Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

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Questions > Capitalization

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message 1: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments Goodreads doesn't seem to take into account the changes I make in the capitalization of titles, how come?


message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 23230 comments Camille, a little more information would be helpful. Even a link to illustrate what you mean :)


message 3: by Sandi (last edited Mar 12, 2013 03:47AM) (new)

Sandi I'm assuming she is talking about this:

title: 'La poursuite du bonheur' to 'La Poursuite du bonheur'

It was reverted by another librarian about 40 minutes later. I've been told once that in French nouns don't get a capital letter, so I guess the other librarian was right in reverting it.

Edit: Here is the link to the example above: http://www.goodreads.com/book/edits/1...

Looks like this isn't the only example though: http://www.goodreads.com/librarian/us...


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim Sandi wrote: "I'm assuming she is talking about this:

title: 'La poursuite du bonheur' to 'La Poursuite du bonheur'

It was reverted by another librarian about 40 minutes later. I've been told once that in Fren..."


Also, the cover shows lower case, so best to follow the intention of the publisher


message 5: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments Actually, there are official rules about the capitalization of French titles, but they are complex and the publishers do not always apply them. Those rules can be found here (in French!): http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/monde/r...
According to those rules, the word "poursuite" should be capitalized, as well as any noun that comes right after "le", "la" or "les".


message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 23230 comments I had a feeling it would be a messy French language issue. Not knowing the language, I'm offering no opinion.


message 7: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments Yes it is! It also appears that this person has been deleting most of the edits I've done in the past few days (removing capital letters and the names of traslators or editors which I had added...)


message 8: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42044 comments Mod
Sounds like a message to the other librarian might be in order.


message 9: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments That's what I did, she did not reply and kept on deleting my edits.


message 10: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42044 comments Mod
Have you been leaving Librarians Notes? If not, try that.

You may also wish to send a message via the Contact Us link on the help page.


message 11: by Camille (last edited Mar 12, 2013 07:17AM) (new)

Camille | 8 comments I have been leaving "change comments".
Thank you for your help, I will try the Contact Us link.

Edit: no need for a message to goodreads in the end, the other librarian replied and we settled our disagreements. Thank you all for your help!


message 12: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie (sylview) | 183 comments Camille,

For what it's worth, I generally make title corrections according to French rules, especially for NRF books or others that use all caps; however, if the cover shows lowercase (J'ai lu, etc.) I generally leave it that way for that specific edition.

Comments are useful though because many people think that French follows the same basic rules used in Spanish and Italian titles.


message 13: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments The reason I don't "trust" the capitalization used by the publishers is because they don't feel like they have to follow any rules. I'm not sure I'm making myself clear, but if you happen to speak French, here is what I mean (from the page that states the official rules): "Sur la couverture d’un livre, par exemple, le graphiste peut décider de n'employer que des bas de casse (minuscules d’imprimerie), même dans les noms propres ; il peut mettre des majuscules initiales à tous les mots ou même utiliser systématiquement les capitales sur toute la page. [...] On comprendra que le graphiste ou l’artiste a tout avantage à jouer sur les formes graphiques, notamment les majuscules, les capitales, les bas de casse, la perluète (&), etc. Il s'agit là de procédés strictement calligraphiques qui ne tiennent pas nécessairement compte des règles relatives aux titres."
In any case I think I should follow your lead and leave comments for those who are not familiar with these rules. However I'm glad to see I'm not the only one struggling with this issue!


message 14: by Emy (last edited Mar 12, 2013 01:08PM) (new)

Emy (emypt) | 5029 comments To be honest Camille, that also happens in English - artistic merit is often rated over grammatical accuracy with regards to publications (for example, ALL CAPS or all lower case). In this case we also will work towards the accepted norms, although English being more brattish does have less agreement over exactly what is the norm!


message 15: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments Emy,
Yes indeed I've read endless discussions on the internet about the length of the prepositions that should or should not be capitalized in English...!


message 16: by Sylvie (last edited Mar 12, 2013 01:17PM) (new)

Sylvie (sylview) | 183 comments Camille wrote: "The reason I don't "trust" the capitalization used by the publishers is because they don't feel like they have to follow any rules. I'm not sure I'm making myself clear, but if you happen to speak ..."

Believe me, I understand. As I say regarding the Le Deuxième sexe/Le deuxième sexe example at the end of this discussion, it's crazy-making, as the publishers themselves aren't consistent.

Bon courage!


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim Camille wrote: "The reason I don't "trust" the capitalization used by the publishers is because they don't feel like they have to follow any rules. I'm not sure I'm making myself clear, but if you happen to speak ..."

Publishers are free to title their books as they wish. It would be better to respect their choices than to make edits according to rules that are not "law". Consider this before editing against the publishers choices.


message 18: by Emy (new)

Emy (emypt) | 5029 comments Jim wrote: "Publishers are free to title their books as they wish. It would be better to respect their choices than to make edits according to rules that are not "law". Consider this before editing against the publishers choices."

Publishers are not law either. Authors can be considered to be authoratative, but the "rule" we refer to are probably more accurate than cover art. If you have an issue with this sort of thing though, I recommend reading about how the BNF/LoC/BL, who generally dictate how titles are formulated for book records, came to their decisions... :)

Regardless, I'll take Rivka's say so over the publishers.


message 19: by Camille (new)

Camille | 8 comments Emy wrote: "Jim wrote: "Publishers are free to title their books as they wish. It would be better to respect their choices than to make edits according to rules that are not "law". Consider this before editing..."

I couldn't agree more although it seems to be an endless quarrel that won't be solved any time soon!


message 20: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42044 comments Mod
Goodreads policy is to follow standard capitalization rules for titles, even if they are not used on the cover. (As in the examples Emy gave, of all caps or no-caps.) We will make exceptions for author preference, and there are MANY titles with inaccurate capitalization that simply have not yet received a librarian's attention.


message 21: by Sylvie (last edited Mar 12, 2013 01:57PM) (new)

Sylvie (sylview) | 183 comments Thanks, rivka, that is good to know. So I should follow the rules I outline here regardless of cover?


message 22: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42044 comments Mod
If those are standard rules for French (which it looks like to me, but as a non-speaker I have no way to judge), then yes.


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