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Old 10-24-2010, 01:00 PM   #1
OakIris
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Metadata download - does it automatically search isbndb and Google books?

I did a search here but for some reason could not find anything - probably not using the correct keywords.

I am trying to find metadata for a book. When I click on "Fetch metadata from server," it doesn't find anything. I have an isbn key listed in Calibre. When it searches, is it only search the ISBN database or does it search Google Books as well?

Also, the book does have an ISBN number so why does nothing show up in the ISBN database?

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Old 10-24-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
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delete the isbn and try searching only using title and author
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
delete the isbn and try searching only using title and author
Thank you for your quick response. By this do you mean that as long as an ISBN key is showing in the Access Key box, Calibre will only search the isbn database?

I deleted the isbn key from the access key box and clicked on "fetch" but it still found nothing. Perhaps there just isn't anything "out there" for the book!

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Old 10-24-2010, 01:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
Thank you for your quick response. By this do you mean that as long as an ISBN key is showing in the Access Key box, Calibre will only search the isbn database?
Calibre uses the isbn to find metadata. If you give it an isbn, it will use that and only that. Kovid suggested you not give it the isbn so it will use author/title. Many books that have the same author/title have multiple different isbns.

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I deleted the isbn key from the access key box and clicked on "fetch" but it still found nothing.
Try using only the author's last name with your title, or only the most significant word in the title with your author, or simplifying both author/title.

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Perhaps there just isn't anything "out there" for the book!
That's quite possible, but you won't know unless you try some broader searches.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starson17 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
I deleted the isbn key from the access key box and clicked on "fetch" but it still found nothing.
Try using only the author's last name with your title, or only the most significant word in the title with your author, or simplifying both author/title.
@OakIris - Neither Kovid or Starson17 were referring to the ISBN key. Put the ISBN key back in access key box (see attached). This time delete the actual isbn from the metadata window (see attached) and try fetching again per Starson17's previous advice.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwanthny View Post
@OakIris - Neither Kovid or Starson17 were referring to the ISBN key. Put the ISBN key back in access key box (see attached). This time delete the actual isbn from the metadata window (see attached) and try fetching again per Starson17's previous advice.
That's a good catch dwanthny. It never occurred to me that the OP was deleting the ISBNDB key, not the ISBN itself! Sometimes you read what you think they meant, not what they actually posted.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:46 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone.

I did indeed think Kovid was talking about deleting the access key. This is because there is no ISBN number in the metadata box, just the isbndb access key in the access key box. I am only searching via author and title; I haven't input an ISBN number.

Back to my original question - if there is no ISBN number in the metadata box, then the program searches both the ISBN database and Google Books, is that correct?

I will do as Starson17 suggested and simplify the search terms - I thought you had to put the full title and the complete author's name so that was what I was doing.

I keep telling myself this isn't rocket science. Wait until I try to use Calibre to actually convert a eBook to a different format!

Holly
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #8
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I posted about this recently. As calibre uses the 2 sources mentioned to find meta-data if the titles aren't in those databases then you will have to do manual searches online yourself for the details. I imported 1500 books into calibre during 1 day and tried hundreds without finding meta-data. They were all released by online publishers and apparently (although they have ISBN numbers) the databases don't have them. It's not a failing of the program just that there are no databases accessible with details of EVERY book published. The same might be true of self published books. As an experiment you could do an Amazon search on their web site to see if they sell the book.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
Back to my original question - if there is no ISBN number in the metadata box, then the program searches both the ISBN database and Google Books, is that correct?
Correct (assuming you have the ISBNDB key set up, otherwise it only uses Google). It uses other databases for add'l metadata using the ISBN found in those databases. If you have already specified an ISBN, that overrides the author/title search stage for ISBN (which is why Kovid told you to remove it - it might have been wrong or for a related, but different book.)

Last I counted, there were five metadata plugins and two cover metadata plugins. It's not always obvious where metadata is coming from.
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I will do as Starson17 suggested and simplify the search terms - I thought you had to put the full title and the complete author's name so that was what I was doing.
That's the best way to find metadata when the initial search is empty or not good enough. I may start with an ISBN, if that fails, remove it and search on full author/title, if that fails, search on title only, if that fails, search on partial author, partial title, etc.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:17 PM   #10
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Last I counted, there were five metadata plugins and two cover metadata plugins. It's not always obvious where metadata is coming from.
Does that mean there are more than those two sources (ISBNDB and Amazon) that are used to access meta-data or just that calibre uses 5 plug-ins to perform the search? Kovid mentioned that the search uses aggregators rather than directly accessing the websites but as I don't know what aggregators are I'm finding the whole issue a little perplexing which in turn makes it hard to ask the right questions when seeking assistance or requesting improvements.
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by OakIris View Post
I keep telling myself this isn't rocket science. Wait until I try to use Calibre to actually convert a eBook to a different format!
I've actually had an easier time with that than with the metadata thing. For a lot of my books, I have a preferred format for "author" name (lesson manuals published by my church) that gets me a red "Author Sort" box (doesn't bother me, I can still find what I'm looking for quite easily by doing things my way), so I do a lot of manual editing of those fields.

Only reason I've had for wanting the ISBN is to find the cover for that book.
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:43 PM   #12
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It's amazing the diverse usage this program satisfies. It really is a treasure especially now that the GUI is so sophisticated. The first iteration I experimented with scared me a bit.
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:52 PM   #13
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ISBNDB key

Now that I figured out generating the darn thing , is there a way to enter it into Calibre and have the program remember that information, or am I re-entering it each time?
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #14
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I answered my own question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpallooka View Post
Does that mean there are more than those two sources (ISBNDB and Amazon) that are used to access meta-data or just that calibre uses 5 plug-ins to perform the search? Kovid mentioned that the search uses aggregators rather than directly accessing the websites but as I don't know what aggregators are I'm finding the whole issue a little perplexing which in turn makes it hard to ask the right questions when seeking assistance or requesting improvements.
I found where the plug-ins are listed in preferences/plug-ins (fancy that?) so now I have a better idea about what's going on.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpallooka View Post
Does that mean there are more than those two sources (ISBNDB and Amazon) that are used to access meta-data or just that calibre uses 5 plug-ins to perform the search? Kovid mentioned that the search uses aggregators rather than directly accessing the websites but as I don't know what aggregators are I'm finding the whole issue a little perplexing which in turn makes it hard to ask the right questions when seeking assistance or requesting improvements.
I spent a lot of time wandering around the code there and modifying it just to make sure I understood it. I needed that info to write the "don't overwrite author/title by default" option you see on the single metadata fetch dialog screen and in the Prefernces area.

I never really understood it 100%, and it's changed some, but as best I can recall, Calibre uses certain sources to find one or more matches to title or author, gets some metadata from those sources, then uses identifying info found at the first sites and goes to other sources to get additional social metadata/covers. The result of all that is what you see in the fetch metadata screen. Some lines listed come from source1, some from source2, and the final you get is the metadata on the selected line from the corresponding source plus metadata data retrieved from other sources based on the identifying info on the selected line.

The term "aggregator" just means Google Books, or Amazon or ISBNDB, etc. where this type of info is stored for lots of books.
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