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Recent convert from goodreads

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Dec 14, 2017, 9:25pm Top

Hello, LibraryThing world! I've had a LibraryThing account for a hundred years, but I tend to swoop in, obsess for a few dozen hours, then disappear for years again. I am trying to make the switch stick this time. The trouble is, I have years and years of experience on goodreads, so a) I was able to import all this amazing data from my goodreads account, which is fantastic, but which is all slightly not optimized for the way LT does things, and b) I am totally conditioned by all my years on goodreads to expect things to be a certain way. Often I open up LibraryThing and just kind of poke around at it for a while, not really sure what I am doing yet.

I would love someone to obsess with me for a bit. So when I'm staring at my collections, thinking "should I arrange it like this or like this?" there is someone to say, "oooh, do it like this!" I have tried to make my husband be my sounding board, but he is not invested. And my best bookish friend recently moved away. ::sniff:: (I am trying to convert them to LibraryThing, but no dice so far.)

So, anyone who is also a recent convert and brimming with energy to figure out how to make LibraryThing their new home? Or maybe someone who has been here for ages and has everything just so, who likes the idea of taking a newbie under their wing?

Oh. I suppose I should actually introduce myself. Hi! My name is Jen. I love spreadsheets and logs and tags and having everything recorded and organized just so, but I also generate side projects at about twice the rate as I finish them, so I have a tendency to get distracted in the middle. Obviously, I love reading. So much so that I've recently started my own micro press and am in the process of getting its first book ready to print! I'm a geek, and I have kids, and I bead things, and I like starting new things much more than finishing them, except when it comes to books. I read a little of everything, but mostly literature and science fiction and evolution and progressive politics and stuff. I don't know. Things! Book things! Books are good.

Please send help.

Dec 14, 2017, 9:54pm Top

>1 greeniezona: Welcome! (And after I write that I realize you joined LT five months before I did. But the point still stands.)

I've been obsessing over LibraryThing for nearly 12 years now, and I'm still coming up with new and better ways to improve my catalog. I move metadata the way some people rearrange furniture.

This is me: I love spreadsheets and logs and tags and having everything recorded and organized just so, but I also generate side projects at about twice the rate as I finish them, so I have a tendency to get distracted in the middle. :) I've been revising my tags for 5-ish years now. Yeah, still not done, because every time I get about halfway through, I think of all the ways my system could be even better and have to start over.

I'm a librarian in real life; I was going to say I don't catalog much at work, but that's not true. I spend part of my time cataloging microfilmed public records. They are a beast compared to books.

This is my cataloging theory (aka manifesto on the taxonomy of human knowledge) in a nutshell: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/User:Casvelyn.

But really the primary rule is "Do whatever works for you." With a corollary of: "You won't know what works until you try 12 other things first." :)

Dec 15, 2017, 5:44am Top

Completely agree with >2 casvelyn: "But really the primary rule is "Do whatever works for you." With a corollary of: "You won't know what works until you try 12 other things first." :)"

You can spare yourself a few iterations of repeatedly changing the same thing, by thinking about what you're trying to get from your catalogue.

LT's biggest upside is it's biggest downside as you've already discovered. It's very versatile and can do a lot of things. Which means there are a lot of choices to be made.

If you star this thread so you can find it again, then just keep posting thoughts here and various people will drop by to offer their suggestions.

It sounds like one of your first decisions will be how much overlap you want between tags and collections. Collections are like shelves - broad groupings. Tags came first and be either broad or specific. If you are sorting by tags then order is important! (really try to get this right first time, moving the order of several tags on hundreds of books is annoying!).

Dec 15, 2017, 10:29am Top

I'd recommend checking out the group "Talk About LibraryThing" (https://www.librarything.com/groups/sitetalk) as that is where lots of people who are obsessed with LT like to hang out.

Dec 15, 2017, 2:14pm Top

I have been checking out the sitetalk, but didn't see anything that really fit what I was looking for. I will keep an eye on it though.

Dec 15, 2017, 2:17pm Top

The thoroughness of your cataloging system is impressive, casvelyn. When I first started up with LibraryThing, I was attempting to organize my book collection by the library of congress system. But I ran into too many books that didn't already have a number and got discouraged, then distracted by the next project.

And you still qualify to welcome me. ;) Like I said, I've had only about three bursts of manic activity on LibraryThing over the years. So you've clearly logged billions more hours here than I have. ;)

Dec 15, 2017, 2:19pm Top

Okay, I am getting used to the way LibraryThing threads discussions. I could have put these all in one message, but it's too late now!

reading_fox -- what do you mean by tag order? now I am afraid. All of my tags came in with whatever order goodreads assigned them.

Edited: Dec 15, 2017, 2:28pm Top

>7 greeniezona:

When viewing your catalogue & sorting on the tag field, LT sorts left-to-right (the entire block of text). If somehow you want to sort on tags then sorting is dependent upon the sequence in which the individual tags (applied to a specific "book" or "work") are entered.

For example, there is no way to designate the tag FICTION (if you used this tag) as the first sortation term, thereby sorting all books with that tag at the top. Instead, only books with FICTION as the first tag entry will sort to the top. Other books with the tag FICTION later in the field (e.g. after a tag SCIFI or ANIMALS) will be sorted based on the first tag's characters.

reading_fox, is that what you meant? In any case, it's how I interpreted it and was a key factor in my decision not to rely upon tags for sorting. Instead, I use tags for filtering, and sort by Author or Title, for example.

Dec 15, 2017, 2:38pm Top

Ack! I was going to use the tags for sorting, at least so far as when I moved things into collections. For instance, I have a bunch of books tagged "from-library" that I was going to move into the Read but not Owned collection. But you're telling me that because it isn't the first tag, I can't rely on clicking on that tag and seeing all the books that have that tag?

Edited: Dec 15, 2017, 2:50pm Top

If you search on it you should see all the books with that tag. Order doesn't matter. But it is possible to sort on the tag field, in which case the order does matter, because sorting is done letter by letter from the beginning of the field.

Check out the power edit feature (lightning icon) if you want to move large groups of books between collections.

Dec 15, 2017, 6:37pm Top

Those are all great tips, thank you!

Dec 16, 2017, 6:38am Top

The only way I've found to make LT display books in series order is by sorting on tags - and having a series tag as the first tag in the field. And if you have authors who have written several series then you first need an author tag, then a series tag. Displaying the catalogue by tag then sorts by author and correctly by series within that author. It's a bit of a pain to set up though!

You can filter your library to only see books with 'from library' tag quite easily just by clicking on it. (To transfer to a collection you then need to be in power edit mode ( lightning bolt icon) this allow you to add all selected books to a collection. This is not intuitive!

Apr 9, 2018, 5:16pm Top

Thank you casvelyn, love your cataloguing theory! I don't need nearly that detail, but truly inspiring! :)

Apr 27, 2018, 12:56pm Top

I'm just starting my migration from GR, and it's been...let's just say it's challenging.

You're lucky that you were able to import most of your GR stuff. I read a lot of ebooks. (Anyone about to lecture me about how those aren't "real books," please save your fingers. I've heard it all many, many times. But large print books are hella expensive compared to ebooks.) LT doesn't seem to accept ebook info well, so the amount of cleanup needed is daunting. And I'm probably making it worse on myself because non-standard capitalization of book titles makes my fingers itchy. Figuring out things like why all my Little House books imported with Garth Williams listed as the author (rather than the illustrator) and Laura Ingalls Wilder is nowhere in the listing makes is making me want to spike my coffee with bourbon.

OTOH, I love the idea of having half-stars and having LOC/Dewey and content info available, assuming I ever figure out what I'm doing. And I definitely like being able to catalog my audio stuff. I think my annoyance with GR stems partly from the way they keep labeling all my Great Courses audo entries as NOT A BOOK when a) they have ISBN numbers and authors, and b) GR seems unable to explain to me why an audio textbook is a "book" but TGC audio lectures are "not a book."

Anyway, here's how I'm thinking of using collections and tags.
For me, collections will be a way to sort the status, location, and the "when read" of books. By status, I mean things like Read, Currently Reading, DNF, To Read, etc. Location isn't so straight forward for me because what I really want to know is if I own the book or if it is available at the public library and in what format. Example: Status: TBR -- ebook avail @ library. I figure To Read will capture all the books I want to read and those location shelves are a sort of subset of that. I wish there was a way to set collections as exclusive like on GR so there's no way a book would be in two "statuses" at the same time, but oh well. The "when read" will take the place of the GR My Year in Books function. (I guess I could use tags for that, but I've never figured out if something like 2012 in a tag means the book takes place in 2012 or the person read it in 2012 or ???)

I'm thinking I will use tags here to cover most of the stuff that was handled by my GR non-exclusive shelves: genre, setting, time-frame, themes, whether part of a series, etc. Since I'm trying to read more from authors in other countries, I want to start including that info. I haven't decided yet how I want to do that. For example, I could include Oliver Twist as either British Lit or British Author. Not sure yet which will be more useful to me in the long run. The other thing I did was tag everything I imported with "imported from Goodreads" with the hope I can sort by that tag and do some cleanup work. I was in the habit of commenting on my DNF books (not rating, but commenting) to remind myself why I DNFd it. I probably should delete those comments here or move them to "private comments"...although either will take a lot of time. It's messy.

On GR, I probably have 200+ shelves. My goal here is to make collections do the heavy lifting and tags do the sorting. And now that I see Casvylen's system, I'm in awe!

Have you figured out if there is a way to change the edition of a book yet? For example, I have no doubt there is a correct listing for the Little House Books that lists Wilder as the author and shows the cover. Changing my listing doesn't really "fix" the entries since it doesn't merge it with the "correct" one. I keep trying to find some kind of user-guide that tells me how to do things like that.

Apr 27, 2018, 2:18pm Top

What source(s) did you use for the import?

Once you have corrected your entry it is fairly easy to combine it with the main work.

Apr 27, 2018, 3:08pm Top

I don't see any Little House works on LT by Garth Williams so chances are that you're book is already linked to the right work. What makes you think it isn't?

And what do you consider non-standard capitalization? There's the way most of us are taught in school and theirs the library way, but they are both standard.

Apr 27, 2018, 5:58pm Top

>14 Yaaresse: Welcome to LT! Transferring over information can be time-consuming, but worth it.

LibraryThing does not have editions in the same way that Goodreads does, so "switching editions" is not a matter of picking from a finite list of available possiblities. Rather, you edit your book's record so it contains the correct information for your particular copy.

When importing or entering records, the source you use for your data can and will affect how much clean-up is required. If you want complete and total control, manual entry is always an option, but you may need to combine your book with the main work, and manual entry can take more time than an import from an existing source. The only truly required piece of data is a title; all other information is technically optional. Of course, if you only catalog the titles of your books they probably will not automatically combine with the correct works and it would just be a mess.

Collections tend to be more useful if you keep the overall number of them small; the tag system is much more robust (Collections came after tags in site development terms). I keep track of yearly reading information with tags; all my cataloged books that I read this year get the "read: 2018" tag (which helps sidestep the ambiguity of a bare date in the tags).

Regarding your Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I echo jjwilson61's comment that it is entirely probable your copy is already linked to the correct work, there just may have been something screwy with the import (I started cataloging at LibraryThing so I have never had to import my records). You can change the author on your record so it correctly lists Laura Ingalls Wilder as the author, and you can put Garth Williams in the "other authors" section with his role as illustrator.

Apr 28, 2018, 5:37am Top

If you enter a book and your copy is not automatically combined with everyone else's copies, you can combine it yourself. In many cases, if you click on the link "editions" on the left side of the page, LT will give you a list of likely options; you then can select the correct work(s) and combine your copy with them.

If the main work doesn't appear on the list of suggested combinations, you can use the "workbench" feature (at bottom of the right-hand column) and add the relevant works to create a list of works for combining. If you run into difficulties that you're not comfortable resolving yourself, people in the "Combiners" group can help you out.

Apr 28, 2018, 4:07pm Top

Is there a primer somewhere on how to combine without screwing up other stuff?
It's probably under my nose, but I really am still trying to find my way around.

Apr 28, 2018, 4:32pm Top

When I sorted my All collection by author (to look for duplicates), I saw them there. I went into Edit Your Books and changed Williams to the illustrator and added Wilder as the author. So, rookie question: does it sometimes take a while (say several minutes) for those changes to show up? Or can I expect them to appear immediately upon page refresh? (Or does it depend on site traffic?)

I guess I'm old school on the capitalization. I was taught title case is to capitalize all words in the title except articles, conjunctions, and/or prepositions unless those words start the title or subtitle. Colons separate title from subtitle, and there is no space in front of the colon (or semi-colon).

Some examples randomly pulled from my collections:
1. The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
2. The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2)
3. Word by word : the secret life of dictionaries
4. The professional chef

I would consider #1 and #2 to be standard Title Case and the second two in error for titles. (They are straight sentence case.) For #2 (Lestat), the inclusion of the series name would be debatable, depending on what the standard is for where it's listed, but if the series name is to be included, the parenthetical note seems to be most common. IMO, #4 is not standard because it is in sentence case and because it is missing the subtitle.

So what am I missing? School was a long time ago. :)

Apr 28, 2018, 4:41pm Top

Ah, so there is some kind of auto-combing magic going on at some point? I did correct the Little House books as you suggested. I had some other books show up as one listing (me, I guess), to which I though, "Can't be. It's not a popular book, but it's not completely unheard of either!"

Perhaps the large number of faulty imports had to do with how many of them had ASINs instead of ISBNs. I read mostly ebooks, and mostly on Kindle.

I thought of using the "read XXXX(year)" tag, but I also like to track books I DNF or sample and dismiss. (Keeps me from picking up something for the third time and going "Why does this seem familiar and yet I don't like it?"...which I have done a couple times over the years.

Apr 28, 2018, 4:43pm Top

>20 Yaaresse: So what am I missing? School was a long time ago. :)

Apparently in library school they teach you to use sentence case when cataloging book titles.

As for editing your book it should show up immediately in your catalog, that is on the Your Books tab. For the work, that depends if the system managed to auto-combine your book with the correct work. If it did, then I'd be very surprised if that work didn't already have the correct author on it, so you don't need to do anything. If instead LT didn't match you up correctly when you entered the book, it may have created a new work with the wrong author. In that case you could go to that work and combine it with the correct work. It doesn't matter that it has the wrong author because the correct work will already have many editions already combined with it that have the correct author. To see what editions are combined into a work, look at the editions link on the left-hand side of the work page. (And the LT definition of an edition is any unique combination of title, author, and isbn).

Apr 28, 2018, 4:48pm Top

So...I'm not sure I know enough to ask what I want to ask, but here goes:
at any point in doing that, is there anything (message or popup) that tells you this is what's going on? Because I may have done that without knowing I was doing it and thought I was just looking at the details for that edition.

Damn, I'm confused. LOL! I've been using computers for nearly 25+ years, so there's no excuse for me not to be getting this. Argh.

Apr 28, 2018, 4:56pm Top

Apparently in library school they teach you to use sentence case when cataloging book titles.

Naturally. After drumming the other into several generations of baffled English students, it's the only logical thing to do.

Ok, I'm not going to overthink that part, even if it does look messy and "wrong" to me. But thanks, everyone, for your patience in explaining things.

Edited: Apr 29, 2018, 1:56am Top

>24 Yaaresse: Part of that is historically the stress on hands typing with a manual typewriter. Also, of course, there can be differences of opinion on whether a word is 'important' which makes sentence case a lot less controversial.

Get your entries to look the way you want them to look. You will see your title and your author on most pages regardless of the work title and author.

You can see the Work title and author on the main book page at the bottom of the Your book information box.

Apr 29, 2018, 1:46am Top

>25 MarthaJeanne: the stress on hands typing with a manual typewriter

Ah! That makes sense (or, rather, would have made sense back in the day) . . . hitting the shift key with your little finger was hard enough on a "modern" manual where all you were doing was lowering the typebar "basket" . . . it would have been worse on older machines where you were jacking up the entire carriage!

Apr 29, 2018, 10:22am Top

I never thought that I'd hear the word modern refer to typewriters, although I do see you put it in sneer quotes.

Apr 29, 2018, 7:31pm Top

Typing on a manual typewriter, that's something else that dates me. :)
It also explains how I manage to destroy computer keyboards in a very short period of time, even so-called "rugged" gamer keyboards.

Thank you, MarthaJeanne. For some reason, I was equating the idea of a work page with something more complicated than it was. I realize now work = noun rather than verb.

Mar 1, 2019, 2:42am Top

I'm trying to convert from GR, so I made an export file and I imported to LT. I have a library of about 1500 books, most of them in Greek.
Here are my 2 biggest problems:
1. It seems that LT mess up the authors when in the export csv file from GR, the Additional Authors column is filled. In my case this is true for the majority of my books, since I put over there the translator (plus the editor etc) of the book. So I ended up having as primary authors the translators. Eg. more of my le Carre books are attributed to their translator.
2. Most of the covers are missing

It is too much work to fix them, for more than 1000 books!

Anyone any suggestion/idea?


Mar 1, 2019, 5:40am Top

>29 tonisq:

#2 is probably related to #1, because the primary authors are wrong, works are not combined, and thus no cover is known.

I don't know anything about the import functionality though to help you with that...

Mar 1, 2019, 5:54am Top

I believe covers are tied to ISBN. There needs to be a cover associated with that ISBN either on Amazon or user uploaded ones on LT. Translations into languages outside the major ones rarely have any available automatically. I had to upload all for my Croatian books

Edited: Mar 2, 2019, 1:48pm Top

>29 tonisq: I would consider re-importing ISBNs by batches using other Greek sources. I just got the National Library of Greece working again, and I'd suggest also using the Hellenic Academic Libraries Link (not the one with the HEAL abbreviation -- the alternate one) and the Municipal Library of Kalamaria. That should get you some better records for your imported books. Meanwhile, I've been taking a crack at combining some of your records from this import run with the corresponding master work records. If you wind up wanting to edit them manually, it should be easier, and they're properly linked to all the universe of data about each work in all editions, translations, etc. (well, for the titles I got around to, anyhow). Don't let that stop you from trying a new import, though.

Mar 2, 2019, 11:55pm Top

>12 reading_fox: Regarding sorting a series by order; after asking on LT (I forget where), one method that was suggested to me was to use the Book Crossing column and invent my own 'ID' for each book. Since I don't Book Cross, that works well for me.

I use the first letter of the author's last name and a letter code for the series and then numbers for the book order (not forgetting the zero). Then I can sort by the Book Crossing ID and then re-sort by authors' last names.

Mar 9, 2019, 6:16am Top

Help me also!!!!

Mar 11, 2019, 11:28am Top

>34 shywriter7: What, in particular, do you need help with? If you've got a question that's not covered by an existing (or recent) thread, you can create your own. Or you can email LibraryThing staff at info@librarything.com, and we'll be happy to help you from there.

Mar 11, 2019, 11:30am Top

>35 lorannen: He/she hasn't been back since spraying odd posts in this group last week. It almost got the profile flagged.

Group: Welcome to LibraryThing!

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