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Old 10-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #1
derangedhermit
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Library and wiki thoughts

I was going to post in the "Reading Recommendations" forum, asking if a guide to significant authors of the past (works in PD) and their works existed online. A survey that could be used to find areas of interest and "great works" - fiction and non-fiction; things that "should" be read or one might want to read. I imagined it contained a short summary of each author, and an intro into each work included; perhaps with recommended reading order and links to other related authors or works. It would include "higher level" discussions, tying together authors (or distinguishing them), according to era, stages in development of a genre, similarities in style or thought - a way to find areas of interest and great authors that were active in that area. In general, a guide that would be useful as a survey and map for readers to find their way through the growing riches of public domain writing (I would say "literature", but evidently that does not include nonfiction).

Then I thought about this in relation to the library here at MR. Looking at the epub forum and its threads, I found some existing bonuses and some opportunities.

For example, many first posts contain not only the epub, but also a short author bio and a summary of the book in the body of the post - this is excellent IMHO. I think it would also be useful to have this type of information available outside the post for a particular work; maybe in the form of a new wiki of authors and their works that pointed to the uploaded epub files, maybe as a separate forum post. I have checked Wikipedia entries for a few authors just now, and this seems to be already thoroughly done there, often having a PG text among the external links.

Also, the MR library has some searching, filtering, and sorting criteria: format (epub, etc) filter, genre filter, author's name and work title (sort), date of posting (sort), uploader (sort). I think it would be good to have more, including the date of original publication (sort), the language the text is in (filter), author's name (filter). Thinking about this reminds me of the metadata that may be present in an epub.

Sorry for the rambling. To summarize, I am interested in exploring new reading areas (and revisiting works I read so long ago I have forgotten them); a friendly guide to potentially profitable areas would be greatly welcome.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:59 PM   #2
Alexander Turcic
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Originally Posted by derangedhermit View Post
Then I thought about this in relation to the library here at MR. Looking at the epub forum and its threads, I found some existing bonuses and some opportunities.
You made some excellent suggestions, thank you!

Indeed, it's our goal to use metadata to describe our e-book uploads. Currently we're considering methods how we could quickly go through the all the uploads without having to edit each and every post individually. We're working on it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:06 PM   #3
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Without being aware of this thread, I posed some related suggestions in this thread. Put succinctly:
* A clearly visible link to the standard forum advanced search from the "Ebooks" links.
* Enforcing standardized naming of new additions to library.
* Making a proper database of the library.

I hope the first suggestion is trivial, though knowing SW systems I fear not...

The second is maybe possible to implement with javascript, both making a form and a conformity check - I think it is just within my javascript capabilities if no more competent volunteers pop up.

Regarding the third, that's a whole different fishy kettle. Given the many naming variations, it's definitely a challenge. I've only looked at the posting headers for the books, not at the metadata. Even so, with a liberal use of some creative regular expressions, it should be possible to extract meaningful data fields from all but a few thousand () books.
I regard myself as a fairly dab hand with a regexp (though plenty people lurk in this forum who far surpass me), and can lend a hand if there's any use for such an endeavour.
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