Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

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Language & Translation Issues > Brand new GR librarian with a language problem

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message 1: by Ylva (new)

Ylva (carennah) | 13 comments I've just received Goodreads librarian status, and now I have a language problem. On one hand, the acceptance e-mail states, "Please keep all existing data (book titles, author names, etc.) in the language you find it." On the other hand, it states, "If you are manually adding a new edition that we did not previously have in the database, all data must be entered in the same language as the edition in question. If it is an English language edition, all data must be in English. If it is a Spanish language edition, enter the data in Spanish." (Italics mine.)

What about situation where the description of an edition that already exists on Goodreads is in another language than the edition in question, e.g. a Finnish edition of a book (that has been originally written in Swedish) has description in Spanish? Am I allowed to replace the description written in an incorrect language with the description from the back cover of the edition in question, written in the same language as the edition itself, or do I have to leave the description in an incorrect language untouched? Does the rule "all data must be entered in the same language as the edition in question" apply only to manually adding new editions, or can descriptions even later on be changed into the same language as the edition in question?

Thank you in advance for clarification about what to do in a situation like this!


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 6584 comments You should fix the description to be in the edition language. Sometimes these get changed incorrectly when a librarian marks a description to be the default description and when the description field has previously been empty.


message 3: by lethe (last edited Oct 01, 2016 11:06AM) (new)

lethe | 13653 comments Ylva wrote: "all data must be entered in the same language as the edition in question. If it is an English language edition, all data must be in English. If it is a Spanish language edition, enter the data in Spanish."

I don't know what they mean by "all data". I don't think I ever received an email stating that.

For instance, I always enter author roles (translator, illustrator, editor, etc.) in English, regardless of the book's language. The pop-up box even asks us to "help us keep this field consistent. Suggested values are..."

ETA And welcome/congrats :)


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 6584 comments lethe wrote: "I don't think I ever received an email stating that."

Curiosity had me finding my librarian acceptance email. Even in 2011 it had that language.


message 5: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13653 comments I looked up mine as well, and you're right. :-)


message 6: by Ylva (new)

Ylva (carennah) | 13 comments I quite agree that e.g. the author roles should be in English, both because the language of this site is English, and also to keep certain fields consistent.

On the other hand, description should, at least in my opinion, be in the same language as the edition in question. That's why I was a bit perplexed with the e-mail's statement, "Please keep all existing data (book titles, author names, etc.) in the language you find it." I wanted to change the description, but as a brand new GR librarian, I didn't dare to do it without asking for advice first. From now on, I'll feel confident about changing the description, if it's in some other language than the edition language.

I changed the description into Finnish, and added some missing information, including the book cover I was able to scan from the copy I own, as my copy is the exact same edition as the edition in question. Pörriäinen lentää hämärissä

Thank you both for your helpful comments and encouragement! I hope I'll be able to help Goodreads as a librarian in many cases in the years to come.

However, I think that at least in the beginning, I will mostly be dealing with the books and editions I own myself, as I've just started an attempt to catalog my personal library, partly in order to finally find out how many books I exactly own. (At least I'll be able to provide any missing data, including the book cover picture, from the information in the book/copy itself.)

About 15 years ago I made a rough calculation based on the shelf meters filled and the estimated average thickness of my books, and ended up with the result of approximately 750–800 books. I'd like to know if I've already broken the 1,000 book mark. (As you can probably guess, second-hand book dealers just love me! :D )


message 7: by lethe (last edited Oct 01, 2016 02:41PM) (new)

lethe | 13653 comments Ylva wrote: "I think that at least in the beginning, I will mostly be dealing with the books and editions I own myself"

I think that's how most of us start out. It's a great way to learn and become familiar with the Goodreads cataloguing rules. Feel free to keep asking advice here if things aren't clear :)

I hope I'll be able to help Goodreads as a librarian in many cases in the years to come.

And you will be helping GR even if you only catalogue your own books. There aren't that many Finnish librarians around, and I'm sure you'll bring lots of new books to the database.


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