Why does "Add to your library" (on a book page) not do what it says?
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I have this book, and I want to add it to my library. When I click the "Add to your library" link, it instead launches a search on the title -- *and then doesn't find it!* (Using the default Amazon.com search.) Sometimes it finds it, but different versions from the one I was looking at, with inferior metadata.
How do I add that book to my library?
Here's a recent one
Welcome to LT
The second is to actually add books via "Add Books".
Despite this measure, LT seems to be riddled with bad data (i.e. duplicate & inconsistent). Is there development underway to gradually improve this? (As Last.fm have been doing quite successfully with a corpus of even dirtier data.)
Also curious as to why I should change the default to LoC -- it hardly ever finds anything. (Perhaps because my library consists mainly of comics.)
Sorry for what are probably naive questions; I'm a relatively new and irregular user here.
As to improving the data, that is pretty much a grass-roots effort on the part of energetic members, with the assistance of the management providing tools, such as Canonical Title, which can override an erroneous title from a sloppy source like Amazon.
LT's data is only as good as the source data; that's why people who have been here a while, and who care about data quality, suggest the use of library sources, which are generally much better than Amazon. (If your books aren't in LoC, of course, that's another matter.)
"Everyone's a librarian" is one of the site philosophies.
Sooo the "development underway to gradually improve this" is what we all (LT users) do. You, me, lorax, and the 661,443 other site users.
Most people don't care to: many do, and they're darned good at it.
There are places where you can post problems you are having with the site
and people will fix stuff for you, or tell you how you can fix it yourself.
Finally - welcome to LT Francois - always good to see another Chris Ware fan here.
ETA: lorax and staffordcastle beat me to the punch and said it more succinctly!
but until then, yeah, choose your best source (best data that will have your books) and have fun on the Add Books page.
That's a good point.
To get back to the original question, part of the reason why the green plus was eliminated is the issue of books vs. works.
As far as LT is concerned, there are two levels for each book -- the entry in your library, known as the "book" -- and the combined set of all entries for that work, known as the "work". So I have two copies of Ringworld in my library -- two books, with different publication information, which I can give different ratings, different reviews, and have show up as two lines in my catalog -- but they're the same "work", so it shows up as a duplicate, the ratings and reviews show up on the same page for anyone doing a search, etc.
It used to be that the green plus would just clone a "book" to your library -- add all the exact details (not just author and title but ISBN, publication date, etc.) The trouble is that there are people here who are very sloppy with data -- they'd add Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, then just add it six more times and change the title to show that they had the whole set. Someone would then come along and say "Oh, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I have that" and add it with the green plus -- but the ISBN and so forth would still be that for Book 1, not Book 6, and it led to bad data proliferating like mad. So Tim turned off that functionality -- not a popular move, but I for one agree with it.
There are two common use-cases for the green plus, which eventually may be re-introduced:
1. Someone who doesn't care about data quality or who is adding to a wishlist and just wants a "generic" book of author and title. They don't want or care about the rest of the information.
2. Someone who shares a rare book that had to be manually entered, and doesn't want to duplicate all the effort.
99% of the time, though, people are just trying to do something that could more easily be done through Add Books.
@jjwilson: You describe a fundamental difference from Last.fm (my example). In their case they aim to maintain *only* canonical data, and will change your submissions if they have sufficient confidence in recognising it. I can see how this probably won't work in the world of books.
I've also come to realise that most of the terrible inconsistency I see in works' metadata is Amazon's fault. I don't have the time to enter works manually, unfortunately. What is the best way to leverage the effort of careful users who have the same books I do? Clearly I can't find their copies and duplicate it to my library, for reasons outlined above. How do I even know which users have the best versions? (I've been looking for those versions which are shared by the largest number of users.)
Chris Ware is an excellent case in point: it is extremely difficult to decide on a book's canonical title. Can you recommend forums or threads where people discuss / recommend the best way of describing works? Particularly comics, which could have series names and issue numbers.
I appreciate all the help.
I suspect most of the best data, especially for works like comics which might be less likely to appear in libraries, comes either from manual entry or from an entry from a source (probably Amazon) which is then re-edited to fix bad data (that's what I do for my comics). So there it is a case of user data being superior to the sources.
here is a thread (currently unactive) where we were discussing the ways to use librarything to catalogue comics. it has some good ideas to at least get you started. welcome to our little patch of heaven!
from the LoC website: For more than sixty years, the Library of Congress has acquired comic books through copyright deposit. The current collection of 6,000 titles, probably the largest in the United States, contains approximately one hundred thousand pieces and is growing by about two hundred issues each month.
i just grabbed the wrong number. 6,000 titles, but 100,000 pieces (i'm assuming that pieces means individual issues).
Sounds like a real flaw in LoC's system -- surely it's very relevant to their mission to allow services like these to use their data?
I remember coming across a massive comic book library collection somewhere, but I've not added it to my watchlist. One thing to try is to use search and put in 'comic' as the search term for members. moccany looks interesting, but it isn't the one I remember.
The fact that "they're easy enough to add via Amazon" is sort of the point. The question is how easy they are to add not using Amazon.
Does anyone know what the total number of issues that, say, Marvel has published? DC? I don't know if a tenth of a million issues is a huge collection, or a drop in the bucket.
Of course, the fact that we can't effectively access those records through LT renders the question moot, but I'm interested.
The claim is, I think, that for any given comic TPB with an ISBN, the ease of adding them from a non-Amazon source is less than the ease of adding a similarly popular book with an ISBN which is not a comic. I don't have the data to know if this is true or not, but it sounds plausible and fits my experience.