• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Combiner's Group Information, FAQ & Discussion Thread #2


Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Feb 7, 2009, 10:14am Top

This thread is NOT for individual problems!!

Please post problems in a separate thread... such as the "Please fix this book" thread.

This thread is for information about solutions, fixes, challenges, opinions about issues that come up in combining & separating the works on LT.

ANYONE who posts here without reading the thread & asks a question that has already been answered in this thread will be lashed 1,000 times with a wet noodle & thrown in the lowest level of the dragon infested dungeons of LT!! (and that level has no light to read by, so you had better know how to read braille!!)

Please copy/paste any solution instructions from other threads in the forum.

When this thread gets to approximately 100 posts, close this thread & post the BEST information in the next thread & then we can continue the discussions. The rationale for only 100 posts is that if it gets too long, NO ONE WILL READ THE POSTS & we will have repeat questions.... then we will run out of noodles & the dungeons will be full.

AGAIN, Please do not post individual problems except as examples!! and then LINK to the thread you've posted them for fixing!

Feb 7, 2009, 11:55am Top

How to bring an author to "the top":

The "trick" I used for this is to add additional copies of the book that has the "wrong" author. I then add enough copies of that edition/ISBN to over-ride that author with the "correct" author. Then I combine those books, hoping that the "correct" author comes on top. When it does, I can then combine all books via the "correct" author page. Then I remove all of the "temporary" copies & hope that no one un-does my work.

This trick usually only works on books with ISBNs.

More complete directions are in another thread in the combiners forum & I haven't woken up sufficiently to find it. That is one reason to read most of the threads in the combiners forum...

Edited: Mar 7, 2009, 10:24am Top

(sorry for 'shouting')

(fixed links where possible... copied links don't copy because incomplete links are shown)
(if you have any questions, post them & "Someone will be with you shortly" )

(copied from another thread)
****, when I've come to the second page, I will open it in another tab & if there is an author that I want to combine to the original author, I will open that author & then put the original author in the search box & then combine that way.

suggested example

original author: Charles Brooks

now, if I put brooks into the 'search for authors' I get this page:

then I will open the second page in a new tab, resulting in this page

On the second page, there is a listing (with no books) for CH. Brooks... (CH is an old abbreviation for Charles & many Charles used CH in their signature). The CH BROOKS page is here:
(no longer exists; using CH Brooke instead)

Then I would go to the combining page:
which has a monkey error listed, but I'm ignoring it for now & this example

Now I would enter Charles Brooks in the search box & get the listing:

I would then combine CH BROOKS with the Charles Brooks ed. to put CH with Charles the editor & main listing.
BUT DON'T COMBINE THEM!! there is a disambiguation notice for CH BROOKS & I'll let that be without comment.

*****, I hope that this helps you understand & get "around" the possible challenge this poses.

Edited to fix links where possible

Feb 7, 2009, 11:58am Top

from PortiaLong:

The best places to start to learn combining for yourself are:

1.) On the "Editions" page - sometimes it helps to look at the Editions page for EACH copy that you find because they aren't always two-way. If there are copies that LT thinks MAYBE should be combined they will show up under the ones that are already together and there will be a link "Combine/Separate" potentials. Be careful though - not all of LTs suggestions are good ones.

2.) On the Author's "Combine/Separate" page - if you go to the Author's page - there is a link above and to the right of the list of works (in the "Books By" title bar). You can then look through the author's books and combine from there. LT won't necessary know that two titles are the same so for instance:

How to Combine (A LT combiners guide)
How to Combine: An LT combiner's Guide

will show up as two different works (which you may of course combine - once I have gotten around to writing it ;-)

Feb 7, 2009, 11:59am Top

also from PortiaLong:

message #149 from the please fix this book #5:

>136 Now is there a guide on how you did it so if the problem comes up again I can do it myself.

Well, I did a "basics" in message 65 in this thread - beyond that - different combiners have different tricks they have come up with including:
* adding "ghost books" with various combinations of titles/authors/ISBNs to force suggestions and then deleting them when the combining is done,
* finding outliers that match one or the other of things trying to be combined until you hit on some magic combination that generates the correct suggestions,
* checking suggestions from either end (If A doesn't show on B, see if B shows on A),
* forcing works to show up under a specific author so combinings can be done on the authors page, etc.

All of them can be very time consuming and have to be done carefully to make sure you clean up any messes that you make. Not every combining will yield to every trick so we offer up stubborn ones here for others to try THEIR bag of tricks on.

Feb 7, 2009, 11:59am Top

also from PortiaLong:

I thought I would repost my post about -

Using "Series" to Help with Combining
from another thread in this group.

I have recently started using "Series" more while feeding my Combining/Separating addiction. Where appropriate, using a series that already exists or creating one, I search out all of the works that belong in the series and add the CK information. I separate out mis-combined volumes as I go – by clicking on the separated work I can add the CK info to the temporarily orphaned work and get back to the original using my browsers back arrow. Then I can work on combining from the series page to get rid of duplicates (this is a lot easier than working from the search page as each work now has a link - the series info - to get back to the list I am working from).

While doing this today I thought of some more fun things that they could do with the series page – which I have posted in the “Recommend Site Improvements” group here:

Just though I would post this in case other Combiners might find it helpful.

NOTE: this does NOT make the individual combinings any easier (i.e. it does not cause LT to generate any more "potentials") - what it DOES do is allow you to do is see the information organized all in one place.

Feb 7, 2009, 12:01pm Top

and again from PortiaLong:

How Do I Separate Out Two Works that Have Combined Together

To separate you go to the link "editions" on the left of the screen. Next to each of the copies there is a "separate" link. You have to click on each copy that you want to separate out. Then, to get them back together again, you go to the author's page, click the combine/separate works link and combine back together all of the ones that belong together. Or you can re-combine from a "potentials" page if they show up there.

Try to keep track of any of the "authorless" (or variant author) copies you separate so you can track them down later and get them back where they belong - What I do is:

After separating instead of going back to the original work I take the link to the separated work long enough to get the "work number" from the address bar and write that down, then I use the browsers "back" button to get back to the original work page. Then I can go back to those works later and try to get them combined back in.

There is really no easier way to do this (i.e. separate out the wrong ones all at once) which is why combiners often lament that it can take hours to undo a miscombining that takes 2 seconds to commit.

Feb 7, 2009, 12:04pm Top

a couple of requests:

The travel guides info: can someone edit what was said & post it here... I don't know enough about it to do that...

The consensus about variations, annotations, learner editions, abridgments, & adaptations...


(also anything else that needs adding here, please!!)

Feb 11, 2009, 6:34am Top

Discussion about combining or separating Norton Critical Editions (and such) going on here : http://www.librarything.com/topic/56862.

(Since this has become a discussion about the principle of it, I thought I should provide a link here).

Edited: Feb 12, 2009, 10:47pm Top

Just thought I would post an edited version of a reponse I made to a comment on my profile:

Combining/Splitting Authors

The new features have generated a lot of enthusiasm amongst people who have previously not been involved in combining/separating efforts (which is Good!) – some of these folks may be a little confused as to the purpose of the “split” feature and are trying to use it to sub-divide works by the same author based on pseudonym – which is not what it was designed for (as I understand it). I think that Tim’s decision to NOT post the disambiguation notices at the top of the “split” author pages has contributed to this (i.e. they may not recognize that those authors are actually the same person) – and I am hoping that he will reconsider this decision.

Despite some people’s confusion we can continue to combine (and now start to split) based on the same principles we were using before:
Combine authors that are the SAME person. Combine Identical Names even if they represent different authors. Do Not Combine author names that represent multiple people with more specific names. Split identically named authors to group works by the same author.

Hypothetical examples:

John Smith - (author page with works by multiple authors - John A. Smith, John Smith, John B. Smith - all attributed to "John Smith")

JOHN SMITH – should be combined with John Smith

J. Smith – should NOT be combined with John Smith (may be Jane Smith or Jack Smith)

John A. Smith – should NOT be combined with John Smith (which could include John B. Smith)

Kim Jones (pseudonym of John A. Smith) – should be combined with John A. Smith (unless there are multiple authors – John Arthur Smith, John Allen Smith - on the John A. Smith page OR there are multiple authors - Kim A. Jones, Kim B Jones – on the Kim Jones page; this one gets tricky…)

John B. Smith – should NOT be combined with John Smith

Likely the works on the “John Smith” and the “J. Smith” pages will need to be SPLIT to represent the different authors represented.

Some unofficial terminology:

Combining: combining authors means equating A=B (will show up under "This author includes...". Often done by "Combine with.." or "Can I combine with an author not suggested above?" tools in the green sidebar on right side of author page. (Combining works means equating A=B at the "works" level. Often done via the author's "combine/separate page" or the "combine potentials" page).

Separating: separating authors means removing author from the "This author includes..." list - removing that author name from the page (will have its own page) - essentially reverses an "author combining" (Separating works involves splitting up "works" - often via the "Editions" page or the author "combine/separate" page - essentially reverses a "work combining" - Separated works will often need to be re-combined with each other as a different, separate "work".)

Splitting: dividing up works found on an author page which represents multiple Identically Named Authors to group works by the same author together. Done via the "Edit Assignments" page.

Edited: Feb 12, 2009, 11:23am Top

I don't think it has been the practice John A. Smith from John Smith unless there actually is a John B. Smith. So, for example Richard George Adams has been combined with Richard Adams.

Feb 12, 2009, 11:07am Top

>11 jjwilson61: That is fine as long as there are NO other authors listed on the Richard Adams page. My example was meant to illustrate that for a common name, ex. John Smith, that there are almost certainly other authors on that page - sorry if that was unclear.

Feb 12, 2009, 11:12am Top

OK. Also, you should probably explain the difference between separating and splitting since it will confuse newcomers.

Feb 12, 2009, 11:15am Top

>11 jjwilson61:,12

It looks to me like there is more than one Richard Adams on that page. Or has he written travel guides and web design books too? Not to mention a few others that don't look like they belong to the "main" Richard Adams.

Feb 12, 2009, 11:24am Top

If you decide to separate (I almost said split) Richard George Adams from Richard Adams please make sure that all the CK info, including the links, are moved to the new page.

Feb 12, 2009, 12:14pm Top

Message 10 edited to include some terminology - thank you for your suggestions.

Edited: Feb 12, 2009, 1:32pm Top

I don't want to confuse the issue, but it seems to me we now have two routes to the same end. Suppose there is a B Brown page with books by Bill Brown and Bob Brown both of whom have their own pages. You can split the B Brown page and, in the fullness of time, when split pages can be separated, combine with Bill and Bob appropriately.

The alternative would be to combine Bill and Bob with B Brown now and then split the page, awaiting the opportunity to separate the authors when possible.

The second way would be likely to produce some huge unwieldy pages, but it would at least ensure that all an author's works were on one page ASAP.

Feb 12, 2009, 2:01pm Top

Kim Jones (pseudonym of John A. Smith) – should be combined with John A. Smith

Also unless there is another Kim Jones. (In future, of course, the two will be split and then we can but hope that it becomes possible to combine Kim Jones the pseudonym with the appropriate John A. Smith.)

Feb 12, 2009, 2:03pm Top

Also, message 10 would be great in the Wiki!

Feb 12, 2009, 2:11pm Top

19 - agreed. as a new member i found this very helpful in understanding all the processes.

Feb 12, 2009, 3:54pm Top

msg 12 That is fine as long as there are NO other authors listed on the Richard Adams page

msg 14 t looks to me like there is more than one Richard Adams on that page.

As I understood Tim's instructions it would be ok to combine the single author Richard George Adams now, (before splitting) with the multiple author name Richard Adams, as long as all the other names were the specific name Richard Adams. As PortiaLong mentions, this would not be likely with a common surname like Smith, and probably not likely in the case of Adams either, but it could work in some cases.

When author splitting was first introduced I jumped at the chance to combine the names L. R. Wright and Laurali Wright/Laurali R. Wright, only kept separate before because of a long deceased second L. R. Wright author.

Ackkk but I now notice there is a book by the second L.R. Wright in the system, Leigh R. Wright, so I guess I have to go undo the splitting, which is such a shame.

(Books by L. R. Wright, the Canadian mystery writer, are published in the US under Laurali R. Wright and though the majority of works by this author have L.R. Wright at the top, two or three works have the other name and there is no practical way to get all books by this author on one page. This is not a case of bad data, but different data.)

Feb 12, 2009, 4:43pm Top


When author splitting was first introduced I jumped at the chance to combine the names L. R. Wright and Laurali Wright/Laurali R. Wright, only kept separate before because of a long deceased second L. R. Wright author.

I thought that was exactly the sort of thing Tim said we shouldn't do?

Feb 12, 2009, 5:08pm Top

>22 lorax:
I thought so as well. At least until combining authors can be limited to just one split, not the entire page.

Out of curiosity, what happens when two split authors are combined? Does J. Smith(1) merge with John Smith(1) and so on, or do they follow on after the existing splits: John Smith(1-5) followed by J. Smith(1-3), for example?

Edited: Feb 12, 2009, 8:32pm Top

>msg 22 I thought that was exactly the sort of thing Tim said we shouldn't do?

Tim wrote msg #3 "No, combine names first, then split out variants by work." with followup discussion about not combining bad data but combining by edition instead.

I'd like more discussion on rorrison's question in msg 7 on the same thread, is this answered in Portia's list above?

It's also not just surnames, there are also pages where you'll have a page for Steve Martin that included books by Steve H. Martin (made up example) where Steve H. Martin has his own page. How should that be handled?.

btw the author name Leigh R. Wright mentioned above is bad data. I've already received a reply from Amazon.com the name will be changed within two to three business days. Once done it will be simple to move that work to the proper position on the split L. R. Wright author page, so no need to eliminate the original split between the two L.R. Wright authors.

Feb 12, 2009, 8:32pm Top


I took that to mean actually legitimate combination. Like "J.K. Rowling" with "J.K. Rowlingg" where the latter is just a typo.

Edited: Feb 12, 2009, 9:01pm Top

What about "J. K. Rowling" with "Joanne K. Rowling", where the latter is the form of the name used in Germany? Is this no less a legitimate combination?

Edited: Feb 12, 2009, 11:13pm Top

>18 r.orrison: - good point message 10 edited to reflect Kim Jones possibilities.

>17 abbottthomas: - I see what you are saying about two routes - I think (my personal opinion - feel free to disagree) that we should continue to follow the "rules" (suggestions? traditions? consensus?) from before the "splitting" feature for now:

1.) because we have been reciting the mantra "Thou shalt not combine ambiguous names with specific author entries." for a while and changing mid-stride will be even more confusing.

2.) This seems to be an intermediate step to something bigger and better - the ability to get the split-off authors their own page and combine with existing less ambiguous author pages which should get rid of a lot of these issues.

3.) Tim states in the New Feature thread: (in response to a different but related question)

For now, don't do anything—except maybe add to the disambiguation notice. I think this will be dealt with by changing the canonical name. But I might do it algorithmically. Don't try to game the system over it, because it will either screw things up or get overwritten soon.

>19 r.orrison: -Thank you. Feel free to repost/copy any of my posts (or parts of posts) anywhere you think would be useful (release to do so on my profile).

>26 kathrynnd: - J. K. Rowling and Joanne K. Rowling is a legitamate combination. I think the objection to combining L. R. Wright with either Leigh R. Wright or Laurali/Laurali R. Wright is that if the L. R. Wright actually represents 2 authors then it shouldn't be combined with the more specific author name. If Leight R. Wright is NOT a legitamate author name then I think this objection disappears.

Feb 13, 2009, 7:43pm Top


Yes, it is, and I was actually entertaining using that example.

What would NOT be okay would be combining "J.K. Rowling" with "Rowling".

Look, this is not rocket science. This is Combining 101 -- don't combine ambiguous names.

Feb 18, 2009, 6:02am Top

I was about to combine the yiddish version of The Cat in the Hat
with the rest of them
when I saw this notice:

This should be considered a separate work from The Cat in the Hat under LT's "significant social difference" guideline, as with the Latin editions of Dr. Seuss. Please don't combine - thanks! :)

Latin, OK, but Yiddish is NOT a dead, ancient language.

Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

Feb 18, 2009, 6:04am Top

Agreed. Even though it's a minority language in most places, it's alive and kicking.

Feb 18, 2009, 9:17am Top

#29: my opinion: combine!

Feb 18, 2009, 10:12am Top

I've put the following comment on the profile of the person who wrote the notice.

We are discussing your dismbiguation note about http://www.librarything.com/work/7920170 at http://www.librarything.com/topic/57164#... and following.

So far noone agrees that this should be kept separately from the rest of The Cat in the Hat. If you want to argue your opinion, please join us there soon.

I'll leave it for a few days to give that member a chance to argue it.

Edited: Feb 18, 2009, 12:50pm Top

If you all have strong feelings on the matter, go combine them. :) If you're curious about my reasoning . . . I agree Yiddish is not a dead language ("chanale" is Yiddish), but I doubt any who own Di Kats Der Payats are native Yiddish speakers. Far more likely is to have it for the novelty (like the Latin versions of the Harry Potter books), which I believe puts it in a different category from The Cat in the Hat translated into Spanish, French, or German.

Feb 18, 2009, 1:42pm Top

#33: chanale: if I were to have The Cat in the Hat in my library, I would also have it for the novelty of owning it.... unless my cat would want to read it.. a distinct possibility considering how he "owns" my books now.

(PS I do want a copy, but just haven't gotten it yet)

Feb 18, 2009, 1:50pm Top

What exactly is the Dead Language Exception?

Feb 18, 2009, 1:55pm Top

From: http://www.librarything.com/concepts.php#works

What are Some Edge Cases?:
2. A Greek edition of Homer is not the same as an English translation. Socially, the former connects you with other Greek scholars, and should recommend other Greek-language works, not the "Classics of Western Civilization" works that the English translation does.

Feb 18, 2009, 1:59pm Top

On every author combine / separate page you will find:

What NOT to combine?

Edition or language differences with a significant social difference. This concept is up for debate, but I have two examples:

(2) A Greek edition of Homer is not the same as an English translation. Socially, the former connects you with other Greek scholars, and should recommend other Greek-language works, not the "Classics of Western Civilization" works that the English translation does.

(There's more, but I edited it back to the bit on dead languages)

Note : the basic rule is that translations should be combined.

Feb 18, 2009, 2:10pm Top

A thought that might help with the randomness of some combinations:

Why aren't disambiguation notices posted on the confirmation page of combining?

It would hopefully at least make well-meaning but less-well-informed combiners stop and think before blithely undoing potentially hours of work! And I can't think of a good reason, but there may be one, so I'm asking here before I make wild suggestions to Tim!

Feb 18, 2009, 2:12pm Top

38>Why aren't disambiguation notices posted on the confirmation page of combining?

They do now, fortunately. :-)

Feb 18, 2009, 4:01pm Top

Work disambiguation notices do appear on the confirmation page when combining works. It would be nice if author disambiguation notices would appear when combining authors, but they don't.

It would also be nice if both would appear on their respective separating pages, too, and the author notice on the author splitting page.

Feb 18, 2009, 4:22pm Top

40> Agreed!

Feb 18, 2009, 5:45pm Top

36, 37 >

I feel silly now - dunno how, but I totally didn't connect "Dead Language Exception(/Rule)" with that list on the combine/separate pages. I guess maybe I thought no way could that be it. :P

Thanks for pointing out my silliness!

Edited: Feb 22, 2009, 4:57pm Top

Could we have a discussion of removing "publisher's series" CK info?

On the "Fix it" thread some combining for this work:
was requested and done.

Now it is showing up as part of a publisher's series which, of course, many of the copies don't belong to.

Someone has noted in the "series description" that this is a publisher's series - someone else has seconded it. Obviously we are often loathe to undo the work that someone else has done but, as you all know, CK info shows up on the "work" level and should really apply to all editions of the work in question.

Have we developed an etiquette for this?

One suggestion:

1.) Leave a private comment for the person who has done most of the work on said series stating that it is a publisher's series and therefore not a valid series according to LT guidelines.

2.) Invite them to join a discussion (? dedicated thread to list series "nominated for deletion"?) to debate the merits of "their" series and whether or not it is valid (may be some edge cases that deserve discussion).

3.) Wait a week (2? 3? a month?) to give them time to transfer the information to another field (tags, comments, etc.) that is book-level, not work-level.

4.) If no response/discussion - delete series.

Another option would be to post a suggestion to "Recommend Site Improvements" that there be a "Flag Series" functionality (like reviews/pictures) - if 4 people flag the series "Not a Series" then the CK info is hidden and it goes into "Series Quarantine" - where others could either remove flags or uphold the deletion.

The down-side of the second is that a.) it requires LT staff to create a new function and b.) would likely require LT staff to periodically review quarantined series and make a decision (unless they want to just allow the 4 flags to delete the series - which would be fine with me).


Feb 26, 2009, 9:32am Top

This is a specific example of a general point. This work:


is the only one on this author page:


I was about to combine this ‘author’ with Geoffrey Moore here:


but had second thoughts – should it go to the Robert Frost page? There are already several other of the ‘Great Poets’ series edited and introduced by Geoffrey Moore on his page which would be difficult to shift, so what is the consensus about this sort of anthology?

Feb 26, 2009, 10:45am Top

I'd be inclined to not combine that mess with either author, but to put a Disambiguation Notice along the lines of "This author appears to be a mixture of two authors' names. If your book links to this page, please put one just one author in the Author field and the other in the Other Authors fields. In time the book will then appear on both authors' pages."

Feb 26, 2009, 11:04pm Top

I'd be inclined to combine the work with this one:
which would remove it from the "mash-up" page.

Feb 27, 2009, 3:59pm Top

I am currently looking at splitting some Tor and Ace SF doubles into two separate works, one by each author. I end up with two works that have a common ISBN. Has anyone found any problems with this approach?

One of the reasons I am trying this is because I found that I have a standalone copy of a work as well as a copy within a double.

Of course, I can see some problems taking this to an extreme, like anthologies that have a lot of works under one cover. But I think I will limit it to 'doubles'

Feb 27, 2009, 4:25pm Top


I'm not sure what you mean -- you mean you're creating separate entries in your own library for each half, rather than trying to separate them out somehow on a global level, right?

I think that just blanking out the ISBN might be the best course of action; otherwise they'll keep showing up on the Editions pages.

Feb 27, 2009, 4:39pm Top

It sounds like a good idea if you want to connect your work to others that don't exist in the double format. However, please blank out the ISBN field first otherwise they will likely get combined with the double which they shouldn't be.

Edited: Feb 27, 2009, 7:32pm Top

Lost my message due to some stray brackets I assume, will try again.

msg 44>45>46> Making another general point, that what you see is not always what actually exists when combining, I added two copies of the 1986 Robert Frost book from two different non Amazon sources. BTW "Great American Poets" is a series name and not part of the book title. My copies ended up automatically combined here which is not correct either, but at least it the copies have Robert Frost, the poet, rather than the editor as the author.

ETA LCCN permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/86005038

Feb 27, 2009, 7:28pm Top


Right, I don't want to try anything at the global level. I will blank out the ISBN on both and just leave the publisher data to be a footnote.

Edited: Feb 27, 2009, 8:07pm Top

>47 rockycoloradan: - I would definately strip out the ISBNs of the single stories.

The way that I do it (there are many) - each of my doubles actually gets four entries.

a/b by Author A (with author B as "Other author")
b/a by Author B (with author A as "Other author")
(ISBNs are attached - these are combined with each other and with all the other doubles of THOSE TWO, and only those two, works)

a by Author A
b by Author B
(I put Novella in brackets in the title)

These are stripped of ISBN etc info and entered as a generic work with the tag "inclusion" and a default blank cover. The comments will include "Included in DOUBLE"

You can see them in my library here:

Edited: Mar 1, 2009, 11:00am Top

Maybe I should ask elsewhere, but does anybody know why has William Barclay -


- taken over authorship of much of the New Testament including my copy of the Acts of the Apostles - the C. H. Rieu translation with Saint Luke given as author? OK, St. Luke may be a bit speculative but he's nearer to the original that Mr Barclay.

ETA I've just searched Works for Acts of the Apostles - please forget I ever asked this question!

Mar 7, 2009, 7:35am Top

>3 skittles: Skittles


Please note that nearly all the links in "Message 3" (above) no longer function, or point to empty pages.

Mar 7, 2009, 10:26am Top

#54: Fixed links where possible... if you (or anyone else doesn't understand how it works ... not all directions work for everyone.. ) post your questions in this thread.

rce1nyu: thanks for letting me know that the links were broken.... or not working... or incomplete... .. ok they no longer linked.

Edited: Mar 8, 2009, 10:34pm Top

Should editions that say "0 copies" be combined with the main work or should they just be ignored? And where do they come from, anyway?

Edited: Mar 8, 2009, 10:57pm Top

Not sure where they come from, but I have seen a lot of them lately. I've noticed that combining them seems to result in the annoyingly difficult to separate {Title Missing} (squiggly brackets replacing square brackets).

Mar 9, 2009, 12:15am Top

They come from works which have had title/author data changed. They're ghost works, in a way.

You could combine them all together for tidiness and then leave them, I suppose. I haven't the foggiest if they'll ever disappear.

Mar 9, 2009, 1:14am Top


You could combine {Title Missing} titles all together for tidiness and then leave them, I suppose. I haven't the foggiest if they'll ever disappear.

That would be a terrible idea. Those orphans have ISBNs, and doing that would mean the works they "belong" to would show up on each other's suggested combination list.

Leave them alone and, if they're actually orphaned (and not just listed as an edition -- which is, as PhaedraB alluded to, hard to separate since you have to separate every other edition from them rather than separating them from the herd) they'll go away soon. But I have no idea what might happen if they got mixed up with each other.

Mar 9, 2009, 1:50am Top

Ah, the ones I've noticed didn't have ISBNs attached to them, thus my suggestion. (They had the same author listed, though.)

Edited: Mar 13, 2009, 10:45pm Top

A question from the Fix It thread:

I found some National Geographic works which should really go with William L Allen here –


It is tempting to combine all these with the National Geographic Society author page –


There seem to be shared works – but there is a disambiguation notice asking that individual authors should not be combined. What do people think? Does that proscription apply to an editor like Mr Allen?

My opinion:
Editor's author pages should not be combined with the author pages of the Publication they edited - some editor's will have edited works that are NOT by the the Publisher and some will have actually authored books on their own. Trying to get all of the works to show on the same author page is problematic as others will disagree on whether the Publication (lumpers?) or the Editor (splitters?) is the "more correct" author. In some cases this is more appropriately addressed by Series.

Mar 13, 2009, 10:51pm Top

The editor is not the same as the publisher...

They should NOT be combined!!

even if it is a way to keep a series on the same author page.....


in other words, PortiaLong, I agree with you!!

Mar 14, 2009, 2:06pm Top

>62 skittles: Calm down, skittles. I'm not going to combine these, and I don't suppose anyone else will. In particular I, for one, respect disambiguation notes written by members who know what they are doing.

I do think the question was worth asking, though. It seems to me that there is a common problem here resulting from the status of the 'author' field. The editor is not the same as the publisher but neither is the same as the author and, for better or for worse, we have both entities acting in loco auctoris so to speak.

When I started entering my books I left the 'author' field blank for many works where the author was not clearly defined. (I did avoid the horrors that are 'Anon.' and 'Various'.) It became clear that the site was not very happy with that and that an author was needed to facilitate combining. So now I've got editors and publishers like everyone else.

I take Portia's point that, if the author has actually written books of his/her own, you would be putting those where they definitely don't belong, but when. as with "(Editor in Chief) Willam L Allen" everything listed is apparently an edited National Geographic publication, there seems no more reason for editor than publisher to 'own' the work - or vice versa.

I don't know enough about National Geographic editors, but it seems unlikely that Mr Allen wasn't the editor (in-Chief, even) of many of the works now on the publisher page.

Edited: Mar 14, 2009, 3:24pm Top

This issue relates to different forms of personal author names too -- I love the phase you've used in loco auctoris abbottthomas. I think we need to drill it into our heads that what's entered in an author field in no way represents what to most is the meaning of the word 'author' but is merely a means to form 'Works'. (Before 'Works' books entered without an author combined nicely with others by title and ISBN).

I also like PortiaLong's 'note on the other thread and think it should be recopied here.

Note: Trying to get all the works on the same author page can be troublesome but ultimately should be done on the "combining works" level and NOT on the "combining authors" level.

For example, the surname Drake represents multiple different people, actually more than currently listed on the author page as a few have been scarfed away by work combining, ( I know, I was able to remove some). I found this Drake author hidden under a Canonical name (David Drake) and combined with David Drake, (now separated and renamed), a real mess, an all because someone wanted to combine the works of the SF writer.

Mar 31, 2009, 10:18pm Top

From the Fix-It thread:
Is it possible to have The Count of Monte Cristo show up here,
instead of here,
It just seems better to me, but if this is too picky, just let me know.

My response:
There are two different "Alexandre Dumas" authors father and son - there is a big call for a system that gives each author their own page, "splitting" is one step in this direction, but you are asking that the work be floated from the MORE specific "father" page to the LESS specific "both" page whereas most people are trying to get the works OFF of the "clumped together" page and onto the individual author's pages. I am curious as to why "It just seems better to me" (not saying you're not justified, just that you seem to be swimming against the stream).

Apr 1, 2009, 1:29pm Top

>65 PortiaLong:

Hi Portia,

I guess I thought the single page where the authors are split, but displayed together, is the newest way to show authors that have the same name so that people can see which one has which books. Most of the books are on the page that shows both pére and fils, so putting The Count on the other page seems misplaced to me, but if others think that is OK, it is OK with me.



Apr 1, 2009, 2:26pm Top

The single page with split authors is for when there's no way to distinguish between two or more authors. In the case of Alexandre Dumas père it's clear who is intended, so it's better to leave the book there. Eventually, it should be possible to combine père from the Alexandre Dumas page with the Alexandre Dumas père page, and then all his works will show up together on that page.

Apr 12, 2009, 3:54pm Top

SaintSunniva asks this question in the Fix-It thread:

A combining question:

I've been adding CK for the Ladybird Series 606D, which is comprised of favorite tales, and have been coming across great swathes of combined works which have different authors or "re-told by". Like Puss in Boots, link below. This is NOT supposed to be done - right? Obviously, there are people who like to see them all mashed together, but I thought that each author's version of this (or any) folk/fairy tale would be considered a separate work.


Before I start separating, or ask someone here to tackle it, I thought I'd ask.

My response - this can be difficult. We generally separate different adaptations and abridgements but combine translations. So you end up with this whole big grey area of exactly how different the different "works" really are.

For stories that have been told and re-told there are a zillion different "versions" - is each one really unique enough to warrant being a different "work". I'm not sure that we ever achieve consensus - occassionally we achieve compromise.

Apr 12, 2009, 5:30pm Top

Are most of these works picture books? If so, I think they should be separated, because the illustrations are as important to the book as the words on the page (as one of my old professors used to remind us). I know that when I look for picture book versions of fairy tales, I tend to choose according to the illustrations, which can vary widely.

Novel-length retellings should probably be separated, too, though I'm not sure that they will have the same titles as the original stories. The novel-length ones I'm thinking of at the moment are Rose Daughter, Beauty, Zel, Briar Rose, or Rapunzel's Revenge, but there are also The Goose Girl and Tam Lin for a couple that do retain the original titles.

I think beyond these two categories, it gets really murky, but I'm still in favor of treating them as adaptations or abridgements that are not the same, provided the authors are specified.

Even looking at short, non-illustrated versions of a single tale with the same title, you get "Rapunzel" by Tanith Lee in Black Heart, Ivory Bones which is quite different to Anne Bishop's "Rapunzel" in Black Swan, White Raven in both theme and setting. Further, neither of these stories is much like Rapunzel's Revenge or Zel other than the basic idea of a girl being locked away and having a very long plait.

Apr 13, 2009, 12:47am Top

>68 PortiaLong:, 69
I'm pretty sure they're all picture books, and yes, the illustrations matter a LOT to me, too. Some of them are easy-reader books, some aren't, etc. I'm going to say they're separate works...in this case, I'll tackle the obvious Ladybird Books.

If someone, including me, want to enjoy looking at a Series page, it's not appreciated if odd book covers get on there, because they're matched (wrongly in my opinion) with a work in the series, simply because they have the same title.

Apr 13, 2009, 12:53am Top

And now that I've poured my heart out here, I really hope I'm not going to get the wet noodle treatment or worse...I never even looked to see what or if anyone had posted earlier about this question, and I should have. Sorry.

ANYONE who posts here without reading the thread & asks a question that has already been answered in this thread will be lashed 1,000 times with a wet noodle...or worse.

Apr 13, 2009, 1:09am Top

St. Sunniva - since I am the one that actually cross-posted your post in this thread I think any "wet noodle" treatment would be reserved for me...you are off the hook!

Apr 15, 2009, 8:19pm Top

PortiaLong, I knew that, but since you had to go to the trouble of moving it here from where I first posted it, I thought maybe I deserved it! I'm glad all's well, now.

May 25, 2009, 10:51pm Top

Problem came up in the Fix-it thread - thought I would share my solution here.

Negative number copy works show on Main Author Page

Zero copies don't show on main author page but -1 can. The number won't refresh by clicking on it when no one owns it so this is how I fixed it.
a.) I added a ghost copy of the book
b.) I separated the ghost copy from the "real" entry and combined it with the -1 copy.
c.) I clicked on the members number until it updated to one (mine).
d.) I separated my copy from the previous -1 copy (now my copy has 1 and previous -1 copy has 0)
e.) I deleted the ghost

-- I don't know if each and every step was necessary, but it worked...

(PS. If anyone know how to separate tags I would love to here it - that came up recently too and I couldn't help, I hate that.)

Jun 19, 2009, 9:03pm Top

AnnieMod posted the following step-by-step instructions in Fix-It Thread #15:

How to combine authorless or differently-authored copies.

1. Open both works' editions pages and pick up one. If one of them has no author, you need to start from it.
2. Add a new book in your library (manually) and copy EXACTLY as they are the Title, the ISBN (if any) and the author(if any) of the one you picked.
3. If you had copied all properly, the stray copies should be auto-combined with your new copy. Now all you need is somehow to get your copy in a combinable position with the other work -- the already combined with it will follow it).
4. Edit your own copy to change the author and change the title slightly (I put an (m) at the end) -- if you are working on a authorless copy and the thing you need to combine it to have a book with the exactly same name, the authorless copy gets... unhooked).
5. Now all you need is to go to the author page and combine :)
6. Delete your book.
7. If you are in the mood, you can separate the extra copy so it does not make a No Title copy inside.
8. If you want, open the work again and click on the number of members a few times until it gets corrected (yours keep being counted even after being deleted -- there is some caching working).

Special notes:
1. Make sure you put the comma in the author name at the proper place - the easiest way is just to check where the name leads to and work out where is the comma.
2. If one of the copy is authorless, the others are under Various, find a real author and do the above twice so you can combine at the end (the Various combine/separate page is almost impossible to use).

That's pretty much it :)

{Edit: Sometimes you might be able to combine from the Editions page at step 5 -- especially for prolific authors, it is easier.}

Jun 19, 2009, 9:38pm Top

This is GREAT!!

Thank you!!! to both AnnieMod & PortiaLong!!

You both are helping above & beyond!!

Thanks again!!

Edited: Jul 8, 2009, 9:59am Top

We've been having a discussion in Fix-It Thread #16 about whether or not we should "float" authors on certain works.

The conversation started with the case of anthologies - message 23/24:

The conversation picked up again a little later with a pbp (picturebookperson) request for a float in msg 37 (to add context - pbp generally asks for floats on low copy works where LT has the last name only as author):

The conversation continued from there...so I thought I would see if we could move it over here...

To summarize:
Cons to "floating" authors
1.) Ghost copies added to the system creating clutter on the editions page/elsewhere.
2.) Risk of ghosts becoming "Title Missing" entries (?)
3.) Risk of having to re-float over and over (with more and more ghost copies) when/if bad data entered again.

Pros to "floating" authors
1.) Emptying out the last-name-only author pages
2.) More complete works listing on real author pages
3.) It satisfies my LT-OCD! (wait - this one doesn't count!

In the discussion in the other thread I addressed the Title Missing and Re-float arguments for the Con position. So it really seems to come down to the ghost copy clutter - I personally think getting the work on the right author page is worth the edition clutter but others feels differently.

Chime in!

Jul 8, 2009, 11:15am Top

Can con-3 be addressed by finding the bad source (Amazon!) and correcting it?

Jul 8, 2009, 12:37pm Top

PortiaLong: personally think getting the work on the right author page is worth the edition clutter but others feels differently.

Chime in!

I think that now that authors can be split (1st stage) the issue of getting works together on the right page has changed somewhat. In the future (2nd stage) split authors on a single name page (or in the case of an author with a middle initial on a firstname lastname page) should be able to be matched based on the author's works rather than on the form of the name.

Edited: Jul 8, 2009, 2:28pm Top

>77 PortiaLong:
My gut feeling is that the cons make floating essentially hopeless. I can only pray that Tim & Co will come up with a better author system on LT at some point in the future. The sooner the better.

3.) It satisfies my LT-OCD! (wait - this one doesn't count!

Why, of course it counts :-D

Jul 8, 2009, 4:17pm Top

#77: Portia, the LT-OCD is the true reason behind our combining obsession... the combining feeds & fills the OCD need .... sorta like the need for chocolate & caffeine!!

Jul 10, 2009, 5:44pm Top

I've been away from LT for a couple weeks, and have scanned various threads looking for this news, but haven't found any. It seems that the "no title" problem may be fixed. I entered a few books today and yesterday, then modified titles (to capitalize), and there were no junk versions created! Yay, and thanks to Tim and co. if this has finally been addressed.

If it's been discussed, I'd love to see a link pointing me there. Thanks!

Jul 10, 2009, 5:51pm Top

I don't think the underlying problem is fixed, I think they're just hidden on the work Editions page. I've seen cases where on the author combine/separate page there's (1 copy) listed with multiple edition lines, but no no title entries on the work Editions page.

Jul 10, 2009, 6:18pm Top

Yes, I have similar experience as rorrison and am still separating out 0 and negative number entries. Still, I do have some small hope that hiding it may still be helpful.

Jul 10, 2009, 6:20pm Top

Same here - I still clear out a lot of empty works from the combine/separate pages but not having the No Titles on the Edition page is kinda... nice :)

Edited: Jul 10, 2009, 7:02pm Top

Tim hid the "no title" books while investigating the Black Hole book.

Jul 10, 2009, 7:27pm Top

Thanks for the update, everyone. Hiding them is a good start, I hope the problem gets fixed (and all the bad data erased) very soon!

Jul 12, 2009, 4:35pm Top

I made two mistakes while entering a book today, and while I didn't see any ghost copies, I did have to separate my copy out of the work to get rid of the misspelled title.

Jul 13, 2009, 3:34am Top

Yeah - if you had gone to the Author combination page, you would have seen the few entries under your single one.

Jul 13, 2009, 3:49am Top

They weren't there either. But I still fixed my copy before combining with the other work that matched mine.

Aug 6, 2009, 5:53am Top

In view of this (Tim in #6 and following) I'm almost ready to give up on combining:


Aug 7, 2009, 2:51pm Top


I don't think Tim's ever really understood the combiner mindset, that good data is its own reward. (He's also never done some simple things that would make our lives a lot easier, like check-box separation, or credit for separation). His "There are cases of messy data, so we just shouldn't bother trying to clean it up" stance on that thread was just bizarre.

Aug 7, 2009, 4:12pm Top

> 91 and 92

Yes, it was bizarre -- and demotivating.

If and when I do combine, I'll continue to separate abridged and other partial works from their complete counterparts. It's been the combiners' M.O., and it is the most sensible approach!

Nov 2, 2009, 5:12am Top

Aargh! Keep running into these things.

On this page (http://www.librarything.com/combine.php?author=vivekanandaswami) all the Sanskrit alphabet books were combined - same for the ones in Greek. Just because "you" don't understand the script doesn't mean the book is the same as another one of which you also don't understand the script :-(

Dec 30, 2009, 2:26pm Top

I have a question about combining authors, and I seem to be at odds with another member.

I think that Lewis Padgett, C. H. Liddell, and Lawrence O'Donnell should all be combined.

My reasoning:

(a) They are all joint pseudonyms for Kuttner and Moore
(b) Wikipedia lumps them all on the same page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Padge...), with Padgett being Numero Uno. (c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kuttn... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._L._Moore to ensure my statements are verifiable)

Counter argument to my suggestion:

While Padgett is 50/50, O'Donnell and (maybe) Liddell are not even splits.

Advice, O Glorious Combiners?

Dec 30, 2009, 2:33pm Top

I would combine them (together with all authors that are "Kuttner And Moore", "Moore and Kuttner" and so on - the three of them indicate Kuttner AND Moore - always together - it does not matter how much writes who - it's the same person(people in this case) physically.). We combine pseudonyms.

The only case when something might not get combined is if there is a real author with this name... too bad for the pseudonym then - this page will need to be split and not combined and split.

What you describe is the same situation as Alice Kimberly and Cleo Coyle - both are pseudonyms of Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini together) - there is another problem on this page (combining a singular author with the doubled one but that's another story)

Dec 30, 2009, 2:50pm Top

Taking your word for it that it's always "Kuttner and Moore" - not a clue myself - I would combine them, but please not with either "Kuttner" or "Moore".

Dec 30, 2009, 2:52pm Top

It may be that Kuttner wrote some stuff solo as O'Donnell. I cannot confirm nor deny this, but I am inclined to believe otherwise.

Dec 30, 2009, 2:59pm Top

>98 aethercowboy:

But it is credited to both of them officially so it does not really matter who wrote it...

Dec 30, 2009, 5:52pm Top

My combinations keep getting undone by the user with whom I disagree. The Disambiguation notice on Padgett's page explains this user's reasoning for uncombining (http://www.librarything.com/author/padgettlewis).

I'm going to just let it drop, as it appears this user is pretty vigilant.

Dec 30, 2009, 6:03pm Top

"malign elves". Although I liked the old expression more.

This other user should really come to the Combining group and discuss it and not just play "I know better so I do not care what everyone thinks"

Jan 9, 2010, 9:42pm Top

Could someone please remind me:

When there is a split author who has some works that need to be assigned to various part of the split, and those works also need some combination done, which should be done first - the combination or the assignment?

Jan 9, 2010, 10:43pm Top

IIRC I think you should do the combining first and then the split because (and this has been a while) I think there is a danger of the work losing its "assignment" upon combination (but this may only happen if the work with more "copies" is unassigned and then is combined with a work that is assigned - AND I could be wrong).

Jan 10, 2010, 9:06am Top

>102 SylviaC:
The bug with the order is now fixed (when the work stayed at the place of the assigned work if you first combine sending the most popular works between the 2 and 3 copies works) so the order of actions does not matter anymore :) Except that if you combine an assigned and not-assigned one it gets in the unassigned list but you still end up with one combination and one assigning.

Jan 10, 2010, 10:20am Top

Thank you both. I'm glad to hear that bug has been fixed.

Jan 19, 2010, 6:49am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Mar 4, 2010, 4:14am Top

Usually, when I click on a book in my catalogue, I get a URL like this one: http://www.librarything.com/work/5501125/book/57007546

I was working on a troublesome book that wouldn't move from the wrong author page after author correction, wouldn't allow separation from work... I had added a few more copies with the right author, for a while it was on both pages. Today I went back to check it, and it was only on the wrong page. Today it did allow me to separate out the one real copy, and that one is where it belongs. There is still a wrong work sitting on the wrong page, with 2 copies noted there, and none on the work page.

When I went into my copies to delete them, I noticed a URL that was missing the work number. IE in the form http://www.librarything.com/work/book/NUMBER . Has anyone ever seen anything like that before, and could that have something to do with the problems this book gave me?

Mar 4, 2010, 4:34am Top

>107 MarthaJeanne: - yep - happens to me now and then. Some refreshing and/or finding it in another way gets the full name. Do you want a second set of eyes to look at these works?

Mar 4, 2010, 6:12am Top

This one, I think, is now OK. If it doesn't mess itself up again. I know where to find it, and I'll check in a few days again. If it has wrapped itself in hassles again, I'll ask.

Edited: Apr 4, 2010, 7:26pm Top

Question for the group with regards to annotated works, critical editions, and notes only editions:

What if we were to put a disambiguation notice with those works where we know that AWs, CEs, & notes editions exist.

Something similar to:

This listing contains editions of the work only. If you have a notes only edition please separate it from the work & combine it with other similar notes edition. If you have an annotated edition then (leave it here or combine it with the other annotated edition) and if it is a critical edition with notes, critiques & other additional information, then keep it with the other critical editions.

All of the notes only edition could have a notation that "This is a notes only edition of (great work) and does not contain the actual work being discussed. If your edition has the actual work included, then it should be (combined with the complete work or kept separate with other annotated/additional information editions)

Other wording suggestions are welcome & opinions are encouraged. I know that many works have had the notes editions combined with the actual work & this is definitely not right. Most critical editions already have disambiguation notices, but I think that most Cliff/York/Barrons notes do not have disambiguation notices.


{please forgive the italics font, but I didn't want to bold the suggestion, but I did want to separate it from 'normal' font.}

Apr 4, 2010, 4:47pm Top

If you have a notes only edition please separate it from the work & combine it with the other notes edition.

This sounds like all the notes editions should be combined regardless of their content. Maybe changing the end to "with other similar notes editions"?

Apr 4, 2010, 7:26pm Top

#111: done

May 17, 2010, 2:58pm Top

I got started combining works when I saw books in my collection for which I was supposedly the sole owner, and knew that couldn't be right. I read the wiki and have continued to do combining because I have the LT-OCD too. I think I'm doing it right, but now that I've started reading this group I have questions that I don't think I've seen answered here:

- Since we can combine books ourselves, what's the "Combining/Separating (Please Fix This Book!) Request Thread #24!!!" ? Is it for situations where combining doesn't work?

- The Author page for "Mary Martin" has works by what I'm pretty sure are different Mary Martins. I would split them into "Mary Martin(1)" "(2)" and so on, right?

- If I screw something up, will whoever finds it send me a message? I'd like to know if I'm doing something wrong so I can get it right.


May 17, 2010, 3:31pm Top

piemouth, if you read the first thread of the "Combining/Separating (Please Fix This Book!) Request Thread #any!!!", you will see the answer to your question:

It has been suggested many times that there be a single thread for LT'ers to post combining & separating problems so that;
** they can learn how to do it
** they can get help when needed
** just want someone else to do it (usually, they can't understand how to do it... which is normal... or don't have the time)
**and finally, those LT'ers who "enjoy" combining can have a place to look to first to see what fun can be had helping LT be the best place to catalog books.

It is copied on the front of every "Please fix this book" thread since the inception of the thread.

Not everyone is comfortable playing with the book data... so, we have this thread instead of a bunch of individual threads (which we had plenty).

To your last question/comment/request.... if you put a note on your profile page stating just what you said, then most LTers will let you know.... if we check to see who has done it. Sometimes we just fix without checking.

Welcome to the Group where OCD addictions are fed!!

May 17, 2010, 4:02pm Top

Thanks! I wasn't sure if I understood correctly.

Edited: May 18, 2010, 1:37pm Top

I understand the difference between splitting and separating, I think. And I know how to do splitting with the link on the right side.

But how do I separate an author? The page for Ann Miller includes a book whose book cover shows the author's name as "Ann Stamp Miller" so that author should get her own page, right? How do I do that? I can't find it in the Wiki or in this conference.


May 18, 2010, 2:03pm Top

If the various forms of an author's name have been combined, they will appear in the Author Disambiguation section on the right, with a (separate) link next to them. In this case, there is no different author's name combined in that can be separated, so there's nothing that can be done.

Looking at the author's combine/separate page, there's one book (The Cultural Politics of the German Democratic Republic) that has G. Ann Stamp Miller listed as the author on one copy, but some other people have cataloged it with just Ann Miller as the author. The system chooses one name as the author of the book, and Ann Miller won.

There are ways of trying to force a different author's name to become the chosen one, you can add more copies of that book to your catalog with G. Ann Stamp Miller as the author, and combine them, until it appears on that page, but then when you delete the excess copies, it may go back to Ann Miller's page. Even if it does stay on G. Ann Stamp Miller's page, if someone else adds the book, it may move back to Ann Miller's page.

In short, there's not a lot you can do. That author is already split off, I would just add a disambiguation note give the full name of author (2).

May 18, 2010, 2:04pm Top

Ann Stamp Miller can only get her own page if someone has actually entered her in their catalog that way. Author names can be combined, but that isn't the case her or there would be other author names listed under This Entry Includes on the right side of the page.

May 18, 2010, 5:37pm Top


Jun 4, 2010, 2:09pm Top

I can't find the answer to this either in this topic or in the general Wiki topics about adding and editing books:

How should books with two authors be handled? Should the author be "John Doe and Jane Roe"? When I entered some of my books by scanning, some of those appeared in various garbled forms. Sometimes when I fix them there's an author named "John Doe and Jane Roe", other times not. I can't tell from the wiki info if a pair of authors should exist like that.

How this relates to book combining is that one of my books is actually by two authors but scanned in, it shows up with only one of them. Other people have it listed by the other author.

How should I deal with this? Combine the authors? Change mine to "Doe and Roe" and try to combine the others with that? Something else?

Thanks for giving me a place to exercise my OCD tendencies!

Jun 4, 2010, 2:20pm Top


There's no good way to handle books with multiple authors. The best way is to choose one as the "primary" author -- the first one listed on the cover, the first one alphabetically, whatever -- to put in the Author field, and put the rest in the "Other Authors" field. (Did you check Other Authors for the one that shows up with just one author? Many libraries will list them that way; Amazon is more likely to produce the garbled monstrosities of like "Doe and John Roe, Jane".) The books can be combined without combining authors, and under no circumstances should the dual-author listings ("John Doe and Jane Roe", in whatever garbled forms) be combined with either of the single authors (because Jane Roe isn't the same person as "Jane Roe and John Doe".)

Jun 4, 2010, 2:49pm Top

Thanks. I'll pursue this on those lines.

Is this covered in the wiki somewhere? I'd be glad to add it to the combiners info.

Jun 4, 2010, 3:10pm Top

I edited my book to show the other author. But there isn't any way to combine it with the copies that show only the other author, is there?

Jun 4, 2010, 3:17pm Top


Sure there is; if it has the same ISBN, it can be done easily from the "editions" page, and otherwise some Combiners who don't mind temporarily adding books to their own libraries will do it. Just post links to both books on the current "Please fix this book" thread.

Jun 4, 2010, 5:58pm Top

Oh! I forgot you can do combining from Editions. Many thanks - it's fixed now so I'll be able to sleep tonight.

I'd been using the temporarily adding the book method - this is much easier.

Edited: Jun 12, 2010, 11:00am Top

To split or not to split? I have been tidying Ray Charles and Charles Ray (still several of the former's work on the latter's split page). I think the Ray Charles page is now 'clean' apart from two copies of one work - Diana -The People's Princess http://www.librarything.com/work/10041721 - actually written by Charles Rae, who has a single copy on his own page.

I have left Ray Charles unsplit on the basis that there is only one Ray Charles - the rogue work is wrong data rather than belonging to a homonymous author. I put a disambiguation note on the Diana book.

Would anyone do differently?

Jun 12, 2010, 10:25pm Top

126> In a similar situation, I split the author and left disambiguation notices. I'm not sure which is the "right way." In this case, though, the author's incorrectly spelled name matched the "proper" author's name:


Jun 12, 2010, 10:46pm Top

the book is now attributed to the majority author (for now) Patrica Gossman.

The owner of the book can edit the author so it is correct, eliminating the author error. The other copies may be ghost copies..... and may disappear someday.

Jun 14, 2010, 2:11pm Top

I'm putting this in the FAQ, rather than the Help thread, because I'm trying to understand the theory of how this should work (although I'm using a specific example to illustrate it) and I'm sure I'll encounter more cases like this.

Is there a way to get a work under the correct author page, when a copy of that work doesn't exist on the author page to combine it into it?

Specifics example:

Mark G. Sobell writes tech books, mostly about UNIX and Linux.
Author page: http://www.librarything.com/author/sobellmarkg&norefer=1

There is a work, Practical Guide To Unix System V Release 4 2ND Edition, under author Sobell Mark. This clearly belongs to author Mark G. Sobell
Work Page: http://www.librarything.com/work/4212138
Author page: http://www.librarything.com/author/marksobell&norefer=1

My initial reaction was to combine Sobell Mark under Mark G. Sobell, but decided this would be improper since there is another author, Mark B. Sobell and works could wind up under Sobell Mark that belong to him.

There is a work Practical Guide To Unix System V under Mark G. Sobell, but it is for the 3rd edition. I'm not sure how much difference there is between the 2nd and 3rd edition, but this can sometimes be material with tech books (like textbooks, sometimes it's significant, sometimes notsomuch) so I wasn't sure if combining the two editions would be appropriate.

Is there any other way to get the stray work under Mark G. Sobell?

Jun 14, 2010, 3:31pm Top

I think the technique involves you adding one or more books to your library with the correct author first, although I've never done it myself.

Jun 15, 2010, 5:51pm Top

Go to Editions for the work and copy the information for that edition.
Go to Add Book, then Add the book manually.
Copy the information into the appropriate fields without changing the author name (yet).
Add the book.
Now edit the book to change the author's name to Sobell, Mark.
Go to the author's page then to Combine/Separate works and combine this work, if necessary.
Delete the book you added from your books.

Jun 16, 2010, 10:35pm Top

Why do so many searches give results that include Michael Morecock's Elric: The Stealer of Souls?? For instance, this search for a book called Open Here brings up a bunch of works that include the word "open".
The last one is a title that says it's matched on the Morecock book, and that's where the link goes, but that doesn't make sense. I looked under the editions of Elric and don't see "Broken Open".

I've seen this with various books. What's up?

Jun 17, 2010, 4:00pm Top

Thanks. I figured it must be some known weirdness.

Edited: Jun 19, 2010, 11:08am Top

I've seen several interesting and informative threads on combining and related issues this morning. Can't keep 'em all straight, but I've learned a lot. Two thoughts to add (for now):

1. I'm finding it helpful to sometimes list contents parenthetically after the volume title, as with http://www.librarything.com/work/20648/60717515. At least it lets me partly address the "contains/part of" issue, and it's a significant help for Library of America editions, which are presented chronilogically ("Early Stories ...") more often than anything else. (Aside: The LOA James Thurber really gets me, although I appreciate Garrison Keillor's involvement and selection. The apparent conclusion, however, is that LOA should only ever include just the one selection, even though Thurber did so much more. How's THAT for an editorial/marketing standard!)

2. http://isbndb.com/ affords some utility for further information / identification related to ISBNs, including occasional aids for understanding before combining or separating.

And a question: Can sombody elaborate on, or direct me to further information about, editions with "no copies"? I got the point a while back that we don't want "no copies" combined with the same-name/same-author work, so I stopped that -- with ongoing apologies for all the erroneous combining I had previously done. This morning, I had confirmation (I think) that "no copies" editions can be separated from "actual copies" editions to good effect, but that I shouldn't have then combined the "no copies" into a single edition (again, apologies, etc., as necessary/appropriate). And -- apparently -- by separating a good many "no copies" editions that had no author once they were separated, and which dropped off the face of the work at hand, I've created a fair amount of LT clutter (did I mention my apologies?). But I still don't understand where the "no copies" come from, what they are, where they go, or what we as LT-OCD Combiners can/should/might/could/want to do about them.

I'm eager to have all y'all's thoughts, and thanks for your input!

Edited to correct, and in hopes of clarifying, understanding that accomplishing the latter may be unlikely.

Jun 19, 2010, 11:15am Top

My understanding is that 'no copies' editions are mainly what is left over when you edit a book's info. The database keeps the original info attached to a 'no copies' edition. It's best to keep these editions combined with their work, so that if someone adds a book with the same info it will automatically combine with the correct work.

Jun 19, 2010, 12:40pm Top


I separate them out pretty regularly, for several reasons.

One, it clogs the author page. You have one copy of a book and 10 "no current copies."

Two, although sometimes it's because of edits, but I've seen dozens of "no current copies" that are identical to current copies. Again, it makes the author page mighty long.

Three, bad data attached to the work can cause the bad data to rise to the top, screwing up the title or what author page it winds up on.

Sometimes the ghost copies are allowing it to move to a correct page or title, in which case I tend to leave it be. But I'm not seeing that much lately.

Jun 19, 2010, 2:02pm Top


I've seen dozens of "no current copies" that are identical to current copies. Again, it makes the author page mighty long.

Apparently that's supposed to be a temporary measure -- Tim's running a pair of processes, one to aggregate identical "editions" (author/title/ISBN combos) and one to delete the then-empty ones, but the second one either hasn't finished or didn't work as it was supposed to.

Edited: Jun 19, 2010, 2:03pm Top

Tim has stated recently that the no copies editions should not be separated out. He's also started a process that has removed a lot of the duplicative no copies editions (those with the same title/author/isbn combo).

Jun 19, 2010, 5:30pm Top

The no copies editions should not be separated out.

I presume, then, that "no copies" editions should be added back, or left in, and O Mighty Tim (to borrow a phrase -- which I kinda actually like!) will fix them?

Edited: Jun 19, 2010, 6:20pm Top

140> Fix what? The idea is that if someone imports an Amazon record with a typo in it and fixes it, it leaves a ghost copy behind with the original incorrect title. So when someone else imports the same incorrect title, it will automatically combine to the correct work whether or not they correct their copy of the title.

There's another thread, I don't remember if it was in the Bug Collectors, Recommended Site Improvements or somewhere else where Tim challenged members to specify the problems with leaving those ghost copies combined and no one came up with anything substantive.

ETA: I found the thread here : http://www.librarything.com/topic/91708#1994962.

Jul 14, 2010, 6:51pm Top

Is there a way of changing the author of a work when it wrong in the first place? The 1976 edition of Pamela Censured has Charles Batten listed as its author. This essay was published anonymously, and Batten is the editor of that edition; there is a second, earlier edition from Garland Press that has neither author nor editor, but now comes up in my listing as by Anonymous (otherwise under Charles Batten).

Charles Batten's page is here: http://www.librarything.com/author/battencharles

Edited: Jul 14, 2010, 10:18pm Top

142> lyzard: Take a look at EveleenM's technique for combining same works with different author names, at http://www.librarything.com/topic/94844#2082968 . I wonder whether a variant of that approach could help resolve the issue you're having with this item. I'd be interested to know whether -- and how -- it works.

Incidentally, although I'm not familiar with the work, I wonder whether the earlier and later editions are sufficiently different to warrant separate treatment as distinct LT works. Just a thought ... .

Jul 14, 2010, 10:29pm Top

#143: They're both reprints of the same 1741 essay, so they should be the same work.

Jul 14, 2010, 11:08pm Top

The earlier work is bound with Henry Fielding's Shamela (thus becoming a "contains/contained in" issue too!), whereas the later edition is a single work, I believe.

Thank you, jasbro (and EveleenM), I will take a look and see if that helps.

Jul 15, 2010, 8:45am Top

And thank you for the follow-up. The earlier work being bound with Henry Fielding's Shamela seems reason enough to distinguish between them. You may have already done so, but consider sharing that information in a CK Disambiguation Notice.

Sep 17, 2010, 7:31pm Top

I searched this thread and didn't find my question answered: Should DVD and VHS editions be combined with book editions of works?


has all three - I combined a VHS edition with the main one because some were already there. But is that right? I'll separate them, if it isn't. Thanks.

Sep 17, 2010, 7:35pm Top

I'd say no simply because when it comes to audiobooks, unabridged works get combined while edited versions do not.

Sep 17, 2010, 7:36pm Top

Movies should never be combined with books.

Edited: Sep 17, 2010, 7:46pm Top

Thanks. I'll break them out.

Would it be possible to add this to the "What Not to combine" on the combine page, or would that make it too long?

May 9, 2011, 1:46pm Top

I hope this is the most recent thread of its kind -- otherwise excuse my searching skills.

Until very recently, I've been too busy to engage very much in my favourite hobby, combining. I know that some changes were made early this year that affected the good old way* of combining so that changing the author no longer makes your book appear on the new author's page. When I left off, the best workaround anyone had come up with was to see if changing the author made the book appear on the editions page as a potential combination.

My question is, do we have a better workaround yet? What do you do if the book doesn't appear on the editions page? Have there been any other new developments or rules that I should know about (since approx. January)?


*where you manually add a book, change its author and combine on the new author page

Edited: May 9, 2011, 2:19pm Top

@Tulimeeria, Drop skittles or brightcopy a comment and ask them about the "secret handshake". They're the holders of the secret knowledge. ;)

May 9, 2011, 2:30pm Top

Will do, thanks!

Feb 10, 2013, 8:17pm Top

I don't have specific examples to note because I've corrected most of them. After a while I noticed so many I thought I should ask if this is the way LT is supposed to be. I assume this is a combiner issue and not something. Pardon me if I walked into the wrong room.

ANYWAY, an isbn is a unique identifying feature of a book, as we all know. When I put an isbn into Library Thing, however, I find that, rather than Little Brown, for instance, the publisher is listed as Holiday House.

When I enter an isbn for a trade paperback, I see a mass market paperback binding - which would be another isbn altogether. I don't always see these, initially, because I sometimes upload a list of isbns.

As I've gone through to make sure my distinct editions of books have the basic information listed correctly, I've been surprised to see this repeatedly. I have a personal account as well as one for my open inventory. Sometimes I will move books from one place to the other and the information that was correct with the first entry is now incorrect.

Is this just the way it is?


Wha? :)

Feb 10, 2013, 10:33pm Top

It sounds like there are several misunderstandings here. First of all, there are two levels of information on LT, the book level and the work level and the ISBN is only on the book level. Your books in your library are at the book level and so adding books to your library is also at the book level, so if you use the ISBN in the search box when you enter books you should get the correct information that applies to that book such as the publisher and the format. If you get something different then that's a problem with the source you added your book from. If you care about the quality of your data then you should probably avoid Amazon as a source.

But when you click on the title of the book in your library you go to the work page, which is mostly information at the work level (although there's information in their about your particular book as well). The work level combines all the particular books that have the same content together, even going so far as to include translations.

So, when you say that you enter the isbn into LT and you see the wrong publisher, I have to ask where are you entering the isbn, and where are you seeing the wrong publisher.

Edited: Feb 11, 2013, 12:28am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Mar 30, 2013, 4:34am Top

A conflation of small problems that I'm hoping will result in not just my own edification but also maybe updates to the wiki/HelpThing. It doesn't help that I haven't kept up with every new feature in the last couple of years.

I've been adding contributors to a work, since I have a copy of the book in the house this week. Trying to make sure that the contributor names match up properly with the appropriate author page in LT. Adding "Henry Louis Gates" linked to the HLG, Jr. page. Other authors, not so much.

Author puzzle 1: The book lists Ida B. Wells Barnett (http://www.librarything.com/author/burnettidabwells), who is Ida B. Wells (http://www.librarything.com/author/wellsidab/names). The latter has already been combined with two Barnett name, but neither pops up as a combining suggestion for the other.

Author puzzle 2: This book includes stuff by Maria W. Stewart. She is also http://www.librarything.com/author/stewartmariaw, from Spiritual Narratives (http://www.librarything.com/work/776650). And Maria W. Miller Stewart (http://www.librarything.com/author/stewartmariawmiller). And these author names apply to only a couple of works, too (unlike Ida B. Wells).

So, these authors should be combined, yes? Wells with Wells Burnett and Stewart with Miller Stewart. Do these need the secret URL method? Aliasing? A third method to be named later (or even "all of the above"?)? And where are the instructions for how to decide what's needed? All pointers welcome, and thanks--

Mar 30, 2013, 5:30am Top

The normal way to combine authors is on the author page. On the lower right had side you find a search box. Enter the (generally smaller page) author name into the search box (generally of the larger page). When you search the possibilities will give you the chance to check out the author page and see that you really do want to combine, and a link to combine.

This worked fine for Stewart.

There is a problem with Wells Burnett. It could be that the new page is just too new for search to access. It could also have something to do with it being only an 'other author'.

Mar 30, 2013, 6:42am Top

I'm able to search for "Ida B Wells" from the search box under "Combine with ..." at http://www.librarything.com/author/burnettidabwells, and that gives me a "(combine)" link next to her name, but I noticed that the Black Women in White America book has Wells spelled as "Burnett" instead of "Barnett". Assuming that's an error, I think fixing the spelling error should get the link to point to the right author page without any need to combine authors. (Though I think in the "other authors" pop-up, you can't just edit an already-added name ... you have to remove it and add it again.)

Mar 30, 2013, 9:08am Top

yes, That did it.

Mar 31, 2013, 6:08am Top

Woo hoo! Thanks for all the help. And my apologies for the consistent misspelling of Ida B. Wells last name....

Followup question: Say you have two authors who are really the same person. One author page has lots of information in the Common Knowledge (CK) and a picture. The other author page has a lot less. How do you make sure that the page with all the info becomes the primary page for that author? How do you keep all that nice CK from becoming stranded? Does it depend on which page you start on?

Mar 31, 2013, 9:58am Top

>161 karenb:
When authors are combined the winning page will be the one that matches the form of the author name used most commonly in member libraries. Usually this works out, CK is typically added to the more prominent name. When it doesn't, there will be a "combination issues" warning in the "improve this author" box on the right column of the combined author page. Clicking on that link will open a page where stranded CK can be copied to the new main author page. Unfortunately, you do have to copy each entry by hand.

Mar 31, 2013, 4:41pm Top

162 >

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just click "yes, this is good, copy this" on the author combination CK? That would be a lovely pony.

Apr 1, 2013, 2:12am Top

> 161
You also asked about pictures. I'm pretty sure they "merge" rather seamlessly. If Name1 and Name2 each have a photo, I think CombinedName will now have 2 photos. (If they are duplicates, just flag one (preferably the one with the worse copyright statement) and the image voters will see it's removed.)

Two things that do get "buried" with no convenient way (like with CK) to get at them again is if the non-winning author had a "LibraryThing author" badge, or if it had author links in the green box at right. This data is still there, but requires re-separating the author names to get at it again (and if you separate them, the photos stick with the winning author instead of the original). All three of these issues have been reported.

> 163
That would indeed be nice. The thing I like least about fixing CK "Combination issues", besides the tediousness, is that it blows away the history of the original contributor. I imagine this pony is not implemented to avoid conflict issues upon merging, but seriously, half the time, all that's stranded is the gender of the author.

Apr 1, 2013, 9:24pm Top

Is there a consensus on combining vs. keeping separate [book] and [book w/ CD]. Seems relatively common with a lot of textbooks. I recently combined an author name that had a lot: http://www.librarything.com/combine.php?author=harveywilliamc, e.g. Spanish for Health Care Professionals with Audiocassettes vs. just Spanish for Health Care Professionals. Maybe there's no consensus and it just depends on individual cases/genres?

Apr 1, 2013, 11:09pm Top

That's a good question. It is often further complicated by the addition of a CD to a textbook upon the issue of a new edition (where the older editions had none).

My suggestion, FWIW, is: if there exist {book, first edition}, {book, second edition} and {book with CD, second edition}, then separate {book with CD, second edition} from the combination of the other two. But combine them if there exist only {book, first edition} and {book, second edition, now comes with included CD!}. Does my example make sense?

Apr 1, 2013, 11:22pm Top

I would combine unless someone who owns the book has written a disambiguation notice about how the inclusion of some piece of ancillary material is especially significant in that particular case.

I suspect that words in the title about included CDs and such mostly come directly from amazon and have no reliable connection to whether the member in question believes the extra materials are significant or even if that member actually has or doesn't have the extra materials.

Apr 5, 2013, 6:03pm Top

> 166 & 167
Thanks, lturpin42 and eromsted. Sound advice (and yes, makes perfect sense). Since unnecessarily combined works are harder to find than already-separate ones, I should probably just leave well enough alone and wait for somebody who really cares about that author/subject/book to come and do any necessary clean-up. Like whenever I see editions of Bibles that are combination/separation potentials, I just walk away. :-)

Group: Combiners!

792 members

46,868 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 118,687,892 books! | Top bar: Always visible