Tag Archives: newfeature

Duplicate Authors? Wave your Magic Wand!

[note: the author merge feature is no longer patron-facing]

In your wanderings around Open Library, you may occasionally have seen two records for a person you know to be a single author, like Brooks, Terry & Terry Brooks.

Look for the Magic Wand around the site to start merging!

Today, we’re releasing a new feature to help you merge those two separate Terry entries into one. This, in turn, will update all the Works listed under each Terry and try to reconcile each Work by each Author to try to reconcile a tighter list of Works for the newly merged Terry. Magic!

Try a search for your favourite author now, browse recent author merges, or read on…

A few things bear explaining:

  • The merge feature works on the idea of a Master author and its Duplicates. As you do the merge, it will be up to you to elect the most suitable Master. We select the author record with the most Works as the default, but you can change that
  • Only people with an Open Library account can merge authors
  • Updating the search engine after a merge takes a little while at the moment, up to about 10 minutes, so you won’t see the list of the new Master’s Works updated immediately. We’re looking to speed this up, but are very happy to release this as a “minimum viable product.” As I mentioned, merging an author with either lots of works, lots of editions, or both, takes a long time to update, so please be patient.
  • Duplicate authors’ names will be saved as an alternate on the Master record. For example, the (new) Master record for H. P. Lovecraft now lists alternates like Howard Philips Lovecraft, H. P Lovecraft, Howard P. Lovecraft and H.P Lovecraft. These alternates are often just subtle differences in spacing or capitalization, and we’re hoping they might prove useful later if we begin to stockpile them now.
  • If you’re in any doubt about whether or not to merge an author, don’t. It’s possible you might come across an odd-looking author name like August (re: H. P. Lovecraft) Derleth or H. P. (introduction by Lin Carter) (with Harry Houdini on Pharoahs) Lovecraft in a search for H. P. Lovecraft… these are trickier, because they’re noting contributors in the author name. Ideally, those contributors would be siphoned out into the contributors field per edition, and not merged into the H. P. Lovecraft Master. That would be a loss of information. So, it’s probably easier to just leave those long, odd “authors” alone for now.

I’ve actually found it really fun to test this new feature. I found a useful directory listing of authors on Yahoo of a ton of authors that I began to merge in Open Library. By referring to an external list like this, I could just move from one to the next, rather than trying to come up with authors to search for.

We’ve also bundled another enhancement into this release: Recent Changes V2: There’s a new little bit of navigation to the recent changes page, so you can see things like all the authors merged on 8/16/2010, or all the bot edits made in June 2010. We’re looking forward to adding other bits and pieces to these new filtered views, for example, all the new ebooks made available on a certain day, or all the new covers uploaded in a certain month. Perhaps these could also have feeds available too, so you could subscribe to a feed of changes to keep your version of the Open Library dataset up-to-date.

As well as Recent Changes V2, we’ve introduced the concept of “save_many” for transactions that contain lots of little updates. This is a performance improvement, and entered as a single line in Recent Changes – look for the little “expand” link to open up the contents of the save_many transaction.

So, why not have a shot at merging two duplicate authors? The best place to start is the Author search page.

Anyhoo, we’re excited to show you the first major feature we’ve rolled out since the launch of the redesign back in May, and we’re excited to see what you make of it. Go forth and merge!

Easy permanent links to book page images

We just launched a new image permalinks feature for downloading and linking to page images of books hosted on the Internet Archive. Using a page image permalink makes it easier to references the contents of a book hosted on the Archive without having to know the details of how or where the book is stored. Since a book’s data could be moved around within the multiple petabytes of data in the Archive at any time the permalinks provide a consistent and stable way to access the page images.

Here are a few quick examples. For each of these URLs you would add http://www.archive.org/download/{item identifier} to the beginning (hover over an image to see its full URL).

Referencing the cover image for a book at thumbnail size:

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Bundle o' Updates

In addition to our Lending Launch last week, we’re constantly adding new bits and pieces to the site almost every day. Here’s a bunch of things we’ve been working on:

  • Over 10,000 human edits last week!
    Wow! So great to see so many people making large and small contributions to the catalog. Some standout editors include Fiction Addiction, menolly42, Anonymous (no, really), and an actually anonymous editor who has taken an interest in books written in Raeto Romance languages. We’re also seeing new books being added in a variety of languages, by R. Knoop, for example. [this is good]

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Small Moves: Open Library Integrates Digital Lending

Today, the Internet Archive is pleased to announce 2 new borrowing options through Open Library:

  1. Borrowing ebooks through OverDrive – an ebook through your local library
    We have worked with the team at OverDrive to import about 70,000 new ebook editions into Open Library. All loans via OverDrive are managed through the OverDrive system. Once you click on borrow for these titles, you’ll need to tell OverDrive where you are so it can find your local library.

    Want to try a search through the OverDrive titles?

  2. Borrowing Scanned Books through participating libraries – an ebook to you, anywhere in the world
    Three long-time Internet Archive library partners are now offering scanned books from their collections for loan through Open Library. Boston Public Library, the Biblioteca Ludwig von Mises at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala, the Marine Biological Laboratory in Wood’s Hole as well as the Internet Archive itself are proud to make around 200 titles available for loan as ebooks through Open Library.

    You’ll need to download the free AdobeĀ® Digital Editions software to manage borrowing scanned books.

  3. Borrowing Physical Books through WorldCat– from your local library
    Since Open Library was launched back in 2007, we’ve added links wherever possible into the WorldCat catalog, which you can search using your location to find a copy of the book near you.

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Over 1 Million Digital Books Now Available Free to the Print-Disabled

More than doubling the number of books available to print disabled people of all ages, today the Internet Archive launched a new service that brings free access to more than 1 million books – from classic 19th Century fiction and current novels to technical guides and research materials – now available in the specially designed format to support those who are blind, dyslexic or otherwise visually impaired.

Read the full press release on archive.org

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