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Old 09-06-2010, 01:07 PM   #1
Gary Young
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Semicolons in file names and backing up

Since I bought a new reader, I have been using Calibre to convert all of my ebooks to ePub.

As part of this process, I have corrected or entered the metadata for author and author_sort using semicolons to separate the names of co-authors, for example: {Drake ; Flint} , {Evans ; Weber} (I leave off the first names of the authors, because it doesn't come out correctly on my reader. Or at least, I can't get the reader itself to sort and display the books the way I want.)

Today, I decided to back up the many hours of work that have gone into this project so far. So I saved my entire Calibre library to a temporary directory on my hard disk. Then I tried to burn the exported files to DVD.

This failed, because the joliette naming convention prohibits the use of semicolons in file names in data CDs/DVDs (Or at least that's what Roxio Creator told me.)

To get around this, I found and downloaded a utility program from the interrnet (Advanced Renamer (highly recommended by me)) and did a bulk search and replace on the filenames in my temporary location. That is, I changed all ";" to "[SC]".

This "worked" but I could do without the hassle.

I can't really see a better solution for this since the ePub standard seems to want me to use semicolons to separate authors names, and the joliette standard wants me to not use semicolons at all.

I could, of course back up to another hard disk, but I wanted DVDs, because they are cheap.

I could adjust the file naming template in "preferences" to leave off the author and the author_sort fields, but that 'cure' is worse than the problem.

Have other people had this problem? Is there a better solution than the one I found?

Is this even the right way to make a backup? Should I be using "calibre-portable.bat" to put the library onto a USB stick?

Thanks
Gary
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:21 PM   #2
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Is there a better solution than the one I found?
I prefer to just back up the main library directory, with metadata.db (which is in the library folder).
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Young View Post
Since I bought a new reader, I have been using Calibre to convert all of my ebooks to ePub.

As part of this process, I have corrected or entered the metadata for author and author_sort using semicolons to separate the names of co-authors, for example: {Drake ; Flint} , {Evans ; Weber} (I leave off the first names of the authors, because it doesn't come out correctly on my reader. Or at least, I can't get the reader itself to sort and display the books the way I want.)
[...]
I can't really see a better solution for this since the ePub standard seems to want me to use semicolons to separate authors names, and the joliette standard wants me to not use semicolons at all.
Your system is certainly confusing calibre. It won't know you have multiple authors, and it won't know how to process them.

Calibre builds compliant OPF from author names, so you don't need to worry about adding semicolons. I suggest that you enter authors in a 'normal' way and let calibre worry about the making OPF files.

Of course, the question that then arises is 'what is normal'? Calibre supports authors in either 'first last' or 'last, first' format. If you pick 'last,first', then you need to set a 'tweak'. Look at preferences -> advanced -> tweaks tab to see the variable and the choices.

I see you have a Sony. The calibre Sony driver can be told to use author_sort instead of author when writing the Sony DB. This is useful if you use 'first last' order, because the authors will be in 'last, first' order on your Sony.
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chaley View Post
Your system is certainly confusing calibre. It won't know you have multiple authors, and it won't know how to process them.

I see you have a Sony. The calibre Sony driver can be told to use author_sort instead of author when writing the Sony DB. This is useful if you use 'first last' order, because the authors will be in 'last, first' order on your Sony.
I have had very little trouble with Calibre, and much more trouble with the Sony reader. When I bought the thing I used Calibre to make some test ePub ebooks with every combination of 4 names that I could think of. For example {Linda Evans ; David Weber} {Evans, Linda ; Weber, David} {Evans ; Weber, David} etc. etc. etc.

Calibre had no trouble with any alternative. All alternatives with 3 or 4 names seemed to screw up the author sort IN THE SONY READER once I got the books transferred over.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that the best way to deal with the limitations of the Sony Reader was to use only 2 names, i.e. {LN1 ; LN2}. Again, calibre seems to have no trouble with this system, and more importantly the Sony Reader can grasp it.

This, however, is off the topic off my initial question.

Can anyone give me any advice on how to back up my calibre library onto CD and/or DVD disks, when the CD/DVD system won't tolerate semicolons in file names?

I suppose one solution might be to change my file naming system to something that doesn't use semicolons, but (a) I quite like my current naming system, (b) its another pile of work, and (c) having already tried every option I could think of, I would need someone to explain exactly what should go in the author and author_sort metadata fields that can be correctly handled by the Sony Reader, after I have loaded my books and disconnected the reader from the computer.

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Old 09-06-2010, 06:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Young View Post
I suppose one solution might be to change my file naming system to something that doesn't use semicolons, but (a) I quite like my current naming system, (b) its another pile of work, and (c) having already tried every option I could think of, I would need someone to explain exactly what should go in the author and author_sort metadata fields that can be correctly handled by the Sony Reader, after I have loaded my books and disconnected the reader from the computer.
I have a Sony PRS-300. My understanding from working on the calibre code and writing the calibre Sony device driver is that the 600 is similar enough for this discussion. That said, I don't know what you mean by 'correctly', so what I have to say may not be meaningful.

I use LN, FN author names. To do this, I:
1) set the tweak author_sort_copy_method = 'copy'
2) enter all authors in the 'ln, fn' format. For example, David Weber is entered 'Weber, David' (no quotes).
3) Multiple authors are entered with & between the authors.
4) Author_sort is (mostly) automatically computed. With 400 authors, I have around 5 exceptions.
5) I checked 'use author sort for author' in the Sony device customization.
6) I use Automatic metadata management, so that my Sony shows the latest of my edits without me needing to resend books.

Given these settings, my PRS-300 shows me:
1) push the 'by author' button. I see 'Weber, David' and a set of titles in order.
2) push the 'by title' button. I see titles in title order, with author shown like 'Weber, David'
3) push the 'collections button' and select a collection. I see titles of books, with author 'Weber, David. The order of the books is either in series order or title order, depending on the collection.

If a book has multiple authors, then I see all of them. For example, for one book I see 'Weber, David & Flint, Eric & Drake, David'. I do not see the book under individual authors.

Is that 'correct'?

To respond to your original question: the best way to back up your library is to do what starson17 suggested: back up the folder containing your library. There is no particular reason you should save to disk first, and several reasons why you shouldn't.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaley View Post
To respond to your original question: the best way to back up your library is to do what starson17 suggested: back up the folder containing your library. There is no particular reason you should save to disk first, and several reasons why you shouldn't.
By doing it this way, none of your file names will have semicolons. The multiple author data will all be stored in the Calibre database.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:48 PM   #7
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By doing it this way, none of your file names will have semicolons. The multiple author data will all be stored in the Calibre database.
Hmmm...

Experimentation shows that if the someone actually enters semicolons into the author names, then they will be included in the path in the library. I tried this, changing an author from 'A, B' to 'A; B' and voila(!) 'A; B' appeared as a folder in my library tree. One could argue that calibre's path sanitization should prevent this, but currently it doesn't.

One way out of this is to zip the library folder first, then write that zip to the DVD. And hope that the DVD is large enough...

Another way out is to not use ';' in author names, but that is a matter-of-preference for the OP.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:58 PM   #8
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Experimentation shows that if the someone actually enters semicolons into the author names, then they will be included in the path in the library.
I see. I failed to fully grok he was intentionally entering multiple authors with semicolons directly into Calibre. I thought he was entering them with the standard "&" or other Calibre multi-author separator. With the semicolon, I don't think Calibre sees multiple authors.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Starson17 View Post
With the semicolon, I don't think Calibre sees multiple authors.
No, it doesn't. That is what I tried (and failed?) to say when I wrote "Your system is certainly confusing calibre. It won't know you have multiple authors, and it won't know how to process them."

I can't say that what the OP is trying to do is 'wrong'. It is what he wants to do so by definition it is right, but unfortunately, calibre's and the OP's notions of 'right' aren't the same. Changing calibre to accept semicolon-separated author lists is possible, but probably not on a developer's 'I will take that on' list.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #10
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I would like to apologize to anyone who has bothered to read this thread.

After some time spent searching through various threads and posts, I now understand that Calibre is designed to use the ampersand ( & ) character to link multiple authors, not a semicolon.

People who are using Calibre as intended should have no problems backing up their library to CD/DVD.

The strange work-around I am using to make the Sony reader sort my eBooks as I want them to be sorted; and the problems that this work-around are causing me; are not Calibre problems. They should not have been raised in this forum.

I will carefully ready all of your replies to see if I can come up with a better 'work around' or if I need one at all. Thank you.

Once again, I apologize.

Gary Young
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:38 AM   #11
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My Sony 600 seems fine with an & but maybe I have lower standards.
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:16 AM   #12
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I would like to apologize to anyone who has bothered to read this thread.
Thanks for the thought, but you really don't need to apologize. You wanted to accomplish something, the program let you do it, and then problems happened. You were polite and informative when asking for information. Helping figure out this sort of thing is what this forum is for.

In addition, the semicolon in a file name problem can be considered a bug. At least we know about it now.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:46 AM   #13
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I would like to apologize to anyone who has bothered to read this thread.


Gary Young
As chaley said, you were polite and discovered that Calibre allowed you to foot-shoot yourself without a whimper.

That's why there are beta testers.

Users try the weirdest things
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