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IMPORTANT: LibraryThing dives into editions and expressions

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1timspalding
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 2:43pm Top

We're looking at the possibility/feasibility of introducing two levels below the "work"—one for editions and one for "expressions." We've been batting this around for a while, and Jeremy, Abby, Chris, John, Casey, Chris, Dan and I want your thoughts.

The Goals. The idea behind this is to provide:

1. Optional granularity of existing data. To allow members to see who else has, say, Pope's translation of the Iliad, Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, or the third edition of Samuelson's Economics. To allow people to read all the reviews of the new Pevear-Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace.

2. Appropriate hooks on which to hang new, or newly-displayed data. For example, War and Peace should appear on the author pages for Pevear and Volokhonsky, but it should be possible to make it clear this only applies to SOME editions. Tables of contents, similarly, should also be possible to adhere to all or just some of the components of a work.

Why Editions AND Expressions? Members have long expressed interest in an edition layer on LibraryThing, but they often seem to be interested in an aggregate above the edition. Technically, the edition changes when the same book is bound in paperback, or the same text and even the same cover adhere to a book published in two countries.

This is interesting, but sometimes you want to look at a broader concept—everyone who's read the English translation of Nabokov's The Gift, not just those who read, say, the 1992 British Penguin paperback. Or those who prefer the Cary translation of Dante's Inferno to the Longfellow translation, or the Italian original to any translation at all. Expressions will also make it possible to differentiate between Margaret Wise Brown's Christmas in the Barn as illustrated by Barbara Cooney from that illustrated by Diane Goode.

Note that the term and to some extent the idea of "expressions" is borrowed from FRBR, a largely unimplemented library idea. It doesn't escape our notice that this might turn out to be the most comprehensive implementation of FRBR, and an inspiration and help to the library world.

The current structure. LibraryThing currently thinks in terms of works, "editions" (a misleading term) and member books.

Our works include every version of a thing, based on a "cocktail party" test—whether someone would admit to having read the book if asked at a cocktail party. Thus, some translated texts have been kept separate—on the theory that the data and readers clustered around Homer in the original wouldn't benefit from being subsumed into the much larger work.

Works are made of up something we call "editions." In fact our "editions" are actually just unique bundles of three things—title, author and ISBN. Every book has a title, author and ISBN (or no ISBN), and that combination makes up an "edition" (in fact a "publication line"). Every "publication line" connects to a work. You can see all the "editions" within a work on a page like this: http://www.librarything.com/work/28039/editions/69821813 .

Basically, the structure is: work —> "publication line" —> member's book

How we'd do it. First, we'd expand our current "publication lines" to include place of publication and date. The theory is that, if something has the same title, author, ISBN, place of publication and date, it's the same "publication line."

This would not however be the edition layer, because LibraryThing's different sources produce innumerable variants. A library and Amazon might list a book's title differently. One might provide the publisher, another the publisher's imprint, another both datapoints, etc.

So, we would:

1. Rename the current "editions"—to "entries" or "records" or—Tim's current preference—"publication lines."
2. Continue to make works up from these "publication lines."
3. Allow members to organize a work into editions and expressions, based on "publication lines."

In effect, we'd move to: work —> (expression) —> (edition) —> "publication line" —> member's book.

As can be seen from the parenthesis, expressions and editions would be optional. Works would still be made up of publication lines and wouldn't need to be "organized." (We might make good guesses at the edition layer, but not add expressions). I suspect they'd only be added when the result was interesting, or it was necessary to hang a secondary author or a table of contents on. When organized there will still need to be a bucket for "unknown edition" or "unknown expression."

Absolutely key to this is a super-easy user-interface for organizing editions and expressions. If this isn't easy, it won't work. Chris (ConceptDawg) is looking into hierarchical drag-and-drop interfaces as we speak.

This would, we think, take a fair amount of work. But not as much as you might think, and the process could be done in steps. Most importantly, however, it will solve problems we just can't solve now, or which can only be solved through REALLY complicated programming.

Questions for Discussion

1. What do you think?

2. What makes expressions "different enough"? We'd need to come up with a list of "distinguishing factors"—editor, translator, &c., that are both distinctive and easy to determine/display. And we need to decide what changes—covers, pagination—aren't significant enough. What criteria should those be?

3. Is the boxes-within-boxes model right, or should we allow the creation of arbitrary expressions? For example, some people will want to separate out editions of Huckleberry Finn by their illustrator and some won't.

2AnnieMod
Feb 8, 2011, 2:48pm Top

I like the idea. Need some time to figure out a real response though but thumbs up for all that

3LolaWalser
Feb 8, 2011, 2:52pm Top

Nice.

What about sharing, would that still be based (only) on "work" level?

4jbd1
Feb 8, 2011, 2:54pm Top

Work-level sharing would still be at the core of it, but you'd also be able to see what you had in common with someone else at a deeper level than the work, if it had been organized into expressions/editions.

5DaynaRT
Feb 8, 2011, 2:55pm Top

1. What do you think?
I can't wait to keep my Howell D. Chickering Beowulf away from Heaney's. ;-)

some people will want to separate out editions of Huckleberry Finn by their illustrator and some won't
Lists. Seriously. Lists would give people a way to make their own "boxes"

6timspalding
Feb 8, 2011, 2:55pm Top

>3 LolaWalser:

So, I say, at core yes. If you've read Les Miserables, we can talk about it, whether or not you read it in French and I haven't. But the system will not be able to drill down into this, and report on who else has expressions—including your expression—and the same with editions.

We could probably gild the lilly on this. For example, we might make it possible to limit the sharing by item—so that only people who've read the Iliad in Greek are kith and kin to me. But that wouldn't be the default, and it might not happen at all.

7readafew
Feb 8, 2011, 2:55pm Top

At first look, it seems you've given this a lot of thought. I'll need to think on it myself to come up with any meaningful suggestions. Glad to see this is near the top of the pile.

8timspalding
Feb 8, 2011, 2:56pm Top

Lists. Seriously. Lists would give people a way to make their own "boxes"

Right. I see this as a solution there too. Right now lists would have to be work-level. There's no other level that really exists.

9LolaWalser
Feb 8, 2011, 2:58pm Top

2. What makes expressions "different enough"? (...) What criteria should those be?

Language, translator, editor (versions, introduction, annotations etc.), other authors: illustrators.

3. should we allow the creation of arbitrary expressions?

If you can afford that, technically, why not.

10LolaWalser
Feb 8, 2011, 3:01pm Top

#4, 6

Cool, cool, I think catalogue connections ought to remain on the highest (broadest) level.

11suitable1
Feb 8, 2011, 3:05pm Top

So, would a paperback and hardback be different editions?

Would they be "duplicates" of the work as they are now?

12elenchus
Edited: Feb 10, 2011, 3:02pm Top

1. What do I think? What do I think?! Gods, the heavens have opened.

2. Criteria for determining a new expression should include (but not be limited to) any one of the following:

2a: translator (special case: an existing translation is paired with the original text, treated as different expression than the translation alone)
2b: edited or "secondary" content (introductions, annotations, footnotes, indices, et al by non-original authors)
2c: revisions (by the original authors, including new introductions, prefaces)
2d: illustrator
2e: abridgements
2f: collected works editions (even if an existing volume is reproduced as "Volume 6" of the set)

3. I like the flexibility of arbitrary expressions, and anticipate that crowd-sourcing would mean a "common" version would float to the top, but would not stifle subcultures (academics, whomever) to customise. I have no idea how you'd do that, though.

ETA change "complete" to "collected" in 2f, so as to include both multi-volume works from different authors and from the same authors.

13keristars
Feb 8, 2011, 3:07pm Top

Is this going to have anything to do with a Contained in/Contains feature?

Otherwise, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the changes to authors and am waiting for that to settle a bit before I start trying to understand it all, and I think it's going to be the same with this (though I am very excited about implementing some of the FRBR concepts!)

14suitable1
Feb 8, 2011, 3:08pm Top

Is this the time to also consider short stories within a book or are we considering that an entirely different wormy can?

15jbd1
Feb 8, 2011, 3:11pm Top

>13 keristars:, 14 ... Yes, it's all of a piece with component parts :-)

16timspalding
Feb 8, 2011, 3:13pm Top

>13 keristars:-14

Yes. The conversations are quite interrelated. At core, I see this as necessary to "hang" such data on. Not every edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature includes "Wuthering Heights." (According to Jeremy, one does. I think he's lying. Substitute some more plausible short story or poem here.)

17jbd1
Feb 8, 2011, 3:13pm Top

Okay now we're just repeating each other.
Sorry, folks :-)

18chellerystick
Feb 8, 2011, 3:17pm Top

What 13 & 14 said; consider that a "work" in ordinary parlance can be smaller than a volume (story, poem, essay, etc.) or larger (Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire). I know one of my friends has been tearing her hair out trying to deal with her large collection of SFF anthologies--many overlaps and yet many stories that can only be found in one or two. And, although it would probably take more time than I have, it could be very valuable for my poetry collection.

19lorax
Feb 8, 2011, 3:19pm Top

Wonderful!

20norabelle414
Feb 8, 2011, 3:24pm Top

I love it.

21brightcopy
Feb 8, 2011, 3:36pm Top

Like AnnieMod, I'm going to take a while to digest this.

But my first thought is that I like relationships more than boxes-within-boxes. As you mentioned in BETA, it also relates to contained in/by.

Here's an example, please ignore some of the details which I'm sure are wrong. It's mainly to delve into the concepts.
1) Beowulf (Nowell manuscript text)
author role = Anonymous

2) Beowulf
author role = Anonymous
translator role = Robert Nye
Relationship: Is translation of (1)

3) Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is translation of (1)
Relationship: Is illustrated edition of (1)

4) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is translation of (1)

5) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Contains (1) (it contains the original text on one page, the translation on the next)
Relationship: Contains (4)

6) Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Editions)
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is critical edition of (4) (has annotations of the text, essays, background information, etc.)

7) Beowulf (Audiobook)
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is audio edition of (4)
Relationship: Is abridgment of (4)

22andejons
Feb 8, 2011, 3:40pm Top

>16 timspalding:
A nice example might be the Sherlock Holmes short story "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box", which appear in the British "Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" but the American "His Last Bow". I don't want to even consider doing proper separation under the current system, but something might be done in the new one.

Oh, and: Thank you!

23kensor
Feb 8, 2011, 3:46pm Top

Generally, I like options allowing more data granularity, but a couple of concerns come to mind. First, to benefit most from it, one should review existing entries relative to the new standard, then adjust them appropriately. For larger collections, keeping track of review progress would benefit from a "status byte," a private set of user-definable labels, settable over groups of entries, to indicate current status. Second, it occurs to me that present as well as new users might benefit from a top-level HowTo and Help section with usage directions, tips and techniques, Does and Don'ts, as well as indications of what's intended by the web interface for those to whom it's not obvious. And, of course, thanks for all of your continued interest and work developing and maintaining LibraryThing.

24geitebukkeskjegg
Feb 8, 2011, 3:47pm Top

Absolutely great!

I keep reading "product line" for "publication line", though. And I expect others without intimate knowledge of the publishing world might as well. How does the two terms differ?

25beardo
Feb 8, 2011, 3:51pm Top

Sounds wonderful!

A couple of quick questions (they may, in fact, only spring from my mis-reading/understanding):

1. Would this extra level of organization be encountered by the casual user when books are being added to a library or would it be, like CK, an optional process for only those interested? I guess I'm asking whether it could possibly be too intimidating or technical for the less devoted user?

2. Considering some of the debates and acrimony that have sprung up over the years around CK and the edition/work distinction, will one user's classification of a particular edition (be it incorrect or correct) influence the classification of another member who has the same ISBN in his/her library?

Regardless, this sounds great, and I'm looking forward to it.

26EveleenM
Feb 8, 2011, 3:51pm Top

How we'd do it. First, we'd expand our current "publication lines" to include place of publication and date. The theory is that, if something has the same title, author, ISBN, place of publication and date, it's the same "publication line."

I don't think using just the place of publication and date are enough to cope with books without ISBNs. Look at UK books, for example - the vast majority are published in London. London, 1950 isn't enough to identify a pre-ISBN book. If you add the publisher, it would be much better: London : Geoffrey Bles, 1950 is an adequately useful identifier.

Take the Folio Society, whose books have an active group of collectors here. As modern editions without ISBNs, having just London, 2011 on the publication line is no great improvement on the present situation; London: The Folio Society, 2011, on the other hand, would be a huge improvement.

WorldCat seems to manage very well with the triple place/firm/date identifier for the publisher rather than your proposed place/date.

27AnnaClaire
Feb 8, 2011, 3:58pm Top

I'll admit I've been one of the people who have thought an intermediate level would be a good idea for various reasons. I'd have to put some thought into the whole expressions/editions idea before I say more, though. (I'll try to get something posted once I get home from work, if my computer doesn't eat the attempt.)

28lquilter
Feb 8, 2011, 4:01pm Top

Love it!

Can I suggest that it might make it a little easier (maybe not) if members could swap out record data in advance. Dedicated members could eradicate a lot of amazon data and replace it with library / MARC data, which would presumably be more complete. (maybe not).

29Larxol
Feb 8, 2011, 4:06pm Top

> 26 The tricky part of place/firm/date for older books will be the spelling and languages used. "Leiden" or "Lugduni Batauorum", for example. Probably the first cataloger for an edition will set the standard for it, and anyone later who wants the same edition will have to match it.

30jbd1
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 4:08pm Top

kensor - yes, we'll definitely have some guidance about this feature for folks!

EveleenM, making this work for non-ISBN books is important - while it may mean finagling the data a little bit, whatever we end up doing will be applicable/extensible to pre- or non-ISBN books.

31teagueamania
Feb 8, 2011, 4:41pm Top

Fantastic! Neither FRBR nor RDA made much sense to me in the current bibliographic record environment, until it was explained how those concepts are used to describe relationships -- "brightcopy" (message #21) seems to have the right idea.

32TheoClarke
Feb 8, 2011, 4:46pm Top

Two thinks impede my coherent thought right now: a demanding day in my libraries and a froth of excitement.

The proposed data hierarchy is elegant (although I may take a while to assimilate 'publication lines') but a nagging voice tells me that (in some as yet unidentified way) there will be relationships that break it. Being unable to identify and exception that tests the structure is no comfort yet.

It seems to me that lists and discrete publication data are early steps in the implementation of this.

Anyway, here on our Eastern seaboard I hear oxymoronic weary squeeee. Thank you for even raising this as a possibility.

33brightcopy
Feb 8, 2011, 4:48pm Top

Chris (ConceptDawg) is looking into hierarchical drag-and-drop interfaces as we speak.

<subliminal message>iPadiPhoneiPadiPhoneiPadiPhoneiPadiPhone</subliminal message>

34eromsted
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 5:34pm Top

I like the potential for greater granularity as you put it, but I've always doubted whether the data in LT is good enough to do it right. My bet is that every time we try to divide a work up into subsets by whatever criteria we will get two extra piles, one of copies with no data for this criteria, and another of copies with conflicting data.

A while ago I separated out some works of the type "x and other stories" where the other stories are different from edition to edition. It was inevitable that for some copies the title, ISBN, publisher, and/or cover picture just didn't match up.

Then there's the problem that there is a sizable contingent of LT users who don't care about anything beyond title and author and just pick whatever edition comes up first. We may spend a lot of time sorting out books by data that has no meaning for the people who entered it.

35_Zoe_
Feb 8, 2011, 5:35pm Top

Then there's the problem that there is a sizable contingent of LT users who don't care about anything beyond title and author and just pick whatever edition comes up first. We may spend a lot of time sorting out books by data that has no meaning for the people who entered it.

Yup, the sooner we get generic editions, the better.

36AnnieMod
Feb 8, 2011, 5:37pm Top

>34 eromsted:

Then I suspect we always could have a "anything else" edition (or whatever) that gets all copies that cannot be matched...

There will always be people that do not really care for their data - every time when I combine Hamlet from Dickens or something like that, it is pretty obvious. But there are people that care. So I think we need some granularity...

37markbarnes
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 5:51pm Top

To 'correct' the Beowulf example, according to the way that I would view it:

1) Beowulf (Nowell manuscript text)
author role = Anonymous

2) Beowulf
author role = Anonymous
translator role = Robert Nye
Relationship: Is translation of (1)

3) Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is illustrated edition of (4)

4) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is translation of (1)

5) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Contains (1) (it contains the original text on one page, the translation on the next)
Relationship: Contains (4)

6) Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Editions)
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is critical edition of (4) (has annotations of the text, essays, background information, etc.)

7) Beowulf (Audiobook)
translator role = Seamus Heaney
Relationship: Is audio edition of (4)
Relationship: Is abridgment of (4)

38markbarnes
Feb 8, 2011, 5:55pm Top

It's also important to me that multi-volume works are dealt with, and the order of those volumes is retained. There are several works I own that have been split into different sized volumes over the years, too (perhaps a one-volume edition, a two-volume edition and a six-volume edition all containing exactly the same text).

39brightcopy
Feb 8, 2011, 6:08pm Top

37> Actually, there are other errors as well. But as I said, the point is not the specifics but the concepts. The correction doesn't really change that.

40jjwilson61
Feb 8, 2011, 6:23pm Top

I'm looking forward to see where this goes.

One of the things that makes a new expression should be publishers series. Can this then be applied at the expression level instead of the work level? There may be several other CK fields that make more sense at the expression level as well (can the dedication change between editions?)

25> 2. Considering some of the debates and acrimony that have sprung up over the years around CK and the edition/work distinction, will one user's classification of a particular edition (be it incorrect or correct) influence the classification of another member who has the same ISBN in his/her library?

I have to believe that there would be very little controversy that two books with the same ISBN belong to the same edition and the same goes for expression I think.

34> I like the potential for greater granularity as you put it, but I've always doubted whether the data in LT is good enough to do it right. My bet is that every time we try to divide a work up into subsets by whatever criteria we will get two extra piles, one of copies with no data for this criteria, and another of copies with conflicting data.

At one time Tim was thinking out loud about some way to quarantine "bad" data. Perhaps that might be a part of this project.

41brightcopy
Feb 8, 2011, 6:26pm Top

40> There may be several other CK fields that make more sense at the expression level as well (can the dedication change between editions?)

Perhaps this will give people a way to mark the original publication date in various countries/languages, as they are (to some people mis-) using CK:Original Publication Date entries today.

42Heather19
Feb 8, 2011, 6:34pm Top

I'm not sure I can come up with a coherent response to this... Um... I love that this is going to happen. I'm not sure how much it will benefit me personally, because I'm just clam-happy with editions as they are currently, but... Yeah. I'm glad it's happenings anyways.

I have to say I like "entries" or "records" much better then "publication lines". IMO, name-changes should always go more towards ease of understandability then cutesyness or whatever. "publication lines" sounds great, but I had no idea what the heck it meant when I first saw it used, and I'm betting a lot of other people won't either.

It sounds like most of this will be "optional" and people who don't want to tangle themselves in "expressions" and such won't have to muddle through that to easily get to regular edition-stuff. I hope. Right?

I have no real response to question #2, 'cause I can't really think... But #3. I think boxes-within-boxes would be the simplest/easiest, and I can see a lot of confusion and weirdness with "arbitary expressions". I can easily see things being seperated out and put back in, endlessly, if there aren't clear-cut definitions of what expressions should be. (I'm thinking Series, pre-publisher-series, here).

Someone mentioned Lists, would that work well to avoid the problems I'm thinking of with arbitrary expressions? .... Oh, I'm getting confused now.

43brightcopy
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 7:01pm Top

I think "entries" or "records" is just too generic. Heck, before the revamp, the author pages used to talk about each author as an "entry". It's about as specific a word as "thing." Oh no, stop, we're not going to call these things "things"! :D

I think having a unique name is a good thing, and I don't think "publication lines" is cutesy, at least not any more than "works." At least then people can ask "what is a 'publication line'?" just like they can ask "what is a 'work'?" Those are specific things. If people said "what's an 'entry'?", it's just far more confusing because of it's genericness. Just look at these results:

http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Special:Search?search=entry&go=Go

ditto "record"

http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Special:Search?search=record&go=G...

So while I'm not in love with "publication line" as a term, I think it's the best proposed so far.

ETA: Random idea that probably only appeals to me: "bookprint". Kind of like "fingerprint" but for books. I admit it gets closer to the "cutesy" side, but at least it's a term you can easily hang a definition on, and which makes sense once you learn it.

ETAA: Heh, I just thought of another suggestion that will make my previous suggestion sound MUCH better: "thingerprint"
:D

44fdholt
Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 8:12pm Top

Good explanation of FRBR. As I see it, we already have the publication data if Amazon data is ignored: the 300 goes into the publication box. 700 contains all the editors, illustrators, translators (if important) and they are imported now. (Again, if a library source is used.) If LT could import the 300, we would have the pagination and size and illustratrations or lack of. (And for #11, PB and hardback are the same if they use the "same plates" so the 300 would answer that one nicely.) The 250 would give edition info. if that were used.

And we wouldn't need to put in contents of anthologies - they are already in the 505 field. Think of all the typing time saved.

So, the existing structure would still be there and my children's Tale of two cities could be with the complete novel and foreign translations. Right now many of the children's editions are split off but they could come together so I could compare my version with Member1's which may have a different illustrator and be for a different age level. I like!

Now I know this depends on good library data but it's there and we have been using it. Granted many folks aren't as picky with their catalog entries as the rest of us (nor should they be if that is what they wish) but I think this would be a step in the right direction.

Will think some more on this.

Edited for clarity

451dragones
Feb 8, 2011, 8:36pm Top

18> "And, although it would probably take more time than I have, it could be very valuable for my poetry collection."

Oh no... not poetry, please no... I have far too many (large) volumes full of poetry - and that doesn't count the lit volumes that have some poetry mixed with short stories, etc. It would take a lifetime more than I've got for me to list all those poems separately, even giving the overlap in contents some due consideration... not to mention the short story anthologies that are threatening to bust down my book cases... I'd do good just to list the contents of my omnibus collection featuring series novels...

46elenchus
Feb 8, 2011, 8:54pm Top

>40 jjwilson61: I have to believe that there would be very little controversy that two books with the same ISBN belong to the same edition and the same goes for expression I think.

I've read on LT before that though it's not supposed to happen, ISBNs sometimes are re-used within a publisher's catalogue, and occasionally the same ISBN is used by different publishers for completely different works. I assume either case is rare, but ....

In any event, I think the more common issue is when the same expression has multiple ISBNs, as inferred in OP as the same text & cover in different countries.

47infiniteletters
Feb 8, 2011, 9:00pm Top

45: Is that a problem? ;)

48caffron
Feb 8, 2011, 9:05pm Top

This is a welcome development. :) The devil is in the details, of course, but I think it's very much worth doing.

To avoid edit wars, I think that arbitrary expressions will probably need to be supported. I also think it makes sense to incorporate a generic work-level record as part of this process, because bad data can have even more impact with a more complicated structure.

Certainly translators and introductions/commentary are key. Format (e-book, audio, print) matters at the intermediate level, too. Does this change the cocktail party test for works? Would abridgments, unabridged versions, and adaptations remain separate works, or would some current works distinctions now be more analogous to the new expression level? What of all the versions of the Arabian Nights, or graphic novels which fully reproduce a text? (The Bibles, however, will always stay separate, I'm sure.)

And you're actually going to open up the part/whole anthologies issue at the same time? Brave souls, indeed.

I'm seconding message 28 that it would be helpful to have an option to clean up/swap/upgrade records prior to implementation, particularly for the other authors/translators issue and generally to diminish Amazon data from those of us who left it on the default years ago when we didn't know better. I'm a bit worried about the fallout from the current "feature" that choosing an Amazon cover changes the ISBN, and what that will mean as this new layer rolls out. It will be painful, yes, but worth it in the long haul.

49Tricoteuse
Feb 8, 2011, 10:35pm Top

If all this does is provide some use for all the time I spent in library school learning about FRBR then I say it's worth it :-)

Seriously, though, I do think this is an excellent idea, and well worth pursuing.

50birder4106
Feb 9, 2011, 3:07am Top

Sounds very good to me.

But I've just read #1.
I am German speaking and I do not know the german expresions for: edition, expression and publication line.

I suppose it's:
Work (ger. Werk),
Edition (ger. Edition ??),
Expression (ger. Ausgabe ??),
Publication line (ger. ??)

I would be pleased if german speaking LT-members could help me.

Thank you
Martin

511dragones
Feb 9, 2011, 4:12am Top

47. Well, ya know, it could very well be... if the ISBN and title and author match and the contents of the book does not match. That might would drive me nuts...

There is tons of poetry in the small number of poetry books in my library; hundreds and hundreds of pieces

52BarkingMatt
Feb 9, 2011, 4:50am Top

Will have to think on this before I could come up with any meaningful suggestions. For now : just chiming in that I love the basic idea.

53andyl
Feb 9, 2011, 5:47am Top

#44

And we wouldn't need to put in contents of anthologies - they are already in the 505 field. Think of all the typing time saved.

It used to be the case, when I was checking on a regular basis, that a lot of contents were not entered in the 505 field for anthologies and collections.

I have entered many books which have not had records from proper library sources at the time. Some from Amazon, some manual entry. I prefer to enter my books when I get them in my sweaty paws - not wait around for weeks or months for some cataloguer to enter it into one of the library sources LT uses.

Generally I see this approach as a good thing. I think it will make subsequent features better as well. There will be loads of stuff for the keen members to tidy up - but I think that the benefit far outweighs and time-cost.

54timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 5:49am Top

First, one long discussion of the topic, getting into contents:

Brightcopy and markbarnes (Jeremy, Abby, etc. also please read.)

I think you guys are right to allow relationships between expressions. The primary, "set" relationships are that between work and expression, expression and edition, and edition and publication line. But we can create any number of arrows within the three levels--works, expressions and editions. For example:

Work-work relationship: A companion to Beowulf by Ruth Johnston Staver is a commentary on Beowulf

Expression-expression relationship: "Beowulf" by Seamus Heaney is a translation of "Beowulf" by Beowulf.

Edition-edition relationship: Beowulf: with the Finnsburg fragment (1968) is a facsimile edition of Beowulf: with the Finnsburg fragment (1914).

We should also consider modifiers to the relationships between levels. The most clear, I think, is that an edition may contain only PART of an expression--the first volume of Gibbon, for example. Thus, we don't break up Gibbon's expression layer just because it was published sometimes between two covers and sometimes between one.

Some expression-expression relationships, however, should not, perhaps be expressed in terms of relationships between expressions, but by laying out their different contents, when a content layer is available.

As I see it, Heaney's bilingual editions of Beowulf--which are, together, an expression--is composed of two "things":

1. Old English Text
2. Seamus Heaney's translation of (1)

In fact, the Old English Text would also be found in Wrenn and Bolton, Beowulf, with the Finnsburg Fragment (1988). That book, however, also has notes and commentary. The relation ship between the Heaney Beowulf expression and the Wrenn and Bolton expression is therefore not expressable without a content layer--that Heaney adds his translation and removes their commentary.

I'd be happy to allow any relationships within works, expressions and editions.

Now, a key question is: What do things contain? My belief is that we should not create a new category, but that--conceptually--works, expressions and editions also make sense when it comes to contents. They are, basically, the most abstract thing, the realization of that thing by an author, and the making of a book or a file of that realization by a publisher

Taken that way, I think the answer is that they always contain things of their same type. So, for example:

Work: Lord of the Rings (work) contains The Two Towers (work),

Expression: The Lord of the Rings translated into French (edition) contains The Two Towers translated into French (edition).

Edition: I don't think editions can contain editions.

So, my thinking is that the TOC for a expression is a list of the contents--all of them expressions. The TOC for an edition is the same list, with page numbers.

If you followed me that far the question arises, should we make edition-level records for every time an expression appears within another expression. Should we have a separate edition for every time "Tiger! Tiger!" is printed, for example. I say no. The expression plus the page number is all we need, because an edition of an expression is nothing more than the situation of its printing (or making). "Tiger! Tiger!" in the Norton Anthology gets its ISBN, publication date and publisher from the edition its printed in. The page number is a little bit of extra information on where it appears within the edition.

55jcbrunner
Feb 9, 2011, 5:49am Top

>50 birder4106: From its German Wikipedia entry (Translating "manifestation" as Manifestation is horribly lazy but prevents the ambiguity of the correct Ausgabe):

* Work (dt. Werk): Ein Werk, beispielsweise ein Roman (z. B. Die Leiden des jungen Werthers von Goethe)
* Expression (dt. Expression): Ein Ausdruck eines Werkes, beispielsweise eine Übersetzung (z. B. die Übersetzung von Pierre Leroux)
* Manifestation (dt. Manifestation): Eine manifestierte Ausgabe einer Expression, beispielsweise eine Auflage eines Buches (z. B. die in Paris im Jahr 1841 erschienene Leroux'sche Übersetzung)
* Item (dt. Exemplar): Ein konkretes physikalisches Objekt, beispielsweise ein Exemplar eines Buches (Das Exemplar mit der Signatur Yv 7991/1 in der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)

>1 timspalding: I don't know if either programming or the data allows it, but I would like an intermediary linkage between an item and its publication line, so that it would be possible to distinguish "first edition, first printing" or individuallly numbered copies from limited print runs (236/2500).

56Noisy
Feb 9, 2011, 5:52am Top

57timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 6:11am Top

One of the things that makes a new expression should be publishers series. Can this then be applied at the expression level instead of the work level? There may be several other CK fields that make more sense at the expression level as well (can the dedication change between editions?)

Yes, exactly. Basically, I'd think of it as a cascade down. A series applied to the work level is our current series. A series applied to the edition level is our publisher series.

The only problem here is that publisher series tend to be truly applicable to "clusters of ISBNs"--to the hardback and softcover together. Even if "XML for Dumies" was translated and printed in Slovakia outside of the series, there is really only one "XML for Dummies" within the "for Dummies" series, whether or not there is an ISBN for the US and the UK separately.

It's also important to me that multi-volume works are dealt with, and the order of those volumes is retained.

Right. See above. I propose making "divided-up" relationships be an edition-level thing--that ISBN 0123456789 contains part one of the expression, and ISBN 987654321X contains part two.

Objection: If contents go only down to the expression level, there's no way of saying that the Norton Anthology includes only the first half of "Prometheus Unbound."

Reply: That's not a "divided-up" relationship, that's an abridgement. An abridgement creates a new expression.

Actually, there are other errors as well. But as I said, the point is not the specifics but the concepts. The correction doesn't really change that.

I'm tempted to redo the numbers with "contains" all the way through. For example, I would not say that something is an illustrated edition of X. That's not a transformation of an expression. I would say that the illustrated edition contains another expression--the artwork by X.

publication line

The problem here is that we don't have--we can't have--the real answer about editions. We have to cobble them together from something. That something is basically "what data we have" on a book.

bookprint

Right. Cutesy, but getting at the thing.

And we wouldn't need to put in contents of anthologies - they are already in the 505 field. Think of all the typing time saved.

Imagine me holding my belly laughing. Yes, we have it. No, we don't have it for many things. And no, it's not in a format that can be analyzed for any of this. It's a blog of text. But yes, we clearly must use it.

Oh no... not poetry, please no... I have far too many (large) volumes full of poetry - and that doesn't count the lit volumes that have some poetry mixed with short stories, etc. It would take a lifetime more than I've got for me to list all those poems separately, even giving the overlap in contents some due consideration... not to mention the short story anthologies that are threatening to bust down my book cases... I'd do good just to list the contents of my omnibus collection featuring series novels...

So, part of the point here is that--for the first time--we will be fully sharing this stuff by default.

To put another way, this is our first big opportunity to do "real" cataloging. Libraries and publishers don't have this stuff. (As fdhold points out, libraries have it, but only sometimes in a very rudimentary state.) By doing this, we will be creating something of real value--and something we all share in.

I've read on LT before that though it's not supposed to happen, ISBNs sometimes are re-used within a publisher's catalogue, and occasionally the same ISBN is used by different publishers for completely different works. I assume either case is rare, but ....

Right. That's the rationale behind the current "editions" concept. ISBN isn't enough to differentiate. The jerks.

Format (e-book, audio, print) matters at the intermediate level, too.

No, I see format as being something that distinguishes editions. That is, the making of something into an ebook is the making of an expression into an edition.

The exception might be audiobooks, for which we can create another expression, linked to the former. Audiobooks add the voice talent.

I would be pleased if german speaking LT-members could help me.

Check out the German Wikipedia page for FRBR:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_Requirements_for_Bibliographic_Records

▪ Work (dt. Werk): Ein Werk, beispielsweise ein Roman (z. B. Die Leiden des jungen Werthers von Goethe)
▪ Expression (dt. Expression): Ein Ausdruck eines Werkes, beispielsweise eine Übersetzung (z. B. die Übersetzung von Pierre Leroux)
▪ Manifestation (dt. Manifestation): Eine manifestierte Ausgabe einer Expression, beispielsweise eine Auflage eines Buches (z. B. die in Paris im Jahr 1841 erschienene Leroux'sche Übersetzung)

Please note that FRBR says "manifestation" where we say "edition."

So, I think we have:

Work (ger. Werk),
Expression (ger. Expression),
Edition (ger. Edition),
Publication line (ger. ??)

58timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 6:14am Top

>55 jcbrunner:

Beat me to it. But notice my change.

1 I don't know if either programming or the data allows it, but I would like an intermediary linkage between an item and its publication line, so that it would be possible to distinguish "first edition, first printing" or individuallly numbered copies from limited print runs (236/2500).

I see "first edition, first printing" as something within the publication line.

I see 236/2500 as something pertaining only to YOUR copy of the thing. You and I may share the same edition, and because we used the same source, the same publication line. But we don't share 236/2500.

59birder4106
Feb 9, 2011, 6:35am Top

>50 birder4106:, 55

Thank you jc

60markbarnes
Feb 9, 2011, 7:26am Top

I've just written a long message, and given up as it got too complicated. But I wonder if we can learn some lessons from PHP here. Objects? Classes? That would work well for me. You could define a small number of allowed types of relationships: subset of, translation of, addition to, commentary on, and the catch-all 'related to'.

Class -> Bible
Class -> New Testament subset of Bible
Class -> Gospels subset of New Testament
Class -> Mark subset ofGospels
Class -> NIV translation ofBible
Class -> ESV translation ofBible

Object -> NIV Application Commentary on Mark's Gospel by David Garland, commentary on Class:Mark, related toClass:NIV

61timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 7:33am Top

I think you raise an interesting idea—and an interesting exemplum.

So, how shall we do the Bible? Someone want to do a work->expression->(expression)->edition of it?

62lilithcat
Feb 9, 2011, 8:26am Top

> 61

, how shall we do the Bible?

Ah, but which Bible? Catholic, Protestant or Jewish?

63Noisy
Feb 9, 2011, 9:09am Top

Drop ISBN from the publication line. 13/10 distinction; shared ISBNs; and ISBNs that differ between back cover and inside ('real') usage will screw this up in a (very small, admittedly) number of cases. Place, publisher, date as mentioned above looks good for the detailed level.

What about printers? What about those number strings that I've seen as well?

>43 brightcopy: Love bookprint or thingerprint.

What does isfdb do? Each work has a publication list, and each publication has a publication listing with a host of data. Attached is a list of sources, where the primary source is a copy of the work itself, and then other sources are reference works. When the data in the publication listing is 'fixed', then there seems to be a way where the verification can be linked to a source. Ideas gleaned from this:
- verification
- sources checked (Worldcat, LoC, specialist reference sources such as isfdb)
- munging edition and expression together.

Hmmm. I think I see this more as :

work —> ("publication line") —> (edition/expression) —> member's book

64Katya0133
Feb 9, 2011, 9:10am Top

2. What makes expressions "different enough"? We'd need to come up with a list of "distinguishing factors"—editor, translator, &c., that are both distinctive and easy to determine/display. And we need to decide what changes—covers, pagination—aren't significant enough. What criteria should those be?

For what it's worth, library MARC records are differentiated at the expression level, so current cataloging best practices seem like a place to start:

http://tpot.ucsd.edu/msd/catpolicies/cattoolsresources/docs/Differences07.pdf

If you'd like, I can go through this section by section and say whether or not I think the differences apply to LT.

65lorax
Feb 9, 2011, 9:12am Top

61>

So, how shall we do the Bible?

*runs away screaming*

I've done a fair bit of combination work on the Bible, and I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole. I'm fairly comfortable in saying that the color of the cover -- which really is in the title for a surprising number of copies -- is not important enough to warrant being treated separately, and that translation in this special case is. But I don't know whether people would be up in arms over the NIV and the RSV being treated as different versions of the same thing rather than completely separate things or not.

62>

Ah, but which Bible? Catholic, Protestant or Jewish?

I think you need to treat them as separate things, unless you're going to view them all as anthologies with substantially overlapping contents and make the individual "books" the main entities.

66timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 9:14am Top

Exactly.

For that matter, you've got slight additions among Ethiopian Orthodox too.

67geitebukkeskjegg
Feb 9, 2011, 9:21am Top

How would tag search work within the new structure?

Tags would obviously be entered at the lowest level (user's book). But would tag search be applicable at ALL levels?

(I.e. "all WORKS tagged Egypt", "MY BOOKS tagged Shelf 4", "All PUBLICATION LINES tagged Snorri Sturlasson?")

68timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 9:28am Top

I think you need to treat them as separate things, unless you're going to view them all as anthologies with substantially overlapping contents and make the individual "books" the main entities.

Works can contain works. Certainly we should have a work-level entry for, say, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are published separately.

Works should, I think, only change when their composition changes substantially. So, I would divide it into (1) Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, (2) Bible without Apocrypha, (3) Bible with Apocrypha.

#1 contains Genesis, etc.
#2 contains #1, as well as works for the New Testament
#2 contains #1, New Testament and Apocrypha

Hebrew Bible/OT, New Testament and Apocrypha all contain all the component books as independent works.

But it's hard, and complex.

69timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 9:30am Top

For what it's worth, library MARC records are differentiated at the expression level

Wait, that's not true. You make a new MARC record for a new Penguin edition of Les Miserables, even if the text is the same as a 1890 edition.

70StephenBarkley
Feb 9, 2011, 9:36am Top

Discussion of any aspect of religion on this site degenerates quickly (remember BCE?).

That said, I'm educated and interested in that field. You'll never make everyone happy with a decision on this matter, so be confident in your decision and endure the backlash.

The "Jewish Bible" is the Tanakh. This should be combined as its own book. Even though the content of the Tanakh is contained within the Christian Bible, the Tanakh draws more on the Masoretic Text (Hebrew/Aramaic) for its English translation, while the Christians rely a bit more on the Septuagint (Greek). That's an oversimplification. So it goes...

I wouldn't distinguish "Catholic" from "Protestant" Bibles. Traditional Catholic translations contain Deuterocanonical works like Maccabees and Sirach, but some works (like the Renovare Spiritual Reformation Study Bible) include Deuterocanonical works within Bibles marketed toward Protestants. Warning: there are strong emotions on this!

The real problem will not be translations, but Bibles with notes. Some notes are tied to the translation, others are not. Example:

NIV Study Bible (NIV notes, NIV translation)
ESV Study Bible (ESV notes, ESV translation)
Life Application Bible ("Life Application" Notes, published across many translations)

I hope this adds to the conversation.

71Katya0133
Feb 9, 2011, 9:44am Top

Wait, that's not true. You make a new MARC record for a new Penguin edition of Les Miserables, even if the text is the same as a 1890 edition.

Ohh, crap. I'm thinking manifestation. Never mind.

72timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 9:52am Top

Discussion of any aspect of religion on this site degenerates quickly (remember BCE?).

I don't know. I don't think that degenerated. It's still going, after all.

I wouldn't distinguish "Catholic" from "Protestant" Bibles.

Well, the contents differ pretty significantly. I think the difference here is that you're not envisioning works within works. The Christian Bible includes the Hebrew Bible in its entirety.

Whether they lean one way or another for their translations—and I think your characterization is largely wrong as to current Bibles and indeed for Jerome too. In any case, that's a matter of expression, not work.

I agree there's no point in calling them "Catholic" and "Protestant" inso far as some Protestants include the Apocrypha (eg., Episcopals). So, Bible with Apocrypha.

73aulsmith
Feb 9, 2011, 10:13am Top

If it's any consolation, FRBR librarians have gotten hung up on things like the Bible as well. Here's my take

Work: The Bible
Sub-Work: The Bible (The Catholic Version)
Expression: The Douey-Rhiems translation, translated into English.
Edition: Catholic Press, Gold-edged, leather bound ISBN X-xxx-xxxxx-x (made up)

Work: The New Testament (contained in The Bible)
Expression:The Douey-Rhiems translation, translated into English.
Edition: Catholic Press, paperback ISBN y-yyy-yyyyy-y

Work: The Old Testament (contained in The Bible, related work The Hebrew Scriptures)
Sub-Work: Old Testament (The Catholic Version)
Expression: The Douey-Rhiems translation, translated into English.
Edition: none (I don't think Catholic publishers would publish the old testament separately. I could be wrong)

Work: The Torah (contained in the Hebrew Scriptures)
Expression: Jewish Publication Society translation
Edition: A Family Torah (JPS) .... (made up)

Work in the FRBR sense is an intellectual idea which might not actually have a manifestation. This is different from LT. So in LT the "work" Hebrew Scriptures might not exist and therefore, can't have related works.

74timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 10:18am Top

Work in the FRBR sense is an intellectual idea which might not actually have a manifestation. This is different from LT. So in LT the "work" Hebrew Scriptures might not exist and therefore, can't have related works.

No, I think we'll be creating such works.

75aulsmith
Feb 9, 2011, 10:29am Top

74: Wonderful. So now you have one to play with.

In general, I haven't been a big fan of crowd sourcing, but I think that one of the things that's bogging FRBR down in libraries is a general disagreement on what a work is and no good way to hash it out. I think that LT has the resources to figure some of this stuff out.

76Dan.Tadmor
Feb 9, 2011, 10:32am Top

I am a new user to LibraryThing, and I have a feeling the word 'Edition' has some irreducible ambiguity inherently built into it. I do not think one ought to chart, or automate, all conceivable aspects of the term. But I do wonder whether the CURRENT state of the art of LT (to which I am a novice), is capable or incapabe of letting me, in my single-book 'Library', mark plainly that my copy of van Paassen's "The Forgotten Ally", printed in 1943, had a different Publisher (Dial & Co. of NYC) from the Publisher that LT states on their 'Canonical', 2005 paperback 'item'?
The reason I ask is twofold: (a) I've tried recording that fact about my book for two hours and fails, and, more importanytly, (b) since a provision already exists for recording an alternative cover photo (as I did with my book), why not have a similar provision for the publisher's NAME, so that I can add info on my copy's publisher even as I can add info on the color of my copy's cover? If the Pubisher's Name, Location and Date all become capabe of multiple entries for the same 'Headword' (= 'Book', loosely speaking), then each unique 'Triad' of Publisher Name, Place and Date can be considered as 'Edition', whether or not it is ever desired to break it further or still more finely. - And, mind you, I am NOT against your idea of further working on finer classification, I am just wondering about the feasibility of even the coarsest divisions at present. - Yours Truly, Dan Tadmor, aka dantadmor@gmail.com

77jbd1
Feb 9, 2011, 10:36am Top

Hi Dan, you can always edit data about your copy of a book - just click "edit book" from the book page (left-hand side) or the little pencil "edit" icon on the Add Books page or in catalog view (http://www.librarything.com/catalog/dan.tadmor for you).

78BarkingMatt
Feb 9, 2011, 10:40am Top

Just click "Edit book" and you'll be able to change Publication details (or anything else for that matter).

79AnnaClaire
Feb 9, 2011, 10:54am Top

As predicted, my computer at home was acting up (again) last night. Not that it made much difference, as I was unduly exhausted, but that's another thread.

My thoughts:
1. An edition ought to be defined as all books within a work that share an ISBN -- and, presumably, other publication details, but an ISBN and membership in a given work should be a sufficient basis to assume sameness (at least if I'm not being totally stupid about ISBN recycling).
2. If an intermediate step between thought #1 and the work as a whole really is necessary* a possibility would be to have edition grouping, sort of like how work assignments worked for name-sharing authors before the new system was rolled out. Perhaps you could allow the primary language to be set (using some sort of CK-ish interface), and allow editions to be filtered by language to make it easier to find translations by the same person.

That's about all I can think of at the moment, but I'll be back if I can think of anything later.

----------
* It will most likely be necessary for the most popular books, which tend to be translated frequently.

80gilroy
Feb 9, 2011, 10:54am Top

I've read through the entire discussion, and I find one thing confusing. (Wow, only one.)

I get Work level.
I get Edition level.
I get Publication Line level.

I don't understand Expression level.

Otherwise, I like the concept.

81brightcopy
Feb 9, 2011, 10:56am Top

The exception might be audiobooks, for which we can create another expression, linked to the former. Audiobooks add the voice talent.

Plus dramatizations versus readings. Speaking of which, I'm afraid this is going to have to be set up to handle movies, unless you're planning to actually ban them. Otherwise, it's just going to be a fly in the ointment.

82lubetzky
Feb 9, 2011, 11:11am Top

I think LT members are well positioned to take existing text blob contents notes and break them apart so that each of the works contained within has its own page. For example, if I am looking for works by Barbara Tillett, it would be great to know that she authored a chapter in Authority control in organizing and accessing information : definition and international experience | http://www.librarything.com/work/5244978 Even if you only had a kind of author/title stub to start with, at least then you would have something around which other data could eventually accrete. Back in the day, some lamented that there was not automated way to create essentially in-analytics from contents in 505: REUSE+ | http://www.allegro-c.de/formate/reusep.htm I think this is where LT members could make a real contribution.
By the way, have you seen you seen the deliberations from the FRBR Working Group on Aggregates | http://bit.ly/9rnI50 ?

83lorax
Feb 9, 2011, 11:25am Top

81>

I'm afraid this is going to have to be set up to handle movies

As "related", maybe. As an aspect of the same thing? Please, please no.

unless you're planning to actually ban them

Now there's a pony. :-)

84andyl
Edited: Feb 9, 2011, 11:46am Top

#83

Exactly. Dramatisations and films are different works in my world. They are not different expressions of the same work as the original book.

85brightcopy
Feb 9, 2011, 11:56am Top

84> Exactly. Dramatisations and films are different works in my world. They are not different expressions of the same work as the original book.

Re-read what Tim said earlier. Work-to-work relationship is another type of relationship. Even if movies are separate works (though it's going to be a constant battle keeping them that way), it's still going to have a relationship. So, back to my statement, this thing is going to have to be up to handle movies.

86brightcopy
Feb 9, 2011, 12:01pm Top

One of Tim's other posts made me think of a possible "publication line" term candidate: "version".

It's a bit less generic than "entry" or "record", but not so esoteric as "publication line" or cutesy as "bookprint" (or, god forbid, "thingerprint"!)

87jjwilson61
Feb 9, 2011, 12:11pm Top

This is all very interesting, but the full implementation is years away, perhaps even two weeks. So what's the first step? Are we going to get the contained-in relationship finished and out of beta?

88StephenBarkley
Feb 9, 2011, 12:44pm Top

"Are we going to get the contained-in relationship finished and out of beta?"

Here's hoping!

89eromsted
Feb 9, 2011, 12:48pm Top

>87 jjwilson61:,88

Yeah. I always saw contains/contained as a limited feature to indicate one type of relationship of already existing works. But perhaps there's a concern that people will use it to shoehorn other types of relationships in a way that would make it harder to implement the more complete features described in this thread.

90timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 12:51pm Top

>87 jjwilson61:

The first step is getting years and publishers into the version lines. Chris Catalfo is working on getting pages and dimensions in today, so that's the next step.

After that, I don't see this as actually that hard to do. But it will take a while, for sure.

"Are we going to get the contained-in relationship finished and out of beta?"

So, yes, we can do that. But it's going to be "naked"—without any data other than members put in, and also restricted to relationshipb etween existing works. I wanted to do that and members told me they thought it was a bad idea. Should we bring it live?

91AnnieMod
Feb 9, 2011, 12:58pm Top

>90 timspalding:

Uhm - I do not know who said it is a bad idea... I think we need it...

92brightcopy
Feb 9, 2011, 1:05pm Top

90> Only thing I'm worried about is another Other Authors situation, where the existing "Contained in/by" data winds up being orphaned/screwedup when you switch to this other system that ALSO incorporates contained in/by relationships.

93timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 1:20pm Top

>90 timspalding:

Right. That's another reason I'm moving this forward. The system is currently calculating other authors. But they can only be for the work level or, I fear, we are really lost.

94leahbird
Edited: Feb 9, 2011, 1:32pm Top

i'm not really sure if this question really makes complete sense yet, but i'll ask it anyway. it's more about "contains/contained in" relationships, but would also affect this system in practice.

i have The Chronicles of Narnia omnibus, which, naturally, includes all the Narnia books. as it currently stands, that's the only Narnia "work" i have listed in my library. i would like to be able to have each of the Narnia books (works?) listed in my library so that i could rate them separately, but i don't want to add actual "editions"- with all their own publication information- that i don't actually have.

what i feel like is called for is a "phantom work" which is really just a placeholder for ratings and reviews but doesn't have the same connotations as an edition, and that isn't quite a work either... does that make any sense?

95TheLibraryhag
Feb 9, 2011, 2:58pm Top

I would LOVE a contents note field that could then be broken out into individual works, er expression. Uh, whatever. That would be wonderful. In the old days I think we librarians called this Analytics. Or it could work the other way, the individual stories create the contents note. I just want the information out there.

96timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 3:04pm Top

Right. That's the problem/question. Expressions, works, items?

97Noisy
Feb 9, 2011, 3:12pm Top

You must have drawn some pretty pictures of the db organization, Tim. Can't you take a picture of the whiteboard or notebook? I work much better with boxes and lines than with words ...

98aulsmith
Feb 9, 2011, 3:17pm Top

In FRBR terms analytics/contained in entities can be works and expressions, but don't necessarily have a manifestation/edition.

So (made up) example: Tolkien's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Norton Anthology of Medieval Poetry.

Work: Norton Anthology of Medieval Poetry
Expression: Norton Anthology of Medieval Poetry
Edition: Norton Anthology of Medieval Poetry

Work: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Expression: Tolkien's translation
Contained in: Edition Norton Anthology of Medieval Poetry

99timspalding
Feb 9, 2011, 3:20pm Top

>97 Noisy:

Yeah, I don't have one yet. Usually I work with ideas and MySQL very closely related, but not this time.

100Dan.Tadmor
Feb 9, 2011, 4:01pm Top

Thanks for the tip, Jeremy. It worked. (And I like your taste in authors and books).
Dan.

101jbd1
Feb 9, 2011, 4:03pm Top

Happy to help, and thanks!

102jjwilson61
Feb 9, 2011, 4:31pm Top

90> I wanted to do that and members told me they thought it was a bad idea.

The only problem that I can remember is that there isn't currently a way to remove relationships added mistakenly. I assumed that that would be part of finishing the feature and would be done before releasing it to the rest of the LT world.

103fdholt
Feb 9, 2011, 4:37pm Top

#45
>>>Oh no... not poetry, please no... I have far too many (large) volumes full of poetry - and that doesn't count the lit volumes that have some poetry mixed with short stories, etc. It would take a lifetime more than I've got for me to list all those poems separately, even giving the overlap in contents some due consideration...

The solution is called Granger's.

104fdholt
Feb 9, 2011, 4:41pm Top

#57 >>And we wouldn't need to put in contents of anthologies - they are already in the 505 field. Think of all the typing time saved.

Imagine me holding my belly laughing. Yes, we have it. No, we don't have it for many things. And no, it's not in a format that can be analyzed for any of this. It's a blog of text. But yes, we clearly must use it.

My library and many others are typing in table of contents for anthologies in addition to chapter titles of edited works. So every day more and more are available. I shouldn't need to do it in WorldCat/OCLC and then again in LT.

105Heather19
Edited: Feb 9, 2011, 6:06pm Top

Okay, this thread/conversation has now gone above my limit of understanding.

Just a quick question: Once all of these "expressions" and "publication lines" and stuff go into effect, will users still be able to work with the relatively-simple "work"? What I mean is, for example, if I want to search tags, will it bring up just "works", or will I get everything else too? If I search a specific book title, will it bring up a list of "works", or also show all the "expressions" and how everything is related?

Anotherwords, if this is all too much for my brain to handle, will I still be able to *just* play with "works"?

106jbd1
Feb 9, 2011, 6:10pm Top

Heather19 - You bet!

107Anneli
Feb 9, 2011, 11:55pm Top

This sounds good.

I am just going to work so I didn't have time to read every message in this topic, but I ask anyway:
does this solve the problem of having "wrong" covers on series (also publisher series) page? I mean if the series is e.g. Finnish we can get Finnish covers of that series edition on the series page?

108brightcopy
Feb 10, 2011, 12:11am Top

107> It's POSSIBLE that it could be used in such a way. Covers (and Publisher's Series) could be tied to specific expressions rather than works as a whole.

Though in reality, I think the hordes of people who don't care about data quality will probably crush that dream. Those people that assign cover A to ISBN X even though they have nothing to do with each other, etc.

109timspalding
Feb 10, 2011, 12:43am Top

Right. It could help. But not necessarily.

110brightcopy
Feb 10, 2011, 1:34am Top

109> More argument for being able to mark "ratty" data. Get that crap out of there so it doesn't hobble cool features.

111Noisy
Feb 10, 2011, 3:27am Top

Comes back to what I said earlier. For the new layers, you will need a verification step to bring them into existence.

112timspalding
Feb 10, 2011, 12:06pm Top

For the new layers, you will need a verification step to bring them into existence

You mean a step or a process where others agree or disagree?

113Noisy
Edited: Feb 10, 2011, 12:35pm Top

>112 timspalding:

Yes. But that can be taken in two ways: one saying that canonical information will only be displayed (at a higher level: expression -> edition in your terms?) once it has been verified, and a less stringent view that things get a tick, or emboldened, or change from green to black (or the other way around) when endorsed by another party.

Going back to what I said in message 63:

What does isfdb do? Each work has a publication list, and each publication has a publication listing with a host of data. Attached is a list of sources, where the primary source is a copy of the work itself, and then other sources are reference works. When the data in the publication listing is 'fixed', then there seems to be a way where the verification can be linked to a source. Ideas gleaned from this:
- verification
- sources checked (Worldcat, LoC, specialist reference sources such as isfdb)
- munging edition and expression together.

114brightcopy
Feb 10, 2011, 12:34pm Top

113> I sense another feature that the lower populations on the non-English sites will suffer from.

115Noisy
Feb 10, 2011, 12:38pm Top

>114 brightcopy:

I see what you're saying, which is why I offered a less invasive display option as well; but on the other hand, the whole idea of these features is to cater for a very demanding requirement from a pretty small group (when compared to the whole set of Thingamabrarians).

116caseydurfee
Edited: Feb 10, 2011, 12:58pm Top

How we'd do it. First, we'd expand our current "publication lines" to include place of publication and date. The theory is that, if something has the same title, author, ISBN, place of publication and date, it's the same "publication line."

These are basically the same as Overcat's EIDs. (EID is a made-up term -- the "E" doesn't stand for edition.)

The merging of results (the "or select from X alternate records from Y other sources" part) you see in Overcat searches is solely on the basis of EIDs/"publication lines". So Overcat might be an interesting testbed for that bit.

117melannen
Feb 10, 2011, 1:05pm Top

This is a really fascinating discussion and I'm so glad to see progress being made on this!

I am going to be thinking about the concepts involved here for awhile, but one tiny note, re:

Tim @54: Edition: I don't think editions can contain editions.

I would want editions to be able to contain editions for the case of box sets (and also possibly things like bound periodicals.) So I can say that, for example, World of Doonesbury (Box set, Bantam, 1976) should contain the Bantam 1970s mass-market non-selected editions of Guilty, Guilty, Guilty , etc, as opposed to any of the many other editions out there.

(I realize there are some people who don't think box sets should be entered as one piece anyway, but people are going to keep doing it, and this new system will make it work a lot better. If we can have editions in box sets.)

118Noisy
Feb 10, 2011, 1:15pm Top

>116 caseydurfee:

As I've said before, given the problems that exist with ISBNs, I'd drop them from the reckoning.

>117 melannen:

Absolutely. And for periodicals, Volumes contain published editions, which can contain worksm each of which will be catalogued independently.

119brightcopy
Feb 10, 2011, 1:17pm Top

117> I think that's a great point and box sets should definitely be considered. They're really not all that different from omnibuses, and present some of the same challenges (sure, this omnibus contains Book X but does it contain the original version or the abridged one?)

I definitely want my box sets entered as one piece, as they have a certain box-setted-ness to them that I feel should be captured.

120AnnaClaire
Feb 10, 2011, 1:31pm Top

As I've said before, given the problems that exist with ISBNs, I'd drop them from the reckoning. (#118)

That might be a bit much of a response; I'd say either 1) use them, but in conjunction with other data (like publisher), or 2) make it fairly easy to manually de-lump items from an edition.

121jjmcgaffey
Feb 10, 2011, 2:49pm Top

94, etc> I'm actually doing this now, manually. I have a collection called Inclusions (some people are calling their equivalent collections Analytics, among other things) in which I put books that I have in omnibus editions. Then I delete any ISBNs, and put "in {omnibus edition}, {publisher (of omnibus)}{date of omnibus}" in the publication field.

I was doing that for short stories as well, before Tim came up with the contained in/contains relationship beta. I haven't been doing it for them since, because of the question of creating separate works for all those short stories (some people already have, and I didn't delete any I'd already made, but I stopped making more). Tim, how is this going to work? You said (somewhere up there) that something like a poem would have a publication identifier as "in {this work/expression} on page X". Will said poem have any separate identity? Could I rate it, review it, put it in a collection, tag it...? If not, I'm going to be creating works for a lot of stuff...probably not poems (or recipes), but short stories yes. I like to review the stories individually, and that gets overwhelming in the collection/anthology/wherever the story was published.

122timspalding
Feb 10, 2011, 2:57pm Top

Okay, work-to-work relationships are now live.
http://www.librarything.com/topic/109724

Please note, these are work-to-work, and intended for existing and normally-created works only. We are explicitly asking members NOT to create items for short stories and etc.

123LShelby
Feb 10, 2011, 4:52pm Top

#122 "We are explicitly asking members NOT to create items for short stories and etc."

...because we're going to get real "short story and etc" listings very soon now, so it's better to just wait a bit, and then get it done *right*. Yes?

:ever hopeful:

124brightcopy
Feb 10, 2011, 5:22pm Top

122> I still wonder what's going to happen to the bajillions of short stories entered already. You tend to be very leery of ever actually changing user's data. If you don't let short stories be actual works, I'm not sure how you're going to handle those that already are.

Will be interesting to see how that turns out.

125LShelby
Feb 10, 2011, 5:56pm Top

I'm not seeing why short stories as works is a problem. Short stories *are* "works" -- they are even occasionally published as stand-alone publications in chapbooks, in which case I can't imagine why you shouldn't add them as a book.

But I can understand why short stories listed as being books, when they never were published as a stand alone volume is a problem. That's bad data. Bad data is, by definition, not good. :)

From what I've read, I've kind of gotten the impression that Tim thinks that short story inclusions should be handled differently than omnibus inclusions. As an actual part of the anthology book information, rather than as a separate work to work relationship listing.

I'm a bit curious as how that will work when you have collections that contain both shorts and novels. Do the novels get listed as a work to work, but the shorts don't? That's going to look pretty strange.

Maybe I misunderstood?

126timspalding
Feb 10, 2011, 6:26pm Top

...because we're going to get real "short story and etc" listings very soon now, so it's better to just wait a bit, and then get it done *right*. Yes?

Right. Not "real" soon, but soon enough. Either way, though, I think adding short stories as works is going to be unsatisfying fro you.

The main problem is that work-to-work relationships are about the work. What, for example is contained within the Norton Anthology to English literature? Different things in different years. It's not a work->work relationship, but an expression->work one.

But I can understand why short stories listed as being books, when they never were published as a stand alone volume is a problem. That's bad data. Bad data is, by definition, not good. :)

It depends upon the meaning of the word "is."

127infiniteletters
Feb 10, 2011, 6:48pm Top

What about short stories or novellas that were published as stand-alone books, but also in anthologies?

For instance, I have
*Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" that is that poem + illustrations
*The £1,000,000 Bank-Note

128AnnieMod
Feb 10, 2011, 7:54pm Top

>127 infiniteletters:

If it had been a separate book, it is a legitimate work. It does not matter if it has 100 or 1 story - a book is a book.

129jbd1
Feb 10, 2011, 7:57pm Top

>128 AnnieMod:. I see it this way as well. Short stories/poems/essays/&c. are, in some cases, published as works on their own. And sometimes not, which is what makes the whole "component pieces" aspect of this so complicated.

130LShelby
Edited: Feb 10, 2011, 9:09pm Top

#126
I think adding short stories as works is going to be unsatisfying fro you.

I'm not following you here.

You say the problem is that work-to-work relationships aren't always going to make sense when short stories are involved and that for the Norton Anthologies it's a work to expression relationship we would really be after... but it was the short inclusion that was the work in that example, and the Anthology that was the expression. So how does that show that short stories are unsatisfying as works? It seems to show that the Norton Anthology of Literature is unsatisfying as a "work", and I don't see how it comments on the status of short stories at all.

If we try apply the cocktail test you described above, a short story will pass the test with ease.

So why is a short story "unsatisfying" as a work? Is it a conceptual dissatisfaction, or a implementation dissatisfaction?

131brightcopy
Feb 10, 2011, 9:42pm Top

130> So why is a short story "unsatisfying" as a work? Is it a conceptual dissatisfaction, or a implementation dissatisfaction?

To me it's unsatisfying because it puts the short story on the same level as all my other REAL books. So now I have this giant commingling of actual books and pieces of books. Bleh.

132suitable1
Feb 10, 2011, 11:01pm Top

#131 - Exactly!

133jjmcgaffey
Feb 11, 2011, 12:09am Top

While I have the opposite problem - is whatever is planned for short works going to allow them to be handled individually? Not just marked as being in various books (though that will be wonderful), but tagged, rated, reviewed, moved around from collection to collection...there are short works that I want to do some or all of those things to, not just the anthology or whatever that they appear in. I may join BlueTyson in creating short story works - not now, when we're waiting to see what will come up, but after the feature to handle short items is released if it won't let me work on the short items individually. I did create some, but stopped when the first rumblings of contained in/contains popped up.

134timspalding
Feb 11, 2011, 12:12am Top

To me it's unsatisfying because it puts the short story on the same level as all my other REAL books. So now I have this giant commingling of actual books and pieces of books. Bleh.

I think we're clearly going to have to deal with this on a UI level. On another thread you said you wanted our omnibuses split out. I think, therefore, that you want to see all novels, but not things smaller than novels. Right?

Anyway, I'm anticipating the catalog will have one setting that shows you only your books, and another that then breaks everything out, so you can see everything you have in one form or another.

135jjmcgaffey
Feb 11, 2011, 12:44am Top

Yippee! Sounds perfect. There are many times when I wouldn't want to see the small stuff...I hadn't thought of a new view.

136brightcopy
Feb 11, 2011, 1:22am Top

I think we're clearly going to have to deal with this on a UI level. On another thread you said you wanted our omnibuses split out. I think, therefore, that you want to see all novels, but not things smaller than novels. Right?

What I was basically saying is if you CATALOG short stories just like you catalog all your other books, LT has no way of knowing which are your real books and which are not.

Anyway, I'm anticipating the catalog will have one setting that shows you only your books, and another that then breaks everything out, so you can see everything you have in one form or another.

Exactly. If you just catalog them all, it hobbles cool features like this.

137andyl
Feb 11, 2011, 4:36am Top

#134

Yep.

For me short stories and articles and individual poems should usually* be clearly delineated and separated (or optionally hidden until wanted) in the UI. But I like jim (msg #133) do want them to be first class objects - that we can review, rate, tag, CK, combine them (and probably more besides).

* I say usually because we have already discussed the short story published as chap-book above. But also many short stories are published individually in pdf (and a few other ebook formats) and HTML on the web.

138LShelby
Feb 11, 2011, 9:44am Top

I said a short story was a "work", and NOT (usually) a "book".

Brightcopy, your library doesn't show you WORKS. It shows you BOOKS.

It is, in fact, currently *impossible* to add a work to your library, you MUST go and find a book that is a physical expression of that work, and add that.

So if I hacked into the system and started creating short story works directly, not only would none of them show up in your library. YOU COULDN'T GET THEM THERE IF YOU WANTED THEM.

So what clutter?

I feel like nobody is understanding me because they assume I am too stupid to know what I'm talking about, so I must not be talking about that, I must be talking about something else.

I have been assuming Tim is entirely capable of creating a physical class smaller than a book (mentally I've been saying "inclusion" but he might have decided on some other term) that can be associated with a work, just as a book can be associated with a work. This would allow Tim to create a toggle for your library that would show only books, or only inclusions, or books plus inclusions, as desired.

None of that has anything to do with a short story's status as a work.

Tim may possibly be thinking he wants to also create a separate conceptual class for works-too-short-to-be-books, but as has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, on the conceptual level that is a very hazardous distinction to make. I happen to own a book version of Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky. Most, if not all, of my anthologized short stories are a great deal longer than that poem. The poem is clearly not "too short" to be a book, because it IS a book. So how can the much longer short stories be "too short"? A short-work class would need to *also* be able to be associated with a book, as well as with an inclusion, and if it has all the same qualities as a work except for shortness, then I'm not at all sure having it be a separate class would be an efficient way of differentiating.

However, having been pondering the subject, I agree with what I think Tim has been trying to tell us all, that using work to work relationships for anthologies is perhaps not ideal. Because there really isn't much of connection between most anthologies and the inclusions within them on the work level. That connection is better expressed on the physical level, (or even the "expression" level) as a ToC listing of inclusions. (There are some cases where that is not the case. Borders of Infinity is a "fix up" -- a story that connects smaller stories that were originally published separately. I would consider that a strong work-to-work relationship as well as a book-inclusion relationship.)

If the lack of a conceptual connection means that we should only list a physical connection and not a "work" connection, that means some of the "contained within" existing work to work relationships I created last night, really ought to be switched to TOC inclusions when that ability becomes available. :sigh: I marked a few double books in my library as containing the two works that made up the double. There was no real work level connection there beyond authorship -- just the physical association of having been printed in the same volume.

139infiniteletters
Edited: Feb 11, 2011, 9:46am Top

If short stories aren't listed as actual works, how will we be able to tell which other anthologies they're in?

140jjwilson61
Feb 11, 2011, 11:23am Top

I've been thinking of Works as something above Books. But if short stories that were never published separately are also Works then Works can be both above and below Books. So we aren't talking about a hierarchy anymore. I didn't get the feeling that that is where Tim is going with this.

And currently reviews and ratings are attached to Books, not Works. So if you want to be able to review and rate short stories their going to have to be added to your library as Books, unless Tim wants to move those fields. And if he does move them, then someone without the book in their library would be able to review it and Tim has stated that he doesn't want that.

141brightcopy
Feb 11, 2011, 12:27pm Top

138> I think we must be talking past each other. My comments were about how things work today, not how Tim might modify them in the future. Today, if you do like Bluetyson does and add short stories as books (which then adds them as works) to your catalog, you have the effect I'm talking about.

This was not to tell you you are too stupid or any of that nonsense. It was simply a comment on the limitations of LT as they stand today. There has been a lot of talk about pseudo-works created for short stories on the fly based on it knowing you have a book that contains them. I'm all for that.

Hope that clears things up.

142timspalding
Feb 11, 2011, 12:30pm Top

I think this conversation is hard to have without losing people, causing confusion, etc. We are actually thinking of some sort of conference call or something.

But if short stories that were never published separately are also Works then Works can be both above and below Books. So we aren't talking about a hierarchy anymore. I didn't get the feeling that that is where Tim is going with this.

Books will be able to contain something—let's call them "thingies"—but they won't be works. But all "thingies" will have a work.

I mean this: Works are a "platonic" conception of a text. The work for Les Miserables is an umbrella, under which clusters English versions, French versions, audiobooks, etc. This conception is powerful, and should also exist for the "thingies." For example, "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant should also be a work, because it exists in many different languages and forms.

"Thingies", therefore, are equivalent to some lower level than works—to manifestations, editions, publication lines or books. Every thingy will have a work, but it will not be a work, just as every book has a work, but is not itself a work.

Make sense?

143Noisy
Edited: Feb 11, 2011, 1:13pm Top

Back to basics. There are two sorts of objects being catalogued:
- physical things - books, magazines, (CDs, DVDs - ugh), and even 'ebook files'
- primary creations - stories (e.g. books, novellas, short stories, poems (sorry if this upsets some people)), and unfortunately songs.

The first category can encompass the second category, but can't be encompassed other than through a relationship.

The second category can exist on its own, but ideally is married up with (encompassed within) a physical thing (edition, magazine, collection, anthology, omnibus). It can also be subdivided through a relationship (these 'chapbook' things that I keep hearing about, excerpts, abridgements).

Where does a work fit in? Well, a work is a 'collection' of items that have been catalogued. So, a work is both a first and second category container.

Note that the link between first and second category is 'strong' (encompassization), and may be many-to-one -many. The other linkages are 'weak', and may be many-to-many (relationship).

ETA: a correction on the strong links - they can of course be many-to-many. I'll have to think about why I said many-to-one in the first place.

144LShelby
Edited: Feb 11, 2011, 1:38pm Top

It's a very confusing subject. So I started trying to make a chart...



Naturally it has typos in it. :Sigh:

Other than fixing the typos, anyone want to offer suggestions for improvements, additions, and/or corrections?

Edited to ask:
Why is it that half the time when I try to fix a typo I end up creating a new one instead?

145Noisy
Feb 11, 2011, 2:15pm Top

>144 LShelby:

See, I don't like that. But I can't put my finger on why. Perhaps it's because it's making such a strong distinction between things that are created all in one go. For most people, there is a disconnect between the physical thing that they are attempting to catalogue, and what happens when they click a link that has been presented to them as being the nearest thing that they can get to a description of what they have in their hand (or Excel file, or scrappy bit of paper). When they click the link, that intermediate level is forced upon them, although they can later go and modify it somewhat. So, the record of the physical thing (which is what they think they've created) is where they hang their personal attributes. The link (publication line) is just that - a link - but it's something that can be identified as being 'in common' with other links that have been created in similar fashion. (You can mung the link by changing ISBN, etc.) The conceptual level is the work, off which you can hang CK. Now, if you weren't careful about how you formed the link (say - you got it from Amazon) you'll start assuming that the conceptual level is what you've got in your hand, and start amending the CK to marry up with what your eyes tell you. If that link was wrong, you'll be making some incorrect assumptions here.

So, given that there is 'history', and the fact that a proportion of links are imperfect, we have to live with a world where the conceptual level is imperfect as well. Can we do anything about that? Well, we could introduce yet another layer whereby elements of the conceptual level and the links that join them back to the personal attributes entered by a Thingamabrarian get to be validated (harking back to an earlier idea I threw in the ring).

I think that picture is a good discussion point. Oh, for a whiteboard ...

146LShelby
Feb 11, 2011, 3:00pm Top

145
A whiteboard would be nice.

147jjwilson61
Feb 11, 2011, 5:54pm Top

I'm worried that this is all going to be too complicated for the average LTer. I mean most members don't know the difference between Books and Works and it might be helpful to examine why this is so. I think a large part of it is that the LT UI doesn't distinguish strongly between a book and a work. Sure, there's a work page, but it doesn't actually say that it's a work page. The user when presented with his catalog can click on the edit pencil at which point he's editing his book, or he can click on his book title and go to the work page and edit information about the work, but there's nothing to tell him that in one case he's working on his book and in the other on the work.

A confounding problem is that the work page contains a box called book information that gives some information about the book, not the work, but since he has never been told that he's in a different domain, it just muddies the water between works and books.

So I think the first step in this project might be to rework the UI to make a stronger distinction between book and work, otherwise adding new layers is just going to confuse an already confusing situation.

148suitable1
Feb 11, 2011, 6:12pm Top

#144 - I still don't think that the poem "There is an Inn" should a work like The Fellowship of the Ring

149timspalding
Feb 11, 2011, 6:16pm Top

So I think the first step in this project might be to rework the UI to make a stronger distinction between book and work, otherwise adding new layers is just going to confuse an already confusing situation.

I agree. We have some changes in mind. But they go with the change, not before it.

150AnnieMod
Feb 11, 2011, 6:57pm Top

>148 suitable1:

What we need is a "Type of work" property with possible values:
- novels
- novel
- short story
- short stories anthology
- short stories collection
- essays anthology
- poetry book
- poem
- non-fiction
- graphic novel
- comics
- magazine
- newsletter
- article
- whatever else we figure out as many as we need
- anything else

Defaulting to anything else I guess. Then we can whatever we want and it will be easier to differentiate what we have and how to organize it

Just a thought.

151elenchus
Edited: Feb 11, 2011, 10:10pm Top

> 143, 144, 147

This problem has attracted my attention for awhile. As Tim alluded to recently, to my mind there's a tension typical of Platonic ideals and empirical objects behind a lot of my confusion. I've also tried to come up with a graphic, but haven't found anything yet.

I'm heartened to read Tim's agreement in 149. It's important for me to get these things right myself, but it's quite difficult to figure out when I'm encountering my catalogue or LT's works.

ETA for clarity, hopefully.

152kensor
Feb 11, 2011, 11:39pm Top

Not just interesting, but this could be useful, too, especially if disparate media types can be linked together virtually though separate physically. For example, the code and data CD in the back of a programming book put into a CD filing drawer to keep it safer while the book is bent in use. Another example, a book with Feynman's physics lectures could be on the self, and the tapes or CDs elsewhere, and the overused, and broken plastic case can be recycled. Yet the data resides comfortably. Cool!

153kensor
Feb 11, 2011, 11:58pm Top

Another flexible UI design opportunity might be noticed around the idea of publication lines whose contents are taken primarily from other publications. For example, the custom math book for XYZ State University might consist of one range of chapters from an existing text, another range from that text, and some unique material created at XYZ State. Being able to capture those external references would be great. A similar example would be a book of readings taken from academic journals. Being able to capture the article references easily would have some value, too.

154aulsmith
Feb 12, 2011, 11:32am Top

150: This is part of the problem that librarians wrestling with FRBR haven't figured out yet. Is the work "The Wizard of Oz" the Baum creation (a novel) or is it all the cultural artifacts attached to the idea (the novel, the play, the movie, The Wiz, Wicked ...). If it's the latter, than it can't have a type. Only the expression can have a type. It's even a problem if you narrow it to one person's creation. Is Flowers for Algernon one work with two expressions (short story and novel) or is it two works. Is the full orchestral score for Beethoven's 9th symphony the same as that score realized by an orchestra and recorded (on vinyl, CD, MP3, etc). So at this point, I'm not anxious to add types to works until we have some realization of them and can start to hash some of these conceptual problems out.

155jjwilson61
Feb 12, 2011, 11:59am Top

In the LT world we've already decided that the novel The Wizard of Oz is not the same work as the movie Wizard of Oz. LT is not the same as FRBR.

156aulsmith
Feb 12, 2011, 8:45pm Top

155: First, FRBR is only a model for dealing with library data not a set of rules as to how to divide the data. If Tim does what he is proposing here, LibraryThing will (most likely) be the first large implementation of FRBR principles. It will be left to us to decide how to apply them to specific examples.

On the Wizard of Oz. Okay, bad example. But there are thousands of sticky situations where we haven't made a decision yet, and I don't think the "type of work" labels suggested in post 150 are going to help us at the work level at this point. Maybe down the road.

157AnnieMod
Feb 12, 2011, 9:34pm Top

>154 aulsmith:

In LT Flowers for Algernon is two works. So it can work in LT.... I do not know what and how FRBR works but the way the LT works are supposed to work, you should not have a case when the same work contains two really different things. A short story with a name A and a collection with the name A contraining this story and some other ones are different works. A collection with stories A,B,C and another one with stories A,B,C,D are different works.

Why are we trying to apply FRBR in LT when the way ST had always been structured is different (from what I can figure out about FRBR)?

What the type of work will help with is exactly separating the smaller works with the name of bigger ones (stories and collections; stories that grow to a novel and so on; poems from poetry collections and so on)

158aulsmith
Feb 13, 2011, 9:07am Top

157: I'm trying to apply FRBR to LT because my understanding of this discussion is that Tim is trying to apply FRBR to LT. I'm trying to say that if we really get works, expressions and editions, then some of the thinking we've put into works might change. I suspect this based on discussions librarians have already had about applying FRBR to their data (which like LT currently doesn't allow all the divisions). I'm saying that some of what we've been using "type of work" labeling for will go better on the expression level. We haven't been able to have those discussions in the past because we didn't have an expression level. I personally would like to be able to have those discussions before we commit to things like lists of types at various levels.

159Noisy
Feb 13, 2011, 9:34am Top

I'm loving this, but I'm starting to get worried that Tim will be losing the ordinary user. Manipulation of authors is now a lot more complicated (which makes it easier to get things done) and thus much more baffling when you first want to stick your toe in the water. The segregation of the tooling into the Improve this author box is the first step towards hiding the complicated bits from your everyday cataloguer: Tim is soon going to have to make a decision as to creating a two-class society, i.e. those who access to the tools, and those who ignore them.

I don't mean a separate club that you have to join to do your combining, but rather the tools looking so daunting on the work and author pages that they put off people by making them think that they need to know all this stuff. One response would be to have the Improve this author tools on a separate page, or lightbox or whatever when you click the 'organize' link.

160timspalding
Feb 13, 2011, 10:04am Top

>159 Noisy:

There's no question it's a worry. We're going to be making things more complex in some ways. This places a premium on ease-of-use.

I disagree about the "improve this author" box "hiding" anything. Previously the functions there were distributed arbitrarily around the page and on other pages. The organization was historical only, not logical. Centralizing all the functions that change what an author "is" is, I think, a good thing for comprehension. The only "hiding" is that the list of potential combinations is now under a "show" tool. I justify this on the grounds that combination is not more important than the other tools there, and that, for most of the big authors, the proposed-combination list was long, worthless and full of ratty data.

161Noisy
Feb 13, 2011, 10:15am Top

>160 timspalding:

I'm not quite sure what you're disagreeing with. I like that the tools are all gathered together. What I'm concerned about is that having them all in one place makes it look complicated. And the terminology is starting to get more and more arcane, with combine, separate, division, split, include and a few other terms such as improve and distinct being thrown in for good measure. Where's the simplicity going? What's it going to look like when edition and expression start getting bandied about as well?

I'm arguing that all this should be hidden behind a veil, just to make it look simpler than it is.

162Heather19
Edited: Feb 13, 2011, 11:45pm Top

I sort of agree with Noisy. I know that, personally, it's a little daunting to even attempt combinations now, simply because there is soooo much information and so many confusing words right there... And I'm an experienced combiner!

It used to be just a simple "combine/separate works" on the "Works by (author)" line. That is simple to understand, and clicking on it took you straight to the page you needed.

Now you have to click "organize", which then takes you to a box with all sorts of options where not all of them will make sense: "Name disambiguation Go to the disambiguation page to edit author name combination and separation.". *I* know what that means, and I'm sure most power-users understand that just fine, but for a regular user? With "recalculate", "combine", "includes", etc...

I guess it's "easier" that all those options are together in one box now, but it's also definitely overwhelming and is probably confusing to some.

edit:
I have a question. Is it because of these combination/author-editing changes that we can no longer "see" 0-copy works when combining?
What I mean is, I go to the "editions" page of a work, and under the Potential Work Combinations it shows a few 0-copy works that *are* the same work and should be combined. However, when I click the "combine/seperate potentials" link, it doesn't show the 0-copy works.

I know there's probably no real reason to combine the 0-copy work back with the original, but it's annoying because those 0-copy works *do* show up in the potential combination list, so they are basically "clogging" that list and I can't do anything with them.

163SimoneA
Feb 14, 2011, 3:31am Top

I posted a bug report about the 0 copy problem here http://www.librarything.com/topic/109484. Unfortunately, it has not been adressed yet.

164Kathleen828
Feb 15, 2011, 11:17am Top

Please tell me that you are not going to alter my carefully entered books.

If you insist on FRBRizing, what can I do about it? But I have paid money and worked hard to enter my books (not works, individual books) as I wish them to be.

You are not going to alter my display, are you?

I have 1,441 in so far, and I have 3,600 and some to go. I do NOT want to have to find some other location and do all that work all over again.

165jbd1
Feb 15, 2011, 11:19am Top

>164 Kathleen828: - I'm going to quote Tim from #134:

"Anyway, I'm anticipating the catalog will have one setting that shows you only your books, and another that then breaks everything out, so you can see everything you have in one form or another."

That's our intention.

166lorax
Feb 15, 2011, 11:38am Top

164>

Please tell me that you are not going to alter my carefully entered books.


The number one rule of LT is that user catalog data is absolutely sacred. I know from previous discussions that you're upset about the LT concept of a "work", but all this will be is an additional, intermediate layer between your books and LT's works. Nobody is going to change your data, and I'm frankly a bit perplexed about what gave you the idea that they would.

167Kathleen828
Feb 15, 2011, 11:59am Top

Thank you, Lorax.

I was fearful because I see FRBR displays in my work every day. I was worried that LT would gather everything it sees as a "work" together, and thus alter my display. I want to keep track of my books, not my works. Once I have more bookcases, I plan to go back and enter locations for each book. Having them aggregated, as FRBR does, would be a nightmare.

I am appreciative of your principle that user catalog data is sacred. And thank you for taking the time to reply.

168brightcopy
Feb 15, 2011, 12:00pm Top

164/166> Though, to be fair, it is possible that combination standards will change with some of these new features. So where before different versions of the same work might have been separate works, it's possible they will be combined into the same work, but with different expressions.

But like lorax said, none of that is going to go in and override the author, title, cover, etc. that you have set in your catalog. Anything you have "carefully entered" isn't going to change, but the work data it links to (CK fields, mainly), might.

169jbd1
Feb 15, 2011, 12:03pm Top

>168 brightcopy: - that's right. The concept of "works" as shared items is still going to exist, and may even get a little more versatile, but your catalog data will be just as you enter it.

170jjwilson61
Feb 15, 2011, 12:36pm Top

I'm pretty sure that FRBR still has the concept of books. After all libraries still have physical books on their shelves that they need to track who they're lent to and data about their condition so I don't think you need to worry about either your library or Tim getting rid of book-level data.

171Keeline
Feb 15, 2011, 2:03pm Top

Since it appears that the notion of editions and expressions is still a work in progress, I am guessing that the concept of a "publisher's series" will change and perhaps it might be wise to hold off any work on these until that dust is settled.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the notion of a publisher's series is so bound to the publisher that it can hardly be considered Common Knowledge to the entire work but rather a particular expression or edition as discussed in this thread.

James Keeline

172fredbacon
Feb 16, 2011, 1:23pm Top

Here's a practical question which has just cropped up for me. I've just acquired and entered a copy of Mikhail Sholokov's The Quiet Don in a single volume, in the original Russian. тикий дон is the Russian name. The English translation is normally published as two volumes titled And Quiet Flows the Don and The Don Flows Home to the Sea. I'm a bit at a loss as to how to combine this book with the others. Is it possible in the current scheme? Is the act of combining transitive? If I combine "The Quiet Don" with both "And Quiet Flows the Don" and "The Don Flows Home to the Sea", does that imply that I've combined the later two works?

173Noisy
Edited: Feb 16, 2011, 1:43pm Top

This is a case where you use Relationships (waaay down the page, just before CK. The big question is, does your work separate out the two works within the single volume, or is it treated as a single text. If it is two works within a single volume, then use the 'Contains' relationship; if it a single work, and the two separate volumes are derived works with different text from the original, then perhaps another relationship may be more appropriate.

Luckily, the HelpThing page has been recently expanded following the improvements.

174prosfilaes
Feb 17, 2011, 2:34am Top

#51: Pre-ISBN, but I've used two different copies of Modern American Poetry in preparing PG's copy, and I discovered that despite the fact they were apparently the same printing of the same edition, they had different text for one of Vincent Millay's poems. Both of them of course differed from the modern edition I had at hand. So I've seen it done.

175fredbacon
Feb 17, 2011, 12:18pm Top

#173: Noisy, the original Russian text of The Quiet Don does not separate out the two books. It treats them as a single text. (The book was originally published in serial form over a twelve year period.) While I'm not positive, I believe that the separation into two books was imposed on the novel by the English translation.

176lorax
Feb 17, 2011, 12:46pm Top

172>

If I combine "The Quiet Don" with both "And Quiet Flows the Don" and "The Don Flows Home to the Sea", does that imply that I've combined the later two works?

Yes. You should absolutely not do this. Combine it with the Russian original, but NOT with the parts.

177Noisy
Edited: Feb 17, 2011, 1:42pm Top

>175 fredbacon:

After reading the Wikipedia articles, and following up one of the references, I can confidently state that how you set up Relationships with other part-works that have been catalogued is up to you. You might want to try and enter into a dialogue with LT members who own copies of the work(s) in different formats, but until you can find someone who has done a textual analysis of the different ways in which the work has been split up and/or translated it will be guesswork. I saw that one edition that someone has catalogued splits '...And Quiet Flows the Don' into five volumes.

The Wikipedia article talks of four volumes between 1928 and 1940: if your work doesn't even distinguish these volumes, then it looks like your work will 'contain' all the English language versions, unless there are any that publish the work as a single volume, in which case those should be combined. What to do with the 'two volumes in a slipcase' catalogue item is again up to you.

178lorax
Feb 17, 2011, 1:31pm Top

177>

No, it is NOT up to him. The translation history is irrelevant. A book that has been published in multiple parts should never be combined with those individual parts if they are cataloged separately.

179lorax
Feb 17, 2011, 1:33pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

180Noisy
Feb 17, 2011, 1:40pm Top

>178 lorax:

Sorry, I should have made clear that I was only talking about the use of relationships. I'll clarify my statements.

181jrochkind
Feb 17, 2011, 5:26pm Top

Sounds pretty sweet.

I think what LibraryThing calls "editions" is pretty much what FRBR calls "manifestations". Which is fine to use a different term in LT interface, but might be helpful to remember that when looking at interoperability with other peoples data.

With expressions, editions/manifestations, and works.... indeed LT might become the most full implementation of FRBR out there.

I think it's also very interesting that you -- who I know has absolutely no inclination to slavishly follow FRBR for 'standards' sake -- still independently realized that you needed an 'expression' layer to meet user needs. I think that provides some evidence that the FRBR model is actually pretty good.

182brightcopy
Feb 17, 2011, 5:29pm Top

181> I think what LibraryThing calls "editions" is pretty much what FRBR calls "manifestations"

Yup. See the bottom of message 57.

183AnnieMod
Feb 18, 2011, 2:20am Top

>172 fredbacon: and the followng ones

And Quiet Flows the Don is the translation of just half of the 4-volumes novel (I think). The Russian version is a bit different - I used to have both a 4-volume edition and a single volume one (and I do not even remember what my Bulgarian version was but I suspect a 4-volume one). None of these should be combined into the English one. I believe that there might be a Russian edition in 2 volumes (because of that work http://www.librarything.com/work/6178932/editions ) but I had not see it so I will do some research and hit Sholokhov's page and see what can be fixed there.

PS: The name is Тихий Дон, not тикий дон (х and not к). Not that it makes any difference for the discussion but just thought I should mention it - we are cataloging here after all.

184anglemark
Feb 18, 2011, 4:46am Top

>183 AnnieMod: The name is Тихий Дон

Except for during the spring flood, when it's Дикий Дон.

*ducks*

185AnnieMod
Feb 18, 2011, 5:26am Top

>184 anglemark:
Absolutely :)

186Jannes
Edited: Feb 18, 2011, 9:09am Top

I can't help thinking that there seems to be a bit of confusion about what an "expression" really is. If we are to be FRBR purists, an expression is simply a recognized variant of a text, still intangible and without proper physical form. Some of the discussion above seems to equal this with a 'publication line' which, as has been pointed out, is actually closer to the "manifestation" entity.

The problem seems to be largely about containment and whether the "deconstruction" of books into work-parts is desirable or not. As an example, let's take a novel that has been reprinted in a new edition including a length critical essay and copious footnotes with comments. This could be modeled as:

1) The novel (a) is the same work, and the essay and comments are just meta-text. Nothing new is created. The comments are introduced in a new edition/manifestation/line (b)

Work (W/a) > Expression (E/a)
> Manifestation (M/a) the first, uncommented edition
> Manifestation (M/b) an edition with comments and essay

2) A new expression (b) is created as the comments and essay is considered a variant text of the original novel.

Work (W/a) Novel
> Expression (E/a) original text
> Expression (E/b) commented text

3) The essay is considered a work (b) in its own right that is published along with the novel in the same edition/manifestation.

Work (W/a) Novel
> Expression (E/a) The text of the novel
Work (W/b) Essay
> Expression (E/b) Text of the essay

> Manifestation (M/a+b) Containing expressions of both works

...and this is just a fairly straightforward example, and of course, there are huge gray areas: What if the author wrote the comments himself? What if the essay was included in the first edition, but not in subsequent ones? What about illustrations?

Any of the above is, essentially, a "correct" interpretation of the FRBR framework, they just differ in focus. The leading question, then, becomes: "do we want to stay in a "book-centric" paradigm, focusing mainly between differences between editions, or do we want to move over to a more content-oriented approach, regarding books mainly as carriers of content (works/expressions)? This is the rub, so to speak.

Of course many of you have touched on this in the discussion above, but I think it's so easy to become occupied with talk about UI, or how to model the really complex titles, or whatever, that you miss the big question.

Sorry about the monster post.

(EDIT: I can't type today, it seems. Typo-correction ahoy!)

187aulsmith
Feb 18, 2011, 8:49am Top

186: Thanks, Jannes. I've been struggling with how to explain that for several days. You did a much better job than I could.

Going back to the question about Quiet Flows the Don et al., part of the question is whether both parts are one (FRBR) work or not, questions that librarians haven't discussed much and LT people have touched on now and again but haven't settled. I'm hoping that when we have all the parts in place (series, FRBR works/expressions/editions/books, contained in/contains) that we'll be able to find nice general rules that will take care of most situations. Clearly in English-speaking countries, a version of the cocktail party rule would give us two works, since many people have only read the Quiet part and not the other. (That might best be handled by making them a series.) However, if in Russia they're usually read and discussed together, than we have a very complex situation where the work (as defined by the cocktail party) is different for one language group than for another.

One thing that's confusing people is that any book that's entered on LT is automatically made a work and combining can only be done on works. So it's easy to think of the work as having physicality. When Tim's done with the interface, I'm hoping that the non-physical nature of FRBR work and expression are clearer.

188Kathleen828
Feb 18, 2011, 9:08am Top

And all of this goes right back to my original contention which is that all this FRBRization is the path to madness.

In my opinion, a "data-entity" relationship is a terrible model for entering books (or any other media) - and look what it leads to. Does no one see the irony in saying "it's easy to think of the work as having physicality?"

It looks to me as if LT is becoming a philosophical monster. I am a Master's-holding librarian and I LOVE library theory, but I wonder how many other LT members care about it, though those in this discussion obviously do, and I think that is a good thing.

Philosophically I see it as beauty being lost, or rather crushed, under the weight of supposed searchers' desires and the resulting, unwieldy, mechanistic convoluted discussions of WEMI.

I will go back into my cave now and happily catalog my books.

189Jannes
Feb 18, 2011, 9:21am Top

188 >

I feel your pain, and I have also struggled with the ups and downs of FRBR, but I do sincerely believe that we need analytical and data-modeled cataloging if we even want a fighting chance to make sense of the bibliographical universe at it looks today. We need expressions, and relationships, and FRBR, if we want to make the data we have useful, or even manageable - where would LT be today without the work layer?

190Kathleen828
Feb 18, 2011, 10:14am Top

@189 :)

Thanks. :)

You DON'T want to know where I think LT would be today without the work layer, and I'm sure Tim doesn't want to know either, so I shan't reply.

Suffice it to say that I do not find helpful in the least. It's actually very annoying.

191andyl
Feb 18, 2011, 10:35am Top

#188 and #189

The key is in making LT just as easy to use (in fact I imagine it will be identical) for those people who just want to enter a list of their books yet also allow a more sophisticated way of editing and looking at relationships between books. I note from the original post Tim says "Absolutely key to this is a super-easy user-interface for organizing editions and expressions".

At the moment people who don't want to enter CK don't have to. People who don't want to combine/separate works don't have to. Similarly people who don't want to mess with doing the organising "publication lines" into editions and expressions will not have to. This seems a fundamental design principle for LT. Also that you will gain the benefits of any combining, organising, etc. regardless of your own involvement in such activity.

It also seems to me that on an informal level people do recognise some of these more "philosophical" levels.

People understand if you say the "Penguin edition" of Day Of The Triffids. They can differentiate between the first edition hardcover and the trade paperback and the MMPB and also understand they have exactly the same text. They may not know what the library world approved terminology is and they may not know the formal system that underlies how all this will work in the database. But they can and do make such distinctions in real life. The big challenge (and these type of challenges are the ones which really excite programmers) is in extending the database AND creating a user interface such that it is relatively straightforward for people to view and organise those new levels in the model (if they choose to) without having to learn any formal system and without having to read FRBR specs or Tim's design documents (yeah I know, probably a napkin).

For the record - I have not taken any librarian courses at all and needless to say am not a librarian (although I am a programmer).

192brightcopy
Feb 18, 2011, 10:51am Top

I see LT as the place that does these kind of helpful organizational things, allowing complex things to be done by users who tackle it (work and author combining/separating), but where users who want to keep it simple can just enter their books and never worry about it. I would be disappointed if LT took another route, saying "well, it would be useful for people who really care about the data, but most users are too dumb and will be scared so we're just going to dumb the whole thing down." To me, there are other book sites for that. That's why I'm here and not there.

193Kathleen828
Feb 18, 2011, 11:23am Top

#191 & 192

I agree entirely with both of you

And I certainly did not want to give the impression that I am in favor of "dumbing down." I hate that.

I know, in fact that is part of my contention, that people already both understand and use the existing distinctions between editions, for example. I think that FRBR severely muddies these waters rather than helping to clarify.

I have deep-seated, well-documented disagreements with the basic concepts of FRBR and with its usefulness as the basis for searching. But that ship has sailed, so far as I can tell, so I dont' want to take up peoples' time refighting an already settled disagreement.

194infiniteletters
Feb 18, 2011, 11:36am Top

but LT isn't planning to use FRBR as a rigid system, just to adapt some of the ideas so the members who want its flexibility can see the differences in editions.

195lorax
Feb 18, 2011, 11:36am Top

I know, in fact that is part of my contention, that people already both understand and use the existing distinctions between editions, for example.

Sure, but they also understand and use the fact that editions are different editions of something that is, in some way, the same thing. To eliminate the work layer that you so loathe would be to deny that reality, and to assert that a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has no more relationship to a hardback of the same title than it does to a text on general relativity, which is frankly ludicrous. If LT is going to have any purpose beyond just individual cataloging of books -- if we want to see who else has read a particular text, or what books might be recommended because we enjoyed a particular text, or read all the reviews of a particular text rather than just those of a single edition at a time -- the work layer is absolutely essential.

196Jannes
Feb 18, 2011, 12:19pm Top

191 > Very well put, and I couldn't agree more.

I think LT is on the right track when it comes to the balance between ease of use and added functionality and data use: my basic catalogue view is more or less the same (as far as I can recall) as when I joined in 2006, and if I just want to keep a list of the books I own I can do that, but there's all kinds of goodies a few clicks away if I ever want them. To keep it like this when adding expressions is a very sensible thing to do.

197prosfilaes
Feb 18, 2011, 1:21pm Top

#190: Okay, you can find the recommendations system, the user comparisons, the ability to tell you you already have a copy of a book in another format, the ability to show a reasonable group of tags on any one work, etc., etc., unhelpful, but they seem to be a major feature for most users. I think it unrealistic, no matter what you feel about them, to think LT would be better off with the the work layer.

198Kathleen828
Feb 18, 2011, 1:41pm Top

#197

Sigh! One of the things I *most* hate is when LT insists on telling me that I have "another copy" when I patently don't. I ranted about this in another comment stream, so won't do it again here. I know I sound curmudgeonly and I am sorry about that.

I keep trying to convey that I think FRBR is flawed in its essence, it thought-basis, its underlying construction. The more I see it infecting sites I love, like LT, the more saddened I become.

But I also keep trying to say that I don't want to refight lost battles and I know I've lost this one, so I shall not say more.

199prosfilaes
Feb 18, 2011, 2:13pm Top

#198: One of the things I *most* hate is when LT insists on telling me that I have "another copy" when I patently don't.

But objectively, I don't think you're well supported in that. Whether or not you like it, I feel on pretty safe land in saying that most LT users feel that improves LT for them. And by its nature, many of LT's features only work with a critical mass of users.

200jjwilson61
Feb 18, 2011, 2:29pm Top

198> One of the things I *most* hate is when LT insists on telling me that I have "another copy" when I patently don't.

Is there a language issue here? I think most people, make that the vast majority of people, would say that if they had Moby Dick in hard cover and another Moby Dick in paperback that they had two copies of Moby Dick. To insist otherwise is just trying to redefine the English language.

201Jannes
Feb 18, 2011, 2:30pm Top

197 > Your antagonism against FRBR intrigues me, since I've never encountered resistance of quite this magnitude. I would like to hear your thoughts, but asking you about them would probably derail this conversation, so I won't. =)

Maybe you can find some small solace in that LT is not FRBR, and even if Tim & co. implement functionality that is inspired by it they're perfectly free to make sure that the things we don't like about it stays away. That's what I love so much about discussions like this.

202Suncat
Feb 18, 2011, 2:49pm Top

>200 jjwilson61: What you said.

I was wondering if I was in the minority of using "copy" this way. In consolidating our libraries, we elected to keep two different paperback volumes of Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Different cover art, different printings, but we say we have two "copies".

203Kathleen828
Feb 18, 2011, 2:59pm Top

200 - This is exactly my point. Of course I have 2 "copies." I can no longer remember, and don't have time to look up, the exact message LT kept giving me when I entered another copy, or another edition of one of my books.

LT was telling me I had the same thing twice. My contention was, and remains, that if I have 2 different editions, I have 2 different books. I understand FRBR, I just disagree.

And even that explanation is not clear enough, but I am pressed for time and ask forgiveness if I am not expressing myself clearly. Perhaps at the weekend, I can do better.

204jlabeatnik
Feb 18, 2011, 3:09pm Top

I'm definitely interested in this as a book collector. I'm curious about the rarities of particular editions, and even information about their existence at all.

Will this also include information like how many limited numbered copies were printed/signed?

205brightcopy
Feb 18, 2011, 3:16pm Top

Here's the last time we got off in the weeds on this discussion about whether FRBR blows and the way LT handles duplicate ISBNs is stupid and whether the work concept is misguided:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/90309#2239218

In fact, looking at that thread again, it seems like this one is going to peter out due to the exact same reasons.

206lorax
Feb 18, 2011, 3:21pm Top

My contention was, and remains, that if I have 2 different editions, I have 2 different books.

Everyone agrees with this. But what the concept of the work tells us, and what everyone except apparently you seems to agree upon, is that a hardcover and a paperback of Moby Dick are more similar to each other than either of them is to Great Expectations. This has nothing to do with FRBR; the edition-layer isn't even implemented yet and won't be exactly FRBR even when it is. This is just the work concept and, frankly, common sense.

207suitable1
Feb 18, 2011, 3:28pm Top

The message now says "there is another version of this work." I think it used to say "duplicate."

208brightcopy
Feb 18, 2011, 3:29pm Top

206> Kathleen828 simply reacts to the language much differently than you or I. I'm going out on a limb and claim she reacts much differently than most people that use the site. Can't prove that. I'm not saying she's right or wrong, as those terms are a little fuzzy on something like this. But here's what she said on the subject in the other thread:

Today I input into my library a paperback copy of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. LibraryThing informed me that that more than 3,000 other members own this book.

I perfectly understand that these 3,000 people own a copy of some edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge. But I find it difficult to believe that they ALL own the same little 1956 paperback that I do.

In fact, I KNOW that they don't and I understand that that is actually NOT what LT is saying, but semantically, it sounds as if it is, and that just makes me crazy.


So, like I said, I think we're just completely on different pages. It's like if someone said that the colors on the site literally make them nauseous. You'd say "well, I'm sorry that's the case, but I can't really help that, as they are pretty standard colors even if not the best color scheme in the world" and move on from there. I think we should just move on.

209Kathleen828
Feb 18, 2011, 3:34pm Top

I agree entirely, we should just move on.

And, #200, I thank you for posting the link to that earlier discussion. I had ceased to participate in it, because I felt that I was causing conflict with no resolution in sight.

Having gone back myself to see what I had said, I find that Tim had posted a comment in which he advised me, "Fundamentally, however, if you don't want to be informed of how your item connects to the larger bibliographic world, you should be cataloging offline."

I had not see that before. It's quite hurtful, and, frankly, I am surprised that Tim would say it. However, having paid my $25 for lifetime membership long before FRBR raised its ugly head, I'll just keep cataloging and keep quiet.

210PhaedraB
Feb 18, 2011, 3:40pm Top

I have a number of duplicate copies of books & works in my library, not always deliberately. I've found that message very helpful, for example when I enter a book that I already had entered as a wishlist item. I especially like it when the message alerts me to an unknown duplicate. I can then choose the better of two copies to keep.

Sometimes, of course, it tells me what I already know. I can live with that.

211infiniteletters
Feb 18, 2011, 4:21pm Top

kathleen828, how about this? Would you like it if LT had a feature that would tell you who has the exact same edition as yours? That 1959 paperback, for instance.

212Keeline
Feb 18, 2011, 5:28pm Top

>208 brightcopy:

"Today I input into my library a paperback copy of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. LibraryThing informed me that that more than 3,000 other members own this book.

I perfectly understand that these 3,000 people own a copy of some edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge. But I find it difficult to believe that they ALL own the same little 1956 paperback that I do."

I see two issues here. One concerns the specific edition/expression and whether other LT members have the same one that you have just entered. Clearly, until LT has a full edition/expression system in place and people use it, there will not be much expectation that we can really know if another member has the same copy you have.

Another topic that is perhaps separate from the thrust of this thread is how counts of this type are made/labeled. The phrase used in the system talks about the number of other members who have the same work. However, what is counted is really the number of other entries for that same work. I have some obscure books where I have entered 3 of the 5 copies on LT. When each of the other LT members looks they might be told that 4 users have the book when it is really only 2 other users. In my view, either the label or the count made should be corrected so they are consistent. Either count users or identify them as copies of the work.

James Keeline

213Noisy
Feb 18, 2011, 6:34pm Top

So, what people catalogue is a (1) book that is part of a (2) print-run that is part of an (3) edition that is part of a (4) version (full/abridged/translated/part) that is part of a (5) 'work' that (is/may be) part of a (6) series. Except, as pointed out by Jannes in 186, things can be more complicated. Some people care about (5), and some people care about (1) as an instance of (5), and some people care about (1) through (6) (or any permutation). What Tim has to do is satisfy everyone.

Since that won't be possible - unless you tailor everyone's experience to their personal requirements by allowing them to specify which layers they wish to see - Tim is going to have to make compromises. With (1), (5) and (6) implemented so far, you have to question whether (2), (3) and (4) are possible without destroying what we have already? And, if he does come up with a solution, then - as much as he believes in Openness - shouldn't he patent the idea before expressing it?

214aulsmith
Feb 19, 2011, 9:16am Top

Kathleen828, Jannes and anyone else interested, I started a side conversation about FRBR here

215caffron
Feb 19, 2011, 11:54am Top

>29 Larxol: regarding having paid my $25 for lifetime membership long before FRBR raised its ugly head

LibraryThing has combined different editions into the same "book" for a very long time. Kathleen828 joined in 2007, long after the site had implemented work combination. I don't know when combination was launched, but I remember it "always" being that way since I joined in 2005. Scroll down to the bottom of this snapshot of the About page from 2005. Anyone can have a knee-jerk reaction to mention of FRBR, but LibraryThing has a long history of implementing similar concepts in a somewhat different way. People who have read Romeo and Juliet can talk to each other about it, even if the physical containers of the text were different. Anyone who wants "pure" MARC cataloging with zero social features or recommendations is probably better off with http://biblios.net/. We're trying to do something different at LibraryThing, something many of us believe offers richer possibilities than line listing alone.

216henkl
Feb 19, 2011, 2:04pm Top

From biblios.net's FAQ:

Does ‡biblios.net searching employ FRBR concepts?

‡biblios.net searching includes deduplication algorithms that provide similar functionality to FRBR work-set grouping. This deduplication is accomplished via stylesheets through the Pazpar2 metasearching toolkit.

217Jannes
Edited: Feb 19, 2011, 2:21pm Top

(Trying to steer things back on topic.)

I would love to see expressions implemented, but I agree with those above that have requested rather detailed guidelines for what constitutes a new expression. I also believe we should leave the multiple works/anthology problem for now, but to make sure that whatever model we chose will support such features in the future (obviously).

The easiest way to get started is probably to explicitly permit only certain types of expressions, and add more alter on as needed.

Expression types mentioned so far:
- Translations (probably the most sought-after type)
- Commented text
- modernized/reworked text
- Simple language / Easy-read variants (what is the preferred term in English?)
- Updated/revised

When to create a new work:
- Media change (book to movie, etc.)
- Form change (novel to comic, poem to play, etc.)

This is just a rough sketch, mind you.Thoughts on this?

Oh, and one more thing: it probably shouldn't be called "expressions". The term is actually rather insightful, but can also be confusing. Something like "variant" is probably more useful.

218aulsmith
Feb 19, 2011, 6:35pm Top

217: I'm not sure a media change is always a new work. For instance, play to performance. Using the cocktail party rule, I can discuss a play whether I read it or saw it performed (live or on DVD). In fact, I have been counting seeing performances of a play as having read it in my library by adding a generic record without a publisher and combining it with the record for the play.

219jjmcgaffey
Feb 19, 2011, 6:58pm Top

218> Oh, no. Please no. I've been around plays and actors all my life (my dad has been in amateur acting groups on 6 continents; my sister was one of the founders of a community acting group), and the written expression of a play bears very little resemblance to a performance. Compare the Broadway version of Cats with a high-school version... Counting seeing a performance as a connection, yes, sure (especially for rating/reviewing purposes). But I wouldn't combine it with the written version. As an adaptation, yes. But an awful lot of performances are actually abridgments; some go beyond that to adaptations (a Romeo and Juliet I saw with a female Mercutio (Mercutia) changed the meanings of a lot of the jokes, even without a word of the speeches changing). And performances for recording (DVD or TV or...) are different again.

IMHO - the new relationships allow performances of a play to be linked to the written script, but they shouldn't be connected any more firmly than that.

Cocktail party rule - if you're talking about the local high school performance of Cats and say the music/dancing is awful, someone who saw the Broadway version will look at you funny. Not that it's high culture, but you certainly can't knock the choreography on Broadway, or the voices... Or - if one person had seen The Comedy of Errors at the new Globe in London, and one had seen the recent performance by ACT in the San Francisco Bay Area - you _could_ discuss the play, but the conversation would probably center around the differences. The ACT version had puppets for the (assorted) twins; I haven't seen that one at the Globe, but the theatre itself plays a large part in the staging for the Shakespeare plays I've seen there (The Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream).

220brightcopy
Feb 19, 2011, 7:21pm Top

218/219> To me, the real answer is that the performance of a play doesn't really belong on LT, just as a home video recording you made of a an author reading a chapter from his book doesn't belong on LT. This is like the tarot deck discussion in the other thread. You wind up having to torture the structure of LT and twist it until you can try to squint and figure out how to make these things work in it. The real answer is that LT isn't for cataloging everything that exists in the world. It's fuzzy line, as audiobook recordings and dramatizations tend to make more sense. But I think play performances on on the other side of it. If they're released as an actual DVD product, then yeah, treat them like you would movies (which are tolerated but not encouraged by the staff). At least, that's my opinion on it.

221filminfo
Edited: Feb 19, 2011, 7:27pm Top

One major problem, from FRBR point of view, is that Works on LT are created bottom up from the Manifestation, which creates a lot of problems, especially if MARC practice comes into play, where the first author recorded in the record is considered the creator of the work.

In practice, this means, if I look at the page of one of my favorite authors
Koos Meinderts it show me that I own 30 works of 38 works by this author. It claims I don't have Tejo (a work by 2 authors I have under Harrie Jekkers, where most other copies reside) and it claims I don't have Keizer, an aggregate of 3 works, all of which I own.

In children's books and comic books, a phenomenon causing a lot of problems is in-name-only authors. Some users have piled up all works called "Snow White" under the name Walt Disney (or his companies) as a single work. Some of these are based on the animated movie, some are derived from it, some merely inspired, or using its characters. If an attempt is made to make expressions out of these, rather than related works, the chaos may be beyond repair (current chaos caused me to buy a new computer, because the Walt Disney page would not load to join or split works).

Another problem, both current and to be confronted when faced with expressions, is that ISBN is not mutually exclusive with Manifestation, Expression, sometimes not even with Work. If you will create Expressions bottom up from Manifestations, the ISBNs are going to be linked to several Expressions (even though ISBN should be an identifier for Manifestations).

What I miss in the distinguishing author department, which may be of interest for making the interface for editions and expressions, is making a note to others. Author Martin Bril once was split into 3 different authors, probably because he wrote about very different subjects, and people thought it must be someone else. Seeing why someone felt the need to split or join, or mentioning a source, could help in these interfaces.

222PhaedraB
Feb 19, 2011, 8:20pm Top

As someone who has many Tarot decks cataloged (among 25 items in the collection "Divination Tools"), I feel I must step (gingerly) into this fray.

a) Many of my decks came packaged with a book;
b) Most (all but three) have ISBNs;
c) Many have been published by book publishers (Llewellyn, St. Martin's Press, Penguin, MacMillan);
d) It is extremely useful to me to have them thus cataloged.

Um, did I mention how useful it is?

It's fine with me if you don't catalog your decks. Please, do not debase the conversation by comparing them to poker decks. It's not like they're perfume. Or bobcats. They are paper, published, collectible, book-related art items.

Anyone want a reading?

223brightcopy
Feb 19, 2011, 8:28pm Top

222> Ugh, I wished I'd not even brought it up again. If it's packaged with a book, fine, catalog the book. Just like I'd handle a book with a map packed in. Otherwise, it's no different than someone who insists that all their paintings based on scenes from the Bible should be cataloged.

LT is not for everything.

(All of this is my opinion. You are, of course, free to use LT however you want, no matter how much you might have to contort it to make it work.)

224Suncat
Edited: Feb 19, 2011, 8:56pm Top

>223 brightcopy:

Given that all of my decks had identifiable authors, titles, ISBNs (mostly), publishers, and I was able to pull them all from Amazon just like any book, I don't feel I had to contort anything in my use of LT to make it work.

But this mention did remind me I should go tag them as "deck" to distinguish from my Tarot books.

ETA: In contrast, I haven't even attempted cataloging any of my music CDs or movie tapes or DVDs because it wouldn't be a good fit here as has been discussed frequently.

225brightcopy
Feb 19, 2011, 9:12pm Top

224> I don't feel I had to contort anything in my use of LT to make it work.

The contortion would be when you try to do things like make it fit into the new Relationships feature, as has just recently been attempted:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/109828#2521434

But if you aren't going to try to do that (either of you), I say "oh well, at least the damage is pretty contained to your own catalog."

Not that you should care what I think, of course! I know these discussions can sound far heavier than I mean them to, so I want to assure you I think there are far more important things than cataloging your tarot decks. :)

226Suncat
Feb 19, 2011, 9:42pm Top

>225 brightcopy:

It never even occurred to me to try to put those insert booklets in as separate works/books whatever. The deck + insert is covered by a single ISBN, has a single title and is a single combined publication. I was surprised by the referenced posts.

I have seen sets of deck + book offered, where the book is about the deck and has been released on its own, but is also offered with the deck as a set. I'd treat those similar to how I'd treat boxed sets of multiple books in LT.

Which, by the way, I have not entered in LT at all. For every boxed set we have I've only cataloged the individual books, I've made no mention of the boxing. Others, obviously, find it important to note the boxing.

I'll also admit that I've gotten quite lost in these discussions and have pretty much abandoned any attempts at combining/separating books or authors for the foreseeable future. If I don't have the energy to fully understand the discussions, I'm not about to muck up things by poking around in there until it's baked.

227aulsmith
Edited: Feb 19, 2011, 10:07pm Top

220: Oops. I got us off topic again. In 217 Jannes suggested that a change in media would always be a change in work. What I should have said was that I don't think changing the media of a play from written to a performance on video or a dramatization on audio is necessarily (though sometimes it is) a change in work.

Or maybe a better example is Heaney's translation of Beowulf with his recording of same (ignoring for the moment that the book has both the original and the translation). The folks on the 75 Challenge who did the group read were perfectly able to discuss it even though some of them listened to it and some of them read it.

So "change in media means change in work" might be a good general rule, but might need some adjusting in practice.

I'll be honest. The biggest problem I've had with FRBR is that I've had trouble figuring out any generalized rule for work that I'm happy with in all the specific cases I can think of. Which is why I think the library community will probably fail to implement it. LT has the mechanisms for hashing out the special cases, as we have all along with combining.

Edited to fix typos.

229EricJT
Apr 3, 2011, 12:41pm Top

> 211
That is exactly what I asked for earlier today in another thread.
I don't really believe, for example, that 27,271 other members have the edition I specified at
http://www.librarything.com/work/1386651/book/64332779 .

I like what (I think) is being proposed here, even if it may be too complicated for me to understand -- as long as we simple record keepers can carry on keeping (relatively) simple records.

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