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CK in your catalog

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Apr 2, 2008, 2:45am Top

We would like to announce a new feature that many have been asking for since Common Knowledge debuted: CK data visible in your catalog.

We're not ones to mess around with just plain old display of the data either. Oh no. You can also edit CK from right there in your catalog, much like the other data cells in the catalog.

I think this was on a few of the Top 10 features lists last week so all of you that had it on your list can rejoice.

For more information, see the blog post (soon to come).

Apr 2, 2008, 3:08am Top

Oh Chris, you're just too clever for your own good! This is very cool! :p

Apr 2, 2008, 3:17am Top

I'm heading to bed soon so fixes to any problems will have to come in the morning. But feel free to post if you have problems and I'll get to them as soon as I can.

Apr 2, 2008, 4:07am Top

This is soo cooolll.

Can we have more columns in catalog display so we can see it all?!

Apr 2, 2008, 4:59am Top

Message removed.

Edited: Apr 2, 2008, 5:13am Top

A few issues

In my catalogue (style D, page 3 ordered by author name) I see my books my Iain Banks

The following appears for CK awards -

The Wasp Factory - Waterstones Books of the Century… ,BBC's Big Read Best loved novel, James Tiptree, Jr. Award Shortli…, Phi Delta Kappa Research Award


Whit, or Isis Amongst the Unsaved - Knight Commander of the Order of...
(the url adds Isabel The Catholic)

The Wasp Factory doesn't list Phi Delta Kappa Research Award, and Whit doesn't list the Knight Commander ... (not surprisingly).

The only thing in CK for the Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel The Catholic is the author Michael Gannon.

The Phi Delta Kappa Research Award links to a record showing Laurence J. Peter.

One more Cocaine Nights By J.G. Ballard is listed as Pulitzer Prize Criticism 1983 in the catalogue but not the work page. There are probably others.

NOTE - the awards actually contain square brackets which I have stripped for this message.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:12am Top

Probably not due to the catalogue changes but another slight issue in CK.

I follow the link to the CK for Ballard in the above message and get the CK for the Pulitzer Prize - it shows 1 - 50 of 576 results. Hit next (as what I want isn't on that page). The next page shows 51 - 100 of 4253 results.

Seems as though it is searching all awards for either Pulitzer or Prize on the next.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:13am Top

Those are all because right now the catalog is showing data for all languages. The work page only shows native language data (english for .com site, for instance). Tim mentioned this at the end of the blog post but I forgot to mention it here. It's something that we haven't come to a decision about (how to properly mesh data across languages).

Apr 2, 2008, 5:14am Top

The issue in msg 7 is a known bug. Just something that I haven't had time to get to quite yet.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:21am Top


I am a bit concerned about data accuracy though.
Cocaine Nights is a novel it isn't criticism. It didn't win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Whit doesn't have a knighthood. These are verifiable facts. Shouldn't there be a mechanism to correct such egregious errors - presumably the site they were entered on does not have enough active CK users to catch and correct the problems. At the moment I don't even know what language site they were entered on to go and fix it myself (hopefully I am familiar enough with LT to navigate correctly without reading the language).

BTW - get some sleep, these issues can wait.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:23am Top

I'm not sure I'm following what you are asking in message 6. Are you saying that there is data missing? If so then feel free to add it. That's the whole point of Common Knowledge: it is shared global data and you add little bits of what you know to help create a more complete database (see the CK help page for a longer explaination, or the CK group for discussion). Think of it as a wikipedia page on steroids.

The data in square brackets is meta information that augments the actual CK data item. It allows people to put extra information such as the year that an award was given or for what genre. For instance:
Pulitzer Prize (Journalism | 1997)

Check out the help page for Common Knowledge here. There is a lot of information to soak up.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:26am Top

Ah...I see what you are saying now. Yes, we must come up with better handling of multiple language CK data. We know this. Unfortunately it's a sticky problem with no perfect answers. In the meantime we should probably only show native language data in the catalog.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:53am Top

I fixed the problem that andyl was having. It wasn't multiple languages showing up...it was the fact that random author CK data was showing up in the work data. Fixed though. I also changed the meta-data links back to a different color so that they are easier to distinguish. They were making things very hard to read when they were the same color. I'm not using green anymore because green text has a special meaning on LT that denotes globally generated data.

Apr 2, 2008, 6:02am Top


I like the slight fix to the spacing as well - it makes things much easier to read where there are multiple CK entries for a category.

Apr 2, 2008, 7:46am Top

I will be honest, I'm not sure that having in-place editing, even in the lightbox with the warning, is the best idea. When editing was just on the work page, it was very clear that what you were doing affected the whole work. On the other hand, we're so used to thinking (and telling people) that stuff you do in your catalog affects only you, that I'm forseeing a lot of incorrect data entry-and-editing based on personal tweaking.

I get the arguments for having in-catalog editing, though; maybe I'm just being pessimistic.

That said, I am eagerly awaiting sorting (at least by original date). Also, any possibility of getting the order number to display in-catalog with the series field?

Apr 2, 2008, 7:51am Top

I was going to say exactly what fyrefly said, so instead I'll just ditto it. I think this is going to lead to massive amounts of bad data in CK. Users tend to think of their catalog as "their" information - being able to edit CK there is going to cause all kinds of headaches.

Apr 2, 2008, 8:35am Top

Can we have more columns in catalog display so we can see it all?!

Please! There is so much info available to us now and I'd like to be able to see it. My styles are filled up already so now I've got to decide what info to trade for this new feature.

I have a widescreen monitor, let me take full advantage of it!

Apr 2, 2008, 8:55am Top

Yes, more columns please!

I don't have a widescreen monitor. I have a 15-inch laptop monitor, and I'd still like to squeeze in an extra column or two.

Apr 2, 2008, 9:43am Top

I'm glad to see CK having more of a presence. Now if only our stats page could include a histogram of "Original Date of Publication" my joy would be complete.

Apr 2, 2008, 10:42am Top

As cool as having editing of CK in the catalog is, my first thought when reading that was, like fyrefly and philosojerk, "how Many people are going to try to personalize it?" Granted editing a series will be MUCH easier and faster in the catalog view, but still I worry.

On a happier note I really like that fact that this stuff is finally available in the catalog. THANK YOU!

Apr 2, 2008, 11:52am Top

Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for. But there's
one attribute missing which I really need: the *position* of the book *within* its series. Since a book can belong
to multiple series, it would seem the best way to do this would be to combine series *and* position-in-series in
the existing field. Thus (for instance), for a given book
(that's part of two series) you might see:

Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (5)
Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (2)

(instead of just:

Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

as currently.)

Apr 2, 2008, 12:11pm Top

Oh, yes! So happy! I am busily editing CK information in the grid before the ability is taken away (and I do understand the reasons for that, if it is, but I can assure I'm doing it correctly).

The CK stats for today should go through the roof.

Apr 2, 2008, 12:24pm Top

21 > did you notice, if you hold the mouse over the series the hover text has the position?

Apr 2, 2008, 12:50pm Top

I think it should show the position. Chris, can you add that back in?


Apr 2, 2008, 2:47pm Top

any possibility of getting the order number to display in-catalog with the series field?

Apr 2, 2008, 2:56pm Top

>25 conceptDawg:
That addition alone justifies the 50-some dollars I've spent on LT over the years.

Apr 2, 2008, 2:56pm Top

Message 15: I will be honest, I'm not sure that having in-place editing, even in the lightbox with the warning, is the best idea. When editing was just on the work page, it was very clear that what you were doing affected the whole work. On the other hand, we're so used to thinking (and telling people) that stuff you do in your catalog affects only you, that I'm forseeing a lot of incorrect data entry-and-editing based on personal tweaking.

I agree with these concerns, firefly. On the other side: I love being able tweaking CK data through my catalog.

Apr 2, 2008, 3:03pm Top

Wow! That was the fastest I've seen a feature request
implemented (position-in-series)! Thanks very much! :)


Apr 2, 2008, 4:30pm Top

Nice. I was able to fit in CK original publication date in one view, and immediately noticed a wrong date as a result of faulty combining. So I moved to the author page and separated the two works, but the CK (date and disambiguation notice) stayed with the other larger work.

So I do not think it is a good idea to allow editing of individual CK fields from a library view when you do not necessarily have the full work information in front of you.

Apr 2, 2008, 4:32pm Top

I'm hoping that sorting by the CK fields isn't too far behind.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:12pm Top

I don't like it, I don't want it, and it takes up way too much space in the "C" configuration.

How can I get rid of it?


Apr 2, 2008, 5:28pm Top

31 > you can go to the edit page and show whatever columns you would like.

Apr 2, 2008, 5:50pm Top

Thank you so much.

Apr 2, 2008, 7:29pm Top

I have some problems with the encoding of series when there are accents or other strange characters in it.

For example, when viewing my catalog with the www.librarything.es domain, the series "El señor de los anillos" links to http://www.librarything.es/series/El%20se%C3%83%C2%B1or%20de%20los%20anillos that is, "El señor de los anillos".

Apr 2, 2008, 10:28pm Top

*wince* Unicode/ISO-8559-1 mismatches make my head hurt.

Apr 3, 2008, 12:13am Top

Is there an opt out? I don't want that on my catalog, yet, like a couple of other things on the cat list, I can't figure out how to make it go away. Thanks.

Apr 3, 2008, 12:21am Top

>36 BGF: BGF

You can easily choose what to display in your personal catalogue by adjusting the details in any view.

If you look at the top of your catalogue you'll see several alphabetical choices. (A,B,C etc.) Each one is a user-determined array of displays. Click on the edit function, then the sucessive drop down boxes for each column and you can determine what to display and in which column order. Don't forget to save your chosen config and you're good to go.

Then all you have to do is remember which cat view is which if you wind up having multiple sets of screens. If you have only one view, then it will always be exactly as you like it.



Apr 3, 2008, 2:06am Top

Amazing. Very concise, clean display. Particularly impressive when I consider that the 'guidelines' for data entry in CK were established through discussion. Much user participation, collaboration. It's becoming very useful. Thanks.

Apr 3, 2008, 5:36am Top

I liek hte ranking that's very fast.

Cane we have a reminder in the lightbox that the series field is not for use with publishers series, in the last couple of days I've already seen some dubious cases springing up - and I'm reluctant to delete other peoples hard entered CK data, although sometimes it has to be done.

Apr 3, 2008, 8:28am Top

I'm beginning to agree with those that would like another column or two in their catalogue views. It's becoming more and more difficult to set up views that show all the information that I want to see together in one view so that I don't have to switch and/or edit frequently.

Apr 3, 2008, 12:40pm Top

I put this in the CK and WikiThing group with no response, and its related to this feature so I'll try here.

The Lord of the Rings has around 280 characters listed in CK. Now that you can make it a column in your library does anyone really want to see that? I can see wanting to list all of them but maybe we should split the field into major and minor characters to make listing them in your catalog view more reasonable.

Apr 3, 2008, 12:48pm Top

It could be useful, but how many books are people going to go to that extreme? would the effort be worth it?

Apr 3, 2008, 1:06pm Top

Some are probably not even minor characters - I doubt I would have listed Shadowfax even in a minor character role let alone any of the other horses listed. Even on the humanoid characters does Odo Proudfoot (here named Old Odo Proudfoot for some reason) need to be listed. He only appears for a page or so. The same for a lot of those listed. They are not really characters in that the main role they play within the book is scenery.

Apr 3, 2008, 2:15pm Top

I think we should probably show the first X and then have a (more) link to show the rest.

Apr 3, 2008, 2:24pm Top

I did play around with the idea of being able to right-click on the column heading and specify Top(x) being shown. But doesn't this only work if the items in the column are sorted, as in most important characters are at the top?

Apr 3, 2008, 2:30pm Top

Just thinking out loud here....what if one of the dreaded check boxes were added to indicate main characters? These could be listed and have the others appear with either a hover or right click.

Apr 3, 2008, 2:37pm Top

42> Almost any book could be taken to that extreme though. Are we going to be held hostage to the most compulsive among us?

Edited: Apr 3, 2008, 3:23pm Top

Instead of worrying about "how many," why not a move to limit the display and have a "click for full listing" as the last listing?

Say, 5 characters/places/awards or whatever - and then a "Click here for more" so the most you see are 6 listings in your cataloge view (including the "click for full listing" listing) but all if you click on the "click more" button?

That way, you can be compulsive AND display characters without having it break your page...

ETA - cleared up for clarity.

Apr 3, 2008, 3:41pm Top

That's pretty useless if there are over 100 characters in and the 5 you get are random. I really think that what I'd like is the ability to list the major characters in my catalog, or perhaps just the protaganist and maybe the antagonist.

Edited: Apr 3, 2008, 4:01pm Top

Click here for more

As for the other idea of having major and minor....well, that's quite a big architecture change at this point and not something that I can whip out in a few minutes.

Apr 3, 2008, 4:24pm Top

50 Thanks!

Edited: Apr 3, 2008, 5:48pm Top

>50 conceptDawg: Chris, you are AWESOME!

My Important Places for Absolute Sandman now looks like this:

Wych Cross, England, UK
Toronto, Canada
Kingston, Jamaica
Verdun, France
London, England, UK
(15 more) this is the part you can clicky!

Fantastic! =)

ETA - jj, the first 5 in the CK fields are the ones listed.

If it's of great concern, you could take the time to edit the list so the 5 most important characters first and then move the others about. Yes, it will take time, but if you believe that displaying the 5 most important first is the better view while retaining all other characters, you have the ability to do it. I'm not saying it wouldn't be tedious, but it's doable.

Apr 3, 2008, 6:00pm Top

If I'm going to spend that much time, I'll spend it deleting those characters that I don't feel belong.

Apr 3, 2008, 6:10pm Top

>53 jjwilson61:
I would hope that you'd appreciate the time and effort that individuals put into putting in those characters. As someone that has compulsively listed The Crimson King into every Stephen King work in which he appears to ensure that the Dark Tower connections are intact, I would be rather irritated if a single user decided for everyone that it was useless information and simply deleted it.

It's as easy as this - I have 280 characters, but Bob, Joe, Tim, John and Jack are the 5 most important ones.

I see the first five are Bob, Joe, Larry, Louise, and Carol.

Locate Tim - swap Larry and Tim's spots.
Locate John - swap Louise and John's spots.
Locate Jack - swap Carol and Jack's spots.

It's tedious only in that you need to be careful not to wreck the work of others by doing things like deleting correct information that's been entered by others just to make yourself happy.

Apr 3, 2008, 6:16pm Top

My fear, I went through the Wheel of Time and added 100+ characters for each book. And I skipped the ones that had names mentioned or died after a page or 2. All the characters were either somewhat important in the one book or spanned at least 2 books, but that is still a lot of characters and I would be rather pissed if someone deleted all but the top 30 or so.

Apr 3, 2008, 6:52pm Top

50> Dawg, I thought that the purpose of adding a fielded wiki was to make it easier to add fields as opposed to the difficulty of adding them to the main database.

Edited: Apr 3, 2008, 9:02pm Top

A wiki is, at its heart, still a database. It seems to me that the "wiki" part of it refers to the ability for everybody to edit it, and not anything architectural…

EDIT: typo fix

Apr 3, 2008, 7:50pm Top

> 56 Adding new fields is straight-forward enough, but people were talking about adding a new datatype. I.e. not just a text box, but a text box with checkbox that indicates it's a "major" character. There aren't any fields which behave in that way at the moment, so the datatype (and UI, and associated logic) has to be created in order for it to exist.

Edited: Apr 3, 2008, 9:20pm Top

Back to some earlier comments, I would only delete characters now if they were incorrect, as in, not in the book at all.

Apr 3, 2008, 9:50pm Top

I was talking about creating a minor character field and I thought that's what conceptDawg was referring to. cD, is it so difficult just to add a new field?

Apr 3, 2008, 9:51pm Top

Yeah, especially now that the list is inherently throttled, I think deleting characters is a pretty radical step. Fortunately CK has a "history" for each field, however, so if someone is so bold, it won't necessarily stand.

Apr 3, 2008, 9:52pm Top

>60 jjwilson61:

There is no major and minor, is there? There's an infinite gradation and an argument. Surely a basic, fixed throttle is the best way to handle something so wiggly?

Apr 4, 2008, 12:53am Top

Is it so wiggly? Sure there are stories that break the mold, but don't most stories have a single protaganist? That might be worth highlighting somehow. And aren't there usually a core set of characters that are there through most of the book? I never took any literature classes in college so I may be way off base.

Edited: Apr 4, 2008, 2:27am Top

Are we still able to edit CK data from within catalog? I've yet to see any of the LT staff address the concern stated in posts 15, 16, and others, but I can't tell from my catalog whether this has been changed. Either it was already, in which case ignore what comes below, or else it wasn't changed, in which case I'm seeing a bug on FF/XP that lets me see the "double click" grayed text on CK boxes in catalog view, but double clicking doesn't actually allow me to do anything - all it does is make the "double click" text disappear from the box and not come back.

So, in the event that we are still supposedly able to edit from within catalog view, here is some evidence that the concern mentioned in the posts at 15 etc were valid. One nice user, I guess not wanting series info to show up on his or her page, has gone through and deleted all of the series info for the Dune series - a complicated series, considering all the stuff that's been written not only by Frank Herbert, but also Brian and other writers - which means someone probably spent a good deal of time inputting all that data. You can see here, and on the other history pages, that this occurred after the ability to edit from within catalog went into effect. And although Tim mentions above that through the history page we should be able to retrieve info, I'm not sure how that works, since the history page only shows the first line of info that was there, and there's no "revert" option as on a wiki.

Hopefully you've already removed this ability, and these concerns are moot - in which case I guess there's still a bug insofar as that greyed-out "double click" text is still showing up when I mouse-over the fields in catalog view.

Apr 4, 2008, 3:05am Top

If you go to the Dune series it is still intact. It looks like a single person did delete a single entry (Dune, the original work), but other items were not touched. This could be as simple as a person making a single mistake.

I don't think that the ability to edit CK in the catalog is inherently bad. The process may be flawed (not making the CK columns look different, not having a big enough warning, or not making people go through a dialog box to confirm that they know what CK is, etc.), but the ability is a powerful one. That's not to say that I won't be proven wrong, just that we have no reason to panic quite yet.

I'm going to try something for the morning and we'll see if it causes an uproar or if it's better.

Apr 4, 2008, 3:14am Top

I also posted a profile message to a person that has been doing a few "dubious" CK edits. It looked like the person didn't understand that the data is shared. Here's my message in case anybody would like to use it:

I've noticed that you have been editing a lot of series information in your catalog. Please note the warning message in the popup dialog that mentions this information is GLOBAL data shared by every user on LibraryThing. Changing the data in these columns is affecting every user. There is also a specific way in which Common Knowledge (CK) data should be entered. You can find information about this on the CK help page (linked in the window that pops up when you change one of these items).

Think of Common Knowledge as a smaller version of something like Wikipedia where everybody helps build a collective store of information.

Edited: Apr 4, 2008, 4:13am Top


I've changed the text color of CK-in-catalog text to orange to differentiate it from normal, personal data. So we now have blue (normal data and links around the site), green (automatically generated data), and orange (communal data: CK). I'm not sure it's going to be approved, but it is distinctly different data and it needs to be shown as such, otherwise confusion will happen.

I've also added a one-time CK editing warning/agreement. You'll only get this once but it should make people realize that the CK data is different or at least make them think about it a bit. This was a 60 second change. If it is an acceptable solution I can work to make it a bit flashier.

My wife and I have a doctor's appointment in the morning to check on the soon-to-arrive baby. I'll be available after lunch to change/fix things (or bask in the rays of sunshine from everybody's happiness with the changes....nah, probably be fixing things).

Apr 4, 2008, 7:37am Top

>67 conceptDawg:
Congrats on the impending doom.....I mean littleDawg.

Edited: Apr 4, 2008, 7:42am Top

>68 DaynaRT: Shouldn't that be conceptPuppy? :)

Apr 4, 2008, 9:40am Top

>65 conceptDawg: OK. When I looked at it last night, it appeared the same user had deleted it for all the Dune series - at least, I saw the data gone on Dune, Dune Messiah, etc.

I really like that pop-up warning. I know having it come up every edit would completely defeat the purpose of being able to edit this way, but I also feel like once is not enough. A user who doesn't do a lot of catalog/CK work could easily see that warning today, but 2 months from now have forgotten all about it. Might there be a way to have it pop up, say, the first time each month that a user tried to edit CK data in catalog? I think the pop-up is a brilliant solution to the worry about data integrity, I just want something more than only once, ever.

And congrats on the coming pup!

Apr 4, 2008, 10:26am Top

Well there could always be a timed cookie that gets a 4 week timeout from the last time someone edits CK so they get the warning again if they haven't used it in a while.

Apr 4, 2008, 2:05pm Top

Yes, I thought about a timed cookie. That may be the way we end up going if the basic concept of the confirmation isn't too annoying for the power users.

Apr 4, 2008, 2:21pm Top

It wouldn't bother me as long as I don't have to click it more than once a day.

Apr 4, 2008, 5:22pm Top

I second 73 -- just not more than once per day.

Apr 4, 2008, 5:33pm Top

Going back to the question about deleting characters, I think it boils down to what is CK supposed to do/be? This is a question I've raised before somewhere but I think it bears repeating. Is it simply a list? In that case, by all means list every character appearing in the book even if just for a page. Alternatively, will it become a way to search through books for *main* characters/settings? If so, if I know this book I'm looking for had a main character named Joe and I have to wade through 300 books where "Joe" appears for two paragraphs I'm going to find that frustrating and probably give up.

Personally, I find exhaustive lists of characters that have little connection to the plot or series annoying. That may just be me.

Edited: Apr 4, 2008, 5:40pm Top

I'm going to jump in here. I would be in favor of a better CK-in-catalog-edit user warning. I can see the text above being black, with clear bolding of the negative. Gray/tan text is weak. But the popup really rubs me the wrong way. It's nannyish and forbidding.

The LibraryThing idea is to give people powers until they abuse it, and to give people powers when others can reverse their abuse. This is a system that trusts people, and I don't think that trust is commonly abused. It would be one thing if there were evidence of widespread misuse of CK, but we do not have that. We've had 4,000 CK edits/day for two days now--the most since the first days of CK--and will probably hit that again today. Members can follow those edits edit-by-edit on the CK history page. (Maybe it should be better? Maybe there should be a way of seeing history on just your books?) Pop-ups are very strong signals, negative signals. It's too much here.

I feel similarly about the color-coding of the data, although aesthetics are equally important to me there.

Apr 4, 2008, 5:42pm Top

I rather like the color coding, myself.

Apr 4, 2008, 5:58pm Top

Chris and I decided that coloring is good, but that we can condense around green. Green already means "work-level." It will also allow us to (1) say what green means at the bottom of the page, (2) move the green for LCC/LCSH/DDC into CK in the future.*

*Acronyms R fun!

Edited: Apr 4, 2008, 6:06pm Top

>78 timspalding: (2) move the green for LCC/LCSH/DDC into CK in the future.*

Please dear FSM do not do this. This is something that I have spent *way* too much time neurotically verifying to have my data suddenly be moved to the CK level and have editable by everyone. This would severely compromise the integrity of data I have literally spent months compiling.

Please please please do not do that.

Edited: Apr 4, 2008, 6:08pm Top

Don't worry. If you edited it, it's in your catalog. Green text is by definition work-level information, not yours.

The question is, would it be better if your edits could have helped others or not?

Apr 4, 2008, 6:15pm Top

They could - if you'd replace the ability to add books directly from other users' libraries. ;P

Apr 5, 2008, 1:46am Top

To have editing LCC from your catalog only effect your catalog not the work, but to have editing Series from your catalog only effect the work and not your catalog seems inconsistant to me.

Apr 5, 2008, 9:23am Top

Why not have an option, "Override CK for your copy"? For example, in my other account, I have a textbook of Caesar's Gallic wars, which has the CK series information for the Loeb Classical Library edition. This is clearly wrong, and I want to delete it for my own copy, but not for everyone's copy.

Apr 5, 2008, 10:22am Top

If the data's wrong it's wrong and you should correct it for everyone.

Apr 5, 2008, 11:21am Top

The Gallic Wars are just overly combined.

Edited: Apr 5, 2008, 12:37pm Top

>83 shmjay:,

...which has the CK series information for the Loeb Classical Library edition

This has been specifically called out as not a series. We're not supposed to be listing publisher series*. If you see it, you'd be doing the entire site a favor by removing the Loeb Classical Library series.

*The exception being where the publisher has a true monopoly over the works - like Dummies, Zagats, Idiots, Look and the like...that being said, Loeb Classical doesn't fit that exception. =)


Apr 5, 2008, 4:16pm Top

But a lot of works actually do consist only of Loebs (not the case here, but in general). I wouldn't remove that series from any given work unless there was actually a non-Loeb book in the work.

Apr 5, 2008, 9:14pm Top

I want to speak in favor again of the pop-up warning. We *need* something that strong. You say you don't think we need it, because we should trust everyone until they start abusing it - but the problem here is less abuse of the system than it is ignorance. The pop-up warning forces them to be educated about exactly what impact their actions are having.

See this thread for more evidence of how the ability to edit CK in-catalog is causing (and will continue to cause) problems.

Apr 5, 2008, 11:20pm Top

>88 philosojerk:, I'm going to second philosojerk on this one - see my experience with this problem in the thread that he's linked to.

Just as a test, I tried to click on and edit CK Series info from my catalog & got the warning message. Although I personally found it annoying, since I know what editing CK fields does, I only had to see it once, so it wasn't that big of a deal, and I felt reassured knowing that users who don't know what editing these fields does will read the warning and learn. I generally don't edit CK from my catalog, so I doubt I'll ever see it again.

Apr 7, 2008, 6:29pm Top

I like the pop-up too. I knew about what CK was and how to edit it - but seeing a quick reminder the first time I tried it from my catalog was good. I wouldn't mind having it pop up again rarely, either - the timed cookie sounds good to me (if it's from the last edit, not from the first!).

Green is...well, better than blue (or black) - though my instinct when I see green is to double-click it and save (or edit and save), to put it into my catalog. I actually like the orange. It says 'This isn't normal stuff, and it isn't anything else you've seen before - consider!' But definitely mark it out in some color.

Minor request - I'd really like it if the CK fields were sortable. Currently I have all _my_ series data in Comments, which is now sortable (Yay! Thanks!), so I can sort by that and compare it to CK - but I'd rather sort directly by CK. My series data is sometimes seriously off (missing books, or one book labeled The ___ and several labeled ____...) and it would be a lot easier to see and correct if I could sort by CK. I'm not sure the same applies to other fields (I'm a trifle obsessed with series), but I can't see that the ability would hurt.

Apr 7, 2008, 11:03pm Top

I want to start out by saying that I have been away from the computer this weekend while doing baby-centric stuff and it is refreshing to see the level of discussion (mostly sane even) going on about CK-in-catalog.

I realize that there are problems with CKiC at this point. I'm feel quite comfortable saying that we failed to estimate the problem(s) it would introduce and the fact that person(s) would not quite "get" what it was.

I made a quick change to a few things to try and alleviate those confusing issues. I added a unique color to CK items (Hey! this is different from your other data!). I added a pop-up confirmation before editing a CK field for the first time, refreshed monthly by the way (Hey! You should really read up on the ol' CK stuff before going further, really!). There is even a warning WITHIN the CK edit box that mentions that this is global data.

Apparently NONE of that was enough to get through to a few hard-headed/stubborn/unknowing folks.

One MAJOR mistake that was made by LT was the addition of these fields to the default catalog styles. Our feeling was that it would introduce a greater number of people to data within CK and might spur even more interest in the system. Clearly that is not what happened. Some user(s) couldn't figure out that it wasn't their data because it was appearing in their catalog. Understandable, depending on how you look at it. Some people do not use any of the social aspects of LT and simply want to catalog their personal book collection without interaction with other data. Others may say (as do I) that they are missing out on great opportunities and features. Such is life.

I just remedied the default catalog column situation and reverted the fields back to their previous incarnation.

Tim and I need to talk it over a bit:
* Should we disable CK editing from within the catalog? Or has removing it from the default catalog columns of the less-knowledgable members solved the major issues?
* Tim likes green to describe work-level data, but I feel that CK data is something completely different from work-level automatically-derived data and I vote for the orange color. I can certainly see his point. What is best here?
* Would it be better if there was an "opt-in" kind of thing to allow editing of CK in your catalog for power-users? Some kind of thing where you had to read the CK help before accepting? That seems kind of rash, but it would certainly solve nearly 100% of the problems and clue even some power-using CKers in on some things they might have missed. Dunno.

Again, I'd like to thank all of you for your input on the subject. It shows that you care to get it "right."

Apr 8, 2008, 12:55am Top

#91: Tim likes green to describe work-level data, but I feel that CK data is something completely different from work-level automatically-derived data and I vote for the orange color. I can certainly see his point. What is best here?

I think that CK should be a different color, because editing CK data and editing "green" data has different results. If you edit green data, it becomes part of your catalog, and doesn't affect others. Editing CK data affects all copies of that work.

I don't think that those two distinctly different functionalities should have the same visual representation.

Would it be better if there was an "opt-in" kind of thing to allow editing of CK in your catalog for power-users?

I would like this, but I'm not sure if it fits with LT's spirit of "everybody's a librarian". But the pop-up obviously isn't enough.

Apr 8, 2008, 4:14am Top

I wasn't even aware that you could save greeen data. I like the orange - or you could change it to a blue, as it is all hyperlinks to CK pages.

I like the in catalog editing but universal agreement on what belongs is unlikely so there will always be some degree of edit wars. The CK wiki page needs Series info adding to it! I'm not sure I've the ability to do this.
I think removing it from the default views should be enough - although there have previously been disagreements from catalog purists that any 'incorrect' information was associated with their catalog, even when they don't view it.

Don't like the opt-in option, far too many people will never find it.

Apr 8, 2008, 6:00am Top

>93 reading_fox: - "Would it be better if there was an "opt-in" kind of thing to allow editing of CK in your catalog for power-users?"

'Don't like the opt-in option, far too many people will never find it."

I'd interpreted the " opting in" as it no longer being a default display style. This way members have to 'opt-in' and choose to show it in their catalogues by editing one of their display styles to include it.

How are others interpreting it?

Apr 8, 2008, 6:04am Top

#94: How are others interpreting it?

Given that Chris listed this separate from removing it from the default display, my impression was that you'd have to enable in-catalog CK editing from a separate page (like the profile) were such an option implemented.

Edited: Apr 8, 2008, 6:12am Top

Oh, OK - just got what I wasn't understanding before.

I agree with those who thought it'd be enough to take it out of the default display styles, rather than making someone jump an additional hoop to edit something from within their own catalogue
(edited to add) - Yes even if it's not 'their' data.

I still suggest making the pop-up 'smarter' and appearing more frequently to those who edit existing CK or Delete existing CK from their catalogue.
They appear to be the most frustrating activities done and where the risk from ignorance should be mitigated.

Apr 8, 2008, 6:14am Top

Also thought - Just like the combining page has a link to the combiners group for when I'm the infernal idiot and I'm right, maybe there should be a link to the LT Series group to discuss changes before edit wars.

Apr 8, 2008, 8:40am Top

Personally, I think removing it from default views should be more than enough. The color is rather nice (hey, there's something different about this data!).

As far as opt-in goes, I think it's a nice idea, but I can't help but feel it will end up like every other EULA that I "read." For all I know, I owe Apple 3 oxen, 2 bushels of wheat and a year of indentured servitude after the last iTunes update...

The pop-up warning is nice - and the removal from default, colors and pop up should stop the vast majority of issues (along with a link to the group - that's a great idea).

After that, aren't we just on a case-by-case basis for some users?

Apr 8, 2008, 8:55am Top

Sorry to have to tell you, stephmo, but they've raised the rates. Now it's 3 oxen and 2 goats.

I'd be curious to know how the different text colors are actually perceived by LT users -- assuming that people even get that green text = something different from the normal catalog fields, do they get that it's specifically "work-level data"? Or something more like "not my data"? If it's the latter, then green for CK might be less confusing than introducing another color with another different meaning.

Orange on white also isn't great visual contrast -- but I know we have some people around who really know accessibility issues, and they'd have a lot more to say on that point than I.

Apr 8, 2008, 9:28am Top

Honestly, the different colors don't even register in my mind.

Apr 8, 2008, 9:30am Top

On my monitor the 'orange' shows as rust with pretty good contrast. Maybe that's why I like it! However monitors vary so much that the accessibility issue is a good point.

Apr 8, 2008, 9:33am Top

Oh, I see them fine. But they don't mean anything to me.

Edited: Apr 8, 2008, 9:41am Top

I get a burgandy color. Honestly the color did not register with me until it was mentioned.

ETA: More red than I thought. Not really the purple of burdandy, but more of a rust.

Apr 8, 2008, 9:50am Top

I suppose the question is, should it be the same color as work level info. I agree that CK is really a third type of info and a third color is a reasonable way to show this. So, the second question is whether or not the chosen color is easy to read for most people. I personally like the color Chris chose and find it very readable.

Apr 9, 2008, 6:19am Top

I have been entering original publication dates which I already have in a spreadsheet. The in catalogue editing maskes this so much easier.

Apr 9, 2008, 11:54am Top

The color of different types of data makes no impression whatsoever on probably 97.3% of LT users. I'm here everyday, and until I read this thread I had no idea that the colors "meant" something. IMHO, I wouldn't rely on colors to do a darn thing. Or make it like a rainbow. Whatever looks nice. ;)

I believe that what you can edit in your catalog needs to be consistent. One of the main problems with one of the people making changes to CK data was that s/he believed that they were only changing their own data. That's because everything else that's edited from the catalog view only changes the user's data. So, I think that CK should not be editable from the catalog. There should be a link that brings you directly to the CK area of the work page. My 2 cents.

Apr 9, 2008, 11:59am Top

And if you're colour-blind, like my husband, colouring different types of data is not helpful. He really hates it when people colour code things.

Apr 9, 2008, 11:04pm Top

Well, it took me a while to figure out the green data - but when I did, I went on a spree through my catalog correcting, deleting, or saving-as-mine all the green so I never get that line at the bottom saying 'green is calculated data' (or whatever it says - been a while since I read it). I like the different color for CK data, and I like the color displayed. However, the accessibility point is a good one. But if CK went green and gave me the line at the bottom again, I'd be constantly gritting my teeth...

I very much like being able to edit in-catalog - even though I usually have to jump through multiple pages anyway to get what I want (check series, what books are in them, hey wait a minute this book should be there too...). Tell you what, cD - you guys restore 'your catalog remembers' so that when I go to a book page I can get back to at least the _page_ I was one (if not necessarily to the exact point I was at), and then I withdraw all objections to removing in-catalog editing.

Seriously, the major pain with having a link to somewhere is that I then can't get back to where I was. If that can be fixed, then making - say, making a double-click in a CK field a link to the CK on the work page (since a click on the CK data itself takes you to that data - to the series for a series) would be great - that would make it much clearer...hmmm. Would it, really? We need a couple of the people who truly believe(d) it was personal data to chime in here. Would a link and going to the work page make a difference (would they notice it was the work page? Have they ever noticed the CK data on the work page?).

Definitely pull it out of default (I never knew it was in there, I've modified all five views heavily). The opt-in might work - at least, for users who are already here (you'd blog about it, right?). Might be harder for folks who come in later. Where would you put it, on the profile? But just having to pick a CK column to put it in your data is an opt-in, as others have said. Hmmm... another popup when you add a CK column? (getting into annoying-the-users territory, here).

No answers, just more questions. Seriously, a discussion with some of the people who were modifying the data would probably be much more useful than asking us (relative) power users.

Edited: Apr 10, 2008, 2:01pm Top

Just want to second the point tardis makes in #107: for color-blind people, color coding can be a real problem.*

This affects approx. 7-10% of men (most studies put the rates for women at less than 0.5%). Personally, I think that's a large enough percentage that website designers (and the LT designers specifically) ought to take colorblind users into account when making design decisions.

Something like 95% of colorblind persons are red-green colorblind (or more accurately, "color vision deficient"): we have a lot of trouble (or find it impossible) to distinguish between red and green. Because red and green are components of many other colors, this affects our color perception for other colors, as well.

So, the normal blue coding for things like hyperlinks works fine. But when you start coding in shades of red, orange, green -- well, you lost me. I can't tell your light red from gray, or green.

Not that I'm expecting the world (or LT!) to be tailored to my needs; just thought I'd remind the great LT crew about this, in case they'd like to take it into consideration.

* Just to give a one example of how this is a problem on websites: online traffic maps routinely use red or green dots to signify traffic conditions. These maps are useless for me.

Apr 10, 2008, 5:50pm Top

I understand completely. My dad is red-green colorblind so I have personal experience with it. Aside from the joking that I give him, it's something that should be taken seriously by designers. The color choice in this case is a secondary/alternative indicator of the data type. The column heading has "CK:" on it, and there is a textual indicator in the pop-up box that also points out that the data is "different."

So in this case the text coloring is an ease of use feature but isn't mission critical. But I do hear what you are saying.

Apr 11, 2008, 12:45pm Top

>110 conceptDawg:

Thanks Dawg. Nice to know you do keep it in mind.


Apr 12, 2008, 11:48am Top

Just a word about Tim's idea of moving 'calculated' fields into CK. I too see this as a bad idea. DDC, for example, is often a matter of taste. I'd hate to suck in other users data into my libary view - Amazon's is bad enough.

Apr 12, 2008, 8:07pm Top

Can anyone tell me how to get the CK field back in my Library? I'd like to see it again but don't know if i'm able to add it to my default view? Thank you.

Apr 12, 2008, 9:45pm Top

Click the Edit link next to the A/B/C/D/E buttons; that lets you customize the views.

Apr 15, 2008, 7:37am Top

I hate this. I hate that it is defaulted into the catalog. When my husband first saw it he thought someone had hacked our account and changed everything.

I hate that I can't just edit it for my own personal use. I hate the way other people have already decided to put in series information.

I was going to use it, but since it screws up everyone else's data, I'm just going to continue my practice renaming my books with my (IMO) more streamlined series information in the title and combining the works from the authors' pages.

It's time consuming but way less ugly than looking at someone else's version of series information in the CK column.

Apr 15, 2008, 9:21am Top

>115 kite_eating_tree:

Sorry that you feel so strongly. I do hope you understand it's both new and optional. Free donut? No? Okay.

*What would you feel if we brought in series information from the library MARC records instead? That data is on average worse that LT's series data, but it probably is more even.

*What if you got LT's series data, but you could "fork" it and make it our own to edit?

Apr 15, 2008, 10:00am Top

I don't know what "fork"ing is, I would just prefer that the data were green (user edit-able) than site-wide editable.

I don't understand why pretty much all of the other columns are user editable and this one is not.

Apr 15, 2008, 10:08am Top

*What would you feel if we brought in series information from the library MARC records instead? That data is on average worse that LT's series data, but it probably is more even.

I have added series data from MARC fields (if I have found a MARC record corresponding to my book) into the summary field. I would like to get that automatically into some field if that is possible.

The concept of series is different in CK series and in library data. I would like to have them both. At the moment LT series is not what I expected it to be, but I hope it evolves. There are some publisher's series I would like to be able to get lists of.

Apr 16, 2008, 2:50am Top

>I don't understand why pretty much all of the other columns are user editable and this one is not.

It is user editable, but the edits are shared. If it were user-editable the way you want it, it would be empty, but you haven't done anything with it.

>118 Anneli:

Library series data is almost uniformly worse that LT data. Certainly if you use more than one source—you use more than a dozen—it will be a chaos of nonsense.

Apr 16, 2008, 11:55am Top

>119 timspalding:

Library series data is almost uniformly worse that LT data. Certainly if you use more than one source—you use more than a dozen—it will be a chaos of nonsense.

I'm sorry, but don't understand what you mean - we are probably talking about different things... Could you give an example?

Apr 16, 2008, 6:15pm Top

I would _love_ if it were forkable so that I could have (specifically series) data directly in my library. Is that a real possibility? Oh, I HOPE so!

The major disadvantage of the CK data for me is that it's not really exportable. The major advantage is that other people work on it too. A fork (if I understand correctly what you mean) would solve both. Heck, if you just added a Series field that I could copy CK data into it would solve 90% of my problems. But forking CK data so that people could keep whatever appeals from CK would be great.

Apr 16, 2008, 7:39pm Top

The problem that I could see arising from forking would be that there would be less interest in providing knowledge for the common good. People would be more likely to just change their version of whatever data it was.

Apr 16, 2008, 8:23pm Top

122> That's a very good point -- forking would take the "common" out of "common knowledge".

Apr 16, 2008, 8:48pm Top

>120 Anneli:

Series data in library catalogs is not of very high quality, generally. We played with adding series to our LibraryThing for Libries feature, and so spent time playing with series in libraries already in LTFL. The data on fictional series in particular is really lousy. A large public library will have only a fraction of their Star Wars books labelled "Star Wars," a vague super-series anyway.

>123 lorax: Forking would take the "common" out of "common knowledge."

If the default were non-forking, then it might not have to affect it too much. Also, user choices could be listed various places, so other users could pick them up.

Apr 16, 2008, 9:28pm Top

Are you saying that we'd start with the CK data in the series field and have the ability to use that same field for our own data instead? If so, it seems easier to just add a personal series field with an option to populate it with CK data. Otherwise, what if someone wants to use their own series sometimes and contribute to CK at other times? Would someone who started using the field for their own data no longer be able to view or edit CK data there ever again?

Apr 16, 2008, 10:23pm Top

I'd imagine that they would have to go to the CK fields on the work page to edit series info if that is what we really want to do.

Can we find out what kite_eating_tree doesn't like about the series info that other people have already added? If they have a valid complaint then they should be able to take it to the community, via the LibraryThing Series group, and discuss it. If they still don't like the community consensus they can edit their views to remove that field.

What's the deal anyway? Didn't cD change it back so that the CK fields aren't in the default views anymore?

Apr 17, 2008, 12:50am Top

>124 timspalding:
Series data in library catalogs is not of very high quality, generally. We played with adding series to our LibraryThing for Libries feature, and so spent time playing with series in libraries already in LTFL. The data on fictional series in particular is really lousy. A large public library will have only a fraction of their Star Wars books labelled "Star Wars," a vague super-series anyway.

Libraries add series fields according to AACR or ISBD rules so it is not fair to say that the data is bad quality if they follow those rules. LT series are informal - you are free to create a series based e.g. on the main character of the book even if that character is not mentioned in those parts of the book from where the cataloguer in the library takes the information (title page, colophon etc). A cataloguer would probably add the main character of the book in the field 600 (Subject Added Entry-Personal Name). Of course, many libraries have minimal descriptions of the books in their catalogues, because cataloguing is expensive - as human work usually is - only in services like LibraryThing you can get people working without pay ;-).

Apr 17, 2008, 1:25am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Apr 17, 2008, 1:29am Top

126>>127 Anneli:>>Even if you stick to the formal series name on the book and in library data you can end up with more than one series name if the series name changes publisher to publisher. See earlier discussion re: A Dream of Eagles here.

I agree from the discussion that making two separte series is not the answer, adding the other name in the description helps some when looking on the series page, but it would be better if the other name could be seen on the work page and in CK library view too.

Apr 17, 2008, 10:32pm Top

>126 jjwilson61:

I don't like the way other people decided to populate the series data. It's 100% aesthetics, which is why it would be way better (IMO) if it were personally editable.

I want series info laid out the way I want. Right now I do that by editing individual book titles, like I previously said, to contain the series information in the way I find most aesthetically pleasing.

For example: I have "Dune" by Frank Herbert as "Dune (Dune Series: Book 1)". I don't like the way other people have series with random parenthetical notation, etc.

I think a series column is a fantastic idea, I just want it laid out how I want it without having to worry about screwing up someone else's idea of their aesthetic preference.

Apr 18, 2008, 12:10am Top

If it's just aesthetics there's a good chance the other person doesn't care. Why not try to contact the person who added the data that way, or just change it to how you like it and see if anyone complains.

Apr 18, 2008, 12:33am Top

Well, except for the parenthesis, which are needed to designate metadata for the book order within the series.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 12:45am Top

Libraries add series fields according to AACR or ISBD rules so it is not fair to say that the data is bad quality if they follow those rules. LT series are informal - you are free to create a series based e.g. on the main character of the book even if that character is not mentioned in those parts of the book from where the cataloguer in the library takes the information (title page, colophon etc). A cataloguer would probably add the main character of the book in the field 600 (Subject Added Entry-Personal Name).

I think you're wrong, both in reality and in theory. First, the data is simply worse. Maybe libraries don't follow the rules. If so, you're right in theory but not reality. But I think you're wrong in theory too. The rules don't produce good data by being followed, they produce good data if the rules are good and the rules are followed. Whether the title and colophon mention the series is incidental to whether something is part of a series. If that's what the rules say, the rules are an ass. It might also help to *read* the books, something librarians aren't generally able to do, or acquire an insider's understanding of the series, such as LT user have brought to the many and various Star Wars series. Library cataloging can't duplicate this sort of work. With LT it's just starting; with something like IMDb, it's simply beyond dispute that, on average collaborative amateurization beats cataloging hands-down.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 1:43am Top

>133 timspalding:

I give you an example: I have a book by Jo Nesbø. When I bought the book, I didn't think it was a part of any series - I wouldn't have bought the book in that case. Jo Nesbø has this character Harry Hole in his books. But I don't think the books are a series. The bookstore doesn't sell those books as a series. I can read the book without reading the previous books. But here in LT people have created a series
Harry Hole. It is OK by me of course. I probably read the rest of Jo Nesbø's books in chronological order.

I agree with you that sometimes the rules are an ass, but there really would be chaos if there were no rules (you can sometimes see it here in LT when people e.g. combine recklessly). What bothers me is that there is pressure to enter less and less information in bibliographic records. The rules say what is the minimum that should be entered. And often that is really rudimentary. There are attempts to make things better, like FRBR, but anything that costs more will be difficult to implement. Cooperation is the key, I think. Talis has some innovative solutions and some newer library systems, too (Ex Libris' Primo etc). Librarians are wary of un-professionals to give them a hand, but you are right: sometimes un-professionals know more about the books than library professionals.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 8:07am Top

130: I don't like the way other people decided to populate the series data. It's 100% aesthetics, which is why it would be way better (IMO) if it were personally editable."

Well, 67% aesthetics perhaps. The arrangement of the parentheses is significant, because that distinguishes the name of the series from the order of the book within the series. But whether to include "Series" in the name of the series is an aesthetic choice (I happen to think it's redundant), and whether to include "Book" inside the parentheses is also only an aesthetic choice.

Edited to add: Perhaps this should have been made more clear before the fields were added to everyone's default catalog view.

I also add the series information to my copy of the title of the book, but I add it like this: (Dune 1) Dune so that I can sort my catalog by title and have the books in the series appear together, and books without series information also appear in the correct place. I too would really like a separate book-level Series field for putting my series info in.

However, a book-level series field couldn't possibly have the functionality that the CK series field has (if some people put Dune and some Dune Series and some Dune Books and some The Dune Series the site couldn't group them together). The CK series field pretty much has to work the way it does to get the functionality that it does.

(Big opinion section: I don't have the CK fields showing in my catalog, I just have cover/author/title/year/tags. If I want detailed info about a book, I open the book page in a new tab and have all of it. I've never understood the requests for more columns, or the problems people have with editing data in the catalog. That's what the edit page is for. Your opinions may differ. Disclaimer: This paragraph is not intended to be a suggestion that this is how anyone else should use the site. This is just how I use it.)

Edited again to make the nature of the final paragraph clearer.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 8:56am Top

If I want detailed info about a book, I open the book page in a new tab and have all of it. I've never understood the requests for more columns, or the problems people have with editing data in the catalog. That's what the edit page is for.

Why should we have to open a book page for each book that we want more information about? That may be fine for one book, but what if we're looking at multiple books?

What if we only had three columns one column? Would you complain and ask for more? Just because the number of columns suffices for you (personally, I don't think year is essential; you can find that in the book information) why should everyone else have that same limitation?

As for editing, the edit screen is hideous and poorly arranged and I avoid it as much as possible. It's especially annoying when you need to enter the same information repeatedly for many books, like Date Acquired.

Apr 18, 2008, 8:04am Top

"What if we only had three columns? Would you complain and ask for more?"

Amusingly, I was only going to list the cover/author/title columns, because that's all I really care about. The others are there because they were part of the initial default view I was given. The catalog to me in a sense relates to what I see on my bookshelf, if I want more I take the book off the shelf, or open the book page on the site. But as I said, "Your opinions may differ.".

"Why should we have to open a book page for each book that we want more information about?" and "why should everyone else have that same limitation"? I never made any such suggestions, and am actually offended that you would have taken what I said as such.

As I said, that whole paragraph was a big opinion section. I wasn't expecting that anyone else would feel the way I do, or use the site the same way, and certainly wasn't suggesting that anyone else should.

Apr 18, 2008, 8:56am Top

Oh, I know it was an opinion section. The thing is, it's an opinion that will probably be read by Tim and may influence the development of the site. It sounds like you're telling the developers not to bother about adding more columns or fixing the problems with editing in the catalogue.

Your statement "That's what the edit page is for" does seem to imply that other people should use the edit page for their editing.

I'll change my "three columns" to "one column", then ;).

I'm sorry I offended you; you just touched a sore point. Adding more columns is one of my top wishes for the site, and I've been pretty pissed off by the developer response to it over a period of well over a year (they can't figure out how to do it without making the edit display screen look bad, and anyone who wants more columns must have a massive screen. Well, the edit display screen already looks bad--i.e., some columns go onto a new line--for some people, and the functionality of the catalogue view is far more important than the edit display screen anyway since it's what we actually use every day; and no, I don't have a massive screen, I have a 15-inch laptop screen, I just happen to use a lot of date columns that don't take up much space). As for editing in the catalogue, the whole situation is annoying: they spend one day adding a new feature, which causes a lot of problems; they immediately take away the important part of the new feature and two months later we're still left with all the bugs and a feature that doesn't really do anything.

So again, I'm sorry for the offense. Your comments involved a couple of subjects that I feel very strongly about, but I shouldn't have taken out my anger on you.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 1:26pm Top

>135 r.orrison:

But that's exactly my point! I want the fields I want to display the way I want them to. I think we are agreeing and you don't even realize it.

edited because I put the wrong post number

Apr 18, 2008, 1:26pm Top

>131 jjwilson61:

But what if 100 other people like the way the first person put it in? There are innumerable toes that would be stepped on.

That's why having it be globally altering is useless.

Apr 18, 2008, 1:38pm Top


Strange, John Nesbo is marketed as series overhere...

Apr 18, 2008, 1:39pm Top

But having a global and local field for series is just too confusing. What in particular are you objecting to? You just don't like parenthesis? Or is it what goes inside the parenthesis? The latter can be changed.

Apr 18, 2008, 1:51pm Top

Yes, I was agreeing with you ... 67%. I even said "I too would really like a separate book-level Series field for putting my series info in. The rest was explaining why the CK field is the way it is. We do need both.

Apr 18, 2008, 2:20pm Top

My problems with editing from within my catalogue are
1. Unlike other edits the entry box does not apear in place. allowing me to see the other fields for the book. It come up in a fixed place,and the page behind is scrolled to the top. This is particularly irritating when I am copying data I already have in comment into Common Knowledge.
2) When I am Getting information from elsewhere, my own spreadsheet other internet pages, if I accidently click anywhere else in the LT window I lose all by input so far.
3) When I have shrunk the LT window either in width or in Height the entry window can come up outside the viewed part of the page meaning I have to expand the window again to see the + and save buttons.

Apr 18, 2008, 2:32pm Top

But having a global and local field for series is just too confusing.

I don't see how it's any more confusing than the status quo, where editing some fields (e.g., series) causes global changes and editing other fields causes only local changes.

Apr 18, 2008, 2:50pm Top

OK, so with this idea you'd have a field that is pre-filled with some value that you don't like. You edit it to what you like. Then you click on the pencil to get to the edit page and you see the field again but with the old value that you thought that you changed. Sounds confusing to me.

Apr 18, 2008, 2:57pm Top

Not sure what exactly you're referring to by "this idea". What I would want is both a book-level series field and the existing CK series field, completely separate. In the catalog they're two columns, perhaps "Series" and "CK: Series". On the edit pages one is perhaps near the title and author, the other is in the Common Knowledge section.

I agree that the idea of having one field that somehow changes between personal and CK is bad. Way too confusing.

Apr 18, 2008, 3:35pm Top

I agree with rorrison (147). I'd add that the personal series field should be blank by default, but it would be nice if we had the option of populating it with the CK data so we didn't have to start from scratch.

Apr 18, 2008, 4:34pm Top


I'm objecting to the way stuff is laid out, just like I would object to the titles of books being improperly capitalized (like they are 99% of the time when I enter a new book) if I couldn't edit it personally on my catalog.

Going on that thread of logic, if people want their titles in all caps good for them. I fix in on my own profile so that it is the way I like it.

Similarly, I want a series column that I can also adjust to the way I want it.

I don't see what is so confusing about that.

A person could easily look at the column title and see either "CK: Series" or "Series" and say "Ah, this person is using the global system" or "Ah, this person is using a personal system" much in the way I look at "Title" and do not think "Oh, this is the author".

Apr 18, 2008, 4:39pm Top

Just as an aside, libraries use library case when they enter books into their catalogs, which is to capitalize only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns. So the capitalization that you are seeing 99% of the time when you add a new book isn't incorrect, it's just a different standard than you are used to.

Apr 18, 2008, 4:52pm Top

I just entered The Great Gilly Hopkins by ISBN and both the title and the author were in the system in all capitalization.

I know what I am talking about.

Apr 18, 2008, 5:05pm Top

What source did you use? If it was Amazon then that's par for the course.

But Titles come from either libraries or Amazon and Series come from other LT users, so the errors that you see in the two fields are coming from different sources.

Apr 18, 2008, 5:10pm Top


Presumably you used Amazon for Great Gilly Hopkins. If I had gotten all caps or some other screwed up looking data, I would have checked another source to see if looked better (maybe LC or Amazon.uk). If all of them looked screwed up, then I would have reverted to a manual entry.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 5:13pm Top


Ok, this whole topic is so besides the point; though it does illustrate what I am getting at.

A book came up with improper (for me) title information.

I easily fixed it within my own catalog.

I did not have to worry about accidentally editing/deleting someone else's data from the way they wanted it.

THAT is my problem with the CK: Series column. I cannot, in good conscience, change series data to be the way I want it without possibly ruining it for someone else.

I don't understand why I cannot get this point across.

Apr 18, 2008, 5:14pm Top


But it DOESN'T MATTER because I can fix it for myself in my catalog.

That's all I'm looking for in a series column. The ability to change things for myself with no detriment to other people's catalogs.

Edited: Apr 18, 2008, 6:09pm Top

>155 kite_eating_tree:

You have several choices for changing it in your cataloge alone - it's just that very few will net you a singular "Series" column.

There are those that note the series as they like as part of the title:

Harry Potter 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

If you don't want to lose the social data, you would combine this title with the official book titlefrom the author's page.


You can tag them with the appropriate series name as your first tag. If you look at many of the series clouds, you'll notice that a good number of people were already doing this - I think the biggest tag on the 87th Precinct books was, in fact, 87th Precinct.

Comments - Private or Public

You can add either column to your cataloge and if you're not using both, you could designate one to the Series Name for your library.


You can change the auto-generated summary to the series name for your library and add that as a view. Right now, it pretty much auto-generates a title and publication date.

It would be nice if our everything was both social and private and could do both - but that's not what happens. The series was introduced site-wide so people could share the information as part of common knowledge. Just like private comments were introduced to impact only individuals.

I know there are only 5 other alternative ways to get the series information into your catalog on your terms right now (and none are officially named "series"), but there are ways to get this information for you and only you (or that you could add to your catalog view).

ETA - finished a sentence, some formatting.

Apr 18, 2008, 6:08pm Top

I just have a natural aversion to duplicated data although in this case it may be justified. What about the other CK fields? Does anyone not like the Characters data in CK for some of their books and want the ability to override it in their own catalogs?

Apr 18, 2008, 6:48pm Top

We should have work-level private comments.

Apr 18, 2008, 7:04pm Top

Doesn't seem worth it to me. Book level for private stuff. If it's not attached to my book, what happens when the work is combined and/or separated by someone else?

Apr 18, 2008, 7:11pm Top

(I suspect 158 was a joke)

Apr 18, 2008, 7:13pm Top

(I suspect I should to to bed.)

Apr 18, 2008, 11:57pm Top

We could do some sort of special hybrid, a public field only you can't see. It would be useful for coordinating surprise birthday parties and paranoid conspiracies.

Apr 19, 2008, 8:57am Top

Can the group for the new feature be called "Tin-Foil Hatters?"

Apr 19, 2008, 8:59am Top


I already said I edit my titles to contain series information.

I just don't understand having a column that is globally editable in the first place.


I agree. There should just be one series column. And it should be editable on the personal level.

Apr 19, 2008, 9:33am Top

> 164 I was being only slightly informative and rather facetious.

The point is that this already exists on a personal level. You're asking for things that already exist. If you go back to the original blog on CK which eventually included series information, you'd see why this is global and not local.

The local feature already exists - if you want to piggy back off of the work of others, I suggest using one of your 5 views as a "personal knowledge view" where you throw in the CK field that could possibly contain information you'd want, along with your field of choice for containing your superior cataloging information and use copy & paste. Once you're done, you can delete that field from your personal view forever and ever.

Apr 19, 2008, 10:03am Top

> 165

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Are you saying there's a local series field already? Or are you saying that I need to add the series information to the title/tags/whatever like I already said that I already did?

I seriously think I am being deliberately misunderstood here.

Apr 19, 2008, 10:28am Top

I do not appreciate how my simple query of "Could I have a series column where editing it does not adversely affect other people's catalogs?" has been misinterpreted as "I'm a domineering egomaniac who thinks everyone else on LibraryThing is an idiot."

So forget it.

Apr 19, 2008, 10:28am Top

166: There is no local series column. It's global to start so that everyone doesn't have to enter all their own data on all their own series. There may be a local series column in the future, but that's up to Tim and the rest of the developers.

In the meantime, you can hide it and continue using your own method to track series (Title, Tag, Comment, etc.). The rest of us will continue sharing series info.

Apr 19, 2008, 10:35am Top

Thank you!


This is all I wanted to know in the first place. I really appreciate this information.

Apr 19, 2008, 12:29pm Top

I think that what stephmo is suggesting in 165 is that one possibility to get close to a "personal series" field, would be to use one of the other personal fields that you do not otherwise use (for example, in my case, "comments" or "summary") for your personal series column (or indeed continue with your present use of title), and have that displayed in your main views.

Then, if you have a view you not need otherwise, eg view E, in that view display both your field, whichever you have chosen, along with the CK Series field, and then use that as a source to cut-and paste into your own field, and perhaps for sorting to group together your books in a series you have not yet noted. You would then not have the CK series information always in your face, but only visible when you wanted to use it to help you set-up your own series information

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