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Old 07-23-2014, 06:13 AM   #16
HarryT
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Originally Posted by Billi View Post
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.
The answer to that is to tell them to go and jump in a lake. If they don't like what the uploaders are doing, they can create their own books.

It's often a case of "damned if you do, and damned if you don't". People have been complaining about books being "changed", but I got a huge amount of flak a while ago for uploading Jane Austen books with their original early 19th century spelling and punctuation (eg "chuse" rather than "choose", "shew" rather than "show", etc) - people claimed that they preferred modern spellings and the original spellings were hard to read. So whatever you do, there's going to be someone who's not happy about it.

(I should add that these were not "conventional" spellings for the time. The simple fact is that Austen's spelling was awful, and she appears to have spelled words the way she spoke them in her local Hampshire accent.)

Last edited by HarryT; 07-23-2014 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:26 AM   #17
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Jelby, how would those guidelines cover uploads of books not in the library?
Well, I mean state the difference between the new upload and (a) the source text(s) and (b) other possible versions already in the library. If there's no other version, "b" can be ignored.

But please note that, even if we add such guideline, it will very often be ignored, as current guidelines are.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
For example I personally have no interest in Dickens or Austen that's had the language changed or modernized
Interesting. As I noted in my previous post, the vast majority of editions of Austen you'll find today do have modernised spelling, and a number of people have said that they dislike the original spellings I've chosen to use in the editions I've uploaded here to MR.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:35 AM   #19
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You say "admitted" as though it were some sort of crime.
Oh Harry! Do you just dislike cats in general? You know that was not my meaning. I find Alex's honesty refreshing and am glad that he has pointed out the change he made.

Also, I absolutely love your Dickens books, thanks for the uploads. But it wouldn't do any harm and may do a lot of good to issue guidelines requesting that the uploader mention any substantive changes to a book, such as modernisations. Do you remember the outcry when publishers began changing the text of Huckleberry Finn to get rid of the N word? Are PC or changes in meanings good enough reasons to alter the words in a book? A mild but firmly worded guideline would allow us, the downloaders, to know what kind of version we're getting and whether it's been bowdlerised.

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Old 07-23-2014, 11:15 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Interesting. As I noted in my previous post, the vast majority of editions of Austen you'll find today do have modernised spelling, and a number of people have said that they dislike the original spellings I've chosen to use in the editions I've uploaded here to MR.
Shrug. I probably could have worded things better, because I don't hate all modernizations or anything like that (and as I said whatever an uploader wants to do to their edition is fine). Also modernized spelling is different, for me, than alterations made to make the places/setting feel modern, but it's nice to know going in how heavy or light a hand might have been used on the text. Anyway I prefer the Austen you've done, appreciate them, but at the same time wouldn't probably be able to get through something originally written in old English without some modernization, although maybe that would be looked on as a translation of a sort.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:21 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
at the same time wouldn't probably be able to get through something originally written in old English without some modernization, although maybe that would be looked on as a translation of a sort.
Nobody could, unless they've learnt the language. Old English is a foreign language to a modern speaker. Eg, this is the start of "Beowolf":

Quote:
HwŠt! wē Gār-Dena in ġeār-dagum,
■ēod-cyninga, ■rym ġefrūnon,
hū ­ā Š■elingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing scea■ena ■rēatum,
monegum mǣġ■um, meodosetla oftēah,
egsode eorlas. Sy­­an ǣrest wear­
fēasceaft funden, hē ■Šs frōfre ġebād,
wēox under wolcnum, weor­myndum ■āh,
o­■Št him ǣġhwylc ■āra ymbsittendra
ofer hronrāde hȳran scolde,
gomban gyldan. ŮŠt wŠs gōd cyning!
I seriously doubt that there are many here who can understand more than a word or two of that.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:30 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
HwŠt! wē Gār-Dena in ġeār-dagum,
■ēod-cyninga, ■rym ġefrūnon,
hū ­ā Š■elingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing scea■ena ■rēatum,
monegum mǣġ■um, meodosetla oftēah,
egsode eorlas. Sy­­an ǣrest wear­
fēasceaft funden, hē ■Šs frōfre ġebād,
wēox under wolcnum, weor­myndum ■āh,
o­■Št him ǣġhwylc ■āra ymbsittendra
ofer hronrāde hȳran scolde,
gomban gyldan. ŮŠt wŠs gōd cyning!
You havenĺt copied that from somewhere, but just typed it because you know it by heart, right?
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:32 AM   #23
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You havenĺt copied that from somewhere, but just typed it because you know it by heart, right?
Well, of course

(Copied from Wikipedia, actually)
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:44 AM   #24
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If they don't like what the uploaders are doing, they can create their own books.
Without mention of what's different about a particular edition, there's no way to guess if we like it or not until after we've read it.

Quote:
It's often a case of "damned if you do, and damned if you don't".
I don't see how you could be "damned if you do" simply make mention of what sort of value-add your version offers. If that's really too much of an imposition on contributors....well, I don't think it is.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:24 PM   #25
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I wonder if I might step sideways, and suggest that there be two sets of guidelines: one for those people who object to changes to the original, and one for those who don't. As part of this division it would be allowable to have two versions of the same book in the MR library: one identified as 'no or minimal changes', and one identified as 'changes made' - or similar nomenclature in both cases.

Please note that this is a very preliminary suggestion. A lot of work would need to be done to to define/describe/identify what is meant by 'no or minimal changes' or 'changes made,' and what changes are acceptable, and so on.

And I would very much like any discussion to be based on a consensus - even perhaps on repeated polls. I agree with Harry; I certainly would not accept demands or rules or bowing to authority, though I would do my best to abide by a consensus.

In case it needs to be written: nothing this post (or in any of my past posts) is intended to cast aspersions on anyone, and I do not claim any authority.

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Old 07-24-2014, 03:34 PM   #26
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I've been trying to think of the least offensive way to approach this issue since first reading the protracted squabble that closed the original thread despite persistent and tactful warnings by a moderator.

Rather than "strongly suggesting" that uploaders not change the original text (whatever that means given the variants and vicissitudes between innumerable editions), wouldn't it be better to adopt a badge or phrase that book creators could add to their upload posts if they were proud of not having altered a single word? It could even be a facetious phrase: "Team Literal" or "NWTQTI" (no word too questionable to include).

Adherence to a higher personal standard should be at the discretion of the uploader, not the insistence of the admins on a policy that couldn't be enforced unless mods were expected to sacrifice yet more of their compromised free time by comparing every word of every book in the MR library to its physical source.

ž ž ž ž ž

One point that I have yet to see anyone mention:

MR's free editions are often more faithful to the original text than their commercial counterparts.

The thing that first brought me to Mobile Read was the quality of the uploaded books as opposed to those on Kobo and Amazon. Small commercial book creators regularly modify books by writers like Dickens and Melville, even billing their modifications as features. Larger publishers are not always that much better. Often, they apply spell checks and global changes automatically and not conditionally.

I still remember the joy and disappointment I felt downloading a copy of Moby Dick from Amazon on the day I bought my first e-reader. The novel was filled with homophones, breathtaking typos and unapplied formatting. One edition of Moncrieff's Proust was larded with advertisements from the book creator -- in prominent and distracting places -- throughout their nigh-unreadable Gutenberg regurgitation.

Then I discovered MR and found a community not only of trouble-shooters and users but also painstaking e-book creators.

Absolutely anyone can create and sell editions of public domain books based on Gutenberg scans; lots of people do. What I first noticed about MR's free books was that the level of care applied to Gutenberg scans -- formatting, proofreading, etc. -- was significantly higher than it tends to be for editions offered on commercial sites. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the editions offered in MR got recast slightly and sold on Kobo and Amazon. If so, then the stolen editions might comprise some of the better commercial options.

Perhaps the abundance of programmers on MR is part of the reason for the library's excellence, but what can't be discounted are the qualities one doesn't often find when surveying repackaged classic texts: inspiration, creativity, diligence and ennobling generosity. What we lost with the closing of the Dover Bookstore in New York we regained in part with the opening of the Mobile Read Library.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 08-11-2014 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:55 PM   #27
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Just found this thread, which I think raises a very good question.
But actually it seems to me there is already a fairly good answer in the traditional practice of the publishing industry.
Virtually every paper book I possess, and most of the commercially published ebooks, contain a page or two, usually at the front behind the cover and title page, usually labelled something like 'edition notice', or 'printing' or 'publishing history' which makes some attempt to give the provenance of the book in terms of author, editions, reprints, copyright information, etc. Sometimes with classics you also get something called 'note on the text' which is even more specific.
Why not give a reasonably strong, but not mandatory, guideline to uploaders to include such a section in their contributions.
As an occasional uploader I've (mostly) done that, and it wasn't particularly onerous.

As a downloader I'd love to also have some such information in the metadata to be searched when looking for books to read. I think I would probably download more if I had a faster way to assess the transcription quality of what's available.

(NB As an aside, this is also true for commercially published books too. I'd love to be able to consult an MR database of reviews of the transcription quality of (say) Amazon titles. So many titles, even by well-known publishers, have many irritating, and sometimes even major flaws. This sort of thing rarely gets commented on in Amazon reviews. As an example the copy of the Penguin ebook of Sir Walter Scott's 'Rob Roy' that I bought has over 200 basic and glaring spelling errors, a large proportion of which were mistranscribing 'the' as 'die'. In this case I would have probably been better to download the Gutenberg version if only had I known before spending my money.)
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:21 PM   #28
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I think I've tried to do something along the lines of what I think you're suggesting, but I've put it in the blurb accompanying the post announcing the ebook, and in the 'Preface to this edition' in the actual ebook. I'm still struggling to find the best actual wording. I'd be grateful for suggestions or feedback.

You might like to look at Mr Wray's Cash-Box by Wilkie Collins or my later Elizabeth Gaskell ebooks for examples. I'm groping towards including a bibliography.

Is this the kind of thing you're suggesting?
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:12 AM   #29
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I think I've tried to do something along the lines of what I think you're suggesting, but I've put it in the blurb accompanying the post announcing the ebook, and in the 'Preface to this edition' in the actual ebook. I'm still struggling to find the best actual wording. I'd be grateful for suggestions or feedback.

You might like to look at Mr Wray's Cash-Box by Wilkie Collins or my later Elizabeth Gaskell ebooks for examples. I'm groping towards including a bibliography.

Is this the kind of thing you're suggesting?
In the blurb, it says "... made changes to spelling ...". Is this due to OCR, modernizations, ...? Could you give some examples of the spelling changes, including the what may be modernizations.

Thanks.

And thank you for posting the blurbs in your contributions.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:57 PM   #30
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In the blurb, it says "... made changes to spelling ...". Is this due to OCR, modernizations, ...? Could you give some examples of the spelling changes, including the what may be modernizations.

Thanks.

And thank you for posting the blurbs in your contributions.
Thanks, John

Changes in spelling are most often replacement of archaic spellings with modern spellings - ankle instead of ancle for example. If the original book was published in the UK I use British spelling - honour instead of honor for example. I do silently correct typos, but don't consider that to be a change in spelling.
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