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Suggestions & Questions > Reading across the gender line

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message 1: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Theaker (Rolnikov) | 39 comments I really enjoyed this blog:

It would be cool if the Export to CSV feature could include a column for the (primary) author's gender, so that I could easily analyse my own statistics.

message 2: by Hirondelle (last edited Jul 26, 2011 03:56AM) (new)

Hirondelle | 385 comments While there is a field for gender on author information, I am not sure it is often filled - just tried and for big name authors (particularly if dead) it is, for many other midlist authors it is most time not filled - not sure how GR did it, I imagine they just supposed that gender being filled was statistically the same for male and female authors and ignored books by authors without gender. Or had some sort of first name filter running (ah, George...) on top of results, dunno. But many author information do NOT have gender field filled out so not sure if export would give that information consistently.

And I am not a big fan of the idea of a librarian push to fill out that information - VS Naipul and many others, not sure I can explain this well. I understand why you want this but it´s just that on other occasions, many times when people want to sort books by author´s genders (or gender of the majority of its readers, or its fans) it´s usually for something which makes me want to bash my head against a wall. It´s not something I would personally feel motivated to fill the librarian information about.

message 3: by Lori (new)

Lori  (ModeratrixLori) | 433 comments I can see wanting that information as well but unfortunately it wouldn't be accurate if it were up to the librarians to add that information. A lot of writers use a pseudonym that denotes a gender different than their own. It's mostly female authors writing as males, especially in the genre I read. It would be impossible for a librarian to know, unless they were very familiar with the genre, that Sean Michael and Chris Owen are women. Both of whom try very hard to be gender ambivalent. And some authors just out and out lie about their true gender. I won't name names though :)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 14302 comments Jill Emerson

would you classify this author as female?

Pseudonym for Lawrence Block

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 14302 comments Jill Emerson

and, while the author profile says it's a pseudonym for Lawrence Block, I can expect all the one by one hand entering of author genders taking awhile. Not sure we want GR staff to be spending time on this.

message 6: by MissJessie (new)

MissJessie | 1712 comments Staff would not do it. It would be another librarian job. One I am not about to undertake.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Do we still have genders? That's so, like, 1980.

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 210 comments Agreed with MissJessie ... if I am adding an author to the database, or editing the author's info, I will add the author's sex and dates of birth/death, if they can be found. But I don't see myself taking the time to do this for all authors.

More topically, I don't have a problem with GR adding this as an export option if they wish to do so. It's possible that could be a quick task which wouldn't break anything. I can see why someone would be interested. I just wouldn't go out of my way to fill in those blanks in the database, myself.

message 9: by Petra Eggs (new)

Petra Eggs (PetraX) | 5886 comments Considering that detective and romance novels in the UK that are written by men almost always have a feminine pseudonym, and the fact that this isn't known to most people and their real names might be known by hardly anyone, the mistakes would be legion.

Also what about the deliberately misleading ones like James Tiptree Jr. who was thought to be a man for most of her career because she wished it that way?

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 1502 comments MissJessie wrote: "Staff would not do it. It would be another librarian job. One I am not about to undertake."

Yeah, I can't see myself volunteering for that one, either.

message 11: by Vicky (last edited Jul 26, 2011 06:30PM) (new)

Vicky (vnorthw) | 813 comments It would be a neat thing to track, I don't think it would be super hard to implement, but I doubt GR would make it a priority - there are so many other things for them to work on.

However, if implemented, the statistics would have to be taken with a large grain of salt. As a lot of people mentioned, many of the author profiles on Goodreads do not have genders. The information in a profile is added by librarians, I don't think any author information (aside from the name) is ever automatically imported into Goodreads.

I do try to update the gender when I'm editing an author - but as the other librarians have said, I can't see myself hunting down all the non-gender-specific authors just to update that.

message 12: by rivka, librarian moderator (new)

rivka | 12035 comments Mod
Vicky wrote: "I don't think any author information (aside from the name) is ever automatically imported into Goodreads."

Actually, we get a small amount of author profile data from BookTour. I don't think it includes gender, though.

message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Theaker (Rolnikov) | 39 comments Thanks for all the comments. I'm not asking for anyone to go out of their way to fill in missing data - the field's already there in the database, and I'd just like to be able to export whatever data is there.

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Authors mentioned in this topic

Jill Emerson (other topics)
James Tiptree Jr. (other topics)