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Old 07-21-2014, 05:27 PM   #1
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Could a guideline be added to encourage ebook uploaders to not change text?

Such as:

Quote:
Mobileread strongly prefers that uploaders do not make changes to the original text and that, if possible, the edition of the text the upload is based on be noted. However, if any changes to the text are made, they should be clearly noted in the post for the upload with as much detail as possible to the types of changes made.
Thanks for any consideration!


ETA - This comes in response to this long thread. The worry is that some uploaders may make (and have made) "editorial decisions" to purposely change the text (such as substituting one word for another) thinking that most readers would prefer this while this seems to definitely not be the case according to the large majority of opinions in said thread, and there is nothing here at Mobileread to guide uploaders not to do so or to even clue them in to what most readers would prefer on that count. I think creating a culture of encouraging uploaders to preferably not make any changes to text they are uploading, but if so, to clearly note the changes in their post, would be beneficial to the community in the long run.

Last edited by sun surfer; 07-21-2014 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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Sounds good.

I wouldn't mind a further step to make it a little more proActive. Require a statement like: "this is a straight OCR of a paper edition" or "this is simple cleanup of an OCR scan" or "text has been changed to make it more appealing to a modern audience".
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:03 PM   #3
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A constructive reaction to the issue! Who would'a thunk?
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:01 AM   #4
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I would agree in principle, but in practice the problem that often there's no "original" text. Project Gutenberg texts may be based in some paper edition, but not necessarily the "original". They also contain mistakes, some are present in the source paper edition, and some were corrected in later editions.

I often make changes to the books I upload. Most of the time the changes are minimal: correct obvious typos (comparing with scans of old paper books/magazines when possible), standardize punctuation, recover American/British spelling if the digital text is based on the "wrong" edition. Some times I may change a word if I can be reasonably sure that the author's intent was different (based on older editions, or later annotated editions, or whatever). Of course, I don't change the text just because I like it better or to please "my" readers.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F View Post
Sounds good.

I wouldn't mind a further step to make it a little more proActive. Require a statement like: "this is a straight OCR of a paper edition" or "this is simple cleanup of an OCR scan" or "text has been changed to make it more appealing to a modern audience".
I think this is the best idea...don't dictate how people are allowed to do the edits, just require them to state what edits were made.

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Old 07-22-2014, 12:12 PM   #6
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As long as it is documented for whatever changes are made, that would be the best route to go. What you don't want to have happen is to discourage uploaders from taking their time in providing MR users with some of the finest PD books out there.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:49 PM   #7
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Good initiative! I suggest starting with asking for info on edition and source, since that's missing for quite a lot of books. Also, "do not make changes to the original text" sounds too strict -- I think correcting typos, for instance, is fairly standard. I suggest something like this:

Quote:
When uploading a text, please make a note of the sources you have used (e.g. Project Gutenberg, another MobileRead upload, a scanned paper book). If possible, also make a note of which edition of the text the upload is based on. If you have made any changes (e.g. correcting typos, modernizing spelling, adding illustrations from other editions), please describe them.

More substantial changes to the text (e.g. changing words to improve readability for modern readers) is controversial here at MobileRead. If you make such changes, please make a note describing the specific changes, and/or add footnotes to the text where the change is made.
Would it be OK to ask for this info both in the post and in a preface to the book itself? Personally, I prefer it both places -- I may read a book years after I've downloaded it, when I have no chance of remembering notes in a post. But others may feel that adding a preface with editing notes is in itself an unacceptable change to the original.

I looked around a bit for examples of editing notes, here are some I think are good:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=232461
Quote:
The source text was Project Gutenberg 1917-h.htm. I have corrected typos, curled quotes, and modernised punctuation, spelling, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34431
Quote:
It was first published in 1890 and then revised and new chapters added in 1891, it is this second revision what I am uploading. ...
I created this version from the PG text, which has very few mistakes (there was at least a missing line, though). I added curly quotes, italics, diacritics, etc.
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=242316
Quote:
Text is based on Gutenberg.org transcription of the 1893 first edition; proofed and corrected against the 1923 Definitive Edition, resulting in some spelling and punctuation revision, and restoration of some missing text fragments. I formatted punctuation, diacritics, and italics; added scene breaks; and cross-linked chapter-end-notes to source paragraphs; chapter heads to html table of contents. Embedded fonts for drop-caps, small-caps, and fleurons.

Included are all 316 illustrations from the first edition, including the “suppressed” depiction of Twain in flames (chapter 43), which was removed upon the objection of his wife -- subsequent printings of the first edition omit this image. Also includes the 5 illustrations from the 1899 “Uniform Edition.”
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:15 PM   #8
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The current guidelines already say:

Quote:
If you find that the book has already been uploaded, you are very welcome to upload a new version provided that it "adds" something different to the version already present [...] and state in the description of your book how it differs from the earlier version.
Quote:
Uploads here should add some notable "value" to a PG (or whatever) original
I guess this could be rewritten to basically say: "State the source of your text and how your upload differs from it and other versions that can be found in the library"
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:08 PM   #9
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Jelby, how would those guidelines cover uploads of books not in the library? I don't know if you followed the argument in this thread
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=236430
which turned from the gentle mocking of EbookNovice who appeared to be paranoid about altered books, into the more serious question of uploaders who deliberately alter uploaded books. For example, one person admitted that they'd changed the word 'gay' to 'light-hearted' in order to convey the intended meaning, thereby insulting the reader's intelligence. This book was uploaded to the MR library.

So this isn't just a theoretical matter, it does happen, so uploading guidelines covering this would be very useful and reassuring.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BookCat View Post
For example, one person admitted that they'd changed the word 'gay' to 'light-hearted' in order to convey the intended meaning, thereby insulting the reader's intelligence. This book was uploaded to the MR library.
You say "admitted" as though it were some sort of crime. Editors change books all the time, and they are perfectly free to do so, without having to explain those choices to anybody. It doesn't matter whether or not anyone else likes it, or whether or not anyone else agrees with the choices they've made: it is their choice to make, and theirs alone, just as you are free to make whatever decisions you wish in the books you create.

I would be strongly opposed to any attempt to dictate terms to the people who VOLUNTARILY give their time and effort to contribute books to our library. If anyone doesn't like my books, they don't have to read them, but I'm certainly not going to let anyone tell me what I should or should not do with the ebooks that I create.

Last edited by HarryT; 07-22-2014 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I would be strongly opposed to any attempt to dictate terms to the people who VOLUNTARILY give their time and effort to contribute books to our library. If anyone doesn't like my books, they don't have to read them, but I'm certainly not going to let anyone tell me what I should or should not do with the ebooks that I create.
I am not an editor and as such my opinion is not worth much, but I agree with this statement.

This whole "controversy" is *way* overblown. There are plenty of other places to obtain PD books (which have also been, most certainly, changed) available on the internet. Don't trust what you find here? Go somewhere else. My two pfennigs for what it's worth.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jersysman View Post
As long as it is documented for whatever changes are made, that would be the best route to go. What you don't want to have happen is to discourage uploaders from taking their time in providing MR users with some of the finest PD books out there.
I agree. Uploaders are free to do what they want and I'm grateful to the folks who take their time to post anything. That said I much prefer that any editorial changes be noted/documented somehow (perhaps in the front matter & the original post as well) whether in specific (eg. here is what I changed from my PG source) or in general (eg. text has been modernized) (text has been bowdlerized to remove parts that could offend). And by modernized I don't mean changing the spelling of a few words here and there, but where the whole text is made to feel more modern. It's also nice to know if a book's goal was to duplicate a certain edition. I didn't realize that it was such a problem & have always looked at the MR library as a step or two above PG for quality (still do), but after following the other thread the past few days it looks like there was a huge kerfuffle that got a little out of hand on both sides.

For example I personally have no interest in Dickens or Austen that's had the language changed or modernized so if it was noted, as I'd hope it would be, I'd avoid downloading them and would look for a version that was either a cleaned up version of the PG text or had been checked against a specific older volume. Doesn't make the other version less valid, just my preference as a reader. Hopefully that came across right.

Last edited by AnemicOak; 07-23-2014 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:32 AM   #13
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The point of such a guideline is not to declare Thou Shalt Not Change A Single Letter In Thy Uploads, Because That Is An Abomination In The Eye of Mobileread. The point is that now, it's possible for someone to make a very minor change, which the editor feels is almost the same as updating archaic spelling, and thus not worth mentioning, and then be suprised by harsh criticism from others who feel that this is a major change. So a guideline stating that "if you change words, please make a note of exactly which words you have changed" may prevent a lot of bad feelings in the future.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
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So a guideline stating that "if you change words, please make a note of exactly which words you have changed" may prevent a lot of bad feelings in the future.
No. It will prevent exactly zero bad feelings in the future. Such an announcement was made at the third of April and nevertheless this person spread her poison again and again and insulted the whole 30.000 volume MR library at the end of July.
And as long as people don't understand the idea of public domain and the idea of tolerance they will spread bad feelings again and again, no matter what guidelines you install here.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:43 AM   #15
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If they can't change anything why not just go to Gutenburg? I come here because I know (hoping) it's cleaned up nicely.

I agree they could mention if any word changes occurred but I see nothing wrong with fixing typos.
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