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Old 01-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
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Question Series annoyances

calibre contains separate fields for "titles" and "series". When saving an e-book (to an e-reader or storage location) , you can instruct calibre to merge "series" and "title" to form one file name like "Lord Of The Rings 03 - The return of the King.mobi".

As some e-readers do not use the actual file name, but rather the internal tags, serie information can be presented differently, perhaps unusable. Hence, to overcome this, many users tend to add the serial information directly in "title" field, such as: "Lord Of The Rings 03 - The return of the King". In this way, e-book names are neatly sorted, and useable on almost every e-reader.

However, this presents problems when automagically trying to enhance meta data as due to the series prefix ("Lord of the Ring 03 -"), the chance is great that the title cannot be found anymore by the metadata databases. Further, the same series info is now to be maintained in two locations.

I tend to temporary strip the series prefix info from the title when updating/adding metadata, but that is tedious work. Is there a better way to use the existing "series" and "title" fields, but yielding the same effect?
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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Two words... Metadata plugboards.

It modifies the metadata of the ebooks being sent to devices (or saved to disk), but leaves the metadata in the calibre version untouched. You can basically add series info (and other stuff) on the fly.

Preferences->Metadata plugboards
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:17 PM   #3
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Totally agree with DiapDealer on the meta plugboards. They have saved my life on the series front.

I read a TON of series and using this functionality within Calibre has been a godsend (once everyone on this board helped me figure out how to configure).

I keep the books on my Kindle sorted by Collections. So my home pages show Collections and they appear like this:

- Accidental Friends - Cassidy, Dakota (4)

Once I open up the Collection, my books appear like this:

01 - The Accidental Human
02 - Accidentally Dead
03 - The Accidental Werewolf
04 - Accidentally Demonic

The meta plugboards take this information from Calibre and arrange them for me within the Collections and takes the guess work out of the next book in the series.
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:22 PM   #4
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Aha, one question: how does it work for a mere mortal?
Examples, etc. are welcome. I can find some info in calibre help, but I cannot grasp the metadata plugboard principle.
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrChiper View Post
Aha, one question: how does it work for a mere mortal?
Examples, etc. are welcome. I can find some info in calibre help, but I cannot grasp the metadata plugboard principle.
That is the nice part of Calibre. Many tools have a WYSIWYG test area, so you just fiddle until you see what you want
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:50 PM   #6
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Ok, I rephrase my question:
How are the metadata plugboards activated:
  • during adding to calibre,
  • during database viewing,
  • during converting,
  • during save to disk
  • during all the above
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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Plugboards are only activated when you "Send to a device" Or "Save to Disk." But you can further narrow that even, by having your plugboard only affect a specific format (epub, mobi) and/or a specific device. You'll never see the modified metadata within calibre... only on the device/app you're sending/saving to.

In the 'add new plugboard' row; Choose your format and choose your device (you could choose 'any' for both just to get started... but you may want to be more selective if you deal with many different devices and formats). In the top 'Source template' field enter:
Code:
{series_index:0>3s} - {series} - {title}
In the top 'Destination field' select 'title' and click save plugboard. Close calibre Preferences.

Now send a book (that already has series metadata configured in calibre, of course) to your device and see the results (you may have to change the destination field to 'title_sort' depending on what metadata field your device uses to display titles).

The above template will cause the title to appear as:
001 - Series Name - Book Title

Highlight the saved plugboard in the 'Existing plugboards' box and you'll be able to tweak the source template to show whatever you want.

So basically you're creating a template to combine existing metadata fields and then jamming that combined data into a different metadata field... but only when you send the book to a device or save to disk (depending on how specific you've gotten).

Hope something there helps.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:18 PM   #8
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Dr. Chiper,

First, to understand what I've done, I have to explain. I have created some extra non-standard columns:
Code:
  xstatus (text,fixed set)              XS?                PM,R,x3,xp           (Export status=Problem,Read,Ondevice(x3),Pending(xx))
  readrank(text,fixed set)             RR                 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9     (Hotness ReadRank=1 best to 9 worst)
  tagsgm(comma sep. text)         TagsGM          My own set of top level tags, SF, Sports, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, etc.
The following are then created columns from other columns:

Code:
  genre                                       Genre               Two-letter abbreviations of My tags {#tagsgm:re( *(.[^\,]?)[^\,]*?(\,|$),\1\2)} 
  stripped_series                         StrippedSeres   Short form of series name {series:re(^(A|The|An)\s+,)||}
  shortened                                 Shortened         Short form of series with internal .. {#stripped_series:shorten(4,~,4)}
  initials                                      Initials               Acronym form of series name {#stripped_series:re([^\w]*(\w?)[^\s]+(\s|$),\1)}
Next, I created a metadata plugboard for mobi:Kindle2. It's a true work of art (thanks to help from CHaley). Here it is (Hint, copy and paste, there are spaces you won't spot):
[{#readrank:ifempty(9)}{#genre:ifempty(SF)}] {#stripped_series:lookup(.\s,#initials,.,#shortene d,series)}{series_index:|-|-}{title}

Let me explain. It first sets up a square bracket, then the readRank, which is 9 by default if missing. It then adds a genre shortform, putting in SF if missing. Then we have the closing square bracket and a space. So far we have [1SF] or [2My] as examples. Now it puts in a series indicator. It tries for the full title first, then the .. in the middle version and then the initials. All trying to keep it to five characters or less, PLUS the volume number in the series. It adds a dash if it finds that there is a series. Lastly it adds the title. You KNEW that had to come eventually. So you might get something like [1My] SP15-Fearless Fifteen or [1My] Monk12-Mr. Monk On The Couch.

NOW, when I get the book into the Kindle, for title sort, it sorts by hotness first (1's to the front), then genre within hotness, then series, then title. The kindle can handle sorting by author or most recent first (needed to delete the book from within the kindle, using the kindle). It's up to you to sort the hotness quotient. 1's are for books I wanted read ASAP. 2 is for next volumes in series I am reading. 3 is for books from unfamiliar authors that have been recommended. 4 is for 'popular' books that I'm probably not interested in. 9 is for technical books. Your system will probably vary.

For instance, you might wish to leave out the rigamarole with the series condensing. For me, LOTR is better than Lord of the Rings. I KNOW SP is Stephanie Plum but you might prefer Step..Plum or even the full name. If so, you could replace {#stripped_series:lookup(.\s,#initials,.,#shortene d,series)} with just {series}. And of course, you can then forego the creation of the columns that go to contributing to the mini version of the series.

All the while, the original metadata sits untouched in Calibre. And, if you have different readers, you can have plugboards for each type.

Good luck, GM
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrChiper View Post
Aha, one question: how does it work for a mere mortal? Examples, etc. are welcome. I can find some info in calibre help, but I cannot grasp the metadata plugboard principle.
There are sticky posts at the top of each calibre forum. These sticky post contain information, examples and tutorials that answer initial user questions and all of the sticky posts should be reviewed as time permits.

The sticky post you're looking for is "Techniques to use plugboards, custom columns and templates" hope this helps.

Good Reading.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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Thanks all for your comments.

@dwanthny: absolutly right, but I did and still did not grasp the intention of the metadata plugboard. The answer from DiapDealer sparked the "aha" moment. Let me explain.

I already used for ages the following template when "saving books to disk" (via Preferences > Saving books to disk):
{author_sort[0]}/{author_sort}/{author_sort} - [{series} {series_index:0>2s}] ({pubdate}) {title}

Something similar, I use for "sending books to devices":
{author_sort}/({pubdate}) {title} - {series} {series_index:0>2s}

For the moment, both templates gives me the result I need.

Now enter the metadata plugboard: I never understand what that could add when the above templates already did the trick. Now I understand that it offers an additional way of manipulating the resulting file names.

Remains the order question: will the metadata plugboard templates be handled first and then the templates from "saving books to disk"/"sending books to devices" or is it the other way arround?

Further, my main question was not so much for the saving and sending resulting file name (which I already figured out), but for manipulating the tag "title" inside the e-book format (EPUB, MOBI, etc.), for instance during a "convert book" action. The reason for this is that my prs-t1 does not use the actual file name, but uses the tag "title" from the e-book file contents.
(Yes, I know I can sort on file name too, but then I get on two rows the same title and the auther name is missing, which I could compensate for via adding author in the file name via a template, but then the file name becomes too long for the screen, etc.)

And I do get the impression, that is not (yet) possible, right?
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrChiper View Post
Further, my main question was not so much for the saving and sending resulting file name (which I already figured out), but for manipulating the tag "title" inside the e-book format (EPUB, MOBI, etc.), for instance during a "convert book" action.
I don't think you're quite "getting it" yet. It is the book's TITLE (ie, the internal metadata within the book) that the plugboard changes. That's the whole point of it.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Now enter the metadata plugboard: I never understand what that could add when the above templates already did the trick. Now I understand that it offers an additional way of manipulating the resulting file names.

Remains the order question: will the metadata plugboard templates be handled first and then the templates from "saving books to disk"/"sending books to devices" or is it the other way arround?
It's not another way of manipulating the filenames. Metadata plugboards don't affect the file-system file name in any way, shape, or form. Plugboards make changes to the internal metadata of the ebooks. Most popularly, the title (but it works for others as well).

Plugboards (in my example) accomplish the same thing as: manually changing the Title (in calibre's metadata) to include series info prior to sending the book to a device; and then changing the title back to what it was so calibre's metadata stays consistent. So you don't have to do this anymore:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrChiper
I tend to temporary strip the series prefix info from the title when updating/adding metadata, but that is tedious work.
Quote:
And I do get the impression, that is not (yet) possible, right?
No, it's certainly possible. What you're describing is exactly what plugboards do. They change the internal title (or other metadata) based on a template. But ONLY when sending to a device or saving to disk. They don't affect calibre's metadata. Just try the example I gave you. When you see the results on your device... you'll understand. And trying it won't jeopardize your current calibre metadata at all.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-14-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:11 AM   #13
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@DipDealer, HarryT: You are both absolutly right. I just tried it, and it works perfectly.

Somehow, I did not got the relation metadata plugboard, internal metadata, and automagically file conversion when sending it to the device. I always thought there would be a prior manual conversion step involved.

And the solution is indeed now very simple to do.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:17 AM   #14
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It is indeed. Plugboards are amazingly useful. Pleased to hear that "the penny's dropped" .
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
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@DipDealer, HarryT: You are both absolutly right. I just tried it, and it works perfectly
There's no stopping you now!
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