Give higher weight to exact title matches for Touchstones
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As the subject suggests.
If I recall correctly, Touchstones use the work search feature under the hood, and provides the results sorted by overall popularity of the work. This results in frequent mind-boggling results where the default result, which many users don't know how to change, doesn't actually match any of the words in the title, but connects because each of the words appears in some edition or another.
(Recent case in point: the first Touchstone suggestion for my new ER win, The New Wild, is "The Portrait of Dorian Gray". Which does admittedly contain the word "The"; one edition has "New" in the title, and a couple people have misspelled the author's name without the "e". That's all it takes to rocket this book with 22,000 copies to the top of the list.)
Touchstone searches, though, are different from title searches where people may be uncertain of the title or not have a particular title in mind; the user has a particular title in mind. A minimal change would be to do a phrase search rather than a words-search, so the Touchstone logic searches for, in this case, "The New Wild" - providing four results including the correct one. (The correct one doesn't show up at all in the existing version.)
I agree. It is really a hassle to look down long lists of very unsimilar titles to find the one you typed in right.
That said, I wish both touchstone and title searches could reduce the significance of subtitles (i.e., anything after a colon) when doing exact matches.
I'd like to see a search for "Blink" bring up the 14,846-member Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking before the 15-member "exact match" that doesn't have a subtitle.
Without lessening the need for this improvement, I would like to comment on how nice it is to have touchstones work! on books that I entered the first copy of even less than an hour ago! Not to have to force these is a big improvment! I'd better stop before I wear out the ! key.
This would be a welcome enhancement. Sometimes what it comes up with is just baffling.
(Maybe one of my RSIs eventually will get picked for the List. Here's hoping.)
marking this one, makes perfect sense.
>16 lorax:, I've noted at least a handful of your suggestions, FWIW. You're not being ignored! :)
okay, UPDATE: lorannen helped me prioritize the overall RSI list a couple of weeks ago, so the next step is to go over this list with Tim and the other developers to get a feel for what can happen and when. Since we've got a big feature being released in the next few weeks, that has taken the front seat and I'm looking to be able to make more progress on this afterwards! I'll try to get updates out to the RSI's that we know are either deferred, or not likely to happen for awhile (with as much explanation as possible), before I leave the country next Friday (just until July 5th). If you have questions about any specific RSI, you can always message me on my profile or email me at email@example.com (just don't abuse me :).
my UPDATE for this RSI: this one's being deferred for now. It would be great to have (I definitely agree with it), but is lower priority on the list compared to other RSI's. So, not now, but keep bugging us in the future. :)
Thanks for the update. What's an appropriate timescale for bumping - six months, a year?
Yeah. The problem is that "Tudor" is included in many of the editions that go into Tudors. I agree that we need to figure out how to make it POSSIBLE to find Tudors this way, but dial down the prominence.
And you have to index the other editions, because otherwise you wouldn't catch the translations.
La Otra Bolena
For autocombining you totally ignore anything after a colon, so that is recognized as an important boundary. Weighting anything before the colon much higher would help a lot. I don't know how other people do it, but when I'm touchstoning I usually cut and paste my title before any colon.
And this one is just ridiculous
BTW The work that points to could use some care by an OCD combiner with lots of spare time. But I didn't see Tamerlane in there.
>25 MarthaJeanne: Well, it's there, sort of :
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Ten Volumes in Five: Tamerlane Edition
Publishers, editions, physical informations, etc... all the random cruft that users or their sources include in their titles unfortunately get parsed even when not truly part of the title.
You looked harder than I did. That's one that needs separating.
OK, took that one out, but there are lots more 'Works', 'Complete works', ... that need to be separated. Still- seems very strange that one copy with the word after two colons should outweigh the books that have that as the main title.
It's all the complete poems and tales ? Why separate, unless I'm missing something ? Some of the complete works include something beside the poems and tales ?
Edit : According to the disambig it seems to be the case.
Yes, he wrote things other than short stories and poems, for example essays.
>20 lorax: I'm not sure. But, the way things can go around here I suppose closer to a year wouldn't be too bad for a bump? :)
I just finished reading The Sound Book by Trevor Cox. That's a link rather than a touchstone, because if I try to touchstone "The Sound Book" it is number *215*, that is not a typo, number two hundred and fifteen on the list, and I'm well past 150 before I get anything with either "Sound" or "Book" in the title. Everything else, from the Harry Potter books through "Where the Wild Things Are" through the John Grisham books, has an edition with "Sound" and one with "Book" in the title, but not both together.
This is ludicrous.
Guys, I want this too, which is why I created the RSI, but kristilabrie said in post 30 that a year (from late July) would be an appropriate timescale for a bump. It's not that this is forgotten, it's that they made a deliberate decision not to do it.
>34 lorax: I don't know, that sounds tongue in cheek to me, it can't hurt to make a bit more noise.
But Kristi also acknowledged that Tim is basically disregarding the List and continuing with his previous approach to development priorities, which suggests that patience isn't necessarily the best approach.
That's it, I'm all out of patience!
What do we want? BETTER SEARCHES!
When do we want them? NOW!
I'd settle for author names not coming up before book options are exhausted...
A note, since Tim is working on Touchstones, that both of my examples in this thread are still badly broken.
If this RSI is insufficient to address the touchstone issue, then please do something else about it. It's affecting almost everyone who uses touchstones, and it's been going on for years now.
On another thread someone was looking for Arthur by Rhoda Levine. It isn't on the list. If you use Arthur, Levine you can find it, but it's still far down. Even though there is only one copy entered, this is not very helpful.
At the very least the majority of words should appear in the same edition.
I just did several that gave most ridiculous results. Horror: 100 Best Books as well as Horror Films give Frankenstein. There is zero HORROR found in the word Frankenstein!! I don't give a crap if Franky "is" horror this is the title not the content! Neither "Frankenstein" nor "or, The Modern Prometheus," its subtitle, contain "horror"!! Another one that I forget now but had to force, turned up nothing but like 6 freaking Harry Potter titles. WHAT?? I am so damn sick of touchstone ridiculousness. I swear, every time I go to make one now I get a wave of apprehension -- what idiotic thing with zero merit for turning up is the system going to feed me this time?? *sigh*
>41 klarusu: If you hover over the links created by the touchstones in your post, watch the link that shows up on the bottom of your screen. The work number that appears for both Chronicle in Stone and Little Women are coming up as identical, which suggests something is missing numbers or something in the code.
>45 gilroy: that's just how touchstones work. if you type Little Women it will stay as Little Women, no matter what the touchstone link says.
Yeah. If you type in that title and then other it to the correct work, it's a diff number. It's nothing wrong aside of touchstones sucking.
Logic would suggest that if there is a title that is exactly what you typed in for the touchstone, that title should be the first thing to come up. For instance, In the Fall is the title of a novel by Jeffrey Lent. Why, then, does To Kill a Mockingbird appear, followed by Animal Farm, and Les Miserables, before In the Fall? Bird Cloud is a memoir written by Annie Proulx. Peter Pan and Leaves of Grass top the list when I seek the touchstone for that title. Jane Eyre gets me Pride and Prejudice. I'm not looking for a technical explanation of why this happens...I'm looking for any sort of reasonable justification for allowing it to work that way. Whatever the logarithms (if such they be) are doing, it seems perverse.
I'm totally in favor of giving higher weight to exact title matches in the touchstones. The popularity model gives crazy results (often starting with Harry Potter books), making it hard to find the right touchstone.
Many thanks to Lorax for starting this thread.
I think the initial touchstone is wrong for me about 7 times out of 10, since I'm usually referencing "unpopular" books. I've discovered lately that even veteran users may not be aware of this hazard, or how to fix touchstones that are inaccurate as a result. I expect that Talk abounds in wrong touchstones that have never been noticed by the users posting them.
Or even wrong touchstones that are noticed! Why the poster doesn't just remove the touchstone rather than saying "Touchstone goes to the wrong book", I have no idea.
>54 paradoxosalpha:, >55 lorax: Well, I do come across people who don't realize there is an option to change the automatic touchstone....maybe we need to mention that here again? OK, I will: Look to the right of your post, and if the title you refer to is not the title that shows under "Touchstones", click on "others" and you'll get a drop-down list that, most of the time, will include your proper title in it somewhere. Click on that, and LT will replace its default title with the one you really want in your post.
Yes, that's just what I mean. I don't find that UI to be so opaque, but evidently lots of people are oblivious to it.
Yes, please fix the way this works. I just added The Portrait by Iain Pears to another thread and hilariously, Lord of the Flies is the automatic touchstone. I mean, what relevance does that have at all? Ridiculous.
>57 laytonwoman3rd: Somehow I really don't think the people in this thread are the ones who need that explanation...
Also, touchstones used to work much better, so I wasn't really paying attention to them unless I knew there were other books with a similar title. Only when I saw this thread I noticed they go wrong so often now.
Yeah, several mos ago some sort of change happened, I forget why, but it made things a helluva lot worse. I mean there were always issues with popular titles but in general it wasn't too awful, I don't think it messed up more than half the time, if that. Now, almost every time I use one I have to fix it. I HATE it. It's ridiculous. It shouldn't be this way and I don't want to bother using it anymore. Except they're useful. *sigh*
Well, it was bad enough in March 2015 for me to have started this thread then. Which reminds me we're coming up on the one-year mark from when it was deferred for a year.
I'd add my vote too. I post a weekly summary of new book reviews from the Guardian and it takes me ages to fix the touchstones for the post.
>65 .Monkey.: I agree with Monkey, this has gotten noticeably much, much worse lately. And the unintentional hilarity it sometimes provokes is not really worth the annoyance of having to fix pretty much every touchstone.
I'd almost prefer no touchstones to the ridiculousness of how they work now. A lot of people don't pay attention to them, so the threads are littered with incorrect ones. What's the point then?
Hate the touchstones, hate the searches. What the heck is going on? I'm about to get my ten year user badge and I agree things have gotten a lot worse in the last bit. I hate to say it, but lately I've been checking out GoodReads and the searches there are especially good.
I totally agree that exact matches should come first!
>55 lorax: >56 .Monkey.: >69 katiekrug: I think some people like to highlight the title of the book and use the touchstones to do that even if it does go to the wrong book.
I don't even use this feature all that often but I am totally expecting it to be wrong every time. Every! Time!
It took me quite a long time to learn that *Others* meant other books, as opposed to other authors. Duh. OK, I'm not a librarian. I'm not a bookstore employee or owner. I am a simple minded reader who enjoys keeping track of what I've read, what I've bought, and what is in my "Library". It seems like this should be an easily fixed problem. Why would it be linked to popularity? Readers are not famous for stampeding to read the most popular books all the time, are they?
The idea behind the popularity sort is probably that in the case of multiple matches, the one meant is statistically most likely to be the more common one. That works if all the matches are equally good; there are a number of books titled "Night Watch" or "The Night Watch", for instance, so the Touchstone feature needs to have some way of picking from among them.
The trouble is that the way it picks the matches that it then sorts by popularity is *terrible*.
>71 maggie1944: Readers are not famous for stampeding to read the most popular books all the time, are they?
We sort of are, whence the concept of "bestseller".
Incidentally, most touchstones I've done lately have been for authors, and those seem to work fine. Maybe the devs would do well to look at any differences in how work and author touchstones are calculated?
Probably no easy way for it to tell when some text string is a core part of the title, and when it's just the result of someone's wrong import or asinine idea on exactly what should go in the title field.
So you get all kinds of binding and publisher or imprint info, condition, bits of review, location, author names and other crap that is part of someone's title somewhere and can be potentially picked by the touchstone. And of course popular books are the more prone to *someone* having done it.
"Bestseller" is now evidently a product genre, marketed to people who want to read (or merely display) "what everyone else is reading." But these are a minority of the total readers, and an even smaller minority of the kind of readers with an interest in cataloging their personal libraries.
Wikipedia observes: "In everyday use, the term bestseller is not usually associated with a specified level of sales, and may be used very loosely indeed in publishers' publicity."
Well, I did a site search for a title yesterday which had very common words. It produced a zillion hits. So I searched again with quotation marks around the title and immediately got useful results with titles that had that string of words in that order. The one I wanted was the third one.
Touchstones, of course are a different story.
I'm not so concerned with searching....I expect a lot of things to show up in a search that are not exactly what I'm looking for. The point of a touchstone is to point to a particular work...not to a lot of possible things that are something like (or NOTHING LIKE) that particular work.
>75 paradoxosalpha:, indeed. When I think of "readers" I do have in mind my friends with whom I talk books in real life, and those with whom I write/read about books here. Neither of those two groups, in my experience, seem overly impressed with "best sellers" and actively avoid reading "Oprah's Book Club" marked books. Of course, there are exceptions.
Nonetheless, I do agree with most here who say touchstones do not consistently work well.
Ha! That at least is obliquely connected, in a punny sort of way. I had Charles Bukowski's Pulp bring up in the first place... Pride and Prejudice. Although that too could be someone's idea of a joke, I suppose... :)
We could start a game, to think of the most plausible connection between a work and its first touchstone.
That would be fun, but can I ask that the game be elsewhere, to keep this as an actual request thread, so that if someone from staff ever actually DOES look at it they can see the point without reading the whole thing?
I'd like to add my name to the list of people requesting an improvement to the touchstones.
It's because one of the editions of P&P is "Pride & Prejudice (Pulp! the Classics)"
But why, oh why, if there are two works for a title does the touchstone usually go to the one with fewer copies?
I admit, that makes it likely that I will notice and therefore combine the two.
The Duchess of Jermyn Street
had a 4 copy work by 'Felding' and a 58 copy work by 'Fielding'. The Felding version still comes up as the winner.
>88 charl08: Yep, those are among the ones that I have found most frustrating in recent weeks.
>91 jnwelch: Fished this book out of The Road : The Road to Middlemarch: My Life with George Eliot/Rebecca Mead/ISBN 1847085164/Manual Entry
As I was saying earlier, as long as the text looked for is a match in even one copy, there's no frequency checking to ensure that's not an outlier.
>92 Jarandel: Good for you for figuring it out. A system ripe for improvement.
As I was saying earlier, as long as the text looked for is a match in even one copy, there's no frequency checking to ensure that's not an outlier.
Exactly. And it doesn't even check if all the words it's looking for are ever present in the same copy. (Which I pointed out in the first post, but that's 90+ posts and over a year ago, so it's worth mentioning again.)
Why do I get the feeling that this is heading towards:
Your wait may get a little
Be sure to bring a book with you, and maybe a
>106 laytonwoman3rd: There are 3 editions with Alfred in the title and 15 with Emily
Touchstones have taken holiday, perhaps for the Labor Day weekend. In the thread https://www.librarything.com/topic/210054, post #100, I posted a list, and most Touchstones appeared correctly. Eleanor and Franklin came up as Treasure Island, and clicking on (other) roused a list of Harry Potter books. Same with The Known World. I don't remember what book came up as the Touchstone, but it wasn't correct. And again, clicking on (other) brought up the same damn Harry Potter book list.
Looking up the book # and endeavoring to "force" the issue, per the Touchstone FAQ, got me nowhere. The number itself showed as the Touchstone.
>107 lesmel: Can you expand on that a little? I don't know what you mean.
EDIT: Never mind...I think I've figured it out. So if anyone has entered the title Jane Eyre incorrectly by adding Emily Bronte's name in the title box, (in an omnibus edition with Wuthering Heights, maybe?) the popularity of Jane Eyre will override the correct title? Still puzzled by Alfred on this one, but I'll assume I'm on the right track anyway?
>110 laytonwoman3rd: I'm inclined to think yes. If you look at the editions page and do a find for "Alfred" you will see:
Jane Eyre (Everyman's Library (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.))/Bronte, Charlotte/ISBN 0307700372
Jane Eyre (Everyman's Library (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.))/Bronte, Charlotte/ISBN 0307700372
Jane Eyre (Everyman's Library (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.))/Bronte, Charlotte/ISBN 0679405828
As for "Emily" you will see variations of:
Jane Eyre/Bronte, Emily
Jane Eyre Hardcover By Emily Bronte 1950/bronte, emily
Jane Eyre/Brontë, Emily/ISBN 0141040386
Jane Eyre (Konemann Classics)/Bronte, Emily/ISBN 3895082597
I don't know how much author names come into play in touchstones for titles. Touchstones are flakey automagical fairies to me.
>111 lesmel: I like "flakey automagical fairies", as a descriptive, not as a fact. , I've been using LT for going on 11 years now, and the touchstones used to work SO much better than they do now. That's why this thing is so irksome.
I'm not even sure that the decay in Touchstone performance is due to changes in how it works so much as more and more less-than-ideal (never say bad, never say bad) data creeping in to the titles. As more copies of the very popular works get added, more and more words start showing up in the title for single editions, so without either phrase searching or edition weighting these are going to be more likely to show up for any given Touchstone search.
I wonder if there would be better results if it searched against Canonical Titles instead of merely the Title field? I don't know how this system works but the examples above suggest that some personal variant title entries are being consulted.
>115 Keeline: Most works don't have canonical set, they don't need to, as the majority of titles don't include such extraneous/erroneous info and the proper one wins out.
Only search the winningest title would probably be too easy and restrictive..
Right, for one thing that would rule out titles in translation, and would mean only one of the UK/American titles would work when they differ. There are a few possible fixes other than what I suggest in the thread title and the OP a year and a half ago, including only considering editions with more than some threshold number of copies or requiring all the words to appear in the same edition(s).
The obvious threshold would be 200 copies, already established by LT as the "Too much love" threshold beyond which only LT staff (and those in the know) can combine works. See, e.g. http://www.librarything.com/topic/129366
Most of the intrusive works mentioned above - Emma, Pride and Prejudice, The Road, the Harry Potter books, Jane Eyre, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Twilight, Little Women, Frankenstein, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Les Miserables, Peter Pan etc. - all already have many more than 200 copies.
My local public library does title searches by following each letter of the title you type in and then searches in the orderof the letters, symbols, or spaces you type in. Articles don't count in the beginng (i.e. The search doesn't start with A or The or La or Le or Der etc. at the start of the title). So, LT should be able to the same thing.
Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole comes up as Harry Potter
>122 gilroy: One edition of A Storm of Swords is "A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold Part two: Book 3 of a Song of Ice and Fire" and of course the HBO show is Game of Thrones...
* One edition of HP & Sorcerer's Stone is "HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE - also known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"
* One edition is "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) Harry Potter is a magical boy, who goes to Hogwarts. Harry Potter has a strange suspicion that someone will steal something special from Hogwarts. Harry goes down to the depths of Hogwarts to investigate and finds the mischievous person. Read the book to find out who it is and what they want to steal. I liked this book because it is a magical world. I recommend it to whomever likes magic."
* One edition is "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Book 1/Excellent Book - I can see why kids enjoy it. It feels like it is written for children even though J.K. says that she didn't do that on purpose. Just look at the names of things - Slytherin has a Snake mascot and it's lead teacher is called Snape. If she"
There may be taboo for calling "bad data"....but I'm saying it's bad data. All three of those are clearly NOT titles of HP #1. Flakey automagical fairies are going to be trumped by inconsistent (BAD BAD BAD) data every single time. What is the point in having a touchstone if every error in data input makes the system exponentially worse.
>125 lesmel: Here I thought part of it was pulling information from other parts of the book like reviews. Had that happen too.
The reason for not calling it "bad" is that people will get up in arms about Catalog Data Is Sacred and they can say that Moby Dick was written by Mark Twain, or put a review in the title field, if they damn well want to, which stopped attempts to get that sort of marking even back when there was still development taking place on LT itself. Since there's no way anything would happen anyway these days, we may as well call it what it is rather than tiptoeing around in the vain hopes that a sufficiently polite phrasing would aid in seeing something happen.
>127 lorax: I'm a lapsed English major and a librarian. I'm also known to be fairly blunt. It's bad data to put a review in a title field. We probably agree on this; and I'm not looking to light a torch or grab a pitchfork. I'm not going to hunt down users and ask them to change their titles or whatever...TOS and whatnot.
LT's stand on "catalog data is sacred" doesn't change the fact that authors or reviews in title fields is bad data. OCLC uses a master record for a reason. Even then, the OCLC database is littered with *gasps* bad data!
I do not believe catalog data is sacred. A title is a title is a title. An author is an author is an author. Emily Bronte didn't write Jane Eyre and anyone that catalogs Jane Eyre that way is...uninformed (or stupid, in my not humble opinion) -- same for saying Mark Twain wrote Moby Dick.
There are catalog constants. Title. Author. Publication info (yes, yes a title could be published multiple times). None of that a sacred just because you or I added it to the LT database. To say it is means LT as a whole is crippled and ineffective instead of a strong, effective tool. The sacred bits (again, my not humble opinion) are stuff like tags, reviews, ratings. Stuff that comes directly from the user/reader.
Not that I think my opinion is going to change anything.
Were you around when Tim proposed what he was then calling the "ratty data flag"? That's the context I'm coming from here. It would have been a way for users to indicate that data in another users' catalog was not suitable for bubbling up to the work level. Reviews in the title field, flagrantly wrong authors, the sort of thing we're talking about here.
There was a small but very vocal minority that was absolutely furious at the very notion that their own sacred catalog data could in any way be designated as being inferior to anyone else's. As was so often the case on LT, that small but vocal minority was sufficient to completely stop any thought of developing such a feature. As a result, ever since then when suggesting any sort of "Not suitable for bubbling up to the work level" indication for book-level data, I've been extremely roundabout with my phrasing, never using "bad" or "ratty" or "flag" or the like. However, as I said, I don't think any further development in this area is going to take place anyway, so I may as well start being direct.
While some things are wrong, there are other aspects of the title about which there can be valid differences.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone
Whether or not to include ': a novel' in the title.
How to punctuate when there is a subtitle.
These are all valid differences in titles that people feel strongly about. I often edit my titles to reflect my personal preferences. So please do not change my title to match the most common version or the canonical title. (Not to mention that I may have read the German translation and not the English one.)
For what it's worth, I don't put reviews in the title field. Considering that titles are truncated for display purposes and auto combining purposes, it seems that search could also be told to only consider the first 10 or 15 words. I wouldn't want to totally ignore subtitles, as sometimes they are more memorable than the official main title.
Does this have any effect on LTFL? Because I think at this point, the only features that will see any improvement are the ones that contribute to earning money.
I don't think any of us are talking about that level of difference, and at any rate it's a distraction from other solutions to the immediate problem at hand, which is FIXING TOUCHSTONES, which could be achieved in a number of ways that do not involve any judgment calls as to the quality of data.
While many of the examples posted here and in other threads are highly amusing, I confess that in day to day use of the touchstone feature I've had little trouble getting the right books to show in recent months. It's a long time since I had to force a touchstone. So I do find myself wondering why others seem to have so much trouble - what are we doing differently?
In the meantime I'm sure that the issue of some people getting an extra treasure hunt badge is going to get prompt attention.
I don't think I've had to force a touchstone (by using the work number) for at least a year, probably much longer. BUT even if I enter a title that matches the work title, it is very, very rarely the default touchstone selection. I always have to use the "(others)" link to get the book I want. And more hurried or less adept users are constantly creating false touchstones because they accept the defaults without checking them.
>129 lorax: No I was not. Otherwise, I probably would have been screaming about master records and separation of content and display.
>130 MarthaJeanne: I will agree to disagree. My library science degree training me to enter data a particular way. Personal preference bedamned. Plus sentence case versus title case is cosmetic and shouldn't be controlled in the metadata. Like HTML (content) and CSS (display of content). And as >132 lorax: mentions, touchstones can be fixed without having a disagreement/fight over quality of data.
>136 lesmel: Some of that is national preference. Just because US libraries prefer one way of doing things does not make other ways wrong.
>128 lesmel: Nothing of substance to add, except that when I worked in a bookstore, a woman asked me for a copy of Great Expectations by David Copperfield. I handed her a copy of the novel by Charles Dickens without comment, and then was roundly berated for trying to give her the wrong book. And then told how terrible our bookstore was for not having it in stock. I did direct her to the B. Dalton's at the other end of the mall. I hope they had fun.
Weird things customers say in bookstores ( which doesn't come up as Harry Potter ;-)
After reading this whole thread:
Are Touchstones ever going to work as initially intended?
>143 jnwelch: That one doesn't really surprise me since Hawking has a way more popular book (20x members) with "Nutshell" prominently in the title.
People Die = Harry Potter. Really!?!?
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Book 4/I did not like that most of the book people are hating Harry - but overall - an excellent read. I liked how it came together in the end. BAD DATA
Harry Potter En Die Beker Vol Vuur/Rowling, J.K. Not unexpected considering the number of languages the book is translated into
Might as well go back to using GoodReads.
Eventually, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will be the initial default target of every touchstone.
>147 .Monkey.: I don't interact in the GR groups...so, no real change there. Plus GR actually gives me EOY stats on my reading. I've been duplicating my reading and reviews from GR to LT; but it's not really worth it when the books are a pain to add (even with the import) to LT. Still, I like the social aspect here.
I recently celebrated my tenth Thingaversary here, and it was literally only this January that I started duplicating my reading tracking on GR as well. For a long time I held out hope that LT would improve, but they aren't exactly making an effort to retain existing members at this point, much less attract new ones.
I do wonder when it will get so bad that it starts affecting their ability to provide data for LTFL. I think that's basically the only thing that will turn it around now, but I worry that once it gets to that point it will already be too late.
The support situation here on LT, combined with the fact that I don't trust CK data at all has led me to build my own book registration system in MySQL and PHP. I am currently building v. 2 and have plans for an iOS app. The advantages are that it is my private system that really works like I want. And it is a very good opportunity to learn database design, programming, deployment, system management and automated testing. It has even helped me get a raise at work.
I have no hope the situation will improve here on LT, and am slowly adding less and less data here. The social aspect is pretty much the only reason, and the ability to (once or twice a year) share my collection with my (real world) family and friends. But v. 2 will also fix that aspect so I am not sure I will keep adding data when that goes live.
LT doesn't know "prominent". It knows "how many copies so far", and McEwan's "Nutshell" still has fewer than 200 copies.
I've separated the omnibus edition of "Brief History of Time" / "The Universe in a Nutshell" that was causing your behavior, so it's not likely to be reproducible once the system catches up, but it will certainly still go to various other "...in a Nutshell" titles with more copies first.
Mysteries To make it look like this you need to force it.
What is actually in the brackets is
That is the work number followed by 2 colons, then the title.
>158 jnwelch: I've come to accept "bizarre" as the normal way of touchstones.
>158 jnwelch: The word mysteries is just too common in book titles and subtitles, never mind descriptions. I think that one will always be a problem. Which is one reason we have the ability to force touchstones.
>161 MarthaJeanne: Well, giving exact Title matches a big boost would help.
>162 jjwilson61: - Yep another vote for that. If I want to touchstone a title 'Mysteries' because that's the entirety of the title, I'd really want to see all the books that are only titled 'Mysteries' on top of the list before any others that happen to feature the word mystery somewhere in some other field with lots of extra words around them.
I've no idea how easy this would be to code however.
>162 jjwilson61: This is my real annoyance. I just don't get why exact titles don't take precedence over everything. Fair enough, it may not be sensitive enough to fix it when I make a typo or don't quite get the title right but if I type in the exact title, that should be first on the list.
>166 lorax: I hope someone who can change things hears the choir and is moved by it!
Like reading_fox, I just don't know how hard the change would be to make.
Just a bump for this, please -
I know the choir and all that, but I just tried to do touchstones for Philipp Meyer's The Son (default - fellowship of the ring) and had to wade through a ton to get to the right touchstone. Worse, when I tried a touchstone for Nora Roberts' The Collector (default Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone) - I scrolled through the entire list (most of which I expect were to "collector's editions") and didn't see Nora Roberts at all. (I've now forced it, but it is increasingly frustrating).
>164 klarusu: "...if I type in the exact title, that should be first on the list." Yep.
Earlier today I combined a single copy of Dragonsong listed as 'Dragonsong (Harper Hall Trilogy, Book 1) by McCaffrey, Anne Published by Aladdin 1st (first) edition (2003) Paperback' and no author with the main work. Guess what I see as the default touchstone.
Oh, no. I could imagine a variety of understandable reasons why this might be working badly. But this behavior doesn't conform to any of them.
I think I'm going to bump this one every Bug-Whacking Wednesday until someone with the little brown L chimes in to tell me to defer it for another year. Then I'll back off to once a month. ;-)
Yeah, when I click on any recent touchstone these days, I'm thinking it's most likely not going where the poster intended. I'm now forcing touchstones as often as not, and when I'm not I often have to scroll way down the list to find the work that I've entered by exact name match, below the assorted popular-but-irrelevant titles.
>172 lorax: Do you think they're secretly making it WORSE just to spite us 'cause we're SO annoying?
Just popping by to say I hear you guys, and this is on my list of priorities. Unfortunately, it's not a likely candidate for Bug-Whacking Wednesdays, as it's not really a bug (though Touchstones are, indeed, buggy), and, as >175 Petroglyph: accurately pointed out, there's some deep legacy code involved here. It will take some time.
Well, I got my brown-L comment, so I'll back off to once a month. Thanks, lorannen.
>178 lorax: Anytime! And I'd say after the holiday season, mid-January, is a good time for me to start making noise at devs about this one.
>177 lorannen: Duly noted, and thank you for responding. I will keep dropping subtle hints, though.
>179 lorannen: Bumping this because we're *almost* at mid-January ;-)
If photo of edition of book is in the site, provide a direct link from photo putting that edition in library (instead of trying to find it on amazon.com or wherever).
>183 jckieffer: If that's a site improvement recommendation, try putting it in it's own thread.
>183 jckieffer: I'm not even 100% sure what they are trying to recommend...
To get back on track after 183 (I think I know what they're asking, but will not explain here so as not to further participate in the derail):
Bump. Tomorrow's a bug-whacking day, and Jan 11 is a lot like mid-January in that respect.
>185 gilroy: I think it's direct entry, not via Add Books ... either way, not a touchstone thing.
I've been meaning to say something about how strange it is that the touchstones often bring up completely unrelated titles. I see I am not alone in experiencing this.
Latest example: "March, Book 3" brings up "Of Mice and Men" first, and then a few dozen other equally unlikely titles. I guess the books by Alcott are somewhat understandable, but "Clockwork Princess?" "Le Morte d'Arthur?" "Frankenstein?"
Please read the thread, in particular the first post, to see an explanation of why random popular books show up like this.
I did. I still think something can and should be done about it. It wasn't always like this. When Touchstones first appeared (like magic), I don't recall there were such esoteric title lists one had to wade through. Anyway, I was just adding my voice to those calling for a fix. Sorry.
Yes, of course we think something can be done about it, that's why this thread exists! I see a lot of people who have observed the behavior but don't know why it's happening, which is why I pointed back to the first post.
The behavior in >1 lorax: is causing ghost author touchstones, I think. Anyone noticed this? I think there's already a report of this. You can see the ghosting here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/245053. Notice Anne Frank, JK Rowling, and Jane Austen? None of those are actual touchstones in my topic; but they are artifacts from the current touchstones system....and BAD DATA. That's right. I said it. BAD DATA. *stomps back to her cave*
>190 Storeetllr: Part of the problem is an artifact of success. When Touchstones were introduced, there was only a fraction of the number of works and editions that are on the site now.
That's only part of the issue, though. They've also changed how work search operates at least once since Touchstones were introduced, and may have also made non-publicized changes to the code that introduced this problem.
>1 lorax: But if I understand you, it's a problem that's far more annoying to me when I'm searching for a book in my own library--if I could do a proper search for a title of which I remember only one word or only the forename of the author it would be much faster than going through likely tags (which I might have to do to physically locate the book & discover its title anyway). As it is, if I search my own books with the one word I remember I'm often shown a dozen or more results, many of them so remotely relevant that I'd assumed they were derived from user tags.
>194 PhaedraB: It's also an artifact of their overall approach to bad data—trying to avoid it rather than deal with it—as exemplified by the removal of the green plus. Avoidance only works so long.
This has nothing to do with searching your own books. It's specific to Touchstones.
>196 bluepiano: Searching your own library is a whole different ballgame. If you want to search on just title or author, pick title/author from the drop-down list.
Tomorrow's another Wednesday, and it's still sort of mid-January. So,
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