BookLikes is a blog platform dedicated to book lovers but it's also an open book catalog which shares author pages and book records of the already published titles, the new releases and the upcoming books. Any BookLikes' member can search the catalog, add a new book record, edit the existing one and update the author page.
The group of BookLikes Librarians takes care of the catalog and watches on the accuracy of the data and works really hard to keep it well organized and lucid. Today, we've asked two of them to share some core tips on editing the book records. Read on and keep on editing.
Thank you so much, BookLikes Librarians! Keep up the great work!
Parts of a Record
Cover should match the edition/ISBN/ASIN - and that’s what we’ll check against. Make sure you include a valid source code (or “book in hand” or “owned book”) when you are trying to change a cover: missing/invalid sources will cause the edit to be rejected.
If you think your cover is one of several correct covers for an edition, please file a book report instead of a book edit, with a note that it’s an alternate cover for that edition. Include the URL to the cover you added too, please.
When covers do NOT need a source:
Covers can be .jpg, .gif or .png but must not exceed 250mb in size.
We want *just* the title and subtitles for books. Series title should go in the Series Field. As a general rule, there should be nothing in the title field within a set of parentheses.
For Graphic Novels we have to bend the rules a little due to their serial nature… and multiple systems of collecting issues. Please still fill out the series field as appropriate.
For comic books that have multiple different series under the exact same name (particularly superhero comics), the years of that series are used to designate the difference between the distinct runs. So you may have “[Series Title] (YEAR-YEAR).
Where it gets a bit sticky is for Graphic Novels we want you to keep the series title in the title (we know! We just told you not to do this for records)! This is because the series title in this case is most often a very integral part of the volume title.
Example: The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 1: the Faust Act
“The Faust Act” on it’s own is not the proper title, so we include the series. Note, we used “Vol.” instead of “Volume” because the abbreviation is inclusive of the full word.
We don’t have a perfect solution for single issues of comic books yet, since they have UPCs instead of ISBNs (though, digital versions often have ASINs). For single issues, use #[Issue Number] in the title.
Enter the author name, then wait - the database will search for records that match that name and return a list of three results. Choose the one that matches the book’s author.
If search returns “no results” - please check the spelling of the author’s name carefully: if it is spelled correctly, hit “enter” to create a new record. (There have been reports that this doesn’t work for non-librarians, if you find it didn’t assign the book to the proper author, flag the new book as ‘wrong author’ and note the correct name in the report.)
If search returns multiple results: if your author has a name that is likely to be unique (i.e. J.K. Rowling, or Jo Nesbo), and the search returns multiple results, it’s an indication that there are author records that need to be merged. Choose the author record at the top of the search results, and after saving the record, please flag us and let us know there are author records that need to be merged.
Author records should NOT have titles or qualifications: for example:
(No Sir, Dr., Mr., Mrs., Dames, etc.)
(No MDs, PhDs or Jr., Sr, etc.)
If you are adding narrators, translators, etc. please be sure to label them accordingly; this will make the sort by author function on people’s shelves work a little bit more accurately.
What are these other roles?
Type in the series, and wait a second to let it try and find matches. If it does find a match, select that series. If it doesn’t, hit Enter/Return on your keyboard to add the Series.
Position in Series:
The system will accept whole numbers and decimals (ex. 0.5, or 3.5). Please do NOT include multiple series’ numbers. If a book is part of multiple series, choose the main series, and assign it the appropriate place in that series.
What is a series: multiple books with the same cast of characters, set in the same universe with a continuing or evolving progression. Progression is the key word: Sherlock Holmes is NOT a series; the stories were published without any timeline continuity. Each story acts as a complete stand-alone and can be read in any order.
What is NOT a series: Publisher imprints (Harlequin for example), that publish stand alone books, but number them within the imprints printing history.
There’s no ISBN/ASIN yet checkbox:
Only use this checkbox if your book is pre-1970’s or is scheduled to be published in the future, if the book is online-only, or fanfic. In all cases, a valid source code must be included at the bottom of the edit page.
Generally an either/or situation, with ASIN’s applying to Kindle books and Audible audiobooks.
However, there is a known bug that will sometimes mark valid ASINs as invalid, so at this time we are *not* splitting off combined ebook and Kindle editions.
If you need to edit a record and it doesn’t like the valid ASIN included, Librarians are recommending that non-Librarians remove the ASIN and submit the edit. We check the record when ISBNs and ASINs are removed in an edit, and can specifically not approve that part of the edit.
ASINs are always a combination of letters and numbers - so if you see a string of just numerals, that can be cleared right now. Similarly, ISBNs are only numeric (though you will see the occasional ISBN 10 ending with an “X”), so if you see something in an ISBN field that’s a mix, that needs to be fixed! Also, an ASIN and ISBN should never be identical, if they are listed as such, one of them needs correcting!
Records with invalid (or missing both altogether) ISBNs/ASINs need to be merged.
Start out by typing in the publisher name, it should then generate a drop down list of options, sometimes with duplicates or odd one-off variations. Please choose the “cleanest” version if there are duplicates (for example, a lot of them have dates after the name - avoid those if you can).
Librarians can’t remove or merge duplicates or one-off variations of publisher names, but we do submit them to the BookLikes staff for handling.
Date published for that edition, at least the year, more if you have it.
For the most part, format should be relatively straightforward, such as with a hardcover or paperback, but there are some areas, especially with digital formats, that may trip you up.
For digital items:
Special physical formats:
Book synopsis only please - do not include author plugs, or sale information, or series information in this field.
This is optional, but please try to limit it to four genre tags; this may not always be possible, but it keeps the book record easy to read. Note that if you search genres for “suspense”, books that are also “romantic suspense” will come up too, so there is no need to assign “romance” and “suspense” and “romantic suspense” to a book.
What qualifies as a Duplicate?
The obvious stuff:
The not-so-obvious stuff:
If a record has any of the above, or lacks so much information that it is impossible to tell which physical book it’s a record of, it will get merged. Bare minimum for disambiguation is:
The important thing here is that if a book has a different valid ISBN or ASIN, it is not a Duplicate, which leads us to...
New Book vs New Editions
If you have a book that you can find the title and author but not a record that matches on ISBN/ASIN, you can “Add New Edition” from the existing book page. This ties your book record to the other versions of the same book.
Sometimes a book isn’t in our system at all, and that’s when it’s time to add a New Book. Before that stage, try the search a few ways first, just in case something has changed between our initial record import and the publication in hand. For example, sometimes authors change titles.
-Search by ISBN or ASIN
-Try altering your title search slightly to include all or a portion of the author’s name. So if you search: The Scandal of It all and come up with nothing, try: The Scandal of It all Jordan, OR: The Scandal of it all Sophie.
Bad book records: How to spot them
If you open a book on your shelves and think it might be a ‘bad one’ here are some things to look for:
Does the title have random brackets, extra words, or really really funky punctuation?
Does it have an author? - Some imports came through with corrupted author fields, leaving these records with blank or empty authors
When you’re looking at the book page, can you see any other books by that author listed on the right? Does anyone else have that book shelved (also listed on the right)? These aren’t always 100% accurate indications of a bad record, but they can often be a big indicator - if you click on your edition of Pet Cemetery and it’s not displaying any other Stephen King books, or it looks like you’re the only person on BookLikes who has read it, it’s a bad record.
Can you see a language? ALL records must have a language assigned to them and you can see it in the block of information on each book page. Like the bad author imports I mentioned above, some imports brought in records without any language assigned. These records will not appear in searches at all, and need to be corrected.
Is it an empty record - does it have nothing save the title and author? For most books, that means that even if it’s not a bad record, it probably has a much better defined twin in the database somewhere, (unless you’re shelving the super-obscure titles), and should be merged properly.
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Yep, most of our supposedly easy-to-remember-hard-to-crack strategies fall pretty quickly when we're informed that there must be a symbol - but not that one, that one, that one, or that one - and there must be a capital letter and there must be a number, oh and sorry your password is now too long. So now we need to remember our standard phrase AND the fact that for THIS website we couldn't use that symbol so we had to put in another and we had to stop after 6, 8 or 10 characters which meant we had to move the number to the front...
Passwords should never be stored as plain-text, but as a big long hash. So 'ThisIsMyPasswordForNatWest' becomes 'a64b8d3190050e4600ed3352cb05e5fb9a54c6dc' under a hashing system called SHA1 for instance, and you can't take that hash and reverse it and get the password. A per-account string of random characters should be added to the user's password too - this alone makes it virtually impossible to crack a password. So long as no website stores your password as plain-text then you're in the clear.
The problem is that you can't trust websites to not store passwords as plain-text, and you have no idea if a website is there just to suck up people's passwords and password strategies. Or even if a company has a website and just one developer decides to make copies of submitted passwords or figure out people's password strategies.
If you're into Computer Science and White-Hat Hacking in particular, read on.