Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

Policies & Practices > author roles

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message 1: by Cecile (last edited Aug 15, 2009 02:28PM) (new)

Cecile | 67 comments I've just finished editing an anthology this way (, and I agree the result is rather heavy, even with only 15 contributors. Should we leave the contributors without a role when they're numerous?

By the way, I added the editors first and the contributors in order of appearance, but they got mixed up after I saved my edit, with even one of the editors in the middle of the contributors. Others seem to have experienced the same problem. Any clue as to why it happens?

message 2: by John (new)

John My two cents would be that adding multiple contributors does look "clunky", but it'd be useful for folks searching specific authors, of whom they're especially fond, for anything that person has written.

message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2409 comments I agree with John that the role contributor is useful at author's pages. When we view an author's work, it's then easy to see when they've written a book or just contributed to a book.

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I think John and Lisa, misunderstood the question: it's not whether the authors should be listed, it's whether they should be given the role of "contributor" or left roleless.

I actually think the word "contributor" is useful. If I see a book with 5 authors the implication is that the authors collaborated on the work. If I see a book with 5 authors, each listed as a contributor, the implication is that each author provided a piece of the work, but in a non-collaborative manner. (This is not perfect, since some of the authors may have collaborated, but even so...)

One can argue that the mere presence of an editor implies that all of the authors are, in fact, contributors, but I think it's still useful to specify the role, despite the clunkiness. I view AUTHOR (roleless) as responsible for the majority of the work (no matter how many authors there are), while COLLABORATOR as only responsible for 1/nth of the work (where n is the number of authors).

Cecile: the changing of author order is a bug which has been reported a number of times but remains unsolved at this point. It might not be a bad idea to mention it again in the Feedback group (perhaps tagged onto an older thread about it) as a reminder to the powers-that-be.

message 5: by Cecile (new)

Cecile | 67 comments Lisa wrote: "I agree with John that the role contributor is useful at author's pages. When we view an author's work, it's then easy to see when they've written a book or just contributed to a book."

I'm not so sure about that. When I pick a contributor from the anthology I edited, the anthology appears in his works with only the first authors, so we don't see his role if his name isn't among them.
I think that when you see a lot of authors for a book, you can be pretty sure they're contributors.

message 6: by John (new)

John Not Michael -- I understood the question, but did not put my response as specifically as you did - that "contributor" is necessary to clearly distinguish from (infer-able) "co-author", although I suppose with anthologies, contributors are co-authors.

Cecile -- yes, a list of names could be inferred as contributors, but I don't see adding the title as "wrong" as per the original post was my point.

message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2409 comments Michael, I understood the question too.

message 8: by Cecile (new)

Cecile | 67 comments I see your point and I agree with the principle, it's what I've done anyway.
But Brenda has also a good point: the list of authors is hard to read with the contributor role repeated each time. It would be better if it showed the authors listed by role, something like:
by editors X, Y and contributors A, B, C, D, ...

message 9: by Jacinda (new)

Jacinda (alynnakasmira) | 10 comments I like Cecile's idea. We should include the role for each contributor in the database, but suggest that the display be adjusted to make it more readable.

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