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Edited: Aug 10, 2011, 2:04pm Top

I suspect the big comment is going to be that it would be nice if at least small groups had a true "shared catalog," with all the books cheek-by-jowl in the same "Your library" screen. This is something we'll consider for the future. For now, however, scaling, processing and speed issues prevent us from doing that.

Aug 10, 2011, 2:15pm Top

One suggestion: it might be nice if the search results could indicate what collection a book is in, somehow.

Aug 10, 2011, 2:18pm Top

Yup, I'd like a true shared catalogue for small groups.

I still don't understand the value of this search. It still doesn't make sense to me that people are just shown alphabetically (instead of by how relevant their catalogues are for the search), that the results are only partial, and that there isn't even a number shown for how many "additional hits" there are. I can't think of when I'd actually use this.

Also, the main thing I'd like to search (Date Read) isn't even searchable.

Aug 10, 2011, 3:32pm Top

>3 rsterling:

I hear you, but each additional piece of data crowds the situation more. I think it's probably better to leave that to discovery later.

I still don't understand the value of this search

The value of the search is that it searches.

Unfortunately, we have to search catalogs one by one, and don't know ahead of time which catalogs contain the item you want. For large catalogs this is why we have to page through it. The sort of any-member-list any-string search you want is, unfortunately, not easy or cheap to do.

Aug 10, 2011, 3:38pm Top

Yeah, I understand that a full-fledged group search might be impossibly demanding. But I still can't think of many circumstances when I'd want a search that returns only partial results and doesn't even organize them based on relevance. Can you give some more examples of how you think this might be used?

Aug 10, 2011, 3:43pm Top

Under "Select one of your groups:" I see three groups I never heard of and can't find in the group list:
Renaissance Europe
(I think I would like to be a member of at least two of them.)

Edited: Aug 10, 2011, 3:49pm Top

If the group is small (under 50?) it will always be on one page. As for relevance, it's not clear to me that you'd want members sorted by the number of hits they got.

Quite obviously a big-catalog search wouldn't sort members by relevance. It wouldn't sort members at all! Nor would it sort books by relevance—searching catalogs is always a binary matter, since it operates on the sorts you've specific (eg., author, ISBN, whatever). Also it's quite clear that no group larger than about 50 could ever have a combined catalog. A combined catalog of, say, 200,000 books would have so tens of thousands of "pages." What would you do, page through them? Sorting such a behemoth would be quite impossible as well.

The current search allows a very zippy and clear way to search small groups, either as groups or as circles of friends. It emphasizes the fact that books aren't free-floating entities but in members' cataloges. So it lists members as the A concept, and the books that satisfy as the B.

For larger catalogs, it allows the search to be done—something not possible before. It makes no real sense to search 900 member libraries for common things like "history" or whatever. But if you want to know if a larger group has something unusual, you can now do that.

I'm not at all clear what you'd actually want. This feature makes small-group searching both possible and easy. If you interest is in statistical-style searches—how many Hogwarts members have The Help—well, that's not what this is.

Aug 10, 2011, 4:11pm Top

I think this does what I was asking for on the BETA thread. Thanks.

But here's something odd. If I search Le Salon Litteraire du Peuple pour le Peuple for flounder I see that several people have the novel by Günter Grass along with some other results. If I search for grass I get Günter Grass books, Leaves of Grass, etc. But if I try to be more specific and search for flounder grass I get nothing.

Aug 10, 2011, 4:12pm Top

The advantage of the combined catalogue would be browsing, not searching. I could sort by non-searchable fields (date read, rating, etc.).

For larger catalogs, it allows the search to be done—something not possible before. It makes no real sense to search 900 member libraries for common things like "history" or whatever.

Again, I'd like more examples of what sorts of searches do make sense. I can think of plenty of things that it's not good for ;)

Aug 10, 2011, 4:23pm Top

>9 eromsted: - it's searching on a string, I think ...

Aug 10, 2011, 6:29pm Top

I can see this being very helpful for those groups that are, say, all the members of one family, or of a book club. This has been something many people asked for - thanks, Tim!

Aug 10, 2011, 7:01pm Top

12: Yes, my family now has books spread over 5 accounts. One stop searching is very welcome.

Aug 10, 2011, 8:01pm Top

Very cool stuff. *pouty face* because the main group I hang out in and know the most members of and so would be most inclined to use it for is over 1000 members. Still, nice new toy.

Aug 10, 2011, 9:23pm Top

>14 MrsLee:

We're going to expand it when we can. At the moment too many accounts need indexing. It would be a crushing amount to index at a time if we allowed the largest groups in.

Aug 10, 2011, 10:20pm Top

What am I missing? I see on two of my groups a statement that this feature is disabled for groups with over 1,000 users, but on the ones with less than 1,000 I don't see anything at all. Am I just missing it somewhere?

Aug 10, 2011, 11:33pm Top

Actually, catalogue views are useful even for sorting on limited search results.

Aug 11, 2011, 12:50am Top

>16 waitingtoderail:

Give the group? The group administrator has the option to disable the group catalog. That may be it.

Aug 11, 2011, 2:54am Top

Searching for books in connections shows books from private libraries. Is it supposed to do that?

Aug 11, 2011, 4:47am Top

19> No. I'll check on that and get out a quick correction. I had tested for that about a week ago but there have been many changes since then.

Aug 11, 2011, 5:01am Top

19> Fixed.

Aug 11, 2011, 5:13am Top

Thanks. The mystery groups thing has been corrected. Interestingly enough, you were a member of those groups but they were simply groups that have been deleted since you joined them. The back-end function that I was calling to get the group list was incorrect (though I probably wrote it back in the day so it's my fault anyway). Fixed now.

Aug 11, 2011, 5:33am Top

>22 conceptDawg:: Yes, after I posted I realized I had been a member of those groups.
Thanks for fixing.

Edited: Aug 11, 2011, 11:50am Top


Well, all the groups I belong to. Here's one


where I am the admin. I don't even see where I can remove the search ability.

Aug 11, 2011, 1:02pm Top

24> You don't see the Search Members Books box that is the second box down in the left-hand column of the group page?

Aug 11, 2011, 1:31pm Top

Quick: What's the most commonly held book with "Alexander the Great" in the title that members of the "Alexander the Great" (Tim's example search) have in their catalogs? You can't answer that with the current display, not without laboriously totaling everything up.

I can't speak for _Zoe_, but what I'd like is to see the results that you show now, just grouped differently -- if 40 of those 44 members of the "Alexander the Great" group all have one book in common that meets your search criteria, I'd like to see that. So instead of having

timspalding: Book A, Book Q, Book Z
_Zoe_: Book A, Book Q, Book X
lorax: Book A, Book J, Book X

you'd see

Book A: timspalding, _Zoe_, lorax
Book Q: timspalding, _Zoe_
Book X: _Zoe_, lorax

Even if you need to stop at an arbitrary number of members for large groups, rather than paging by members, I'd still rather see this than the current method.

Aug 11, 2011, 1:36pm Top

#26 by lorax> Very nicely put.

Aug 11, 2011, 1:42pm Top

So, ideally, we'd have something like what we have for shared books among Legacy Libraries


where you can choose to display shared items by person and by book, yah?

Aug 11, 2011, 1:50pm Top

>28 jbd1:
Except I think that's behaving a bit funny. I went to my Legacy Library stats page and clicked on "Acting!" (in the bar across the top). Every one of the books listed is one that I've combined into its proper work recently; not a single one appears in my library.

Should I start a bug report on this? Is this how it's "supposed" to work? Or is the extra stuff I've had foisted on me at work for the past few months succeeded in driving me absolutely nuts?

Aug 11, 2011, 1:58pm Top

> 29 - The acting one is, I think, just a dummy, but I'll look into what it's doing (it shows the same books for me as for you, and I don't have any of them either). Try one of the other options (and, more germanely, try the book vs. people choices on this display question).

Aug 11, 2011, 2:02pm Top

>29 AnnaClaire: - Ah, no, what the "Acting!" this is doing is showing you the works that the actors have in common with each other. Sorry, forgot that was its point :-)

Aug 11, 2011, 2:29pm Top

>31 jbd1:
Perhaps something there should say so. The current "Actors: Shared books" implies that the books shared are with the person whose stats page you're looking at. Something Like "Actors: Books Shared With Each Other" (without the emphasis) would make that clearer.

If I got confused about this -- I've been her four years and change, and have hardly been inactive -- think how confusing it would be to a new user.

Aug 11, 2011, 4:25pm Top

>26 lorax: Yeah, that would be better.

I'd also very much like an option to see the whole thing in a catalogue view, like it used to be. Unsorted titles alone aren't very interesting, and if the goal is just to see whether or not someone in a family has a particular book, that can already be done via the work page.

Aug 11, 2011, 5:00pm Top

>33 _Zoe_: - Right, I understand, but see Tim's note in #2 - it's just not something we can do right now.

Aug 11, 2011, 6:34pm Top

>34 jbd1: I'm not talking about seeing all the group's books, just the search results displayed in a catalogue view.

Aug 11, 2011, 8:23pm Top

>25 jjwilson61: - nope. although in the groups with more than 1,000 members there's a little statement in the second box down on the right side.

Aug 11, 2011, 8:29pm Top

Here's a couple of screenshots - one from the RYM group and one from Librarians who Librarything.



Aug 11, 2011, 11:42pm Top

>34 jbd1: I'm not talking about seeing all the group's books, just the search results displayed in a catalogue view.

Again, this can't be done if the results are paginated. We paginate them because we're holding off searching all the catalogs at a time. To actually search 999 libraries in one shot would take too much time.

Edited: Aug 12, 2011, 12:07am Top

I get the same thing. No search section at all for groups with less than 1000, and the message about search not being available for larger groups. FF5, Vista.

Aug 12, 2011, 9:43am Top

>38 timspalding: Does that mean things like lorax suggested in #26 are also impossible?

Aug 12, 2011, 9:48am Top


As I said up in #26, I'd be fine with seeing just the results of the first 50 pivoted to show by-book instead of by-member if that's all that you can handle. Sure, it's incomplete and potentially biased, but quite frankly the current version is a way to find member libraries, not a way to find books. Which is useful, but probably not what most people were hoping for.

Aug 12, 2011, 9:50am Top

Also, I still think it would be helpful to give some concrete examples of what this is supposed to be used for. So, you search Alexander the Great in the Alexander the Great group. Is the goal to find books that you might like or libraries that you want to investigate?

Edited: Aug 12, 2011, 11:20am Top

>39 SylviaC: Yeah, I'm also using Firefox 5.0 on Vista (unfortunately)

Aug 12, 2011, 12:43pm Top

I can see the group library search box using FF 5.0 on XP.

Aug 12, 2011, 1:05pm Top

>16 waitingtoderail:, 24, 37

I just looked at the home pages of all my groups and all the most active groups. The ONLY groups where I can see that box are the ones where the membership is over 1000.

FF 3.6.16, Windows XP

Aug 12, 2011, 1:30pm Top

I just noticed that I'm not seeing that box for Standing and Official Groups which I presume is deliberate. So the groups where you aren't seeing the box aren't Official Groups are they?

Aug 12, 2011, 1:48pm Top

I'm thinking a piece of this didn't get pushed; looking into it now!

Aug 12, 2011, 2:18pm Top

47> How could it be pushed for some users and not others?

Aug 12, 2011, 2:26pm Top

>47 jbd1: BETA and not-BETA

Aug 12, 2011, 2:28pm Top

BTW, all of you who weren't seeing the search box on group pages before should be seeing it now. Let us know if you're not!

Aug 12, 2011, 4:27pm Top

>50 jbd1:

It's there now.

Aug 12, 2011, 4:36pm Top


Aug 12, 2011, 5:08pm Top

I could not figure out what you were all talking about. I see it now. It works great but I am not sure what I will use it for.

Aug 12, 2011, 6:34pm Top

42: As I said above this is an excellent feature for those of us with multiple accounts.

Would also be useful for:

small groups of people who want to share books
groups of libraries who want to do interlibrary loans

I'm sorry it doesn't do what you want it to, but I think it does things that a lot of us used to do with the old group search.

Aug 12, 2011, 6:46pm Top

>54 aulsmith: Right, but what are you searching for? Individual titles or something more general?

Aug 12, 2011, 9:33pm Top

55: Individual titles

Aug 12, 2011, 9:51pm Top

Hmm. And you find it significantly different from making a Connections list and checking for the book on the work page?

Edited: Aug 13, 2011, 8:25am Top

57: Yes. It's searching just those libraries. I'm not going to miss anything in the information glut on the work page and I'm not going to pull up the wrong work page by accident because I didn't do the combining on one of the accounts.

Aug 16, 2011, 12:57pm Top

So in the box on the Search page, it has a listing for 'Your Connections' in that last block. Does that search not work ?

I selected Wishlist. I have only 1 member listed for that (my other wishlist account). It brought up Step 1 Index members, Step 2 Search catalog, but it never advanced past step 1. The grey circle goes round and round. Now about 7 minutes and counting....

Or is that because its trying to index FicusFan (6735 books) ? The other account ImaginaryFicus has only 643 books.

Aug 18, 2011, 10:11am Top

It should only take a minute or so to index Ficus. Sometimes it can take a little longer, but nothing like 7 minutes.

Occasionally, the heartbeat monitor that checks to see if the indexing is finished can get interupted for one reason or other (browser error, server error, etc.). So far this is very rare, but let me know if you see it happen more often.

Aug 19, 2011, 3:19pm Top

Hi CD. No I still have the problem. I tried again and it is now 14 minutes and still swirling.

Aug 23, 2011, 5:52am Top

Fantastic! Just what I was after. Planning to implement this at my College so that students can easily locate a title within our 'combined' libraries, when it's not available in our main College library. For this purpose this feature is ideal.

Aug 25, 2011, 4:47am Top

What is the search arithmetic for searching within groups? Here's an example of why I think it's currently problematic, using my group http://www.librarything.com/groups/personallibrariesato

I want to find a book on 'Ephesians' by the author 'John Stott'.

- If I search for 'Ephesians' then I get 36 results. But I want to limit it by author...

- If I search for 'John Stott' then I get 13 results, but none of them are on 'Ephesians', because it so happens that the author of the book I'm after is listed as 'John R. W. Stott'

- If I search for 'Ephesians Stott' then I get 0 results. So it seems that the search cannot deal with two fields?

SO: There are actually 3 copies of the book on 'Ephesians' by John Stott within group members catalogs, but the only search displaying these 3 results is my first search. In this case it's not too hard to spot them amongst the 36 results. However, if the search came back with 100 or 1000 results then there's no way I'd spot them. Not least because the search is limited when there are more than 11 (?) results from one catalog and I get the message 'Additional hits in ______ catalog'.

Aug 25, 2011, 10:07am Top

- If I search for 'John Stott' then I get 13 results, but none of them are on 'Ephesians', because it so happens that the author of the book I'm after is listed as 'John R. W. Stott

Searching for Stott finds them all though. But I agree that if it can only do one type of search it should be with each word as a separate key with implied or's between them rather than a search on the whole search string as a phrase.

Aug 25, 2011, 11:27am Top

Searching for Stott finds them all though.

Yes, but has the same problems as if I search for 'Ephesians' - i.e. far too many results; and because most group members have more than 11 books by 'Stott', to find the particular book not only means looking down the list, but also potentially having to click through to the 'Additional hits in ______ catalog'.

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