Combining covers

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Combining covers

marraskuu 17, 2022, 1:25 pm

Would it be reasonable to be able to combine covers, much as we can combine works, authors and tags?

Perhaps only after a work goes over some set number of "Popular covers"? For example Beowulf has 698 covers (398 member-uploaded covers and 300 Amazon covers), Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone has 1226 covers (776 and 450), and Emma 1554 (775 and 779). Including very many duplicates. Of course, covers that are only very slightly different are still different.

I would imagine a suggested combination would be subject to a vote (as per tags), including an additional choice as to which cover to keep. Although perhaps a suggested combination involving a member cover and an Amazon cover would default to the in-house member cover.

marraskuu 17, 2022, 1:51 pm

I feel like there was brief discussion about this many many years ago. I don't think you'd want to ever "combine" combine covers so that any of them disappear entirely, but in my mind it would be very useful to be able to group them so that very-similar-looking covers get lumped into a single entry that you can then click into and drill down to pick your more specific cover. Of course, the downside to this method could be that it creates more duplicate covers because of users not realizing that the cover they want is buried away within a grouping... :\

marraskuu 17, 2022, 2:45 pm

>1 Cynfelyn: the ones that drive me most wiggy- are the blurry out of focus ones

marraskuu 17, 2022, 6:36 pm

Yes, I see so many images that are basically pointless. You can't really see the image that is being shown. I think some people take a photo with their phone, and do not know how bad that image actually is until after it is posted. I also think some users like to have an image of their own copy in their listings. That is part of the duplicate image issue. And it is not a problem when you have 10 or 20 images. But it quickly gets out of hand with very popular titles. I remember looking through the images of a Stephen King title, only to find many multiple duplicates of some covers, both hard cover and paperback. It gets to the point that it can be hard to find a particular cover to match the one from your copy. If I can find a reasonable representation of my book, I am happy to skip making an image of my copy. But I have quite a few books listed that only have my image for the title. I would also like to have the ability of posting more than one image for a listing.

marraskuu 17, 2022, 7:12 pm

>1 Cynfelyn: I think one of the big questions comes down to the same thing with separating and combining books. How big a difference is required to make it different? If the pictures is the same but the cover blurb is different, is that a different cover or the same? What if all they did was change the typeface? Or they capitalized one letter of the title on one version but not on another?

There would need to be concrete rules as to what is or is not the same for combinations, I think.

marraskuu 17, 2022, 8:02 pm

I am not sure that "combining" covers is even the correct thing to do. Although a number of users obviously want to post the image of there own book, is there really a need to share that image with other users. It is nice to allow others to use the image you have created, but is it needed when there are 40 other images of the same cover? I think it is quite appropriate to share your image when other copies are not posted, maybe even sharing a better image of a specific cover if the current image is poorly done, or the cover was in poor condition to begin with. But I think at some point, no more "shared images" of the same cover are needed. Could the user be allowed to use his/her image for personal use, but not share with others?

marraskuu 17, 2022, 9:24 pm

>2 saltmanz: This is what I'd like. A way to group them on the screen so I can find the one I want more quickly. Skimming through to find the few maybe-my-covers scattered among a whole bunch of obviously-not-my-covers makes me want to upload my own because it's easier than finding the one I want.

Also, I think the term 'combine' is not a good one here... I think it makes people want them to be the 'same' thing, whatever that means to an individual. I mean, 'same author' is pretty straightforward in most cases, and 'same text/story/whatever' is more or less well-defined at LT. 'Same cover', though, makes people complain that they're not actually the same cover because of the particular details that matter to that individual, as >5 gilroy: mentions.

Maybe 'group' or something would be less polarizing? There would still need to be some standards on what to group together, but there's not the suggestion of sameness at that point.

Personally, I would say that all of the differences gilroy mentioned mean that they aren't the same cover, and I wouldn't pick them for my copy of a book. But in my opinion they're all similar enough to group together for display purposes so it's easier to find them.

marraskuu 17, 2022, 10:13 pm

There was a proposal for this by Tim himself in 2014 but it doesn't seem to have gone anywhere:

marraskuu 19, 2022, 10:09 am

I doubt combining would ever be accepted, though at least the same publisher provided ones should be (I swear every Folio edition has dozens of the same for every book they published). I'd settle for grouping similar ones to make navigating existing ones easier for popular works

marraskuu 19, 2022, 1:22 pm

If the images are the same image, I would say that all that would be needed is to delete all but one of the duplicates. I see no sense in combining images. This probably happened because the images are in such a mess that users could not find the image they wanted, so they added another. This is sort of the danger of combining different editions of the same title. With popular titles or classics you can have hundreds of different editions, many with various differences. I think it is ridiculous to combine some 80 page edition of Don Quixote or Robinson Crusoe with the full length version, but it happens. Just because these books have the same title, and tell a somewhat similar story, that does not make them the same book. Possibly things like that need to find a way to be collected into a group, but not combined. Some way that editions that are edited differently would still have a unique identity. I recently added a copy of L. Frank Baum's "A New Wonderland" to my listing only to find that the book was combined with copies of "The Magical Monarch of Mo". Yes, The Magical Monarch of Mo is a later edited version of "A New Wonderland", but it is not the same book. I think to some degree combining, has gotten out of hand.

marraskuu 19, 2022, 4:19 pm

>10 Bernarrd: "If the images are the same image, I would say that all that would be needed is to delete all but one of the duplicates. I see no sense in combining images."

I'm not suggesting digitally combining images. I doubt if that is even physically possible. "Combining" is shorthand for suggesting that the members that are linked to a deleted cover image are linked instead to the winning image. Your example about "A New Wonderland" and "The Magical Monarch of Mo" sounds like an example of works that have been wrongly combined, and need seperating with a good disambiguation notice each to keep them seperate.

What I have in mind is that

are some of the copies of the same cover on one of the versions of the The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (editions deriving from Edward FitzGerald "translations"). That the same cover also appears many times in the Rubáiyát (non-Edward FitzGerald derived versions; link in the Disambiguation notice) is something for another day.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 19, 2022, 5:16 pm

As "work" is used on LT, combining Magical Monarch of Mo with A New Wonderland is definitely the right decision. They are the same book except that every instance of "Phunnyland" was replaced with "Mo." It totally passes the "cocktail party test."

I like the idea of creating cover groups. I always make sure my exact cover is on LT; sometimes it's not, but the only difference is mine has, say, a badge on it reading "Nebula Award Shortlisted". It makes sense to me that my cover would be grouped with all other covers with the same image. Then someone looking for their cover could 1) click the picture that is generally right, and 2) then get a selector to ensure they end up with the "Nebula Award Shortlisted" version not otherwise identical the "Nebula & Hugo Award Shortlisted" version!

marraskuu 19, 2022, 5:32 pm

Some sort of flag/vote to suppress a cover from the work's cover gallery, when it's same-edition-worse-image, so long as there exists a way to toggle the gallery into "view all images" (and account setting to permanently keep it in "view all" – ie. like it is now), would be worthwhile having, IMO.

This could present in the Cover flagging, as the two images side by side, A and B, "Are these covers the same?"
With voting options like: Yes, keep A | Yes, keep B | No | Undecided
Or more advanced, "Yes, click which one to keep", then options for "No" and "Undecided"

>10 Bernarrd: Deletion would be going too far, because it wouldn't be right for us to put that sort of decision about our book cover images in the hands of other users (spam/error flagging aside).

The work combining you mention, it sounds like mistakes have been made because abridgements do not belong with unabridged. There is a Combiners group to help put such errors right. If you wanted to post in there about the Baum work too, I'm sure discussion could be had whether that's an outright error, or something more borderline.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2022, 7:55 am

>12 Stevil2001: Stevil2001 Well, I guess if you collect the modern reprints of Baum's titles, those versions might look to be the same, especially after a few cocktails, but they are very different books in the originals. The illustration are different and the text was revised to fit the Mo format. Probably as someones idea of fitting the Oz format, after the the success of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But if you held both original books in your hands, you could see they were not the same. This is actually fairly funny coming from people arguing that a minute change on a cover makes it different and something that needs to be preserved.

>13 Nevov: Nevov I do not think deleting would be a big issue if the images were identical. If they originally came from the same source, and are the same size file, they are basically a copy from an original. There used to be software that would compare images and could tell you if the were the same, but I do not know if it is still around anywhere.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2022, 8:02 am

>12 Stevil2001: You are certainly entitled to think this, but it goes against the entire combining philosophy of LibraryThing. I am very familiar with the difference between different versions of Baum books. If the gorgeous W. W. Denslow–illustrated edition of Wonderful Wizard of Oz is to be combined with my hideous looking 1960s Scholastic edition—and they are, according to LT's philosophy—then certainly A New Wonderland should be combined with The Magical Monarch of Mo. Different illustrations don't matter to LT combining in most cases.

But this is an irrelevant sidebar to the actual issue at hand, anyway.

marraskuu 20, 2022, 2:58 pm

>14 Bernarrd: Covers exist on each person's book record though, so they're at the level of books not works. And we don't combine books on LT. What you're asking for is more like creating a new work level for covers in which case minor differences shouldn't matter

marraskuu 20, 2022, 9:47 pm

>16 jjwilson61: I am only suggesting something to help clean up the mess found in a number of popular book listings. It is all but impossible at times to find a correct picture of a book, because a the large number of images, many of which are duplicates. Clearing out duplicate images would help, but more is probably needed. It will only become harder with time to list some titles. When users do not find the image they want quickly, they just add more.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 10:00 am

I've long supported some sort of grouping on the covers pages

marraskuu 21, 2022, 11:12 am

>18 jjwilson61: They could be grouped by published or edition, anything would help. Even if you have to look through 20 or 30 images, it is still a lot better than looking through hundreds. ANd I still think there should be a way to removed duplicate images, even if the individual users page has to be changed to point at a different image. A duplicate, is a duplicate, only the file name is different.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 11:27 am

As long as we're talking about covers, I'd like to see the LT honchos revisit the criteria for "high-quality image". I've seen too many marked as such that are actually quite poor in terms of being blurry or poorly exposed or whatever.

Come to think of it, an option (perhaps a tick box on the page or a global per-user setting) to automatically hide low-quality images could go a long way toward tidying up the covers interface.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 12:34 pm

>19 Bernarrd: Many people want to see their own faded, torn covers in their catalog and would be very upset if you deleted them and substituted a "better" one

marraskuu 21, 2022, 1:18 pm

Even if you think the pictures are 'duplicates', you really shouldn't change the image the member chose.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 2:01 pm

>21 jjwilson61:

Exactly. I want to see that 25¢ price sticker, or the place where my cat chewed the cover, or my childish scribble.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 2:14 pm

>22 MarthaJeanne: This. With any other combining, we never change what the user’s catalog shows. Just because someone thinks it is a duplicate, it may not be - it may be a big wider or a bit narrower - even if it started as the same image.

I would not mind some type of Proper order so we can find the one we are looking for but it is another of those “we do not have editions” side effects. And sometimes the covers that look the same just look a bit off - so I would rather bring in my own.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 2:43 pm

>22 MarthaJeanne: Some are definitely duplicates, no quotation marks needed. If the system could recognize the exact same image, I don't see a single reason to object pointing all those using it to a single image, unless you're hung up on who uploaded it since that is the only thing that could change. Whether instituting this is worth the developer time it would take is another matter. The impact in cases with hundreds of covers would be minor

marraskuu 21, 2022, 3:23 pm

>23 lilithcat: While you may have a connection to your 25¢ price sticker, or the place where my cat chewed the cover, I doubt if anyone else does. There should be a way for you to keep your cover without everyone having to see it, except on your page. Does it have to go into the pool of shared covers?

marraskuu 21, 2022, 3:31 pm

>26 Bernarrd: The way LT works is that tags and covers bubble up and all of them show up on the work page. You may not like the cover with the 25 cents sticker but someone else may be looking just for it. Who will decide which cover is worth being in the pool and which is substandard?

marraskuu 21, 2022, 3:36 pm

>27 AnnieMod: Well it will not matter much if you can't find it in all of the mess.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 4:08 pm

>27 AnnieMod: If there was an option to not share a cover, that would help. Although it would have to be opt-in, of course, and I don't know how many people would bother.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 4:37 pm

>29 rosalita: We already have a lot of people complaining that they cannot copy a book from someone else’s catalog. Imagine the complaints that they now cannot even use the cover. :)

marraskuu 21, 2022, 4:39 pm

>28 Bernarrd: It may require some patience on popular books but as long as you let them load and the site is not glitching (which happens now and then), you can find the covers if you want to. :)

I’d love some type of organization but I am totally against deleting or suppressing valid covers.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 4:41 pm

>30 AnnieMod: Goodness! That had not occurred to me but of course you are absolutely correct. :-)

marraskuu 21, 2022, 5:36 pm

so, I know less than nothing about how programming works or how LT in general works - but... is there a way to format so that instead of just title and author, core becomes title, author, and book cover- as items that are yours- and not changed by others- so the chewed-cat-cover can be used- but not, necessarily, at top of list in viewings of hundreds of covers. others- who are just wanting to grab an image- any image- can do so from a stack of mostly similar covers.

for instance- a cover with blue background- moon- barn- white letters, regardless of dimension and cat- chews- can be compiled and independently searched; if the same title has a similar cover - blue background- moon- barn- but, now yellow letters can form a separate pile, etc.

colour being a tad- relative- in that everybody's blue shows up differently. my computer seldom produces a respectable likeness of the original blues.

in past, I have contributed covers that I thought superior to other choices- currently, however, energy levels make it preferable to just borrow one from somebody else.

of course- I don't know how the book covers- being loaded- after the fact- will know where to place themselves. ( and maybe somebody already said that- but I didn't fully grasp the conversation)

marraskuu 21, 2022, 6:20 pm

>31 AnnieMod: Yes, but the problem is that most people just want to list a book and be done. So what happens is the addition of another copy of a cover, likely already on the site. I do not think there is a great risk that some cover that someone wants will be suppressed. And I would hardly call deleting duplicate images suppression. But it would be better to clean up the mess sooner rather than later. At some point this will just cause more problems. I have already run into glitches that remain unfixed for months, if not longer, even after they have been pointed out.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 6:37 pm

>34 Bernarrd: If a user decided to bring in a cover, I am absolutely against software or another user deciding that it is a duplicate without the user’s knowledge after they had uploaded/grabbed it. If LT wants to build a “we already have this cover, do you want to use it?”, sure, why not. If the user decides to keep the one they are bringing in though, so be it. But deleting covers someone is using because something/someone thinks are the same goes against everything LT does. Bugs in the software, people looking at different differences as important, caches showing weird images or users misunderstanding what they are seeing - all that will lead to loss of data and unhappy users.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 6:49 pm

>35 AnnieMod: Well there is already a function on LT where users can block a cover. They can say that they do not think it is a proper cover. They can mark it and create a vote to see what other users think. So that is ok and deleting duplicates and damaged images is not?

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 21, 2022, 6:54 pm

>36 Bernarrd: Yes because a damaged cover or a “duplicate” according to you is an actual cover. What we flag are things that are obviously not covers for that book (or not covers at all). If someone is flagging covers because they don’t like them will get downvotes and if they persist, I suspect someone from LT will have a word with them sooner or later.

If you think that this is the same as your idea of deleting/suppressing perfectly good covers because they are duplicates according to you or because they have blemishes and so on, we have nothing more to discuss here I am afraid and we will have to agree to disagree.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 7:14 pm

>37 AnnieMod: I have seen an actual cover flagged. That might have been what the intent was originally, but I have seen a perfectly valid cover flagged because some user did not know what it was. So you don't want people voting on things like this and yet they already are.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 7:26 pm

>38 Bernarrd: There is a difference between “someone does not know what they are doing” and the site deciding that other people should judge all valid covers. The reason we have the voting is exactly to allow those few flagged covers that are actually covers of the book to be rescued. A cover either belongs to the book or it does not. What you are asking is for people to make decisions based on their preferences.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 7:37 pm

>39 AnnieMod: I do not know why I even bother to bring problems like this up. No one here wants to hear that they have a problem. They would rather just make a bunch of silly reasons why they can't fix the problem. I sometimes think it is all because they can't fix the problem. You would think I was trying to hurt someones children they way you carry on. Suppress. It is hardly suppression, but it looks like you just want to put this in the worst light that you can.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 7:56 pm

>40 Bernarrd:

Maybe people do not agree that it is a problem.

marraskuu 21, 2022, 8:05 pm

>40 Bernarrd: So if people disagree with your idea, they must be wrong and just “making a bunch of silly reasons why they can’t fix the problem”? Interesting way to go through life.

No one in this thread works for LT - a lot of us a long time users who just had seen the site develop and share their concerns with a proposal. But then apparently that’s just a bunch of silly reasons for not supporting your idea.

marraskuu 22, 2022, 1:30 am

>37 AnnieMod: Why are you insisting on putting the word duplicates in quotation marks? Again, there are definite duplicates. Many of them in fact. They are not images taken by a user, but grabbed from the web, from the exact same place very often, most definitely the exact same image. It is not an unknown or questionable phenomenon

marraskuu 22, 2022, 1:35 am

>41 lilithcat: I scan all my books, so I seldom see the problem (if indeed it is a problem, as you say).

marraskuu 22, 2022, 1:38 am

>43 SandraArdnas: Because not all perceived duplicates are actual duplicates. Yes - some are but if we start trying to find which ones are, a lot of slightly different covers will be caught in the crossfire. Can a software solution figure out duplicates? Sure. Can anyone guarantee that the software won’t misfire? Good luck with that. Relying on humans to identify duplicates when the original source is not available is an even worse idea.

marraskuu 22, 2022, 1:51 am

>45 AnnieMod: But some are and a piece of software can tell it precisely. So no need to muddy waters with human fallibility and perception. Some images are exactly the same. It is an entirely different category from highly similar images and for any meaningful discussion the two should be kept apart. I'll put the 'software misfiring' argument under the silly category

marraskuu 22, 2022, 2:02 am

In general, I assume people who do not see any problem with proliferation of covers for popular works never venture into choosing member uploaded covers there. Go to one with 1000+ covers and check out what it looks like. I doubt there is anyone who wades through that to see whether there is an appropriate one available. Adding a new one by grabbing it from the web is much easier and quicker, which naturally only compounds the issue.

Also, flagging covers as far as I can tell has no effect whatsoever. Just saying because it was discussed above.

marraskuu 22, 2022, 2:02 am

It might make sense to check whether a newly updated file is **exactly** the same (type, size, checksum...) as an already recorded cover. But it would depend on LT preserving the original file without any conversion, or preserving this information as some kind metadata - otherwise I guess an exact comparison is not really possible.

marraskuu 22, 2022, 4:52 pm

On classics there are a tremendous number of images. The system is challenged to load and display these. Consider the bandwidth expenditure alone.

It would be good if there were some filters to narrow down the list. Examples could include:

* Language
* Same ISBN
* Same ISBN prefix (publisher)
* Recently added
* Largest images
* Principal color (“it was red”)

I think that the large number of images leads to even more where it is quicker and simpler to snap a picture of your copy with the app than pick an existing one.

There are times where an image is pulled from an online source multiple times and these image files may be identical (dimensions, quality, checksum). These would be the lowest hanging fruit for combination.

On my old books I do upload images of my covers and these are used to compare condition on the road when I contemplate an upgrade purchase. So I recognize a certain reticence in implementing this.

Voting to remove poor images from the ones seen for selection might help with how much content is presented for an image picker.

An option to not share one’s images doesn’t seem ideal or especially helpful.


marraskuu 22, 2022, 6:40 pm

>46 SandraArdnas: There may be duplicates, but I hardly think they're a major issue. Looking through Brave New World, I found one exact duplicate. There may be a few more scaled differently, which is hard to check, but I don't see it as making much of a difference.

Looking at Harry Potter as well, I'd separate out by language first. If I were redesigning this area, I'd have to try some things; in neither case do I get the feeling that merging covers of the exact same edition would be sufficient to make those cover pages managable.

It's too hard to clearly count Harry Potter or Brave New World, so I looked at some books towards the high end of my library, with about a thousand copies in LT. Tales from the White Hart has 66 scans for around 20-25 distinct covers (not counting Amazon), Delusion in Death has 10 scans for 5 or 6 distinct covers, Compilers, principles, techniques, and tools has 15 scans for 9 distinct covers, and Buy Jupiter and Other Stories has 41 scans for 13 distinct covers. Antigone has 158 scans, and while it's too hard to exactly count, I think there's at least 100 different covers there.

Having them sorted by underlying edition would be nice, but I'm not sure as a developer it would be worth the time to implement. So many books only have at most a dozen scans, and for those that don't, this is going to be a small improvement (Antigone) to cutting by a third (Buy Jupiter), which won't dramatically improve things.

marraskuu 22, 2022, 7:03 pm

>50 prosfilaes: When you say you found one exact duplicate Brave New World cover, I hope you are talking about duplicate images. I hope we are talking about duplicate covers, of which there are masses. Here are the first five or six images of three Brave New World covers, including two variants of the same thing, that obviously constitute different covers:

Baby, high title:

Baby, low title:

Headless man:

marraskuu 22, 2022, 7:07 pm

>51 Cynfelyn: When you say you found one exact duplicate Brave New World cover, I hope you are talking about duplicate images. I hope we are talking about duplicate covers, ...

I was replying to >46 SandraArdnas: which should provide enough context.

marraskuu 23, 2022, 8:10 am

>50 prosfilaes: I agree. In fact, I more or less made the same points in my first post in this thread. I imagine devising a way to just merge exact duplicates is too insignificant to be worth the time, but something that would significantly reduce the resources that go into covers probably isn't. Since there have been arguments even about exact copies, I'm not holding my breath for any community agreement beyond that. So, from purely user viewpoint, I'd be happy with just making works with, say, more than 100 covers more navigable so that I don't add near or exact duplicates myself.

marraskuu 27, 2022, 8:17 pm

I find it annoying and it wastes my time when I click on a suggested cover image to find it all out of focus. In many cases a much better image is available. With the option to flag such one hopes someone will delete them.



marraskuu 27, 2022, 8:31 pm

>54 lcl999:

With the option to flag such one hopes someone will delete them.

A cover should be flagged only if:
1) it's not a cover
2) it's spam
3) it's not applicable to the work.

Out of focus images are not flaggable.

In any case, flagging images does not remove them.

marraskuu 28, 2022, 2:37 am

>54 lcl999: Also, whether or not it is ever decided to show fewer covers, no cover will ever be deleted if somebody is using it.

marraskuu 28, 2022, 8:00 am

>55 lilithcat: I believe the idea was to have a new flag, which made me think of other instances probably of no interest to anyone other than the uploader, people holding the book in their hand is quite common for instance. A flag indicating something isn't really for community use would be useful, provided it removed the image for 'recent member uploaded covers' and pushed it to the bottom of the cover page.

helmikuu 21, 8:03 pm

Rather than deleting the poor quality images it would be nice if they could be shuffled to the end of the list. When 20 or 30 images come up I usually choose the first. (Top right corner). If on selection it turns out to be on inferior quality then I waste time searching for a good image. So a flag option should include "poor quality" or "low resolution".