In the beginning there were books - lots and lots of books!
Then people began to discuss these books, rate them, and write reviews for them.
Then people began to join online sites that existed for the purpose of discussing books, rating them, and reviewing them.
However, if one person had an old hardback version while another person had a new paperback version, these online sites treated this information as if it was submitted for different books.
Shelfari looked at this situation and found it lacking. Behold! The combined edition was created and all the various instantiations of the same work could be seen as one work! And the people rejoiced to be able to discuss books, rate them, and review them so that all who had that same title could share these things in one location. Shelfari looked at this and found it very good.
The whole thing begins at the most basic component level - the content of a piece of writing which is called a "work." If it is a stand-alone entry on the Shelfari Catalog it is called an "edition." Each edition has what can be visualized as a "wrapper" called the book "detail page." The detail page shows a lot of information about the work - the title, the author, description, series records, etc.
If there exists more than one stand-alone edition on the Shelfari catalog that contains the same content, then to achieve that ability to share information about that content, Shelfari members are encouraged to perform a combination edit. This brings all the identical editions such as audio versions, e-Book versions, other print versions, etc. together under one wrapper - an "umbrella" version, if you will. After the combination process is complete, all editions will be listed together and displayed under one "combined edition" icon or cover. The detail page for a combined edition is a newly and automatically created wrapper that uses the target edition's detail page (See Editions Combination Edits). The previous individual wrapper - the edition level detail page - ceases to exist once a combination edit is reviewed and processed. Keep in mind that edits are applied only to this "wrapper". The catalog entry, itself, is never adjusted. The detail page (the "wrapper") is used to chart a path to finding the edition and to describing it. You are editing the way that the edition is managed by the Shelfari system - not the edition or the catalog itself.
We strongly recommend that the combination edit be performed before other edits for the work. The Detail Page for the combined edition may not be the one you started with. The Editions Tab for the combined edition will have been altered and the language/subcategory settings will be different.
The goal is to have a "work" completely combined and defined on the Shelfari catalog. This means that:
- All editions representing the same work have been combined;
- The detail page of the combined edition is completed;
- The editions tab has been appropriately edited to reflect all languages and subsets within languages of the editions found in the combined edition;
- The contributor(s) are appropriately linked to the edition and the primary indicator is properly set for each contributor;
- The series record(s) are properly established and linked to the combined edition;
- The community list record(s) are properly established and linked to the combined edition; and, finally,
- If relevant to this specific combined edition, the collective work links are properly placed and the derivative work indicator is properly identified.
This is a lot of work - pardon the expression. Shelfari has established both tools and procedures to help ensure that all such editing is done well and easily. The decisions, however, are not necessarily easy. People attend college to gain degrees in Library Science and in no way is the process Shelfari has established intended to imply that that "science" has been automated. Shelfari simply provides the tools. The knowledge of how and when to use those tools can require some work and energy and a strong reliance on people who know about books and how to find information that helps to guide editing decisions.
Certain edits, for example, require review and approval before they will be processed and used to alter the catalog view. Specifically, at this time, the edits that require approval are:
- combination requests,
- author combination requests,
- title change requests,
- separation requests, and
- contributor change requests.
Any Shelfari member can submit an edit request. A team of volunteer Shelfari members called Librarians review and decide to accept or reject an edit request. Once a Librarian has approved an edit request, the change reflected by that request is made to the catalog.
Repeating for clarification about that last sentence: What actually happens is that access to catalog entries is revised. The basic editions are never altered. The system builds access paths to those editions based on edits.
This is the recommended procedure in editing to move toward a complete detail page for a combined edition of a work. Each of these steps has a separate thread on this discussion list that provides details for how to perform the steps, hints about those steps, and any review/approval needed for those steps.
1) Perform combination edit request(s): a) Use the "advanced search" option or the "standard search" option to find all editions in the catalog that match the title and author of the work and submit a combination request for them; b) When the request has been approved, perform the search again to find possible outlying editions that may have variations in title or author name. Submit another combination request. When/if you think you have gotten as many editions that exist on the catalog that represent the work you are interested in and all resulting combination requests have been approved, you are ready for step 2.
2) Clean-up the editions tab. There are a few reasons to do this step next. Firstly, this step helps ensure that all editions actually belong in the combined edition. Sad but true, despite the review procedure it is possible that people make mistakes. Now is the time to remove any editions that do not belong in the combined version by performing separation edit requests. Secondly, the edition level information can indicate language translation differences that can clarify what the title of the combined edition should be. Thirdly, it is sometimes true that differing levels of contributors are found. For example, there may be different translators for the various non-English editions. This would indicate that none of these translators should be marked as "primary."
4) If needed, perform a Title Change Request edit.
5) Validate/edit the combined edition to ensure that the contributors are both correctly linked and checked as primary or non-primary as appropriate. Perform contributor edit request(s) to achieve the correct results.
6) Edit the various sections of the detail page.
When all this work is done, the Shelfari catalog will now have a very well defined edition of a specific work where any Shelfari group or Shelfari member can find it via the search functions, can rest assured that any discussions, reviews, or ratings about the work are all found in one place regardless of the publication vehicle of the work, and can find other works related to it.
And Shelfari examined this situation and found it very very good.
Note: Terms in bold font are defined in the Lexicon Thread