Otis Chandler Otis's Comments (member since Jun 17, 2007)


Otis's comments from the Goodreads Librarians Group group.

(showing 1-20 of 315)
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Jan 28, 2012 04:47PM

220 José wrote: "I totally would help to grow goodreads book DB: IF it becomes an OPEN data source to others. Also, I think that it would boost cooperation from librarians and users if they know that they are helpi..."

Many have tried this - it's very difficult. There are many companies that charge prices you wouldn't believe just for databases of book meta-data. Our API terms currently allow non-commercial use of our data - but until now most of it wasn't our data, and we weren't allowed to put book titles, authors names, etc for most of the data. We are now sourcing directly from publishers in many cases, so we'll start to see this change.
Jan 28, 2012 04:44PM

220 I have to say that I do not agree with simply getting rid of books sourced from Amazon that no one has shelved.

Two things: the first is that we don't have a choice - these books either have to be nulled out or deleted. No point nulling it out if nobody has added it. Second thing is that we haven't added any new editions from the new datasources - we have just been focused on sourcing ones we already have. After we get through this, we may add those editions in, and actually have a larger database than we do now! That plus, Ingram and possibly Worldcat will be available on the search page starting next week, so you will be able to query their databases in real time.
Jan 28, 2012 04:40PM

220 This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "Otis wrote: "As far as I know Open Library data is entered from their scanning project and from other various open library sources. It is granted under a pretty open license, so I don't think it's ..."

OL says they have 20 million records, but their API says they have 5 million available. So that must be why there is a difference. Amazons terms are pretty clear on this point - you aren't allowed to sublicense data in an API (we have - or should I say had - the same issue).
Jan 28, 2012 03:17PM

220 Some updates:

We are down to 1% of works left to rescue! And of those remaining, 70% have only been shelved once, and 96% have been shelved less than 5 times - so we are really getting down to the long tail.

Many of the missing editions are Foreign: German, French, Japanese - as Amazon has API's for those. We are working on getting licenses for the German and French national libraries. Not sure what to do about Japan yet (suggestions for sources are welcome). For Italy we have imported Mondadori and some library data and gotten most of the formerly Amazon.it sourced books.

Many of those are also KDP/CreateSpace editions, which until yesterday we thought we would be getting a feed for from Amazon. We have emailed all the authors of those books that are on Goodreads, and the good news is we can keep the asins, so we will be able to rescue them more easily going forward.

Starting today we are beginning to null out Amazon sourced descriptions, images, page numbers, publishers, and formats. Much of this data is still sitting in feeds from various data sources we have, but we haven't processed them yet because we were focused on keeping the record (aka importing title/author/isbn/isbn13). So don't worry about this data until we import the rest, which may take a few days after the 30th.

Also starting today we are starting to delete works from Amazon that nobody has added. We have cached a number of these in our database, but as nobody has added them I don't think they will be missed.
Jan 28, 2012 03:05PM

220 This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: " "I was wondering is Open Library ok to use ..." I was wondering is Open Library ok to use as a source? "

I had this exact same question. I'd never heard of it before, but today am starting to find a number of the rescue books on it. Poking around, it looks to me like a lot of their data is coming from Amazon to begin with, so they're presumably not an acceptable source.


As far as I know Open Library data is entered from their scanning project and from other various open library sources. It is granted under a pretty open license, so I don't think it's from Amazon.
Jan 24, 2012 03:45PM

220 Cait wrote: "Question about "may be merged" editions: if these editions are merged, will this be like the existing merge that librarians do on duplicate editions, where the original is completely deleted, there's no record of its unique values, and people's reviews are permanently shifted onto the kept edition? Or will this be some sort of conditional merge where if data is imported later for the merged edition it will be restored on people's shelves the way the "may be deleted" editions could be?"

We are hoping to restore all editions and lose no data here. For editions we can't find alternate source for by the deadline, we will do the former and merge them with the best edition, but keep in the background that it was originally for another edition and hope to restore it later.

LJ wrote: "This does NOT make me happy. I have over 2400 reviews posted and have always made a point of finding the proper edition. Often, the books are UK releases, purchased prior to the UK edition being ..."

I know it's frustrating, but please hold your unhappiness until after get through this. We are really striving to not lose any data!
Jan 24, 2012 11:58AM

220 Sarah wrote: "I have a couple of questions, to confirm a few things that have come up.
1) People asked if Google Books is okay as a source, and it seems to be thought that it is, but Google Books now sells ebook..."


We don't have an explicit license with Google, so legally any books rescued from them would be at risk down the road. However, if the choice is not finding another source or using Google (Worldcat, publisher, etc come up empty), then it's possible we can negotiate a license down the road.

From: http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

"8.2 You should be aware that Content presented to you as part of the Services, including but not limited to advertisements in the Services and sponsored Content within the Services may be protected by intellectual property rights which are owned by the sponsors or advertisers who provide that Content to Google (or by other persons or companies on their behalf). You may not modify, rent, lease, loan, sell, distribute or create derivative works based on this Content (either in whole or in part) unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google or by the owners of that Content, in a separate agreement."

I don't imagine Content owners (authors & publishers) would ever object to our using their meta-data as we help promote books, but legally the answer to "Can we use Google" should be no.
Jan 21, 2012 03:02PM

220 This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "GoodReads Powers-that-Be: Without knowing precisely how Amazon set up their demand, I'm wondering if you can temporarily skate around the deletion of books in so short a time period."

Amazon's TOS require that we delete all data that we might have cached. Though we do think we can delete all their data and still keep enough data to ID the record. We are working on that. We hope to lose as few editions as possible.

Moderatrix Lori wrote: "I'm a Data Aggregation Specialist for a major online real estate listing portal site. While I can't speak for Goodreads, I can tell you that you are sometimes given 72 hours to either correct what..."

Lori, while I can't comment on the specific nature of our relationship with Amazon you do bring up good points about why it's better to have data you own yourself - or at least have a very secure license for. Amazon's license has always been a risk for us b/c they could pull the plug at any time. The new data sources will be much safer and better long term for Goodreads. I know it might be a painful transition, but stick with us - this will help ensure we're going to be around for a while!
Jan 20, 2012 04:42PM

220 Lindajean (GreenHills) wrote: "Can we know what the new source of 14 million ISBNs is? I'd like to be reassured that it's an authoritative source ..."

I can't say yet, but it is a very authoritative source, and will be announced in the next few days.
Jan 20, 2012 03:06PM

220 Diane wrote: "This makes me physically ill, especially since I have spent hundreds of hours of my life creating a group with thousands of catalogued books (you can see what I mean here: http://www.goodreads.com/..."

We are committed to finding new sources for all books. Please don't be ill until we get the replacement database in place :)

Why do we only have until January 30 to get all of this fixed?

All I can say is we've been given that deadline.
Jan 20, 2012 02:51PM

220 Moloch wrote: "Let's say the book was imported from Amazon, but the data was incorrect and I fixed it (misspelled author, title, edition language, page number etc.) some time ago. The data is not from Amazon anym..."

No, in this case it's still whats legally called a "derivative" of Amazons. We need a new source that has all the data to rescue it. But feel free to make your same corrections if they exist in the new source too.
Jan 20, 2012 02:28PM

220 How do I know which data comes from Amazon and is in risk of delete and which doesn't? I don't remember how many and which covers I uploaded in a year. I have to fill all the fields of the "rescue me" page always, to be sure?

If it's on the rescue page its from Amazon.
Jan 20, 2012 02:08PM

220 I put in so much work and this is all to be deleted

Again, we expect very few books to be deleted, once the 14m file is uploaded. We are only asking for librarians to prepare us for next week at this time.

Since Goodreads is declaring war on Kindle authors

Again, we are planning to keep all kindle editions. At the current moment they are Amazon sourced so the rescue buttons are appearing, but we aim to change that shortly so don't bother about them.
Jan 20, 2012 12:10PM

220 Moloch wrote: "Question: is Amazon.it affected?

A lot of Italian book info came from there. In the future, if it won't be used anymore as a source, will Goodreads have trouble finding Italian ISBNs and Italian b..."


Yes unfortunately so. Although we are working on importing a feed of Italian books from Mondadori, so it will get a little better. Suggestions for other publishers to get feeds from are welcome!
Jan 20, 2012 11:57AM

220 Sarah wrote: "Will cover art that came from Amazon disappear too?"

Yes. But our first priority is the basic data that we need to keep the book identifiable (title/author/isbn). We might make a list of books with no covers later.
Jan 20, 2012 11:14AM

220 Vicky wrote: "How (if at all) is this going to affect Kindle editions? I'm assuming they will no longer auto-import when you search for them, but is there anything else we should be aware of?"

We are hoping to keep those, but I don't have an answer to this yet. Ignore them for now.
Jan 20, 2012 11:11AM

220 Marisa wrote: "I have a "small" question. How have you get the "Rescue list"? Because almost all the books which are included in my list are English and Spanish editions, with no relation with Amazon."

The rescue list is based on any book that is sourced from Amazon. Book sources have always been visible on the edit book page. If you find books in the rescue list that aren't sourced from Amazon, please let us know.
Jan 20, 2012 11:09AM

220 It would be good to start making lists of good sources other than the obvious ones. Best are author and publisher websites, but library sites, wikipedia, and anything else like that should be ok too. We'd like to stay away from any ecommerce site.
Jan 20, 2012 11:08AM

220 > Is the rescue list specific to each user, and taken from their shelves?

Yes it is. We will have a general list out after the big file import.

> I'm concerned, because I have improved many, many listings, over the years, whose data may have originally come from amazon, but which I augmented.

None of this will be lost - as long as it made it into the librarian log. We have a process running now that is updating sources for each piece of data to the librarian who added it. You can see these sources on the librarian log for each book (but again, they aren't complete).
Jan 20, 2012 10:54AM

220 At Goodreads, we make it a priority to use book information from the most reliable and open data sources, because it helps us build the best experience for our members. To that end, we're making a major change.

On January 30, Goodreads will no longer display book information that comes from Amazon.

Amazon's data has been great for us for many years, but the terms that come with it have gotten more and more restrictive, and we were finally forced to come to the conclusion that moving to other datasources will be better for Goodreads and our members in so many ways that we had to do it. It may be a little painful, but our aim is to make it as seamless as possible for all our members.

Amazon data that we will stop using includes data such as titles, author names, page counts, and publication dates. For the vast majority of book editions, we are currently importing this data from other sources. Once the imports are done, those few remaining editions for which we haven't found an alternative source of information will be removed from Goodreads.

Member ratings, reviews, and bookshelves are safe, but your data may be moved to a different edition of the book. If we can't find a matching edition, then your review will be attached to a book with no title or author. But the good news is that there's a way you can help.

Today, we are announcing new tools to help Goodreads Librarians source data for the books that need rescuing.

To view these new tools, click here and click "rescue me!" next to any of the books on the list. You will then see a form with data to fill in and some helpful guidelines for where to locate said data.

Early next week, we will be importing a database of 14 million ISBNs from a new source, so many of the books that seem to need rescue today may not actually be in jeopardy. We won't know until we import this new data source. So please don't spend a lot of time rescuing books—we don't want you to do unnecessary work. What we really need is for everyone to try rescuing a few books to see if the tools are working as we hoped. That way, once next week rolls around, we'll be ready to get down to the business or rescuing the books that actually are in jeopardy.

Thanks for helping Goodreads remain the amazing resource and special place it is. Hopefully all of this work will result in an even more robust Goodreads database, a database that, with your help, is already one of the best book databases in the world, and will last the ages.

The rescue link: http://www.goodreads.com/rescue_books...

Update: There have been many questions about Kindle Editions and books in the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program. As these editions are unique to Amazon, there are no alternative data sources. We anticipate keeping these, and will bend over backwards for all our authors who publish via Kindle to make sure their readers on Goodreads have a smooth transition.
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