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State of the Database: BookLikes database, Halloween Bingo, and a mini-rant - with pictures.

Note: I'm writing this a little hungover.  That's my disclaimer if anything sounds snarky.

 

A common grumble in BookLikesandia is that the database could be better (my polite translation).  This is a perennial grumble that rolls across BookLikesandia regardless of search/import outages or other unfortunate and annoying bugs.

 

I and the other librarians scurry around the records like ... ants, trying our best to fix things and make the database a solid body of reliable, verified data.  No flag waving, but Themis-Athena and I have done over 100,000 edits combined - and in reality, the number is much higher because the system only counts how many times we open a record, not the number of edits we make while its open.  With other librarians, the count is almost 150,000.  We've been scurrying.

 

We have so much more work yet to do.  Tip of the iceberg stuff.

 

But changes on BookLikes take a lot of time.  There are no bulk-edit librarian tools; every book and author record has to be edited, merged, or tied together one at a time.  Today, I did 7 pages of queued up edits, 20 to a page, in 5 different languages. It took me over 2.5 hours. 

 

I enjoy doing it - I'm a nerd and get a great sense of satisfaction out of seeing an accurate and complete record.  BUT - and this is the point of my lead up:  if edits and new books were added correctly by  most users, 2 hours of my time this morning could have been spent fixing old problems and cleaning up old records.

 

If records are submitted correctly (including edits), I could have gone through the 7 pages in the queue today in 30 minutes, instead of 2.5 hours.  I've done posts before - repeatedly - about do's and don't's, and, let me be clear a lot of people DO submit wonderful records.  Really, and it's really appreciated.  We remember your names, and smile when you submit stuff.  Ok, I do anyway.

 

But a lot of people are still missing the details.  So.  I have pictures.  Screenshots of the two biggest time wasters for librarians processing the queue:  mis-labelling formats, and adding ASINs where they should NOT be added.

 

Let's start with E-books:

 

Both of these are wrong, and have to be fixed.  The first one because it's a KINDLE, not an ebook, and the second because it's an EBOOK, not a kindle, and the ASIN should NOT  be theres.  It should be on a KINDLE edition, seperate from the ebook edition.

 

This is what a correct ebook edition should look like.

 

This is what a correct KINDLE edition should look like.

 

 

Now, paperbacks and hardcovers:

 

Both of these are wrong and have to be fixed.  Paperbacks and hardcovers NEVER HAVE AN ASIN.

 

This is an example of what a paperback edition should look like (and hardcover - except, of course, it should say "hardcover").

 

 

This record is doubly wrong:

No format was included, so we don't know if this is supposed to be a paperback, hardcover, ebook or kindle - hell, it could be an audiobook for all we know.  So we have to leave Booklikes to search the web (because most of these include a GoodReads source URL that doesn't specify the format) to find out what format it is before we can correct it.

 

Sometimes shit happens.  Sometimes mistakes are made, or someone is in a hurry, no biggie.  But most of these aren't mistakes, most of them are submitted by serial offenders.  And please understand that I'm not complaining about a few - almost half of the queued lists are usually made up of records like these, that have to be opened and corrected before they're approved.  Today's count would have been close to 70 records.  On top of the records missing covers, ISBNs, etc.  Out of 140 records today, only about 40 were submissions I could just approve as is.

 

As I said, I enjoy doing this, as do the other librarians, but our time is finite, so whatever we spend on new submissions that have to be corrected is time we can't spend on fixing old records, bad imports, combining scattered editions and merging duplicate author records.  The records that cause all the grumbling in the first place.

 

Please help us make the BookLikes database better for everyone.  Rant over.  Send aspirin.

Reblogged from Murder by Death