search. OR they should both use the centered down arrow below the item. Either way, it should be the same in both places. cD's middle bottom arrow would buy you some extra horizontal space and be less likely to be confused as a non-interactive bullet, but it looks so old-school ... :-)

It looks like there is room to add more dates horizontally, but I think that may be an illusion.

49mvrdrk
Feb 26, 2008, 4:56pm Top

Pie in the sky - you could make the date read title a pull down menu so people could fill in "one date of your choice".

50nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 4:59pm Top

Okay, I'm going to give a few final thoughts, because this is in the end a feature I will never use--I have to do a full edit on every book I add to get to everything I care about anyway.

1. I agree with whoever wanted to change the "advanced edit" wording. That makes it sound intimidating when we should be making it sound inviting.
2. The triangle could totally be black. In my mind it's green.
3. I think we should keep the full edit pencil available on every entry. Two clicks is too many, especially if you add several books and then edit them in a row.
4. I still think rating, review, and date read are out of place here, when most people really do add books as they buy them. I will try to be a little objective, since I won't use this anyway; I think when adding it makes most sense to have date acquired, for sure, wish list, and tags. Beyond that I'm not sure what would be most useful. This idea that LT is somehow not "current" enough...I don't know, I think Talk really belies that. The currently reading checkbox could definitely be even better, depending on what's done with it, but again it's not something that seems useful when adding.

51timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 5:00pm Top

Dates

I think, from this, we need both date-read and date-acquired. Fortunately they can go on the same line, although it's all clutter too.

I can't include the "crap I'm reading now" until there is a collections feature. In 2007, I read 75 books. Only 34 of those books are on my LT. The rest aren't here because they were borrowed and therefore, aren't on my LT. Until we have collections and a way to distinguish those books we read but don't own, my catalog is incomplete and LT isn't all that it should and can be.

Yeah, I'm not with you on this one. LT is about what you own because you have decided that's the way you want to use it, and you've decided not to use tags to mark it any other way. What currently reading, to read and wishlist share is that all are tied to features, not just classification. That is, the currently reading option can populate your profile or widget--when that's done. But "read but don't own" is more like a classification, one of many many many possible variants--read but don't own, read but lost, read but gave to bill, etc.

I do feel that if LT marked currently-reading, to-read and wish list, a good deal of the impetus for collections would be gone. I know not ALL, but much.

In this connection, it is continually said that LT should have collections like Goodreads. In fact, they have tags, but by providing two default tags--currently reading and to-read--and by calling the tags "shelves" they seem to do more when in fact they do less, and tagging is in fact used a shocking 1/10 as much. Irritated much? Yes, I am.

That said, I would love NOT to get into the collections issue here. Please?

52timspalding
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 5:03pm Top

The triangle could totally be black. In my mind it's green.

No, green sounds good for it. I thought you were saying the *existing* triangle was green, which it is only in your mind. :)

keep the full edit pencil available on every entry

Yeah. Okay, I agree.

53AntiLeah
Feb 26, 2008, 5:14pm Top

I'm another who would much rather have the "date acquired" field on this page than the "date read." And if you are going to have "date read" I think you kind of need both "date started" and "date finished" because (aside from certain sucky-inny books) I don't normally read a book in one day.

I wouldn't personally use rate and review on this page (unless I was re-entering all my old books again). I think for those instances where people are initially entering the bulk of their libraries, they tend to usually then go to the catalog page to see what they did. If rating and review are in the default view on that page, I think most people would start using those features at that point. (I'm not sure if that sentence sounds like what I want it to mean, somehow, but I'm in a lunch-coma so my brain isn't running at full capacity.)

As far as the question of making the initial screen too intimidating for new users, would there be a way to mark fields as "not required" like they do on lots of web forms that most people are familiar with filling out these days? That might help alleviate the problem of "OMG why do they want all this info from me when I just want a list of books??".

In a similar vein, I also think the "advanced edit" makes it sound like you have to be a super user to use that part of the site. Perhaps something like "more edit options" would be a little more friendly.

And lastly, I don't mind ignoring fields/features I'm not going to use, so I wouldn't be that miffed if rate and review stayed on there. Of course, we can't have every field on there, or else we might as well just have to use the full book edit page to add books, and no one wants that. I hope not anyway.

These are just my random thoughts after slogging through all the related threads around this topic for the last few weeks. I may think of more later.

54flabuckeye
Feb 26, 2008, 5:21pm Top

I could care less what you do - As Long As It Does Not cause trouble in existing features. A statement about what cancel will do is still a question. Is it safe to use or will it wipe out tags?

55nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 5:21pm Top

or else we might as well just have to use the full book edit page to add books, and no one wants that. I hope not anyway.

Oh, how little you know...

No, green sounds good for it. I thought you were saying the *existing* triangle was green, which it is only in your mind. :)

Yeah, that is what I was saying, but we can pretend it wasn't.

56Talbin
Feb 26, 2008, 5:29pm Top

Overall, I really like it.

Question to those who don't like what's there - if you're able to click Save without entering anything (or just entering the info that's important to you), would that work? That way, people who enter books after they read them can fill out everything (or almost), and those who enter books as they acquire them can fill out as little as they like.

One thing that I really, really liked about Good Reads add books feature was the drop down for tags (or whatever they call them) and the fact that it saves new tags as you enter them. This would be really, really useful to me so that I could remember what tags I entered and in what format. I suppose the only problem is that you can't enter the tags in the order you want them. Hmmm - this would be a problem for people who type tags in a certain order for sorting. Hmmm - but I'd really like a running list of my tags so that I know if I previously used "garden" or "gardening." Hmmm - I'll just throw this out there.

57timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 5:33pm Top

First, "save" is only for saving any changes you make here. You don't need to hit it if you don't want to. But I think some users—some above—will think it's another step in the add-books process. Right?

I'm divided on the previously-used tags thing. On the one hand, it could be useful. On the other hand, it's unwieldy if you have a lot of tags, like I do. It would fill the screen twice. I don't want people to be discouraged from using good, detailed tags by an interface that makes that painful for them.

58markbarnes
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 5:44pm Top

In my mind we need to apply some logic. When people add books it will either be (a) When they buy them. (b) When they've read them. (c) When they happen to get round to it. or (d) When they decided they want it.

If (a) then:
They will not need to worry about review or rating or date read. Those fields are useless. You can't rate a book you haven't read. (But date acquired might well be useful.)

If (b) then:
They probably can't remember the date acquired. But the other fields would be really useful.

If (c) then:
Either (a) or (b), above.

If (d) then:
None of the extra fields are of value.

Therefore I have a simple proposal. AJAX.

We have four tick-boxes: "Currently reading", "Finished Reading", "To Read" and "Wishlist". "Date acquired" is also shown (ideally defaulting to today's date).

If you tick "Finished Reading", the review/rating fields appear (ABOVE date acquired). The date acquired field changes magically to date read.

If you tick "Wishlist", then "Date Acquired" disappears.

Actually, truthfully, I don't see the point of "To Read". What else are books for? Who would buy a book if not to read it?

59timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 5:43pm Top

Actually, truthfully, I don't see the point of "To Read". What else are books for? Who would buy a book if not to read it?

To tell other people and yourself what's in queue. It's very popular on that other site.

60readafew
Feb 26, 2008, 5:44pm Top

I don't want people to be discouraged from using good, detailed tags by an interface that makes that painful for them.

I appreciate that.

61DaynaRT
Feb 26, 2008, 5:45pm Top

I don't see the point of "To Read"

Just because a book is in my catalog, doesn't mean I have read or mean to read it. My son's books are in my catalog because they reside in my house. When I add new books, some are for me "to read" and some are not, because they're his.

62kathrynnd
Feb 26, 2008, 5:47pm Top

I think this would be better on the add book page instead of recently added, so there is a chance to review title and author before making the addition. If after, could there be a cancel check box as well as the status boxes?

I remember when I first started entering books in LT going to look at the books as entered then coming back again and deleting until I got it exactly right. ( I didn't know about the little triangle to with more edition information then). sho

63jjwilson61
Feb 26, 2008, 6:01pm Top

61> It seems inconsistant to me to include your sons books in your library but consider the to-read status of the book to only mean you. In other words, what would make sense to me is to not include his books and use the to-read to mean read by you, or to include his books and use to-read to mean to-be-read by either of you.

64markbarnes
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 6:09pm Top

Here's an illustration of what I suggested above.
To read
Currently reading
Finished reading
Wish list

65Talbin
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 6:08pm Top

>63 jjwilson61: But it's her LT catalog - she knows what she means. If I described why some of my husband's books are in my catalog and why some aren't, I'm sure that would seem inconsistent to others, too, but I know why I did it.

Edited for typo.

66Morphidae
Feb 26, 2008, 6:07pm Top

I catalog books after I read them. There are very few books that I purchase anymore that aren't read within a month or two. I have no use for "date acquired." It doesn't mean anything to me. Though I probably won't use the date field if I'm forced to use anything but month and year. I'm just not that specific.

P.S. I'll never complain about something being added. I figure *someone* will use a feature and I can just ignore it.

67sabreuse
Feb 26, 2008, 6:07pm Top

+1 for markbarnes's revision

68jjwilson61
Feb 26, 2008, 6:13pm Top

63> I have no problem with what's in her catalog as I have both my wife's and my books included in mine and there are a few books where I'd be hard-pressed to decide where it goes if I had to choose one or the other, which I don't. I was just saying that she should interpret to-read as to-read-by-anyone-who-has-books-in-this-library. (And to show support to the person who expressed puzzlement as to the usefulness of the to-read status).

69timspalding
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 6:21pm Top

A new try:



Note:
*The save is grayed out until you make some edit there.
*The "divet" is black. I would rather it light gray/green.

70ryvre
Feb 26, 2008, 6:19pm Top

>64 markbarnes: - That looks great! I'd love to see something like that.

71markbarnes
Feb 26, 2008, 6:23pm Top

Tim,

I like the show less/more, buttons. It would be interesting to see what happened to the tags when you clicked "show more".

I still feel the rating/review, etc should only be shown when required (see my screenshots above).

I still feel there have a "read" date, but no "read" tick-box is counter-intuitive.

I think the save button can go on the same "line" as the date fields.

I think that if you have acquired and read fields (which I prefer) they should be the other way around. Generally speaking you acquire before you read, therefore acquire should be on the left.

72mvrdrk
Feb 26, 2008, 6:25pm Top

To be obnoxious, I will point out you really should use the little circle with checkmark for the save button. To be consistent with other pages, like the edit page.

Oh and I very much like the tiny-ness of edit and delete icons.

73HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 6:26pm Top

I like the latest version. Why wishlist and not read-but-not-owned?

74jjwilson61
Feb 26, 2008, 6:28pm Top

It bugs me that Date Read comes before Date Acquired.

It also seems to me that your status' are a continuum, Wish List, To Read, and Currently Reading and they should be listed in that order and should include a Read status to be complete. And they are all mutually exclusive so you should use radio buttons instead of check boxes.

75lorax
Feb 26, 2008, 6:28pm Top

>69 timspalding:

That looks good to me.

76markbarnes
Feb 26, 2008, 6:31pm Top

>74 jjwilson61: I agree. Though I think the continuum should be reversed (most likely on the left).

77trollsdotter
Feb 26, 2008, 6:33pm Top

>64 markbarnes:

The only layout comment I have is that, if you check currently reading, a date started field would be useful. That said, I'd be afraid that when the site is slow-to-medium, waiting for new fields to pop up after checking a box might be frustrating.

>79

This layout looks good, too. You do have room for date started on the date line.

78skittles
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 6:59pm Top

If I had seen the date functions when I was first entering my books, I would have used it with more of my books. (I wonder what the 1% would be if it were more accessible)

Right now, I'm using tags for my TBR's & other codings.

Personally, I would not use a "currently reading" tag or button. I'm either reading much too quickly (pleasure reading)... or it is taking too much time because I don't have the time (or strong need) to finish it.

edited to add:
I'm with the save button on the right side... only when needed... also possibly UNDER the pencil/edit & delete graphics.

79AnnaClaire
Feb 26, 2008, 6:59pm Top

Generally, I like this. I also like the idea (64) of having which date box you see depend on what box you choose. But shouldn't the "currently reading" checkbox give you the "date acquired" box as well as the "date started" box? This is, after all, the add page.

80kathrynnd
Feb 26, 2008, 7:09pm Top

I assume date entered will still be there -- won't it? I only use the date acquired if it is something other than the date I enter the book ( or in some cases delete and reenter a book)

81Enraptured
Feb 26, 2008, 7:15pm Top

I like it. I especially like having both "date read" and "date acquired" - that way people can use whichever one is useful to them. Some people add books when they first buy them; other people add them when they start or finish reading them.

One question - does "date read" mean the date you start a book or the date you finish it? Or is it open to interpretation?

82bluesalamanders
Feb 26, 2008, 7:21pm Top

I like markbarnes' suggestion (message 64) best.

My one change there would be that "currently reading" and "finished reading" would show "date started" and "date finished", not just "date read". And that puts a lot of "date" fields into "finished reading", because that should also show "date acquired".

83fyrefly98
Feb 26, 2008, 7:24pm Top

>81 Enraptured: Date finished. There's a separate field for date started.

and I agree with #82. I like markbarnes's suggestion, which is essentially what Zoe suggested way up-thread, and with the addition of the date-started fields I'd be a happy camper.

84PaulFoley
Feb 26, 2008, 7:26pm Top

I agree that the date acquired field is the one to go with on the add books screen. I would much rather see that than date read. If I'm entering a book on LT, chances are great that I haven't read it yet.

Agreed that date acquired is the most useful addition to the Add Books page, but not in the Recently Added display. If I'm adding new books, they're probably all going to have the same acquired date, so I don't want to have to enter it separately for each book - I want it on the left, where "Tags to add" is, so I can enter it once and have it apply to every subsequent book until I change it!

All of the other stuff is pure noise. The Recently Added display is fine as it is (or was, before the addition of Status). I'm particularly annoyed by the removal of the edit pencil on the rest of that list: I usually enter a bloc of books and then middle-click all the pencils up the list to edit in another tab, edit, close each tab, and then go on to more books if there are any. If the pencils aren't there I'd have to interrupt inputting books to click the most recent book's pencil each time...

85DaynaRT
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 8:11pm Top

>63 jjwilson61:
It's not inconsistent at all. He doesn't use LT. My tags (or TBR status, when implemented) only need to have meaning to me.

I was just saying that she should interpret to-read as to-read-by-anyone-who-has-books-in-this-library.

I have no idea what my son plans to read. He's 11 and fickle.

86heyjude
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 8:33pm Top

My two cents:

If using both "acquired" and "read", put "acquired first. In fact, I would even put it above Tags.

If keeping rating/review, move to bottom. In my personal library account, I am not going to rate something I have not yet read. Yes, I will rate and/or review a book in my other "what I've read" account but I would rather it went to the bottom of the screen.

I do like the possibility of having a tad more info like this on the Add Books page.

87stephmo
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 8:27pm Top

Liking version 69!

Some minor questions - will there be light gray lettering reminding individuals to separate tags with commas?

Also, THANK YOU for having the edit pencil available on all recent entries - I'll enter a few books at a time and go back and edit tags all at once.

Feels like the X other members; Tags: is scrunched. Anyway it could be:

Tags:
X Other Members

On separate lines? I kind of would like to see tags first to emphasize that this is about entering your library. =)

I don't even know if it's up for discussion anymore, but I'm not a fan of the ratings. I know we think more people will use them and all, but I think when a) entering new books it's not even doable (gee, will I really love this new book, or am I going to hate it?).

ETA - do you want to note which fields are required? Just so folks don't stress on dates if they (like me) don't feel like it.

88DaynaRT
Feb 26, 2008, 8:27pm Top

I like v69 a whole lot.

89_Zoe_
Feb 26, 2008, 8:32pm Top

I still like the idea of displaying different date fields depending on what checkbox you choose, but I'd be pretty happy with #69. I do think Read is needed to go with Currently Reading and To Read, though.

PaulFoley's suggestion (#84) of having Date Acquired on the left with Tags is also interesting.

90timspalding
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 8:49pm Top

Markbarnes' screenshots 71 and etc.

I agree with your analysis of how this stuff will be used. And I think your screenshots are interesting and very cool to see thought through. I do disagree with the solution, however, for these reasons:

1. You can't anticipate all of the ways people will want to use it. For example, you think that if I've finished reading something I shouldn't see the date acquired box. Why? What about wishlist and date read? You assume that if a book is on your wishlist you haven't read it. Tell that to my friend Ben who--although gainfully employed--likes to read whole books standing in the Harvard Coop. Only later does he sometimes decide to buy them.

2. While I want to conserve screen real-estate, changing the option around as you click checkboxes is, I feel, too fiddly. You don't know what the options are until you play, and many users will not play. Many others won't participate. For example, I don't want to use the "finished reading" checkbox. I have a lot of books and don't want to talk about exactly which I've read or not. Anyway, for my books at least, the answer is often "I read part of it," which no system can represent well. So, if I don't want to use that box, I don't see the options and I don't get them.

3. It introduces weird "what if?" cases. If a field vanishes, is it blank. So I mark something as "currently reading" and the date read box goes away. What if it had a date in it. Is the date now gone? I can't know without testing it, and that's bad practice.

To be obnoxious, I will point out you really should use the little circle with checkmark for the save button. To be consistent with other pages, like the edit page.

Yeah, that's me disliking Chris' icon. Of course it should be consistent. Personally, I dislike the way he did it with the green save button...

Why wishlist and not read-but-not-owned?

It's the rabbit hole. There is no list of "states" that people can agree is enough. If wishlist, why not read-but-not-owned? If that, why not "lost" or "read at library," "read standing up a bookstore," "was read to by library lady," etc. There is no system that will represent all the options. Oh, yes there is, tags. Grumble :)

And they are all mutually exclusive so you should use radio buttons instead of check boxes.

The problem with radio buttons is that they are generally used when something has to be among the available options. Indeed, most browsers will not let you uncheck all radio buttons. Once you check one, you're screwed.

(There's an interesting story here, about how my wife and I checked radio buttons on Match.com, couldn't uncheck them and ended up together.)

continuum should be reversed

I hear you. My order is more about what's likely to be used. Putting wishlist first strikes me as putting the "different from" case first. Blech. There's no right answer.

date started

I'd rather leave this out. I think this is the runt of the litter and the least used.

do you want to note which fields are required?

None! Do I need to say that?

91seitherin
Feb 26, 2008, 9:01pm Top

Why not just go straight to the edit window and let people put information in the fields they use?

And why not reorganize the information in the edit window so that the items most people would likely fill in are grouped logically together toward the top of the form? (Move the acquired and reading dates below the ticks for Currently Reading, etc.)

Or if you really want to add info to the add function, why not include all the information that folks would likely want to enter? --

Tags
Status . . . To read . . . Currently reading . . . Wish list
Date acquired . . . Date started . . . Date finished
Rating
Review

92E59F
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 9:07pm Top

I don't think the reviews give you as much bang-for-the-buck here as the tags and ratings. If the reviews are much more than "OMG!!1!" or "it suxx", they will take a certain amount of time to write. Arguably, they are most likely to be written when people have a bit of leisure and go into their catalog, or directly to reviews from their profile. Spending time writing out reviews while in the middle of inputting a stack of books seems less likely, so this would mainly be just for those who have existing text already written somewhere else - probably a fairly small group.

93_Zoe_
Feb 26, 2008, 9:05pm Top

I do think completeness is good. To Read, Currently Reading, Wishlist... but what about Read?

Date Acquired, Date Read... but what about Date Started?

If it were possible to fit all of those things, I would be very happy. As it is now, it seems sort of arbitrary and unfinished.

94_Zoe_
Feb 26, 2008, 9:06pm Top

I agree with dressel26 about the reviews.

95fyrefly98
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 9:09pm Top

>90 timspalding: You don't know what the options are until you play, and many users will not play. Many others won't participate. ... So, if I don't want to use that box, I don't see the options and I don't get them.

This feels a lot like ducking the issue to me. First off, all of the options have exceptions like your friend standing in the bookstore. That's a given no matter how you do it; all of the fields should still be there in the full edit no matter how you select status, and the edge cases can still edit their catalog to reflect their data, just like always.

Second, all of the status options allow people to enter more data than the addbooks does now, with the fields chosen being the most logical for the most people adding that kind of book. Wasn't that the point of this whole exercise?

Finally, your aversion to "finished reading" based on the fact that your answer is "I read part of it" doesn't really follow, since you were willing to put "date read" up there. Don't they more or less imply the same thing? For reference, partially read, etc. books, that's why there's a none/not-applicable status.

96SilentInAWay
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 9:16pm Top

1. I don't like the save button -- it looks out of place. I would move it to the upper right and use the same green-with-white-checkmark icon that is used on the main edit page.

2. What if, instead of listing status boxes horizontally, you included a set of vertical, non-exclusive checkboxes, with related date and status fields appearing to the right and enabled (perhaps even filled with defaults) when the corresponding checkbox is selected. This would take up about the same space as your most recently posted dialog, yet present all date and status fields in (I think) a clear, non-cluttered presentation. The Ratings would always show (since I seem to remember there being people who rate books that they haven't read).

I apologize in advance for the extremely-low-budget example that follows--I don't have any quick prototyping resources at my disposal (I also realize, Tim, that you usually don't completely reverse course this late in a discussion--I just wanted to throw the idea out to see if it gets any love...)

Tags ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ1234567890
Status [ ] Wish List
[x] Acquired 2000-10-14 [ ] To Read
[x] Started 2008-1-30 [x] Currently Reading
[x] Finished 2008-2-22 [x] Recently Read
Rating * * * * * (click to review)

Note: I included a "Recently Read" status, since this category--even more than "To Read"--is what I see people already listing on their profiles in LT (in addition to currently reading, that is). The way I imagine this working, the three checkboxes on the right control whether the book appears on your profile page in new sections entitled "Currently Reading", "Recently Read" and "To Read".

97flabuckeye
Feb 26, 2008, 9:25pm Top

While your working on the 'add book' page, put a direct link to 'how to add a book.' Much more help for the first time user than 'what are tags' IMHO.

98timspalding
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 9:27pm Top

I do think completeness is good. To Read, Currently Reading, Wishlist... but what about Read?

What about reference books? Have I read them? A book with essays? How about books I've both read and have on my wishlist? Again, there is no answer for everyone. There is only an answer that satisfies individual members. To me, this means all this stuff is crap and members should use tags. But I do understand that a few limited cases are so common and obvious that they make sense separately, at least for some members.

What distinguishes these books, frankly, is that they are special states. This means two things. First, not checking them will never be strange. By contrast a "read" checkbox is like having a "love" checkbox by a list of your children. Of course you love them all. If you don't want to play with the checkboxes, does it mean you don't love your children? Second, they are all slices of your catalog that many members will want to showcase on their profile or blog.

Finally, your aversion to "finished reading" based on the fact that your answer is "I read part of it" doesn't really follow

But I can avoid the issue by not entering dates. If I don't enter dates, people will assume nothing. If 0% of my books have the "finished reading" checkbox, people will think I'm illiterate. See?

I don't like the save button -- it looks out of place. I would move it to the upper right and use the same green-with-white-checkmark icon that is used on the main edit page.

What if I changed that button? Can I get anyone to agree wth me that the green save button is non-standard on the web?

I also realize, Tim, that you usually don't completely reverse course this late in a discussion

I've done so twice on this issue already. Don't tempt me :)

I guess my problem with your idea is that it's too "logical." Putting the date stated by a "currently reading" box is logical, but it's also encumbering. Many users--myself among them--consider tracking exact start-stop dates to be slavery. The options I've listed are basically ordered by

1. State of mind (book you've read vs. book you just bought)
2. Likelihood that the user will want to use it.

That's not logical, but logical would reorder the edit books page in all sorts of ways too. It would not go title, author and then tags. Instead, it would march through every possible bibliographic nugget before entering a "your data" section. But that's bogus. The stuff you use should be close together most of the time. After all, it would make sense if the gas-full indicator were next to the gas tank, but it's more convenient that you can see it while you drive, even if that puts it next to the radio.

99bluesalamanders
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 9:30pm Top

90 Tim -

So put the fields in that should be there? markbarnes' screenshots are incomplete, I agree (as I said in #82), but with a few tweaks, they could be much more complete, and let people who are uninterested in adding any extra data not have to be bothered with it.

Also, if you're going to leave out "date started" then what does "date read" mean?

edit: wow, a lot of things happened while I was writing this very short post, I must have gotten more distracted than I realized!

100timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 9:30pm Top

Also, if you're going to leave out "date started" then what does "date read" mean?

Date finished.

101bluesalamanders
Feb 26, 2008, 9:38pm Top

I just want to say that that doesn't make much sense to me, because I don't read most books on just one day.

102christiguc
Feb 26, 2008, 9:41pm Top

I agree with 101--perhaps "Date finished" would be clearer?

103shmjay
Feb 26, 2008, 9:43pm Top

I am going to have to read this thread carefully, but I can see two things:

1. An "owned" checkbox would be most useful.
2. As for the dates, could they be tied to the checkboxes?

If you click on "Currently reading", then you see the "Date started" field. (I never use this myself.) Obviously if you started the book, then you are currently reading it.
If you click on "Read", then you see the "Date finished/read" field. Obviously you will only want to see the field once you have read the book, and not a moment before.
If you click on "Wishlist", no date box shows up.
If you click on "Owned", then maybe "Date acquired" could show up?

104_Zoe_
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 9:45pm Top

>101 bluesalamanders: It would be clearer if Date Started were there as well (sorry, I had to say it).

105stephmo
Feb 26, 2008, 9:44pm Top

Personally, the save button looks right in the flow of things to me...even if I don't use all the buttons or stars, it's at the end of the flow.

Editing and deleting are afterthoughts - if the save button is moved to the afterthoughts, then what?

I'm also a votee for the "just let it go, already." There will never be enough buttons to keep everyone happy. I saw someone throw "recently read" into the mix and I'd have to say that one should be right out. Yes, some folks do a "recently read" in profile, but with a checkbox right at the beginning, you're going to find people with the same 6 "recently read" books 8 months later.

I'm for simplicity - Read, To be Read and...uh, yeah...I'd be happy with that.

Personally, I can see the argument for Wish List on the entry page and that's about it.

The rest is so slim - and while I realize that there are those that want to do Library Books, Read But Not Owned, Lent to Miscreants, Imagined I Might Read Someday, Saw Movie but Claimed to Read...I look at those as being the ridiculous super-mini slices on a Pie Chart that causes the legend to be 17 paragraphs long (statistically insignificant, yet annoying because people are convinced that it's important to pull these out anyway).

106timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 9:48pm Top

Saw Movie but Claimed to Read

You're missing "Read the Spark Notes"!

107stephmo
Feb 26, 2008, 9:52pm Top

You're missing "Read the Spark Notes"!/

That's what the ellipses were for! =)

108Morphidae
Feb 26, 2008, 9:56pm Top

Yeah but I read Spark Notes online. I want a Cliff Notes option.

109sabreuse
Feb 26, 2008, 9:58pm Top

>108 Morphidae:, Are you suggesting that cheating in e-book form doesn't count as much as "real" cheating?! I'm shocked!

110SilentInAWay
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 10:12pm Top

98> I've done so [completely reversed course] twice on this issue already. Don't tempt me :)

I was just playing with you. Rhetoric, rhetoric. Sorry if I pissed you off (you were supposed to laugh!).

I guess my problem with your idea is that it's too "logical."

True...but there are also many users who don't use these fields because they either don't know that they exist or they don't want to bother with calling up the edit page for each book. This would allow quick access, yet not destroy the overall simplicity of the Add books page (since these fields would be hidden by default). Most importantly, it might encourage the use of these fields (at least by those who are so disposed). More data from users...more information for LT.

After all, it would make sense if the gas-full indicator were next to the gas tank, but it's more convenient that you can see it while you drive, even if that puts it next to the radio.

(*shouts*) Straw Man, Straw Man!!! (I suppose I deserve it after my failed "Tim usually doesn't reverse course" ploy).

I really think that I am suggesting these fields where they would be useful. The problem is that usefulness is different for different users. Each of the fields in my example could be useful on the Add books page to one or more of the following classes of members:

those who enter books when they buy them (or shortly thereafter)
those who enter books as they start reading them
those who enter books when they finish reading them
those who enter books that they do not (yet) own, but may or may not have read

For each of these members, is not the Add books page really the dashboard, rather than the gas tank?

111AnnaClaire
Feb 26, 2008, 10:06pm Top

>108 Morphidae: ...So enter the Cliffs Notes?

112HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 10:12pm Top

#105- I don't think the rest is so slim. I do hear people talking about wanting a wishlist on here but I hear more people talking about wanting a read but not owned field. Honestly, the idea of never having collections here makes me both want to cry and then go somewhere else. Wishlists just aren't going to do it for me.

Let me know if I'm wrong, but it seems we won't be getting collections because Tim doesn't agree/like them?

Is this wishlist box just a way around collections? My heart is sinking.

113AnnaClaire
Feb 26, 2008, 10:17pm Top

>112 HelloAnnie: You're not the first to wonder.

114HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 10:20pm Top

I honestly just want to pout and throw myself on the floor like a toddler. Pouts...."I want my collections!!!!" Whines....pouts some more.

115AnnaClaire
Feb 26, 2008, 10:24pm Top

I still want to know about this "Local" we've been constantly hearing practically nothing about.

116nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 10:25pm Top

1. An "owned" checkbox would be most useful.

You know, I am finding it hysterical that we're finally getting checkboxes but none of the checkboxes we're getting make either of the distinctions I've always wanted--owned/unowned, read/unread. (No, "to read" is not "unread"!)

117HelloAnnie
Feb 26, 2008, 10:27pm Top

I'm with ya 116! I won't use to read. I have a lot of unread books, but that doesn't make them all to read. And good God, do I want owned/unowned.

118seitherin
Feb 26, 2008, 10:28pm Top

I've just gone back to the other thread and did a quick count. These are by no means definitive numbers, but . . .

10 folk either don't use start and end read dates and/or didn't like the Currently reading tick tied to filling in those dates.

29 folk either do use the dates and/or liked having the Currently reading tick tied to filling in those dates.

Given the very limited number of people involved in that discussion, doesn't this seem to indicate people are more interested in dates than they are in checking boxes, so wouldn't that suggest that putting all the relevant dates in one easily accessible location along with the check boxes would satisfy the most number of people?

119lilithcat
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 10:43pm Top

> 58

Who would buy a book if not to read it?

Me. I collect pop-ups. I have bought books for their bindings, not their contents. I have one book, Boundless, that has not content and, in fact, cannot be opened. (It's a circular book, spiral-bound around the entire circumference.)

120lilithcat
Feb 26, 2008, 10:33pm Top

> 64

What if I don't check any of those boxes (and, frankly, I wouldn't)? What happens then?

121fyrefly98
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 10:35pm Top

</i>>116 nperrin:/117 None of the checkboxes we're getting make either of the distinctions I've always wanted--owned/unowned, read/unread.

And good God, do I want owned/unowned.


This is maybe getting into the Collections issue that Tim said he didn't want to get into back in #51, but what do you think the checkboxes should do that owned/unowned/read/unread tags don't do? To cop some of Tim's language, how do these become features instead of classifications?

122Heather19
Feb 26, 2008, 10:37pm Top

ACK! Another change-thing I'm coming into late! Okay, not technically late, but so many replies already!!

I like the one in the OP, but I definitely like Chris's expand/collapse interface in 10. Very very much. I'm one of those "minorities" that often tag/review/rate/etc as I add the book, so I definitely like the option of having all that be on the add books page.

And I'm giggling at the fact that I didn't even notice the wishlist checkbox, nor the comments about it, until halfway through this thread. *duh!*

And, just my 2cents here: I don't use date aquired/read/finished, but if I did use any of them at all, it would be the finished (yeah, I'm weird like that). So if any of those are going to be on the add books page, I think it would be better to have all three. *shrugs* Like I said, just my 2cents.

22: I would totally pitch in $50 for collections and more viewable fields in my catalog.
ME TOO!!

And just because I'm reading so many posts against it, I'll say again that I LOVE the thought of having the rating/review on the add books page. Please have it there! Please? *is not paranoid*

(and I start too many sentences with "And", don't I? lol)

69: Looks good! I like it.

*giggles again* I love Tim's posts. I really do. "It's the rabbit hole" "that's me disliking Chris' icon" .... Even on serious discussions, I love your posts.

96: Okay, I REALLY like that idea! That actually makes a lot more sense and looks a lot cleaner/better. Don't know how likely it would be to actually happen, but I like it.

98: *raises hand* I agree with you! I'm not saying I don't like the green save button, but I agree it doesn't seem standard, and I do like yours better. *isn't a suck-up, noooo*

And Tim: Stop working so much!! You are going to kill yourself! *is seriously a bit concerned about you working in the car*

I really didn't realize my post was so long! Wow.

123lilithcat
Feb 26, 2008, 10:39pm Top

> 103

1. An "owned" checkbox would be most useful.

All my books are owned. That's why they are in my catalogue. Why do I need a check box?

124nperrin
Feb 26, 2008, 10:53pm Top

121: The short answer is, those two sets of checkboxes fulfill anything I would want from collections. "Unowned" doesn't count in the number of books in my library and I can do everything with just "owned" that I can currently do with my whole library--author cloud, tag cloud, searching, sorting. "Unowned"+"read" gets used for recommendations, while "unowned"+"unread"=wishlist (approximately, at least, since there are some books I've read and want to buy--but I'm more interested in a "book bin" than a real "wishlist," which amazon does fine with), which doesn't get used to generate recommendations but does get used to scratch things off the suggester list. I am not as connected to people who have only wishlisted books that I own and have read. "Owned"+"unread" maybe gets less weight in recommendations than "owned"+"read".

Basically, tags don't actually do anything. I want to mark these statuses as fundamentally different from each other.

125shmjay
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 11:07pm Top

>123 lilithcat: Because my books are currently all read (not necessarily owned). Make "owned" checked as a default, if it's the majority preference.

126lilithcat
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 11:05pm Top

> 125

No, I didn't ask why you need it. I asked why I need it.

You suggested that checking "owned" is what should trigger the "date acquired" box to appear. I think that is wrong for those of us who have no need for an "owned" checkbox, but do need a "date acquired" checkbox.

If there is to be a "date acquired" field, its availability should not be dependent on anything else.

127shmjay
Feb 26, 2008, 11:10pm Top

So have this situation:

"Owned" is automatically checked, and so "Date acquired" automatically appears as the default date.
If you uncheck "owned", "Date acquired" disappears.
"Date finished" appears if you check "Read".

128timspalding
Feb 26, 2008, 11:13pm Top

All my books are owned. That's why they are in my catalogue. Why do I need a check box?

EXACTLY! Why? Because if you don't go through and check every single one of them you're going to feel like a fake and like your catalog is wrong.

This is why an "owned" box is bad. Because most of the time it's implied. Only now you have to do the extra work of making explicit the implicit. We might as well add a "made of matter" or "entered by me not unintentionally by my cat" checkbox and pressure everyone to use it by exhibiting it in key places.

129shmjay
Feb 26, 2008, 11:36pm Top

>128 timspalding:

So have the owned checkbox as checked by default, but do not put it in this quickie edit add books tab. However, in the more detailed add books screen, you can have the option of unchecking the owned box.

As 124 says, these states of owned-ness, non-owned-ness, read-ness, and non-readness are so common that it is a pain to have to type-type-type tag everything in this way. I've got 4600+ items!

What you could do is have the checkboxes also automatically put a tag in the tag fields. "owned" "not owned" "read" "unread".

130SqueakyChu
Edited: Feb 26, 2008, 11:58pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

131jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 12:03am Top

128> Then make it an unowned checkbox. That owned/unowned distinction is very important for a lot of people for all the reasons that nperrin so eloquently stated. Could you quit shooting down the whole idea and figure out a way to make the UI work?

132lilithcat
Feb 27, 2008, 12:13am Top

> 129

What you could do is have the checkboxes also automatically put a tag in the tag fields. "owned" "not owned" "read" "unread".

But that would be diametrically opposed to the general rule around here that tags are personal, that each person decides whether and how to tag her books. I would hope that the site would not begin to force tags on people who don't want them!

133timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 12:27am Top

Could you quit shooting down the whole idea and figure out a way to make the UI work?

Okay, I add the checkbox. Then I declare that all books in LT are owned, right? Pandemonium. Unowned? Pandemonium. Not everyone wants to fiddle with this distinction. Must they?

134jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 12:49am Top

Then do collections and let us make one of them an unowned/read collection and another one a wishlist collection. Another way would be to allow attributes on tags so that tags could affect the way the books are processed by LT in the ways that nperrin suggested.

135conceptDawg
Feb 27, 2008, 1:21am Top

As a user (not an LT staffer) I prefer to have wishlist separate from collections. I just want to click a single button to add an item to my wishlist and I don't want it in my collection at all (because I don't yet have it...hence a wishlist). Just my $0.02 worth.

136Heather19
Feb 27, 2008, 1:24am Top

134: Maybe I thought wrong, but I was under the impression that that's what collections were going to do.

137PaulFoley
Feb 27, 2008, 1:27am Top

I have one book, Boundless, that has not content and, in fact, cannot be opened. (It's a circular book, spiral-bound around the entire circumference.)

You sure that's a book, not a coaster or something? :)

138mvrdrk
Feb 27, 2008, 3:08am Top

>98 timspalding: Oh yes, the green check mark button is non-standard on the web! I don't care whether you use the save button, just thinking that consistency will confuse less users.

The standard icon is fine if shrunk, it's current sample size is out of proportion with the other icons.

139reading_fox
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 7:26am Top

#118 - don't start compiling stats until other timezones get a chance to chime in!

Me - well "Meh" is how I feel about it.

Lightbox - ok
rating, review, dates - NO. Don't want them here. Cluttered and mostly unnecessary.

Status - Seems sensible place to be - but does need an already read option.

edit: to add - Only if Status actually does something - links to profile etc. And also needs to editable from the catalog.

Tags - hmm I do use them at the moment on the add books page, but only to indicate that I need to do a more detailed edit later. Could easily be removed.

What's missing - quick edit of author and title. This is the Best opportunity to correct gross data source errors. Make it easy!

140seitherin
Feb 27, 2008, 7:55am Top

#139 - the other thread (which is the predecessor to this one) has been up since the 16th and has 277 entries. That is the thread I was polling information from.

http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=30087

141SqueakyChu
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 7:45pm Top

Don't get mad at me, but...

Am I the only one here who sees that tags are the best option for sorting one's library? (...and, no, I'm not counting Tim.) In this way, one gets to customize his own categories without adding a lot of clutter to this site.

Whatever the options that will be put into LT and/or the "add books page", I will use them. It's just that I don't think so many options need to be included.

Okay, a checkbox for "current read" (or other categories) is nice for someone not familiar with HTML to pull a book's picture into one's profile. A tutorial in HTML for this use would work as well. It takes more time. I know. *Sigh*

142HelloAnnie
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 9:03am Top

Tim, I'm sorry, but you are just wrong. Just because you don't see the point in owned/unowned or other forms of collections does not mean that there are thousands of us here on LT that want it and have been waiting for it. One of the main reasons I became a paid member is because at the time (July 2006) it was said that collections were just around the corner.

I also find your reasoning somewhat offensive. So it is equated that adding unowned/owned would be equivalent to adding sparknotes, saw the movie, entered by me not unintentionally by my cat, etc. Why is adding wishlists not equivalent to adding commercials you saw, you tube videos you like, book you like the cover of but will never really buy? In my opinion wishlists and unowned/owned are part of the same collections. I'm not sure why in your opinion one is good enough to add and one is terrible, stupid, etc. If you suggest we should be using tags, why not force us to use tags for wishlist?

It seems people want owned/not owned for the same reason as wishlists. It's nice to check a box and have it not be added to our collections.

And honestly, from where I'm sitting, it seems you don't like it, nor do a few of the "power users", thus we aren't getting it.

At this point of being told it is coming "just down the road" for almost two years I would really just love to hear a firm, no it isn't so I can move on to another site that fits more of my needs.

143andyl
Feb 27, 2008, 9:23am Top

#128

I don't think a "entered by me not unintentionally by my cat" checkbox is a good idea. My cat will just check it anyway. Pity I can't train it up to do the cataloguing with any degree of accuracy.

On a more serious note - I am another who loves the expander that Chris mocked up in message #10. It isn't getting enough love.

On all of the suggestions I am ambivalent. I doubt I will use them much. A significant proportion of the books I add need the title changed, or the cover photo, or needs comments adding. So I will still go through into the main edit screen - I don't want all of these adding to the add screen.

144fyrefly98
Feb 27, 2008, 9:47am Top

>142 HelloAnnie: It seems people want owned/not owned for the same reason as wishlists. It's nice to check a box and have it not be added to our collections.

I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding here. In order for a book to be associated with your account at all, i.e. so that you can look at a list of your unowned but read books, or rate/review them, etc., it's going to have to be added to your collection (if by collection you mean catalog?). No matter how collections are implemented, there's going to have to be an association of these books to your account. You just want them to fall into different categories... which is EXACTLY what tags do already.

>124 nperrin: Basically, tags don't actually do anything.

I call shenanigans on that. Tags do plenty, if you set them up to do what you want them to.

Let's say you go through with poweredit, tag all of your books "owned", then start adding unowned books to your library, tagging them "unowned". The total number of books in your library is going to change, which I get that you don't want it to. But, the total count of books you own is going to be right beneath it on your profile, as (probably) the count of your top tags. That information doesn't get lost. You can still pull only your owned books up as a list, and send that link to people.

This can work for the recommender, too (or will once its current problems get fixed). You can go through and tag the books you don't want to include for consideration "no recommendations", tag all of the rest of them "for recommendations" (or do it based on a read/unread tag, whatever), and then ask the suggester for recommendations based only on that tag.

Is this a lot of work? Yes. Is it a lot more work than going through your library and checking the appropriate boxes for everything? Not really. From what I understand about how collections are intended to work, this is pretty much it, except with a better UI. Tim, please correct me if I'm wrong.

The only thing at the moment that I think is different is the connections to other members with your library - at the moment, that doesn't work with tags.

I do think "wishlist" is a slightly separate beast.

145andyl
Feb 27, 2008, 9:49am Top

#142

And honestly, from where I'm sitting, it seems you don't like it, nor do a few of the "power users", thus we aren't getting it.

It is Tim's software, Tim's business. He runs it in the way he sees fit. It isn't a democracy although he does try and involve the community as much as possible.

On collections / wishlists etc. There are sub-groups with significant differences in the way they use LT. They have different requirements and sometimes they pull in opposite directions. I am sure nearly everyone wants a clean solution to the problem. The problem is that finding that clean solution that works for most people (and works in a clean and elegant way technically) is difficult. We have had prototypes binned before they got to the stage of being rolled out as thinking as changed on the matter.

If Tim adds a owned attribute to the database and puts a checkbox on the screen. What happens to all the old records? If 'owned' is set to Y then all those who have unowned books are going to be up in arms. If the reverse then nearly everyone will be getting out the pitchforks and flaming torches. Why do people want an owned / unowned attribute? Other than just being a bit of data on the screen what do you want it to do? nperrin mentions some functionality aspects to attributes in #124. However does "unread" have to be an attribute? Are there alternative solutions? Could it work off of tag searches? Maybe - there are definite UI and possible performance issues to consider. Other solutions? I am sure that Tim and Chris have kicked them all around - using tags was considered way back when. I think that there aren't any easy answers to a lot of this stuff.

146Talbin
Feb 27, 2008, 10:37am Top

Going waaaayyyy back to #120 - lilithcat - Somewhere above in this very long post, Tim said that nothing happens if you don't fill in the information or check boxes - filling out the additional information is optional.

147nperrin
Feb 27, 2008, 10:42am Top

Getting more OT but...
144: Is this a lot of work? Yes. Is it a lot more work than going through your library and checking the appropriate boxes for everything? Not really. From what I understand about how collections are intended to work, this is pretty much it, except with a better UI. Tim, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Well, it is a bunch more work, because you couldn't actually use poweredit to do any of this if you wanted to maintain tag order. Basically, if tags were more powerful than they are, I would be relatively happy with just using them. The count of books in my library would be off but that would not kill me, as you say. If I had a way to keep tags in order, use tag bundles, specify what certain tags would do for recommendations and member connections, view tag clouds differently, etc, I could live with the fact that these things weren't in separate subtabs of my library or something. I would have to start using my catalogue in a very different way but it would be worth it, but tags really don't currently do any of those things. They could, but they don't. Of course, you could make the same argument against a currently reading checkbox--currently reading only lasts a couple days, whereas I will continue to not own and have read To Kill a Mockingbird for the rest of my life (probably), so I can understand even less why you'd need something more powerful than tags to handle this.

148lilithcat
Feb 27, 2008, 10:45am Top

> 146

I know that. I was responding to another poster's suggestion that would require you to "choose one". I wanted to know what his thinking was with regard to those of us for whom "none of the above" is the correct choice.

149JudithProctor
Feb 27, 2008, 11:21am Top

I like the idea, especially the wish list feature, but I'd also like an ' already read' option.

I often catalogue books I've borrowed from the local library - it's a useful way of recording what I've already read and allows me to get further recommendations based on those I've borrowed.

150jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 11:27am Top

A long time ago I made a suggestion of a tag management system where you could set attributes of your tags like whether your books with that tag would be included in recommendations or used in the similar library calculation and you could set up hierarchies of tags such that English History always implies European History which implies History which implies Non-Fiction. The only response I got from TPTB at the time was that Tim was interested in doing tag bundles at some time.

151fyrefly98
Feb 27, 2008, 11:38am Top

>147 nperrin: you couldn't actually use poweredit to do any of this if you wanted to maintain tag order.

Good point. I don't particularly care about tag order, so I didn't think about this.

My point about collections was that I don't think they're going to be a lot more than glorified tags (hopefully that you can set attributes as suggested in #150) with a better UI, and that you can get a lot (but clearly not all) of the functionality that people seem to want from collections with the tag structure the way it is.

you could make the same argument against a currently reading checkbox ... so I can understand even less why you'd need something more powerful than tags to handle this.

I don't know that a checkbox is more powerful than a tag, just that it's more standardized. In theory, Tim could say "Okay, everybody who wants it, start using a "currently reading" tag, and we'll fill the profile box from that." The checkbox just makes it more standardized and more visible to novice users.

152jimroberts
Feb 27, 2008, 11:40am Top

Is there any chance of acquiring real data on what ordinary users would appreciate?

How much trouble would it be to set up the page with rather too many fields, collect usage statistics for a few days, then streamline the page to use the available area in the way that would please most people most of the time?

153jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 11:43am Top

144> Tags do some things but not enough. Since adding all of my physical books I've now added wishlist and read-but-unowned books and it bugs me when I see those books showing up in Members with your Books. And when someone is looking at my library I don't want them to think that I have something that I don't because they see it listed in my library.

I think there is a fundamental difference between owning and not owning a book that should be reflected in a fundamental way in how LT shows a persons library. The fact that there may be several ways that a book could be unowned (lost, given away, etc) doesn't make the difference less fundamental. Collections would have solved that in an elegant way. Checkboxes would be less elegant and tags as they exist now not at all.

I also think that the read/unread distinction is fundamental as well but the argument and solutions are similar.

154andyl
Feb 27, 2008, 11:55am Top

#152

The problem will be the shouts of outrage from those who do use the features that are taken away.

155timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 11:57am Top

I think, frankly, that the right course is still not decided. Tags get you some of what some people want from "collections." The checkboxes get you some other things. I'm not decided on the right answer, but I feel the checkboxes are a help.

Incidentally, the site that allegedly has collections has "shelves," which work like tags except there are some preset defaults and you can set a shelf to be "exclusive" so that, when something is put in it, all other shelves go away. The result is that people mostly use shelves for aspectual issues, like whether a book is owned, not for topics. Over there, the criticism is "why can't we easily free tag like LibraryThing?", "why are you giving us default categories I won't use?" and "Why isn't X a default category?" (The default list is getting longer and will, I predict, eventually encompass all possible relationships between spines, bone and paper.

So, these are vexed questions. I want to work through them, and with you.

156_Zoe_
Feb 27, 2008, 12:21pm Top

For wishlists, I really liked the UI you proposed a long time ago, where it was a separate tab somewhere in the Your Library view.

157timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 12:30pm Top

>156 _Zoe_:

Yeah. I think that gets at how completely different wishlists are from other relationships.

158infiniteletters
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 12:49pm Top

155: I think the new status types would work well if

1. displayed in your catalog, and had a way to show wishlist/nonwishlist, etc from the catalog navigation (like the tabs mentioned above).
2. mass-applied/deleted in PowerEdit
3. affected Stats/Recommendations/Users with your books differently
4. optional (particularly for owned/unowned)

Tags would work fine to me too, as long as 2-4 happened and there was a way to group tags (bundles, etc)

159heyjude
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 12:49pm Top

Owned - I need owned. That way I can merge my "owned" library (heyjude), with my "read but not necessarily owned" library (heyjude2).

Of course, someone will have to show me how to do that without re-entering everything....
:-)

160infiniteletters
Feb 27, 2008, 12:50pm Top

159: Tim can merge the contents of 2 accounts.

161HelloAnnie
Feb 27, 2008, 12:55pm Top

#159- How? Is there an example of what it looks like?

162AnnaClaire
Feb 27, 2008, 1:01pm Top

Tim can merge the contents of 2 accounts. (#160)

How about more than two? And can he merge accounts in such a way that my borrowed and wishlist get merged in as borrowed and wishlist? Or would just be too much work?

Until we actually have Collections, or some sort of functional equivalent (at least, one that does something), I'm sticking to three accounts.

163oregonobsessionz
Feb 27, 2008, 1:29pm Top

Thanks so much for giving everyone an opportunity to comment (rant) on this. I was making a list of comments as I read through this thread, until I got to #69. This looks great.

Agree with #71 and #74 – acquired before read, and the progression through wishlist, to read, currently reading, read. Please don’t use radio buttons though. These categories are NOT mutually exclusive to everyone.

I would never use “to read” in any context, and would almost never use ratings or reviews when adding books, but I can easily ignore these items if we have the direct link to the full edit page.

And #128: We might as well add a "made of matter" or "entered by me not unintentionally by my cat" checkbox
Oh, I love that second one! But, as andyl pointed out, the cat would probably check it, so it wouldn’t really add much value.

164heyjude
Feb 27, 2008, 1:30pm Top

#161 - sent a message to your profile so as not to waste space here.

165HelloAnnie
Feb 27, 2008, 1:34pm Top

Thank you! Will check it out!

166manque
Feb 27, 2008, 1:45pm Top

Tim, I like the screenshot you posted in #69. I don't care about date acquired or date read appearing here, but I am happy enough to simply ignore them if they are there, since they only appear for the first book or expanded books anyway.

Having the edit icon on each book entry is great.

The status checkboxes are useful and, in my opinion, an improvement over just using tags (at least with the limited functionality tags currently have).

167manque
Feb 27, 2008, 1:54pm Top

Tim, I want to weigh in on the "owned/unowned" debate: I would very much like to have an owned (or unowned) checkbox. I know how to use tags, so it's not that I can't get SOME of the functionality I want without having a checkbox. (For example, I am using a "currently reading" tag to show the books in my library with that tag on my profile page.)

BUT, I certainly can't get ALL of the functionality I want for owned/unowned by using tags. That is, unless you implement the kind of tag attributes that jjwilson (150 and elsewhere) has suggested. The kind of functionality I have in mind would be not counting unowned books in my library, not using unowned to show similar libraries, etc.

Tim, I hear you saying that the checkboxes are an intermediate step towards Collections. If this is so, "owned/unowned" makes sense.

As for the argument that adding owned/unowned will result in data "pandemonium" for all the existing records in LT: I think I understand your difficulty, but it seems to me that your argument is flawed, and you will have to deal with this sooner or later anyway.

My suggestion is to add the field, and update all existing records to mark all books as "owned." Here's why I think that won't be a problem (no "pandemonium"):

1. users who don't track owned/unowned won't care
2. users who ARE ALREADY tracking owned/unowned, using tags (the only way this can currently be done), can easily edit their library using Power Edit to set the correct status for their books. For example, if most books in your library are indeed owned by you, you could simply use Power Edit to select all the books you've tagged as "unowned" and set the owned/unowned checkbox to the correct value.

Hope this helps, Tim. Seriously, don't overlook the importance of owned/unowned for some of us.

Of course, I really think that expanding what can be done with tags (along the lines of jjwilson's and others' suggestions) would be a much better, more powerful long-term solution. If a user could specify, using tags, which books to include when calculating similar libraries, or when displaying book totals on their profile page, for example, then people would be free to create whatever combinations of tags/categories they needed, and not have to rely on you to program specific, limited feature sets.

As always, thanks for the continued development of an already useful site.

168manque
Feb 27, 2008, 1:59pm Top

@164 (heyjude): could you please post a message to my profile re: merging accounts as well? thanks!
(x-posted to your profile page)

169jimroberts
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 2:11pm Top

#154: andyl "The problem will be the shouts of outrage from those who do use the features that are taken away."

Yes, but there would be objective support for the choice. As it stands, we have an open discussion to which staffers and a selection of, as everybody admits, non-representative users contributes. As far as attracting revenue to the site goes (we all agree that that's a good thing, right, and that Tim should become richer than Bill Gates* ), that would be better than either Tim's intuition or our nerdy consensus.

* I am not being sarcastic. In spite of occasional really bad ideas, like disabling 'add from user's library', Tim is doing a great job.

ETA <expletive deleted!> Now I come across as patronising Tim - just concentrate on reading my mind.

170stephmo
Feb 27, 2008, 2:32pm Top

>167 manque:

Owned/Unowned will be a MAJOR annoyance. Frankly, tags are the way to go. It's amazing that "currently reading" is an acceptable tag but "owned" and "unowned" are not.

I have about 1/2 of my library catalogued. Throw in owned/unowned which will apply to 100% of the books in my library. Socially, it does NOTHING. Whether you own the book or not is of rarely of any use to anyone but you (yeah, yeah, someone is going to do an earth-shattering study on the % of individuals who list Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but don't really own it and demonstrate the economic prinicple of 'and that's why one should really stop at 5 books in a series' and revolutionalize the publishing world...).

"Read" and "To Be Read" at least tells the users when they look at a work (potentially), 38 people list this book in their cataloge. 10 say they've read it, 4 say they're going to read it and 24 people either don't use the feature or don't care to do it. I can see if the 14 are interested in a group discussion on the book, or want to be invited to a group that discusses said books. I can see if those that read it felt strongly enough to rate or review the book.

Wishlists, I get the need to be able to seperately see things. Yes, there's a social aspect. Frankly, I keep mine on Amazon because that's where my family goes, but with things like SantaThing being so popular, I can definitely see this being a winner. This is one specific item that has been brought up by separate users as a want. I personally think it's solvable via tags, but I get the strong desire to do that as a separate box.

Until then "owned/unowned" not being solvable through tags is nothing but an excuse. One power edit and voila - 1800 logged items, 1700 owned, 100 unowed and one knows how many books you really have. Again, this tells me what? Is there some strong desire to eliminate data from "unowned" books? At which point, do we disallow reviews on unowned books? Will we change the entire tallies on the works pages (820 owned, 42 unowned, 17 wishlist, 32 entered by cat and not me).

I'm a customer as well. I have zero need for time to be spent on owned/unowned. I have a lifetime membership. Does my opinion count less because I don't desire something so easily solved with a tag? To quote Mick Jagger, "you can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you just might find you get what you need...tags, yeah..."

Something like that.

171DromJohn
Feb 27, 2008, 2:40pm Top

Howzabout a box for "read as library lady"?

Not that I remember what book it was, but I do remember never wanting to read a second.

172Bookmarque
Feb 27, 2008, 2:41pm Top

I am a lifetime member as well and would seriously like less dependence on klugey tags...does my opinion count less because I want something you don't? Because I find tags clunky and illusory?

173jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 3:13pm Top

170> Wow. Where did that rant come from? I can assure you that no one wants to disallow reviews on unowned books (in fact several people have wanted the ability to do reviews on books not in their library. This change might encourage them to put these unowned books into their "library").

174hailelib
Feb 27, 2008, 4:07pm Top

I've been thinking about this since yesterday and have come up with what I personally would like to have.

1. I want a separate list of owned, unowned, and wishlist.

2. I really believe that wishlist is a very separate category from either of the other two.

3. I would very much like an owned/unowned distinction because the books currently in my catalogue are actually in my house and my husband and I view this list as evidence (for insurance purposes) of ownership. The catalogue contains the books owned by my husband, by me and also the ones my son left here (tagged with his name). BUT, I would like to have a separate list of books I've borrowed from the library. This would be books I have read but my husband has not. I do not want this list to be part of my catalogue of owned books and I don't feel that 'just tags' would give me all the functionality I want.

Tricia

175HelloAnnie
Feb 27, 2008, 4:16pm Top

170- I agree with the others. We are also lifetime paid members and WANT collections.

I don't understand the idea of ranting against something you personally won't use. There are plenty of LT features that I don't care about, don't use or plain out don't like (members with your books, legacy libraries, new member icon, neighborhood bookstore program, etc.). Just because I don't like/use them doesn't mean I don't think they should be here so other people can. I introduced a friend to LT. She HATES the message boards and won't go near them. At the same time, she has said that they should be here and help to make the site better. Why dictate the way others want to use LT? Don't need owned/unowned? Don't use it.

176stephmo
Feb 27, 2008, 4:46pm Top

>173 jjwilson61: (et. al) The rant came because as I've noticed in a few other threads there seems to be a rather vocal minority determined to beat other users into submission on why "x is critical to LT." To boot, I've seen several thinly veiled threats to leave LT if certain boxes are not added.

Since the boxes offer no direct social value, if we're not going to fundamentally do something with owned/not owned (change all the work stats, disallow work editing, disallow reviews, etc.), what use is the box other than to simply have a box? At that point, owned/unowned makes as much sense as "entered by my cat, not verified by me."

So far, "but I don't want to use those tags" is the biggest reason against owned/not owned as tags. No one has really given something fundamentally good for “owned” vs. “unowned” in a box. As facetious as Tim may have seemed that really isn’t that far off from a checkbox called “made of matter.”

Honestly, how many volumes will we really gain from an “unowned” checkbox? Here’s the current tag data:

Owned 37,206 by 276 users (135 volumes each) - redundant
Unowned 14,830 times by 352 users (42 volumes each)

Looking at Unowned we get those 14,830 books (I’ll pretend 100% of those using the tags will go back and use the checkbox instead). Let’s pretend further that the checkbox will increase “unowned” tenfold because it’s a warm and inviting box. 148,300 new volumes added to LT – out of 23,000,000 volumes, that’s 0.06%. Slightly over ½ of 1%. Not exactly a “power” feature.

Wishlist, on the other hand –

66,015 times by 1,396 users

Triple in users and nearly four and a half time the usage of “unowned.” (Tenfold usage could near 3% of the total volume of LT.)

I apologize if it came across as particularly rant-ish, but for everyone threatening to leave for the greener pastures...well, it's an empty threat and it's annoying. When you're down to "well, if you don't do this" or "this is the only reason in the whole wide world I joined,” and it’s insulting. I took 5 minutes to look this information up on tag usage – and if wishlist were used as little as “unowned,” I might actually buy the “tags aren’t good enough” argument.

The arguement against, "what do you care if you won't use the feature" is simply that there is only so much programming time that Tim & Co. have at their disposal. There's an opportunity cost associated with making a very small (and yet vocal) percentage of folks happy that will ultimately clutter the UI for the majority.

177HelloAnnie
Feb 27, 2008, 4:50pm Top

Your logic is false. I currently don't have any books tagged owned/unowned. That doesn't mean I don't want this feature and/or would use this feature. There are a lot of us who want collections who refuse to tag in this way.

And I really disagree that those of us who want collections are in the minority. In fact, there are messages to tell people to quit requesting them because they are requested so often. This doesn't sound like the makings of a "rather vocal minority".

178Bookmarque
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 4:58pm Top

#176 says "Since the boxes offer no direct social value" - is this the criteria for any LT feature? The last I knew, LT was also a cataloging site and not just a pure social site. The social aspect is only possible through the data produced by cataloging.

And please don't tar everyone with the same brush about the leaving thing. I did no such thing and neither have the majority of folks who find tags a PITA to use and manage. Why can't both ways of using data be accommodated? Sure, there's programming involved, but if it's done to attract more users who could add to the social aspects you enjoy, why not?

The thing that bothers me so much about this argument is the black and white/either or aspect of the positions. If it's this way, it can't possibly be that way. Nonsense. These features are all tools and I'd rather see more in the box than less so I can pick which are most useful to me.

Edited to add that when a tool is produced and put in the box, it would be nice if it were taken to a larger fruition...such as series info. I love it, but since it's not presented on the author's page or connected to works on a higher level (rather than buried on the details page), it is of less value than it would be if it were.

179AnnaClaire
Feb 27, 2008, 4:54pm Top

I don't understand the idea of ranting against something you personally won't use. There are plenty of LT features that I don't care about, don't use or plain out don't like <snip>. Just because I don't like/use them doesn't mean I don't think they should be here so other people can. I introduced a friend to LT. She HATES the message boards and won't go near them. At the same time, she has said that they should be here and help to make the site better. Why dictate the way others want to use LT? Don't need owned/unowned? Don't use it. (#175)

I totally agree with you.

Furthermore I feel I must counter stephmo's assertion that ownership is socially meaningless. I can't see it that way. Granted, readership is more meaningful than ownership, but which books we choose to shell out money for -- and which books we choose to keep when we've read them -- tells us sonething about our interests. If you really want to get a sense of my interests, look at my library as a whole, and look at which books I've read, when I read them, and how I've rated them. But don't forget to also look at the books I borrowed or read and passed on -- not doing so would leave you with an incomplete picture of my reading tastes.

180stephmo
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 4:59pm Top

>177 HelloAnnie:

To clarify - I'm not saying "collections," I'm talking about the owned/unowned box. Collections are a wholly different thing; this is a discussion about what should go on the book entry UI.

To further clarfiy - my logic would only be false if wishlist got similar usage numbers. Or are you saying that wishlist has some magic component that automatically makes users want to use that tag in greater numbers? I can also say with 100% certainty that you'd agree with the logic if the numbers favored "unowned" as they do "wishlist." ETA - That's also why I said "usage increase tenfold" - to account for this large population that doesn't tag.

Again, what fundamental thing will the owned/unowned box do in LT that will greatly enhance the site? Off the top of my head, wishlist will make SantaThing even more successfull this year. Read and To Read will enhance in ways I described in 170.

Help me understand something other than "because I don't want to use tags." I'd really like to understand.

181Bookmarque
Feb 27, 2008, 5:00pm Top

If I can put my head around it when I get home tonight, I'll tell you why I find tags a PITA for some things.

182lorax
Feb 27, 2008, 5:03pm Top

I don't use "unowned" or "wishlist" as a tag because I still hope that collections are coming.

If searching usernames was fully functional, you'd be able to see how many accounts of the type *_wishlist there are, which would be interesting.

183AnnaClaire
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 5:08pm Top

Again, what fundamental thing will the owned/unowned box do in LT that will greatly enhance the site? (#180)

I'm about ready to be departing myself, but I'll just respond to the question I've quoted above. Some things like recommendations could be improved by taking into account a combination of:

1. what we read,
2. what we own,
3. (perhaps most importantly) where reading and ownership overlap.

184jjwilson61
Feb 27, 2008, 5:14pm Top

Most of the heat is because Tim insinuated above that he wouldn't be doing Collections which many people had been counting on to handle wishlists but also owned/unowned. Since the mockup includes a wishlist box it seemed natural to ask why not an owned/unowned box.

And about unowned not being a very used tag, I think a lot of people who want this feature are refusing to put unowned books into their library at all so of course their not going to be tagged. I believe there are more than a few people who have created whole separate accounts to keep track of their unowned books to avoid the problem.

And we have described what we want out of this feature whatever its UI is, look at my and nperrin's posts above.

185Talbin
Feb 27, 2008, 5:26pm Top

Bah - everyone is so grumbly, and about entering in information that is completely optional. As Tim stated somewhere way up the line, you don't have to fill out anything in this box. It's optional. If you don't like or don't want to use a field, then don't fill it out.

Just to clarify, when entering books, this new UI would give you three choices: 1. You can enter the book and skip the new proposed box altogether; 2. You can enter the book and fill out as many or as few of the fields as you like in the new proposed box; or, 3. You can click on the edit pencil to get the full book editing page as it exists now.

Please, if I'm wrong, correct me, but that's my understanding.

My feeling is that the more fields and information that is available, the better. As someone said earlier, just because I don't use a field doesn't mean it shouldn't be available for others. I personally don't use the comment fields, but I certainly don't begrudge anyone who does. Everyone uses LT differently.

186andyl
Feb 27, 2008, 6:18pm Top

My feeling is that the more fields and information that is available, the better

Really? Most UI experts would disagree with you. For example how would you handle 10 checkboxes? 50 checkboxes? 500 checkboxes?

We have been round this before. People keep popping up with more and more attributes that just have to be included. The meaning of some items are unclear. Unread != to-read (for at least a couple of reasons).

As far as I am concerned the only attributes that make sense are those that do something besides sitting there looking pretty. Those could be boiled down to 'include in my stats' and 'use for recommendations'. Both should default to Yes. Whether they are applied at an item level or some higher level (tag bundles or equivalent) is a mere implementation detail.

Personally I quite like tags and can't see the problem with using them on a wider scale. I would be interested in why bookmarque finds them a PITA to use and manage - I am sure Tim would be too. Is it a UI problem? What could be done differently to make tags easier to use and manage?

187markbarnes
Feb 27, 2008, 6:39pm Top

>90 timspalding: (it was only 18 hours ago!)

Tim, I think your logic is wrong. So to respond to you comments:

You can't anticipate all of the ways people will want to use it.
The add box doesn't have to be perfect in every situation. It should make things quicker and easier most of the time, without being a pain the rest of the time.

You think that if I've finished reading something I shouldn't see the date acquired box.
I don't really, I was just trying to save real estate. Leave it in.

You assume that if a book is on your wishlist you haven't read it. Tell that to my friend Ben
I don't assume that. But I do assume that Ben is in a tiny minority, and you keep telling us that we can't add a feature that hardly anyone will use. Ben will just have to click advanced edit.

changing the option around as you click checkboxes is, I feel, too fiddly. You don't know what the options are until you play, and many users will not play.
It's not about playing, is it? The boxes simply open up some extra fields. It's not rocket science.

It introduces weird "what if?" cases. If a field vanishes, is it blank. So I mark something as "currently reading" and the date read box goes away. What if it had a date in it. Is the date now gone? I can't know without testing it, and that's bad practice.
I accept this. You'd have leave the data in the field. But all you have to do is re-tick the box to find out whether the data is still there. Again, it's not onerous.

The only other, better solution, is full-blown collections, with some special collections for "Finished Reading", "Not Owned", etc. that users could add if they wanted. But without going down that road (which it seems, you're trying not to do), I don't think there's a better solution.

188E59F
Feb 27, 2008, 6:48pm Top

The thing about using tags for all these things is that they're a bit like a command-line interface. Yes, it can all (well, mostly) be done with tags, but then you have to type in the right search query to get the results; you have to put together the right html to display things on your profile, etc. Fine for expert users, too much bother for casual users.

A simple UI for subsets would allow people to make functional distinctions (owned vs. unowned, read vs. unread, my apartment vs. my parents' basement, etc.) without having to think very much - shudders of horror from us obsessives, yes, but most people most of the time don't really want to think much. The main problem I can see would be how deeply it interacts with the rest of the site code, e.g., whether you also add an interface for people to do things like excluding a subset such as "unowned" from their stats page. The more of that you do, the harder it gets to implement.

189shmjay
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 7:35pm Top

>177 HelloAnnie:

It will make things easier for me to use LT to keep track of what books I actually own. I have been keeping a "read" list for the past 20+ years now, and so when I saw LT, I entered the list so I could get recommendations and things. However, now that I finished that list, I'm considering expanding it to catalogue the books I own.

I have a lot of books on languages, but I haven't read them all. I would like to be able to have one big list so I can get recommendations based on what I have read AND what I own, and find people with similar reading AND owning tastes.

I have no objection to using tags per se, but I will find it incredibly tedious to have to type "owned owned owned owned" / "not owned not owned not owned" for hundreds of books, just as I would find it incredibly tedious to have to type in all the catalogue data in LT instead of being able to download library records. (My list is already 47 100-book pages long.)

If there is a check box or something, then can I use the complete list to generate a sublist of owned books, for example, for insurance purposes.

190agis
Feb 27, 2008, 7:35pm Top

stephmo:
Tags could be used for an owned/unowned distinction, yes. Tags, however, could technically be used any single piece of information; that doesn't mean they're the best solution for it.

I don't like tags for owned/unowned - it distorts tag lists and clouds, and there's a fundamental difference between between books you own and (presumably) unowned but read that ties into the rest of the site - basically any comparison of your data with anyone else's - the same way there's a difference between "wishlist" and everything else. I wouldn't want unowned books to factor into recommendations, similar libraries, etc.

Changing the tallies on the work page actually sounds neat and somewhat useful :)
(And the reviews comment is just bizarre.)

Most people (including me) use the site to catalog their existing libraries, which is why an owned checkbox would be silly - almost everyone would leave it checked. Unowned might accomplish some of the collections plan by separating out books, but there's probably people who would differ with me about using them for recommendations.

191shmjay
Feb 27, 2008, 7:38pm Top

By the way, I am not demanding that there be an owned checkbox AND that it appear in the quick and easy book entry tool. I have to go into the edit book page afterwards anyway, so it's perfectly fine if it only appears there and doesn't obtrude itself on the vast majority of people.

192Talbin
Feb 27, 2008, 7:38pm Top

>186 andyl: What I meant by, "My feeling is that the more fields and information that is available, the better" is that the information should be available in LT, not necessarily the UI. Some have been arguing about whether certain fields should be available at all. My point was that the more information - wherever it is - is good.

As for the UI, I agree, simpler is better. I believe that Tim's suggested changes are a good compromise between virtually nothing being available when entering a book (as it is now) and having multitudes of fields available. As stated, Tim's proposed solution can be ignored altogether - you could enter the book without entering any fields at all, keeping it simple and quick.

193agis
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 7:59pm Top

As for the UI on the "Add Books" page the issue is handling the 3 primary ways books are added:

1) Upon first signup;
2) Upon getting the book;
3) Upon reading the book.

Tim's last image post (69) seems like a solid balance, except I'm not sure we need the review area there. Date read and acquired are at least partly as uncommonly used as they are due to the UI issues, a review involves some level of effort to write so the UI step is not as significant, and you need to go to a separate window anyway for review so I think the review link is redundant.

Also, the save button might work better floated to the right, on the same line as "Date Read" and "Date Acquired", plus it's more compact.

194Heather19
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 9:38pm Top

*shakes head in bewilderment* Wow. This entire thread is so... wow. Complicated. Long. Complex.

Would I use owned/unowned checkboxes if they were implimented? Maybe. Depends on if they did anything useful. Do I actually want the checkboxes? Not particularly. Do I really care one way or the other? Nope.

Do I want collections? HELL YES! Do I get annoyed that it never seems to be getting closer to reality? Yes. Would I love LT any less or use it any less if collections NEVER happened? Nope.

Basically, LT has everything I need right now. It had everything I needed when I paid for my lifetime membership... that's why I paid, because it was worth it. Anything that comes in the future, whether to my liking or not, is just extra. *shrugs*

Just my 2cents.

*head swims with all the disagreements/information/etc*

195felius
Feb 27, 2008, 10:32pm Top

Geez, I have no hope of keeping up with all of this, and I work here. As a long-time user - staff hat off - what I want is a wishlist. I can see all kinds of marvelous uses for full-on collections, but a wishlist is a tiny subset of that. I don't want to see the wishlist held up by a complete collections implementation, and I also think that 99% of people (arbitrary number pulled out of my arse) would be served well enough by a wishlist checkbox. Ok, maybe a "not-owned" checkbox as well, but I personally am less worried that.

My wishlist:
- is included when calculating recommendations
- isn't displayed in my catalog by default (icing, I'm not that fussy)
- doesn't count toward "owned" books (definitely icing for me)

I know, I know.. if you ignore my "icing" options then a tag works fine. But if it's explicitly a wishlist item, we can potentially do much more with it - "LibraryThing Most Wanted", wishlist items available in my neighbourhood bookshops, etc.

Of course, in the interests of full disclosure, let's not forget that I have an ulterior motive:

As we promised when we advertised for the job, whoever discovered our next employee would get a $1,000 book spree. We allowed people to find themself, which is what John did. Don't you wish you worked for LibraryThing, or at least sent me a note about this guy Felius? He promises to be the first user of our upcoming wishlist feature. Then he'll get his wish.


196timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 11:02pm Top

Geez, I have no hope of keeping up with all of this, and I work here.

I rarely "laugh out loud," but this tipped me into peals of laughter. I'm in the Amtrak waiting area at Penn Station--the glumest place this side of the emergency room waiting era of a Soviet hospital--so my laughter was very inappropriate.

I'm sorry if I can't summon up more of a response right now. I soaked it all in.

197AnnaClaire
Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 11:36pm Top

If you were heading that way I'd suggest you wait in one of the New Jersey Transit waiting areas. I know them well.

On the bright side, New York Penn has decent music. I can't say the same of Newark Penn, and I've managed to just miss a transfer there to an hourly train. So I know that waiting area a little better than I'd like to.

198timspalding
Feb 27, 2008, 11:51pm Top

You're right, actually. The music isn't bad at all. Of course, I'm listening to Sleater-Kinney on headphones over the string quartet here. :)

199megacoupe
Edited: Feb 28, 2008, 1:58am Top

I hope I don't get criticized for skipping some messages (I read up to Message 100, I swear!). I'm really interested in understanding how the mechanism for "Currently-Reading" will work once you finish the book. Do you have to go back to "Add Books", search for the book and change its status? Or will there be a checkbox on the catalog page to change the status of a book from "Currently-Read" to "Finished Reading"? The whole things seems a little cumbersome. (People enter books into LT when they start reading them? I would never do that because there's no way of knowing you'll ever finish the book...)

And btw, I love the original concept image in the first post, but maybe it just works for me because I use LT only for books I've read, not all the books I own. I personally don't care to date any entry I make, but I'm pretty sure it can be left blank, right? Maybe an "(optional)" belongs in there somewhere...

200markbarnes
Feb 28, 2008, 4:02am Top

Would it be fair to summarise that the reason we're generating more heat than light is partly because we're trying to create a complex feature (collections) with a simple one (checkboxes).

The bottom line is that a checkbox is either on or off. A collection (or a tag) doesn't have that limitations: (so I can have "owned", "unowned" or nothing). That crucial third state (nothing) is vital.

I suggested months ago allowing users to create special tags, which I feel would solve this whole problem (and do away with the need for collections).

Basically we could go to an advanced tag edit page, where we could set some data for each of our tags. This would include:

Treat tag as: Owned/Unowned/Reading/To-read/Finished reading/On-loan/Wishlist (This would be a drop-down menu. Books tagged with these 'special' collections/tag would have the potential to be treated by LT differently)
Hide from public catalogue?
Show in totals?
Use for recommendations?

This would also solve the add books problem. If you didn't have a 'special tag' that meant "Reading", the reading tick box and date fields wouldn't display.

I really do feel that this method would solve many of the complexities of collections, whilst giving us most (all?) of its benefits.

Newbie users could also be alerted when they used a tag that looked 'special'. So, for example, supposing I used a tag "To read" and had never used the advanced editing page. I could receive an alert: "This tag looks like it might have a specific meaning would you like to find out more?". Clicking yes would take you to the advanced edit page, with appropriate help. You could of course click "No" or "Stop nagging me".

201Bookmarque
Feb 28, 2008, 8:32am Top

Upon taking a step back from all this, I've decided to mess around with tags a bit more. Things have changed from the initial confusion and inexactness and so I think I ought to explore that before sticking to my original opinion of kluge city.

202hailelib
Feb 28, 2008, 8:37am Top

Putting a few more things on AddBooks is probably a good step and the proposal at message 69 is a pretty good compromise. Maybe it should be tried and see what happens? Anyway, I'm beginning to feel that we are repeating ourselves.

203jjwilson61
Feb 28, 2008, 9:54am Top

Back to the original topic of this thread before it got derailed by unowned...

I don't see any use personally for having reviews, rating, and the Read date on the Add Books page but I don't have a problem with Tim putting them there for those people who don't enter the book into their library until after they finish the book.

I can see the use of currently-reading and to-read as toggles for what will go on the profile (although I agree with the argument to add recently-read). To-read confused me at first but now I understand its for those subset of unread books that a user intends to get to next and they can also be displayed on the profile, although I think something like next-read would be clearer (and no, I don't find to-be-read to be any clearer than to-read).

Which brings us to wishlist. I would like this to have the side-effect of leaving the book out of the normal view of your library and at least optionally not affecting the Recommendations and Members with your books calculations. If it doesn't do these things then it might as well be just a tag.

204timspalding
Edited: Feb 28, 2008, 10:20am Top

I've got a lot of sympathy with the "special tags" idea. It's the idea we started with too. We planned to have collections "piggyback" on tags, by allowing a different UI but essentially always using tags underneath. Tags like wishlist would represent being part of a collection.

Rather than have a philosophical discussion, we can now look at an example of the phenomenon. Goodreads basically has special tags--a limited number of preset tags called "shelves." Instead of free typing, you click links to add books to shelves. You can add a new shelf, but it's more like how GMail works with the tag-ish "labels" than how LibraryThing, Del.icio.us, Flickr and so forth work. In sum, you must create the shelf and then apply it. It's not free tagging, it's the ability to create buckets and then put things in them.

The UI choice has the benefit of herding people toward certain tags, like "to read," which allows you to run special analysis on it.

The downside is that, by optimizing the UI for easy, keyboard-less entry—and by the disastrous choice of the word "shelf," with all the limits that implies—you get impoverished tagging. In the case of Goodreads, their subject tags (eg., history) tend to run 1/10 of LibraryThing, even after accounting for their 50% smaller catalog. That's bad for the site, which has bad tag pages. But it's also bad for users. With a freer UI, users create highly complex, personal maps of these beloved objects. That is surely all for the good.

Could you have the best of both worlds? I'm not sure. It seems to me that you'd lose some of the benefits of the "shelf" model, and of checkboxes, if you required people to type out their special tags—"currently reading" is a pain. I'm also worried because many users—I don't know how many—are fervently against non-topic tagging. It makes them crazy the way sneakers on the kitchen table used to make my mom crazy, and while I disagree, I can understand their point of view.

205jjwilson61
Feb 28, 2008, 10:35am Top

One of the reasons that people don't like non-topic tags is that it "pollutes" their tag cloud. You could alleviate that problem by having "not shown on tag cloud" as one of the tag attributes. Hm, you'd probably have to do the same with the tag list on the profile page. Or you could make it optional for the tag cloud and tag list to display @ tags (although I dislike having to use the spelling of the tag to mean special things to LT).

206timspalding
Edited: Feb 28, 2008, 10:41am Top

The problem with options, though, is that most users don't opt for them. Having "to read" be pre-screened is easy and will probably be welcomed. But proposing to solve something with site preferences runs a risk. It's too easy to avoid designing well by designing everything as a preference. In fact, preferences are usually correlated with bad design. My stupid, unworkable, anti-human cell phone teems with preferences. My iPod doesn't.

207DaynaRT
Feb 28, 2008, 10:44am Top

I've got two books I'm waiting to enter into my catalog. Will we be able to test out the Add Books changes anytime soon?

208VictoriaPL
Feb 28, 2008, 11:07am Top

fleela - only 2? :)

I've got 500-ish I'm waiting to put on a wishlist... I don't want to pollute my library with books I don't physically own.

209jjwilson61
Feb 28, 2008, 11:25am Top

You are a hard man to please Tim. You don't want to dictate how LT is used yet you balk at adding options to allow the site to be tailored to fit how a person wants to use it. I say that tongue in cheek since I agree with you. The UI should be flexible *and* easy to use, but that is a hard thing to do.

So how do you feel about an wishlist tag (and unread and @unowned but we can argue about those later) that has several effects. In recommendations you have the option of including your wishlist books or not, and the same for Members with your books, and the same for your tag cloud and the tag list on your profile. And I'd also like the wishlist books to be excluded from the standard view of my library and to be able to switch to a view of just the wishlist books, but that sounds an awful lot like Collections.

210_Zoe_
Feb 28, 2008, 11:43am Top

I really think wishlist has to be entirely separate. With read-but-not-owned or owned-but-not-read books, the user at least has some real connection to the book.

Also, I think the point someone raised about tags being much less easy to work with is important. If I click on a certain tag (say, wishlist) in my catalogue, I see all the books with that tag. Fine. But if I then click on a different tag, I see all the books with that tag, not just all the wishlist books with that tag. This means that the wishlist tag doesn't have the functionality that I want; I want the wishlist to be entirely separate, without losing any of the functionality of the larger catalogue. Having to search multiple tags is finicky and not nearly as obvious.

211DaynaRT
Feb 28, 2008, 11:49am Top

But if I then click on a different tag, I see all the books with that tag, not just all the wishlist books with that tag.

Bingo. This is what is inelegant about tags (and I LOVE tags). To get a list of books with the tags wishlist and XXXX, you have to put the right syntax into the search box. It's kludgy.

212timspalding
Feb 28, 2008, 12:18pm Top

>210 _Zoe_:

I agree with you on wishlists being somehow different in a deeper way.

213manque
Edited: Feb 28, 2008, 2:52pm Top

Tim, I agree with the ideas in 200 and 205. I understand your point about preferences, UI, and design (and I'm an Apple product user as well), BUT, a social cataloging site like LT does need to have more options than, say, an iPod.

I think the suggestions that MarkBarnes and jjwilson61 put across in 200/205 would represent a good balance between power/flexibility and simplicity.

I also think that if one of the options for a tag included "don't show in public tag cloud," that would remove much of the resistance some users have to using non-topic tags. Personally, I don't use owned/unowned, and several other non-topic tags that would be useful to me (such as physical location tags, since my library is spread across two continents) because I don't like how the use of those tags affects my tag cloud.

One related point about owned/unowned: I do think it has a social dimension, as personally, I am more interested in connecting with users who've not only read a book, but actually own it in their current library. This isn't meant to slight those who've read a book but don't own it as somehow "lesser" readers. It's just that for certain purposes (for example, book-swapping or borrowing), I need to know if someone actually has the book or not.

But again, implementing something like the advanced tag behavior suggested in 200/205 would make a checkbox for unowned/owned unnecessary.

edited to correct markbarnes' name

214manque
Feb 28, 2008, 2:50pm Top

Zoe (210) wrote:
I really think wishlist has to be entirely separate. With read-but-not-owned or owned-but-not-read books, the user at least has some real connection to the book.

I think you are assuming that wishlist = the user hasn't read the book. This is not always the case. For example, I have many books I would place in my LT wishlist that I once owned and read, before they were destroyed in a basement flooding accident. They'd be on my wishlist because I want to replace them, and I already have a very "strong connection" to many of them. There are also books which I've checked out from the library, read, and would now like to own.

>212 timspalding:

Tim, why is it different in a "deeper" way? I don't know that I agree. Please explain, when you can.

215rsterling
Edited: Feb 28, 2008, 3:31pm Top

>200 markbarnes: Whether collections are ultimately implemented using tags, checkboxes, or some other way, I'd like to second the suggestions from post 200. In other words, this is also how I'd like the classifications/bins/groups to operate differently. Options to:

Hide from public catalogue?
Show in totals?
Use for recommendations?


(edited for my grammar! is "collections" a plural noun or a collective, singular noun?)

216_Zoe_
Feb 28, 2008, 3:54pm Top

I think you are assuming that wishlist = the user hasn't read the book. This is not always the case. For example, I have many books I would place in my LT wishlist that I once owned and read, before they were destroyed in a basement flooding accident.

No, I'm not assuming that. In a situation where I had read a book and subsequently wanted to buy it, I would just put it both in my catalogue and in my wishlist. What I'm assuming is that in the vast majority of cases wishlist books will be unread. If everyone used wishlist only for books that they'd already read, then I think it would be fine as a tag. But that's not the case.

217rsterling
Feb 28, 2008, 4:59pm Top

It seems from much of this discussion as if it would be best if most or all of these categories were not mutually exclusive (except, of course, the ones that are direct opposites, e.g. something like owned/not-owned, if those were to become categories).
Generally, could I also add that I'm averse to having any category or checkbox (or dates, to pick up on the other thread) selected by default or automatically, just in case that's still an option that's floating around. I'd like to be in control of my data (and without having to go back in and fix stuff that was automatically entered when I clicked something else, etc.). And I'd prefer categories to be mostly independent from each other, and for category data to be independent from other types of data like dates, so I can choose to use one or the other or both as I wish.
I can't remember when this came up, but it seems like some power-edit-like function would be the best way to quickly mark a large number of books at a time as read/owned/wishlist/ whatever our options end up being. Apologies if I'm covering old ground here, but this thread has gotten a little long to follow in detail.

218timspalding
Feb 28, 2008, 5:21pm Top

Tim, why is it different in a "deeper" way? I don't know that I agree. Please explain, when you can.

Oh, I thought we were agreeing. I mean that wishlist is realy different. It's not about what you did with the book, where it is or what you thought of it. It's about desire rather than contact.

but this thread has gotten a little long to follow in detail

I'll say!

219_Zoe_
Feb 28, 2008, 5:26pm Top

I think we need a few new threads for the various subtopics covered here. One for the add book screen, one for wishlists, one for collections in general....

220HelloAnnie
Feb 28, 2008, 5:27pm Top

Zoe, I was thinking about starting a thread about collections, but I already feel like I'm bashing people over the head with it! It would be interesting to see how many of us want it (because some are claiming the number is less than 1%! And also what we want from collections.

221timspalding
Feb 28, 2008, 5:41pm Top

Can we hold off slightly. I'm drowning in messages, frankly. And I want to push some version of 69 out.

222timspalding
Feb 28, 2008, 5:43pm Top

Not to throttle you. Go ahead as you want, but I'm not going to be writing long-form responses until I can get some solid work of some sort out.

223markbarnes
Feb 28, 2008, 6:21pm Top

Tim,

I appreciate your qualified support for #200, but I'm not sure about forcing users to use an exact tag "reading", rather than my suggestion of designating the tag of my choice to mean "reading". Not least because that's the only way to fit the multi-lingual beast that LT has become. (Or to satisfy those with the independent streak you will not be told what they should call their tags!)

I would also suggest that tags that "do something" (i.e. "finished reading", "currently reading", "owned"), or whatever are automatically and non-optionally excluded from tag clouds. Their stats will show up elsewhere on (they will, won't they?), so they're not needed.

I'd further suggest that for a tag like "owned", their be an option where we could select: "Treat everything not tagged with {select your tag here} as owned", but the benefit of those of us who own (almost) everything in our library.

Finally, if there was a tag suggester (a la Google Suggest), that would also be wonderful, particularly if we are going to use tags more.

224Heather19
Feb 28, 2008, 8:23pm Top

*is once again drowning in posts* Only thing I have to say at this point is that I wouldn't be too happy with having certain checkboxes checked by default... if I enter a book from the "add books" page, it would annoy me to no end to have it automatically say that I've read it (or that it's "to read", or anything else). The checkboxes should NOT be checked by default.

And I have a question: What about all the books we already have in our catalogues? Will they have to be individually checked with the appropriate box, will it be an available Power-Edit, what?

225KC9333
Mar 1, 2008, 6:40pm Top

I have been reading this string on and off in the last few days and I admit while wading thru it all I may have missed something.....but I was very excited to see the wish list check box in the early considerations...I just added a new book and it was not there.....the book I added was one I bought but I was hoping to see the box for future use.....

deep sigh.......

226timspalding
Mar 1, 2008, 6:56pm Top

This was all about the future—near future—but still the future. I think I'll add the wish list checkbox, although how it will interact with the rest is still very up in the air.

T

227HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 7:31pm Top

First, I won't grumble about how there will be a wishlist box, but not a read but not owned box. Well, maybe I'll grumble a little bit.

Second, say I use this feature (which I more than likely won't). If I have 500 books in my catalog and wishlist 100, will my catalog show up as 600 books or 100 wishlist and 500 catalog? One of the reasons I won't use tags (and just one reason) is because I don't want unowned books in my total library count. Same would go for wishlist.

228timspalding
Mar 1, 2008, 7:38pm Top

I think the count should say something like

Library (142); Wishlist (23)

Right?

What to call "not-in-the-wishlist" bedevils me.

229Talbin
Mar 1, 2008, 7:42pm Top

>228 timspalding: Seems like what you said would work - Library and Wishlist.

230HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 7:42pm Top

Yeah! I might use this feature after all. I was worried that it would place any book you catalog into your library.

Hmm...Library works for me? I'm not feeling creative or sharp at the moment!

231timspalding
Mar 1, 2008, 7:47pm Top

So, then waht's the tab called? "Your library plus stuff that for one reason or another isn't in your library"?

232agis
Edited: Mar 1, 2008, 7:51pm Top

"Library" sounds good to me as well.

Edit:
Well, Separate "Your Library" and "Your Wishlist" tabs sound like the best solution to me.

233HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 7:49pm Top

Will it be separate? One tab for library, another for wishlist or will your wishlist be included in your library view?

234Talbin
Mar 1, 2008, 7:50pm Top

Ahh - we're learning things! ;)

So, there will be a different tab for Wishlist? I still think Library works okay. Since Wishlist is called out, then Library would by default be everything else.

235oregonobsessionz
Mar 1, 2008, 7:59pm Top

Separate tabs for Library and Wishlist? That would be fantastic! I have been using a ~wishlist tag, but it seems like I add them to wishlist faster than I acquire them.

236hailelib
Mar 1, 2008, 8:05pm Top

I would love separate tabs if it can be done that way.

237timspalding
Mar 1, 2008, 8:07pm Top

Wow. I hate separate tabs...

238HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 8:09pm Top

I don't like it if the wishlist is included in the list with all our other cataloged books. It feels weird to me to have owned books, then wishlist books, then unowned books, then wishlist books, etc. all together in one big messy mash. I would love it if all the wishlist/unowned could be separated out from our catalog. Otherwise, it would seem we might as well use tags (the horrors!).

239Talbin
Mar 1, 2008, 8:12pm Top

I agree with having Wishlist on a separate tab. Somehow it feels very, very different from the rest of my library. If I could keep it separate I would start entering wishlist items into LT and get rid of my Amazon wishlist.

Plus, I would imagine that the books included in Wishlist could then be separated for purposes of recommendations, zeitgeist, etc.

240DaynaRT
Mar 1, 2008, 8:14pm Top

I've always envisioned the Wishlist as being in a separate tab.

241hailelib
Mar 1, 2008, 8:15pm Top

Or perhaps a sort of subtab after you get to the library view so that they are listed (and sorted) separately.

242rsterling
Edited: Mar 1, 2008, 8:50pm Top

Ah, but, what if you wanted to search by tag or author, say, and pull up all the books - both in your Library and in your Wishlist - with the same tag, or by the same author? I think the "subtab" kind of idea would work best in that case. I don't terribly mind if the big group (Library plus wishlist) and the small group (Library minus wishlist) are both called Library. Or, the top-level category/tab could just be called "Catalog."

243_Zoe_
Mar 1, 2008, 9:00pm Top

Either a separate tab or a separate sub-tab would be fine with me, but I'd prefer a completely separate tab. The search example is actually what makes me lean toward separate tabs; I want to search wishlist and library separately.

Library seems like a fine name for "everything else".

What was that old thread with a picture of how a wishlist sub-tab might look?

244rsterling
Mar 1, 2008, 9:05pm Top

So, ideally, based on this sample of 2, it would be good to have the option to search them separately or together. I'd like to be able to search them separately too. Maybe to search them together would require some sort of "advanced search" option.

245bluesalamanders
Mar 1, 2008, 10:29pm Top

Am I the only person who actually couldn't care less about 'wishlist'? If it appears (as it seems it will), I won't use it, or if I do, it certainly won't be as a wishlist. This is why I've been looking forward to collections - the ability to make subsets of my library on my terms. I imagined them sort of like flickr sets of photos. Wishlist isn't useful for me, and the name just gets in the way.

246HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 10:32pm Top

I really don't care about a wishlist. I store mine on Amazon. If it was kept 100% separate from our library, I might add mine here, too, but I'm not sure. What I have cared about since day one is read but not owned and/or collections.

247Heather19
Mar 1, 2008, 10:51pm Top

245: I join in the rally cry for "wishlists", but what I really mean is collections... I would love to be able to sort my catalogue by my terms, in seperate or sub-set tabs, but not necessarily for wishlists. (And then my mind says "well you are already doing that with tags!" and I yell back at my mind "but I don't want them to count in recommendations!")

*very gently pokes Tim to answer my question in 224* *feels guilty for being so damn impatient*

248timspalding
Mar 1, 2008, 10:56pm Top

>224 Heather19:

That's the problem, and why I don't want to add categories that are the default for most people, like "own" or "read."

249HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 10:59pm Top

Tim, are you really starting to think that you may not have to add collections if you can add wishlist to the checkboxes?

250timspalding
Mar 1, 2008, 11:07pm Top

I'm torn between seeing if that works well, experimenting with tags that "do" something (see above) and a more formal collections. Mostly, I'm working on local too hard tonight to think deeper about it.

251AnnaClaire
Edited: Mar 1, 2008, 11:09pm Top

The thing is, the checkboxes don't really do anything yet, do they?

Damn, my computer's slow tonight. I hate when it does that when I really want to post a complaint.

252HelloAnnie
Mar 1, 2008, 11:13pm Top

What about a unowned checkbox?!? Please, oh, please. It seems there are just as many of us that want this option as there are that want wishlists.

253jjwilson61
Mar 1, 2008, 11:31pm Top

248> That's where Collections are better than checkboxes. If you gave people the option of adding an unowned Collection than those who don't wish to make the distinction don't have to add it. Tag attributes would also be better than checkboxes or you could invent some sort of three-way checkbox but I'm not sure what that would look like.

254r.orrison
Mar 2, 2008, 3:46am Top

I realize I'm coming late to the discussion (I've been away) but I'd just like to speak up as another who adds books as soon as possible after acquiring them. Fields that I can't fill in until I've read the book are useless to me at this point, Date Acquired would be most useful.

Wishlists are to me a poor relation, a subset of what collections should do. Why a separate tab for Wishlist? Would you have a separate tab for read-but-not-owned? For owned-once-but-no-longer-own? For any other division of books that people come up with?

(And no, these things can't currently be done with tags, for the same reason that wishlist can't, for the reasons that jjwilson suggests attributes of tags.)

255timspalding
Mar 2, 2008, 8:22am Top

Wishlists are to me a poor relation, a subset of what collections should do. Why a separate tab for Wishlist? Would you have a separate tab for read-but-not-owned? For owned-once-but-no-longer-own? For any other division of books that people come up with?

Right.

256rebeccanyc
Mar 2, 2008, 8:55am Top

I confess I haven't read everything in this thread, so apologies if I'm repeating something here.

The reason I want a "wishlist" is to have a location on LT but SEPARATE from my main LT library to enter books I read about on LT that sound interesting and that I want to investigate further and possibly buy. Ideally, I would like to be able to click on a book title, probably from the work page, and add it to my wishlist.

Most likely, I wouldn't be entering these books from the Add Book tab, because I wouldn't have enough information to do so. (But I would have no objection to having some way of adding from Add Books for people who want to do that.)

Yes, I could use a "wishlist" tag, but then books I don't own and might not even want would end up being considered part of my library, and that doesn't seem right to me.

Yes, I could open another LT account for my wishlist, but then I'd have to jump back and forth between accounts, logging in and out.

The main thing, as I said initially, is that I would like a way to keep "wishlist" books separate from my main library, but still within my LT account.

257Talbin
Mar 2, 2008, 9:07am Top

>256 rebeccanyc: This is exactly how I feel about wishlists.

And I think wishlists function separately from collections, I really do, at least in my case. Collections would be made of of books I have read and/or own, whereas wishlists would be just that - books I want but don't "have" (either physically or mentally).

258Morphidae
Mar 2, 2008, 9:08am Top

I'll start this off by saying that I'm not one to think, "If I don't want it, nobody should get it!"

I have no interest in wishlists. That's what Amazon is for. Plus I'm not redoing my 2,000 item wishlist here.

My only interest in collections is to have a separate list/shelf of "read" and "currently reading." But I won't use those unless I only have to a) enter a month and year (NO day) and b) can use a checkbox instead of tags. (Currently use Good Reads for this.)

I use LT for listing the books I own and where they are located in the house (25%) and for the community (75%).

259_Zoe_
Mar 2, 2008, 9:27am Top

I agree with rebeccanyc.

Would you have a separate tab for read-but-not-owned? For owned-once-but-no-longer-own? For any other division of books that people come up with?

No. If we had a separate tab for read-but-not-owned, I wouldn't use it; I would continue to use tags. The fundamental distinction is that read-but-not-owned books still have a connection to me, while wishlist books don't necessarily. I want all the books I've read together so that when I sort by date read I can see a complete list the books I've read.

I think the way to go is a separate tab for wishlist and better tag functionality for everything else.

260r.orrison
Edited: Mar 2, 2008, 11:30am Top

The only difference I see between wishlists and other the other things I would use collections for is that a wishlist could be a list of works, instead of books. But I don't see any harm in picking any particular edition of a book to put on my wishlist. The collections that I would use are:

Books I don't own and haven't read but am interested in (this is my wishlist)
Books I don't own but have read, divided perhaps into
Library books
Other family members books
Books I have owned but do not now own (either given away, sold, or lost)
Books I currently own (either read or unread, a tag suffices for that, or the use of the date fields)

I don't see that there's any significant difference between the first one and the rest.

All would be interesting for suggestions, but only the last one should appear on my profile page under "Random books from rorrison's library". There's no way to do that with tags.

261bluesalamanders
Mar 2, 2008, 11:48am Top

Since we're going into this, what I know would use collections for is:

tbr - this is what some people call 'wishlist', but to me 'wishlist' means "I want to own this" and I definitely do not want to own all the books that are on my tbr list

read but not owned - this is borrowed from friends, library books, books read while sitting in the bookstore, whatever; anything I've read that isn't sitting in my apartment currently

my library - these are the books that are in my apartment, whether or not I have read them.

I suppose the fourth might be the actual 'wishlist', the books that I really want to own someday, but I think that there are all of five books that I've planned ahead to wanting to own. Generally I either buy them or I don't worry about it. They're currently included in my tbr list with a tag.

And I would like to be able to easily move books between these sets, because sometimes I buy a book, read it, and get rid of it, and sometimes I read a book and add it, and then later (sometimes years later) buy a copy, and so on.

262hailelib
Mar 2, 2008, 12:10pm Top

Something that would make sense for me is to be able to put a 'read but not owned book' there and also on a 'wishlist'. Sometimes a library book is so good that I not only want to read others by the same author but I want to have my own copy someday.

263skittles
Mar 2, 2008, 12:24pm Top

I'm with bluesalamanders #261 on the collection choices...

I don't care about (or use) recommendations & I currently use tags for some of this.

but my wishlist isn't at amazon... they recommend the oddest things & keep track of stuff forever... and I do get books for others that I wouldn't be caught dead with (to have stuff recommended based upon every book irritates me, even though I can opt out of those books... too much trouble)

264jjwilson61
Mar 2, 2008, 12:41pm Top

What I'd do with Collections,

1. Wishlist
2. Read but not owned
3. A different collection for each member of my family's owned books.

And I'd like to be able to put a single book into several of my family's collections without it being courited more than once in the overall count.

265rsterling
Mar 2, 2008, 1:08pm Top

Should we maybe start another thread (this one is really long) or a wiki page to compile all these suggestions for 1) what people want collections to do, 2) how people want wishlists to operate, whether or not they are part of collections, and 3) user-interface possibilities for collections and/or wishlists (i.e. check-boxes, drop-down lists, special tags {though that is probably more a database than a UI issue}, separate tab vs sub-tab, mutually exclusive groups or not {again, though, probably a database issue}, what goes on which pages, searching options, options for separate counts and/or combined counts of books in wishlists/collections categories and full library, etc.)?

266flabuckeye
Mar 2, 2008, 5:29pm Top

All the above CAN be done with tags. Just a matter of the correct tag and a lot of programing. Simple - No and even if it were done, not all would like it.

267rebeccanyc
Mar 2, 2008, 6:38pm Top

#266, flabuckeye, Please see my earlier post, #256, for why I think tags are inappropriate for the way I envision "wishlist," which is books I don't own but want to investigate further and possibly buy. Tags would make them part of my library, and they aren't (yet).

And for Morphidae's comment that that's what Amazon is for (#258), (1) I would like to have my wishlist in LT so I could link easily to the opinions of other LTers, both in reviews and in Talk, and (2) I for one don't like the whole Amazon system for wishlists (and plus, why should Amazon know that much about me?).

268bluesalamanders
Mar 2, 2008, 6:44pm Top

266 flabuckeye

Anything couldbe done with tags. Why do we need any information besides the absolute basics outside of tags? Just because something can be done with tags doesn't mean that that is the best, most useful way to do it.

I currently have three separate LT accounts, for the three 'sets' I mentioned, because I want them to be (nearly) that separate. I expected collections to have that ability - to have all the books in one LT library, but to have separate groups. Tags won't cut it.

269AnnaClaire
Mar 2, 2008, 8:11pm Top

Anything could be done with tags. Why do we need any information besides the absolute basics outside of tags? Just because something can be done with tags doesn't mean that that is the best, most useful way to do it. (#268)

That's exactly how I feel about tags: just because something is a possible solution doesn't automatically make it the best solution. And I have yet to be convinced that tags are the best solution for wishlists. Hell, I have yet to be convinced that they're the best solution for unowned books.

270flabuckeye
Mar 2, 2008, 11:40pm Top

The users of LT can't agree on what is the "best solution." Never have and never will. Different people have different needs. And those needs change over time. And there are "wants" with the same problems.

When you use another sign in for a wish list, you are using a different "tag" than your original library. You don't see it but the PROGRAM does and Tim&Co told it how to keep them apart. And also fit them in with existing data. They could also, with enough time and money, do the same thing with a "tag, hook or whatever the program needs" from your existing library.
And use the data for whatever purpose was cost effective. For 25 dollars we have the bargin of the century. And for that $25 we get better service than from a 400 dollar program by Big Bill. Just MHO which is that correct "tags" and the correct "program" CAN do it. Even hit a moving target in space. Go Navy.

271markbarnes
Mar 3, 2008, 6:08pm Top

>266 flabuckeye: "Anything can be done with tags."

Not true. But see my earlier post for lots of things you could do with tags on steroids.

272manque
Edited: Mar 3, 2008, 6:50pm Top

I just want to second #262, and repeat my earlier point that "wishlist" does NOT mean the same thing for everyone. For me, it specifically does NOT mean that I haven't read the book (or as Zoe puts it, that I don't have a "connection" to the book).

Wishlist, for me, refers only to the fact that I do not currently own a physical copy, and would like to. I may have owned it and lost it; I may have borrowed it from the public or university library and now want my own copy.

In other words, a wishlist book could also be in my LT library already as a book I've read. For this reason, I don't see Wishlist as being truly different in some way, as Tim and others do. For me, it's just another possible kind of collection. All of the things that have been mentioned here as reasons why Wishlist is special or different (e.g., not wanting wishlist books to count in the library total) could also apply to other kinds of/uses for collections. (I might not want my "read but not owned" collection to count in my library totals, for example.)

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I really have to question the assumptions behind the thinking that Wishlist is fundamentally different as a kind of collection, or in its functionality or relation to a user's library. This may be true for some users, but not for all. The only real difference that is true in every case is that you'd like someone to buy it for you (or to buy it someday yourself). Does this single difference deserve its own special implementation in LT, or a special interface tab? IMHO, no -- certainly not any more than read/unread, or other single-attribute features for which users are (sometimes impatiently!) waiting.

While I can understand a desire to implement Wishlist in the near future and not have to wait for collections, I think it sets a bad precedent and goes in the wrong direction. I'd rather the effort went into developing a full collections function.

We need the ability to define collections and their functional attributes (counts in library, include in searches, etc.) on our own terms--whether implemented through tags or via some other method. Wishlist could then be one of those collections for those who want/need it.

273_Zoe_
Mar 3, 2008, 7:01pm Top

The only real difference that is true in every case is that you'd like someone to buy it for you (or to buy it someday yourself).

Actually, I was planning to use the wishlist feature just for books that seemed interesting, not that I was necessarily planning to buy. So really, there's nothing true in every case.

While I can understand a desire to implement Wishlist in the near future and not have to wait for collections, I think it sets a bad precedent and goes in the wrong direction. I'd rather the effort went into developing a full collections function.

I would have agreed with you a year ago, but I've come to think that collections are just too big to be done all at once. I'd rather have some small progress than no progress at all. I think Wishlist is a good start, and the discussion that arises around a wishlist feature will make it clearer what people want from collections in general.

I think in the end, there are two things that people want: 1) more functionality for tags (to exclude certain books from suggestions, etc.), and 2) the ability to have sub-categories that are entirely separate from the main library, in a separate tab. Wishlist seems like a good way to test how a separate tab would work.

274manque
Edited: Mar 3, 2008, 10:51pm Top

>273 _Zoe_:

Actually, I was planning to use the wishlist feature just for books that seemed interesting, not that I was necessarily planning to buy. So really, there's nothing true in every case.

Hah, you got me there. Kind of. That is, I take your point that you would use the wishlist for something other than just books you actually wish to buy (or acquire as a gift). But, why call it a wishlist then? Isn't it just an "interesting books to maybe investigate later" list? And if so, what's the rationale for having a Wishlist feature (or one called "wishlist") now, if it's not intended to have some kind of functionality inherently tied to the concept of a wishlist = books I want to own?

I would have agreed with you a year ago, but I've come to think that collections are just too big to be done all at once.

Here is really where I disagree. If collections are done right, it should be no more difficult to implement it as a general feature customizable to user needs, than it would be to implement it for one specific "collection" at a time. By "done right," I mean collections should be implemented as something user-definable; something not limited to a predetermined list of collection types. At least, that's how I understood Tim's concept.

So, actually, I am skeptical of stop-gap measures that try to implement collections piece-meal. I'm afraid that they will not really work like collections should, and their implementation will only delay a true collections feature and move LT in the wrong direction (where "wrong" is understood to mean including more and more specific, non-user-customizable ways of classifying books).

I think in the end, there are two things that people want: 1) more functionality for tags (to exclude certain books from suggestions, etc.), and 2) the ability to have sub-categories that are entirely separate from the main library, in a separate tab.

I agree with your (1), but not (2). I don't want collections to be "entirely separate" from the main library--I see them as actually comprising the main library. That is, I want to be able to view "collections" that are each a part of my library (and decide which of these collections should count as being "in the library" for things like book count, recommendations, etc.). For example, I'd like to be able to create and view a collection of books purchased for graduate school, but have these books ALSO show up when I view the "main" (really just a word for "entire") library. Another example for collections: to have a subset of my library that is "private" and can only be viewed by me, while the rest of my library is visible to everyone.

Now that I'm writing this, it occurs to me that collections, as I understand the concept and what I'd like it to do, is really just a way of organizing/viewing subsets of books that are in my LT library. Ideally, LT could give users the option of creating, naming, and defining these collections/views (perhaps giving each view a separate tab on the interface), and certain associated behaviors for each defined collection (e.g., do/don't include in library totals, public/private, etc.).

I guess my main point, and the reason I think the current idea for wishlist is misguided, is that I don't see collections as separate from my library, but rather as distinct parts of my library that I'd like the LT user interface to treat/display in different ways.

275shmjay
Edited: Mar 3, 2008, 11:21pm Top

> 274 Think of it as an "I-wish-to-read-it" list.

276HelloAnnie
Mar 4, 2008, 12:39am Top

#275- Exactly! Some of the books in my Amazon wishlist have the comment, "get at library". I store books in there to look at later. Some I'll buy, some I'll get at the library, some I'll decide I just don't care about anymore and delete them.

277r.orrison
Mar 4, 2008, 2:37am Top

272: "The only real difference that is true in every case is that you'd like someone to buy it for you"
Heh. I like how the bit that you singled out as true "in every case" has now generated four comments to the contrary. (I would be quite happy if someone returned from the library with a book off my wishlist for me.)

I'm going to create a new thread for discussion of what collections could / should / might do.

Request:: Collections (what does that mean, anyway?)

278reading_fox
Mar 4, 2008, 6:30am Top

Whilst we're on the wishlist discussion - please make sure this applies as an option to existing library contents, not just books added after the implimentation date (cf the addtional author roles - which still can't be added to previous catalog entries.)!

279_Zoe_
Mar 4, 2008, 9:58am Top

Isn't it just an "interesting books to maybe investigate later" list?

Yes, but "Wishlist" is close enough. I guess I'd prefer "Watch list", like we have for people, but the name really isn't important.

I don't want collections to be "entirely separate" from the main library--I see them as actually comprising the main library.

Then what do you want from collections that couldn't be done with increased tag functionality?

280manque
Mar 4, 2008, 11:14am Top

>272 manque:, Yeah, that will teach me to make a "true in every case" claim! I should've known better. Still, it's been useful for me to see the responses that give a bit more insight into how people would use a "wishlist" feature.

>279 _Zoe_:
Then what do you want from collections that couldn't be done with increased tag functionality?

I suppose I could turn your question around and ask, what do you want from a wishlist that couldn't be done with increased tag functionality? It all depends on what you mean by "increased tag functionality."

My point is, perhaps when the long-awaited Collections feature is implemented, it will be based on increased tag functionality.

281_Zoe_
Mar 4, 2008, 11:21am Top

what do you want from a wishlist that couldn't be done with increased tag functionality?

I don't want it to be possible to view all the books together. I want the wishlist to be entirely separate, always.

My point is, perhaps when the long-awaited Collections feature is implemented, it will be based on increased tag functionality.

My point is that it should be a combination of increased tag functionality and entirely separate tabs. If the increased tag functionality is enough for you, that's great. But it won't be enough for everyone.

282r.orrison
Edited: Mar 4, 2008, 11:40am Top

There could be an option on a tag that was "keep separate from the rest of my library"... Anything can be done with increased tag functionality. (That doesn't mean I think it's appropriate.)

283skittles
Mar 4, 2008, 11:58am Top

The word I want to use is TOGGLE Switch... in my flowchartish, pre-programming memory...

You have a switch where you choose "left" "right" "both".

You see your "right": the REAL LIBRARY
You see your "left": the wishlist/watch/archived/gone/read-but-not-owned/read-but-want-to -buy
Or You can see BOTH.

Recommendations are based only upon the "side" you are on.

(slight puns/winks intended with the right/left choices)

284manque
Edited: Mar 4, 2008, 5:22pm Top

>281 _Zoe_:

rorrison's reply (282) said it better than I did. Anything is possible with increased tag functionality.

So far, I haven't seen anything discussed here as desired Wishlist functionality that couldn't be accomplished with increased tag functionality, as it has been loosely defined/imagined by markbarnes, jjwilson, and others here.

That said, I'm not actually arguing that increased tag functionality is the best way to implement a Collections feature. Maybe there's a better way to achieve the same sort of user-defined flexibility I'd like to see in Collections.

I only meant to use increased tag functionality as an example of a possible technical solution, to make a larger argument against the need for a "piece-meal" approach to implementing Collections.

I wanted to show that the same technical features that would need to be put in place to implement Collections would work for a Wishlist--whereas the reverse is not true. Implementing a stop-gap wishlist feature won't get us any closer to Collections, and will actually take valuable programming time and resources away from the effort to deliver Collections.

I guess I am assuming that Tim and co. would be working on bringing Collections to LT in the near future (now that LT Local is done). If, however, Collections are still some distant dream (1-2 years away?), then I can see how slipping in a quick, but limited, Wishlist function might make sense for those who really feel the need to have it.

285r.orrison
Mar 4, 2008, 5:36pm Top

For me, a wishlist tag works fine for now and I'd rather not have this checkbox until it can be implemented properly with collections. Though from the list of things still to do on Local it'll be a while before they get to collections.

286dreamlikecheese
Mar 4, 2008, 6:29pm Top

I don't want it to be possible to view all the books together. I want the wishlist to be entirely separate, always.

This seems a bit draconian to me. I think what you really want would be a way to view your library without the wishlist included, and maybe even set that as some sort of preference. Other people may want their wishlist in with their library and what works for one person doesn't work for others. Just be careful how you word things....it can come across a bit heavy-handed if you're not careful :)

287Heather19
Mar 4, 2008, 9:02pm Top

Increased tag functionality would work fine for me for wishlists, as long as part of that increased functionality included excluding the wishlist books from recommendations. That's honestly the only wishlist thing that I can't already get out of tags. But that's just me, and I know many people disagree.

288_Zoe_
Mar 4, 2008, 9:04pm Top

I think what you really want would be a way to view your library without the wishlist included, and maybe even set that as some sort of preference.

No, I was taking it as a given that it would be possible to view one without the other. But just the thought of me or anyone else ever viewing my wishlist books mixed in with all my other books is enough to make me not want to use the feature at all.

I grant that other people should be able to set their own catalogue-viewing options however they want, but I very strongly do not want my wishlist books mixed in with the rest of my books at all. I also do not want other people to view my wishlist books mixed in with the rest of my books. I've said earlier that I would use a wishlist more to keep track of interesting books than to keep track of books that I definitely intend to buy, so to me, viewing my wishlist with the rest of my library would be almost as bad as including a random selection of recently-browsed books in my library. It just makes no sense.

289manque
Mar 4, 2008, 10:50pm Top

288 > But just the thought of me or anyone else ever viewing my wishlist books mixed in with all my other books is enough to make me not want to use the feature at all.

Ah, interesting! So what you're really concerned about is how others would view your library--not how they might choose to view their own. I hadn't gotten that from your previous posts. It opens up yet another dimension to the Collections/wishlist feature debate.

It sounds to me like you're asking for more control over how other users view your library. That is, you'd like other users to be restricted to the viewing options you set for your library. This might be a new feature that goes beyond just a wishlist function (it could apply to other cases/uses).

290_Zoe_
Mar 4, 2008, 10:59pm Top

Sorry, I should have made that clearer before!

I hope I haven't opened too much of a can of worms here.... I don't think other users should be restricted to, say, viewing only the display styles that I like; that would be more annoying that beneficial. But yes, I guess I do want more control over how others view my library. Though it might be better just to make my eventual wishlist private and avoid all the implications of having that added control.

291TimSharrock
Mar 5, 2008, 7:55am Top

289 > how others would view your library

that is also relevant to one possible use I might have for collections - "Work-friendly" I might well want to include a link to a collection of programming and similar books in my work internal email signature, but I would have to think about how easily they should be able to get at my wombles books...

292rebeccanyc
Mar 5, 2008, 8:01am Top

I am more or less in agreement with Zoe, in that what I'm envisioning as my "wishlist" is books that I don't own and may never own (I want to investigate them further) and thus are NOT part of my library. This means I don't want to see them in my library, I don't want other people to see them in my library, and I don't want statistics/recommendations based on them.

Some of the options mentioned here and in other threads for ways to exclude certain tags in various ways would partly address my needs, but not totally. (That is, it would be a several-step process to add books to my wishlist as I hear about them in Talk or other places on LT, whereas I would love to be able to click on an "add to wishlist" button.

Moving away from my particular wishes, I see that "wishlist" means many things to many people, so probably some system that allows users to make choices for their own lists is desirable.

293r.orrison
Mar 5, 2008, 6:23pm Top

The proposals for Collections in the Request: Collections (what does that mean, anyway?) thread include making an individual Collection private, which should do exactly what you want for your wishlist.

294timspalding
Mar 5, 2008, 10:50pm Top

Read from 256. My God there's a lot to read.

295rebeccanyc
Mar 6, 2008, 7:45am Top

#293, I am not sure whether making a collection private would really address my concerns about my wishlist: it isn't so much that I want it "private" (not viewable by others), but that I want to keep it separate from the rest of my library (in terms not just of how it is seen but also recommendations, etc.). I don't care if other people see it; I just want them to know that these books are not (yet) part of my library and may never be.

However, some of the other suggestions in the thread you reference could help address some of these issues.

296rsterling
Edited: Mar 6, 2008, 2:24pm Top

Some of these issues - separate/not separate, visible/not visible - are also being discussed on another thread, in relation to the functions and options people want collections to have:
http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=31256
(edited for typo)

297FicusFan
Mar 10, 2008, 7:02pm Top



I haven't read all the messages, but I wanted to comment on the Status boxes, since they are now part of the system.

I think there are only 2 options though,

Currently Reading,
To Read

Seems a little pointless to keep the list so brief.

What happens when you have finished reading the book you have checked as 'Currently Reading' ? I am not going to go back just to uncheck it. There should be more of a reason/reward.

It would make more sense to add a couple more options:

Read
Quit

That way when you finish a book you can change it to Read status, and if you give up you can change it to Quit.

298AnnaClaire
Mar 10, 2008, 7:37pm Top

>297 FicusFan:,

I'd like to add a fifth to your four: Reference. That way, the default (no boxes checked) doesn't get stuck with a default meaning on top of having a default of no meaning at all (if you follow my logic).

299trollsdotter
Mar 10, 2008, 8:35pm Top

>297 FicusFan:

I know this discussion and a couple others have wandered, intertwined and separated again. Before collections came into it, the check boxes "Currently Reading" and "To Read" were originally intended to be a shortcut to displaying thus-marked books on one's profile. That's why the list is currently so brief and showing up on the profile would be the reason/reward for using them.

300jjwilson61
Mar 11, 2008, 1:17am Top

There was also the effect of automatically setting the started-reading date when the box was checked and setting the finished-reading date when it was unchecked. But that effect was removed due to a lot of complaints.

301muzzie
Edited: Mar 11, 2008, 9:22am Top

I haven’t read all comments, but quite a few. I use tags and I like them. I don’t really want a currently reading as I could be reading 15 books (some I may never finish.) The more work this is, the less apt I will be to accomplish my goal.

GOAL: Catalog personal library so I can find a book when I want/need it.

I tag tbr and replace it with month and year when completed. Many books I might read several times A Breath of Snow and Ashes so multiple dates are listed. Along with the ratings, I can locate a good read and maybe visit with an old friend.

The only reason I might use the date purchased is for collectibles. Date published is more important to me.

The main reason I wanted to catalog was my non-fiction and collectables. I HAVE NOT MADE A DENT! I purchased a scanner, but it’s slow going. I am shelving the non-fiction by subject, therefore each must be numbered, or they will never be where I need them. A box with dropdowns with just the main Dewey numbers on the edit page would be great.

My tags are in memory on the “add” page, (saves time) but not on the edit page. Would be nice if they could be linked.

I have accumulated about 200 e-books. They can be a problem! Many are by new authors and self published or republished editions of an author’s earlier work under another name. A designation for e-book and audio book on the add page would save time. Also a link with Fictionwise. Would save importing covers and manually adding info.

I really enjoy this site; it gets better every day. One could really bury oneself in it. My object is to read. I see this as a tool to enhance my addiction

I also like #262’s idea read, but not owned and wish list selections. This enables me to keep track of preferences. I keep track of owned in tags (o). Books can be mobile. Books not owned, but stored in easily accessible locations are tagged (netlib, bf).

302_Zoe_
Mar 11, 2008, 9:58am Top

But that effect was removed due to a lot of complaints.

Actually, there were about two complaints. The negative reaction to the change was much greater than the negative reaction to the initial feature.

303Caramellunacy
Mar 11, 2008, 3:50pm Top

>302 _Zoe_:
Yeah, it definitely took away the main reason for actually using the checkbox NOW. And honestly, I thought the date filling in was really handy.

304timspalding
Mar 13, 2008, 3:53pm Top

>302 _Zoe_:

There was a reaction, certainly. I'm not sure I agree with your descripton of it.

On another note: The "click to review" (see back at first message) is to use the same "lightbox" effect as the Google Book Search integration, announced today. If there are any strong reactions to that, I'd love to hear them.

http://www.librarything.com/blog/2008/03/google-books-in-librarything.php

305khms
Mar 15, 2008, 2:47pm Top

Tags, however, could technically be used any single piece of information; that doesn't mean they're the best solution for it.

True.

The way I see it, tags currently have the following problems:

1. They are best used as classifications. Some people instead use them to add individual data (such as the exact location on the shelf), perhaps because that allows them to sort by location. A completely different, separate mechanism (most likely one or a few extra fields) would be a much better solution.

2. They do not actually do anything. A number of proposed applications really want tags to have consequences, such as deciding if a book counts for recommendations, or if it should be kept private. That's a matter of some extra mechanism, but could still easily rely on tags as the database part.

3. Tag order. Can't say much here because I don't understand why people want it; I would be happier if tags were fundamentally unordered. As Power Edit tag add/delete reorders tags, this seems like an "accidental feature", and if I understood what people want it for, I'd probably again say that a different mechanism would be better.

From what I've heard about collections, it seems pretty much all could be done by combining tags with the extra mechanisms mentioned in (2).

306ATimson
Mar 15, 2008, 3:27pm Top

There's a fourth problem with tags: they lack the ability to relate one tag to another. (Same problem as relating works that aren't identical, really.) This makes "connecting" two books more work than it should need to be.

307r.orrison
Mar 15, 2008, 5:31pm Top

I'd just like to second everything said in 305 and 306. Tags are great for, well, tagging things. They just aren't the right solution for adding functionality to the site.

308AnnaClaire
Mar 15, 2008, 6:40pm Top

>307 r.orrison:

Exactly. Tags are just that: tags. Because tags are inherently so unstructured, they're not great at handling things that require a little, well, structure.

309felius
Mar 15, 2008, 9:07pm Top

> 305-308

Me too.

I agree with the various statements that this could all technically be accomplished with tags, especially specially "annotated" tags which the system can interpret in various ways. It's tempting to dream up ways of making this all work.

However, I think that by making tags have some special semantic interpretation, we risk losing some of the value that tags have currently. People understand that tagging is a free-form, unordered, uncontrolled means of categorisation. If we break that then we could confuse and alienate people who have expectations about the ways that tags should behave.

Even if we decided that special tags were the best way to implement some of the suggestions in this thread, I'd be wary about mixing them in with "normal" tags. Just call them Buckets instead, and give them their own list, perhaps ;)

310shmjay
Mar 16, 2008, 2:34am Top

Buckets is a good idea/word, though Boxes would do too. And then the recommendation software could just make use of the tags and ignore the buckets/boxes.

311timspalding
Mar 16, 2008, 4:49am Top

Can people weigh in on whether the new interface is confusing or not? I'm getting a lot of confusion, and it's freaking me out.

http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=32183

If that's confusing, the illustration in #1 is sure to confuse the heck out of people!

312Talbin
Edited: Mar 16, 2008, 9:36am Top

>311 timspalding: Tim - the illustration in #1 above won't confuse people in the same way that the new Add Books interface does because in the new interface, you only enter one thing before asking the user to Save. In #1 above, there is a whole list of things to enter and then it asks the user to Save. The Save button in #1 above actually makes a lot more sense than in the new Add Books interface. (Which, BTW, I do not like because - IMHO - it has not changed nearly enough for all the brouhaha.)

313muzzie
Mar 16, 2008, 12:26pm Top

I like my tags. LT is the ultimate library database. Tags allow one to sort into subcategories. It is much faster to search a few records than several hundred or even thousand when looking for a book.

Changes: When using the manual entry page, after hitting the save button, the screen returns to the add page. With the change, the most recent entry does not contain an edit or delete button. Since the manual entry page only allows for entry of limited information, one must perform a search (using library or tags) to reach the edit screen.

It would be nice to be able to use the LT database when entering, instead of having to go to the LT search screen after all else fails when adding a new book. Many editions can be found this way, entered by other frustrated members.

Fictionwise would be a great resource for us e-bookers,

314Talbin
Mar 16, 2008, 2:17pm Top

>313 muzzie: With the change, the most recent entry does not contain an edit or delete button.

This is a current bug with some browsers (IE6 in particular) that Tim is trying to fix right now. See this post.

315jjmcgaffey
Mar 16, 2008, 6:32pm Top

>305 khms: I think what people want tag order for is for sorting - that is, tags is a sortable column in list view, if your tags are in a particular order you can make a useful sort (say, by location). I used to do that but it was so much trouble to keep stuff in order it wasn't worth it. I really wish Comments was sortable - that's where that sort of stuff should be.

Other than that, I pretty much agree with you.

316jjwilson61
Mar 16, 2008, 7:00pm Top

I like to keep mine in order so that its easier to be consistant. If I always put fiction or non-fiction first then genre or most general subject followed by more specific subjects, it's easier to see if I've missed something.

317nperrin
Mar 16, 2008, 7:35pm Top

I do it to be consistent but also to create a useful sort order. For fiction, say, my tags are "fiction, {century written}, {country of origin}" and then I get into genre, subjects, themes, settings, etc. I find it useful, when I want to look only at fiction, to look at all my nineteenth century fiction together, and all my nineteenth century British fiction together, etc, rather than just a jumble of novels in no particular order. But I also find it looks neater that way and prevents me from forgetting important tags.

318sqdancer
Mar 16, 2008, 8:57pm Top

>315 jjmcgaffey: I really wish Comments was sortable

Tim updated that recently. The Comments column is sortable now.

319jjmcgaffey
Mar 17, 2008, 6:24pm Top

Yay, thanks! Tim's always sneaking in new goodies...I hadn't noticed this one (and probably wouldn't have for ages!).

320selkie_girl
Mar 18, 2008, 11:56am Top

I love the status part, expessially the wishlist, as that seems to take up a lot of my tags. I was wondering if it would be possible to add an 'Already Read' section to the status choices.

(if someone already mentioned this, I'm sorry)

321AnnaClaire
Mar 18, 2008, 12:02pm Top

People have mentioned it. I don't disagree with the idea, but it hasn't happened. Neither has the "Reference" status option I usually bring up when someone asks for a status option like the one you just mentioned.

322bwightman
Mar 18, 2008, 12:07pm Top

>320 selkie_girl:

Am I missing something? I don't see the status options when I add a book. All I see is a box for tags and a rating.

323Talbin
Mar 18, 2008, 1:39pm Top

>322 bwightman: The redesign is still in process. I think Tim & Co. ran into some nasty bug problems that they're working through. We still don't know what the final version will include, although I think it will be close to #1 up top.

324jjmcgaffey
Mar 18, 2008, 4:14pm Top

Also some code sneaked out into the wild while they were still testing, and he decided to leave it for us to play with.

Yes, an explicit 'read/already read' checkbox would be good, particularly since the auto-fill on dates got pulled back. And Reference is an excellent expression of 'some books don't get _read_ read'...I agree with both.

325HoldenCarver
Mar 20, 2008, 12:07pm Top

In general, I've no complaints with the new Add Books page. However, I think I've found a bug.

I always, always, always put at least one tag in the tags box when adding a book - at the very least, fiction or non-fiction. And I always search the British Library first, then the Scottish one, then Amazon.co.uk.

This used to be no problem at all. Since the page changed, however, I've found that if I have to search in another location, when I do find it and add it, the tags aren't applied to it. It's fine if I find it at the first location searched, though.

326HoldenCarver
Mar 20, 2008, 12:10pm Top

Actually, scratch the part where I'm mostly fine with it. I just tried to edit the tags on a book and accidentally clicked on one of the stars for the book rating part, and couldn't find any way of clearing the rating short of deleting the book and adding it again.

327Noisy
Mar 20, 2008, 12:20pm Top

>326 HoldenCarver:

Just click on the one star until it disappears.

328HoldenCarver
Mar 20, 2008, 12:23pm Top

>327 Noisy:

Ah, I'll give that a try next time. Thanks.

329Noisy
Mar 20, 2008, 12:31pm Top

Many moons ago, that didn't work for MSIE, but I seem to remember that it's been fixed. It works on FF.

330timspalding
Mar 20, 2008, 1:10pm Top

I think this should be true of all clicks, so if you click on the fourth place it should go

Four stars
Three and a half stars
No stars

I'll do that when I can find the time.

331timspalding
Mar 20, 2008, 1:20pm Top

Incidentally, I just ran some numbers. Since adding ratings to add books, rating books has increased something like 25%. You would not know this from the comments here and elsewhere, where reaction to adding ratings and reviews has often been dismissive or even hostile.

I credit this to the fact that the people who comment on Talk are generally the power users, who are quite familiar with everything the system can do, and aren't going to change how they use LT based on something like this. But I think it justifies my interest in exposing these aspect of LibraryThing more clearly.

332HoldenCarver
Mar 20, 2008, 1:38pm Top

Thanks for clarifying how the ratings (will) work, Tim. As long as I'm able to undo any accidental ratings I have no problem with them. Librarything isn't the only thing to have me grumble about this, BTW, I've had similar trouble with iTunes so don't feel so bad. :)

I don't know if you missed my first mention of it because of the ratings thing, but tags still aren't working 100% properly when I add books from a second or third source after the first search.

333timspalding
Mar 20, 2008, 1:43pm Top

Yeah, sorry about that. I'll look into it.

334r.orrison
Edited: Mar 20, 2008, 2:10pm Top

331>

Could you add Title/Author and measure how many people edit them vs. leaving them alone, in cases where they're inaccurate? Probably not...

Could you try taking people directly to the Edit page and measure how many people use that to enter ratings or reviews, or correct bad data?

I'm not against having review and ratings in add books, just saying that they're not useful to me and that title and author would be.

(Maybe you could have a profile option: "Edit book after adding")

335mvrdrk
Mar 20, 2008, 6:39pm Top

>331 timspalding: Ha! Increased usage! You should cycle things in and out of add books to increase awareness ... :-)

336manque
Edited: Mar 20, 2008, 7:16pm Top

What about showing how others have tagged a book, next to the tags field? Just the top few tags, however many can be displayed on a single line, or perhaps a link to "show tags used by others."

I'm thinking this would greatly increase the use of tags. For users new to LT and/or tagging, this would give them an idea of how tags can be used. For users who already use tags, it would expose them to specific tags that they might not have thought up on their own, but once exposed to them, like them and start using them.

337_Zoe_
Mar 20, 2008, 7:48pm Top

You should cycle things in and out of add books to increase awareness ... :-)

I actually think this is a good idea. Even given the brief time that the currently reading checkbox was connected to dates, I've seen a few people saying that they started using the date fields then and kept it up afterwards.

338jjmcgaffey
Mar 20, 2008, 9:22pm Top

>336 manque: That's exactly what Tim doesn't want to do - he wants (and I agree) everyone to enter their own idiosyncratic tags rather than recycling the majority opinion. You can go look at others' tags on a particular book on the main page for that book, but having it on the Add Books page risks blandness...

339timspalding
Mar 21, 2008, 12:06am Top

For me it's not about blandness but about helping you. Tags work because of their very low "cognitive load." You call things what you call them in your head. It may seem easier to grab someone else's tag—for me to call something "Classical History" when my head's term would be "Ancient History." But then when I want to tag something else the same way, when the system doesn't suggest what it suggested before, or when I want to navigate my tags, it's much worse. I've adopted someone else's mental model for my books. And if you're going to do that, you might as well use the Library of Congress Subjects. They're model is almost nobody's model, but it's very well-though-out on its own terms.

340mvrdrk
Mar 21, 2008, 3:33am Top

>337 _Zoe_: I'd be personally for it, but most of mine are manually entered so it doesn't really affect me.

Given the volume and temperature of debate over what should and should not be in the add books box, I imagine that rotating features in and out of there would cause a lot of unhappy users.

341manque
Mar 21, 2008, 12:28pm Top

>338 jjmcgaffey: & >339 timspalding: Tim, I understand the point about the pitfalls of using someone else's system of tags. I wasn't thinking it would help users select the "right" tags, just that it would help them see how tags can be used in general, and/or spur the user to think about their tags/books in new ways. (Like seeing "chick lit" for the first time.)

But on further consideration, I suppose the few tags that could be shown on the add books page would be the most common (and boring) for a given book, and thus wouldn't really accomplish this anyway.

So, yeah, nevermind. ;-) Thanks for the feedback though.

342timspalding
Mar 21, 2008, 2:51pm Top

Well, I think it SHOULD show your own tags. It's hard to make that UI good, though, when some have 1,000 tags...

343jjwilson61
Mar 21, 2008, 7:06pm Top

But your always talking about how you don't want to design the site around power users. Isn't someone who has 1000 tags a power user? How many tags does the average or median person have.

344infiniteletters
Mar 21, 2008, 7:11pm Top

342: Use the same completion as Common Knowledge?

345timspalding
Mar 21, 2008, 7:31pm Top

>344 infiniteletters:

Works well for one tag. Harder for many. We had something that worked *okay* during the first month of LT. I should revisit.

346markbarnes
Mar 21, 2008, 8:31pm Top

>342 timspalding: Google suggest

347Mr.Durick
Mar 21, 2008, 9:04pm Top

It has happened again:

It number 1: I had to refresh the add books page to get it to accept the second book. I entered the first book with no trouble. I put in the ISBN for the second book and hit enter; nothing. I clicked on search; nothing. I refreshed the page and hit enter. It worked.

It number 2: Hopeful that it had been fixed, I tried to enter a review from the add books page. It is not there.

Firefox on Windows XP.

Robert

348markbarnes
Mar 29, 2008, 7:00am Top

One of the issues with this is covers. When searching, covers are displayed (from LT's own database, I think) regardless of whether there is a cover in the library being searched. It's reasonable to assume that if there's a cover on the search result there'll be a cover imported into your library. Not so. I'm sure some users choose their search result based on cover, so this is important, I think.

349markbarnes
Mar 29, 2008, 7:09am Top

There's another bug. When adding automatically (without confirmation), tags are not applied.

350fredalss
May 17, 2008, 4:44pm Top

I have a problem when adding new books, the tags I used before, some I don't use anymore and will not are still there and I'd like to remove them. Is there a way?

351muzzie
May 17, 2008, 8:26pm Top

It's on your computeer, not LT. Just highlight, don't click, and hit the delete key.

352twilightlost
May 18, 2008, 2:09pm Top

@ 351: Does that remove them from the drop down list of tags?

353Noisy
May 18, 2008, 6:23pm Top

>352 twilightlost:

It's assuming that you use Firefox as your browser. It works for any field for which Firefox remembers those values that you've entered and yes, it will remove them from the drop-down list. (Highlight by using the up- or down-arrow to select the value.)

354markbarnes
May 19, 2008, 3:55am Top

The same method works for IE. As Noisy says, this is not a LT feature, it's a feature in your browser to remember values you've previously typed into forms.

355jjmcgaffey
May 19, 2008, 4:43am Top

>351 muzzie: Muzzie - THANK YOU! I knew about the delete, but I'd forgotten, and there are so many places where I have bad data hanging around...I've cleaned out everything from the 'date started' box to my login (for other sites, I visit LT enough my cookie is always fresh) since I saw this hint. Makes things so much easier...

356muzzie
May 19, 2008, 7:03am Top

Works with most any browser. I use Microsoft. Just bought a new desktop and it has vista, unlike this old laptop which serves as my teddy bear. The dropdowns look different and at first I didn't even notice them.

It's funny how one takes something like that for granted, then one day just thinks about it out of the blue.

I recently saw a comment about it on another thread. When I saw this one I couldn't remember, so I checked it out before I answered. Looks like a bunch of us learned or remembered something. More of us ready to answer next time some one asks. Might be me doing the asking.

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