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Book Issues > Mostly Harmless? Maybe...

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message 1: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments http://www.goodreads.com/book/edits/3...

Why was my image of "Mostly Harmless" (that I uploaded Fri Feb 25 03:57:30 -0800 2011 from a SCAN of my copy) replaced? When I have carefully matched my copy with the Goodreads record, I add the book to my "-edition-verified" shelf... This one sticks out like a sore thumb - It looks NOTHING like the edition I have.

Markus Bonnevier updated the book Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide, #5) by Douglas Adams in both February and May. If his book bears the same ISBN, shouldn't the image that replaced mine have been used in a new alternate cover edition?


message 2: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42487 comments Mod
Have you contacted the librarian who made the change?


message 3: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments No, Rivka, I haven't... but aren't we NOT supposed to be changing the images unless we have a better version of the same image???


message 4: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42487 comments Mod
That's why I suggest speaking with the other librarian first.

Why make a public kerfuffle if you can settle it privately?


message 5: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Thanks. I don't mind being the subject of public kerfluffles -- and, quite honestly, I tend to learn more from it (especially when I'm wrong). But, since you're aiming me in this direction, I'll contact him in private...

For the record, however, I guess my unanswered questions are:
(1) Why was the image changed?
and
(2) IF it needs to be changed back to the image I posted, and that image is no longer stored somewhere at GR, does that mean I have to spend hours of digging through dozens of boxes to find the book, rescan the cover, and re-upload the image (this time being certain I retain the jpg - thought I had still that one on file somewhere)?


message 6: by Beth (new)

Beth (bethjustbeth) | 1586 comments (1) My best guess would be an honest mistake.

(2) Best guess, yes, if you feel it's important enough to do so. I'm guessing it might be the cover shown here: http://www.worldcat.org/title/mostly-...# If it is, you can make an alternate cover edition, now.

I hate kerfuffles. Too crunchy.


message 7: by Shay (new)

Shay | 179 comments James, one of the things I do when I make changes is I notate whether or not I have the physical copy in possession. Maybe that would be a good thing to notate so that when other librarians are looking through the change log for that edition, they would know that it's "really" been verified.


message 8: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Thanks, Rivka, Beth, & Shay... When I find time, I'll sort this out with the one who changed my book image... In the meanwhile, it can stay as it is. It's been a loooong day and I'm too tired to do anything more about this for now. :)

Beth... I have quite a few alternate cover editions in my listing - why should I be the one making an alternate cover edition for a book I have already verified?

Shay: *sigh* Maybe I should just find time to go back through all those boxes -- 1148 books -- I've verified by holding the book in my hand and comparing... http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/... ...because if one is no longer reflecting what I know I own, then there are probably others... Should be fun (?) re-verifying them and making a librarian note on each of them.


message 9: by Random (last edited Jun 26, 2011 04:41PM) (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 56 comments I have run across books where the same ISBN has multiple covers. In that case, both covers are technically correct.

The only way to find out for sure why a librarian made a change is to ask that librarian or to look to see if he/she left notes as to the reason.


message 10: by Beth (new)

Beth (bethjustbeth) | 1586 comments James wrote: "Thanks, Rivka, Beth, & Shay... When I find time, I'll sort this out with the one who changed my book image... In the meanwhile, it can stay as it is. It's been a loooong day and I'm too tired to do..."

Because it's important enough for you to post here, I assume it would be important enough to make the alternate cover edition. Otherwise, you're expending the same amount of energy to call out the other librarian, then change it back, then try to force him to make the alternate cover edition...and at that point, if I were him, I'd probably just skip it. So you'd still have a less complete record.

You may have made a shelf of "-edition-verified" but the other librarians are not going to see it, or even look for it. Plus, you have new librarians coming in, every day. Each one is going to have a bit of a learning curve, each one will make mistakes. The world will still revolve, and we'll catch them as we go.


message 11: by James (last edited Jun 26, 2011 04:58PM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Stray thought: why not have a "verified by" field that can hold two or three name/date entries, indicating that (up to 3) librarians have compared an edition and the cover image with a physical copy (or an owned electronic copy - yeah I've been watching the ebook page count tug-of-war)? I dunno... Done thinking about this for the evening...


message 12: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Beth wrote: "...Otherwise, you're expending the same amount of energy to call out the other librarian, then change it back, then try to force him to make the alternate cover edition...and at that point, if I were him, I'd probably just skip it. So you'd still have a less complete record."

Then I'd rather make the alternate cover edition using the OTHER image and put the original back the way is was...


message 13: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Beth wrote: "Best guess, yes, if you feel it's important enough to do so. I'm guessing it might be the cover shown here: http://www.worldcat.org/title/mostly-..."

That's the one, Beth... Located a backup (on an external/removable drive) that has my scanned image on it, so at least I don't have to go hunting for my copy in whatever box it's in. My image has better resolution (298x500 pixels) than the one in your link, but thanks for the time you took to locate it.

Sent a message to Markus; just waiting to hear back from him now...


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 6676 comments I don't know if this is the case, but sometimes the same ISBN is published with different covers, so it's entirely possible that both covers are correct.


message 15: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Random wrote: "I have run across books where the same ISBN has multiple covers. In that case, both covers are technically correct.

The only way to find out for sure why a librarian made a change is to ask that ..."


Thanks, Random... I'm aware of all that, and have created several alternate cover editions... I just don't feel like creating them any time someone decides to replace cover images that I have verified and uploaded -- if I upload a cover image: (1) there IS no image and I have a verifiable image, (2) I have an identical cover image with better resolution (so the large image is actually a large image instead of a duplicate of the medium image); (3) I'm creating a record for an edition of a book that doesn't exist in the GR database (e.g., an alternate cover art edition)... That's pretty much my understanding of when it's okay to upload cover images. If I delete a cover image (for example, when uploading one with better resolution), I make a copy of the large size image that I'm replacing.


message 16: by Shay (new)

Shay | 179 comments James wrote: "Stray thought: why not have a "verified by" field that can hold two or three name/date entries, indicating that (up to 3) librarians have compared an edition and the cover image with a physical cop..."

I've often thought that would be a good idea- to have a box librarians could check if they've verified using a physical copy of the book. I have a few books that I think the ISBN's have been "recycled" so I'm reluctant to change the page counts. If I knew why another librarian changed it- like through Amazon or WorldCat vs. an actual copy- the next librarian could make a better judgment call as to whether to change certain types of book info- like page count, cover image.


message 17: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) | 755 comments Has anyone mentioned this in the feedback group? I also think it could be a good idea but here it may go unnoticed. The feedback group is the place for it. Who knows - we may see it added in the future.

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1...


message 18: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Stray thought: why not have a "verified by" field that can hold two or three name/date entries, indicating that (up to 3) librarians have compared an edition and the cover image with a physical copy (or an owned electronic copy - yeah I've been watching the ebook page count tug-of-war)?"

I think the biggest problem with it is that it would be, in the end, an honor system and some childish / egomaniacal librarians might just see it as an opportunity to say "woohoo - look at me - I've verified 50,000 books".... In which case maybe it would just be another case of wasting storage space and hours of programming (as a former programmer, I'm WELL aware of the old danger of "we programmed it the way you said, and now you say it's not what you wanted?")...

If anyone else has a more concrete vision of how this sort of thing could work, then they're welcome to salvage whatever thoughts I've had on it, combine their own with it, and send it on to the great Powers that Be...


message 19: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) | 755 comments I don't know, maybe GR could come up with a way. Really, librarians now could do something of the sort now right?
By, say, editing 1,000 books with one small little change of no real value. Then being top librarian or some such?
I think something like this might turn out to be for the more serious librarians who reslly care about this sort of thing. I personally don't care about covers and the like so while I think it could be a great idea I probably wouldn't do much with it myself.
Maybe someone can think of something and suggest it to GR...
Either way it's a great idea James. :)


message 20: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 1047 comments James wrote: "For the record, however, I guess my unanswered questions are:
(1) Why was the image changed? ..."


My guess would be that it's the currently used sales cover he uploaded, the user probably assumed that the other cover was added by mistake.


message 21: by Shay (new)

Shay | 179 comments James wrote: "Stray thought: why not have a "verified by" field that can hold two or three name/date entries, indicating that (up to 3) librarians have compared an edition and the cover image with a physical cop..."

I think they would only have to do this for a small number of fields- like page count and book cover. Verifying stuff that's subject to change- like website and Twitter feed- isn't as important. I think it would be good in conjunction with some kind of a "stop" mechanism. Like once those field like page count and book cover have been verified, a page would come up before you can change it. I.e., another page or box would come up saying, "Are you sure you want to change information that's been verified by three librarians?" If you clicked yes, it could prompt you, "Would you prefer that this be added as an alternative book cover as it has been verified three times?" Then maybe if they really insisted it would change the verified book cover to the additional book cover. In other words, they would actually have to go and delete it. Might stop new librarians from deleting the book cover.


message 22: by Banjomike (last edited Jun 27, 2011 06:23AM) (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments The problems with a "verified" box include the problems mentioned above eg:

The same ISBN can have multiple covers.
The same cover can appear on multiple ISBNs.
Some(many) librarians would simply tick the box anyway.
Some(many) librarians would IGNORE the ticked box and make the change anyway LEAVING THE BOX ticked which would really cause confision.


message 23: by James (last edited Jun 27, 2011 08:12AM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Banjomike wrote: "The same ISBN can have multiple covers.
The same cover can appear on multiple ISBNs."


The former is a problem much more insidious than the latter. What would be REALLY nice is the option to upload multiple cover images for one ISBN. I'd like to see something like this develop here at GR:

Any librarian would be able to upload cover images, but allowed to delete only their own uploaded images, creating a database of User Cover Images (UCI's) for each ISBN/ASIN and eliminating the need for "Alternate Cover Editions"; only supers would be authorized to delete a cover image that is not their own upload.

The first image uploaded for a given ISBN, or the 3rd party cover image (3PCI) if no image is uploaded within 24 hours, would become the initial "Goodreads default cover image" (GRDCI). If more than one image exists for a given ISBN/ASIN, then users could choose (a) a single UCI for each of the books they shelf, (b) multiple UCI's if they want to shelf multiple copies of a single ISBN/ASIN having different covers, or (c) allow the GRDCI for that ISBN/ASIN to be used as the default UCI until the user specifies otherwise.

As members identify their UCI's, then the "most popular cover" of those available (excluding a 3PCI) can determine the GRDCI - in a manner similar to how the "most popular edition" currently is used as a default. So, there would be one additional "layer" added, the effect of which would be the display of (a) the most popular cover image of the most popular edition when displaying a book that has not been shelved by the user, or (b) the UCI for any books shelved by the user.

For most GR purposes, the GRDCI would be used, however, when one of a user's shelves is displayed, or he/she displays a book that he/she has shelved, the UCI would be shown instead of the GRDCI; likewise, if a user displays the book page for a book he has shelved, his/her chosen UCI would be shown (most popular of his/her UCI's if the user has selected multiple UCI's).


message 24: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments I've created an alternate cover art edition of Douglas Adams' Mostly Harmless (ISBN10: 0345418778 (ISBN13: 9780345418777) using Markus' image at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11... and notified him so that he can identify it on his shelves

I've restored the cover art to the original record at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36...


message 25: by Scott (new)

Scott | 18594 comments That's a much better cover.


message 26: by Shay (new)

Shay | 179 comments James wrote: "I've created an alternate cover art edition of Douglas Adams' Mostly Harmless (ISBN10: 0345418778 (ISBN13: 9780345418777) using Markus' image at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11......"

What would also be nice is if a super librarian could "freeze" certain information like this. Meaning once these issues are sorted out, a super could freeze the record. That way only another super could unfreeze it and change which would involve discussion and examining the change log, etc.


message 27: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Scott wrote: "That's a much better cover."
When I scan covers, I've tried to resize to a height of between 350 to 600 pixels (while maintaining the aspect ratio). Sometimes when a book has somehow "lost" its large image size (not sure how that even happens), I will locate an identical image somewhere online and re-upload the cover image so there is a large image on record, but I can't always find an image with good resolution - decreasing the dimensions of an image is always better than forcing an increase (where the graphics software has to make a "best guess" for the color of the additional pixels being added).


message 28: by James (last edited Jun 27, 2011 09:48AM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Shay wrote: "What would also be nice is if a super librarian could "freeze" certain information like this. Meaning once these issues are sorted out, a super could freeze the record. That way only another super could unfreeze it and change which would involve discussion and examining the change log, etc."

That's a GREAT idea, Shay...


message 29: by Scott (new)

Scott | 18594 comments Actually I meant that the cover art was better. I hate the sandwich cover!


message 30: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Scott wrote: "Actually I meant that the cover art was better. I hate the sandwich cover!"

LOL... I have to agree... Seems that cover would've been more appropriate for The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


message 31: by Brandon (last edited Jun 27, 2011 01:22PM) (new)

Brandon | 13 comments James wrote: "Any librarian would be able to upload cover images, but allowed to delete only their own uploaded images, creating a database of User Cover Images (UCI's) for each ISBN/ASIN and eliminating the need for "Alternate Cover Editions"; only supers would be authorized to delete a cover image that is not their own upload. "

The problem with something like this is it creates a scenario where anyone can upload whatever they want as a cover image while only a small portion of the population can delete them. This opens up the possibility of inappropriate or spam images being left up as covers on Goodreads for hours before a super librarian has a chance to delete it, and that's assuming the first person to notice the error (which is less likely since most aren't going to view every cover for an ISBN) reports it.


message 32: by James (last edited Jun 27, 2011 02:22PM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments James wrote: "Any librarian would be able to upload cover images, but allowed to delete only their own uploaded images, creating a database of User Cover Images (UCI's) for each ISBN/ASIN and eliminating the need for "Alternate Cover Editions"; only supers would be authorized to delete a cover image that is not their own upload."

Brandon wrote: "The problem with something like this is it creates a scenario where anyone can upload whatever they want as a cover image while only a small portion of the population can delete them. This opens up the possibility of inappropriate or spam images being left up as covers on Goodreads for hours before a super librarian has a chance to delete it, and that's assuming the first person to notice the error (which is less likely since most aren't going to view every cover for an ISBN) reports it."


So you're saying GR's own librarians are spammers or prone to uploading inappropriate images??? If that's the case, sounds like a security issue that needs to be addressed, as well.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 6676 comments This sounds like hyper-regulation to me.


message 34: by James (last edited Jun 27, 2011 02:47PM) (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "This sounds like hyper-regulation to me."

What's so restrictive? Allowing only librarians to add cover images, or preventing the extra burden of fixing random or inadvertent deletions?

Or is this in response to my (mild) concern over having some control over what GR's librarians can do and perhaps being cautious about what they can do? Several years ago I was a security administrator for the company I worked for - there's no end to the chaos that can be visited on GR by a handful of librarians that decide to abuse the rights they've been granted. Sure, it can all be restored and fixed, but for every incorrect entry that's made (whether intentional or not) a correction needs to be made. In the struggle to decrease time and effort, being lackadaisical about the who - and what - and how - can only lead to a frustrating morass of useless data...


message 35: by Brandon (last edited Jun 27, 2011 02:52PM) (new)

Brandon | 13 comments James wrote: "So you're saying GR's own librarians are spammers or prone to uploading inappropriate images??? If that's the case, sounds like a security issue that needs to be addressed, as well. "

Yes, there most certainly are librarians who are spammers. I've reported several of them myself and deleted many, many spam entries.

And, Goodreads likely handles it as best they can. It's not like they can do this in-depth background check on everyone who wants to be a librarian.


message 36: by Banjomike (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments While there are probably some librarians who cause more problems than they fix, most of them do a hell of a lot of good work on this site.

Tapping supers to monitor what the ordinary librarians do would be difficult since I am fairly sure that there are many thousands of ordinaries and maybe less than 100 supers (maybe considerably less).

I've sometimes wondered whether librarians are monitored after their appointment, are they ever demoted to pleb status for consistently having to be corrected by others thereby causing more probs than they solve.

There is one librarian/author who seems only to use their librarian status to fiddle with their own books, which does not need librarianism at all.


message 37: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Brandon wrote: "...And, Goodreads likely handles it as best they can. It's not like they can do this in-depth background check on everyone who wants to be a librarian."

Even without the benefit of having background check info, it might be a case of "as best they can" not being enough -- of course, some of the headaches could be offset by implementing measures to identify spammers more quickly... There's a balance to be reached with security, convenience, speed, reliability, accuracy, and functionality; it's often a hard balance to find.


message 38: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Banjomike wrote: "...most of them do a hell of a lot of good work on this site..."

Absolutely...

**waits for wild cheering for our librarians to die down a little**

...and THAT'S what sometimes causes me to think that Goodreads is a misnamed site... Too bad "FarBetterThanJustGoodreads" would make for such a long and cumbersome URL...


message 39: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42487 comments Mod
There are about 20 users with superlibrarian abilities, and only about a dozen who regularly use them for any substantial librarian-type editing.

Problem librarians are often noticed by other librarians and reported (to me, to Patrick, to Otis, to Kara, to the main customer service email address -- that last one is the preferred method, FYI). What happens next varies, but we do keep an eye on known potential problems (and proven spammers get deleted ASAP).


message 40: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments Okay.... so here we go AGAIN with the "hot dog" cover to this book.

I have the original image on my harddrive and it IS NOT the "hot dog" cover - and it wasn't the hot dog cover when I first added Mostly Harmless to my shelves.

A while back (in June) I created an alternate cover edition for this ISBN with the "hot dog" art, restored the cover image from a scanned image of my book, coordinated with the librarian who had made that previous change, even placed a librarian note stating the cover art had been verified and should not be changed.... and yet it HAD CHANGED...

...and NOW this book - in any edition - is no longer even on my SHELF????

I'm changing the cover art back (for the second time). The alternate cover edition still exists at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11...

I'll check back later and re-add "Mostly Harmless" to my shelf.

[shakes head]
[shrugs]


message 41: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 2459 comments The cover change (judging by the RandomHouse source) is on Goodreads this time. See Importing Book Data from Publishers.

Although... it wasn't supposed to overwrite covers that we had put up there, only those from Amazon/B&N. Hmm...


message 42: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 152 comments I dunno, Vicky... but it's frustrating... especially when it disappears entirely from my shelves for who knows how long...

So how many of my other books do you suppose have slipped silently away without notice?


message 43: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool James, it's not quite as bad as it seems... and yet somehow worse. The cover has not been updated by a human, but by a computer. The problem has come from the exciting new way of getting book info directly from the publisher, in this case Random House, which has managed to trash a bunch of covers. Here's a thread about it here http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7...


message 44: by Darkpool (new)

Darkpool whoops! I see Vicky beat me to it!


message 45: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) | 2459 comments Oh, I agree, the publisher importing changed some of my covers as well (though none on my read or owned shelves, so I didn't bother changing them).

The disappearing from shelves thing is odd, and I feel like I've read in feedback that it's happened to others recently. Let me see if I can find it...


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