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Policies & Practices > Book series!

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message 1: by Cait (last edited Aug 17, 2010 02:04PM) (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments I figure we should probably open up a discussion topic on this. Here's the feedback thread announcing it, with initial responses.

Point 1: YAY! :)

Point 2: Okay, to business -- what new policies are we going to need for series?


message 2: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments I guess we should decide how to handle publishing order vs chronological order vs author suggested order. Do we pick one, or do we create separate series objects for each variation?

If we create separate series objects, I would say create the separate series object, but don't add another variation to the title field. After all, the script isn't going to be searching the title field a second time.

We also need to decide how to handle unnumbered additions to a series - like a compendium. Do we add them to the end, or insert them in publishing order?


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Could somebody please explain to me how librarians enter this information? I've now been to books where series info is already entered properly but I don't know how to edit books to get them that way. Thanks. Addition to the manual?


message 4: by mlady_rebecca (last edited Aug 17, 2010 03:32PM) (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Here's a start....

How to get to the series page, from a book page.

To move to an existing series page, from a book that has already been included in that series, simply click the series link in the book information box.

How to edit an existing series, from the series page.

Under the series title, there should be an edit link. Click on that link.

Anything in the Description field will be visible on the series page. Anything in the Notes field is only visible on the edit page.

To add a new book, click on the "+ add books" link near the bottom of the page. You can then search by title/author.

Books can be sorted by drag and drop.

The "numbered" checkbox must be checked to add numbering. Numbering can be added manually or by choosing the auto-number link. The "number" field is a text field, so you can manually add something other than integers. For instance, 2.5 for an extra story appearing between book 2 and 3.

How to create a new series.

When looking at the edit page for an individual book, you have the choice of either visiting an existing series page for that book, or creating a new series. Both links are at the bottom of the page, in the works section.

Full List of series

The full listing of all series is available here:
http://www.goodreads.com/series


message 5: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Series currently containing books from two similarly named, but unrelated series.

During the initial import, some series were blended. To separate two unrelated series (A and B): Delete any series B books from the series A page. Create a new series page for series B by editing a book in series B and creating a new series. (Link at the bottom in the works section.) Finally, add in the other books for series B.


message 6: by Dori (last edited Aug 17, 2010 05:27PM) (new)

Dori (adorible) | 198 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "I guess we should decide how to handle publishing order vs chronological order vs author suggested order. Do we pick one, or do we create separate series objects for each variation?

If we create s..."


I feel we should have different series objects for the different orders (published, chronological, suggested reading,) but agree with your second statement of not adding variations to the title (especially since there is talk of series information being removed from the title fields altogether--what's the point of adding it.)

As to unnumbered volumes, I have mixed emotions. In a way, I don't want to see them there at all. On my own shelves, I've been putting them in the order they would be read, but that's only because it's the edition I've read or have. I think that with the series objects it would be better to have them at the end, or even in their own series (and have series information cross-referenced in the series description.) If compendiums were in their own series, I don't think I would bother to have them in a particular order, because it would be difficult when a compendium makes sense in the suggested reading order, but not in the published order (ex. The Chronicles of Narnia Set which includes Magician's Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; and The Horse and His Boy--it makes sense chronologically, but not by publication order.)

For example:
Chronicles of Narnia - Published Order
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
The Last Battle

Chronicles of Narnia - Chronological (also, the suggested reading order, I believe)
The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

Chronicles of Narnia - Compendium editions (in no particular order)
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia Book 4,5,6
The Tales of Narnia : The Silver Chair, The Last Battle
The Chronicles of Narnia Set
There are more that belong here, but I'm not going to go find them all...

Edited for a really bad run on sentence. I won't guarantee there aren't more though...


message 7: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments I think it would make sense to have omnibus editions placed in the series just after the earliest book they contain, but I can also see some logic in putting them just after the last book they contain too.

* book 1
* book 1-3
* book 2
* book 3
* book 4

Or

* book 1
* book 2
* book 3
* book 1-3
* book 4

I don't think they should be moved to a different series unless they offer a different numbering. "Book 1-3" is using the same numbering as books 1, 2, and 3, after all.


message 8: by Jenny (last edited Aug 17, 2010 07:38PM) (new)

Jenny (narcisse) | 179 comments I don't think that they should be moved to a different series either. It could make it difficult for people with a mixture of single books and omnibus/boxed sets to find the series information that they're looking for.

If there are to be separate series objects for Published Order and Chronological Order, an omnibus or boxed set would need to have its numbering changed from something like #1-3 to #1-2,4. Obvious perhaps, but should probably be mentioned in the manual about fitting such editions into both numbering systems should they be used.

I prefer to see them grouped under the earliest book # rather than the latest. For whatever reason, it looks more "right" that way. Maybe because it's weird seeing a 1 come after a 3. Also, if someone is glancing down the list to see what to look for next, it would be more beneficial to him/her to see the omnibus at its earliest relevance rather than its latest.


message 9: by vicki_girl (new)

vicki_girl | 2765 comments I prefer putting it after the last in the set. It doesn't make sense to me to have book 3 (in the above example) before book 2. The set of books 1-3 couldn't have existed before book 3 did.

Also, I think that if there are two Narnia series, they should have different names. Otherwise you will have something like,

series: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Narnia

...and people might assume it's a mistake.

However, I am more than happy to concede to the majority. :)


message 10: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments vicki_girl wrote: "Also, I think that if there are two Narnia series, they should have different names. Otherwise you will have something like,

series: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Narnia

...and people might assume it's a mistake."


Actually, it's going to be worse than that, isn't it? Our pal The Chronicles of Narnia will also need to be listed as:
As Crónicas de Narnia
Las Cronicas de Narnia
Le Monde de Narnia
De kronieken van Narnia
Die Chroniken von Narnia
Letopisy Narnie
Opowieści z Narnii

...and that's just a quick skim through one book's worth of editions....


message 11: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Actually, when I said "compendium" I meant something like The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide - a series companion, or perhaps A Touch of Dead (Southern Vampire Mystery Short Stories) - a collections of shorts. I wasn't even considering omnibus editions.

For "The Chronicles of Narnia" I would suggest calling the series objects "The Chronicles of Narnia (Published Order)" and "The Chronicles of Narnia (Suggested Reading Order)".

Are we really going to make series objects for each an every language? Series are supposed to be by work, not by edition. I thought the two way split for "The Chronicles of Narnia" would be a very rare exception.


message 12: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "Are we really going to make series objects for each an every language?"

I have no idea what we're going to do about languages, but we need to do something, don't we? Otherwise we lose series information that readers need.


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Thanks, Rebecca. I'll refer back to that information the first time I try to work on this feature.


message 14: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Cait wrote: "I have no idea what we're going to do about languages, but we need to do something, don't we? Otherwise we lose series information that readers need. "

Are you referring to cases where an English version of a book is sold in country X as two different volumes? In that case, I can see them having a separate series listing, since the numbering is different.

If you mean just translating the series name to each and every language, then I guess it depends on how much internationalization Goodreads wants. I tend to err on the side of this being an English language site, and that all users should have a working knowledge of English. But, in the end, I think that really needs to a staff call.


message 15: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
mlady_rebecca wrote: "and that all users should have a working knowledge of English"

This is most assuredly NOT the official GR position.


message 16: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments rivka wrote: "mlady_rebecca wrote: "and that all users should have a working knowledge of English"

This is most assuredly NOT the official GR position."


That's why I try to avoid most talk of non-English procedures and books. Personally, I can't imagine using a website like this that isn't in a language I have a working knowledge of. Goodreads is much too sophisticated for that. The menus, help items, and official communications are all in English, so it seems to me to be an English language site, despite cataloging non-English books.

But, like I said, I think the staff needs to make that sort of decision. Splitting out every language just made it sound like we're using a tool meant as a "per work" tool more like a "per edition" tool.


message 17: by Kara (new)

Kara Babcock (tachyondecay) | 62 comments While I agree that we should remove series information from titles eventually, until we can account for other languages, I think we need to leave that be.

Ideally the series title field would have some sort of alias that lets us specify translations. This is where the "language" setting of an edition comes in handy, because then the system could match the appropriate series title language to the language of the book.

Of course, we're also going to run into the problems mentioned above about translations being split into multiple volumes, published in a different order, etc. I suspect sometimes it's going to come down to a judgement call for that individual series.

Regarding omnibus or boxed sets, I favour placing them after neither the first nor the last item they contain. Instead, I suggest we put them at the end of the series. There are several benefits to this approach. It enforces a nice separation between single-work volumes and multi-work volumes that, in my opinion, will make the series page easier to use. Anyone with an multi-work volume will know to look at the bottom of the page; conversely, people with a single-work volume will only have to spend their time skimming over the preceding books in the series. Furthermore, we can take the same approach to unnumbered works in the series and companion works, if we decide to include them.


message 18: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
Ben wrote: "Instead, I suggest we put them at the end of the series."

That's what I've been thinking as well, and for similar reasons to the ones Ben just stated so clearly.


message 19: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "Actually, when I said "compendium" I meant something like The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide - a series companion, or perhaps A Touch of Dead (Southern Vampire Mystery Short Stories) ..."

Those I would put at the end of the series, after all of the numbered books, I think. Sort of like appendices.


message 20: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Ben wrote: "Anyone with an multi-work volume will know to look at the bottom of the page"

Will they? I suppose they'll learn eventually, but that wouldn't be the natural place for me to look, I'll admit, and for really long series that seems like it would be more confusing....


message 21: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
I think he means they will learn to do so. ;)

I certainly can (and probably will) add something to the general help section about series once things are more nailed down, as well as to the librarian manual.


message 22: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments I have no idea what we're going to do about languages, but we need to do something, don't we?

The lack of cross-references is a problem with authors, too. But here we also have the problem of moving series information from the title area (where the "main" edition--the one that displays first--is the most popular one) to its own area, where the series needs to be established in one authorized way. If this problem (not having cross-references or, IMO, a truly workable system of distinguishing between identical names) is being worked on for authors, I think it makes the most sense to include series names in that work and find a solution that works in both situations.


message 23: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
1) How long it will take to figure out the author AKA feature is unknown, but it will probably be a while. It's a major undertaking.
2) I don't know why you assume that whatever solution is found will work for series. I don't -- I seriously doubt that it will.


message 24: by Blaine (new)

Blaine | 12 comments As for onmibuses, I think they should go at the end. That way, when I look at a series page, I see all the books in the serie in the proper order, then I see what other combinations of those are available.

I don't know what to do about short stories and companions.

And I have a question: when someone creates or adds to a series, which edition shows on the series page? Is it the one that they added, or the most popular edition?

I like the idea of seperate lists for different reading orders, but I think that there should be links between them.

I also agree that the lists should be about the work, not the edition. But there is the problem with different languages. I recall someone, somewhere, suggesting that there be a way that people can set a default language, so if an edition exists in that language, that is the one to appear. If this is possible (I have no idea if it is), then that could be applied to series lists as well.


message 25: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (narcisse) | 179 comments I am liking the idea of omnibus/boxed sets at the end. I think it would make for less clutter, especially on longer series with multitudes of various boxed sets and omnibus editions that may get in people's way if they're looking for a quick reference as to the book order.


message 26: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "And I have a question: when someone creates or adds to a series, which edition shows on the series page? Is it the one that they added, or the most popular edition?"

It seems to be the most popular edition.


Jenny wrote: "I like the idea of seperate lists for different reading orders, but I think that there should be links between them."

Not currently possible, and I think unnecessary. Both will appear on the book in question (assuming librarians have added them to both lists).


Blaine wrote: "I recall someone, somewhere, suggesting that there be a way that people can set a default language, so if an edition exists in that language, that is the one to appear."

That was a support request, NOT something that is currently possible. I believe it's on the long-range to-do list, but I wouldn't expect it to be possible anytime soon. (It's hard! ;) )


message 27: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Blaine wrote: "I like the idea of seperate lists for different reading orders, but I think that there should be links between them."

Yes, I agree -- it would make sense to put in the description of a series that the series is also available in another order. (Will the description field take URLs?)


message 28: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
One way to find out. ;)


message 29: by James (last edited Aug 18, 2010 09:14AM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Personally, I think there should only be one series listed and, since this site is really for book readers, I think a "best chronological reading order" listing would serve best.

This "keep it simple, silly" logic would also ensure GR's librarians a reduced initial workload and a less complex maintenance requirement. Not everything needs to be complicated - most people will be happy to be able to see all the books in a series identified in any order - just so they're sure they haven't missed reading something.

If other series listings seem to make sense after an initial housecleaning period, then that's fine, we should talk this all out again at that time.

I added "The Circle of Light" and "Wilderness of Four" and wrestled with the controls until it was flying right... Took some getting used to, but works well up to a point. I believe problems will arise when more than one listing per series exists, and everyone will have to be riding herd on yet another thing that will be constantly in need of repair. (That said, I still think this was a great additional feature to be added.)

Here's a good example of one of the problems (maybe we need a simple "combine" tool before we delve too deeply into how many series listings are needed?):

http://www.goodreads.com/series/49094...
http://www.goodreads.com/series/49095...
http://www.goodreads.com/series/49096...


message 30: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
James wrote: "Personally, I think there should only be one series listed and, since this site is really for book readers, I think a "best chronological reading order" listing would serve best."

Not only do I strongly disagree on general terms, I see no reason to change established policy like that.


message 31: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments rivka wrote: "Not only do I strongly disagree on general terms, I see no reason to change established policy like that. "

~shrug~

That's why I began with "Personally, I think..."

The central point of my post is the idea of keeping it uncomplicated initially, adding complexity later. Anyone who thinks complicating matters won't add a passel of headaches may be lying to themselves. The gist of my post was more aimed at let's get them grouped by series first then sort them later.


message 32: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Most of them are already grouped by series, though. That's what all the librarian work in the titles has been about.


message 33: by James (last edited Aug 18, 2010 09:39AM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Cait wrote: "Most of them are already grouped by series, though. That's what all the librarian work in the titles has been about."

True, but it's been a pretty sloppy job. The formatting has been erratic, at best.

(And, yes, before someone decides to point it out to me, I'm certain I'm also guilty.)


message 34: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
James wrote: "but it's been a pretty sloppy job."

Actually, in general it has not. Less popular series have not all been cleaned up, it's true (I think this new tool will help a lot with that!), but many many have been.


message 35: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments rivka wrote: "1) How long it will take to figure out the author AKA feature is unknown, but it will probably be a while. It's a major undertaking.
2) I don't know why you assume that whatever solution is found will work for series. I don't -- I seriously doubt that it will."


Oh, I don't assume that any solution found while considering only author entities will also work for series entities--I agree with you that it almost certainly would not. That's why I think it's important to consider both together and find a solution that works that way by design. Otherwise, the situation will be clumsy and frustrating for the GR librarians who will have to treat the two kinds of entities by different rules, even though, from the user point of view, a cross-reference is a cross-reference and why shouldn't creating one be one type or process instead of two (or more)?

Of course, I have no idea what's going on behind the scenes or what kind of underlying architecture GR has. But I know that the whole problem is a massive undertaking because part of my job is doing authority work in a library. That's why--not that I have any say in what GR does--I think this is an opportunity to think top-down to streamline the idea of creating cross-references for entities, no matter the type, because GR is relying on the free labor of GR librarians, who, in able to take part, need the process to be learnable in a very short amount of time. I'm very excited to see what kinds of solutions GR and other websites--rivals or colleagues, however you look at them--come up with for these problems. Libraries rely on authority work, but it's very expensive. I doubt anything will ever make it truly cheap and simple, but innovations others make could be something we can learn from.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments With regard to series titles in alternate languages, as a temporary measure, one thing you can do is list the alternate titles in the description section of the series. An Example

It's not an optimal final solution, but it does give some coherency. I'd use the same logic as we do with "original title". The series name should probably be listed in the original language, with alternate languages secondary for now.


message 37: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments On omnibus and boxed sets -- one thing that occurs to me is that the series order is probably going to become available in the "my books" page soon. If the order is going to be available by alphabetical sort on the "numbering" label, then these books are going to be sorted in with the rest in the "my books" page anyway (although this is going to cause problems for the series which number 10 or more!); if the order is going to be the order as given in the series object, then I really don't want omnibus editions listed last. We have to consider that the series order may apply to places other than a display of every book in the series on the series page.

For example, I have a series called "XXXHolic" of which I have an omnibus of 1-3 and then individual volumes 4 through 15. I definitely don't want them to sort in my books as 4, 5, 6 ... 14, 15, 1-3! And the same really would apply to any other series: what if I had the Kencyrath series in God Stalk (1), Dark of the Moon (2), Seeker's Bane (3-4), and Bound in Blood (5)? It would make no sense to order that as 1, 2, 5, 3-4.


message 38: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Cait wrote: "On omnibus and boxed sets -- one thing that occurs to me is that the series order is probably going to become available in the "my books" page soon. If the order is going to be available by alphab..."

I dunno. It would make more sense (to me) to list the omnibus editions before the first book in the omnibus edition... for example (Kencyrath):

1,2,(3-4),5

or if you had those five individual volumes and the omnibus:

1,2,(3-4),3,4,5


message 39: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 43545 comments Mod
Cait wrote: "one thing that occurs to me is that the series order is probably going to become available in the "my books" page soon"

Maybe.


message 40: by Dori (new)

Dori (adorible) | 198 comments Cait wrote: "On omnibus and boxed sets -- one thing that occurs to me is that the series order is probably going to become available in the "my books" page soon."

While I like the idea that someday this could happen, I have no idea how that could work technically if a book belongs to multiple series. How would the system know which one to use?


message 41: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Dori wrote: "While I like the idea that someday this could happen, I have no idea how that could work technically if a book belongs to multiple series. How would the system know which one to use?"

Hmm, that's a good question!

Maybe it'll start out like authors, with the first series listed being the "primary" one that shows up in my books?

What I'm really hoping for is a pseudo-shelf in my books for each series object (so that I can stop creating endless "series-" shelves every time I shelve books in a series), and then that would have the selected series' order available. I don't know how long it'll take for that to be available, though.


message 42: by Dori (new)

Dori (adorible) | 198 comments Cait wrote: "What I'm really hoping for is a pseudo-shelf in my books for each series object (so that I can stop creating endless "series-" shelves every time I shelve books in a series), and then that would have the selected series' order available."

I'm with you there, I have so many... :)


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I don't know about series order, but a list of series should definitely be added to the my books view (as well as the export). Once that info is out of the title people (well, me, anyway) is going to want easy access to it when scanning through shelves. The order is a more complicated issue, particularly for multi-series books.


message 44: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Dori wrote: "I'm with you there, I have so many... :)"

Whoa! Color me impressed! :)


message 45: by Dori (new)

Dori (adorible) | 198 comments Cait wrote: "Dori wrote: "I'm with you there, I have so many... :)"

Whoa! Color me impressed! :)"


I'm pretty sure I'm insane. I'd love to get rid of some of them. I wouldn't have shelves for authors and narrators, except we can't search our own books for any but the primary contributors. And yeah, if I could ditch some of the series shelves, that would be a big help...


message 46: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "With regard to series titles in alternate languages, as a temporary measure, one thing you can do is list the alternate titles in the description section of the series."

I like that work-around.

As for where to put omnibus editions, I vote for at the end of the single-title list.


message 47: by Kara (new)

Kara Babcock (tachyondecay) | 62 comments If we do end up agreeing that omnibuses and companions should be added to the end, we could request that the series page get split into three sections: single works, omnibuses/boxed sets, and companion works, with shortcuts to each section of the page at the top. This would help new users find what they're looking for and help librarians keep everything organized.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments One thing that can help with omnibi (omnibuses...omnibusi...omnibae?) is to actually include that in the "numbering". For example, rather than just "1-3" make it "1-3 omnibus". This doesn't help with the ordering, but does make it a bit clearer which books are which.

A simple example
A complex example (the omniwhatevers are at the end)


message 49: by Kara (new)

Kara Babcock (tachyondecay) | 62 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "One thing that can help with omnibi (omnibuses...omnibusi...omnibae?) is to actually include that in the "numbering"."

That's a good idea. Incidentally, the OED says both "omnibuses" and "omnibi" are acceptable.


message 50: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 159 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "One thing that can help with omnibi (omnibuses...omnibusi...omnibae?) is to actually include that in the "numbering". For example, rather than just "1-3" make it "1-3 omnibus". This doesn't help wi..."

I like the way that looks...


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