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A raft of edition/combination improvements

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Edited: May 22, 2008, 3:01am Top


Two notes of caution:

Not everything about combination is "fixed." The system is still simultaneously too slow and involves too much caching. I made the change so that I could tackle the problem better, but I've got a lot to do.

If you love the site and love combining, take it easy. Don't everybody rush out and spend the whole day combining. Combining is one of the more database-intensive activities on the site. Frankly, I was spurred to improve the system mostly for efficiency reasons. But some core parts of the process—such as recalculating the best title for a work—take far too much time.

So let's everyone focus on fixing a few important things, on questions and on potential improvements. Do not under any circumstances call in sick today just to combine works! :)

May 22, 2008, 2:55am Top

Looking good : )

May 22, 2008, 3:17am Top

Can someone post or send me a good example of a hash-collision. I found one and wasn't able to separate it. I want to do one carefully, following the logic of the thing. If posted, please nobody else try to separate it.

May 22, 2008, 3:19am Top

Having a look, at, say, the Stephen Jones thing - the 'updating editions' didn't seem to break up the combination of many example.

Also, is separation disabled, doesn't seem to work on Opera/Firefox, anyway?

Looking at another, Gardner Dozois - anything that has been combined before stays combined it seems, is that the general idea? e.g. all the Year's Bests have different editions and ISBNS and even titles for the UK version, but some that are completely different years are still in there, or have gone in?

May 22, 2008, 3:29am Top

Ah, I was able to get the Zoo book-in-H.G. Well's book separated.

May 22, 2008, 3:31am Top

When you separate, should it go to the larger work, the separated work or to page with links to both?


Edited: May 22, 2008, 4:24am Top

(1) Combining for the Debris page gives a monkey error, e.g.:


Oh, and I see it's now called editions on the left-hand side of the work screen, but not in the title of the page.

(2) I also have a hard time believing that all the copies in this work have the same ISBN (given the potential work combinations):


(3) The second work, here:


has a copy with neither title nor author.

(4) If a work has no author you cannot separate: gives a work does not exist error, see e.g.:


May 22, 2008, 4:07am Top

In the blog post ""An end to the "dead languages" exception to the cocktail party test""

I don't quite see how the current changes apply to this? Do you mean: You've abandonded the dead languages exception because forthcoming improvements will allow edition matching, so they can and should be combined into one work?

Hurrah if you do!

May 22, 2008, 4:14am Top

Don/t know if this is anything near what you want, but it’s driving me nuts!

Here’s one skittles has been working on for me through a Combiners thread Combining/Separating Fix It Thread: #1; he’s had some luck, but doesn’t think it’s possible to fix http://www.librarything.com/work/363393

Post 163
I spent a couple of weeks going back and forth trying to clean up a series listing for Florida Past.

http://www.librarything.com/work/363393 (the info here is definatly wrong)
only vol 1 shows up on title search
As you can see, searches and page info contain missing and incorrect data.

Finally managed the series listing but there are a slew of works out there I have no idea about. Could possible be 1st in series, I just don't know.

Post 171
Florida's Past

Thanks for your help. I waited a bit to see if the series page got straightened out, but it’s still out of wack. Is there a way for covers 2 and 3 to show up on the series page?

Series Page : Two Volume 1 covers, no covers for Volume 2 or 3, Two listings for Volume 2 – the checked Volume 2 is #2, the unchecked could be anything and should not be listed as Volume 2, more than likely most are Volume 1

Volume 1 - http://www.librarything.com/work/3207892
ISBN entered from book 1561641154 Published 1986

Volume 2 - http://www.librarything.com/work/5354131
ISBN entered from book 1561641391 Published 1988

Volume 3 - http://www.librarything.com/work/5421446
ISBN entered from book 1561641170 Published 1991

It would be nice if an ISBN# did not show up on a works edit page unless actually entered.

May 22, 2008, 4:56am Top


Err.. good question. I'd say both, as a first guess.

May 22, 2008, 7:52am Top

Well, I was finally able to fix the Creation of the Sacred / I Hate You, Don't Leave Me mix-up that's been plaguing my Bookmooch wishlist for months - now the BM related editions just needs to catch up.

Two thoughts:
1) The touchstone for Creation of the Sacred is now "empty" - and when I clicked on "others", there were about five other "empty" options. I don't know if this was around before or if this was created by the separation.

2) Not necessary, but it would be nice if the links in the "potential work combinations" section would take us to that work's debris page, instead of to the work's main page.

May 22, 2008, 9:10am Top

I have been going to town on City of glass, but the graphic novel/novel version are still showing up on each other's potential combinations. This could be because I've missed a mixed ISBN, but I can't find it so maybe it's a caching thing. (Caveats: early, need to get to work, no coffee yet, etc etc) So if someone wants to take a peek at the two City of glass pages, that would be great.

In answer to 6: Why do this differently than we do now? This way you can separate out a bunch of things in a row.

Re: 11--I like your (2).

May 22, 2008, 9:12am Top

A problem:
In the editions page, there is a link under "Potential Work Combinations" called "combine/separate potentials." I tried this link on two different works got the same error message.

One example:
- The work: East of the Sun and west of the Moon: Old Tales from the North by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
- The edition page: http://www.librarything.com/work/250722/debris/29935043
-The error message:
"Some sort of error just happened. The error was logged and Tim has been alerted. If problems persist, email timspaldingAT SIGNlibrarything.com

In most cases, the problem can be fixed by using this link.

The reported error was:

Problem with the concurrent query manager in the LibraryThing Bureau of Garbage Collections.

We have an entire room of trained monkeys working to solve the problem.."

May 22, 2008, 9:45am Top

Hash Collision stills seems to be a problem:

I own a book "Probleme der Kinoästhetik" and it's combined with "Dundee Street Plan" -- obviously a case of hash collision.

According to the URL the "work" has the ID1685280 http://www.librarything.com/work/1685280. The different editions are http://www.librarything.com/work/1685280/debris/23666591 and http://www.librarything.com/work/1685280/debris/7214199.

When I click on _separate_ (either "Probleme" or "Dundee") LT will give me "Error: Work not found." The corresponding ULR is http://www.librarything.com/work_separate.php?book=4255767&work=1685280. Very confusing.


Edited: May 22, 2008, 10:49am Top

I like the look of the new Edition pages with the title, author/"author missing" and ISBN.

Like bluetyson said, separation does not work on the Combine Potentials page. This used to be the quickest way to separate miscombined books and get them combined with the correct books. Separation does work if you go to the work's edition page and separate.

Also, the "Error: work not found" still shows up if the work doesn't have an author.

Do not under any circumstances call in sick today just to combine works! :)

Spoilsport. I'll be at a convention all weekend, occasionally thinking of the fun I could be having here.

Edited to fix unintended touchstone. I'd also like to add thanks for how the Edition page updates immediately when a book is separated from it. This saves a lot of time when the author page is ginormous.

May 22, 2008, 11:04am Top

7: Combining for the Debris page gives a monkey error, e.g., http://www.librarything.com/combine.php?work=1003670>

Fixed. Thanks.

I also have a hard time believing that all the copies in this work have the same ISBN
(given the potential work combinations)

Fixed. At least it's correct now. I'm not sure if you mean what was wrong, but it's right now.

I'm going to be improving the ISBN matching for work combinations. The previous one was cached, and subject to some weirdness. Because the ISBN is now stored and always up-to-date on an edition-by-edition level, I should be able to do better. Unfortunately, to do this, I need to add an "index" to the ISBN field, and I can't do that under normal load.

a copy with neither title nor author

It doesn't now, but it's possible. Strictly speaking, I'm combining the virtues of both hashes (MD5s) and normalization. There are a few editions for which I have a hash but not title, author and ISBN--all books that were edited or deleted quickly. This will slowly go away.

If a work has no author you cannot separate: gives a work does not exist error, eg., http://www.librarything.com/work/4856413>

What are you doing from that page? I'm not seeing a problem.

Do you mean: You've abandonded the dead languages exception because forthcoming improvements will allow edition matching, so they can and should be combined into one work?

No, I don't meant that. I meant that the new system will allow more attention to the editions level--allowing either special editons within works or parent-child relations between works. This isn't true now, so, no changes in policy :)

Here’s one skittles...

What? (Went on a hunt for this usage. Didn't find it. Did find this odd commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEsqELX5e4o&NR=1 )

Sorry. Can you focus your issue down? I'm not following you.

I can say that cover-to-work matching is still cached. I will be working on this.

11 Creation of the Sacred

The Burkert book? Cool.

The touchstone for Creation of the Sacred is now "empty"

Yeah, touchstones are redone every night, so that'll have to wait.


Yeah, I'll work on the covers.

May 22, 2008, 11:09am Top

>16 timspalding: Here’s one skittles... What?

Here's one skittles has been working on. . .

May 22, 2008, 11:13am Top

11 Creation of the Sacred

The Burkert book? Cool.

Yup, this went on my wishlist based entirely on your review, Tim. :) Problem was, no one's ever posted it on BookMooch, but because of the hash collision, I kept getting e-mails saying that I Hate You, Don't Leave Me was available for mooching.

May 22, 2008, 11:32am Top


Fixed all these problems. Fixed Dundee Street Plan. Fixed no-author separation problems.

separation does not work on the Combine Potentials page

Does now. Thanks.

Also, the "Error: work not found" still shows up if the work doesn't have an author.


Creation of the Sacred

That ought to be a anti-recommendation pair.

Edited: May 22, 2008, 12:50pm Top

>3 timspalding:

If you're still looking for a hash collision, I just found this strangeness: http://www.librarything.com/combine.php?work=26468

May 22, 2008, 1:19pm Top

I apologize, but I've always been a bit confused by combining/separating (although I've done some work combining when I knew two listings to be the same book).

Can someone explain how to go about this (or how this will work when it's functional)?

I have an edition of "The Lady of Shalott" by Tennyson, ISBN 1553378741. My particular edition is part of a "Visions in Poetry" series of illustrated poems for kids. How can I separate the edition so that I can add the series in CK, without the series being applied to every edition of "The Lady of Shalott"?

Sorry, I know I'm missing something obvious, but I do really find this stuff confusing.

May 22, 2008, 1:39pm Top

The short answer is that this kind of series is not allowed. Only series like the Narnia series or series of books that are only ever produced by the same publisher, like the For Dummies series are allowed.

However, the reason for this is that there was no edition level in LT at the time that series were introduced so it may after all be possible in the near future.

May 22, 2008, 1:41pm Top


Fixed all these problems. Fixed Dundee Street Plan. Fixed no-author separation problems.
Also, the "Error: work not found" still shows up if the work doesn't have an author. Fixed.

Very, very good. THANK YOU!

May 22, 2008, 1:59pm Top

While this title-author-ISBN level might be a good idea from a technical perspective, calling it an edition is bound to be confusing as it doesn't correspond to what most people think when they hear edition. For one thing, every permutation of the title shouldn't be a different edition. And what about pre-ISBN books? They will all get lumped together into one "edition".

So, IMHO, you should call this new level something else.

May 22, 2008, 2:26pm Top

If you're still looking for a hash collision, I just found this strangeness: http://www.librarything.com/combine.php?work=26468>

I adore everything you've done for LT but please be more specific! What problem are you seeing? I see two works, with three and one editions each. It looks clear to me they should be combined. They aren't now.

Note that all editions are distinct editions. It's true that the ISBN 1892213303 crosses works, but two editions are distinct, being

Meet Sailor Jupiter: Thunder: 3 (Sailor Moon Scout Guides) by Naoko Takeuchi (ISBN 1892213303)
Meet Sailor Jupiter: Thunder (Sailor Moon Scout Guide) by Naoko Takeuchi (ISBN 1892213303)

Similar, yes, but not identical. It's up to you to decide if the are the same work or not.


Right. The questions is, are we there now? Can we create series based on these editions or do we need something like what #24 has in mind—a "true" editions format, combining LT's title-author-ISBN editions?

Very, very good. THANK YOU!

Sorry it took me so long. The trick to much of programming is that there's a "cost" to going into old code. If you go in and don't understand what you're doing, you can really do damage. So it makes the most sense to fix most bugs—particularly in a complex system like work combinations—in big "pushes."

I'm in such a push now. So cough up the bugs or forever hold your peace! :)


No criticisms without recommendations. What shall I call it?

May 22, 2008, 2:36pm Top

Can we create series based on these editions or do we need something like what #24 has in mind—a "true" editions format, combining LT's title-author-ISBN editions?

I think we need true editions.

May 22, 2008, 2:42pm Top


It's possible someone fixed the hash-collision error between when it was posted and when you looked at it; I've been going through all the old hash collisions that I could find mentioned in old threads to clean them up, and most of them had already been done.

If I find another one I will let you know rather than fixing it.

May 22, 2008, 2:47pm Top

Any chance of an easier way of getting to the editions/debris page from catalog view?

May 22, 2008, 2:56pm Top

25> Well, do you have to call it anything? You said in the blog that you called the old title-author groupings editions, but I don't believe that term was ever used in the UI or in Talk posts. So if the old title-author pairs didn't have an external name, why do the title-author-ISBN have to have one?

If you don't like that maybe you could call them Book Sets or something.

Edited: May 22, 2008, 3:05pm Top

> 25

No criticisms without recommendations. What shall I call it?

Good question. The problem as I see it is that in some cases, the new title-author-ISBN will be equivalent (or nearly so) to what most people think of as an "edition" -- but in other cases, it will not. This is particularly a problem if it's true that pre-ISBN books will all get lumped together into one "edition," as jjwilson wrote.

Short answer: why not use the term "book"? Or, you may want to use a term like "version" (or maybe "publication"?). In any case, "edition" would be reserved for marking the differences between distinct publications of a book, like second edition of a publication, 25th Anniv. Edition, etc.

I guess it would help if you could make it clear what you want these terms to distinguish -- especially because people use "edition" to mean a lot of different things (e.g., translations, first printings, illustrated copies, etc.).

When I think about cataloging my books, I break them down like this (in descending order):

work -- like the current LT concept

book or publication -- a distinct physical version of the work; for example, the Norton Critical Edition of Piers Plowman.

edition -- a distinct version of the book or publication; for example, a 2nd Ed. of a published book, or corrected edition.

printing -- a particular printing of an edition; for example, what people call "first edition" (really first printing or impression) would be the first printing of a particular edition of a particular book in my system.

Hope this helps.

May 22, 2008, 3:09pm Top

>25 timspalding: please be more specific! What problem are you seeing?

When I was on that page (and I followed the link in my post after I made it) there was another book on there that was completely unrelated to the 2 Sailor Moon books, hence the strangeness. The system seems to have straightened itself out which I hadn't expected or I'd have just let it go.

For something different, there seems to still be automatic combining when the titles match exactly: http://www.librarything.com/work/259193/details/4798364
This work has 4 different ISBNs and since they are picture books (well, my copy is) I do not think they contain the same information. In this instance, I'm not too concerned, but I think I came across something similar earlier today, but I don't remember where.

May 22, 2008, 3:10pm Top

If edition is confusing, why not call them variations?

May 22, 2008, 3:21pm Top

31> It looks like someone fixed this one too. Now there is only one ISBN for that Sunflower book.

May 22, 2008, 3:28pm Top

I think we need true editions.

As another thread surfaced, what about "numbered editons"? Is the "Guiness Book of World Records 1997 edition" the same edition if it's hardback or softback? Are those two different editions of the same edition?

Can someone define "real edition"?

So if the old title-author pairs didn't have an external name, why do the title-author-ISBN have to have one?

That's a good point. Actually, the term "editions" hasn't been much used. We've mostly avoided giving them any name at all. Right now it's suggesting some concept of edition when it calls the page "Editions," but not necessarily the full idea I'm using.

"Variant" seems like a good term to me. It doesn't have any prior publishing "baggage."

>31 trollsdotter:

Someone went and fixed that, right?

Answer this please: People, are you comfortable with how separation works? I think it would be best if, after combination, it gave you links to both the "old" work and the "splinter work."


May 22, 2008, 3:31pm Top

Great news! Does this mean that the new system will work better with non-ascii character sets? Previously it seems only ASCII characters were used in the auto-combining resulting in some weird combinations :D

May 22, 2008, 3:32pm Top

links to both the "old" work and the "splinter work."


May 22, 2008, 3:34pm Top

Real edition to me would be Canonical Title-Author-Publisher-Year of first printing of that edition. However, I imagine that the last two aren't easy to get programatically, so these kinds of editions would need to be researched and created by LT users. I'm not sure though that just being able to include publisher's series is enough to justify this.

Edited: May 22, 2008, 3:59pm Top

>33 jjwilson61: & 34

I don't think it is fixed. This is what I see (without benefit of SnagIt, which is at home):

Work details Book details

Title Sunflowers
Author None provided
Owned by 6 members
LC Classification QK495.C74 S86 (see all)
Dewey 583/.99 22 (see all)
Subjects Sunflowers › Pictorial works
Sunflowers › Quotations, maxims, etc

ISBN-10 1586630660, 0762414715, 0762416351, 0762423293

ISBN-13 9781586630669, 9780762414710, 9780762416356, 9780762423293

I have the 0762416351 book. I'll check to see if the other members have the same one.

ETA: LTer fredheid has ISBN 0762414715 in that work which isn't the same book as mine.

May 22, 2008, 3:57pm Top

>35 Codexus:

Auto-combination will still be harder for non-Latin texts. Auto-combination works by reducing a title and author down to its essential core—lower case, no punctuation, removing things in parentheses, etc. That's harder with non-Latin works.

May 22, 2008, 3:59pm Top

>38 trollsdotter:

Ah, yes. The covers and the ISBN list are based on the same data, which is cached.

May 22, 2008, 4:02pm Top

I just don't how how you can define "real" editions? That's not a sufficiently concrete idea to make sufficient sense. We'd never agree with one another as Tim's examples show. There would be no benefit. What we have now works well enough.

What I would like to see is enhanced combining/separating tools, particularly an exploding tool. If you're concerned about abuse, then power tools could be given to people with a certain number of edits. (You mentioned a possible badge in a blog post?)

And I'd like to see Collections. And a Facebook app. And… I'll stop now. You know us LTers well enough to know we're never satisfied ;-)

PS - I like "Variant". Much better than "Edition".

May 22, 2008, 4:04pm Top

38> I was looking at the Editions page for that books which has,

Other copies and editions of this title

Sunflowers (ISBN 0762414715) (6 copies separate)

which presumably is the up-to-date info.

Note to Tim: Shouldn't that first line just be "Copies and editions of this title", or perhaps "variations" as per the other conversation on this thread.

May 22, 2008, 4:12pm Top

>40 timspalding:

So, the four books are really separate in the system and I don't really share it with fredheid; it just has to catch up to display them as 4 different works, right?

The only other combining problems I've had in the past involve situations where the two books have the same ISBN, have different authors, but don't come up on each other's potential combinations.

For instance, Trinity Blood Vol. 5


May 22, 2008, 4:17pm Top

>42 jjwilson61:

Actually, the Editions page is wrong in displaying only one ISBN for that title if the system still thinks that fredheid (I hope he isn't sneezing too badly) and I share the same book. See edit above: he is one of the six on the work page.

May 22, 2008, 4:19pm Top

So, the four books are really separate in the system and I don't really share it with fredheid; it just has to catch up to display them as 4 different works, right?

Right. That stuff HAS to be cached. Any way you slice it, that's some tough math. In essence, we have to keep track of the sharing of 400,000 * 400,000 / 2 members. To deal with changing works on top of that... well, it would be hard.

So, basically, users have cached lists of works, and works have cached lists of users. Every 24 hours, the caches expire—so problems should wash out within 48 hours.

May 22, 2008, 4:28pm Top

>45 timspalding:

Great. When I get back on Monday, the fun will start again. I was up through the K authors, but I think I'll start at the beginning of my catalog.

May 22, 2008, 4:39pm Top

One particular bugbear of mine has been DeLorme's series of atlas & gazetteers for each US state. Since they don't list authors, they've been input to LibraryThing variously as DeLorme, David DeLorme, DeLorme Mapping, ... or even none at all. (Amazon has been no help as they have the same problem with the aforementioned multiple editors.) My past attempts to combine different editions of the same states were largely unfruitful, but it seems to be working now. It's definitely better than before.

May 22, 2008, 4:45pm Top

>47 nathanm:


May 22, 2008, 5:45pm Top

I'm not sure though that just being able to include publisher's series is enough to justify this.

I'm more concerned about getting recommendations for individual editions, especially if editions are going to used as justification for getting rid of the dead language exception.

It may be difficult to agree on what exactly true editions are, but the distinction between editions should certainly not depend on title capitalization.

May 22, 2008, 5:54pm Top

Well dang, I think my understanding is worse off than it was when I posted the question in #21!

I guess all I can take away for now is that I hope at some point in the future, the type of series I mentioned will be allowed. It's valid, useful info. For now, I'll keep using the tags.....

May 22, 2008, 8:44pm Top


Fixed. At least it's correct now. I'm not sure if you mean what was wrong, but it's right now.

I don't understand why these work combinations are suggested for that work. I thought the suggestions on the debris page worked by ISBN, but if all the books in that work have the same ISBN, why do works which only have different ISBNs show up (as is the case)?

f a work has no author you cannot separate: gives a work does not exist error, eg., http://www.librarything.com/work/4856413

What are you doing from that page? I'm not seeing a problem.

I was going to the debris page and doing separation, which resulted in a work not found error, seems to be fixed now though.

May 22, 2008, 8:58pm Top

I don't understand why these work combinations are suggested for that work. I thought the suggestions on the debris page worked by ISBN, but if all the books in that work have the same ISBN, why do works which only have different ISBNs show up (as is the case)?

No, there's some overlap here. I'm not sure what it is, but there's an ISBN overlap.

May 22, 2008, 9:05pm Top


That's weird, because I'm not seeing it (manually checked all ISBNs in this case).

Ha, but what I did notice (before the upgrade), and this is probably still the case: if a work at some point included a certain ISBN and you got rid of all these (separation) all the works with did ISBN did still show up on the work combine/separate page (this seems to be going on here).

May 22, 2008, 11:26pm Top

24/25 >

I have to agree, these are not editions by any of the several different variations of the meaning. Here's the wikipedia page regarding book editions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edition_%28book%29

I find myself torn between the Bibliographical, Collectors, and Publishers definitions of editions. The bibliographical makes the most sense for usage here at librarything, perhaps adding a "printing" field on the book level to satisfy the collectors definition, so that I can note that my personal copy of Anne of green gables was the 14th printing of the first edition or that it was printed in 1934 or whatever.

May 24, 2008, 3:35pm Top

I'm not a techie, so I should, perhaps stay away from this discussion. My question regards anthologies that contain multiple novels. In one sense, I do own Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey. In fact, I own several copies that appear in different world literature anthologies I have taught. I realize that it would be absurd to consider the anthologized version in the same light as a completely self-contained work. However, it would be nice to have some way of sharing the fact that I, too, own and have read copies of certain works. Is there a way of doing this, without creating chaos as well as incorrect information. This matter is easily handled in MLA bibliographic format. One simply lists as follows: Homer. The Odyssey. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 5th ed. Ed. X and Y. New York: Norton, 2000. I'm sorry if I'm posting on the wrong thread.

May 24, 2008, 3:46pm Top

I have that situation with quite a few cases of books containing other novels. They're usually called omnibuses here. What I've done is enter the omnibus, but also enter the individual works as well, using a tag of virtual and making sure that any information that might pertain to an individual edition, like ISBN, publication date, and publisher, are blank. I also tag the omnibus with omnibus. This makes my library seem a few books larger than it really is, but I get the connections for the individual books, and its the best we can do until LT gets a works-within-works implementation.

May 24, 2008, 10:53pm Top

I handle it the same way as jjwilson61. I like to review the books individually and cannot review a book unless I have it in my library. I do, but presently it does not show.

Before I started cataloging this way, I ended up buying a book that I already owned. It was not one I wanted to own two of and could have spent the money on something else.

May 25, 2008, 10:42am Top

"I've just completed a major change in the "substructure" of LibraryThing's data, the "works system" that links different editions together. The system is better and will allow more betterness down the road. It was the reason we were down most of last night. We regret that, but think the change will prove worth it."

Oh, please, "more betterness"? Am I the only one to groan?

Edited: May 25, 2008, 11:24am Top

I've just noticed an oddity: I'm getting 'Title missing' entries in the combination page. For instance, go to Piers Anthony, combine/separate works, and look at Macroscope. This is what I see:

Macroscope by Piers Anthony (314 copies; go to work)
Macroscope by Piers Anthony (ISBN 0839828993) (separate)
Title missing by Piers Anthony (separate)
Macroscope by PIERS ANTHONY (ISBN 0380456907) (separate)
Macroscope by Piers Anthony (ISBN 0380002094) (separate)
Title missing by Piers Anthony (separate)
Macroscope by Piers Anthony (ISBN 0380456907) (separate)
Title missing by Piers Anthony (separate)
Title missing by Piers Anthony (separate)

... and a lot more entries.

When I go to the Macroscope Editions page it looks OK.

OSX 10.5.2/Safari 3.1.1, if it matters.

(edited to fix typo)

May 25, 2008, 11:54am Top

>59 paulhurtley:

I have refined the title algorithm somewhat. I had experimented with picking the algorithm in a new way. Blank titles were a side-effect, but the effect itself—picking titles not by how often they are used, but how many editons use the—didn't work at all.

This is going to take a while to fade out, unfortunately.

May 26, 2008, 2:48am Top

Oh, please, "more betterness"? Am I the only one to groan?

Well, I don't know the answer of course, but as for myself, I marvel and rejoyce at the profuse possibilities of the English language.

May 27, 2008, 12:53am Top

Everything depends on tone, which is very hard to read online... ;)

May 28, 2008, 1:02pm Top

Oh, please, "more betterness"? Am I the only one to groan?

Really. I mean, it should have clearly read "most-est betterness." Right?

May 28, 2008, 4:32pm Top

I'm all for pointing out horrible grammar (not that Tim listens anyway), but even I think that "more betterness" in this context is entirely reasonable.

Jun 8, 2008, 3:21pm Top

Is this update the one that caused all previous work touchstones to just point to http://www.librarything.com/work/ with no parameter?
The author touchstones remained, whereas the work ones didn't.

For example:
All work touchstones before this update appear to have vanished.

Jun 17, 2008, 12:25pm Top



There doesn't appear to be any automatic fix planned (which is a shame, because it means the "conversations about book X" for more obscure books just lost most of their history), but you can restore touchstones on your own old posts by editing them. If there are a lot of touchstones it might take a while for them to reload.

Jun 17, 2008, 12:38pm Top

>66 lorax:

lorax, it appears that the conversation history for the works is still there. I just checked for some of the non-functioning touchstones that are in my 50 book challenge, and the thread still shows up in the "conversations about book X" list.

Jun 17, 2008, 11:32pm Top


The problem with the old Touchstones isn't as much the loading time then if you had searched through and used the 'other' possibilities for the Touchstones. You may not remember your choices made 15 months ago.

Jun 18, 2008, 12:28pm Top


Well, for ME load time was the problem, but I'm always conscientious about checking touchstones rather than accepting the default -- and even if I don't "remember" that I had to check a particular one 15 months ago, I'll see now that I need to check it.

Jul 2, 2008, 12:24am Top

Just ran into the original blog post about new combine/separate issues. Hopefully, people are still reading this thread, so I'll mention some related features that will create a definite improvement in the system.

I would like to see the ability to specify "contains" and "contained in" relationships. This features would create stronger social links between people who have the same novel whether published in as a stand alone book or as part of an omnibus or a collection. Think Dracula vs the single volume bundle of Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Also think The Iliad and The Odyssey vs the bundle The Iliad and the Odyssey (notice how tochstones work out).

The second feature concerns multiple authors. The bibliographic data for multiple authors is badly bungled. To see an example, search for landau lifshitz. These are two people who have co-authored a series of books on theoretical physics. However, both of them have also authored books independently. It's very hard to get people to go and re-edit the author information of their books. On the other hand, a feature that combines these double-author entries with the logical combination of L. D. Landau AND E. M. Lifshitz solves the problem. At the same time, it would allow better combination for various editions of their books, which would be impossible as long as they are listed under separate authors.

Hope somebody is listening.

Edited: Dec 4, 2008, 4:04pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 8, 2008, 4:50pm Top

I know that the link name changed from "Debris" to "Editions." However, the title of the page you click through to is still called "Debris" (as is the URL, but that's not as major of an issue, I think).

I never know what to call it. Is it the Editions page? Is it the Debris page? Is it the Debris/Editions page? Or maybe Editions/Debris page?

So...what is it?

Aug 9, 2008, 1:19am Top

It's all editions now. Thanks.


Aug 9, 2008, 1:00pm Top

Hooray. My brain is much happier now.

Oct 10, 2008, 4:55am Top

This is really working a lot better than it used to, but there is still a problem. If you separate from the authors combine/separate page, your choices are

The original work
The separated work
The author listed on the separated work
In each case either the main page or the combine page.

It would be helpful if you always had the option of chosing the page you just came from. At present that isn't the case if the author of the separated work is notthe same as the author combine/separate page you were working on.

This makes problems not only when you have to separate out soemthing totally crazy, but even if there are several variants of an author's name.

If the author listed on the separated work is not the variant that 'won' and you click on that combine page, you get shunted to a page that ONLY includes the works with that variant. Hopefully it is an author that has been combined with the main one, in which case you can click on author page, and then back to the combine page you were working on. If it is a different variant - maybe just the family name that shouldn't be combined because various authors share it, it is more complicated.

Oct 10, 2008, 6:56am Top

This is essentially the problem I was getting at in this thread, but you articulated it better than I did. If you end up on a variant of the author that is not the dominant one, you don't get all the possible combinations/separations, ergo, the combined authors are not equal!

Oct 10, 2008, 12:30pm Top

It would be very nice if, when one searched on an author's name, it was made clear in the results list which one is the dominant name - bolded, or something. Having to click on all of, say, thirty entries before you spot the right one gets tedious.

Oct 10, 2008, 12:42pm Top

77>Yeah. Author search is pretty crappy right now. I hardly ever use it. Instead I create my own URLs and hope they work.

Oct 10, 2008, 3:46pm Top

77> Yes to that! and even when you know which name you are looking for, sometimes there are two identical ones, and you have to guess which one is dominant.

Oct 11, 2008, 2:49pm Top

I just search for an author in the works search, because then it tends to use the dominant author. For popular authors, the author search is useless unless you're combining.

Oct 22, 2008, 12:34am Top

I just want to say I love the new 'never combine' feature. =)

Oct 22, 2008, 9:35am Top

sometimes there are two identical ones, and you have to guess which one is dominant

The names are arranged alphabetically by url, and the dominant author will be /author/lastfirst (assuming the majority of people have entered the name correctly as Last, First--usually true unless it is an obscure author with only one or two works). So, if the author's first name comes alphabetically before his last name, the second name on the list will be the dominant.

To illustrate, a search for David Malouf gives:
David Malouf (/author/davidmalouf)
David Malouf (/author/maloufdavid) -- dominant because it is /author/lastfirst

A search for Sarah Dunant gives:
Sarah Dunant (/author/dunantsarah) -- dominant because it is /author/lastfirst
Sarah Dunant (/author/sarahdunant)

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