Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

Questions > There's definitely a bug with merging author profiles

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message 1: by Angel (new)

Angel (mnemosyne) | 48 comments I posted a few days ago about merging two author's profiles acting strange, and I just had a problem with it again, albeit a different problem.

I saw that there were two entries for D. E. Athkins, each with about 4 books in the profile. One was number 431801 and contained entries for "Sister Dearest," "Mirror, Mirror," "The Bride," and "The Ripper."

The other profile was number 151983, and was spelled "D.E. Athkins" (no space between the D and E). That profile had entries for "The Cemetery," "Swans in the Mist," "Secret Santa," and another entry for "The Bride."

I changed the spelling of the 151983 profile to include a space between the D and the E, and that made something weird happen. There is now only one profile for D. E. Athkins, but it only has the 4 books from the original 431801 profile. If you search for "Athkins," you see all the books from both profiles, and it says they're all attached to the 431801 profile, but looking at the profile does not show I guess they're in some sort of limbo?

Sorry if my posts are a little long, I spent 6 years as a software tester, so I try to include as much info as possible.

message 2: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Search, and see all 8. And when I clicked on the author, all 8 again.

I'm guessing this is a caching issue. One way I have found to force a reset is to combine editions. Especially since there actually was one that needed combining.

And now there are 7. :)

message 3: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (last edited Jan 20, 2008 10:58PM) (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
A recent question pointed out to me that people have different ideas about the spelling of authors who publish with two (or three) initials, rather than using a first or middle name.

I was taught that there are no spaces in U.S.A. -- or in J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K. Rowling. Well, there's one to separate the initials from the last name. But none between the various initials.

Opinions? Can we come to a consensus, at least until such time as the much-awaited AKA function renders it moot?

message 4: by Rindis (new)

Rindis | 20 comments Why would there not be spaces? You only do that if you're creating an acronym, which these aren't.

message 5: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Acronyms generally lack both spaces and periods.

message 6: by Angel (new)

Angel (mnemosyne) | 48 comments I was afraid to combine editions since it was already acting screwy. I didn't want to mess it up further.

I was seeing all 8 when I searched, but if I clicked on the author name of any of the books that were previously associated with the 151983 profile, nothing would load. The page would keep trying to load, and I'd get nothing. The mouseover of the link would tell me it was going to load the 431801 profile, but I'd get nothing.

Oh well, as long as it works now. Would there happen to be a publicly viewable list of open bugs? I've seen some minor things, but I don't want to bother submitting them if they're already known.

message 7: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Not really. But the search function works pretty well.

message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Well, up to now I've always put spaces. But I'm happy to change that to no spaces if a consensus is reached. I agree it would be good for search purposes to choose one way and go with it.

message 9: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
It was a caching issue, but now that you've pointed it out we've identified the fix :) Should be out in the next release!

message 10: by Angel (new)

Angel (mnemosyne) | 48 comments Hm, it never occurred to me that there would be no spaces. In my mind, each letter represents a word, and words get spaces after them.

I did however, just check Amazon, and my local library's website, and both of those use the "no space, just periods" method. Seems weird to me, but based on that, I'd conclude that "no spaces" is the correct method. I guess someone with an MLA manual could tell us for sure.

Whichever is more correct is fine by me. It also seems that when things like this are decided, maybe the "librarian manual" should be updated to include this info, so people who join say, 5 months from now will also be aware of the standards being used.

message 11: by T.K. (last edited Jan 22, 2008 03:50PM) (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 1 comments Hola Librarians,

As an initial-tagged author, my publisher designed the book cover as being "no spaces, no periods." It's kind of e.e. cummings, but with punctuation rather than capitalization. A valiant attempt at coolness.

However, all the online retailers and even the brick & mortars' computers use "no spaces, with periods."

Library card catalogs tend to be the same as bookstores.

It seems to me that "no spaces, with periods" is the most commonly used structure.

TK Kenyon

message 12: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Rivka and All,

Well, it sounds as though Rivka is correct. Now, I need to try to go back and undo my mistakes. Suspect I'll find them over time. So, maybe we can update the GR Librarians Manual to reflect this for others, like me, who are ignorant of the proper format?

message 13: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Not to further complicate things, but it was pointed out to me that the LOC includes spaces. >_<

I think we could really use that MLA guide right about now . . .

message 14: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Thanks, Otis!

message 15: by Elizabeth, Chief Wordsmith (new)

Elizabeth | 13 comments Mod
Hi there, I thought I'd weigh in on this one. I checked with one of the copy editors at the Los Angeles Times and she says that when you create an author's name you should eliminate spaces and use periods, i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K. Rowling. Not that the newspaper way is absolute, but it seems like a good standard that has worked well. Why don't stick with Rivka's suggestion? Best EK

message 16: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
A voice from on high! ;) Works for me. :)

I agree with the suggestion to add this to the librarian manual, please.

message 17: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 4 comments I think that however Goodreads wants to do is fine, but as a onetime cataloger for public libraries, I wanted to let you know that you'll see two different things in catalogs:

1. If you look up a title, such as "One Man's Meat" by E.B. White, you'll find him listed however the cataloger thought he appeared on the title page: "One man's meat / E.B. White." for the 1983 Harper Colophon edition, but "One man's meat / E. B. White." for some other editions. BUT

2.The author entry for the book should always be uniform, and libraries in the English-speaking world have decided on this: "White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985." (I'm not suggesting that Goodread use the full name and dates!)

So libraries really do use the space after the periods. But for most online catalogs, the reader finds what he's looking for in any event, because the catalogs generally disregard marks of punctuation when doing searches, so that E.B. White and E. B. White will file in the same place. (Thanks to the fact that double spaces also count as only one in the search -- too much chance for problems caused by input error otherwise.)

I'm a newcomer here and happy to adjust my practice to whatever is decided, but following the library rule and using the spaces would provide consistency in line with some major institutions.

message 18: by Melody (new)

Melody (runningtune) | 13278 comments Well I came to this topic to refresh my memory on the final decision on this matter. But I see there WAS no final decision. Meanwhile, I changed my practice of leaving spaces between initials and have been deleting them - and noticed one of the top librarians was putting them back. I read the above posts and there seems to be just as many reasons to put spaces as not. So can we have a final word?

message 19: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Elizabeth IS the final word.

message 20: by Melody (new)

Melody (runningtune) | 13278 comments OK - so that is NO spaces between initials. Thanks.

message 21: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod

Just a reminder.

message 22: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Wasn't this going to be added to the librarian manual? I seem to remember writing up a thing.

message 23: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Yeah. I should pester Otis about that.

Petra X played the long game - and won (petra-x) I go along with no spaces between initials because it is the GR standard. However, since the major database books are uploaded from is Amazon and Amazon almost always uses a space between initials (as do the other online book retailers I checked) does it really make much sense to have books that immediately need correction?

message 25: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Amazon is only consistent in its inconsistency. Given how many Amazon-sourced books need correction for other reasons, this is the least of it.

message 26: by Sherry (new)

Sherry (ssaccoliti) | 556 comments I just changed A.^A. Milne back to A.A. Milne.

Not sure how to handle this, but the same librarian who recently added this space back in has been adding spaces between 2 initial authors for a whole group of authors.

So, my question is one of tact and etiquette, do I send him a note, or can I impose on one the moderators to send a gently worded note? Just seems like we are back to duplicate editing at cross purposes.

Your call.

Alternatively - did I miss a style change?

message 27: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Oh, I am not good at the tact most days. But you definitely didn't miss anything -- no spaces between initials is still correct.

message 28: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
The Google doc has a template for a message that you can use.

message 29: by Sherry (new)

Sherry (ssaccoliti) | 556 comments rivka wrote: "The Google doc has a template for a message that you can use."

Forgot about that, but thanks, I went there and got the appropriate section. I did drop him a note.

message 30: by rivka, Former Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 45529 comments Mod
Great. :)

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