Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

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Quiz or statements for prospective librarians

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message 1: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
This idea is being revisited, and we're looking for suggestions. So far, the following have been batted around:


I'm not really sure it should be a quiz/test, I think a bunch of statements that the person agrees to and is forced to actually read would be more appropriate.



I think it should be very short and focus only on the most basic of librarian skills. We don't want to scare people away with something complicated.

It seems that the main thing clueless newbies don't realize is that:
1. We already have a database of books. Adding books to their shelves is a different process than adding books to the catalog.

2. Changes made to a book record affect everyone. It is not a personal space.

3. Multiple editions are added separately and then combined.




If we made the quiz 'fun' it wouldn't necessarily scare people away! :D



Thoughts? Suggestions?


message 2: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 590 comments How about....?

Don't change details about a specific edition of a book unless you know the existing information is inaccurate.

If you have the same book with the same ISBN, but a different publishing date and cover, create a new edition.


Not sure. That second point may be too detailed if you are trying to keep things general.

But, yes, I like the idea of pushing people to read and understand before changing things.


message 3: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
If we start making things too detailed, it won't work.


message 4: by Eva (new)

Eva Leger (EvaMarie22) | 756 comments I don't have any suggestions but I think it's a great idea to do this. It wouldn't have scared me away at all but it might just be too much work for the people who just want to become a librarian to play around.


message 5: by Melody (new)

Melody (runningtune) | 13236 comments I like the idea too.


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2397 comments I definitely like the idea. It wouldn't have scared me; it would have felt like a kind of manual/self test. I'd have to think more about the wording/content though.

I do think no matter what, there will always be room for misunderstandings/mistakes made, but this might help to reduce them.


message 7: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7024 comments I don't think a short quiz would put any serious librarian types off. It would of made me feel more confident when I first started about changing things (even though I did read the manual :)

I think a short quiz would be good (no more than 10 multiple choice questions) and it should be based on the librarian manual where possible so in order select the correct answer the user will need to have read the manual.




message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2397 comments Basing questions on the manual is a good idea, and it would also be good for at least a few questions to cover areas where we've noticed the most mistakes made by librarians.


message 9: by Sharon (new)

Sharon H (readingchick) I agree with Paula. I'm a new librarian. I'd take a new quiz. It would certainly help me know what to do. Right now I'm hiding in the stacks listening. I asked to become a librarian because of an error I saw in a record. I'm not sure I'm here to do any changes, but to listen and speak up when I know something. (like using anonymous as an author when no author is listed--those are two different issues, but since I wasn't around for that discussion...)


message 10: by Angie (new)

Angie (angabel) | 52 comments What Sharon said. I mostly joined because a lot of the books I'm reading are not in the database or have incomplete files, seeing as how they were printed in India. I do librarian stuff if I happen to come across it on the site, but mostly, I'm just here to work on the little corner of the site that I'm mostly in, in hopes that when more Indians come to goodreads they'll find things not so incomplete. :)


message 11: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
Sharon & Angabel, welcome! And we appreciate your willingness to get into this gradually and double-check what you're doing! :)


message 12: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
Can we have some specific suggestions of questions, folks?


message 13: by Cecile (new)

Cecile | 67 comments Maybe we could have a never ending librarian quiz and add questions when they come to mind.
That way, even established librarians could test themselves and see if they're doing all right.


message 14: by Paula (last edited Aug 13, 2009 10:21AM) (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7024 comments Heres a start: Words probably need to be changed, I just wrote what came in to my brain:)

Select the correct way to enter series information:
a) Book Title (Series Name, #_)
b) Book Title (series Name, Book _)
c) Series Name, #-: Book Title
d) Book Title, (Series Name Series, No_)

What should the The Url field on the Edit page for a book contain:

a) URL link to website to purchase the book
b) URL link to authors website, book page
c) URL link to .........................

When combining books which set should NOT be combined

a) Editions/ Translations of the book in other languages
b) Different formats of the book
c) 2-in-1 box sets

Should a question in the never ending quiz be deleted because it contains bad language?

a) Yes
b) No

Should sentence case be used when entering book title/series information

a) Yes
b) No


message 15: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 579 comments I also like the idea of a quick quiz.

Great start Paula! (Thanks for digging in!)
Suggestions:

#2 c) URL link to a review of the book.

#3 c) Volume I and Volume II of the same title.

Not sure how to phrase it, but I think we should also have a question that conveys that ISBNs are not necessarily unique - that they can be re-used by a publisher on different titles or on re-issues with different cover art. Also that many older books don't have ISBNs, that the ISBN system was created in the 70's, because we have a LOT of younger folks on here who can't conceive of a time before ISBNs, (or before CDs, don't know what an 8-track is, etc.


message 16: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (last edited Aug 13, 2009 08:01PM) (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
Keep the suggestions coming! The ones so far are great.

And Cecille, I think adding trivia questions to specific groups has been discussed. If/when it happens, I think questions for librarians of all levels of experience would be fun!


message 17: by Leslie (last edited Aug 14, 2009 03:13AM) (new)

Leslie (Kodiak3000) | 5 comments I'm pretty new here too, although I've been lurking for a while. I became a librarian in order to satisfy my pedantic fantasies - I hate seeing those little niggling errors that are so easy to correct, and being a librarian lets me do something about them. I don't want to change the world, just make it a better (i.e. more precise) place to live.

I love the idea of a never-ending quiz - what if you have to answer (say) ten questions correctly before becoming a librarian. That way, the totally clueless still stand a chance - if there are 100 questions and they skip nine out of every ten, they can still "get in". In other words, their determination will make up for their lack of knowledge, and they may learn someting along the way. If they are both uninformed AND undetermined, it will weed them out.

When I first started doing the never-ending quiz, I didn't realise that I could skip questions, so that would be worth pointing out to an applicant.

Another suggestion: Have a fictional book in a special location with maybe two or three editions that the applicant must correct and combine correctly. A kind of practical exam...


message 18: by Cecile (last edited Aug 15, 2009 01:42PM) (new)

Cecile | 67 comments Leslie wrote: "I'm pretty new here too, although I've been lurking for a while. I became a librarian in order to satisfy my pedantic fantasies - I hate seeing those little niggling errors that are so easy to correct, and being a librarian lets me do something about them..."

The same here :)

As for suggestions, I can dig from questions I asked myself in my own short librarian experience:
- What is the correct way to write an author's name with middle names?
- How to deal with several authors with the same name?
- How to deal with an author's name written differently depending on the source?
- What is the primary language?
- What can go in the description and what shouldn't be there?
- Who do you put as author for an anthology?

Other questions already suggested: title from series, isbn, how to combine.


message 19: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 46 comments I'd suggest that unlike the never-ending book quiz, the librarian quiz should have an explanation that shows up after each questions is answered. Like with Paula's question about combining, it might make sense to have a short explanation about what makes 2 in 1 boxsets different from translations and different formats.


message 20: by Kritika (new)

Kritika (spidersilksnowflakes) | 10 comments Cecile wrote: "Maybe we could have a never ending librarian quiz and add questions when they come to mind.
That way, even established librarians could test themselves and see if they're doing all right."


That's a wonderful idea! I'm not exactly a new librarian, but I haven't done much because I wasn't sure if I was helping or complicating things. I think that would help clarify things without making it tedious and boring.


message 21: by Cait (last edited Aug 18, 2009 10:32AM) (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments I feel like this should be more of a teaching tool that an pop quiz. How about something like this?

Question 1: Combining editions

Books come in many editions: there are hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and ebook bindings, translations into different languages, and many other variations. We refer to a "book" or a "work" as a collection of all editions which contain the same content; "combining" is the process of collecting editions together as a book.

The basic rule of combination is that editions should be combined if they have the same content. If they contain only partially the same content, they should not be combined.

More information about combining editions, including specifics for more complicated questions, can be found in the Librarian's Manual.

Consider the following editions:

Edition A is "A Fine Novel (paperback)".
Edition B is "A Fine Novel (MP3 CD)".
Edition C is "Tres Bon (hardcover)", which you have confirmed is the French translation of "A Fine Novel".
Edition D is "A Fine Novel (audio cassette 1 of 2)".
Edition E is "A Fine Novel (audio cassette 2 of 2)".
Edition F is "Buch der Größe Bd.1", and you have confirmed "Buch der Größe" as the German translation of "A Fine Novel".
Edition G is "Buch der Größe Bd.2", and you have confirmed "Buch der Größe" as the German translation of "A Fine Novel".
Edition H is "A Fine Novel / A Great Sequel, omnibus edition (hardcover)".

How should they be combined?

1. Combine all editions as one book
2. Combine by language: A, B, D, E, and H as one book; C as another; F and G as another
3. Combine by content: A, B, and C as one book; D and F as another; E and G as another; H as another
4. Combine by print/audio: A, C, F, G, H as one book; B, D, and E as another

Answer: 3 is the correct answer, because it combines editions with the same content into books. Answer 1 would be incorrect because, for example, Edition D contains only half of the story contained in Edition A. Answer 2 or 4 would be incorrect because not only do they combine editions with different portions of the story but they fail to combine editions which do contain the same story while differing only in language or format.


Question 2: Titling books

The only things which must go into the title field of an edition is the title. Optionally, the title field can also contain the subtitle, the series, whether the edition is abridged, and the numbering of the edition. Subtitles should be separated from titles by the appropriate punctuation, usually a colon. When an edition has both a title and series information, the series information should go after the title in parentheses in the format "(Series, #)", or just "(Series)" if no numbering is given; if an edition has only a series number (such as certain collections), the series is treated like a title and formatted "Series, volume #". If an edition (usually an audiobook) is abridged or listed specifically as unabridged, this information should go after the title in parentheses. If an edition (usually a textbook) is a numbered edition, this information should go after the title either in parentheses or separated by appropriate punctuation, usually a comma.

If an edition contains multiple titles, they can be separated by a forward slash. If an edition has a collective title but contains multiple works (for example, an omnibus edition or a boxed set), the titles of the multiple works (separated by a forward slash) can be treated as a subtitle and the type of collection can be treated as series information.

Binding information should not go in the title field. If there is no parenthetical information in the title field, the edition will show the binding information in parentheses after the title automatically in most places on the site.

More information about combining editions, including specifics for more complicated questions, can be found in the Librarian's Manual.

Consider the following titles:

Edition A is titled "A Fine Novel"
Edition B is titled "A Fine Novel (Library binding)"
Edition C is titled "Fine Novel, A".
Edition D is titled "A Fine Novel (Good Books, #3)"
Edition E is titled "The Complete Works of Jane Doe, Volume 5", which you have confirmed contains only "A Fine Novel"
Edition F is titled "Good Books 3 (A Fine Novel)"
Edition G is titled "A Fine Novel / A Great Sequel (Good Books, #3-4)"
Edition H is titled "These Lovely Works: A Fine Novel / A Great Sequel (omnibus edition)"
Edition I is titled "A Fine Novel: A story about books", where you have confirmed that "A story about books" is a subtitle of "A Fine Novel", not a different book

Which of these editions are correctly titled?

1. A, B, D, F, and I.
2. A, D, E, G, H, and I.
3. Only D.
4. All of them are okay.

Answer: 2 is correct, because all of these titles are acceptably formatted. Edition B is incorrect because it contains the binding information in the title; Edition C is incorrect because it has reversed the indefinite article (this is done automatically for English-language books); Edition F is incorrect because it gives the series as the title and puts the actual title in parentheses. Note, however, that while Editions A and I are acceptable as they are, it would be useful to add the series information "(Good Books, #3)" to their titles.


Question 3: Merging editions

All books which have ever been published are valid for inclusion on Goodreads. There should be one edition record for unique edition published (with certain exceptions -- see the Librarian Manual for more details). However, sometimes a single edition will be added multiple times. In these cases, the editions should be merged together into one edition. This is different from combining editions to represent one book, because combined editions are not removed from Goodreads; merged editions are deleted from Goodreads entirely. If there is any doubt as to whether an edition is a unique publication or not, it should be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to remain: in cases like these, it is usual to post to the Goodreads Librarian group to see if another librarian can make a more accurate determination.

To merge editions, first combine them as one book and then delete one of the editions. All book information from the deleted edition (such as description, number of pages, or language) is lost, so if there is any good information it should be manually copied to an edition which will not be deleted. Any reviews of and links to the deleted edition will be moved to the most popular edition of that book. ("Most popular" is determined by the number of ratings of an edition, regardless of how many stars are given in each rating. A more accurate phrasing might be "most often read and rated".)

Consider the following editions:

Edition A is "A Fine Novel (paperback)", with 89 ratings
Edition B is "A Fine Novel (hardcover)", with 15 ratings
Edition C is "a fine novel (hardcover)", with 2 ratings

If you have determined that Edition C is a duplicate of Edition B and copied any useful information from C to B, what steps should you take next?

1. Delete C, then combine A and B as one book
2. Combine A, B, and C, then delete C
3. Combine A as one book and B and C as another
4. Combine A as one book and B and C as another, delete C, then combine A and B as one book

Answer: 4 is correct, because it is the only sequence which merges C into B and then recombines A and B. Answer 1 would cause the loss of any reviews of Edition C entirely. Answer 2 would result in the reviews from C transferring to A instead of B, because A is more popular. Answer 3 confuses combining and merging, with the result that it neither merges C into B nor properly combines A and B.


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2397 comments Cait, I like it, that the explanation is given before the question and especially that the correct answer is given after the question. Some people do not test well and this format would eliminate what would be a problem for otherwise competent librarians.


message 23: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Lisa wrote: "Cait, I like it, that the explanation is given before the question and especially that the correct answer is given after the question."

Thanks! In fact, maybe it should be expanded even more -- I think I'll edit it to give a full answer key....


message 24: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7024 comments I like the concept, but that amount of text would concern me. I read the first one then skipped the rest just now :) how many others would?


message 25: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Paula wrote: "I like the concept, but that amount of text would concern me. I read the first one then skipped the rest just now :) how many others would?"

I'd figured on something like a quiz format, with the questions (and accompanying text) presented one at a time....


message 26: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Question 4: Weird editions

Although the librarian's manual is as thorough and up-to-date as possible, it can't cover every permutation of book data that turns up in Goodreads. There is an official group for librarians called Goodreads Librarians where librarians discuss problematic records and decide on solutions.

Most book data in the system comes from the Amazon bookseller websites, but users can enter editions manually as well. At the bottom of the edit screen you will see the source of any given edition record.

When a librarian changes an edition record, there is an entry made in the book's change log. The change log applies to all editions of a book, but it can be filtered to a specific edition's edits. Additionally, for each edition there are librarian comments at the bottom of the edit screen that are visible only to other librarians and librarian notes at the top of the edit screen which are also visible only to other librarians; the top notes should be kept short, as they are visible to librarians from the "combine editions" page as well as the edit page for the edition.

Consider the following situation: You have found a book with a strange title/author name/series designation/some other characteristic that you don't understand. You check the librarian manual and there's nothing that covers this situation. What should you do?

1. Check the librarian comments and edit logs of the edition to see if other librarians have been working on this issue, and if so message them for information.
2. Check the source of the edition to see if a user entered it manually, and if so message that user for information.
3. Check through the threads on the Goodreads Librarian Group.
4. Start a new thread in the Goodreads Librarian Group to ask other librarians for help.
5. Any or all of the above.



message 27: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
Paula wrote: "I like the concept, but that amount of text would concern me. I read the first one then skipped the rest just now :) how many others would?"

This is an issue, although I love these questions. Also, some of these are pretty detailed or esoteric. We don't want to scare off the ones who just want to be able to upload book covers. And there are quite a few of them.


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2397 comments Too bad there can't be levels of librarians then.

I really like the questions. I think I'd want to take the quiz myself to see if I needed to learn something; I suspect I would.

I'd worry if potential librarians (who did want to do more than add book covers, who wanted to do a wide range of librarian work) couldn't handle reading and thinking about and answering these types of questions, because then I'd wonder if they'd be careful about making alterations to the database or would just act without reading/thought.

I do understand about not wanting to scare off those who just want to add book covers or correct the page numbers to one of their own books in hand, etc.


message 29: by Cecile (new)

Cecile | 67 comments BunWat wrote: "Maybe there could be levels of quiz. If you answered all the level one questions correctly you could go to level two and so on. For those who just want to upload book covers or correct page numbe..."

I like that. It's kind of like fantasy games, where your level progress when you gain enough experience.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments Congratulations! You are now a 25th level Librarian. You may choose to add one of the following new perks:

* The Terminator - Delete books with more than 5 reviews

* Senior Biographer - You may edit the profiles of GoodReads authors

* Spam, spam, spam, egg and spam - You may now delete inappropriate posts from any book or group

* Prayer - Once per day, you can access the secret Otis contact address


message 31: by Cecile (new)

Cecile | 67 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "Congratulations! You are now a 25th level Librarian. You may choose to add one of the following new perks..."

Next level in 2500000 edits.


message 32: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 579 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "* Prayer - Once per day, you can access the secret Otis contact address"

ROFLMAO!!
Almost choked on my soda! = D




Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 68 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "Congratulations! You are now a 25th level Librarian. You may choose to add one of the following new perks:

* The Terminator - Delete books with more than 5 reviews

* Senior Biographer - You may e..."


Snort!


message 34: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 35256 comments Mod
All jokes aside (and that was pretty funny), keep the questions coming!


message 35: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (WendyBarron) | 7 comments Interesting thread! Speaking as one who just today applied for librarian status, I think a quiz to demonstrate that (a) you've read the manual and (b) understood what you read is an excellent idea, and I'm willing to be a guinea pig. And I love the idea about escalating levels of librarian wizardry.


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