dmarley: Fingerpainting (Default)
Since I last did any extensive updating at LibraryThing (over three years ago!), they've switched things up a bit. Now there are these "Common Knowledge" fields for the works which contain things like the publication dates, editors, characters in the books, alternate titles, and other tidbits of useful information. It's all nifty, and I'd like to add some information to the Common Knowledge pool.

There are two problems with this ambition.

First, I have about 4,500 books in my catalog. That's a lot of entries to go through. Clearly, some of them will already be up-to-date on their Common Knowledge (I suspect, for instance, that some of the other 50,000+ people who have copies of the Harry Potter books will have taken care of them), but when I've got the only copy of Suffering and Evil in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe, that'll be on me to fill in the fields. This is, of course, the point of the exercise--to add my unique information--but it brings me to my second problem:

LibraryThing no longer allows me to sort by the number of copies. In the Olden Days, you could sort your catalog by the relative popularity of your books. This would be a really useful feature to have right now, since it would allow me to bump all my unique works right to the top and work through them first, instead of having to scan through all 4,587 entries to find the ones where mine is the only copy.

(Okay, there's sort of a workaround, in that I can put Common Knowledge fields into my catalog viewing and then sort by the fields, so at least I won't be constantly clicking on works that already have stuff filled in. But it would really, really be a lot easier to go to works that I can be almost sure no-one has filled in because I know no one else has the book.)

On a completely different topic, if you look at the cover I scanned for the aforemenioned Suffering and Evil as an example, you will note that all the book covers I scanned in and uploaded three years ago suck. A lot. I think there was some miniscule size limit, and boy does it show. I just uploaded a cover for The Mad Scientist Affair that doesn't even qualify as "high quality," but it's about a billion times better. I may have to go back and re-scan some of those covers (another task that that "sort by popularity" thing would be useful for).

Busy busy....:)
dmarley: Fingerpainting (Default)
The LibraryThing process is proceeding. I've entered 3,000 books now.

I've moved from working from the card catalog to the actual books. While I was unable to get up and down the stairs, the cards were very useful. I could just lie in bed and work off them and when I got sleepy--bed! But since the catalog isn't complete, and since the CueCat scanner makes it about 10,000 times easier to just scan the barcodes rather than typing off crappy dot-matrix printouts--where I may or may not have written down the correct ISBN ten years ago--I learned that it was quicker to just work from the shelves.

I have all the hardbacks done now, except for the oversize ones and the ones that are mixed in with my husband's books. I did the hardbacks first because I have a lot of old and unusual books that I knew would require more research and possibly manual entry. From there I've moved to the one bookshelf I have of non-science fiction, non-mystery paperbacks and paperback-sized hardbacks, for pretty much the same reason.

Some observations: I have close to a hundred books that aren't shared by any other members, and about two hundred and fifty others that are shared by fewer than ten others. Some of them aren't suprising. Dante, Chaucer, and the Currency of the Word : Money, Images, and Reference in Late Medieval Poetry is a good example. I'm a bit surprised that no one else shares The Writings of Medieval Women : An Anthology, though. And I'm kind of sad that no one else has The Alps as Seen by the Poets or Billy-Boy because they're both beautiful books and I'd like to think that someone else has had the opportunity to enjoy them.

According to my stats, my median book obscurity is currently 107, and my mean book obscurity is 590. This means that, on average, I share books with 590 other members. But half of my library is shared by 107 members or less, and half is shared by 107 or more. Kinda cool.

This will also be an interesting exercise in Total Book Estimates. For a while now I've been tossing around 4,500 as the number of books I have without having any real idea about the true totals, and now I'll have the chance to see how close I am. Based on how many books I've entered, and how many I estimate I have left, I think it's going to be pretty close.
dmarley: Fingerpainting (Default)
As I've mentioned several times, I've been putting my books on LibraryThing, and it is good. This is partly because I'm an anal-retentive freak who already cataloged my books, so all I'm having to do (mostly) is type the ISBNs or other info off the cards I have.

Book catalog

As you can see, it looks like I'm making progress.

At least until you look at the other three drawers left to go )

Pictures of the actual cards in their dot-matrix glory )

A bit more about the LibraryThing process )

September 2012

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