Announcement: Updated Policy on ISBNs and ASINs > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by rivka (last edited Mar 08, 2018 10:41AM) (new)

rivka Hi everyone,

We’re implementing a policy change to how we record ISBNs and ASINs. As you all know, we have required that a book’s ISBN/ASIN remain with the original edition. If a subsequent edition was released with the same ISBN/ASIN, the number remained with the original edition. This policy is now changing. Going forward, ISBNs/ASINs should be moved to the book’s most recent edition released with the same ISBN or ASIN.

Book records with ISBN/ASINs attached to the older edition will not be automatically updated, and we are not asking Goodreads Librarians to begin updating ISBN/ASIN data on all of our book pages. Going forward, new editions added to Goodreads should adhere to this policy. As you make librarian edits to book records already on Goodreads, you can update the ISBN/ASINs as needed.

This policy change is the result of much discussion, and we carefully considered the following benefits to changing this policy before reaching our decision:

* Book links on new editions with associated ISBN/ASINs will work properly, as these are linked via ISBN/ASIN.
* Members will see the newest available edition of a book when searching the Goodreads database.
* Requiring that ISBN/ASINs remain with their oldest edition causes confusion to authors, librarians, and other Goodreads members, who often expect the ISBN/ASIN to be attached to the most recent edition. By making this change, we hope to reduce confusion for all Goodreads users, and ease the burden on librarians involved in correcting these edits.

We understand that this is a significant change from how we’ve handled book records in the past and that it may take some time to adjust. We’ve also announced this in our Policy folder and updated the Librarian Manual to reflect these changes.

Here’s how to move an ISBN from one edition to another:
1. Click on “edit details” on the book page of the older edition.
2. Click on “Add a Librarian Note” at the top of the book edit page. Add a comment explaining that you’re moving the ISBN/ASIN to the latest edition (preferably with a link to the other edition, though this isn’t required).
3. Take note of the ISBN/ASIN, then remove the ISBN/ASIN from that field.
4. Click on “Save Changes” to update the ISBN/ASIN field.
5. Click on “edit details” on the book page of the new edition, add the ISBN/ASIN, and click on “Save Changes.”

If there isn’t an alternate cover edition already listed on Goodreads, just click on “Add a New Edition” below the book’s description and fill in as many details as possible (excluding the ISBN/ASN). Once you’ve created the updated cover edition, just follow the steps above.

Thank you for your hard work, as always! Please feel free to post any questions in this discussion thread – while we will be proceeding with this change, we are happy to address your questions and concerns.


Elizabeth (Alaska) 2. Click on “Add a Librarian Note” at the top of the book edit page. Add a comment explaining that you’re moving the ISBN/ASIN to the latest edition (preferably with a link to the other edition, though this isn’t required).

I think the link should be required and also reciprocal links for alternate cover editions when ISBN/ASIN is moved. This should make it easier for members to find their specific edition.


message 3: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph What about older editions with those same ISBNs that are still in use? Are we keeping the ISBN for those or do they become orphans?

I ask because I read a lot of older books with reused ISBNs and often the only way I can locate those records on GR is via ISBN.


Elizabeth (Alaska) MrsJoseph wrote: "I ask because I read a lot of older books with reused ISBNs and often the only way I can locate those records on GR is via ISBN. "

See my comment above, Mrs. J. I agree that searching by ISBN should bring you to your edition. I think it should be required that reciprocal Alternate cover verbiage be included in both (all) descriptions.


message 5: by rivka (new)

rivka Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I think the link should be required and also reciprocal links for alternate cover editions when ISBN/ASIN is moved."

We are not currently making any additional changes to the requirements for adding ACEs.


message 6: by rivka (new)

rivka MrsJoseph wrote: "What about older editions with those same ISBNs that are still in use? Are we keeping the ISBN for those or do they become orphans?"

I'm not entirely clear on what you are asking. Can you clarify, please?


Elizabeth (Alaska) rivka wrote: "We are not currently making any additional changes to the requirements for adding ACEs."

I'm very sorry to hear that. Searching by ISBN is one of the recommendations for searching for a specific edition. If there is no requirement to including a cross-reference for alternate covers, then searching by ISBN becomes useless for alternate cover editions. This is a disservice to members.


message 8: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph rivka wrote: "I'm not entirely clear on what you are asking. Can you clarify, please?"

I collect books. A lot of them are not for reading purposes but collecting. One example is this ISBN:

9780441878796 - Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton

I have a collectable edition of this book. From my notes (I don't have the DTB with me), this ISBN actually belongs to an earlier edition book than you have it attached to on GR.

GR has ISBN 9780441878796 attached to THIS edition published in 1986:
Web of the Witch World Web of the Witch World (Witch World Series 1 Estcarp Cycle, #2) by Andre Norton

My edition - with this same ISBN - is this one published 1976:
Web of the Witch World Web of the Witch World (Witch World Series 1 Estcarp Cycle, #2) by Andre Norton

I'm still in the middle of a lot of shelf work with DTB editions so I hadn't gotten around to getting this changed or updated or whatever as yet.

But in the future, how will people searching for specific older editions find those editions without being able to use the ISBN?


message 9: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I'm very sorry to hear that. Searching by ISBN is one of the recommendations for searching for a specific edition. If there is no requirement to including a cross-reference for alternate covers, then searching by ISBN becomes useless for alternate cover editions. This is a disservice to members. "

QFT

There are a lot of people here who do NOT run out and get the latest and greatest edition of books. Considering the fact that GR's search engine is pretty terrible, sometimes the ONLY WAY I can find some books is by a direct ISBN search. Please do not take this away.


message 10: by lethe (new)

lethe Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "If there is no requirement to including a cross-reference for alternate covers, then searching by ISBN becomes useless for alternate cover editions. "

The thing is, there never was a requirement to include cross-references for ACEs, it was only encouraged.

Rivka, I take it you are talking about all books, not just those which are self-published?

If you mean all books, I think it should be a requirement to add cross-links. If suddenly a mass-market paperback loses its ISBN to a newer edition, it should be noted.

Also, it should be made very clear that the newest edition gets (to keep) the ISBN if an older edition is added to the database later, which can also happen with (for example) MMPs.

I think interpreting the changelogs is going to be a lot more complicated from now on.


message 11: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Mar 07, 2018 08:49AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) lethe wrote: "The thing is, there never was a requirement to include cross-references for ACEs, it was only encouraged.."

Yes. And I wanted it required before, but now that there may be more switching of ISBN/ASINs, it seems even more necessary. I recall one super who said if it became a requirement she wouldn't do ACEs anymore. Then, I say, don't do ACEs. I don't see any requirement that any librarian has to perform all types of edits, even if the system allows them to do so.


message 12: by rivka (new)

rivka We don't want to make adding ACEs so complicated that most librarians are unwilling to take them on. While we agree that including a link to the related edition(s) is preferable, it is not required.


Elizabeth (Alaska) lethe wrote: "I think interpreting the changelogs is going to be a lot more complicated from now on.."

And that might be true. I have moved ISBNs when requesting a merge in the supers thread and was asked not to do so.


message 14: by Scott (new)

Scott GR needs to make it a priority to figure out a way for books to share ISBNs.


message 15: by rivka (new)

rivka MrsJoseph wrote: "But in the future, how will people searching for specific older editions find those editions without being able to use the ISBN?"

In the same way that people searching for newer editions have done until now. That may include checking the Other Editions page of a work.


message 16: by rivka (new)

rivka lethe wrote: "Rivka, I take it you are talking about all books, not just those which are self-published?"

This policy change applies to all books, regardless of publisher.


Elizabeth (Alaska) rivka wrote: "We don't want to make adding ACEs so complicated that most librarians are unwilling to take them on. While we agree that including a link to the related edition(s) is preferable, it is not required."

Why not? There are things I won't do, like work on quotes. Most librarians won't do Awards. I don't see why making the database the most useful to the most number of people isn't the goal.


message 18: by rivka (new)

rivka Scott wrote: "GR needs to make it a priority to figure out a way for books to share ISBNs."

We appreciate your feedback and hope to implement something like this in the future.


message 19: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph rivka wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "But in the future, how will people searching for specific older editions find those editions without being able to use the ISBN?"

In the same way that people searching for newer ..."


But the search has not been updated/improved. And GR tells us to search by ISBN when the search fails us - which it does often...

So basically people with older editions of books are SoL now.


message 20: by Philip (new)

Philip rivka wrote: "Scott wrote: "GR needs to make it a priority to figure out a way for books to share ISBNs."

We appreciate your feedback and hope to implement something like this in the future."


That would be the ultimate way to fix the whole books sharing ISBN, no need for ACE links after that, but I can see where that could take awhile to implement, since it would require more duplicate data in the DB, so the DB structure would probably need some modification to get it to work the right way.


message 21: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Corinne wrote: "With a book with just a page of editions its not a big deal but with 10+ pages of editions. *sigh* the hunt takes awhile. I imagine duplicates get added also because people can't see their edition. "

And this is the issue that older books will have, except worse. So, in a sense, GR Is saying that they aren't going to fix the problem and instead trade one set of issues for another.

GR becomes less and less helpful for me as they make more and more "improvements."


message 22: by lethe (new)

lethe Corinne wrote: "I imagine duplicates get added also because people can't see their edition and the ACE links can help avoid that.
"


Exactly.


message 23: by Midwest (new)

Midwest Geek Scott wrote: "GR needs to make it a priority to figure out a way for books to share ISBNs."

Perhaps a way to implement this without requiring a link or modifying the code to include an additional field would be as follows: When another edition is published using a pre-existing ISBN/ASIN, the number could be followed by a letter in parentheses, such as (#A) or (#B), analogous to what is now done with titles.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Midwest wrote: "Scott wrote: "GR needs to make it a priority to figure out a way for books to share ISBNs."

Perhaps a way to implement this without requiring a link or modifying the code to include an additional ..."


No. That would make it look like that was part of the ISBN, which it isn't.


message 25: by Bea (new)

Bea OK. So I am a librarian as well as a reader of older books. I search exclusively by ISBN when known and even then find it difficult to locate a popular published classic sometimes.

Bottom line, whatever is done, I just want to be able to find my specific READ book. Anything that helps is welcome. Anything that hinders or makes it more difficult is deeply FRUSTRATING.

I am on this site multiple times a day. Making it more user friendly is a good idea...but also make it reasonable for volunteer librarians to be able to assist in keeping the site usable. Thanks.


message 26: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Mar 07, 2018 11:42AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) If I add an ACE, do I have to verify the publication dates? What if the edition I'm adding is an older edition, but I think it's the new one, so I move the ISBN? How much trouble is it to research pub dates over adding an ACE? I may stop adding new editions when I come across them for fear of violating this new policy.

I guess what I'm asking here, is what are the consequences of not moving the ISBN and just creating an ACE (with reciprocal links).


message 27: by lethe (new)

lethe I can imagine this being done for the benefit of self-published authors who regard GR as a venue to sell their books anyway and want to see their current editions being displayed correctly.

But there are so many out-of-print editions from regular publishers in the database. What does it matter if the ISBN displays on the 1980 edition instead of on the one from 1990?


message 28: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph lethe wrote: "I can imagine this being done for the benefit of self-published authors who regard GR as a venue to sell their books anyway and want to see their current editions being displayed correctly.

But th..."



Because the SPA whining and crying and GR's desire to make more money.

I'm sick of being treated like a fish in a barrel. I can no longer easily shelve my books - it looks like my decision to keep my true library in Book Collectorz was the best decision I made. At least I'll be able to search my own books and their catalog.


message 29: by rivka (last edited Mar 07, 2018 12:06PM) (new)

rivka Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "If I add an ACE, do I have to verify the publication dates? What if the edition I'm adding is an older edition, but I think it's the new one, so I move the ISBN? How much trouble is it to research ..."

As detailed in the updated section of the Manual, we suggest confirming that the edition you are adding (or editing) is the one with the newest cover by checking Amazon and the publisher's site. Determining publication date on editions with new covers has not changed: If an exact date is known (usually supplied by the author) then use that. If not, the current year and month are usually a reasonable estimate.

And as with any edit, commenting in the change comment field and/or leaving a Note are advisable -- especially if there is information you are estimating that should be corrected if better information becomes available.


message 30: by lethe (new)

lethe rivka wrote: "Determining publication date on editions with new covers has not changed: If an exact date is known (usually supplied by the author) then use that. If not, the current year and month are usually a reasonable estimate."

This is indeed the case with self-published books. Not with books from regular publishers.


message 31: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Mar 07, 2018 12:27PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) rivka wrote: "we suggest confirming that the edition you are adding (or editing) is the one with the newest cover by checking Amazon and the publisher's site."

OK. Well, that is one heck of a lot more trouble and effort than adding a cross-reference for an ACE. I'll stick to awards and leave this onerous task to someone else. And I probably won't be creating any ACEs either. Too much trouble to check, double check and probably still be wrong.


message 32: by lethe (new)

lethe Honestly, if this is not restricted to SPAs (or Goodreads Authors requesting it), I don't think it's workable.

I come across incorrectly filled-in pub dates fairly often. People adding the original pub date instead of the edition date for example. Previously, that didn't matter very much. But if we now have to start researching which edition is the actual first one with a particular ISBN it is becoming way too complicated. (Not to mention wrongly added covers.)

What to do f.e. with books with ISBN and a pre-ISBN pub date? Or (example from my own shelves) a film tie-in edition with only the first pub date listed and a reprint number (which we are not supposed to add)?

Turtle Diary says:
"This Picador edition published 1977 by Pan [etc.]
9 8 7"
The cover says "Now a major film". I looked it up, the film was released in 1985, so that was the pub date I gave it. If somebody else had added the edition, they might have picked 1977 as the date.


message 33: by Hannah (new)

Hannah I got yelled at in my early days as a librarian for removing an ISBN from an obviously incorrect older record (early 1900s), so I have steered clear of nearly all ISBN-record books and built my librarian record on pre-ISBN works instead. I guess at least I won't be as intimidated by thinking I have to not touch an ISBN because it will automatically show up as a hit on my record....because a lot of people will now be deleting/moving ISBNs! I was too shy to fix one that obviously didn't match the online record.


message 34: by rivka (new)

rivka lethe wrote: "But if we now have to start researching which edition is the actual first one with a particular ISBN it is becoming way too complicated."

As per the announcement, going forward, ISBNs/ASINs should be moved to the book’s most recent edition.


Elizabeth (Alaska) lethe wrote: "Honestly, if this is not restricted to SPAs (or Goodreads Authors requesting it), I don't think it's workable.

I come across incorrectly filled-in pub dates fairly often. People adding the origina..."


This. GR may have been thinking only about recently published titles.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Virginia wrote: "The purpose of the community is for readers in general not just book collectors of older editions, people, in general, want to locate the most recent edition of a book they want to read. "

No, they don't. They want to locate the edition they have. I am not a book collector, but I don't read recent fiction and I often buy used. Do I have the most recent edition? I don't really care. I just want to be able to find it on GR and I want to do that by entering the ISBN in the search field.


message 37: by lethe (new)

lethe rivka wrote: "As per the announcement, going forward, ISBNs/ASINs should be moved to the book’s most recent edition."

Sorry, that's what I meant. It doesn't change anything about what I said. Still very complicated.

Why can't it be restricted to GR Authors, just as GR Authors are allowed to set the default edition?


message 38: by lethe (new)

lethe Virginia wrote: "This is how it works in the actual publishing world of ISBNs and in many catalogs from my understanding and experience - the ISBN/ASIN is on the most recent edition"

No, the ISBN is on any edition that was published with that ISBN. It's just that the GR system doesn't allow for the ISBN to be used more than once.

Virginia wrote: "people, in general, want to locate the most recent edition of a book they want to read."

No, they don't. They want to locate the edition that they have read or have on their shelves.


message 39: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Virginia wrote: "people, in general, want to locate the most recent edition of a book they want to read."

lethe wrote: "No, they don't. They want to locate the edition that they have read or have on their shelves."

Exactly. What Lethe said


message 40: by Arenda (new)

Arenda rivka wrote: "and updated the Librarian Manual to reflect these changes. "

You might want to check that page: https://www.goodreads.com/help/show/8..., as the link to an example leads to an edit page, and not to the book page.


message 41: by rivka (last edited Mar 07, 2018 09:52PM) (new)

rivka Arenda wrote: "You might want to check that page: https://www.goodreads.com/help/show/8..., as the link ..."

Thanks. That may be deliberate, but I'll check with the folks working on the Manual.

Edit: It's been fixed. Thanks for the catch!


message 42: by Midwest (last edited Mar 07, 2018 09:56PM) (new)

Midwest Geek Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "No. That would make it look like that was part of the ISBN, which it isn't."

Perhaps you misunderstood. I did not mean that no changes in code would be required to implement this. The parentheses in the ISBN field would have to be treated analogously to the way the parentheses are treated in titles, as not really part of the ISBN.

I think such details would probably be better discussed later, if at all, under "Policies & Practices", not here.


message 43: by lethe (new)

lethe Midwest wrote: "The parentheses in the ISBN field would have to be treated analogously to the way parentheses are treated in titles, as not really part of the ISBN."

In that case, adding a letter wouldn't accomplish anything, because the system would still register the ISBN as a duplicate and give an error message.


message 44: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Wow. That's a big change and hard to get my head around. Not sure what I feel about it, at all.


message 45: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Mar 08, 2018 03:47AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Guess we no longer get to think of goodreads as a library of our books.

This could easily get to be a mess. I don't see why policies don't change to let everyone include explanatory notes on all the edition changes.

Wow. Member book cataloging and locating of books just took a backseat to matching current retail product data on Amazon for the sake of in print books for sale. From goodreads having a library of book data pages to having product data pages like retailer Amazon.

(Very much for those kindle authors who use the "oops cover print run goofed" loophole of ISBN agency to refuse to ever get a new ASIN or ISBN when creating new covers or new editions..)

I think this is a horrible change. But, I also think it's such a huge departure from longstanding policy it should be announced site wide banner and even messaged to all librarians. With notes explaining changes displaying.

(apologize if it was; already messaged to the librarians. I stopped volunteering as librarian over other stuff like amazon replacing book descriptions I spent hours entering from back of books with "see my seller rating, like new with dustjacket" while insisting their data was more authoritative--for the record, I still consider Amazon a retailer and in no way an authoritative source on book data, particularly not for older editions).

Huge change. Almost a step towards making goodreads a retail site rather than a reader site.

This is such a drastic change impacting all kinds of threads including Author FAQs in this group.

What next? Changing goodreads suggested rating scale to Amazon's so that our previous star ratings all go up a star?

What next? Amazon folding goodreads features and all our reviews and book catalogs directly to their site as soon as comfortable a good chunk of the alternate covers now match product page where the merge/sync is easier? As if everyone adding book data and librarians volunteering for years to carefully correct and maintain our book data all did so for Amazon or other retail purposes versus organizing our own reading and reading activities?


message 46: by Moloch (last edited Mar 08, 2018 03:57AM) (new)

Moloch rivka wrote: "Scott wrote: "GR needs to make it a priority to figure out a way for books to share ISBNs."

We appreciate your feedback and hope to implement something like this in the future."


Ok. We keep asking for things and the response is nearly always "this isn't in our plans but thanks anyway". I don't know how it's possible that everything we ask is never in your plans, we never seem to guess. But it might be useful to put THIS request (same ISBN usable for different records) in the roadmap finally and work on it because it's a very important aspect of the database.


message 47: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I think the link should be required and also reciprocal links for alternate cover editions when ISBN/ASIN is moved. This should make it easier for members to find their specific edition. "

I agree.


message 48: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "No, they don't. They want to locate the edition they have...Do I have the most recent edition? I don't really care. I just want to be able to find it on GR and I want to do that by entering the ISBN in the search field. "

^^ This


message 49: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 08, 2018 04:08AM) (new)

Alexandra Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) wrote: "Member book cataloging and locating of books just took a backseat to matching current retail product data on Amazon for the sake of in print books for sale. From goodreads having a library of book data pages to having product data pages like retailer Amazon."

I'm trying to find my shocked face ;)

"for the record, I still consider Amazon a retailer and in no way an authoritative source on book data, particularly not for older editions)."

Probably because that's true, and you're really, really smart :)


message 50: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 08, 2018 04:17AM) (new)

Alexandra Moloch wrote: We keep asking for things and the response is nearly always "this isn't in our plans but thanks anyway". I don't know how it's possible that everything we ask is never in your plans, we never seem to guess. But it might be useful to put THIS request (same ISBN usable for different records) in the roadmap finally and work on it because it's a very important aspect of the database. "

Seconded. I also think GR needs to start demonstrating they actually care about their users, because lately the consistent responses of "Thanks, but it's not on the list for now" responses, added to the fact that some very basic functionality updates have been requested by many, many users for 5 or more years without still getting on the list, is painting a picture that does not put GR in a good light.


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