Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

Policies & Practices > Merging authors

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message 1: by Catalina (new)

Catalina | 2065 comments Once upon a time when we had authors published under different names we were keeping the profiles and just add a second author with the more common name. What do we do now? We just merge under the more common or more complete name?

For example in the case of Hans Christian Andersen, there is also an H.C. Andersen profile(, should I merge them?

message 2: by Nanaa (new)

Nanaa (xxmzsmilesxx) | 1167 comments The librarian manual states:
Regarding author pseudonyms or pen names - some authors write or have written under multiple names. When editing or adding information for a book written by an author with multiple names, enter the author's name as on the front cover as the primary author. The author's other names may be added in the other author fields. Original name or other pen names can added and linked via a Librarian Note: in the description field, or using the Librarian Note feature located above the Title field. In some cases, a book may be originally published under a pen name, but then later reissued under the author's original name. When this happens, the author listed for any and all editions should be the author name the book was originally published under - so the reissued edition would need its primary author name changed to the originally published pen name, with the additional name added as secondary for all editions with it on the cover. Doing this will allow the various editions to be combined.

message 3: by Catalina (last edited Oct 25, 2014 04:21PM) (new)

Catalina | 2065 comments Yup, I know that. I am interested in the common practice - you'll notice how many times profiles are merged under the most used name on covers or the more complete, especially in cases like the above.
So it will be nice if some of the older librarians or a super say what's to do in the case I mention :)

message 4: by Nanaa (new)

Nanaa (xxmzsmilesxx) | 1167 comments That's also something I've come across as well, and I too want to know the common practice for such cases as these! :)

message 5: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (notemily) | 469 comments I'm just one librarian, but I feel like unless similar names are used for different purposes (different genres etc) by the same author, they should be combined, just to have that author's books all in one place. I'm talking about, for example, someone who has published both with and without their middle initial included in their name. If they're not using the middle initial to indicate a different genre or targeted age group or whatever, that is.

I think this is doubly true for authors with common names. I went through the Michael Williams profile today, trying to separate out the various Michael Williamses (I got through ten of them before giving up, although I have notes to go back to later if I'm bored). Whenever I found a Michael Williams who had published with a middle initial, I moved all that person's books to the middle-initial profile, just to make it easier to keep all the Michael Williamses straight. If someone has published as both Michael Williams and Michael J. Williams, I'd rather have their books under the profile with the J, just so I don't have to go slogging through ten different Michael Williamses to find the right one.

(The exception being the Goodreads Author Michael Williams, who is listed on Amazon at least once as Michael A. Williams, but has claimed his profile with no initial, so I left it alone.)

message 6: by Z-squared (new)

Z-squared | 8580 comments Unless the author in question is a Goodreads author (in which case... tread carefully), and assuming there is no obvious effort on the author's part to associate certain partial pen names with certain genres, the common practice is to combine all partial pen names into the version that subsumes the rest. E.g., H.C. Anderson should be merged into Hans Christian Anderson, because Hans Christian Anderson contains H.C. Anderson.

However, for example, if an author uses her initials to write romance, but uses her first name and no initial to write urban fantasy, then you would NOT combine the profiles. Instead, you would put links in the descriptions pointing to the other profile, but leave the books separate. That also means NOT appending an author's other pen name on a book if that book was never published with that pen name.

Hope that makes sense. :P

Sophie wrote: "(The exception being the Goodreads Author Michael Williams, who is listed on Amazon at least once as Michael A. Williams, but has claimed his profile with no initial, so I left it alone.) "

I believe that whatever the author lists himself on Amazon doesn't matter, it's what he/she uses on the cover that Goodreads uses. So in that case, neither of his books include his middle initial on the cover. Therefore, no initial in his Goodreads profile. That could change later, if he published something with his initial.

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