259 Following

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Christopher L. Hayes
Progress: 17/304 pages
Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays
Northrop Frye
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Progress: 96/454 pages
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Ibram X. Kendi
Progress: 22/750 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer

This is the book that alerted me to just how severe the problems are

Wanton Angel - Linda Lael Miller

As I was going through my 5,000+ BookLikes entries yesterday in search of titles to add to the "gothics" shelf, I came across this particular title.  My listings were sorted in alphabetical order by author, and here was one single title by Linda Lael Miller in with all the "L" authors.  I have eight or ten books by this author, and this was the only title of hers in my list, so I knew something was wrong.


I checked the book page and sure enough, the author was listed as (first name) Linda (last name) Lael Miller.  I edited the entry to the correct name (first name) Linda Lael last name (Miller), cited the source as "owned copy," and left it to the librarians to verify.


It has been made very clear many times that BookLikes adds information from a variety of sources and thus a lot of the data is messed up.  Third-party sellers' ASIN numbers show up when they shouldn't, and various contributors like editors and illustrators suddenly become authors.  Many of Josephine Tey's books used to show up under the authorship of "Robert Barnard"; this one still does:



For those of us who want, or would like, or try to use our shelves to organize our reading for something other than interior decor, this kind of error presents problems.  We can't just sort alphabetically by author name and expect to find what we're looking for.  We have to search our own shelves by the specific author name and hope it comes up.  Thus, if we wanted to make sure we had a copy of this particular book, we'd have to search by "Josephine Tey" and hope there's a cross reference that brings that book up on our shelves.


As you can see from this screen shot, a general search for "Josephine Tey" brings up another "Josephine" first:




Showing more on that same search results in this:


which indicates the results are not based on an alphabetical listing of authors with the first name Josephine.  Popularity?  Relevance?  I don't know.


But last names are somehow or other accessible via the BookLikes database, because shelves can be sorted, sort of, by author last name.



That's how my owned copy of The Singing Sands got sorted into the "B" authors, even though Tey is listed first.


BookLikes apparently has some kind of hierarchy by which they sort items in the database, even if that hierarchy doesn't make obvious and apparent sense.  Authors' names are apparently, even if not obviously, entered as first and/or middle and/or last.  (See also L. Sprague de Camp, whose books are variously sorted by "S" for "Sprague de Camp," "D" for "de Camp," and "C" for "Camp.")


I have 5716 books on my shelves.  I would like very much to be able to sort them by author name so that all the books by L. Sprague de Camp are listed together, all the books by Candace Camp are listed together, and all the books by Deborah Camp are listed together.  Right now they're all mixed together.







I currently have 5409 titles on my Kindle.  I have no easy way of checking to see which ones are listed in the BookLikes database.  Can I check each title, each author by doing a separate search on BookLikes?  Yes, I can, but given how slow BL operates at times, that becomes a royal pain in the butt.  And if the author isn't listed correctly, well, you can see how this goes.


I'm not a librarian, so I don't have any idea how the sort function operates. I don't know what algorithms might be involved, if any.  All I know is that the sort and search functions are awkward, clumsy, and very frustrating. . . . and that I have hundreds, if not thousands, of books I could be adding to the database.  I just added about 20 titles the other day from my newfound hoard of gothics.  I peeked inside the other box of old historical romances yesterday and at least two of those titles aren't in the BookLikes database.  I can't even make a guess as to how many Kindle books I have that aren't listed.


I've added dozens, maybe hundreds of covers.  I have more books ready to scan to remove more of the green bricks in the database.  But I could do a lot more, and so could a lot of other people, if the BookLikes system were more user-friendly.