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Book Issues > Automatically updating the "first published" date?

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message 1: by Bert (new)

Bert (bjmdotbooks) | 14 comments Is there any easy way to update the "first published" date of a book, i.e. the "original publication date" in Work Settings? Image Comics for instance often changes its publication dates, unfortunately in plenty of cases from an earlier date to a later date -- e.g. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... or https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... (I'm guessing that Jan 1st date is one that was added automatically).

Ideally this would be done automatically, if at all possible. After all, does it make sense that the "original publication date" of a work is different than the publication date of all the books associated with that work? I wouldn't execute such a script on the entire database, but rather have it run nightly on works where the date has changed in the past 24 hours, for instance.

Perhaps this should be built into the "save" procedure when you update a book: if the publication date has changed, check the publication date of the associated work and whether it is different from the earliest available publication date, and update if necessary.

Because doing this by hand is just annoying and error-prone, and I'd rather see this automated.


message 2: by Philip (new)

Philip (burnnerman) | 5913 comments Original pub date is set to the earliest date of an edition by default, if no edition has that date then either somebody set it manually to an earlier date or somebody changed the date of all the editions.

Your examples:
#1 - Pub date was changed from 16th to 17th by you. Also, it was not combined with all edition, once that was done orig pub was changed to Sept 18th, 2013.

#2 - Reason for the Jan 1, is when a book is added with a year and not a month and day it usually sets the Orig pub to Jan 1. I merged the 2 dups, and re-combined. It is now set to March 11, 2015.


message 3: by Bert (new)

Bert (bjmdotbooks) | 14 comments Two more examples of books where I've updated the "published" date, yet the "original publication date" isn't updated automatically:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

The first one now says "Expected publication: October 28th 2015 by Image Comics (first published October 6th 2015)", the second one "Expected publication: November 18th 2015 by Image Comics (first published July 1st 2015)".

In each case the book is the only edition in its "group", so I see no reason why there isn't logic in place that updates the "original publication date" when the "published" date is updated.


message 4: by lethe (last edited Sep 10, 2015 04:12AM) (new)

lethe | 13731 comments I looked at the first one. Someone added the book with pub date 6 October 2015. Automatically the original pub date became 6 October 2015.

When the pub date is changed to a later date, the original pub date has to be changed manually, because it is always possible that there was an edition published on the earlier date, whether it's on GR or not. If you had changed the pub date to an earlier date, the original pub date would have changed with it.

Same story with the second book, except that you were the one adding it.


message 5: by lethe (last edited Sep 10, 2015 04:22AM) (new)

lethe | 13731 comments Bert wrote: "After all, does it make sense that the "original publication date" of a work is different than the publication date of all the books associated with that work?"

With f.e. classic Latin and Greek texts, the original pub date is much earlier than the earliest edition on GR. So yes, it can make sense that the original pub date is different from all the books associated with that work.


message 6: by Bert (new)

Bert (bjmdotbooks) | 14 comments So I seriously have to maintain this *manually*?

Can't GoodReads at least give us a page to simplify this, i.e. an overview of all books where I have worked on the entries and where the "original publication date" does not correspond with any of the "published" dates of the books associated with it, and where I can fix this for each book with one button press?


message 7: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13731 comments Bert wrote: "So I seriously have to maintain this *manually*?

Uh, yes, is it really so much trouble to do that whenever you make such a change to a pub date?

Can't GoodReads at least give us a page to simplify this, i.e. an overview of all books where I have worked on the entries and where the "original publication date" does not correspond with any of the "published" dates of the books associated with it"

That seems highly unlikely. On your profile, you have a list of all your edits. I hardly think that GR will want to separate each librarian's edits out according to type of edits. Of course, you can always make a suggestion in the Feedback Group.

Besides, I already explained in message #5 that the original pub date of the book doesn't necessarily correspond with the pub date of the earliest edition on GR.


message 8: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 1767 comments The vast majority of Project Gutenberg and PD books do not have their (often multiple) original editions in GR either, leading to original pub dates of say, 1880, and ten editions all published since 2010.

I add original editions, when I can find them, specifically to rectify this, but there are thousands upon thousands of books, possibly the majority in the database, where this is the case.

In any case, it's a very quick fix, since fixing any edition will fix all editions. Compare that to getting the authors in the right order, when you have to fix 71 editions individually - as was the case for a book I cleaned up the other day.


message 9: by Bert (new)

Bert (bjmdotbooks) | 14 comments
is it really so much trouble to do that whenever you make such a change to a pub date?


Quite frankly, yes. You have to scroll, and then you have to update it using a dropdown, sometimes two (when both month and date change). That's a lot of actions for something that should be automatic in the vast majority of cases.

For books where the original publication date is far earlier than any of the editions present in GR there could be a "locking" mechanism.

I hardly think that GR will want to separate each librarian's edits out according to type of edits.


It's a fairly simple query (I'd assume).


message 10: by lethe (last edited Sep 11, 2015 07:02AM) (new)

lethe | 13731 comments Bert wrote: "You have to scroll, and then you have to update it using a dropdown, sometimes two (when both month and date change). That's a lot of actions for something that should be automatic in the vast majority of cases."

Wow, I get tired just thinking about it. (See also Krazykiwi's comment.)

Please explain why it should be automatic? When adding or editing a book, you only have to change the original pub date if the book's pub date is postponed. How often does that happen? When you change the pub date to an earlier date, the original pub date is changed automaticallly. When someone has filled in a Persian date, that particular edition needs to be corrected for the original pub date to show up correctly. No way the system can know what is and isn't a correct date.


message 11: by Bert (new)

Bert (bjmdotbooks) | 14 comments How often does that happen?

Can be often. Image Comics had often changed publication dates.

Please explain why it should be automatic?

For the same reason that it happens when the opposite occurs, as you say yourself: When you change the pub date to an earlier date, the original pub date is changed automatically. I understand that there are books where this would cause issues, but these would be a fraction of all books -- and a different solution would be a better fix in those cases.

At this moment there is a different behavior when a publication date changes depending on the direction, and that's a big no-no IMO.

Note that I would also be happy if there was a page where I would have an overview and where I could do it by clicking one single button, as I've explained in a follow-up post.

That there are other things (e.g. the inconsistency of authors) that aren't done well is irrelevant.


message 12: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 1767 comments I think you are seeing a confirmation bias based on what you edit. I've done a few librarian edits in my time (80kish, actually), and I don't think I've ever had to change a publication date forward, but I tend to range right across all kinds of genres, rather than in one particular corner of it.

I have however changed one backwards probably thousands of times. While it may seem to be a fraction of the database to you, that is affected by dates of existing editions all being newer than the actual first publication date, due to the enormous amount of PD and PG books GR carries, I think it's safe to categorically state that is not true. Or if you want to be pedantic, sure it's a fraction, but it's a really big one.

You can see all the editions on the "all editions" page, and sort there by published and by first published date. You can fix it by clicking ANY one of those, and scrolling (I know you find scrolling down one page to be very tedious, I'm sorry you feel that way, I imagine it makes your internet life very tiresome) and changing it in one place.


message 13: by lethe (last edited Sep 14, 2015 10:41AM) (new)

lethe | 13731 comments I can think of only 3 scenarios that require bothering with the original publication date (please enlighten me if there are more):

1) The publication date (of all editions, if there are more than one) has been postponed.
Actions needed: change pub date (for all editions) and change original pub date (once).
As Krazykiwi already said, this happens very rarely, considering the size of the database. I’ve had to do it only once, before the ones you linked to in message #3. Granted, I don’t really work with comics, so it may well be that it occurs on a regular basis there, but that is still a fraction of all the records in the database.

2) The pub date has been entered incorrectly, either through a typo (f.e. 215 instead of 2015) or deliberately (Persian dates).
Actions needed: find the edition in question, correct the pub date and remove the original pub date (it will automatically update to the earliest edition in GR), or, if the earliest published edition is not on GR, change original pub date to the right year.
If the typo has created a date in the future (f.e. 3015), only the pub date needs to be corrected (the original pub date will either be updated with it, or in the case of other editions, will already have the correct date). [Edited out superfluous action]

3) The original pub date is earlier than the earliest edition on GR.
Action needed: set the original pub date to the correct year.

The actions in 2) and 3) cannot be automated. The system has no way of knowing what is and isn’t a valid publication date. F.e., I’ve seen valid original pub dates of -27.

In short, I really don’t think (hope) that GR is going to spend precious time and resources on automating scenario 1, when it happens so rarely and you seem to be the only one bothered by having to scroll down and use a dropdown menu.

At the top of *my* wish list are things that would actually help reduce the workload (and irritation) if they were solved, such as the default description not working as it should, and the ISBN fields not being linked to each other.

That said, if you have suggestions for improving the database, the Feedback group is the place to be: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...


message 14: by Bert (last edited Sep 22, 2015 02:03AM) (new)

Bert (bjmdotbooks) | 14 comments I think you are seeing a confirmation bias based on what you edit.

Perhaps, but that still doesn't change the fact that it does happen. I've had eight (8) such cases in the past five days.

You can see all the editions on the "all editions" page, and sort there by published and by first published date.

I don't need to see "all editions", in my case it (almost always) involves books where there is one edition.

I know you find scrolling down one page to be very tedious

I just love how people fail to read things and then construct a strawman so they can make lame jokes.

this happens very rarely, considering the size of the database

I've had eight (8) such cases in the past five days. That's eight times where I had to remember to do several additional actions which aren't necessary normally.

The actions in 2) and 3) cannot be automated.

Fine, whatever. Then give me an overview page like the one I described above. Or give me a warning after I press "submit" that there's an inconsistency WRT the dates and offer a one-click solution to fix them.

you seem to be the only one bothered by having to scroll down and use a dropdown menu.

No, I am bothered by the inconsistent behavior. The fact that I now have to scroll down and use two drop-downs just add to the nuisance.

But I'll submit my requests to the suggestions group instead. And I've got plenty of other annoyances too e.g. why can't I easily "merge" the data of two books which are clearly the same into one record without having to copy-paste a bunch of stuff?


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