Introducing GenreThing

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Introducing GenreThing

1timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:15pm

We've just launched "GenreThing," LibraryThing's attempt at high-level bookstore-style genres. Please read this whole post before commenting.

Genres do not replace tags and other systems, but offer a simple way to divide works into a small number of categories familiar to all readers. Genres are automatically calculated based on many different sources, including tags, library classifications (Dewey, Library of Congress Subject Headings), and bookstore classifications (BIC, BISAC). I'll write more about the method in follow-up posts here.

This mix of data allows us to generate genres for some books before they are released—and before members have added tags. Members can change genres for themselves. These decisions are themselves analyzed, and may affect the system for others too.

For now you can find genres a few places:


Changing Genres

You can change a work's genre on work pages or by double-clicking on the "Genre" cell, once you've added it to your catalog (see above). Changes you make affect your account instantly. They will also be analyzed to change genres for everyone as well. The changing screen also gives you an option to "flag" a genre assignment. We intend this to be used for egregious errors—when no reasonable person would think the assignment is good.

Wait, that's WRONG!

We know you will find problems! For example, @KnerdKnitter just reported video-game guides in the "travel" genre. We'll be watching to see what member's de-select and flag, and adjusting things accordingly. The system will get better!

Irrespective of "problems," genres are a tricky subject. People get stabby about the lines between science fiction and fantasy. One person's core genre is another person's irrelevant one. If your objections are fundamental, we urge you to turn genres off entirely on the settings page. If your objections are specific, let us know and we'll see what we can do.

If you see assignment problems you want to talk about, especially more general errors, not one-offs, post the link or touchstone here.

2gilroy
Jun. 22, 1:23pm

Is the genre page in the catalog supposed to change based on the selected collection?

3andyl
Jun. 22, 1:24pm

Is the lack of Thriller just an oversight? At the moment spy stories like The IPCRESS File are just Mystery and Fiction. As are the James Bond books. Do people really think of them as mysteries when it comes to genre?

4anglemark
Jun. 22, 1:26pm

Please, please activate tag translations on the genre pages! First they were omitted from new series and now this. Have you decided to roll back the whole translation project?

5timspalding
Jun. 22, 1:27pm

A few words about some of the genres:

Christian Fiction. (default off) This is a tricky one. Libraries often have such a section. The top results conform to the sorts of books that generally go into it, but things get dicey lower-down. We made it default-off.
Fiction. Fiction is fiction with a bias against the genres represented separately (Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, mystery). Books from those genres CAN appear in Fiction, but in general the intent is to capture general fiction, "literary fiction" and non-covered genres. This category will not, I suspect, make everyone happy. But it is a hard problem.
Graphic Novels and Comics. We chose this term to cover everything—graphic novels, cartoons, strip comics, bande dessinée, manga, etc.?
Health & Wellness. A catch-all term, but often clustered in bookstores.
History. Some overlap with biography; this is intentional.
Home & Garden. A catch-all term, but often clustered in bookstores. Teasing them apart is often difficult.
LGBTQ+. This is tricky one, relying more on tags than some others. If you find something in it that doesn't belong, feel free to use the flagging feature.
Nonfiction. See "Fiction" above. This is a catch-all.
Religion & Spirituality. Members will note that the top books are Christian centric. The top books are essentially the ones we have the highest confidence "are" a given category, and that confidence tilts toward popular books. We are looking for ways to improve it.
Travel. We're working on some problems here.
Children's Books. By default we only have "children's books" turned on. The other terms (Picture Books, Kids, Tween and Teen) are age-specific. You may find them useful. Here, however, we are somewhat dependent on publisher age-and-grade data, and that data is often terrible. So it's hard.
Young Adult. Young Adult is calculated largely independent of publisher age-and-grade data, as the genre has to some extent drifted away from being an age term to being a more general content- and theme-based term.

6anglemark
Jun. 22, 1:29pm

7timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 1:37pm

>4 anglemark:

Thank you for reminding me about tag translation. I'll get on it for both. (Soon—I need to dig into the logic of it.) I expect you will find some translation problems on genres. I have to plead haste here. We had to get this out by the State of the Thing, so there are some loose ends.

>6 anglemark:

Thanks. Fixed. (Unfortunately, when I say fixed now, I mean it will be fixed in 5-10 minutes, because of server delays.)

8AndreasJ
Jun. 22, 1:33pm

Is the list of genres in the breakdown of my library exhaustive? It lists a number of genres it says I have no books of.

How is “Recent Fiction” a separate genre from “Fiction”?

Is this meant simply to be interesting, or do you intend to build something, like better recs, on it?

9gilroy
Jun. 22, 1:33pm

Second question: Games and Gaming tend to be their own sections in bookstores and libraries. Especially for things like RPGs and other card related games. With the number of those books on here, will this genre be opened?

Or better, can we add free form genres in the catalog column edits?

10konallis
Jun. 22, 1:36pm

Interesting feature - need to dig around a bit more.

It's a form rather than genre, but poetry seems to be left out of the classifications completely. At least in my library, all the poetry books seem to be 'no genre'. Is that intentional?

11andyl
Jun. 22, 1:42pm

>10 konallis:

I got some works correctly classified in the poetry genre.

12anglemark
Jun. 22, 1:43pm

>7 timspalding: The names of the new genres that you didn't reuse tags for, are not translateable on the genre pages: Art & Design, Health & Wellness, Recent Fiction, and Recent Nonfiction.

13Maddz
Jun. 22, 1:45pm

One glaring omission: Role-playing games (or indeed any kind of game) as a genre of it's own.

14konallis
Jun. 22, 1:46pm

>11 andyl: Thanks. Some of those I checked are relatively obscure, so maybe there wasn't enough existing data to make a judgement.

15Dilara86
Jun. 22, 1:46pm

I think we need a "Social science" category at the very least. AFAIKS, my books on feminism have been shoehorned into History and Religion & Spirituality or Science & Nature, which feel suboptimal. (I guess having separate Politics, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, etc. might be too granular.)

16timspalding
Jun. 22, 1:46pm

>8 AndreasJ:

Is the list of genres in the breakdown of my library exhaustive? It lists a number of genres it says I have no books of.

It lists all the genres that you have chosen to see. Change them here: https://www.librarything.com/settings/genres

I could see hiding genres you didn't have any books in. But I also worry people would say "Hey, why does X have Horror and I don't!"

Is this meant simply to be interesting, or do you intend to build something, like better recs, on it?

Yes, I see this going a few places. For example:

1. Stats. Genres look really nice in our coming stats graphics.
2. Recs. Yes. I don't see them influence WHAT recs you get, but I see them influencing how they are displayed.
3. Upcoming books pages/alerts.
4. Customized newsletters, with new books, etc.

As some background, we created Genres some years ago for our BookPsychic product ( http://www.bookpsychic.com ). Bookstores and readers in libraries like these broad categories. We expanded genres to help another library company create customized newsletters for libraries. Although some LibraryThing members may feel above genres or some genres as too general or too popular—I certainly feel that way about some of them—we feel there's value for members overall.

Second question: Games and Gaming tend to be their own sections in bookstores and libraries. Especially for things like RPGs and other card related games. With the number of those books on here, will this genre be opened?

We are open to new genre suggestions. We will consider all, and leave comments when we can. Whether we may the genre is dependent upon:

1. Interest.
2. Popularity across the LT collections.
3. Whether the data helps us or not. For example, if "Games and Gaming" maps to clear Dewey numbers, BIC and BISAC categories and tags, then it's good. Many fiction genres do not map well--they're just too hard to pin down.

It's a form rather than genre, but poetry seems to be left out of the classifications completely. At least in my library, all the poetry books seem to be 'no genre'. Is that intentional?

Did you turn on the poetry genre? Give me some examples if you like, especially of more popular books. A lot of poetry books don't have a lot of members or data. So it may be challenge.

Or better, can we add free form genres in the catalog column edits?

No, the point of genres is to be simple and largely system-assigned. We want to offer this as an option, but we don't want to provide a second way to tag.

17amanda4242
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 1:49pm

>11 andyl: How? I don't even see poetry as an option.

ETA: Never mind. Found it.

18timspalding
Jun. 22, 1:47pm

>12 anglemark: The names of the new genres that you didn't reuse tags for, are not translateable on the genre pages: Art & Design, Health & Wellness, Recent Fiction, and Recent Nonfiction.

Thanks. I'll take a look. As you saw, we piggy-backed off the tag-translation system. So that's probably why.

19gilroy
Jun. 22, 1:48pm

>3 andyl: I think Thriller all got lumped into Horror, from what I'm seeing in my cataloged books.
Don't agree with it, since I have some books which are thrilling, but I definitely wouldn't call them horror based.

20Foretopman
Jun. 22, 1:48pm

>10 konallis: Follow the link in >1 timspalding: to the "Genre Settings Page". Poetry is one of the genres that is not activated by default.

21timspalding
Jun. 22, 1:48pm

>15 Dilara86: I think we need a "Social science" category at the very least. AFAIKS, my books on feminism have been shoehorned into History and Religion & Spirituality or Science & Nature, which feel suboptimal. (I guess having separate Politics, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, etc. might be too granular.)

Where do you generally find these books in non-academic bookstores?

22timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 1:50pm

>19 gilroy: I think Thriller all got lumped into Horror, from what I'm seeing in my cataloged books.
Don't agree with it, since I have some books which are thrilling, but I definitely wouldn't call them horror based.


Good to know. If you drop some, I'll look at them.

I have a "Suspense and Thriller" genre built. I think perhaps I should release it.

No, I'm not going to list everything I have built at one point or another. If I haven't released them I'm not confident in them. It's at least a dozen at present.

23konallis
Jun. 22, 1:49pm

>20 Foretopman: Thanks! Just found it.

24andyl
Jun. 22, 1:50pm

>14 konallis:

Yep most of my poetry didn't get classified - but then a lot of it is pamphlets where I am the only owner.

25ScarletBea
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 1:54pm

One of the books I'm currently reading has got 2 genres: fantasy and teen. Teen is obviously wrong, and I'd like to flag it, but when I try to go to the list, that is a genre not included in the available list...

I've checked some more, and no, you didn't!!! ALL Fantasy books are marked as Teen too? Really??? I can't even begin to tell you how wrong that is...

26timspalding
Jun. 22, 1:51pm

>23 konallis: Yep most of my poetry didn't get classified - but then a lot of it is pamphlets where I am the only owner.

Right. Usually something needs a number of pieces of data--a BIC and some tags, or a Dewey and a BISAC--to be considered. So it's tough.

27timspalding
Jun. 22, 1:51pm

>24 andyl: That seems wrong and may be a preferences problem. Can you drop me the book and I'll check it out?

28lorax
Jun. 22, 2:00pm

Flagging does not appear to work for me. If I hover over the grey flag icon turns to red, but clicking on it does nothing. Chrome on a Mac.

29gilroy
Jun. 22, 2:01pm

>16 timspalding: Okay, so interest in games and gaming genre. I'm willing to admit these aren't Harry Potter level numbers, but I think show there is a group of us that would benefit from it. (?) I just went on the tags, so some of these may hold the fiction related to the games, but these are the present set up:

D&D 16115 uses
Dungeons and Dragons 4799 uses
World of Darkness 4401 uses
AD&D 4008 uses
GURPS 5110 uses
Traveller 2178 uses

These are just the ones I could remember off the top of my head and don't include things like Card Game instructions, Classic Board Game instructions (Backgammon, Chess, Checkers, etc), Collectable Card Game books, etc.

And I think the request was mirrored in >13 Maddz:

30conceptDawg
Jun. 22, 2:02pm

>28 lorax: I'll check on that. Thanks.

31andyl
Jun. 22, 2:02pm

>16 timspalding: Games And Gaming

A number of my RPG books got set to strange genres. Feng Shui rpg is not 'Home & Garden'. Gods Of Glorantha and Berlin: The Wicked City isn't 'Religion & Spirituality'.

The other large gap, for me at least, is computer programming books. When I bought a lot of them they had their own section in a shop. Most of them are not assigned a genre. Some are assigned Business, some 'Science & Nature'.

32lorax
Jun. 22, 2:02pm

ScarletBea (#25):

ALL Fantasy books are marked as Teen too?

I don't see that, in either my catalog or yours. Nor do I see "Teen" as a genre at all.

And I realize it's a sore spot, but I'm sure that if it was that way at one point it was an error, not a deliberate slight on the genre, so the depth of your ire may have been a bit misplaced.

33timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:06pm

>28 lorax: Thanks. conceptdawg is working on it. It IS working. It will de-select the genre for you, but in doing so it deselects in in an emphatic way that we see when you save. conceptdawg is working on having the flag stay red, indicating that.

34timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:08pm

>32 lorax:

You need to turn the teen genre on to see it.

However, I think I need to make your settings also work for when people view YOUR library. I will get on that.

I'll look into why ScarletBea's fantasy is all marked as teen. It may be an error in the data or in the code. The data we use here is largely publisher data, and that's frustratingly bad. Will look.

35lilithcat
Jun. 22, 2:09pm

No "Women's studies"? And "Drama" (or "Plays"), which seem now to be under "Fiction".

How is "recent" defined for purposes of "Recent Fiction" and "Recent Non-fiction"? I have one book labeled "Recent Fiction" which is true going by the publication date of my edition, but it was originally published in 1913.

36andyl
Jun. 22, 2:10pm

>27 timspalding:

Examples of poetry that didn't get classified
Grave Goods by Cardinal Cox
Codex New England by Cardinal Cox

Examples of poetry that did get classified
Codex Dagon by Cardinal Cox
A Sack Of Midnight: Leaves From The Mabinogion by Cardinal Cox.

The only thing I can point to is that all the ones that did get assigned a genre had more than 1 owner. All the ones that didn't get a genre assigned were books where I am the only owner. All the works have 'poetry' as a tag.

37timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:10pm

>31 andyl: Feng Shui rpg is not 'Home & Garden'.

Ha! It surely keyed off the Feng Shui-ness of it. I'm going to add role-playing game tags, and if they exist, BICs and such, to the "negatives" list for these genres.

38Settings
Jun. 22, 2:10pm

More data and another categorization method! Super exciting and thanks!

39jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:14pm

I don't think the tree or The naming of names belong in home & garden.

40timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:12pm

>36 andyl: Yeah. A single tag will not generally do it. And it's cautious around low-copy books generally.

>35 lilithcat: Thanks for the genre suggestions. I have a drama one that's… not ready. But it's farther along than some.

How is "recent" defined for purposes of "Recent Fiction" and "Recent Non-fiction"? I have one book labeled "Recent Fiction" which is true going by the publication date of my edition, but it was originally published in 1913.

LibraryThing surely has wrong data for that book, then.

41Maddz
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:13pm

So what genre is Pride and Prejudice supposed to be? It's turned up as no genre, along with other literary works, in my catalogue (including some obscure French language poetry for which I am the only owner).

It would be useful to be able to select an appropriate genre against un-genred works.

42lorax
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:22pm

timspalding (#34):

Thanks. I realized that after posting, and turned it on. However, that doesn't turn it on in the list of genres you get when double-clicking on the field, which appears to be hardcoded to use the defaults, so in the couple cases I did see where it was inappropriately present I couldn't fix it.


Edited to add: And now it does show up. Thanks!

43paradoxosalpha
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:16pm

I'm not likely to get too invested in this feature, unless it starts interfering with the ways that I already use LT. A quick review of how it is showing in my own library turns up some amusing issues, most notably the few titles classed as "Romance." These include The Romance of the Rose and Amis and Amiloun, which are not "Romance" in the bookstore genre sense. I think "romance readers" would also be disappointed in Love in a Dead Language (despite the subtitle "A Romance") and Robert Irwin's Exquisite Corpse.

I like the LT emphasis on tags expressly because of the way it lets me do an end-run around received notions of genre in organizing my catalog.

44lorax
Jun. 22, 2:18pm

Also, in the flagging dialog box, "egregiously" is misspelled.

45timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:18pm

>40 timspalding:

I don't know. A lot of bookstores call them "Classics." But there's a problem. Classics are old books that are popular and praised--popular enough to be on the shelf in a bookstore! A random, obscure novel published in 1860 is not necessarily a "classic." This presents problems for doing this automatically.

46timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:18pm

Egregiously misspelled, even.

47AndreasJ
Jun. 22, 2:19pm

>25 ScarletBea:

FWIW, of the 96 of my books GT thinks are Fantasy, only one seems to be also classed as Teen.

48jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:27pm

How is Romance defined? I don't see the night circus any more romancy than a lot of my other fantasy books.

49timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:23pm

>48 jjwilson61:

Well, without looking at the other data, you can see 415 people have tagged it "Romance." Only a handful of tags outrank it. That sort of thing is going to put it in Romance pretty much automatically.

50Dilara86
Jun. 22, 2:23pm

>21 timspalding: I think we need a "Social science" category at the very least. AFAIKS, my books on feminism have been shoehorned into History and Religion & Spirituality or Science & Nature, which feel suboptimal. (I guess having separate Politics, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, etc. might be too granular.)

Where do you generally find these books in non-academic bookstores?


On the Social Sciences shelves.

51Foretopman
Jun. 22, 2:26pm

I know this is going to be fairly low priority, but please don't forget to add this genre information to the various export formats.

52timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:27pm

>51 Foretopman:

And search.

53lorax
Jun. 22, 2:30pm

Perusing my list of no-genre books suggests some potential additions to the list:

* Humor. https://www.librarything.com/work/2139 or https://www.librarything.com/work/9146709 for examples. The former has no genres set; the latter does but missing Humor misses a key aspect.

* Parenting. Volumes could be written, I'm sure, about including "business" but not "parenting" in the set of default genres expected to be of general interest.

54timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:37pm

>53 lorax:

*I've looked at humor. I'll look again. It's certainly VERY hard to see in tags, because "humor" and related tags can indicate that a book is funny, not that it's in the genre we call "humor." But I think there's something in BISAC.
*Yeah. I don't think parenting outsells business, but it's definitely an important category.

I'm adding these all to a list which I will look at. The basic issue is: Do we have the data?

>53 lorax:

On humor see the tags: https://www.librarything.com/tag/humor

Now, lorax, which of these would you consider to be in the genre humor?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (2,595 times)
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (2,244 times)
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (2,192 times)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (1,577 times)
America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart (1,530 times)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (1,529 times)
Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams (1,406 times)
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1,391 times)
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1,279 times)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (1,277 times)
Naked by David Sedaris (1,265 times)
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (1,263 times)
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (1,150 times)
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (1,117 times)
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams (1,107 times)
Mort by Terry Pratchett (1,082 times)
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (1,035 times)
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (1,028 times)
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (1,022 times)
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (1,009 times)
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (973 times)
The Princess Bride by William Goldman (941 times)
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (913 times)
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris (908 times)
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (891 times)

I feel like a number—including the top two—are funny, but they are NOT humor.

55timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:43pm

BTW: NoveList, who run newsletters for libraries has the following genres. https://www.ebsco.com/novelist/products/libraryaware/nextreads

Christian Fiction
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Fiction A to Z (general fiction)
Historical Fiction
Horror
Mystery
Romance
Thrillers and Suspense
Newsletters for Adults: Nonfiction
Armchair Travel
Biography and Memoir
Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
History and Current Events
Home, Garden, and DIY
Nature and Science
Popular Culture
Spirituality and Religion
Kids Books (8-11)
Picture Books
Teen Scene
Tween Reads

Their list, which represents the needs of thousands of libraries, was one place we started. But IMAGINE if we didnt' separate Science Fiction and Fantasy! :)

56cpg
Jun. 22, 2:45pm

For comparison, here are Amazon's top-level categories:

Arts & Photography
Biographies & Memoirs
Business & Money
Calendars
Children's Books
Christian Books & Bibles
Comics & Graphic Novels
Computers & Technology
Cookbooks, Food & Wine
Crafts, Hobbies & Home
Education & Teaching
Engineering & Transportation
Health, Fitness & Dieting
History
Humor & Entertainment
Law
LGBTQ+ Books
Literature & Fiction
Medical Books
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Parenting & Relationships
Politics & Social Sciences
Reference
Religion & Spirituality
Romance
Science & Math
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Self-Help
Sports & Outdoors
Teen & Young Adult
Test Preparation
Travel

57Maddz
Jun. 22, 2:46pm

So where would Aristophanes end up? And would it be considered Humour? Livy would end up in History.

58lorax
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 2:47pm

For humor maybe change the weighting, that it only gets assigned if the balance with other genre-indicative tags is really skewed? (I know tagging is only one ingredient, but it's the one I can easily check.)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is tagged "humor" a lot, but "science fiction" twice as much, and is definitely not "humor genre".

Me Talk Pretty One Day has "humor" outweigh "memoir" by more than 2:1 in LT tag data; it would certainly be appropriate in Humor genre.

Where I first noticed this, though, was on my Dave Barry books. There's no other plausible genre tag there, and really no other plausible place for them.

Edited to add: This was cross-posted with Tim's edit to #54.

59lilithcat
Jun. 22, 2:50pm

I was looking at my "No Genres" books, and noticed that some of them, such as On Haiku, The fire horse : children's poems, The Spirit of Japanese Poetry, also show "no genres" on their work pages, but when I click to edit and add a genre, "Poetry" shows as assigned.

61mportley
Jun. 22, 2:51pm

May I suggest True Crime? This is a common section in bookstores, and a genre in the Large Commercialized Readers' Site That Shall Not Be Named.

62timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:56pm

>59 lilithcat: Okay, that's a bug. Will investigate. The queue is getting a little long, though.

63thorold
Jun. 22, 2:56pm

I looked at my “no genre” books — there was a whole bunch of 19th century classics there (Jane Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Dumas) — how did they not get automatically put into “fiction”? Is it edition-specific?

Otherwise, I see a lot of things where it makes sense that the algorithms haven’t picked them up (low numbers of copies, no English translation). But also some big categories that don’t easily fit into the scheme: law, language, engineering, theatre, essays and journalism, social science, books about literature, … does all that get lumped into “non-fiction”?

64timspalding
Jun. 22, 2:56pm

>61 mportley: Voldemortreads

65gilroy
Jun. 22, 2:58pm

>59 lilithcat: You probably don't have the Poetry genre turned on to show? You might need to go to the Genre Settings page listed in >1 timspalding: to show poetry.

66cpg
Jun. 22, 3:00pm

The "Genre (detailed)" field for a catalog listing gives the name of the genre and a "progress towards completion" style bar. What is that bar measuring?

67melannen
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 3:07pm

Would it be doable to ask LT not to use your tags to calculate genre? I like the idea of LT having genre a lot, but I have a tendency to use some genre-ish tags for personal library organization in ways that might lead to miscategorization in terms of actual genre (one that comes immediately to mind is using lgbt-related tags to tag any fiction that has a very minor lgbt character or reference even if they are very much not lgbt themed in general.) I would hate to have my tags mis-genre-ing a lot of obscure books, and I would hate even more to have to constantly overthink my personal tags because I'm worrying that they will screw up sitewide genre data.

Maybe this isn't going to be an issue because no book will ever be put in a genre due to just one user's misleading tags? But it sounds like that can happen? If I'm the only person inputting info for a low-ownership work I'd much rather enter the genre data myself then have to second-guess how I use my tags.

>21 timspalding: In large enough used bookstores there are generally various social sciences topics divided out but shelved together near the history section. Books about current geography/politics/anthropology of specific places or cultures often end up in travel, and a lot of psychology/sociology/philosophy ends up in either health & wellness or religion. A lot of them end up in general nonfiction, or reference, or education. Basically unless they're big enough to go full Dewey it's a mess (and the Dewey 300s are a mess anyway).

But I would also suggest either "social sciences" as a counterpart to "Science and nature" or changing History to "History & Social Sciences."

I'll note that of 925 books in my library that LT currently thinks are History, Mr. Melville only puts a bit over half in the 900s (and that includes a lot of geography books as well.) I tried to come up with examples but basically it's very messy and and guessing if a given book from anywhere in my NF collection is listed under history or not is basically a coin toss right now. It's messy because a lot of NF books have an element of talking about the past (and if they don't right now, wait ten years) but that doesn't really make a useful genre category when quantum physics and tarot cards end up next to each other.

(Also, a fair number of my social sciences-type books are currently in 5+ of the nonfiction genre listings. Maybe there's a point at which they should just kick to only being in general nonfiction?)

68lilithcat
Jun. 22, 3:07pm

>65 gilroy:

Interesting. I just checked, and while Poetry is not turned on, it says "You currently have the default LibraryThing set." I never actually turned any of the genres on or off. Weird.

69lilithcat
Jun. 22, 3:08pm

>62 timspalding:

Apparently not.

>65 gilroy:'s suggestion was correct.

70melannen
Jun. 22, 3:10pm

>68 lilithcat: Poetry was off by default for me too. Is poetry not being default a bug? That one at least sounds easy to fix.

71gilroy
Jun. 22, 3:11pm

>68 lilithcat: I think when I looked at the page, poetry defaulted to off. The ones you see were defaulted to on. So you'd need to check the box to see poetry, IIRC.

72thorold
Jun. 22, 3:21pm

>63 thorold: …music, politics, philosophy…

My most popular genreless books are currently The communist manifesto and Also sprach Zarathustra. Fantasy? Religion and spirituality?

73jjwilson61
Jun. 22, 3:30pm

>71 gilroy: Tim set poetry off by default

74queen_ypolita
Jun. 22, 3:33pm

Skimming through my books and the genre assignments, I'm wondering if Dictionaries should be a genre. Just because a dictionary has "school" in its name doesn't make Kids or Tween the most logical genre for it

I've also got some books best characterised as local interest, which is something you might see as a section in a (physical) bookshop. Among those, the ones obviously about history appear to have been assigned the history genre, but not all of them are history.

75timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 3:39pm

>66 cpg: The "Genre (detailed)" field for a catalog listing gives the name of the genre and a "progress towards completion" style bar. What is that bar measuring?

So, we're calling it "confidence." It is a mix of confidence and degree, which are themselves somewhat mixed together. The genre pages show the 250-odd ones with the highest scores. They tend to be popular, although we adjust it somewhat for popularity and recentness.

>68 lilithcat:

Interesting. I just checked, and while Poetry is not turned on, it says "You currently have the default LibraryThing set." I never actually turned any of the genres on or off. Weird.

Okay, not right. I suggest clicking the button to restore the defaults and then choosing. But if you do nothing, I'll look at your account specifically and try to suss out what's wrong.

I've also got some books best characterised as local interest, which is something you might see as a section in a (physical) bookshop. Among those, the ones obviously about history appear to have been assigned the history genre, but not all of them are history.

That's hard. I mean, around here "One Morning in Maine" is local interest. Anywhere else it would not be.

76ScarletBea
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 3:43pm

Sorry about the earlier rant...
In the meantime it almost disappeared, so thanks for whatever algorithm you changed :)

If you change your own book, does it change for everyone? Because I've been removing the generalism "Fiction" from all my 'genre' books (i.e. Fantasy, SF, Mystery, etc) - after all, all books are simply Fiction or Nonfiction, but that doesn't really help with the classification.

77spiralsheep
Jun. 22, 3:54pm

>35 lilithcat: >40 timspalding: Thank you for anticipating LibraryThing's need for Drama. ;-)

78lilithcat
Jun. 22, 3:56pm

>75 timspalding:

I suggest clicking the button to restore the defaults and then choosing.

Thanks, Tim, I'll do that.

79anglemark
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 4:11pm

timspalding, some of the Genre translations that were there when you designed the feature are seriously wrong. "Home & Garden" is translated to mean "gardening", for instance, and "Religion & Spirituality" is just "religion". I can't find the strings in the repository of translated strings. How can I access (change) them?

ETA: It's the same for all languages. All the ready-translated genres on the form "XXX & YYY" are just "XXX" in the translations.

80spiphany
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 4:11pm

This is an interesting idea and I can definitely see it being valuable for some users, but I imagine I'll probably end up turning it off unless it changes significantly.

I use the "collections feature" to group my library into broad categories that are loosely based on genres/subject areas, but the categories that are important to me don't necessarily align with conventional genres.

A few initial thoughts:
- the German translations of the genre labels are pretty bad. I know you said they were generated automatically for now, but it brings up some larger issues -- like the fact that genre categories don't always map 1:1 across cultures. I'm thinking of the German "Belletristik", for example, which would be the closest equivalent to "fiction" ("Fiktion" is rarely used in this sense) but depending on context can but also include things like essays and certain types of expository non-fiction. And many German bookstores have a section for "Mystery" which doesn't refer to mysteries (those are Krimis), but rather to what seems to be essentially YA dark romantic fantasy.

- technically I would consider the items on the list to be a mixture of genres and other aspects of content like subject matter. A monograph, a textbook, and a self-help book are examples of distinct non-fiction genres. Science, religion, and art are subject areas. Obviously some genres are going to be pretty much exclusive to certain subject areas (i.e., travel guides, cookbooks, grammars), but they're not the same thing.

- related to this, the list doesn't seem very systematic (i.e., the inclusion of both "fiction" and "recent fiction"; "teen" and "YA"; "LGBTQ+" presumably includes both fiction and non-fiction, unlike most of the other categories), but perhaps that isn't the intention.

- the subject-type categories seem rather broad ("nonfiction"!), and I agree with other posters that the current options feel lacking for social science topics. A category for "languages and linguistics" would be useful (particularly for things like dictionaries, grammars, and other language learning materials). Looking at my library, I also miss categories for things like "politics", "sociology", "philosophy", "folklore" and "literary criticism".

81lemontwist
Jun. 22, 4:15pm

Social Sciences and Music are dearly needed.

For example High School I can categorize under LGBTQ+ and Auto/Memoir, but it glosses over the fact that the authors are famous because they're musicians.

Also, if Nonfiction (which I'm that person who says that it is NOT a genre, because it isn't) is just a catchall for books that can't go anywhere else... shouldn't LT just automatically delete Nonfic as a genre if other genres were selected? I have like 1,400 books in that genre category and most of them have multiple genres.

82anglemark
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 7:27am

These are the genres that I use frequently and that I see no good match for in this system:

humour
drama
books about books
politics
encyclopedias & dictionaries
language & linguistics
essays
games
anthropology
music
adventure
satire
letters
thrillers
literature studies
maps
entertainment

83library_mistress
Jun. 22, 4:27pm

>15 Dilara86: yes, I also miss linguistics, dictionaries, or something in that direction.

84timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 4:46pm

I have turned off the other translations for these terms. They are now in the system as regular translation possibilities. This means some have lost their translations, but everything is now translatable in the same way.

85melannen
Jun. 22, 5:03pm

>75 timspalding: My account also had poetry turned off the first time I visited that page. (I have now turned it on, but that's the only change I've made.)

86lesmel
Jun. 22, 5:10pm

>1 timspalding: Shouldn't you be using Thema not BIC since BIC has been superseded?
https://ns.editeur.org/bic_categories
https://ns.editeur.org/thema/en

Titles like Emma, Jane Eyre, Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc should be in Literature in my opinion. BISAC says..."FICTION / Classics" and "FICTION / Literary" should be used at the classifier's discretion to denote works generally considered to be classics or of literary value. Thema uses similar nuance: https://ns.editeur.org/thema/en/FB

Both Thema and BISAC don't recommend broad category use (e.g. "Fiction"); instead favoring at least one step down from the broad category (e.g. Fiction / Mystery & Detective).

Nonfiction is ridiculously broad as to be unusable without more categories. Everything from literary criticism to auto repair to computer programming and none of those are in the list of genres. Also, there needs to be a genre for Hobbies & Crafts since you have Food & Cooking and Health & Wellness.

How would I classify The Hot Zone as anything other than nonfiction? I guess it falls under Science & Nature; but really it's medical and maybe military since it's about viral hemorrhagic fevers, CDC, and USAMRIID. What about something like Moneyball?

Why are you using "Graphic Novels and Comics" and not "Graphic Novels & Comics?" I favor consistency over esoteric reasoning, FWIW.

This needs to be integrated into power edit. I'd have my "no genre" list fixed already if I didn't have to scroll, double click, scroll, select, save, scroll, double click, scroll, select, save, scroll, double click, scroll, select, save, scroll, double click, scroll, select, save, scroll, double click, scroll, select, save...

87Maddz
Jun. 22, 5:11pm

OK, this is weird: 24 Hours in Ancient China: A Day in the Life of the People Who Lived There has the genres History and Nonfiction, both of which are OK. It also has the genre Recent Nonfiction which isn't in the list to dismiss (or to activate in the settings!

The other books I have in that series 24 Hours in Ancient History, Rome and Egypt have just History and Nonfiction, whereas Athens just has History.

88timspalding
Jun. 22, 5:11pm

"Travel" has been updated to remove "guidebooks" and some general history books that fall under the Dewey Decimals for travel.

89timspalding
Jun. 22, 5:13pm

>86 lesmel: Why are you using "Graphic Novels and Comics" and not "Graphic Novels & Comics?" I favor consistency over esoteric reasoning, FWIW.

I absolutely favor esoteric reasoning over consistency, but in this case you're entirely right. Fixed.

Since we're doing FWIWs, I wish I could kill all the ampersands. Ampersands are for law firms. But they look better with them, and it gives them a certain term-of-art feel that allows me to use the terms more broadly.

90lorax
Jun. 22, 5:20pm

To me the "&" is slightly more tightly binding than the word "and" but this is probably pure personal idiosyncrasy. It indicates the two are part of one thing, rather than a list of two items.

"This book is classified as History and Biography", to me, indicates the two are separate genres, while

"This book is classified as Graphic Novels & Comics", to me, indicates it's just one.

91AndreasJ
Jun. 22, 5:27pm

>90 lorax:

If it's an idiosyncrasy, I think I share it. "X and Y" may be only accidentally and temporarily collocated, but "X & Y" I expect to be a unit of some sort.

92timspalding
Jun. 22, 5:32pm

>90 lorax: Right. I think that's a common sense.

It's funny, but that's the sense of the Latin -que as in Senatus Populusque Romanus--the Senate and the People of Rome are linked more than an "et" would give them. Or Siskel and Ebert, Peanut Butter and Jelly, etc. It's funny that &, which means "et" should have acquired the sense of "-que" :)

93conceptDawg
Jun. 22, 5:57pm

I've reworked how the genre pop-up box works.
Before, it was actually saving your selections before you ever hit "Save" to dismiss the pop-up. That was counter-intuitive so that's been fixed. Now it only saves when you tell it to, so you can make lots of changes and hit "Cancel" and it will, in fact, be cancelled.

Flags look a little cleaner and should now work a little more intuitively (though I can't say that we've hit 100% on that yet). When you flag a genre it will ask you if you are sure. Once you do so, it stays flagged, even on the next load of the pop-up, as it should.

94conceptDawg
Jun. 22, 6:00pm

>90 lorax: Yep. I agree with that. The "&" is more binding within a title/set of words vs. "and."

>92 timspalding: I had never thought about that, but yes, it is interesting that the modern use of the symbol has nearly reversed its initial historical root.

95abbottthomas
Jun. 22, 6:10pm

Where do music books fit in?

96timspalding
Jun. 22, 6:13pm

>95 abbottthomas:

There are a lot of genres that aren't currently represented. It's not trying to be comprehensive, but more like what small bookstores have. But it's worth looking at it, certainly.

97timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 6:35pm

Pushed a fix that cleared out some wrong genres. Ongoing for next 5 mins. It had a fairly large effect—about 2% of genre-assignments were affected.

98jjwilson61
Jun. 22, 6:40pm

>88 timspalding: Hm. When I saw the travel genre the first thing I thought of was guidebooks. Where else would you put them?

99abbottthomas
Jun. 22, 6:42pm

>96 timspalding: Thanks for looking at it ;-)

I have looked at my books listed under Religion and Spirituality. While for many, e.g. travel books, art, architecture, history, Religion wouldn't have been my first port of call although I can see some relevance but why is Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable listed as Religion and Spirituality and nothing else? In most bookshops I would look on Reference book shelves.

Another problem is with general history books. There will be few that don't deal with religious affairs but the selection that are allocated to the Religion and Spirituality seems pretty capricious. I would have thought that most can be classed as History and nothing else.

100Aquila
Jun. 22, 6:43pm

Oh, this is awesome and fun. Going through and adding genres for books with no genre, and books the system doesn't know are LGBTQ+

Noticing that for sci-fi and fantasy, the kinds of books that also get the general Fiction tag are "this publisher doesn't publish much sff, mostly does more general fiction" and "this sff book sold really really well, can we market it to everyone?"

101jjwilson61
Jun. 22, 6:46pm

>99 abbottthomas: I agree. A History of the Arab People is really not about religion.

102DuncanHill
Jun. 22, 6:58pm

Is there any chance of https://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?specialpage=genre being linked from either, or preferably both, of Home page and my profile page? Or do I write it on a post-it note and stick it on my monitor?

103DuncanHill
Jun. 22, 7:01pm

Hard to imagine how Men and power, 1917-1918 got into Romance!

104melannen
Jun. 22, 7:49pm

>103 DuncanHill: Look at the summary of that one - if it's not a romance something else weird is going on!

105waltzmn
Jun. 22, 7:50pm

I second (third, fourth, whatever) those who vote for music as a needed category. My top six personal categories are history (included), music (nothing even close), literature (bad approximations), folk music (too specialized), biography (included), reference (nothing closer than "non-fiction" that I can see).

"Mythology and Folklore," or similar, would be good, too.

And I'd really like "classics" or "pre-1800" or "medieval" or something, so that we could separate The Iliad or Sir Gawain and the Grene Kniȝt (Poetry, Mythology and Folklore, Classics) from, urf, The Da Vinci Code (Mystery, Modern, Fiction). (No one need point out to me that The Iliad is not medieval. :-)

Obviously the data here will take work; I'd file that under "give it time." But we really do need those extra genres. This is not a helpful list for those of us whose libraries are pathologically obscure. :-)

106Kanarthi
Jun. 22, 8:07pm

I second/third/tenth the need for some sort of Social Sciences category. Currently the top genre of Invisible Women is Science & Nature, which would be hilarious if it didn't so severely undercut that book's main message. The social sciences need to be split from the natural sciences, and I don't know of any bookstore that mixes them.

107Kanarthi
Bearbeitet: Jun. 22, 8:15pm

>104 melannen: Looking at the review and tags, I think that the summary is actually incorrect, and there's probably a deeper data problem.

I do agree that Romance is a tricky genre, especially if you go by tags. I tagged The Pisces with the tag "romance" to denote that romantic relationships are hugely important to its plot, and because I sequester all of my actual romance books in an entirely separate librarything account. But it is absolutely not Romance-as-a-Genre, and most regular romance readers would riot if it were placed in a romance section in a library or bookstore.

108SandraArdnas
Jun. 22, 8:18pm

>102 DuncanHill: When on 'your books' page, you can access it the same way you access tags page. On the right of list/covers button, there's a dropdown menu with tags, genres, media, series etc.

109gilroy
Jun. 22, 8:28pm

While going through my various genres, I started talking to my librarian wife about this.

Teen = Young Adult.

Why do we have two categories for the same thing?
Unless Young Adult is supposed to mean late teens to twenty somethings (which I believe is called New Adult in the publishing world now.)

110gilroy
Jun. 22, 8:36pm

>102 DuncanHill: There used to be a notepad module that you could copy the link into, but I'm not finding it at the moment.

You can also access it by clicking on Your Books, then click on the tag drop down. In that drop down, you'll find the Genre page linked.

111SandraArdnas
Jun. 22, 8:40pm

Why is there both Children's Books and Kids? While Children's books has been applied where it fits in my catalogue, the kids one is a mixed bag. It missed some obvious children's books, but included a lot YA, including Rick Riordan's books, as well as Eyewitness books

+1 for Social Sciences, as well as Dictionaries and Encyclopedias or Reference, Computers & Technology. Also, the system seems terrible for any psychology and philosophy books. Aside from the very general non-fiction, it by and large seems to assign history and science & nature to them.

112aspirit
Jun. 22, 8:51pm

I'm another member who's confused about Teen and Young Adult being separate for GenreThing. Same for Children's Books and Kids.

113Crypto-Willobie
Jun. 22, 8:55pm

>110 gilroy:

I use the Notepad module everyday-- but I forget where I got it from.
That's what I was gonna suggest for the Genre url.

114tardis
Jun. 22, 9:10pm

Love this! More time sink!

I would like a "reference" category for dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.

Also, I don't know that I would put most of my field guides in "travel" - science and nature works for them.

115tardis
Jun. 22, 9:18pm

Oh, and my husband's car repair, woodworking, bike repair, etc. books would really be better in a Technology genre, rather than the too-broad "non-fiction"

116lorax
Jun. 22, 9:28pm

The requests for more and more genres (and I realize I'm part of this) are starting to give me awful flashbacks to the horrible Open Shelves Classification debacle, where the person who declared themself in charge (a) decided Science was not deserving of a top-level class and (b) outright stated that birds and fish are not animals.

As Tim has said, this is a "categories a small indie bookstore would use", not "everything has a well-fitting spot". Yeah, "Non-fiction" is going to be over-broad here, but that's why we still have tags.

117aspirit
Jun. 22, 10:03pm

>1 timspalding: If you see assignment problems you want to talk about, especially more general errors, not one-offs, post the link or touchstone here.

Okay, can we talk about light novels for a moment? Light novels are small, illustrated books of fiction that usually originate in Japan. Each light novel is mostly prose. Popular light novels series tend to be adapted into manga and sometimes even anime.

My sampling suggests that all light novel are showing as "Graphic Novels & Comics" in GenreThing. Presumably, that's because of how often light novels are mixed up with their manga adaptations. They are different, though.

Are we going to have to remove each genre label individually, or is there are way on the backend to do that for most of the works?

118LibraryCin
Jun. 22, 10:47pm

I love this! This looks fun. (And I see I'll be spending more time here tonight than doing actual reading of my book...)

>116 lorax: As Tim has said, this is a "categories a small indie bookstore would use", not "everything has a well-fitting spot". Yeah, "Non-fiction" is going to be over-broad here, but that's why we still have tags.

Agreed!

119melannen
Jun. 23, 12:01am

>107 Kanarthi: Yep, that summary seems to be for The Reluctant Husband. Not sure how that happened, though, there's not any other obvious bad data issues on there! Also not sure how that resulted in the book being put in the wrong genre, since tags, LC subject headings, etc, all seem correct - is the genre categorization looking at summaries, or is there some hidden backend data ID'ing this as the wrong book in other ways the genre picked up on?

120jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 12:09am

I also have quite a few history of business books that I doubt a bookstore would shelve in the business section. Perhaps if the history score is higher than the business score it should only be put in the history genre.

121melannen
Jun. 23, 12:11am

>112 aspirit: Kids, Tween, and Teen all seem to be trying to take the category that in the vernacular is called "chapter books" or in libraries often "juvenile fiction" - novels for kids who have graduated from picture books but still need a lower reading level - and grade them by age. As Tim warned, they do a very bad job at it.

Given that we have picture books and YA, I think it would make sense to have (one) genre that covers the books that fall between them - but I don't think those are doing the job.

122Nicole_VanK
Jun. 23, 12:17am

Interesting. Thank you. I will dig around when I have some more time.

123timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 12:30am

>98 jjwilson61: Hm. When I saw the travel genre the first thing I thought of was guidebooks. Where else would you put them?

Well, travelogues, memoirs of travel, atlases, maps, etc.

Oh, this is awesome and fun. Going through and adding genres for books with no genre, and books the system doesn't know are LGBTQ+

Besides the data input, I have various "knobs" to play with, including two different "thresholds." LGBTQ+ has a higher threshold than most because the distinction between "has a gay character" and "has gay themes" is a thin one. Also, I think mistakes are relatively more serious here. So it is more conservative in some of its assignments.

Noticing that for sci-fi and fantasy, the kinds of books that also get the general Fiction tag are "this publisher doesn't publish much sff, mostly does more general fiction" and "this sff book sold really really well, can we market it to everyone?"

Yeah. Strictly speaking I am NOT using the publisher now. But I really should. Certain publishers have a strong genre signal.

Is there any chance of https://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?specialpage=genre being linked from either, or preferably both, of Home page and my profile page? Or do I write it on a post-it note and stick it on my monitor?

Yes, you can find it here

>103 DuncanHill: Hard to imagine how Men and power, 1917-1918 got into Romance!

Will investigate. Some powerfully romantic men, I think.

Teen = Young Adult.

Oh… that's a topic. Anyone else care to engage?

Why is there both Children's Books and Kids? While Children's books has been applied where it fits in my catalogue, the kids one is a mixed bag. It missed some obvious children's books, but included a lot YA, including Rick Riordan's books, as well as Eyewitness books

Right. "Children's" is all ages. Otherwise the progression is picture books, kids, tween, teen. It's obviously very tricky, which is why the specific ages are non-default. I'm working out the kinks and seeing if I can get the age-ranges better.

birds and fish are not animals

This seems wrong. However, it is permissible to eat beavers during lent; they swim in water and therefore are fish.

The requests for more and more genres

Right. That's the problem. I'm not inclined to add many more, lest it become a second, less flexible tagging system. And I may take some away--the fine-grained children's categories for example. But IDK. This is something I'm watching, and watching members' reactions to.

> 117 Okay, can we talk about light novels for a moment? Light novels are small, illustrated books of fiction that usually originate in Japan. Each light novel is mostly prose. Popular light novels series tend to be adapted into manga and sometimes even anime.

Thanks for the education here. First, I'll take a look, but I don't think I know what's classified as a "light novel" except through tag data. Can you help me find the relevant tags? Would https://www.librarything.com/tag/light-novels be one?

Second, if this is a work-combination problem, things are much harder. If something has publisher and tag data labelling it as manga, it's going to be manga.

>119 melannen: is the genre categorization looking at summaries

I ran some tests on that some years ago. It showed moderate promise, but could only really be a supportive factor. The current system does not use summaries. But I'll consider it in the future.

124timspalding
Jun. 23, 12:35am

Reluctant Husband

Yes, as melannen guessed, it's mixed up with "The Reluctant Husband." Data exists that mixes up the ISBN 1299354122 between the two books. I found the mixup elsewhere on the web, so I'm not going to dig into it too deeply. Probably the mixup extends to some of the data we use for BIC or BISAC categories. It's a rare case, so it's best to just change the genre and stop there.

125Aquila
Jun. 23, 12:40am

Who knew I owned so much Poetry.

126SandraArdnas
Jun. 23, 12:47am

Regarding additional genres, I believe the suggestions were by and large for omitted very broad categories. It seems strange that several basic DDC categories are not there.

127Nicole_VanK
Jun. 23, 1:00am

Some of the automated choices seem surprising to me - Une Semaine de Bonté by Max Ernst is Comics / Graphic Novels? But, with a bit of a stretch, I can sort of see it too.

I'll wait until I have a better idea about this feature and its "best practice" before making changes.

128timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 1:05am

Can anyone suggest a way to urge people to use the flag for truly egregious errors? Here, for example, are the books that have been flagged as egregiously wrong for fiction. I've bolded the ones that I find truly egregious.

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Appropriating King Arthur : the Arthurian legend in English drama and entertainments 1485-1625 by Elisabeth Michelsson
City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
Wyntertide by Andrew Caldecott
The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Binding by Bridget Collins
The Raven's Shadow by Elspeth Cooper
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Chemickal Marriage by Gordon Dahlquist
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
The Dark Volume by Gordon Dahlquist
In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard
The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The Burning River by Lawrence Patchett
Melt by Jeff Murray
Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

For historical fiction, I have these, almost all of which have "historical fiction" as one of their largest tags.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
Revolution's Shore by Alis A. Rasmussen

For young adult someone flagged:

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins, which has 20 YA tags
Tunnel in the Sky / Robert A. Heinlein, which has 36.

I haven't read the former, but I have read the latter, and I would absolutely mark it as young adult. Even if someone disagreed, it's absolutely not an egregious misuse of the tag!

Anyway, if the flags just mean "I disagree," I'm not going to be able to use them to identify serious problems.

129Nicole_VanK
Jun. 23, 1:11am

>128 timspalding: I don't actually know it, but it sounds like "Appropriating King Arthur" might possibly be a non-fiction work of literary / theater history.

130thorold
Jun. 23, 1:13am

>126 SandraArdnas: On reflection, I think Tim’s question “Where do you generally find these books in non-academic bookstores?” (>21 timspalding:) is the key: the great bulk of my “no genre” books, as well as many of those with questionable assignments, are things you wouldn’t find in any non-specialist bookshop, so the whole question of what genre they should be assigned to is rather moot.

The only “missing” genres I mentioned above that really do seem to play a significant part in modern bookselling are Music and Politics — nobody would really go looking in the “religion” section of the bookshop for Bach biographies, would they?

131timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 1:23am

>129 Nicole_VanK: Right. That's the ONLY one that seems clearly wrong!

132Nicole_VanK
Jun. 23, 1:25am

>131 timspalding: Sorry. I misread you. It's early morning here, I need more coffee :)

133anglemark
Jun. 23, 1:27am

I misused the flagging a few times because of the translation problem, before I realised that the name for the genre I saw was much more restrictive than the English one.

134Aquila
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 1:54am

>128 timspalding: Revolution's Shore is future science fiction, I'm sure of that. It's the middle volume of a space opera trilogy.

I did flag some Fiction when I shouldn't have, at the very start.

135Settings
Jun. 23, 1:53am

Spending a fun hour categorizing my books into the genres - think it was suggested but a "Plays / Dramas" category would be useful. Feel like that is a common section small indie bookstores do have.

136timspalding
Jun. 23, 1:53am

>133 anglemark: Actually, I think I guessed that for you. Gardening vs. garden and home, right? I caught that.

>128 timspalding: timspalding: Revolution's Shore is far future science fiction, I'm sure of that.

Okay, but if someone said it was fiction would you say "Noooooooooo!"

137Aquila
Jun. 23, 1:55am

>135 Settings: No, but it's in your flagged as tagged historical fiction list, and it's not.

138timspalding
Jun. 23, 1:57am

>137 Aquila: Ah, Yes. Apologies. I think you're right on that one.

139timspalding
Jun. 23, 2:21am

Revolution's Shore is far future science fiction, I'm sure of that.

The Library of Congress Subject Headings are what's causing this one. https://lccn.loc.gov/2011656705

140Aquila
Jun. 23, 2:24am

They wrong.

141timspalding
Jun. 23, 2:28am

>140 Aquila:

I trust my government. ;)

142SandraArdnas
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 3:12am

>130 thorold: i*m not even sure what non-academic bookstores are, but any medium-sized bookstore here has sections social sciences, philosophy, psychology, computers, just as they have history, cooking or travel.

Edit: if no additional genres are added, it would be preferable to somehow prevent them being ascribed basically unrelated genres and leave them simply as non-fiction. It might be very general, but at least it's not misleading. As it is, politics, sociology and philosophy end up as history more often than not.

143ScarletBea
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 3:14am

>128 timspalding: oh oops those were mostly mine - as I mentioned before, I removed "Fiction" and "Non-fiction" from all books who have a clear "other specific genre". Otherwise every single book is "Fiction"/"Non-fiction" PLUS something else, no?

Sorry, that's why I asked if my changes only affected my books.

Also, how can these be "historical fiction"?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
You can't call something "historical fiction" just because they use vaguely victorian or seemingly historical settings, they have to be based on real historical events!

144Lukerik
Jun. 23, 3:18am

This is great. Just a couple of points...

We need something for philosophy.

We need something for drama. Most of mine are things from the ancient world, so technically poetry, but still...

Romance. Some are in verse, some are in prose, but what most concerns me is a division between medieval romance and modern romance. No Mills & Boon reader is going to appreciate seeing Le Morte Darthur.

145Nicole_VanK
Jun. 23, 3:46am

I agree with >142 SandraArdnas: on this. I have never seen any real bookstore (unless very specialized) where they don't have anything like a social sciences section. I could understand if that includes topics like politics.

146Nicole_VanK
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 3:49am

>144 Lukerik: Yeah, I get to see things like Chrétien de Troyes and "Le roman de la rose" there. Maybe I should add Petrarca to that list? ;)

147Nicole_VanK
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 3:54am

I'm left wondering where non-fiction created for a juvenile audience should go.

Not that I have a lot of that. But there's bound to be a demand for it from homeschooling parents and school libraries.

148divinenanny
Jun. 23, 3:54am

It seems the list of Display/dismissable genres on https://www.librarything.com/settings/genres is not quite complete; I'd like to dismiss Recent Fiction but it is not in the list.

149anglemark
Jun. 23, 4:39am

timspalding, I'm seeing an awful lot of comics and graphic novels classified as Art & Design.

150reading_fox
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 5:35am

>128 timspalding: - how many genres can a book be in?

From:
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Are all authors I know/have read, and whilst at the highest level they're certainly fiction rather than non-fiction, if I was in a bookshop I wouldn't see them in the 'general fiction' shelves but in the Fantasy/SF shelves (we can argue over which one later! Most bookshops don't split the genres). Sometimes when they've won awards like Clarke they may appear on other displays too, but the bulk of their writing will be in the genre spaces.

You will need to decide and make explicit whether you're reserving Fiction for books that don't have other genres, or whether you want it to be a Top level: fiction + sub-genre applicable to all fiction books. For the former it's wrong for the books above, for the latter case it's correct that they're all fiction + fantasy/SF.

151Dilara86
Jun. 23, 5:45am

>80 spiphany: Seconding the call for a Languages and linguistics category. Someone also mentioned a Women's studies category. It does seem useful to me have those two categories separate from a Social sciences top category - I think they are broad enough, and with a readership distinct from other social science subjects, that they can stand on their own.

>147 Nicole_VanK: I'm left wondering where non-fiction created for a juvenile audience should go.

Not that I have a lot of that. But there's bound to be a demand for it from homeschooling parents and school libraries


That is a very good point! Having a separate juvenile non-fiction category would also be useful to non-homeschooling parents and to adults who might not want non-fiction categories swamped with Ladybird books or whatever...

152andyl
Jun. 23, 6:09am

>80 spiphany: >151 Dilara86:

I don't think that Languages & Linguistics is really a big enough subject area to be a genre.

In reality there are a lot of subject areas which are poorly covered - Mathematics I guess will get dumped into Science & Nature although it isn't really either. Computers, especially more technical general purpose books, again seem to be split across Science & Nature and Business and Non-Ficton and No Genre. Computer books seem to be a much bigger subject area than Languages & Linguistics. I certainly have seen more bookshops with a Computers section than a Languages & Linguistics section.

153Caramellunacy
Jun. 23, 6:11am

>148 divinenanny: I also would like to dismiss Recent Fiction (no objection to it site-wide, it just doesn't suit me), but can't seem to do so.

154andyl
Jun. 23, 6:24am

One other thing what about multi-genre anthologies? I have a number that have Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories, or Fantasy and Horror short stories, or even all three genres.

155spiphany
Jun. 23, 7:04am

>152 andyl: Actually a lot -- if not virtually all -- bookstores I'm familiar with have a separate section for things like dictionaries, foreign language textbooks, grammars, phrasebooks, etc.

I don't see this as being a particularly narrow category. Linguistics proper may well be a bit too specialized for a general audience to justify a separate category, but even in notoriously monolingual Anglophone countries language learning is an important area of activity.

And both grammars and dictionaries are fairly distinct in terms of form and function from most other social science and humanities works: they are not narrative texts, for example, and they tend to have different sorting requirements. (i.e.: In a physical bookstore, I would not have a major issue finding a political science book, a history book, and an anthropology book all in the same section -- because I would normally be searching for them by author. However, it makes no sense to sort language materials this way, where generally the author is less important than the language, and readers are less likely to come in looking for a particular title. Some of this likely also applies to certain books in other subject areas, such as math and computer programming.)

156antqueen
Jun. 23, 7:14am

I've noticed that it's not very good at marking kids' books as fantasy. None of the books in the Wings of Fire series has it, for example, and of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the second one shows a fantasy genre, but none of the others do.

157rarm
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 7:30am

>128 timspalding:

I'm the one who flagged Kissing the Witch. It was a mistake as I was figuring out the feature; I meant to deselect, not flag. I personally wouldn't consider it YA mostly based on the fact that it's shelved as FIC and not YFIC in my public library, but according to the author's website it was "Published for adults in the UK and for young adults in the US... and named an ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adults." So I stand corrected.

Looking at the YA and teen genre in my library, it definitely seems to be picking up a lot of books not originally marketed as YA/teen and probably not found there in bookstores/libraries but which are borderline cases due to criteria like, "has a teen protagonist," "commonly assigned in high school English" and sometimes, yes, "has fantasy elements." But I accept that not everyone shares my definition, and I promise to have a lighter flagging hand in the future.

158AndreasJ
Jun. 23, 7:39am

I’ve certainly seen more bookstores with a Language section (often containing largely dictionaries) than LGBT+ one, which nobody seems to have a problem with.

159abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 7:51am

When does 'Fiction' become 'Historical Fiction'? Something like Hilary Mantell's Wolf Hall, written fairly recently about events four centuries earlier certainly qualifies but what about the book I an currently reading, The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning? It was published in 1960 and dealt with events in Rumania at the start of World War II in 1940. I imagine that in 1960 the author would have regarded this as contemporary fiction and I, at my advanced age, certainly feel that way. I can't see it being on the Historical Fiction shelves of Foyle's bookshop in the 1960s. On LT 'Fiction' is the top genre but 'Historical Fiction' is a strong second.

160anglemark
Jun. 23, 7:58am

>159 abbottthomas: Off the cuff, I'd say that setting the plot more than 50 years before the time of writing counts as historical fiction for me.

161Maddz
Jun. 23, 8:07am

>150 reading_fox: Looking at that list, I reckon pretty all would count as fantasy sub-genres. A lot are tagged 'Urban Fantasy' in my library (I sometimes see them marketed as contemporary fantasy), others are tagged 'Historical Fantasy'. In my library, a lot on that list don't have any genre!

162Stevil2001
Jun. 23, 8:14am

It seems unintuitive to me that a genre displays in my catalog but can't be removed by me; I can see a book is in the "Recent Fiction" genre (which to be honest I still don't understand) but I cannot take it out if inapplicable without enabling the genre.

163AndreasJ
Jun. 23, 8:17am

>159 abbottthomas:, >160 anglemark:

A definition I’ve seen is that it’s historical fiction if it’s set in a time the author has no personal memory of.

164anglemark
Jun. 23, 8:26am

>163 AndreasJ: Which is reasonable but the consequences are bizarre: A book written today set in the 1990s is historical fiction of the author is 25 years old, but another novel written today set in the 1950s is contemporary fiction if the writer is 80 years old. So I dismissed that thought.

165lilithcat
Jun. 23, 8:26am

>163 AndreasJ:

it’s historical fiction if it’s set in a time the author has no personal memory of.

At first blush, that sounds okay. But I don't think the age of the author should matter. By that definition, a book about the Year 2000 Problem written by a 20-year-old would be historical fiction, but the exact same book written by a 40-year-old wouldn't be. And that makes no sense to me.

166AndreasJ
Jun. 23, 8:47am

>164 anglemark:

I’m afraid I don’t see what’s absurd about that.

>165 lilithcat:

Well, the thought behind the definition is surely that personal experience makes a difference, so if one thinks it plausible that a 20yo and a 40yo might write the same book about y2k, it makes sense one wouldn’t like the definition.

But this is getting away from GenreThing, so let’s drop this tangent. I’m pretty sure bookstores don’t use a consistent definition of Historical Fiction for shelving anyway.

167anglemark
Jun. 23, 8:53am

>166 AndreasJ: Agreed.

>82 anglemark: I have given this some thought now, and if I were to have my way, I'd want to add these genres to be able to fit in more of my books:

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Games and Sports
Letters & Essays
Music & Entertainment
Plays
Social Science & Humanities (e.g. language & linguistics, anthropology, literature studies, politics, and books about books)
Suspense Fiction (e.g. adventure stories, thrillers, and spy stories)

And change "Science & Nature" into "Science & Technology" to fit in computers, cars etc. Nature could be shelved there without appearing on the label.

168waltzmn
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 9:37am

>167 anglemark:

Anglemark proposed:

> Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
> Games and Sports
> Letters & Essays
> Music & Entertainment
> Plays
> Social Science & Humanities (e.g. language & linguistics, anthropology, literature studies, politics, and books about books)
> Suspense Fiction (e.g. adventure stories, thrillers, and spy stories)

Keeping in mind that I have proposed categories too, I think there is a balance that must be cast here. We want every book to have some sort of reasonable category, but we definitely don't want too many categories. So we need SOMETHING that covers music (which you have), and SOMETHING which covers encyclopedias, which you have -- but some of these might be too specific. "Suspense Fiction" could probably be lumped with "Horror" as "Horror and suspense" (or maybe "Raise your blood pressure" :-). Encyclopedias could go in a "Reference" category that I already suggested. Plays are "Entertainment," and could be so filed, or they could be "Literature." I'd be inclined to split "Humanities" from "Social Science," which might be "Social Science and Politics" or some such.

I think broad categories are still better than specific ones -- the fact that most of the posts in this thread are nitpicks rather than improvements shows that in some categories we may already be too specific (does it really MATTER what the cutoff is for historical fiction? It's not true either way :-).

What disturbs me is that my library, while it has many subgenres, is basically organized as
History
Literature (mostly Greek, Latin, medieval English, but I allow a few things up to the time of Dickens :-)
Music (basically traditional folk music, but with some music theory and the like)
Reference
Folklore
Religion and Manuscript Studies
Science, mathematics, game theory, psychology
Odds, ends, fiction, and other things to sneer at :-)

And of those eight categories, four have no currently usable genre at all!

169lorax
Jun. 23, 9:36am

timspalding (#128):

A Natural History of Dragons is alternate history - as the title would suggest, it has dragons - not straight historical fiction. The algorithm can't help that people are inexplicably tagging it as such, but the flags here are entirely appropriate.

170lorax
Jun. 23, 9:42am

Nicole_VanK (#147):

I'm left wondering where non-fiction created for a juvenile audience should go.

Books can have multiple genres. Kiddo has a lot of non-fiction - he's a history buff - and it should absolutely be tagged as "Non-fiction" (plus a more specific genre, if relevant) and the appropriate age category. (And, in the case of his favorite series, "Graphic Novels & Comics".)

171jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 9:58am

>123 timspalding: "Well, travelogues, memoirs of travel, atlases, maps, etc."

You didn't read what I wrote. I asked where else would travel guides go, not what else would go in the travel genre.

172jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 10:06am

>159 abbottthomas: If we're talking about niche genres, I can't think of many bookstores with a historical fiction section.

173abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 10:08am

>168 waltzmn: (does it really MATTER what the cutoff is for historical fiction? It's not true either way :-)

I'm not sure that any of this genre stuff MATTERS much for anyone who doesn't feel a burning need to pop little labels on their bookshelves. I certainly don't need to differentiate between Science Fiction and Fantasy but there are many who do. The nit-picking in my post was expressing my irritation that a work of 'Fiction' could quietly metamorphose into a work of 'Historical Fiction' simply by growing old.

I rather agree with your implication that everything not true is fiction so why not leave out sub-genres? Maybe we should include religion in 'Fiction' - it can't all be true.

I think there is a problem in this whole discussion inasmuch as many of us feel a need for particular sub-divisions that are important to ourselves (Manuscript Studies, perhaps?) but are unlikely to interest many others.

174lorax
Jun. 23, 10:09am

Incidentally, there's a UI issue raised by some of the questions here - we need to be able to view books that meet multiple genre criteria (so genre needs to be exposed in catalog search). This way we could, for instance, find "Kids" plus "History" as touched on above.

175abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 10:10am

>172 jjwilson61: Me neither ;-)

176lorax
Jun. 23, 10:11am

abbottthomas (#173):

The nit-picking in my post was expressing my irritation that a work of 'Fiction' could quietly metamorphose into a work of 'Historical Fiction' simply by growing old.

It can't , and anyone who says it can is wrong. Books that are contemporaneous with when they are written are not historical fiction and never will be. (The exact definition of "contemporaneous" is, I think, where the argument is. Is a book written this year about 9/11 "historical fiction"? You may get different answers depending on the age of who you ask.) Twenty years or so from when it was written seems like a decent cutoff, though.

177jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 10:13am

I know you ridiculed the idea earlier, but I'd combine the science fiction and fantasy genres.

178abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 10:29am

>176 lorax: It's GenreThing that is telling me that The Great Fortune may well be Historical Fiction.

>163 AndreasJ: offered a definition which I quite liked - and ends up in the same ball park as your twenty years - but it got shot down.

179AndreasJ
Jun. 23, 10:32am

>178 abbottthomas:

FWIW, I didn’t suggest a 20 years cutoff.

180waltzmn
Jun. 23, 10:32am

>173 abbottthomas:

Abbottthomas responded to me:

> I think there is a problem in this whole discussion inasmuch as many of us feel a need for particular sub-divisions that are important to ourselves (Manuscript Studies, perhaps?) but are unlikely to interest many others.

I agree with this -- this was my whole point. "Manuscript studies" is a category in MY library, but I would regard it as absurd to give it its own category for everyone. In my particular example, I would expect studies of Bible manuscripts to go in "religion" while studies of, say, the Winchester manuscript of the Morte d'Arthur would go in Literature or Classics. But there IS no category of Literature or Classics!

If half of my eight most popular tags can't file ANYWHERE in the system, then we're missing some broad categories. All four of my proposals are very broad: music (or music and entertainment, if it helps), reference, mythology and folklore, and literature (I'd LIKE classic literature as opposed to modern, but I need something).

Literature would give us a way to avoid having to decide whether, say, Shakespeare's Richard III is historical fiction or not -- it's essentially top-to-bottom false, but Shakespeare wouldn't have seen it that way; he was just bringing out the "truth" in Holinshed's Chronicles.

Summary: We can nitpick any category, and should stop :-). But we need to have more broad categories than we have now.

181abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 10:33am

>177 jjwilson61: I don't think I ridiculed anything to do with SciFi / Fantasy. Rather, I said that I had no need for any separation of the two. Aren't we in agreement?

182jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 10:37am

>181 abbottthomas: Sorry, by 'you' I meant Tim, the OP for this thread

183lorax
Jun. 23, 10:36am

waltzmn:

Literature would give us a way to avoid having to decide whether, say, Shakespeare's Richard III is historical fiction or not

Well, arguably we need Drama for Shakespeare.

"Literature" might solve that problem, but it raises the "Is this title mere Fiction or exalted Literature" one that I really don't want to have to deal with. Maybe rename Fiction to "Fiction / Literature"?

184abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 10:38am

>179 AndreasJ: Sorry, I was responding to >176 lorax: with my comment about 20 years.

185jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 10:41am

If Fiction and Non-fiction were changed to Other Fiction and Other Non-fiction then any overlap with the more specific genres could be removed.

186abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 10:43am

>180 waltzmn: Absolutely! We need Music and we need Reference. I lean towards >183 lorax: over Literature.

Isn't it nice to have so much agreement ;-)

187timspalding
Jun. 23, 10:47am

>162 Stevil2001: >143 ScarletBea:

You can't call something "historical fiction" just because they use vaguely victorian or seemingly historical settings, they have to be based on real historical events!

Fully 211 people have tagged "The Night Circus" as historical fiction. So they must have a different understanding of the term than you. I'm reluctant to say either of you are wrong, but I have to use the data I have.

>148 divinenanny: I'd like to dismiss Recent Fiction but it is not in the list.

That makes sense.

>162 Stevil2001: It seems unintuitive to me that a genre displays in my catalog but can't be removed by me; I can see a book is in the "Recent Fiction" genre (which to be honest I still don't understand) but I cannot take it out if inapplicable without enabling the genre.

Agreed.

>156 antqueen: I've noticed that it's not very good at marking kids' books as fantasy

Yeah, it's tipping toward adult fantasy.

>169 lorax: A Natural History of Dragons is alternate history - as the title would suggest, it has dragons - not straight historical fiction. The algorithm can't help that people are inexplicably tagging it as such, but the flags here are entirely appropriate.

I don't know. I feel like if many people think otherwise--there are 25 people calling it "historical fiction"--it's not egregiously wrong.

You didn't read what I wrote. I asked where else would travel guides go, not what else would go in the travel genre.

Ah. Sorry.

>172 jjwilson61: If we're talking about niche genres, I can't think of many bookstores with a historical fiction section.

No, that's a good point. At a minimum, we had to match some of the newsletters genres available through NoveList and its competitors. That's the origin of that distinction.

>177 jjwilson61: I know you ridiculed the idea earlier, but I'd combine the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Well, I didn't ridicule the idea so much as laugh nervously about the member reaction!

188timspalding
Jun. 23, 10:51am

>183 lorax: "Literature" might solve that problem, but it raises the "Is this title mere Fiction or exalted Literature" one that I really don't want to have to deal with. Maybe rename Fiction to "Fiction / Literature"?

That's an interesting suggestion. Would this include plays, poems, etc.?

189norabelle414
Jun. 23, 11:02am

Can there be either a consensus or a ruling on whether works can have more than one genre? Is "Fiction" really supposed to be "fiction that doesn't fit into one of the other genres"?

In my opinion:
- Science Fiction and Fantasy can be (should be?) combined
- The Night Circus is Romance and historical fiction and fantasy
- A Natural History of Dragons is historical fiction and fantasy

Obviously those last two won't work if every book is supposed to have ONE genre, but frankly if that is the case then this feature is of no use or interest to me.

190lorax
Jun. 23, 11:16am

norabelle414:

Has anyone claimed that a work can have only one genre?

191reading_fox
Jun. 23, 11:18am

I've got more than 2 books each of which is auto-assigned to claiming 5 genres. Surely that isn't right either. No bookshop I've ever been in would file a book in 5 locations.

Travel, non-fiction, science and nature, history, biography and memoir

I propose 'recent' in both fiction and non-fiction is unnecessary.
Fiction and non-fiction super-genres should only be used if no other genre is remotely possible.

192jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 11:22am

>190 lorax: Well, the analogy given by Tim is where would the book be shelved in a small bookstore in which case it can only go into one place. Actually, I guess if they have multiple copies they could shelve it in multiple sections but do any bookstores actually do that?

193lilithcat
Jun. 23, 11:24am

>191 reading_fox:

Many of Gerald Durrell’s books could arguably fit into all those categories.

194lilithcat
Jun. 23, 11:27am

>188 timspalding:

I do like the idea of “Literature/Fiction”. Stops any arguments as to what constitutes whether a particular book is “literature” or “fiction”.

For me, it would include plays, poems, etc., though I can see an argument for also having “Drama” and “Poetry” (particularly for books about plays and poetry).

195reading_fox
Jun. 23, 11:32am

>193 lilithcat: - of those I own they only managed 4 "Science & Nature, Biography & Memoir, Travel, Nonfiction" Bizarely the most famous my family and other animals was unclassified.

196hypatian_kat
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 11:42am

So--I think there's an important point here which may be at the base of some of the conflicting approaches people have to things.

What is the purpose of the Genre label?

My opinion is this: Genre labels (typically provided by publishers) and BISAC categories (often provided by publishers and used by booksellers to guide their organization) are for marketing purposes. That's actually useful for us as readers, librarians, or bibliophiles, because the whole idea is to make sure that people who are interested in a book can find that book.

Part of the reason that bookstores don't (except in rare cases) distinguish between Science Fiction and Fantasy books is that there are some pretty malleable distinctions between the two at times. (Yes, some books are "clearly" one or the other. But then you have series where it's revealed mid-way through that magic is some sort of nanites in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. And you have famous examples like Star Wars which have a high degree of "swords and sorcery, but in spaaaace!")

As a result, it's hard to keep these things physically separate, because someone who doesn't have a deep knowledge of the SF&F genre space can't distinguish easily, and a reader's internal model of the distinctions may not match up with the learned shelver's ideas.

Contrariwise, we have categories like "paranormal romance" which are in the SF&F category but frequently have specific genre markers to make it stand out as what it is. Imprints specific to the category. Markings on the book saying what it is, etc. This is because there are a lot of readers looking for that sub-variety specifically. This is similar to categories like historical fiction which people have been discussing, where the point is to get the books into the hands of people looking for that particular genre flavor/marketing category which has certain conventions. (And those genre conventions are the real thing that distinguishes the genre of historical fiction from fiction that happens to be set in historical times.)

"Paranormal romance" didn't get shelved separately in my local bookstore, but it sure did get put out on "new paranormal romance" and "if you liked Twilight" tables when new books were being put on display.

For non-fiction, I've certainly had in my own neighborhood bookstore specific sections for linguistics (yes, linguistics: phonology, morphology, tense and aspect, etc.) separate from language learning (dictionaries, learn to speak French). There were also separate areas for "serious religion" (bibles, serious inquiries about comparative religion, philosophy of the big world religions)--shelved near history and philosophy, and "popular religion" (angels touched me, my generic spiritual insights, etc.) and "new age" had its own shelf--and both of those were kept near travel books, self-help books, cooking, etc. Other "popular" categories.

So... from a bookseller's point of view, you divide things up in useful ways so that people can find what they want. You do it based on the category information provided by publishers, and based on the expertise of your staff.

From a librarian's point of view, you divide things up in the same ways, but with more interest in long-term physical location, because you don't want to have to rearrange whole shelves as tastes change (whereas a bookstore is moving inventory in and out all the time, a library has the long-term collection to manage). So temporary displays will be broken out in the same sorts of categories (both fiction and non-fiction), but the stacks will be much more regimented, with catalogs and librarians with years of experience to help with the search. (In contrast to larger bookstores where there are some people with decades of experience, but many staff members are much more short-term.)




In short:

The point of genre and BISAC labels in stores and libraries is to put people in touch with the books they're looking for.

The point of genre labels on LT appears to be to provide more structured labels that are applied in a more dependable way, compared to user-generated tags which are kind of a free-for-all.




It seems to me that we do in fact need finer-grained categories than what are currently provided, in some cases. In others, we perhaps need less, or different. For example: it's weird to have separated Fantasy and Science Fiction top-level categories. It would be less weird to have a Paranormal Romance sub-category underneath a Fantasy & Science Fiction category.

I don't actually know that there are any easy answers here. In a real collection, the categories that are broken out are chosen by librarians or booksellers. Some collections need different social sciences broken out, others can combine History & Social Sciences all together. (Although those latter often do organize the section with shelf labels.) LibraryThing is one big shared space.

If I can discover and recommend books more easily with this new information, I'll be very happy. So far... it's weird, but not lacking promise.

What I'd love is to see more fine-grained detail within pre-set categories (probably two levels of detail) informed by BISAC, and then use the wisdom of LT users to match books to those categories. Less of a wild west than tags, but more fine-grained than any one person needs, and making use of user expertise as well as publisher categorization.

And then to go with that, the ability for each user to choose for their collection which categories are broken out and which are not (by default). So one person can decide that all Fiction is one big lump, but Social Sciences is broken down in fine detail, while another does the opposite. And someone browsing can ask for a different breakdown as they need.

Anyway, I'm excited to see what happens next.

197amanda4242
Jun. 23, 11:42am

What if we used speculative fiction instead of science fiction and fantasy? That way we'd have something that could encompass both, and include alternate history.

Do we really need separate genres for children's, kids, and tweens? Is there a term that could encompass all of them, and then people could use tags or collections to subdivide in their own libraries?

Adding my support for:
- thriller/suspense
- drama (maybe combine with poetry?)
- social sciences
- games & RPGs
- music
- some sort of reference genre for dictionaries and the like

198waltzmn
Jun. 23, 11:44am

>188 timspalding: timspalding asked (regarding Fiction / Literature):

"That's an interesting suggestion. Would this include plays, poems, etc.?"

I have a counter-question: Is all literature "fiction"? What about, say, Æschylus's The Persians. It's a drama about a (more or less) real event. Or Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain. It's presented as history, although it's false. The romance of Guy of Warwick was thought to be historical in the Middle Ages even though it's now regarded as false.

The understanding of "fiction" wasn't the same in the past! I grant that the combination would be acceptable for most modern works, but it's a pain for classics.

Give me "classics" and you can do what you want with "literature," of course. :-)

199the_red_shoes
Jun. 23, 12:04pm

>1 timspalding: Thank you for the ability to turn this off, I have just done so.

200the_red_shoes
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 12:08pm

>43 paradoxosalpha: I like the LT emphasis on tags expressly because of the way it lets me do an end-run around received notions of genre in organizing my catalog.

Yes, this. I'm not especially interested in trying to fit my books into other peoples' idea of "genres," particularly not from tags.

201abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 12:16pm

An up-to-date report from the real world. Just back from my local independent book store - https://www.librarything.com/venue/31366/Regency-Bookshop.

'Fiction' is shelved as that, alphabetically by author. The two other labelled bays containing fiction are 'Classics'* and 'Crime'. They don't have a labelled 'Social Science' section.

*= old stuff

202melannen
Jun. 23, 12:17pm

To everyone commenting on the need for a "Music" genre: Many of my books about music shelved themselves in Art & Design, which makes sense to me. Is there a broader philosophical objection to music being included under "Art"?

(Most of my sheet music didn't shelve itself at all, but I think that's more due to a general lack of LT data for sheet music than a weakness in the genre category.)

203lorax
Jun. 23, 12:40pm

melannen (#202):

Many of my books about music shelved themselves in Art & Design

Where are you getting those self-shelving books! That sounds really useful.

204timspalding
Jun. 23, 12:42pm

>196 hypatian_kat: Thank you for the lengthy, considered and well-reasoned post.

>189 norabelle414: etc. Can works have only one genre?

No. They can have many. The notion of "Fiction" was to have a category for general fiction. It doesn't absolutely exclude genre fiction, but it downplays it. In other words, it tends to spotlight as "fiction" genre fiction with crossover appeal.

>191 reading_fox: Travel, non-fiction, science and nature, history, biography and memoir

There are some actual bookstore systems underneath this--BISAC and BIC. And they definitely can have five genres for a book.

>202 melannen: To everyone commenting on the need for a "Music" genre: Many of my books about music shelved themselves in Art & Design, which makes sense to me. Is there a broader philosophical objection to music being included under "Art"?

Yes. Art, design and music, anyone?

205abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 12:45pm

>202 melannen: OK, Music is an art but, in my view, is sufficiently distinct and as a category, sufficiently large to stand alone.

Linguistically, the choice of title 'Art & Design' suggests to me an initial assumption that it covers visual arts. I accept the inclusion of Architecture within the genre and where else would Performance Art go, but, please, not Music.

206timspalding
Jun. 23, 12:46pm

Can anyone suggest a term for travel that can include books about places generally? "Armchair travel" was how one newsletter provider put it. I want something larger than guidebooks, so people aren't nixing atlases and memoirs of travel.

207waltzmn
Jun. 23, 12:47pm

>202 melannen: melannen wrote:

> Is there a broader philosophical objection to music being included under "Art"?

Of my music books that I checked (all traditional folk music books), none had ANY classification. Of course, they are all very obscure.

But traditional folk music definitely is NOT art. (Singer/songwriter music probably is, but it's not the same thing.) A sea chantey helps you work ("Haul on the bowline, Kitty lives in Liverpool, Haul on the bowline, the bowline HAUL" -- and everybody hauls on the line when the chanteyman sings "HAUL"). A night herding song helps a cowboy stay awake. Sung broadsides were how people in remote districts learn the news from the city.

Folk music is generally un-self-conscious, too, whereas art mostly sets out to be Art.

Of course, my real objection is that I understand (acoustic) music and (visual) "Art" is something that I, as a person with something of a visual handicap, find incomprehensible. :-)

Possibly this objection could be eliminated if we had a folklore category and traditional folk music books were filed under folklore and not art. But we don't have a folklore category either.

208timspalding
Jun. 23, 12:47pm

>205 abbottthomas:

I haven't looked into music. My problem, however, is that I want to keep these as BOOK genres. I'm worried that actual music CDs will come in. Not all are marked as recorded music.

209spiphany
Jun. 23, 12:57pm

>202 melannen: I don't have a philosophical objection to music being grouped in a category with other artistic forms, but I wouldn't think to look for it under "art and design", which I would tend to assume refers to "visual arts" only, not "the arts" in general.

(Similarly, as I repeatedly have to explain to my German colleagues, English speakers tend to assume that "science" refers to the natural sciences and not other scientific disciplines unless these are mentioned explicitly, e.g. "social sciences")

210abbottthomas
Jun. 23, 12:59pm

>208 timspalding: I'm sure that CDs would insinuate themselves but there are an awful lot on LT. We do have the media allocation box which could discriminate if you wanted to exclude them. Or am I making ignorant assumptions?

211claytonhowl
Jun. 23, 1:00pm

Adding my strong support for Suspense and Thriller and Drama and Plays.

Other favorite sections that I often find in bookstores: something along the lines of Cultural Criticism and also Self Help -- both are distinct-ish top-level flavors of non-fiction that I would be interested in browsing as genres! Love this feature, so cool!!

212melannen
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 1:08pm

>203 lorax: Magnets and metal library carts, you'd be amazed!

>206 timspalding: Geography? Maybe Geography & Travel? I supposed "Places" is too on-the-nose. (I have my social sciences basically sorted by Peoples, Places, and Times rn.)

>207 waltzmn: Would you argue that folk art doesn't belong under art either? Or fiber arts? Most of my folk embroidery and folk knits are and historic costume books are also under Art & Design, which is where they belong. A divide between "Folk art" and "Art art" (or Folk Music and Music music) has never really been to the advantage of either.

I think adding Art, Music & Design might help, or maybe even just Arts & Design (since I think a lot more people are used to looking at Arts plural as more that just visual art.)

213casvelyn
Jun. 23, 1:23pm

>196 hypatian_kat: I was going to write a long post, but this is more or less what I wanted to say, only better.

Well that, and classification/taxonomy is my favorite weird niche library topic, and this whole thread makes me happy. :)

214aspirit
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 3:35pm

>204 timspalding: The notion of "Fiction" was to have a category for general fiction. It doesn't absolutely exclude genre fiction, but it downplays it. In other words, it tends to spotlight as "fiction" genre fiction with crossover appeal.

Question for clarification: Does this mean "Fiction" should be used with other genre tags such as Fantasy, or not?

I was thinking the "Fiction" genre label was mostly for works that don't fit any of the other fiction labels, and I've removed it from dozens of work pages already. Those works are stocked in the SFF sections of bookstores. But now I'm wondering if I should leave the genre label on every work of fiction where it appears.

215AnnieMod
Jun. 23, 1:27pm

So where do we file Drama? I have quite a lot of plays...

And we can use "Speculative Fiction" (or something similar) - Fantasy and Science Fiction are all great but there is a big amount of genres around them which are neither but are still part of the speculative genres and being marked simply as Fiction is weird.

216Maddz
Jun. 23, 1:28pm

>212 melannen: I would suggest having Arts, Crafts & Design, and giving Music & Dramatic Arts it's own category.

Of course, the fun thing will be adding in catalogued CDs & DVDs.

217waltzmn
Jun. 23, 1:45pm

>212 melannen: melannen wrote: Would you argue that folk art doesn't belong under art either?

Depends on what you mean by "folk art." Prehistoric cave painting is clearly art. (I think. :-) And I'm sure someone would call it "folk art." Because its primary purpose is to convey a message.

But is weaving a cloak "art"? If you are living through a Minnesota winter, I suspect you would care much more about how well it is woven and much less about how pretty it is!

Something can be practical and still pretty -- the chanteys that were remembered were usually the ones with good tunes. :-) My personal feeling is that whether something is art depends a lot upon the intention of the creator. If the "art" is more important than the function, then it's art; otherwise not.

I grant that that is a very hard thing to determine. :-) But that's kinda the point. You can debate about whether something is art. It's pretty clear when something is music. (John Cage and 4'33" aside. I grant that 4'33" proves that classical music is clearly art -- because it shows that people are treating it as too pretentious. :-)

Ultimately, I just don't like a term "Art" that is supposed to include literature, theatre, visual arts, and (my kind of) music. To me, it's as bad as lumping astrology as Science. It just isn't.

218timspalding
Jun. 23, 1:57pm

>212 melannen: Geography & Travel — I like.

219TimSharrock
Jun. 23, 2:05pm

most of my Art & Design books are to do with programming and engineering, eg PostScript(R) Language Reference Manual (2nd Edition) and Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down (Penguin Science), which is not entirely inappropriate, but not what I would have thought of

220richardderus
Jun. 23, 2:14pm

People get stabby about the lines between science fiction and fantasy.
LOL
Many brutal battle fought over this.

LGBTQ+ was chosen...not a fan but nothing on Earth will cause me to recommend a change.

In general, thanks for doing this. It has made my catalog easier to interact with so far.

221gilroy
Jun. 23, 3:00pm

I believe, now that I've seen the thread and the discussions it's spawned, that I'm going to turn it off and walk away.

222melannen
Jun. 23, 3:23pm

>217 waltzmn: I would say weaving a cloak is definitely art. The people making it are deciding everything from what wool is spun and how, to what hem finishes are used, and while some of that is going to be about practical choices, even for the plainest most practical cloak some of that is going to be about aesthetics or conveying a message. I dare you to go to a sheep-to-shawl contest sometime and tell the people there that they aren't doing art!

You can ask a question about at what point the factory-spun-and-woven blanket becomes design rather than art, but that's why we put Art & Design together. There's less of an equivalent place for the "design" equivalent of sound, it's true, but I would say anything that qualifies as music definitely has some aspect of art to it, and things like acoustics probably fit well enough into design. (and my books on non-musical Sound and Noise were actually some of my hardest books to find a place for in my personal classification scheme!)

Honestly if we're thinking in terms of high-level subject classification, I throw all arts and design in with technology and craft, and we can add language while we're at it because the line between art and language is pretty fuzzy sometimes!

But this isn't subject classification; it's genres, and as people above have discussed, the point of genres is to put books where people (in general, not one specific person) will look for them. That in some ways makes it a lot harder and in some ways a lot easier. In my experience all the arts, including crafts, folk art, and performing arts, tend to be grouped together in places like bookstores. In a lot of public libraries Dewey Decimal still separates out "folk" arts, and it's terrible and means nobody ever finds the stuff in the 390s because why would you look there for books about dance or sewing or song.

It's true that in terms of a higher-level grouping not a lot of people are going to be looking for books about music and want to wade through a bunch of knitting and painting books too (but then again, I do.) And that applies to most of the nonfiction genre categories, tbh - very few people go to Spirituality & Religion because they want to look at both books about astral travel and books about the history of the Eucharist, but we accept that it's a good first step to group together.

223jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 3:33pm

How is The Hound of the Baskervilles not in Mystery?

And the entire Narnia series is under Christian fiction but not Fantasy

224jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 4:02pm

Most of my books that LT has put in the Mystery genre have mystery elements but they aren't really of that genre. I think that many people are using the Mystery tag to mean that there is some sort of mystery in the story, not that the story fulfills the requirements of the mystery genre.

I've marked some of these works as egregiously wrong but doing all of them is getting tedious.

225lilithcat
Jun. 23, 4:10pm

>224 jjwilson61:

Could you provide a few examples? And tell us what the "requirements of the mystery genre" are?

226cpg
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 6:33pm

>225 lilithcat:

Crime and Punishment is categorized in the Mystery genre.

ETA: I forgot that besides Whodunits there are Howcatchems, and C&P could be thought of as the latter.

227jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 5:13pm

>225 lilithcat: Just look in my library. But a few of them are City of Blades, Dark Matter, and The Rook. I'm not sure I can come up with a good criteria for the mystery genre but that's not the right question, which is, would a typical person expect to find these books in the mystery section or the fantasy section of a small bookstore?

228melannen
Jun. 23, 5:28pm

>227 jjwilson61: I think most of these examples are down to the fact that Mystery is currently being used for Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. (We really should either change it to Mystery/Suspense or get a proper genre for Suspense/Thrillers.)

229Tess_W
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 5:49pm

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

230aspirit
Jun. 23, 6:12pm

>227 jjwilson61: "mystery" is one of the most commonly used tags on each of your three examples.

231aspirit
Jun. 23, 6:16pm

>227 jjwilson61: >230 aspirit: And Dark Matter is labeled on Amazon.com as an Editors' pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.

The Mystery genre label is not an egregious assignment to that work.

232jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 7:07pm

>230 aspirit: I know. What I was trying to argue is that someone using mystery in a tag doesn't necessarily mean that they think the work is in the mystery genre. It could just mean that there's an element of mystery in the plot, which isn't the same thing.

233jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 7:10pm

>228 melannen: Maybe. But wasn't someone complaining above that thrillers like the Bond books were just getting put in the fiction genre?

234aspirit
Bearbeitet: Jul. 1, 4:25pm

>232 jjwilson61: I agree with you that tags don't equate to genre. Mainly, I'm trying to point out that the examples don't look like the kind of errors we're expected to flag. Reasonable people might think the assignment is good. (I don't know the books well enough to have an opinion of what the genre is, FWIW.)

edited to fix typo

235SandraArdnas
Jun. 23, 7:19pm

>230 aspirit: I suspect tags are most often the cause of misattributed genres. They are far more finely-grained than genre is supposed to be. So when the most numerous tag is not among existing genres, the algorithm picks another widely used tag corresponding to existing genres. In reality, we use tags for detailed info too, not just broad strokes. Most of my mystery tags are not for mystery genre books, they merely indicate there is a mystery element present. Most of them are literary fiction or SFF. I recognize this by the structure of my tags, which start with the broadest ones. The algorithm doesn't and will deem literary fiction a mystery because a number of us added that as a tag too.

236jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 7:27pm

>234 aspirit: Ok. But reasonableness can't depend on tags because of my previous argument. Do you have another argument besides the tags that the genre assignment isn't egregiously wrong?

237jjwilson61
Jun. 23, 7:36pm

>228 melannen: Actually I just noticed that there is already a Suspense and Thriller genre but it's disabled by default. So it can't be the case that the Mystery genre already includes those other genres.

238melannen
Jun. 23, 7:59pm

That must be newly released! It definitely wasn't there earlier. Thanks Tim!

239bokai
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 8:03pm


>123 timspalding:

> 117 Okay, can we talk about light novels for a moment? Light novels are small, illustrated books of fiction that usually originate in Japan. Each light novel is mostly prose. Popular light novels series tend to be adapted into manga and sometimes even anime.

Thanks for the education here. First, I'll take a look, but I don't think I know what's classified as a "light novel" except through tag data. Can you help me find the relevant tags? Would https://www.librarything.com/tag/light-novels be one?

Second, if this is a work-combination problem, things are much harder. If something has publisher and tag data labelling it as manga, it's going to be manga.


Looking at that tag, almost everything (except the Diary of a Wimpy Kid) looks to be a light novel.

The problem with Light Novels as a category is that they are roughly the equivalent of pulp novellas and specify a format, not a genre. You can have romance, comedy, slice of life, sci-fi and so on light novels. But the same can be done for comics so I don't know how you're planning to approach that. People do specifically choose to read Light Novels because they do tend to have unified tropes or writing sensibilities.

There are databases for tracking LNs out there but I don't know if you can use that.

240Kanarthi
Jun. 23, 8:25pm

>235 SandraArdnas: Yes, this is exactly the point I made about the romance genre aways up. If a genre description is commonly used as a tag which can either label the work as a whole or, alternatively, the presence more minor element of the work, then using tags as genre markers will be very unreliable.

241aspirit
Jun. 23, 8:42pm

>236 jjwilson61: I have a reminder: Flagging isn't the only option.

242aspirit
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 8:48pm

>123 timspalding: >239 bokai: I would be grateful if all light novels were removed from Graphic Novels & Comics. In my opinion, LNs don't need all need a distinctive label for GenreThing.

243Stevil2001
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 9:42pm

I have been thinking about "Fiction" in its sense of a bookstore category; if I went to Half-Price Books, would I expect to see a book in "Fiction" or "SF&F"? So mostly I've been taking the Fiction genre off of genre fiction, but I leave it on things I think could be shelved in both, such as Library of America editions (e.g., Annals of the Western Shore) or proto-sf from the nineteenth century (e.g., Looking Backward, stuff by Wells).

244LibraryCin
Jun. 23, 9:48pm

>123 timspalding: Hard to imagine how Men and power, 1917-1918 got into Romance!

Will investigate. Some powerfully romantic men, I think.


Ok, this made me laugh!

245LibraryCin
Bearbeitet: Jun. 23, 9:55pm

>143 ScarletBea: Also, how can these be "historical fiction"?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


If I'm remembering correctly, it is set in the late 1800s and/or early 1900s. Historical fiction in my mind (in addition to fantasy, yes).

they have to be based on real historical events

Not necessarily. Yes, this is from wikipedia, but first sentence:
"Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past."

I read a TON of historical fiction. There are differing definitions, but I thought set in the past was pretty standard!

246LibraryCin
Jun. 23, 9:58pm

>159 abbottthomas: what about the book I an currently reading, The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning? It was published in 1960 and dealt with events in Rumania at the start of World War II in 1940. I imagine that in 1960 the author would have regarded this as contemporary fiction and I, at my advanced age, certainly feel that way.

One of the definitions I remember reading "recently" (could be as "recent" as a few years ago!) was that it is historical fiction if it is set before the author can remember. Or something along those lines.

But again, different people have different definitions.

247LibraryCin
Jun. 23, 10:05pm

>194 lilithcat: I do like the idea of “Literature/Fiction”. Stops any arguments as to what constitutes whether a particular book is “literature” or “fiction”.

I like this, too.

248LibraryCin
Jun. 23, 10:10pm

>204 timspalding: To everyone commenting on the need for a "Music" genre: Many of my books about music shelved themselves in Art & Design, which makes sense to me. Is there a broader philosophical objection to music being included under "Art"?

Yes. Art, design and music, anyone?


I agree with this. It should be ok under "art". I was thinking it was pretty specific on its own, though someone suggested "Music and Entertainment" (oh, wait! I think that would be "Music & Entertainment"), which is better, but I (personally) think "Art" is better yet. Keeping it broad.

(I really should stay out of these discussions!)

249LibraryCin
Jun. 23, 10:15pm

>228 melannen: (We really should either change it to Mystery/Suspense or get a proper genre for Suspense/Thrillers.)

I like "Mystery/Suspense", but I'm liking keeping the genres broader.

250lilithcat
Jun. 23, 10:20pm

>246 LibraryCin:

One of the definitions I remember reading "recently" (could be as "recent" as a few years ago!) was that it is historical fiction if it is set before the author can remember.

As mentioned earlier, the problem with that definition is that, if, at the same time, two authors of different ages are writing about the same period, one might be writing historical fiction and the other not. Which is absurd.

251Crypto-Willobie
Jun. 23, 10:21pm

Theater - instead of plays or drama? as more inclusive.

What about film?

252LibraryCin
Jun. 23, 11:33pm

>250 lilithcat: I made my comment before I read the rest of the comments on that definition.

253timspalding
Jun. 24, 12:06am

>239 bokai:

Hmm. Most of the books that have been tagged "light novels" the most aren't listed under graphic novels. Perhaps yours are?

How illustrated are they? Are we talking a chapter-heading illustration, or continuous illustration?

254timspalding
Jun. 24, 12:06am

>237 jjwilson61: >228 melannen: melannen: Actually I just noticed that there is already a Suspense and Thriller genre but it's disabled by default. So it can't be the case that the Mystery genre already includes those other genres.

Yes. I released it this evening--and it wobbled around a bit as I did.

I wonder if I should combine them--mystery/suspense/thriller. Because there is a lot of overlap. And some people think of them as a unit.

255timspalding
Jun. 24, 12:11am

most of my Art & Design books are to do with programming and engineering, eg PostScript(R) Language Reference Manual (2nd Edition) and Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down (Penguin Science), which is not entirely inappropriate, but not what I would have thought of

So the postscript book is a bit of a special case, I think, insofar as postscript is the computer language of graphic design and typography. So that doesn't feel so wrong to me.

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down strikes me as a very solid case. Architecture is included in art and design, at least how we're conceiving it. It has scads of relevant tags (art, architecture, fashion, design) as well as BISACs (Art History, Architecture, Architectural Structure & Design).

Have you got other examples you feel are egregious?

256timspalding
Jun. 24, 12:17am

>223 jjwilson61: And the entire Narnia series is under Christian fiction but not Fantasy

So, they're getting killed by age. Mystery, Fantasy, Horror and so forth are supposed to be adult genres, without Encyclopedia Brown, Narnia, Goosebumps and so forth. I can see a case that Narnia is a sort of special case in that. I'm going to see if I can tone down the children's penalty enough to let a few of the most iconic ones in.

257timspalding
Jun. 24, 12:53am

Okay, if I were to make a "Big Fiction" genre, what would it NOT include?

I'm thinking it includes fiction, all subgenres, poetry and plays, literary fiction, short stories, "classics," etc.

It does NOT include non-fiction ABOUT fiction, memoirs (unless fictionalized, etc.).

I vote it does not include anything now under comics. I could see a case for graphic novels.

I vote it includes children's books, but not the very youngest. So Narnia is in, but Eric Carle is out.

What do you all think?

258andyl
Jun. 24, 4:12am

>233 jjwilson61:

No I was bemoaning that they went into Mystery rather than a Thriller genre which I proposed.

259andyl
Jun. 24, 4:18am

>254 timspalding:

I think Suspense/Thriller is working pretty good looking at a sample of books I would expect to be classified as Thrillers.

260Kuiperdolin
Jun. 24, 5:13am

Off by default :

Christian Fiction
Poetry
Picture books
Kids
Tween
Teen

261birder4106
Bearbeitet: Jun. 24, 6:21am

I would like to translate "Edit Genres" and "Click to select or deselect genres. Flag genres that are egregiously wrong." in the Genre-PopUp-Box into German.
But i could not find it in the translation Pages.

My suggestions:
"Edit Genres" = "Genres bearbeiten"
"Click to select or deselect genres. Flag genres that are egregiously wrong." = "Klicken um Genres aus- oder abzuwählen. Markieren Sie Genres (flag), die extrem falsch sind."

262MavenMatilda
Jun. 24, 7:27am

My library is heavily STEM and philosophy. A technical bookstore or university library would very likely have the following genres: Mathematics, Logic, Computing, Technology, Engineering and likely Philosophy. The closest is "Science and Nature," but that genre is not appropriate. The genre system is a great idea, but much of my library doesn't have a listed genre, e.g. books on greek philosophy, computer science, and mathematics. I use collections and tags for categorization.

263TimSharrock
Jun. 24, 8:48am

>255 timspalding: not so much egregious as "feels odd"! To me when "design" is coupled with "art" it does not feel like "technical design" is meant to be included: maybe user-experience, but not API design, Object-oriented Modeling and Design, Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software but they do have the word "design" in the title.

my current list feels shorter than I remember, so maybe some have moved out. Amsterdam (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide) and Meetings with remarkable trees are still there, and while the former lists art galleries, and the the latter includes artistic photos, I really don't think Art & Design suits it!

264aspirit
Jun. 24, 9:45am

>256 timspalding: Mystery, Fantasy, Horror and so forth are supposed to be adult genres, without Encyclopedia Brown, Narnia, Goosebumps and so forth.

I'm surprised by this. Why should children's books be excluded from story-type genres?

265melannen
Bearbeitet: Jun. 24, 10:06am

>256 timspalding: I would not include poetry under Fiction. A lot of it sits very uncomfortably there. Plays are maybe fine; even the "non-fiction" ones are generally heavily fictionalized (although you do get "verbatim" ones like The Laramie Project and those tend to be on topics people are sensitive about the truthfulness of, so I would still be very careful.)

Picture books are also questionable. Right now the "age-graded" categories include a fair number of kids' nonfiction so you'd definitely have to pull that out. (I'll also note the picture books category isn't an age category right now because it includes non-kids picture books like The Seven Lady Godivas; Picture Books is really its own genre separate from age, and some of them also belong in adult fiction.)

Comics also include a fair amount of non-fiction. (I have Das Kapital, The Warren Commission Report, and the Chuang-Tzu as comics, to pluck a few low-hanging fruit.) Graphic novels aren't a well-defined enough category that I would assume them to exclude all non-fiction. However, a lot of graphic novels are definitely fiction, so I would probably prefer a big-umbrella algorithm try to tell the difference.

I would definitely include fictional kids' chapter books in a big-umbrella fiction category though. (But then I would also include them in mystery, fantasy, suspense, etc.)

Right now my library is top-level divided into "Fiction", "Non-fiction" and "Neither one nor t'other" categories, and that third one has poetry, plays, ancient epics, sagas, myth-cycles and romances, books of humorous essays, and some picture books. (comics have their own collection for shelving space reasons.)

Honestly rather than a big fiction umbrella, I would prefer a "Literature" one, which can include poetry, plays, humor, and classics so old they predate modern genre or our distinction between fiction and nonfiction (like the sagas of the Icelanders) or come from cultures that don't use them. Also those modern "literary" novels that want to pretend literary is the opposite of genre even though it totally is one. "Literature" acknowledges all that as part of the long tradition without requiring a judgement on factual truth.

And then I would turn the current "Fiction" genre into "Contemporary Fiction" where it can hold only novels and short stories that don't fit into the other genres.

266Stevil2001
Jun. 24, 9:53am

>264 aspirit: Because LT is trying to reproduce where people would expect to see these books in a library/bookstore. Encyclopedia Brown might technically be Mystery, but no one would except to find it shelved near Sue Grafton and Agatha Christie in the bookstore; they would except to find it with the other children's books.

267aspirit
Jun. 24, 10:02am

>266 Stevil2001: ah, okay. Thank you. I'm now seeing how we have different expectations for bookstores and libraries.

I'll be turning off GenreThing and ignoring this thread for a while. This feature increasingly feels like one I can't assist with and won't benefit from.

268CHSchoolLibrary
Jun. 24, 10:20am

I am loving this new feature! As a grammar school librarian, it is very helpful when trying to teach young students about genres! Thank you!!!:-)

269pmarshall
Bearbeitet: Jun. 24, 10:43am

I like this new feature. Thank you. I agree it still needs some work. An example from my catalog based on the tag Police procedural-England. Peter Robinson got put in the Mystery genre and Peter James got a variety of genres. Peter James’ titles with the same police procedural tag are mixed:
Not Dead Yet - Mystery, Fiction,
Dead Man’s Time - Mystery, Suspense and Thriller, Fiction

270AnnieMod
Jun. 24, 10:23am

>266 Stevil2001: But Narnia will be in the Fantasy section more often than not.

271antqueen
Jun. 24, 10:28am

>267 aspirit: I'm coming to the same conclusion. I don't see the point in trying to replicate physical limitations in an entirely non-physical place, in part because I'm often frustrated when trying to guess where some random bookstore has decided to put a book with an unclear or mixed genre in the first place. Maybe I'll check back later once things have settled down.

272timspalding
Jun. 24, 11:26am

I have jiggled the jukebox a bit, bringing in more data from the Dewey level. This upped assignments generally. Let me know if you see problems.

273timspalding
Jun. 24, 11:33am

>265 melannen: Thanks. Good thoughts.

So I'm aiming at some big "Everything Fic and Lit" category. It should have Shakespeare and Aristophanes, cheap romance and experimental fiction. I can't see keeping poetry out of that. Besides, the poetry/play overlap is enormous.

This is largely your "Literature" unmbrela. I think it needs to be named something like "Fiction and Literature" so people don't think "Literature" means "classics and literary fiction."

I would also like to include "literature" in its broadest definition, which would include, say, Livy and Gibbon. "Classics" is going to help there, but at some point history being non-ficiton will war with history being fiction. If you don't have any bounds, everything but shopping receipts is literature.

And then I would turn the current "Fiction" genre into "Contemporary Fiction" where it can hold only novels and short stories that don't fit into the other genres.

Yes, I'd turn the knob down on "genres" in it. I don't think overlap should be absolutely removed, as there are books that people will disagree about.

274melannen
Jun. 24, 11:53am

Fiction & Literature works for me for that original set you described!

(I hate & too, but when I was making my custom cataloging system, I ended up making basically every category an &, because that somehow conveys the idea of "these topics and any wiggle room between them" better than one word or phrase, even if the word or phrase theoretically covers the same ground.)

Contemporary fiction would definitely have some overlap, like all the genres do, but if you turned down the dial enough to exclude, like, cozies, harlequins, space opera, obvious historicals, sword & sorcery, all the non-edge-cases, that would probably work fine - it has a use-definition of "popular fiction that is not genre" but also the literal meaning of "contemporary" as "set in the author's here and now".

275timspalding
Jun. 24, 1:18pm

I have created "Everything Fic and Lit (beta)." I need to get it up, but I am not yet standing behind it.

276macsbrains
Jun. 24, 1:31pm

Generally, I'm happy to see this update. I use a lot of genre tags in my library (which is largely genre fiction), but I don't like having to tag for the basics.

I do feel a bit confused by the purpose and usage of it at the moment from an individual vs site perspective because it seems we are all expecting different things. If this were for my catalog only, speculative fiction vs anything else is a radio button rather than a checkbox and I have capital-O Opinions about it that other people needn't be subjected to. (I even have a tag 'this is not the genre you were looking for.') But I don't want to change anything to reduce the efficacy for others.

Basically, I need the ability to filter & sort my library by genres both broad and specific, but I'd prefer my tags to be entirely idiosyncratic. So what I hope to eventually get out of this feature, as it evolves, is for the flavors of the sub-genres that arise to critical mass out of my personal tastes to be able to be compared with the more general outside takes. For instance, I have a 'somewhere over the rainbow' tag, which corresponds closely to what has been dubbed elsewhere as portal fantasy, (or isekai when it comes to manga,) but it's my own personal set of criteria which may not necessarily even be applied to a fantasy. (I notice that I did not tag Narnia with this tag, which is the poster-child for portal fantasy... I wonder if I did that on purpose?)

For now I'm going to still keep my general tags and see how this feature gets used.

277Kanarthi
Jun. 24, 2:40pm

>276 macsbrains: My impression is that the genres are meant to be larger categories than ones like "portal fantasy". Indeed, it seems like part of the purpose is to provide a feature that is most useful for members and especially for outside institutions like libraries. I enjoy staring at the column for genre (detailed) in my catalog, but I don't imagine that I'll end up finding it anywhere as useful as tags.

There does exist a tag mirror for each person's library, but you raise an curious possibility: it would be interesting indeed to see how your tags, as you've applied them to books in your library, compare to the tags other people have placed upon those subsets of books. A sort of personal-tag filter for a tag mirror. That would be fascinating, although probably very computational expensive or otherwise annoying to implement.

278amanda4242
Jun. 24, 2:55pm

Got a weird one: The Sandman: Book of Dreams is marked as Graphic Novels & Comics, but it's actually a short story collection inspired by The Sandman comics. It's not a graphic novel so I wouldn't expect it to be shelved with them, but I don't think I would be surprised to find it shelved with them since it ties in with a comic series. So, egregiously wrong or just unexpected?

279lilithcat
Jun. 24, 2:59pm

>278 amanda4242:

That may be because a significant number of people have tagged it with "Graphic Novel" ( or Graphic Novels) and "Comics".

280abbottthomas
Jun. 24, 3:03pm

I thought that I understood what this thread was about but >275 timspalding: makes me doubt it. “Everything Fic and Lit” seems too much like “Books with made-up words”. What is the point of a category so all-encompassing?

281anglemark
Jun. 24, 3:04pm

I think it's fun to get a rough figure of "how many $GENRE$ books do we own?", but apart from that this won't be very useful to us. I guess it's more useful to the company side of LibraryThing.

282timspalding
Jun. 24, 3:08pm

I think this is going to be a useful way to find out about new books. I'll be working on that soon.

283amanda4242
Jun. 24, 3:15pm

>279 lilithcat: I understand why it's in that genre; I'm just wondering if it's wrong because it's not a comic/graphic novel or right because of its close relationship with a comic series.

284melannen
Jun. 24, 3:21pm

>273 timspalding: If you don't have any bounds, everything but shopping receipts is literature.

I do have Milk Eggs Vodka in my LT. It's in my Not Owned collection so it's not sorted but it would be in with the poetry and essays if it was. :D

285macsbrains
Jun. 24, 3:35pm

>277 Kanarthi: >My impression is that the genres are meant to be larger categories than ones like "portal fantasy".

Indeed. I agree, and I would prefer to be able to remove my generic genres tag by relying on this so that way only the portal fantasy etc. tags become more prominent my library. It would make my library create a very different, and more interesting, tag cloud, I think. Obviously, no one is forcing me to generically tag for fantasy right now, but I do so because I do find a lot of use in sorting my library by the broad genres.

286dara85
Bearbeitet: Jun. 24, 4:19pm

>61 mportley: I second that notion. Most of my True Crime has no genre.

287Stevil2001
Jun. 24, 5:03pm

>270 AnnieMod: I agree, I wouldn't be surprised to see Narnia in either Children's or Fantasy, and I would categorize it under both here accordingly.

288HeathMochaFrost
Jun. 24, 10:38pm

Hello -- I'm just wading in here, a longtime LT user who rarely looks at the Talk side of things anymore, but I happened to see this thread and new feature last night and couldn't resist playing with it. It's pretty fun so far. :-)

I just noticed that there's no Western genre, and I searched this page to see if someone else had mentioned it already. I don't really read westerns, but I do sometimes read western romances. Obviously, those fall under romance, but I know that my public library has a row or two in their fiction section labeled "Western," so I think a case could be made for it. Just my two cents.

289hyades
Jun. 24, 11:19pm

>3 andyl: My tag for the spy novels is Spy Fi.

290hypatian_kat
Bearbeitet: Jun. 24, 11:49pm

I want to vote for some sort of "Social Sciences" category again.

Books about cultural studies, politics, sociology, etc. don't really fit in with Science & Nature, which implies stuff about the physical and natural world rather than human relations. History would fit under this category, possibly, but this category wouldn't fit under history. (Not every book on politics is about history, for example.)

Similar problem to how Art & Design suggests visual arts rather than "the arts" in general including dramatic works and music.

I'd probably go something like this for sciences and history:

Social Sciences
Science & Nature
History (it's a big category)

For arts and such, I could see:

(distinction between visual and other)
Art & Design
Performing Arts & Music

*or*

(distinction between art and technical design)
Arts & Music
Design & Engineering

291spiphany
Jun. 25, 12:21am

Disabling the genre feature as a whole does not do anything -- i.e., genres are still shown on work pages and as an option in the tabs at the top of the catalog view.

292bokai
Bearbeitet: Jun. 25, 12:33am

>253 timspalding:

Light novels are definitely not graphic novels. They are just prose that have a few inserted leaves with illustrations in them.. Just pulling one random book off my shelf, there are four illustrations in 220 pages.

I didn't mean to suggest that Light novels and Comics should be the same category, just that they were similar in that they are categories that describe formats, and not the thematic content inside.

There are instances where a light novel is adapted into a manga, so that may be something to watch out for.

293Nicole_VanK
Jun. 25, 1:58am

Another vote to add a "social sciences" genre. (I could live with things like politics being included there).

294Nicole_VanK
Bearbeitet: Jun. 25, 3:55am

>251 Crypto-Willobie: My books on film (both history and technology) mostly ended up under "art and design"

I have mixed feelings about that.

295Dilara86
Jun. 25, 2:22am

Yes, please! At the very least, let's have a Social Sciences genre for all those subjets that don't fit into History or Science & Nature.

296prosfilaes
Jun. 25, 4:34am

I was thinking a genre for military/war? I was looking at Master and Commander, All Quiet on the Western Front (currently genre-less), and even military sci-fi like On Basilisk Station.

297lilithcat
Jun. 25, 8:17am

>296 prosfilaes:

If I were at my bookstore and saw a shelf labeled "Military/war", I would be surprised to see any of the titles you mention. I'd be expecting to find non-fiction.

298Crypto-Willobie
Jun. 25, 9:19am

299gilroy
Jun. 25, 9:43am

>296 prosfilaes: On Basilisk Station is most definitely science fiction, military fiction, or space opera. I would not consider it military/war.

Master and Commander I would label as historical fiction. But not Military/War.

Military/War would, to me, be more like books about the army/navy/air force/marines of the various countries in existence, their military hardware, or their actual wars.

300Petroglyph
Jun. 25, 12:28pm

Great feature!

Add my vote to however many there are now for including the following broad categories, which I consider indispensable:

  • Drama (or possibly Poetry&Drama, idc, but you can't not have Drama!)
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities

I'll hold off on assigning Genres to the relevant works in my catalogue until the selection is finalized.

301tardis
Jun. 25, 1:43pm

A large selection of my gardening books were put in "Kids" or "Tweens" - I flagged most of them and in some cases added the appropriate genre which was missing - "home and garden" and/or "science and nature."

I have all the genres turned on at the moment so I can see what's in each. I'll probably be turning some off later.

302timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 25, 4:51pm

I've made changes to Biography, Comics, "Big" Fiction and Literature, and Poetry. Poetry changed the most, with lots of criticism zapped. Changes still being processed; should be done in 60m.

303Stevil2001
Jun. 25, 4:55pm

This thread reminds me of the time I saw a collection of medieval mystery plays shelved in the Mystery section of a Half-Price Books. I felt that someone was going to be very disappointed, or take up a new career as an academic.

304lesmel
Jun. 26, 8:53am

timspalding, clicking "disabled" radio button under "Show GenreThing genres?" doesn't kill off all the genres. I still see recent fiction, recent nonfiction, and no genre. Shouldn't "disabled" actually disable the display?

Also, there should be a check all or check none option on the genre settings page.

305Seayla2020
Jun. 26, 11:51am

I really love the addition of Genrething. ty!

306timspalding
Jun. 26, 2:00pm

A note on method:

If you're flagging items, thank you. The scripts that generate the categories can give me detailed information on why a book was (or wasn't) chosen. So I regularly look at why flagged books were chosen and try to spot the problem. Sometimes it's easy--a tag or an LCSH that I didn't realize had a second, completely different meaning. Sometimes it's more complicated, like the #!$%^ gardening publisher who mark all their adult gardening books as for nine year-olds! (Thank you Heather39 and tardis for marking some of these.)

I'm also looking at the simple positive and negative votes. But I'm focusing on flagging. Honestly, at least half of the flagged items are not "egregious" to me. Indeed, most of the choice I'd outright defend. That doesn't mean people have to agree with me, but people need to understand these are large genre terms. If you've ever been annoyed that a book was on the science fiction shelf when you think of it more as horror or whatever, well, that's what's going on here--reasonable people can disagree on such things. (Reasonable people CAN'T disagree when boring old guides to planting perennials are classified as "tween" reads!)

My goal today is to bring in data from LCC (Library of Congress Classifications), which I'm working on more generally.

I have several genres that COULD be release--that is, they're already worked on, but not released:

true crime. But the edges here are very fuzzy, and the core set is small. It would be among the smaller genres.
pop culture. The top books here are EXCELLENT, but it gets tricky as you go down the line.
personal finance. This is a well-designed category, overlapping somewhat with business.
"Healthy, Wealthy and Wise." This is a catch-all category we made for libraries. It's the sort of genre that doesn't make anyone happy, but might still be interesting. Think books on healthy eating, personal finance and organization—self-help, but expansively.

Among the suggested genres, some negative thoughts:

Music. I'm half-convinced. I'm worried about this sucking in a lot of CDs and DVDs that haven't been marked right. I feel like "pop culture" (above) might be more useful--embracing both books about Bob Dylan and books about Marilyn Monroe.

Social Sciences. I'm dubious on this one, because it strikes me as an unmanageably large subject heading, not a genre heading. "What are you into reading?" "Oh, when I'm in a bookstore, I always make a bee-line for the (blank) section." — now fill in some of the genres we've been talking about. Science Fiction? Believable. Music? Believable. Social Sciences? I don't know. I feel like some of the subsections might work, but most of the books under "Social Sciences" are going to be in history, and "Non-Fiction" seems to catch the rest.

Reference. Maybe. I suspect the data here is well-defined, in subjects and tags. So that's good. But it also feels like a bookstore section that collects reference works not otherwise in other sections.

Computers & Technology. What should the boundaries of technology be? I think it could work if it were "Computers & Tech" with the contraction implying that wifi is covered, but not looms and beehives. The latter could make a for a fuzzy-edged genre section.

Games. I like this one personally, but it also seems small and hard to pin down. I'll think about it.

Humor. The trick here is definitely distinguishing between books that are funny and books that would go under "humor."

Language. The problem here is that LibraryThing members come from all over. I think if I let the data speak, a lot of works in foreign languages are going to end up here and people will be annoyed. This would be how things would play out in a US bookstore, but it presents some problems given the international nature of the site. This problem has been raised.

More generally, I'd be interested to hear how it's working for books in other languages. I see a lot of flags here. I suspect the data quality is really mucking with the assignments.

307timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 2:14pm

Finally, I have to emphasize that this is a tricky process. It partakes of a mix of automation and human experience. The system uses almost no machine-learning. I'm not taking a "training set" of 100 examples of each genre and then building a black box neural network to suss out the rest. Honestly, I don't think that would produce results anywhere near as good as I'm currently getting. (This isn't idle speculation, I did some simple ML on summaries and tags, and it wasn't very powerful.)

Instead picture each genre as a set of hundreds of knobs representing the positive or negative contribution of individual tags, DDC, LCSH, BIC, BISAC, age, audience, series, awards, etc. When I make a genre I start with some core tags--for example, for "history" I'll start with "history," "American history," "French history," "African history," etc. I'll run it and then look at the statistics of the books that come up. I'll notice, for example, that a lot of the books tagged "American history" have the LCSH "US history" or the BIC "USA history." Through an iterative process I build up the positives. Meanwhile, I'm also building the negatives. I'll notice that "history" is giving me picture books--so I'll put "picture books" on the negative list.

There are various other knobs. Proportions. Plus and minuses vs. "multipliers." Score and salience threshholds, and at the end popularity math.

There's also a small amount of more clever stuff underneath, but mostly in the underlying data. For example, publisher age data is so bad that LibraryThing looks are book recommendations to see if the ages are off-base. If a book is labelled for 6 year-olds but every one of its top "If you like this, you'll like that" recommendations are post-high-school, we assume the age is wrong.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing. I think the results are… good? But they're not perfect. The more you can help by flagging, up- and down-voting, the better it will get.

308lemontwist
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 2:20pm

>306 timspalding: You've stated that you're unwilling to give us a lot of genres, because I agree social sciences is too broad. But if you're unwilling to give us categories of feminism, race and racism, gender studies, etc., then social sciences is really all we can hope for.

Edited to add: "I'm dubious on this one, because it strikes me as an unmanageably large subject heading, not a genre heading.".... yet you have **nonfiction** as a genre???

309anglemark
Bearbeitet: Jun. 27, 3:44am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

310timspalding
Jun. 26, 2:26pm

What would the COMPLETE list of social sciences look like—anyone? Again, think genres, not subjects. Could we combine any? If we have "Home and Garden" could we do "Race, Gender and Sexuality," "Government, Politics and Current Events"?

It might be interesting to look at non-fiction and see what categories are common:
https://www.librarything.com/genre/20/Nonfiction

Three have genres already--history, biography and science. What if those books were downplayed in non-fiction, or would that be unnatural?

I worry there are a lot of non-fiction genres that are small and hard to pin down. And race and gender are, like religion and LGBTQ+, perilous to get wrong, so I have to crank up the thresholds, producing a tiny set.

311timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 2:28pm

Oh, I DO have a "current events" genre made--for library newsletters. Like pop culture, it's excellent at the top, and less so as it goes down, because there's an X factor of current-ness. Is a book about the election of Obama a "current event?" It was when LT was started. Some of the publisher data thinks it is.

312lemontwist
Jun. 26, 2:29pm

>310 timspalding: Feminism, Gender Studies, Race, Politics, Education -- that's just off the top of my head, without looking at my bookshelf or giving it any thought

According to your main competitor: ""Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences. These include: anthropology, archaeology, business administration, criminology, economics, education, geography, linguistics, political science, sociology, international relations, communication, and, in some contexts, history, law, and psychology."

Being afraid of getting it wrong is not as egregious as leaving these categories out just because they make you uncomfortable.

313spiphany
Jun. 26, 2:38pm

>306 timspalding: Language
So give it a different, more explicit label. "Linguistics & language learning" or something.

I agree that "foreign language" would be undesirable for an international website ("foreign" to whom?), but that doesn't mean there isn't a significant subset of books that have language as a topic (rather than just being "in" a particular language) and don't fit well into any of the other existing categories except the far-too-broad "non-fiction".

314jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 2:57pm

How about Sports, games & leisure? That would take care of several books in my no genre list (sailing) as well as the RPG books that some have mentioned

315AndreasJ
Jun. 26, 4:17pm

>309 anglemark:

That, I think, is exaggerating the mismatch. Yes, facklitteratur is etymologically something like “professional literature”, but in practice it’s used of plenty of nonprofessional nonfiction, like popular science.

316timspalding
Jun. 26, 4:42pm

>312 lemontwist: Being afraid of getting it wrong is not as egregious as leaving these categories out just because they make you uncomfortable.

I'm not going to respond to clear misrepresentations of what I said.

Sports, games & leisure

Yeah. I'm not sure people will want baseball and video games in the same category, but it clumps thing to a degree that makes sense.

317jjwilson61
Jun. 26, 5:01pm

>316 timspalding: I don't like having my urban planning books in the art genre but I can't think of a better alternative.

318SandraArdnas
Jun. 26, 5:43pm

>316 timspalding: I'm not going to respond to clear misrepresentations of what I said.

I think the emphasis is on 'leaving out categories', which is true. Entire huge sections of non-fiction are not represented. I'll reiterate my suggestion that if the final list of genres does not have one or more where philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, language etc. fits, the algorithm be adjusted to assign them only to non-fiction and stop fitting them into history and science and nature, which is what is currently happening more often than not, presumably based on tags. We use tags for fine-grained info too, so on it's own it's not indicative of genre. Either way, a philosophy book for instance is better off being just non-fiction than non-fiction/history, which is wrong and misleading.

319waltzmn
Jun. 26, 5:56pm

>306 timspalding: (quoting a lot of what timspalding said about negatives):

"Music. I'm half-convinced. I'm worried about this sucking in a lot of CDs and DVDs that haven't been marked right. I feel like "pop culture" (above) might be more useful--embracing both books about Bob Dylan and books about Marilyn Monroe."

Can't you use the format (CD, DVD, etc.) information to pull out the CDs? I realize that manual entries may not have that, but you should have it for the commercial ones. And neither classical nor traditional folk music is pop culture these days. I can guarantee that -- because I can see how many of the traditional folk music books in my library are catalogued only in my library. :-) I have over seventy such, not counting 78 rpm records and broadside prints....

"Social Sciences. I'm dubious on this one, because it strikes me as an unmanageably large subject heading, not a genre heading. "What are you into reading?" "Oh, when I'm in a bookstore, I always make a bee-line for the (blank) section." — now fill in some of the genres we've been talking about. Science Fiction? Believable. Music? Believable. Social Sciences? I don't know. I feel like some of the subsections might work, but most of the books under "Social Sciences" are going to be in history, and "Non-Fiction" seems to catch the rest."

I see your point, but on the other hand, but while History will surely be the largest Social Science category, it's not the only one. And I really don't think "Non-Fiction" is a useful genre in isolation. It's more a warning -- e.g. I really wish more books were tagged by publishers as fiction or non-fiction, so that I wouldn't spend so much effort buying the only book on a particular subject only to find that it's historical fiction and completely useless to someone trying to document an event. (Examples that I've had to deal with are books such as The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey: A Nonfiction Novel, which is not nonfiction, and Jackman: The Courage of Captain William Jackman, one of Newfoundland's greatest heroes -- both are historical fiction.)

I'm not wedded to "Social Science" -- I probably wouldn't use it much -- but it would give a little more detail about all those non-fiction books.

"Reference. Maybe. I suspect the data here is well-defined, in subjects and tags. So that's good. But it also feels like a bookstore section that collects reference works not otherwise in other sections."

Absolutely agreed. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any of my reference books that doesn't file under some other genre as well (although maybe not a genre that you've implemented :-). But I think it useful to have a supplemental source of information. It's pretty clear that Civil War Dictionary is a reference work. But consider Generals in Blue and Lincoln and His Generals. One of them is a reference book -- a biographical dictionary. The other is an historical study. How can you tell based on the names? (Generals in Blue is the dictionary.) And people will definitely want to know whether they're buying a reference or a continuous-text book!

I guess what I'm arguing is that you shouldn't think of this as a physical bookstore that shelves everything in one and only one place. You are in a position where you can do so much more. Think of this as a quantum bookstore where a book can genuinely have multiple genres and exist in all the places simultaneously. If accurate, multiple genres are good! If you want to look up Bob Dylan, you can look under "Music" and "Pop Culture" if you want. If I want to get music that definitely isn't Bob Dylan but that (unlike Dylan) properly gets called "folk," I could try "Music" and "Mythology and Folklore" if you'd add the latter. :-)

To your point about this being tricky -- I'm sure, and I'm sure we're making it a lot less fun. You've done the enjoyable part; now it's grunt work. :-) But "Music" and "Reference," at least, should be relatively easy: Music is everything tagged "Music" that isn't a CD, and "Reference" is anything tagged "Reference" or which includes "Encyclopedia," "Dictionary," or "Handbook" in the title or the tags. It would do for a rough cut, and then all of us nut cases will work on it. :-)

I have to say, I would like trying to work on this, but I found that, in practice, since so much of my library is effectively unclassified due to the lack of both "music" and "folklore," it's hard to do the work. So many books aren't getting usefully "genred."

Of course, I truly am pathologically obscure. But that's where this arguably is the most useful: For the books that don't have twenty or thirty or a thousand repetitive reviews to that (fiction) (fantasy) Harry Potter is an orphan with a scar on his head and magical powers. :-)

320anglemark
Bearbeitet: Jun. 27, 3:44am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

321lilithcat
Jun. 26, 6:32pm

>306 timspalding:

Music. I'm half-convinced. I'm worried about this sucking in a lot of CDs and DVDs that haven't been marked right. I feel like "pop culture" (above) might be more useful--embracing both books about Bob Dylan and books about Marilyn Monroe.

But not all music belongs under "pop culture". My libretti certainly don't. Nor my book about a luthier nor the one about restoring a cello. In fact, very few, if any, of the books that I have tagged with "music" would fall under "pop culture".

322anglemark
Jun. 26, 6:34pm

>321 lilithcat: Same here.

323Maddz
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 6:35pm

>319 waltzmn: Ah, 'Handbook' is used a lot in titles in the RPG world (Player's Handbook'), so you have to check it's not in that genre (whichever genre RPGs end up in). You also get things like catalogues, guides, atlases and encyclopaedias too.

Check my RPG collection for examples...

324SandraArdnas
Jun. 26, 6:40pm

How about Society & Culture as one of the missing broad genres? It's less academic than Social Science and it by and large includes humanities as well.

Also wanted to say that Computers & Tech sounds good for all things IT.

325AndreasJ
Jun. 26, 6:48pm

>320 anglemark:

That narrow a definition is unfamiliar to me, and apparently to the authors of the first couple dictionaries I check as well as those of the WP article.

326waltzmn
Jun. 26, 6:57pm

>323 Maddz: Ah, 'Handbook' is used a lot in titles in the RPG world (Player's Handbook')"

Valid point, although I think "Dictionary" and "Encyclopedia" would work pretty well for defining reference. I doubt Tim Spalding could use my algorithm as given; I didn't use PHP syntax. :-) But there is a sort of a point in what I said: Some genres are really hard to define -- that's why Social Science is a problem. But "Music" and "Reference" are not hard to define. We shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good; possibly, if there are two genres where one is more "important" but impossible to define, while the other is less important but easily defined, we should include the easily-defined one even if it's not the most important option out there.

327paradoxosalpha
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 7:50pm

>316 timspalding: Yeah. I'm not sure people will want baseball and video games in the same category, but it clumps thing to a degree that makes sense.

I have often encountered them that way in b&m shops, not to mention the Trivial Pursuit category a.k.a.. "Sports and Mixology."

328lilithcat
Jun. 26, 7:52pm

>327 paradoxosalpha:

not to mention the Trivial Pursuit category a.k.a.. "Sports and Mixology."

That would be for drinking games, I assume?

329Kanarthi
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 8:28pm

>324 SandraArdnas: I like this suggestion. It's similar to the category that amazon has (Politics & Social Science) in the list that >56 cpg: provided. Another option is something like Society, Culture & Politics.

I don't understand, Tim, why you think that "Social sciences" is too broad but "Nonfiction" is an appropriate alternate. Right now Nonfiction includes the Natural Sciences and Biography&Memoir, so there is no easy way to view only the books that I would consider in the Social Sciences. To reiterate why I think this category is worthwhile, I consider the social sciences to be a broad category which analyze human societies, and no, they're not all history. They include social psychology, sociology, media studies, and politics. In fact, it would be a profoundly useful genre to have to identify the books which analyze history but whose main point is to promote a more general lens by which readers can view contemporary cultural concerns. I'm thinking of books like The Lies That Bind or What My Teacher Told Me, both of which deal intensely with history but also how historical ideas affect the modern day. Listing them simultaneously as History and as Society,Culture&Politics would be very informative.

Additionally, many of my feminist books are in Nonfiction only, and I would prefer to have them in a more specific category. Some of them, like Invisible Women or Why So Slow? fit even better in a social sciences category than they would in a more specific genre like "Feminism & gender studies". Currently those two are both listed as part of Science&Nature, apparently because they ... use data to analyze society. Y'know, the way the Social Sciences do. But this miscategorization would be easier to sort out if there was a clear category to put them in instead of only "Nonfiction".

EDITED to correct touchstone.

330timspalding
Jun. 26, 8:26pm

>324 SandraArdnas:

How about Society & Culture as one of the missing broad genres? It's less academic than Social Science and it by and large includes humanities as well.

I rather like that! Unlike "social studies" the phrase "society and culture" feels like a genre term, and it can exclude most history. History is a problem because it's the largest category now (660,314 works) other than "Everything Fic and Lit." (There's a lot of history, and it has a really strong signal in the classification systems.) If social studies included history, history would dominate it. But as "society and culture," we could find a place for activism, politics, government, law, gender, race, law, and current events. It would exclude/down-stress fiction, biography, history and science.

Okay, all things being equal, this is the plan on the table. What do people think?

>319 waltzmn: Can't you use the format (CD, DVD, etc.) information to pull out the CDs? I realize that manual entries may not have that, but you should have it for the commercial ones.

Yes. The issue is how many have it. It's an empirical question, but I'm worried about it.

I think the emphasis is on 'leaving out categories', which is true. Entire huge sections of non-fiction are not represented. I'll reiterate my suggestion that if the final list of genres does not have one or more where philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, language etc. fits, the algorithm be adjusted to assign them only to non-fiction and stop fitting them into history and science and nature, which is what is currently happening more often than not, presumably based on tags. We use tags for fine-grained info too, so on it's own it's not indicative of genre. Either way, a philosophy book for instance is better off being just non-fiction than non-fiction/history, which is wrong and misleading.

So, I made a "big fiction" category ( https://www.librarything.com/genre/58/Everything-Fic-and-Lit-beta ), "Everything Fic and Lit (beta)." I haven't gotten much input on it, so I'm not sure what people think. But I think the answer may indeed be to have a "big fic" and a "big non-fic" category, and get rid of the "Fiction" category, which is intended to be "general fiction" but, well, it's tricky to get that right.

331timspalding
Jun. 26, 8:33pm

Anyway, I'm working on Reference right now, seeing if it's doable. Probably is.

332waltzmn
Jun. 26, 8:49pm

>330 timspalding: So, I made a "big fiction" category ( https://www.librarything.com/genre/58/Everything-Fic-and-Lit-beta ), "Everything Fic and Lit (beta)." I haven't gotten much input on it, so I'm not sure what people think. But I think the answer may indeed be to have a "big fic" and a "big non-fic" category, and get rid of the "Fiction" category, which is intended to be "general fiction" but, well, it's tricky to get that right.

I can't really test this personally, because modern fiction is a very small part of my library. So I can't tell you if it's working. But I very much like the idea of "big fic" and "big non-fic," less for "genre" purposes than for just general classification. It won't work for old books, but where we need it is new books. And they are the ultimate fallback genres.

333Petroglyph
Jun. 26, 8:49pm

Tim, I'm afraid I don't buy your reasons in >306 timspalding: for not including Social Sciences (which, for the purposes of this discussion seems to include Humanities).

"an unmanageably large subject heading, not a genre heading"
and
"What are you into reading?" "Oh, when I'm in a bookstore, I always make a bee-line for the (blank) section." — now fill in some of the genres we've been talking about. Science Fiction? Believable. Music? Believable. Social Sciences? I don't know.

Both of these would exclude the grouping Science & Nature, which actually unites a few of those large subject headings, and is designed to do so. Sauce for the goose.

I feel like some of the subsections might work, but most of the books under "Social Sciences" are going to be in history, and "Non-Fiction" seems to catch the rest.

This is a better argument. It leaves us with the "Science&Nature" group given preferential status (for being more specific than "Non-Fiction"), but at least there's a clearly-articulated reason for why that is the case: the history/non-fiction split works for this dataset. I can buy that. (I suspect that's also why such an arch-American thing as "Christian Fiction" is its own top-level Genre -- LT's user base of church libraries and American-based members.)

The crux is that you're trying to force a very very rough top-level categoriziation scheme on a very diverse and varied set of libraries. The set of Genres here may have the same or equivalent names to bookstore sections, but the titles they group together will be very different, and include titles that are much more specific and/or advanced than regular bookshop fare. LT's dataset may be closer to the collected holdings of a university's libraries, and regular bookshop sections will just plain not work for large subsections of the dataset. I don't envy your position: there's no easy solution that will make the complaints disappear.

If you include a top-level Genre for "Social Sciences & Humanities" (or introduce a few subgroupings but not others), there'll be headache-inducing disputes about wrongful exclusions and indignant requests for $PetSubject. If you leave everything the way it is, split between "History" and "Non-Ficton", you'll end up giving the life and earth sciences their own thing, and leave "an unmanageably large subject heading" with just "Non-fiction". That's a lot of mis-genred items.

Just be clear about what choice you make and why you make it: is the list of Genres supposed to be tailored on LT's dataset? Or are you striving to include external Genre groupings (from bookshop sections or BISAC or bookpsychic or wherever) and catch whatever LT has under that scheme?

334Petroglyph
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 8:54pm

>330 timspalding:

"Society & Culture"

+1

(#330 was posted while I was penning my rant)

335timspalding
Jun. 26, 9:21pm

>333 Petroglyph: The crux is that you're trying to force a very very rough top-level categoriziation scheme on a very diverse and varied set of libraries

Well, yes. That's the whole problem. There is no answer here, and we shouldn't pretend there is. Even deep, highly hierarchical systems, like DDC, have problems. "Bookstore"-sized systems are not going to do better; they're going to do much worse. This is a "let's do something that might be useful some of the time to some people" thing; it's not more than that.

336timspalding
Jun. 26, 9:37pm

Okay, the first draft of "Reference" is completed and is available as a non-default genre. It's currently populating--should take another 30 minutes to get to the last work number.

It's going to have problems, but it's time for me to watch a movie with my kid :)

337timspalding
Jun. 26, 9:39pm

Blech. I definitely see problems in my library. Too much tech, for starters. So look at or ignore, but it will change when I have a chance.

338Aquila
Jun. 26, 10:06pm

*turns reference on*

It's done quite well in my catalogue, picked up all, the books I'd tagged reference, so all the dictionaries, thesaurus, encyclopedia of science fiction. It's picked up some but not all of my horse and cat "list of breeds" type books, which I'm OK with, picked up some books about words, some old movie listing books (so important back before IMDB and wikipedia).

It's also grabbed my Greek New Testament and my Teach Yourself Ancient Greek and Teach Yourself Latin books, which I'll flag.

And a lord of the rings trivia question book?

339Aquila
Jun. 26, 10:08pm

Oh, OK, the Greek New Testament explicitly has a Greek/English dictionary with it.

Um, not sure if mine does or this is miscombining, but it's in a box somewhere, so I won't be sorting that out any time soon.

340Aquila
Jun. 26, 10:13pm

I also turned on the Everything Fic and Lit and got 1,835 hits, which is pretty close to my 1,965 books tagged fiction. I'm curious where the non-overlaps are, but not that curious.

341jjwilson61
Jun. 26, 10:46pm

My Reference genre includes 92 books; way more than I would have expected. After a quick look I'll just say that a book about dictionaries isn't a dictionary. I'll take another look at it tomorrow.

342melannen
Bearbeitet: Jun. 26, 11:22pm

>330 timspalding: I like Society & Culture! I hope it works in the algorithm.

A large part of the reason History is so dominant is that it has a lot of books that wouldn't be top-level history in most classifications. Yes, nearly all non-fiction have some element of history (even my college calculus text has a bit on Newton and Leibniz) but that doesn't meant they fit the genre. I hope history can pare down a bit if we get Society & Culture.

I'm busy this weekend and haven't had a chance to look at Reference but in abstract I'm not big on it - in bookstores it usually just ends up being a catchall of things nobody felt like finding a place for in the other nonfiction sections. It's also changing dramatically as a genre due to the internet, since people don't really need books for quick fact reference as much. Certainly dictionaries, almanacs, atlases and encyclopedias make a set but does a biographical dictionary of painters really need to be pulled out from biographies and/or art?

Pop culture, as people above me are arguing, is not great, because nobody can agree on what is pop culture and what isn't and they all feel very strongly about their opinion. (Also I definitely wouldn't look to Pop Culture for things like music theory or film directing; I would assume it's mostly celebrity memoirs and that sort of thing.)

343timspalding
Jun. 26, 11:42pm

So, the problem with reference is that people tag a lot of things as reference that are reference works for them but not reference generally. So I'm pulling back very hard on tags. Fortunately, the other data is pretty good for it.

Anyway, a work in progress.

344Taphophile13
Jun. 27, 12:12am

I still have one book in the Recent Nonfiction category and cannot remove it.

Thank you for the Reference genre. It's quite useful to me.

345timspalding
Jun. 27, 12:24am

>338 Aquila: And a lord of the rings trivia question book?

I think of trivia as reference, along with amazing-fact books. But maybe I'm wrong. What do you think?

346tardis
Jun. 27, 12:53am

I still want a "technology" genre. If you look at the items in my catalogue in the collection "Workshop/Garage stuff" - a lot of it is stuff that mechanics and craftsmen would use, which is not appropriate in House and Garden or Science and Nature. Engine building and tuning, sheet metal repair, welding, ham radio manuals, furniture building, etc.

347thorold
Jun. 27, 1:08am

>343 timspalding: Reference seems to be picking up atlases, which sort-of makes sense to me, and a lot of maps (e.g. everything from the Ordnance Survey), which doesn’t.
It’s also picking up The professor and the madman, which seems predictable but wrong (“meta-reference”?), and a few non-reference books about language, e.g. The English language and Our magnificent bastard tongue, which is just wrong.
It’s also picking up some but not all language-learning books, which doesn’t seem right, but is perhaps debatable.

348timspalding
Jun. 27, 1:14am

Reference is picking up a lot of language books. To a French dictionary or grammar is reference. Do others agree?

It’s also picking up The professor and the madman, which seems predictable but wrong (“meta-reference”?), and a few non-reference books about language, e.g. The English language and Our magnificent bastard tongue, which is just wrong.

Yeah, The professor and the madman gets in through the side door. Our magnificent bastard tongue ditto. I'll flag them and take a closer look.

>347 thorold: Reference seems to be picking up atlases, which sort-of makes sense to me, and a lot of maps (e.g. everything from the Ordnance Survey), which doesn’t.

Huh. I think of maps as a core part of reference. What do others think?

349melannen
Bearbeitet: Jun. 27, 1:18am

>345 timspalding: I think *some* amazing-fact books, maybe, if you must. The Wonder Book of Strange Facts, possibly. It's kind of stretching it but they're often put there. The works of Frank Edwards, not even a little.

Maps make sense as reference if atlases do? But I thought you were trying to keep this to only books? I'm also picking up a lot of books about cartography that aren't books of maps, probably via the same side door as The Professor and the Madman, and those less so.

350thorold
Jun. 27, 2:02am

>330 timspalding: Adding to the support for Society & Culture

About 90% of my library now has at least one genre. I’m puzzled why the “Non-fiction” genre doesn’t get added by default to those books not identified as belonging to any other category: it’s not a very useful designation in itself, but if it has any point then it should act as a “not otherwise provided for” dustbin category.

A lot of my books that don’t currently have a genre would be covered by “Society & Culture”, the rest would be mostly transport and engineering history, which I’m prepared to accept as too niche to deserve a genre (some can be manually added to history when the dust settles), but they should at least get non-fiction.

>340 Aquila: Do we have a way to look at logical combinations of genre yet? It’s hard to see what “Everything Lit & Fic” is doing, since it’s so big (about 70% of my library). It’s obviously more than the OR combination of novels, drama and poetry, but it’s not picking up much in the way of essays and criticism, as far as I can see. Is it meant to be?

From a little spot-check I found two books that had been given Fiction but not Everything Lit & Fic: Vie de David Hockney, which is presented by the author as a novel but walks like a biography and quacks like a biography; and Il Gioco della mosca, which seems to be on the borderline between essays and short stories (but is still on my “to read” shelf).

351thorold
Jun. 27, 2:13am

>348 timspalding: I don’t have a good argument for “atlases but not maps”, except “it feels wrong”. Maybe because an atlas is like a dictionary and a map is like a monograph? I think reference does have an implication that “this is a book no-one expects you to read the whole of”, perhaps?

352timspalding
Jun. 27, 2:22am

>350 thorold: About 90% of my library now has at least one genre. I’m puzzled why the “Non-fiction” genre doesn’t get added by default to those books not identified as belonging to any other category: it’s not a very useful designation in itself, but if it has any point then it should act as a “not otherwise provided for” dustbin category.

Non-fiction is currently set to something like "General, mostly popular non-fiction" which is also what "fiction" is. I think I'm going to kill "Fiction" and keep only the big fic-and-lit category. I'll do the same for non-fiction--make it a super-category.

I don’t have a good argument for “atlases but not maps”, except “it feels wrong”.

Do you have a lot of one-off maps?

353timspalding
Jun. 27, 2:37am

Just a note: I made significant progress incorporating another cache of bookstore (BISAC) codes tonight. This added 50k to biography, and 7k to historical fiction (up from 20k). I have a lot more work to do to extend this throughout the genres. So I'm not going to be making much progress on new genres until Monday or so.

354thorold
Jun. 27, 3:40am

>352 timspalding: Yes, lots of maps. I don’t think I ever catalogued the ones that are too old to have ISBNs, though. Also lots of walking guides: some of those have fallen into Travel, which seems OK, but most of the non-English ones still have no genre.

It would be nice to have everything in a binary division of Fiction/non-fiction, but I guess that might be storing up trouble for yourself when it comes to Religion & Spirituality (In my case, divided roughly equally between Bibles and Dawkins….)

355anglemark
Jun. 27, 3:43am

>325 AndreasJ: Jätteintressant. Jag har nu tillbringat lite tid i ordböcker och tack vare dig lärt mig något nytt. Så går det när man börjar använda en ej knivskarpt definierad term som barn utan att inse att den är missvisande och inte betyder exakt vad den låter som. Jag redigerar vad jag skrev. Tack!

English: I was wrong and I'll edit what I wrote about "Non-fiction" in Swedish.

356spiphany
Jun. 27, 4:37am

>352 timspalding: I think I'm going to kill "Fiction" and keep only the big fic-and-lit category. I'll do the same for non-fiction--make it a super-category.

You're just going to have one umbrella category that includes general fiction as well as genre fiction (SF, mystery, romance, etc.)? And you're going to remove the lower-level category for "general fiction"?

Please don't. Some people do in fact read literary/genral fiction, and if I were browsing a category for titles in this genre, I would be very annoyed at having to filter out all the other genre fiction -- which is likely to dominate -- to find general fiction titles.

357waltzmn
Jun. 27, 7:26am

>348 timspalding:

"To {me?} a French dictionary or grammar is reference. Do others agree?"

Absolutely it's a reference book. My definition of a reference book is something you pick up to find information rather than reading. So a language reference certainly applies.

....

"Huh. I think of maps as a core part of reference. What do others think?"

I entirely agree that maps are part of reference. (I disagree that they're books, but that's another issue. :-)

A lot of what I do with maps isn't figuring out how to get from point A to point B. It's figuring out the implications of a certain trip -- e.g. Harrison Ainsworth in Rookwood claimed that Dick Turpin made "Nevison's Ride" in the 1730s, which then went into the song "Black Bess" as "from London to Yorkshire... in twelve hours you reached it, My bonnie Black Bess." Rookwood is bad fiction, but is the ride possible? The only way to find out is with a map plus some references on the capabilities of 1730s horses. (The conclusion, incidentally, is that it was possible to make the trip in twelve hours, but you have to change horses.)

358lilithcat
Jun. 27, 8:39am

>348 timspalding:

Yeah, The professor and the madman gets in through the side door. Our magnificent bastard tongue ditto. I'll flag them and take a closer look.

Check out Caught in the Web of Words while you're at it. I expect it slipped in when The Professor and the Madman left that door ajar.

359Kanarthi
Jun. 27, 10:32am

>356 spiphany: Seconded. The Fiction category should stay. Perhaps rename "Fiction" to "General Fiction" or something else, so that it causes less confusion? But I find the concept very useful. It's nice to use it as a filter for what SFF books might be good to give to people who don't normally read in that genre, for example.

360wester
Jun. 27, 10:45am

I noticed that the really atheist books are classified as Religion/Spirituality. I do sort of get that you want both sides of the argument in the same genre, but I'm pretty sure Richard Dawkins wouldn't be too happy to find himself in this genre.

361lilithcat
Jun. 27, 1:39pm

>369

Perhaps rename "Fiction" to "General Fiction" or something else, so that it causes less confusion?

What's the difference? "General fiction" means nothing to me.

362anglemark
Jun. 27, 1:44pm

>361 lilithcat: "Fiction" includes Westerns, SF, Fantasy, Romance etc. "General Fiction" doesn't. It's mostly about human relations in a realistic setting.

363jjwilson61
Jun. 27, 1:55pm

>361 lilithcat: It doesn't mean anything by itself, but alongside the other genres of fiction it does. It could be called Non-Genre Fiction but General Fiction sounds more like something you'd find in a bookstore.

364jjwilson61
Jun. 27, 1:58pm

My Reference genre now has only 13 books, but I still only consider 2 of them to be reference. I'll wait until you close that side door before flagging anything.

365dudes22
Jun. 27, 2:08pm

>364 jjwilson61: - I noticed the same thing but decided to wait.

>363 jjwilson61: - I've noticed that books in my "sub-genres" also show up in my "Fiction" so it looks like whatever it's called, it's still going to include most/all of the fiction. I was thinking that the two big genres - fiction and non-fiction - plus no genre should total all my books with the specific genres just pulling out those books to make it easier to see if I'm looking for something more specific. But that doesn't seem to be the case either.

366lilithcat
Jun. 27, 2:12pm

>363 jjwilson61:

I don't think I've ever in my life been in a bookstore that had a "General Fiction" section (or a "Non-Genre" Fiction section).

367waltzmn
Jun. 27, 2:55pm

Trying out "Reference." About 90% of them seem to be good. The failures... are sometimes amusing. This isn't comprehensive; it's classified close to 400 books in my library (which means it has missed probably a hundred or so). But here are the odd ones I found in the first 240:

Collected Songs: 1883-1896 (Recent Researches in American Music)
MUSA 7A/American 27, Edward Harrigan and David Braham: Collected Songs. I: 1873-1882 (Music of the United States of America, Volume 7B)
This is a two-volume collection of songs by the team of Harrigan and Braham, who were very popular in the late nineteenth century. There isn't much in it but sheet music. To be fair, they're very hard to find; there probably isn't much data on them except what I entered. :-)

Hali Meidhad (Early English Text Society Original Series)
Middle English religious material.

Ancestral voices: Decoding ancient languages
A Brief History of the English Language
History and language, but not really a reference.

The development of modern English
Again more history and language than reference, although I'm not really bothered by it ending up here too.

Teach Yourself Serbo-Croat Complete Course
Teach Yourself Slovene Complete Course (Book Only) (TY: Complete Courses)
Essential Irish Grammar: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language)
Teach Yourself Polish
I'm seeing a trend here. :-) These aren't really references, they're tutorials. Again, I'm not deeply bothered, but it's a point to note.

Amos (Anchor Bible Series)
Mark: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (The Anchor Bible, Vol. 27)
II Maccabees (The Anchor Bible, Vol. 41A)
The Letter to Philemon: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Anchor Yale Bible)
I can't tell if it took allmy Anchor Bibles, but it definitely took a lot. I find it hard to regard this as a reference.

The book of the twelve prophets, commonly called the minor
Commentary and translation, but I wouldn't call it reference.

A Field Guide to the Little People
This isn't reference; it's a complicated delusion that I have on file only to keep myself from buying it agan. :-)

A Gateway To Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
Hm. I sort of see it, but it's a controversial book about an invented language.

The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary
Could it be that it's taking all non-fiction works with "Tolkien" in the title and putting them in reference? :-)

Despite all the oddities I found, I think this is a pretty good start.

368LibraryCin
Jun. 27, 9:02pm

>341 jjwilson61: I have a couple of those that ended up in reference, as well. Although I've tagged it dictionaries, it's not a dictionary - it was simply about dictionaries.

369LibraryCin
Jun. 27, 9:04pm

I'm late to the conversation again, but I think both trivia and atlases are reference.

370LibraryCin
Bearbeitet: Jun. 27, 9:06pm

>351 thorold: I think reference does have an implication that “this is a book no-one expects you to read the whole of”, perhaps?

As not only a librarian, but a cataloguer, yes, this is how I think of reference.

I would also include maps. It's something you would look at briefly for something specific/some specific info.

371timspalding
Jun. 27, 11:11pm

>356 spiphany: Please don't. Some people do in fact read literary/genral fiction, and if I were browsing a category for titles in this genre, I would be very annoyed at having to filter out all the other genre fiction -- which is likely to dominate -- to find general fiction titles.

Yes, but does the GenreThing "fiction" category "work"?

Check out Caught in the Web of Words while you're at it. I expect it slipped in when The Professor and the Madman left that door ajar.

Will check.

>356 spiphany: spiphany: Seconded. The Fiction category should stay. Perhaps rename "Fiction" to "General Fiction" or something else, so that it causes less confusion? But I find the concept very useful. It's nice to use it as a filter for what SFF books might be good to give to people who don't normally read in that genre, for example.

Okay, yes. But is the current Fiction category "working"?

I noticed that the really atheist books are classified as Religion/Spirituality. I do sort of get that you want both sides of the argument in the same genre, but I'm pretty sure Richard Dawkins wouldn't be too happy to find himself in this genre.

Oh, I'll defend it. The God Delusion is definitely a book in the religion genre.

What's the difference? "General fiction" means nothing to me.

It means "Fiction not in a big, well-known genre."

My Reference genre now has only 13 books, but I still only consider 2 of them to be reference. I'll wait until you close that side door before flagging anything.

The most recent data should be in by morning. I'd defend more than 2, but there are problems in there now. Perhaps not by morning. https://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?genre=59&view=jjwilson61

I don't think I've ever in my life been in a bookstore that had a "General Fiction" section (or a "Non-Genre" Fiction section).

Have you seen a bookstore with a "Fiction" section AND a "Science Fiction" section? That's what we're going for.

>367 waltzmn:

To review tomorrow.

372wester
Jun. 28, 4:50am

I also think the humanities are underrepresented here. Sure, there is History, but what about psychology? Philosophy? It would be nice to have a genre Humanities to balance Science/nature.

373PawsforThought
Jun. 28, 6:02am

I've had a quick look around my collections and the books that are under "no genre". Unsurprisingly, the majority are poetry, classics (which ought to be under "fiction"?), Shakespeare, Swedish children's books and ditto "house & home" books.

The one thing that really sticks out are my editions of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and They Do It with Mirrors. I would have thought anything by Agatha Christie would be automatically added to the Mystery genre. Same goes for the Sherlock Holmes novels I have in my collections.

374prosfilaes
Jun. 28, 10:28am

A bunch of my Pathfinder stuff is marked Tween. Um, no, that's all marketed for an adult audience. I've marked most of the other RPG stuff marked Tween as egregiously wrong, though I've left some of the Rifts stuff alone; I suppose that's debatable, but Rifts World Book 6: South America 1 does come out above 100,000 words, whereas a quick Google says that tween tops out around 55,000. Rifts may be the lower end of teen, but not tween. It seems like number of pages is a big clue; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex is 320 pages of hardback book. There's a few RPGs that are targeted at kids or tweens, but not many.

375waltzmn
Jun. 28, 11:32am

>373 PawsforThought:

I've had a quick look around my collections and the books that are under "no genre"

This led me to look at my own list. A very cursory look, since I have 963 genre-less books! (A sixth of my library.) As I say, I'm pathologically obscure, and a lot of them are books found in three or fewer collections. They are all sorts of things, e.g.:

Biblia Sacra iuxta Latinam Vulgatam Versionem...Libros Exodi et Levitici Sancti Hieronymi is a critical edition of the Latin texts of Exodus and Leviticus.

Lewis Carroll and Alice: The Private Collection of Justin G. Schiller is a catalog of Alice in Wonderland-related artifacts sold at auction a while back. (It's amazing what you can learn about an author from those sale catalogs; I assure you, I didn't have the money to bid!)

Stalwart Men And Sturdy Ships, A History Of The Prosecutions Of The Seal Fishery By The Sealers Of Bonavista Bay North, Newfoundland is mostly a list of ships that went seal hunting. (I don't approve of seal hunting, but the amount of folklore about it is astounding, so I need the books. :-)

The Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Facts on File Library of Health and Living) is reference plus psychology, wherever psychology gets filed.

But it appears that about half are music books or music-related -- folk song books, music history, etc. So even if music belongs under another category such as Art (which I of course still disagree with), the system isn't catching them. Of course, they are traditional folk music books, which means they genuinely aren't art. :-)

Just a few examples:

Herd Laddie O the Glen
A Sailor's Songbag: An American Rebel in an English Prison, 1777-1779
Folk Songs of Central West Virginia (Volume 1)
Christmas Carols Printed in the Sixteenth Century, Including Kele's Christmas Carolles newly Inprynted reproduced in facsimile from the copy in the Huntington Library.

376timspalding
Jun. 28, 11:34am

Thanks for some of these examples. I will put them in later and see if I can figure out what I could include that would catch them.

377hypatian_kat
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 11:53am

A bunch of my linguistics and language learning books got thrown into Reference, and I've flagged them. (The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary is a reference work. Romanov's Russian-English English-Russian Dictionary is a reference work. Easy Japanese is a language-learning book, organized in lessons. Introducing Linguistic Morphology is a book on linguistics, as is Aspect.)

On the subject of maps, I flagged Mapping Boston, which is a book about Boston and about how its outlines have changed and how it has been mapped in the past. The bulk of the contents is maps, but it is not an atlas nor a reference work. After removing reference and travel (which it is also not), its remaining genres are History (yes), Non-Fiction (sure), and Art & Design (yes).

Society & Culture seems like a reasonable heading for what we've been calling "Social Sciences". Some works it would help from my collection: Literary Witches, which is non-fiction *about* literature, and specifically women authors. It seems something of a stretch to call it Biography & Memoir, although not entirely wrong. This does raise the question "does a non-fiction book about literature belong in Everything Fic and Lit?")

Another example would be Cruising the Library: Perversities in the Organization of Knowledge which has History as its only category, but is broadly about society and culture and how we organize knowledge and the effects it has on how we perceive that information. (For example, how having a called-out category for "Science & Nature" but not one for "Society & Culture" might have an impact on how people perceive the importance of these categories!) It talks about history, but only in service to this discussion. It's a book that contains history, but it is not a book about history. So I look at this and say "this isn't history, but... what other category can I put it on other than non-fiction? Hrm."

Both of these latter items are examples of things where certainly the book contains that sort of material, but it is not the sort of book commonly called by just that material. Two books about Society & Culture. One about women writers, including some history and some biographical material (which is neither a history book nor a biography). One about libraries and library organization and how that's interwoven with our culture, including some history and discussion of queer themes (but it's not simply "an LGBTQ+ book" nor a history book.)

378prosfilaes
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 12:05pm

I've got around 70 books of bibliography with no genre tagging; seems like that would be a quick addition to the reference genre.

I'm fine with Teach Yourself Modern Hebrew and friends being part of reference, though I would prefer a language learning category. Stuff like this is invariably going to get a Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things feel, where dangerous things get lumped in with women and fire, other dangerous things.

379cpg
Jun. 28, 12:07pm

>371 timspalding: "Oh, I'll defend it. The God Delusion is definitely a book in the religion genre."

Is the LGBTQ+ genre dissimilar from the religion genre in this regard? That is, do books advocating anti-progressive positions on LGBTQ+ issues tend not to get shelved in that section?

380cpg
Jun. 28, 12:13pm

Will books in the "recent fiction" and "recent non-fiction" genres automatically evolve out of those genres with the passage of time? If not, then I think those genres won't work as well on LT as they would in a physical bookstore.

381timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 12:52pm

>379 cpg: Is the LGBTQ+ genre dissimilar from the religion genre in this regard? That is, do books advocating anti-progressive positions on LGBTQ+ issues tend not to get shelved in that section?

An interesting point. I am, frankly, trying to undercut these, but it is hard to spot them in the data. But it's an interesting illustration of the difference between subject and—for want of a better word—shelving. Bookstores with "LGBTQ+ Interest" sections are looking for books "of interest" to LGBTQ+ people. Controversial books can be interesting here, but a book that is simply flat-out anti-gay is not going to be of much interest. I welcome help in flagging them. I was able to find a few.

I don't think the same applies to "Religion." For starters, religion is not a single religion, but many. It is understood that a Muslim is not likely to be as interested in books on Christianity or Zoroastrianism as they are in books on Islam. But anyone religious knows this is how "religion" sections work--they have it all. Interest may or may not cross lines. (I mean, heck, a lot of evangelicals will NEVER read a Catholic book.) Further, people interested in religion tend to be interested in atheism and agnosticism, and indeed visa versa—religion swims with doubt. Speaking from my own experience, I expect a "religion" section to have a variety of faiths as well as books that take a polemical view of all faiths or just some. This may be my context; a Christian bookstore is indeed unlikely to have a lot of anti-faith books.

A more direct case might be "Christian Fiction." It's for Christian Fiction. I haven't dug into it, but it seems the most recent version of BISAC changes this to religiously-inspired fiction, and I think that's a mistake. I'm sure there are Muslim romance novels, but I don't think the people reading those contemporary Amish romances (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish_romance) are going to want to read them, or visa versa. In any case, nobody would be happy if "Christian Romance" also included "Atheist Romance" or perhaps "Anti-Christian Romance." It would be great to write an Amish Romance where the characters end up finding happiness happily married in the Baha'i' faith.

382Maddz
Jun. 28, 1:42pm

>381 timspalding: I would be happy with a generic Religious Fiction genre on the grounds that for me any type of religious inspiration is a red-flag, and the book to be devoutly avoided. (Narnia aside, of course!)

383AndreasJ
Jun. 28, 1:43pm

>381 timspalding:

Where do bookstores shelve anti-gay books?

That a Christian bookstore is unlikely to have many anti-Christian books is besides the point I think - the question is where they shelve any that they do have.

A Christian bookstore may be unlikely to have a Religion section though - if most or all the books are about Christianity it would make sense to break it down into narrower genres like Theology, Homiletics, and whatnot.

384prosfilaes
Jun. 28, 1:50pm

>373 PawsforThought: Absent in the Spring is a non-mystery romance by Agatha Christie.

385lorax
Jun. 28, 2:41pm

jjwilson (#363):

Please, not "Non-Genre Fiction". That's a term used by people who read only literary fiction and insist that it is Not A Genre and is somehow superior to other genres. And who, when they do find themselves reading a genre book they like, insist that it somehow "transcends genre".

386Bookmarque
Jun. 28, 2:47pm

So I’ve been playing with this a bit and the same question that occurred to me when you first announced this is still rolling around in my head and I haven’t seen any answer to it on this thread (I didn’t read super closely so maybe it’s there). The question is this -

Do you want to merely mimic public libraries and bookshops or do you want to do better?

It seems the community wants to do better and I’m leaning that way. For example, other than in the gigantic catch-all of non-fiction, where do I put my books on BMW cars & motorcycles? I have a fair amount on Ducati as well...where should they go?

Also true crime...which has been raised before.

Finer divisions are somewhat problematic, but if you’re trying to do better than the schemes we’ve all been living with, they need to be taken into consideration.

387lorax
Jun. 28, 2:56pm

timspalding (#381):

I am, frankly, trying to undercut (anti-LGBTQ+ books in the LGBTQ+ genre), but it is hard to spot them in the data.

It could be interesting to look at tags corresponding to terminology used primarily by anti-LGBTQ+ groups/people. If a particular book has, say, many more instances of "transgenderism" compared to "transgender" or "trans" than is typical, that could be an indicator.

388timspalding
Jun. 28, 3:34pm

>385 lorax:

Please, not "Non-Genre Fiction". That's a term used by people who read only literary fiction and insist that it is Not A Genre and is somehow superior to other genres. And who, when they do find themselves reading a genre book they like, insist that it somehow "transcends genre".

No, "general fiction" is what we should use, I think.

It seems the community wants to do better and I’m leaning that way. For example, other than in the gigantic catch-all of non-fiction, where do I put my books on BMW cars & motorcycles? I have a fair amount on Ducati as well...where should they go?

Better is tags and other systems. DDC, for example. We simply cannot create a "genre" system that covers everything.

It could be interesting to look at tags corresponding to terminology used primarily by anti-LGBTQ+ groups/people. If a particular book has, say, many more instances of "transgenderism" compared to "transgender" or "trans" than is typical, that could be an indicator.

Yes. This is part of what I'm doing. "Homosexuality" is a marker too. It's not a negative per se, but it can be.

389Bookmarque
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 3:47pm

No, "general fiction" is what we should use, I think.

It's funny that I use this in my own spreadsheets when there is no sub-genre like historical fiction or thriller. Just a story about some people doing some stuff - Brideshead Revisited etc.

390lorax
Jun. 28, 3:47pm

Do books automatically age out of "Recent Fiction" and "Recent Nonfiction", or will this be based on users encountering these genres a year down the road and flagging them?

391timspalding
Jun. 28, 4:14pm

Do books automatically age out of "Recent Fiction" and "Recent Nonfiction", or will this be based on users encountering these genres a year down the road and flagging them?

Automatic. I'm aware these sections are having some problems. Take with grain of salt.

Just a story about some people doing some stuff - Brideshead Revisited etc.

Capsule review of Brideshead Revisited. :)

392Settings
Jun. 28, 4:17pm

Repeating how much I love this - it subdivides my library in reasonable ways so it makes it so much easier to find books I've forgotten the title of.

Thank you.

393PawsforThought
Jun. 28, 4:51pm

>384 prosfilaes: Yeah, but written under pseudonym. Nearly all books written under her own name are murder mysteries. The Mary Westmacott books are primarily romances, aren’t they? Should be easy enough to keep separate from Poirot et al.

394DuncanHill
Jun. 28, 5:55pm

The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid, probably the three most famous poems in history, all come up as no genre. So does Rudyard Kipling: Complete Verse.

395lilithcat
Jun. 28, 6:05pm

>394 DuncanHill:

Are you looking at your catalog, or at the work pages? Because they are all showing as Poetry on the latter.

In your settings, "Poetry" is off by default, and you need to change it here: https://www.librarything.com/settings/genres

396DuncanHill
Jun. 28, 6:07pm

>395 lilithcat: Both

I've just turned poetry back on - I'd like to know who turned it off.

397timspalding
Jun. 28, 6:42pm

Mystery is currently broken. I'm working on it.

398timspalding
Jun. 28, 6:45pm

Yes, please ignore "Mystery." I negatived a negative.

399ABVR
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 7:57pm

My catalog seemed to have far more in the "Art & Design" genre than I'd have expected, so I dug into it and discovered two interesting things:

First, the category seems to catch a lot of broad, synthetic books about culture -- including popular culture and fashion -- like . . .

The Making of Middlebrow Culture
The Six-Gun Mystique
How We Forgot the Cold War
Fear and Clothing
Uplift: The Bra in America
The Third Coast

but not books about (say) film/TV history & criticism, of which I have hundreds.

A theory: The algorithm has a very broad concept of "art," but has ingested something like Amazon's filing of film (and so film criticism) under "entertainment" rather than "art" or "culture."

-----------------

Second, the "Art and Design" genre seems to catch a lot of books about the history of building in general, and of specific buildings:

Home by Witold Rybczynski
House by Tracy Kidder
The Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague de Camp (yes, I'm dating myself)
City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center by James Glanz
Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator
and
High Steel but, oddly, not the very similar On High Steel . . . perhaps because the first is written by a construction-company manager who works directly with architects and engineers, and the second by a blue-collar ironworker?

I'd put it down to the algorithm reading "architecture" as "art" and filing books about buildings accordingly . . . except that "Art and Design" also pulls in other books about civil engineering The Great Bridge, and broad, abstract general-audience books about engineering philosophy and practice like The Existential Pleasures of Engineering and Invention by Design.

That suggests that the algorithm is "thinking" of design in the broadest possible sense -- including structure and function as well as aesthetics, engineering as well as architecture -- but none of my many, many books about the design of ships (A Man and His Ship) and aircraft (747) -- same mental processes at work -- wind up in the genre.

---------------

None of this is meant as a criticism, particularly . . . I'd be intrigued by having the algorithm double down on construing "design" broadly to include engineering, user-interface design, etc. . . . and (alternatively) I'd be all for renaming the category "Art, Culture & Design" and cleaving off engineering but having it swallow the aesthetic side of design along with cultural criticism both general (Gunfighter Nation) and specific (Men, Women, and Chainsaws).

At the moment, though, it seems like it's trying to do half of both, with odd results.

400timspalding
Jun. 28, 9:19pm

>399 ABVR:

The best way to help would be to tell me where you think it's overdoing it or underdoing it. Should

The Making of Middlebrow Culture
The Six-Gun Mystique
How We Forgot the Cold War
Fear and Clothing
Uplift: The Bra in America
The Third Coast

be removed, or not?

That suggests that the algorithm is "thinking" of design in the broadest possible sense -- including structure and function as well as aesthetics, engineering as well as architecture -- but none of my many, many books about the design of ships (A Man and His Ship) and aircraft (747) -- same mental processes at work -- wind up in the genre.

Architecture is indeed one of the terms it's using. It's not thinking though, even in the sense that programmers (wrongly) describe machine learning as "thinking." It has complicated rules around classification terms. So, LCSH for "architecture" is a plus, but "juvenile" is a negative.

So, give me some bad things. I'll try to fix them.

401majkia
Jun. 28, 9:24pm

Using the links in the first post, I can get to genres. But how can I get there otherwise? I looked under books, and zeitgeist but don't see an easy link?

402amanda4242
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 10:05pm

>401 majkia: On the home page or your profile click on settings on the upper right side, and then choose genres from the menu on the left.

403AnnieMod
Jun. 28, 10:15pm

I was looking at my books with no Genres and a few very weird ones cropped up:

The History of the World should have made it into History. Same for Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin :)
Twelve Years a Slave
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - Biography?
Democracy in America

If you are not working on non-fiction yet, ignore that :)

404quasar
Jun. 28, 10:15pm

One thing I wonder about is erotica. Obviously alot of that would fit under the romance genre, the but the focus tends to be a bit different.

405amanda4242
Jun. 28, 10:18pm

>404 quasar: Good point! A lot of bookstores put erotica in its own section.

406jjwilson61
Jun. 28, 10:21pm

It's one of the buttons at the top of the Your Library page. Third or fourth from the left, it incorporates a drop-down that lets you choose Genre among other options.

407amanda4242
Jun. 28, 10:37pm

>406 jjwilson61: Thanks! I didn't realize I could access it from there, too.

408timspalding
Jun. 28, 11:39pm

Can anyone suggest a better name for "travel." "Armchair Travel" is the newsletter name. I need something larger than "books immediately useful for travel to X." A book about Istanbul should be in, even if the book offers no restaurant recommendations.

409timspalding
Jun. 28, 11:39pm

Mystery is fixed. For a while there it was almost Not-Mystery.

410timspalding
Jun. 28, 11:43pm

>384 prosfilaes: But some 28 people have tagged Absent in the Spring as mystery. Are they wrong?

411hypatian_kat
Jun. 28, 11:54pm

I keep finding myself wishing to mark things as "Everything Fic and Lit (Beta)" and "Nonfiction" at the same time when something is non-fiction about fiction and other literature. But no means would this be in the fiction portion of a library or bookshop, so I'm not sure what to do with them.

Some have been auto-marked as "Everything Fic and Lit (Beta)", which is also... not entirely wrong, since essays are part of literature, despite their being more likely to be found arranged by subject matter and not by author. That last bit may be the biggest way that Fiction/Literature and Nonfiction differ in most libraries and bookstores.

412hypatian_kat
Jun. 29, 12:00am

>410 timspalding: A more typical Christie mystery like A Murder is Announced has 712 tags as mystery (19.3% of members who have the book) compared to Absent in the Spring's 28 tags as mystery (7.2% of members who have the book).

I'd suggest that yes, 28 people have tagged the book somewhat in error, probably rapidly copy-paste tagging through Christie's books in their collection or not realizing they'd hit an odd one while adding books and getting an extra tag. (It happens.)

413timspalding
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 1:50am

I've changed Fiction to General Fiction, and Everything Fic and Lit (Beta) to Fiction and Literature. I took the latter out of "beta" and made it default-on.

I will be working on Society and Culture, and a Big Non-Fic soon.

414wester
Jun. 29, 2:37am

So, two questions about cookbooks.

Obviously they should be in the genre Food & Cooking. But many of my cookbooks are also marked Nonfiction. I feel Nonfiction should only be there if there is a large part that is not recipes. I'd like there to be a difference between the cookbook genre and the other food books such as The Omnivore's Dilemma or On Food and Cooking.

A similar problem with Travel. Many cookbooks focus on recipes from a particular country, which I think should not be enough to include them in Travel. But many do include significant amounts of non-recipe country information, so they should be included in Travel. Where is the line between those?

415PawsforThought
Jun. 29, 2:47am

>414 wester: But cookbooks *are* nonfiction. No matter how many recipes there are. So what is the problem with having them in the Nonfiction category (assuming they're both there and in Food & Cooking)? Books can be placed in three different categories so why shouldn't they be in both?

416anglemark
Jun. 29, 3:14am

>413 timspalding: Regarding General Fiction, would you like us to flag typical genre fiction that has been caught in that web?

417PawsforThought
Jun. 29, 3:34am

>413 timspalding: I'm sure it's just me, but I find the genre "Fiction and Literature" incredibly difficult to understand. Is it meant to be nonfiction about fiction? Or is it another mega-genre like "General Fiction" (and if so, why does it exist?)? Or is it something else?
When I worked in bookshops and libraries (the library I worked in didn't use Dewey or any such system but instead divided books up similar to how bookshops do), the "Literature" section was strictly nonfiction about writing, literary history, journalism, etc.

418Bookmarque
Jun. 29, 7:14am

OK...I don't get why we need Fiction and Literature and General Fiction. What's the difference supposed to be?

419anglemark
Jun. 29, 7:39am

As far as I understand things, "Fiction and Literature" is supposed to catch all fiction, in a broad understanding: Prose fiction, drama, poetry, classics, romance, fantasy etc, and "General Fiction" is fiction that does not belong to a more specific genre (i.e., that isn't SF, Fantasy, Western, Historical Fiction etc).

Why we would need the first one I have no idea. It's pretty useless to me.

420al.vick
Jun. 29, 8:28am

So what is the difference between "general fiction" and "fiction and literature"? Maybe this was discussed above, but I haven't had time to read 419 messages.

And was anything decided about non-fiction? It seems to me that stories of any kind are fiction, and everything else is non-fiction, but I see things in "science and nature" for instance that are not marked "non-fiction"

421lilithcat
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 8:31am

>419 anglemark:

"Fiction and Literature" is far more useful to me than "General Fiction". I'd include in it poetry, drama, literary criticism, none of which belong in "General Fiction". I'd eliminate "General Fiction".

422al.vick
Jun. 29, 8:36am

I would like to add my support to a gaming category. My D&D stuff doesn't really fit anywhere else.

423anglemark
Jun. 29, 8:37am

>421 lilithcat: Far enough. For me, the category holds more than half my books, which makes it too large to be meaningful to me. I'd prefer some more granularity, like adding a "Drama" genre instead.

424jjwilson61
Jun. 29, 8:59am

>409 timspalding: Should The Godfather be mystery?

425anglemark
Jun. 29, 9:03am

>422 al.vick: In a more traditional bookstore, they would be shelved under "Games & Recreation", I think. That would be acceptable to me.

426jjwilson61
Jun. 29, 9:09am

>408 timspalding: Travel & Place?

427al.vick
Jun. 29, 9:17am

>425 anglemark: I agree Games and Recreation would be great.

428lilithcat
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 9:19am

>423 anglemark:

I'd prefer some more granularity, like adding a "Drama" genre instead.

I had actually proposed that earlier! ( See >35 lilithcat: ) ;-)

As I have been reading this thread over the past several days, however, it seems that many of the suggestions are too granular. "Genres" shouldn't equal "tags". I'm not sure where the line should be drawn, though.

429anglemark
Jun. 29, 9:43am

>428 lilithcat: I agree with that. Generally speaking, I'm happy with the feature and the granularity. I just think that a couple of genres are too broad to be meaningful, and I'd like a couple of more to catch, for instance, all my books on language learning, my linguistics textbooks, and my RPG books. I realise that the end result must be a compromise but that will not stop me from wishing it to be closer to what's useful for me. :)

430waltzmn
Jun. 29, 10:21am

>429 anglemark:

I just think that a couple of genres are too broad to be meaningful....

I understand the temptation to this viewpoint but disagree. Yes, there are genres that are too broad to be meaningful in isolation, but can be useful in combination. Take something like Mandeville's Travels. It's a work of fiction, but it's also as close to a travel book as you could get at the time. "Fiction" certainly doesn't describe it. Neither does "Travel" or whatever it gets called. But "Fiction" and "Travel" is a pretty good description.

Speaking on behalf of my library, anything that tries to fit every book into a single genre is either going to fail in about half the cases or is going to be too granular to be useful (e.g. "Folk song books about Newfoundland fishing" -- no one will know the category is there). But using multiple genres allows a lot more classification without burdening us with too many genres to be useful.

(Incidentally, Mandeville's Travels was classified as "Travel" only, so I fixed it. :-)

It might be interesting to have a list of, say, a hundred potential genres and have all of us soreheads vote them (e.g. class them as "Gotta have it," "Good but not vital," "neutral," "no use to me," "No, no, a thousand times no"). The top fifty are the genres we use.

431anglemark
Jun. 29, 10:24am

>430 waltzmn: I agree that an advisory vote might be useful here.

432timspalding
Jun. 29, 10:24am

>419 anglemark: >417 PawsforThought: Is it meant to be nonfiction about fiction?

Fiction and Literature is the super-genre. It has 2m books; General Fiction has 230k.

>418 Bookmarque: OK...I don't get why we need Fiction and Literature and General Fiction. What's the difference supposed to be?

"Fiction and Literature" is for everything literary and/or fictional. This includes all fictional genres, as well as poems, plays, sagas, short stories, etc. It does not include critical works, although a fair number sneak in.'

"General Fiction" is my attempt to create a genre for fiction that isn't part of one of genres we otherwise have, or which are both "general" and "genre." If is not intended to include poetry (except novels in verse) or drama. It should not include critical works.

433jjwilson61
Jun. 29, 10:32am

>427 al.vick: Earlier I proposed Sports, Games & Leisure which Tim seemed to be amenable to

434timspalding
Jun. 29, 10:43am

Okay with "Games and Leisure"? Sports fit. I don't want to go to two lines.

435birder4106
Jun. 29, 10:52am

>430 waltzmn:
For those cases and there are many, I use two more genres in my personal DB: Ficton/NonFiction and NonFiction/Fiction.
The first part is the more important part (for me).

Some Examples:
- Ficton/NonFiction
Augustus by John Edward Williams
Water Music by T.C. Boyle

- NonFiction/Fiction
Deep South : Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson

I will not deny that one can have a divided opinion on many assignments.
For me, a "wrong" classification is definitely better than if I "only" used fiction or non-fiction.

436jjwilson61
Jun. 29, 10:53am

Doesn't the mystery genre imply something more than that there is something the characters don't know at the beginning and find out before the end? By that criteria almost all fiction would qualify and a good deal of non-fiction. Earlier I gave the names of a few books that had been assigned to the mystery genre and the response was that those works had a substantial number of mystery tags. I would argue though that people using this tag are marking that there is a mystery element in the work and not that the work belongs to the mystery genre. Therefore I suggest to Tim that he dial down the importance of tags for this genre and rely more on his other sources.

437anglemark
Jun. 29, 10:53am

>434 timspalding: Perfectly acceptable to me.

438jjwilson61
Jun. 29, 10:54am

>434 timspalding: Sports & Games? Leisure is pretty nebulous.

439lorax
Jun. 29, 10:58am

I'm going through and turning off (not flagging) "General Fiction" on my SF/Fantasy and mystery books, but had a couple questions about other genres:

Historical Fiction. Few bookstores have a historical fiction section, so I'm unsure whether these should be left in General Fiction as well or not. (I'm thinking here about clear cases like the Aubrey/Maturin books set during the Napoleonic Wars, not the "what do you MEAN a book set in the 1990s is historical fiction" edge cases.)

Magical realism. There's no specific genre for it (nor do I think there should be one; it's too narrow, and that's best handled with tags), and I don't agree with the somewhat dismissive "Magical realism is fantasy originally written in Spanish" description that would put it in fantasy. But is it "general" enough to be in General Fiction rather than just the Fiction & Literature umbrella?

440Bookmarque
Jun. 29, 11:20am

>432 timspalding: "General Fiction" is my attempt to create a genre for fiction that isn't part of one of genres we otherwise have, or which are both "general" and "genre." If is not intended to include poetry (except novels in verse) or drama. It should not include critical works."

Well...ok, but I don't have high expectations of anyone figuring this out on their own. It doesn't indicate that's what it's for and sounds like it's competing w/Fic and Lit.

I know people don't like Non-genre fiction, but that's the most succinct and accurate I have seen so far or can think of.

441Kanarthi
Jun. 29, 11:21am

Regarding Tim's question about whether the General Fiction category "works", I think that it does, as I have many more books in Fantasy than in General Fiction, so it is clearly filtering many of them out. I also think that the ideal overlap isn't zero. There are some SFF books that I would expect to also see occasionally in the Fiction section of bookstores, such as The Sparrow, The Power, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, Sourdough, The Lathe of Heaven, or anything by Helen Oyeyemi or Haruki Murakami.

But there are also clearly some egregious misfits: The Iron Dragon's Daughter, Saint Fire and the rest of that series, Escaping Exodus, Space Opera. There are also some I'm on the fence about. Where should Spinning Silver be placed? It seems to have had popularity beyond regular genre readers, but that's only my impression, and I'm not sure where others would come down. Similar question about The Fifth Season or Rivers of London. I would classify them as firmly genre, not General Fiction, but perhaps they've become well known enough that others would disagree.

442timspalding
Jun. 29, 11:22am

>434 timspalding: timspalding: Sports & Games? Leisure is pretty nebulous.

Okay, what's included under Leisure that we may want—camping?

443anglemark
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 11:48am

>442 timspalding: Scouting, camping, trekking, fishing, crossword puzzles, stage magic, quizes, sailing, collecting stuff like coins or stamps, line dancing, ...

444lorax
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 11:45am

Kanarthi:

I wouldn't call any of those "egregious". They're wrong, and I'm deselecting "General Fiction" for those, but they're not grotesque. "Egregious" to me would be something like labeling one of those novels as Reference. And a well-known genre book like The Fifth Season isn't any less genre because it's well-known outside of people well-versed in the genre. That way lies "This book is good, therefore it can't possibly be genre" madness.

445Maddz
Jun. 29, 12:34pm

>443 anglemark: Cooking, gardening, reading, drinking...

446aspirit
Jun. 29, 1:11pm

I think picture books that aren't about poetry are misplaced in the Poetry genre.

447aspirit
Jun. 29, 1:11pm

By the way, turning genres off in Settings doesn't actually do anything.

448jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 1:51pm

>444 lorax: Why is Rin, Tongue, and Dorner in General Fiction? It's top tag is Science Fiction and there are only 57 copies in LT so it can't be that it's popularity qualifies it.

Is it better to report these individual problem books here or should I remove the questionable genre on the work page?

449byl_strother
Jun. 29, 2:03pm

I'm not sure if this is the right place but a couple of suggestions for additional genres:

1. Something to do with the Arts & Culture: Music, Art, etc. I know there's Art & Design but that doesn't fit well with books on Music, Movies, and Television.

2. Someone mentioned RPG's. I would like to see a genre for Hobbies and Games. All sorts of hobbies and RPG books.

450jjwilson61
Jun. 29, 2:04pm

When I look at the Business section of a bookstore I expect to see books on how to be an entrepreneur or preparing for an MBA. I don't expect to see history of business books like Railroaded or biographies of businessmen like The first tycoon.

451rosalita
Jun. 29, 2:21pm

Is it expected that many books will fall into both "General Fiction" and "Fiction and Literature"? Because the subset of my catalog I'm working with doesn't have many if any books that are in one but not the other, which is tempting me to turn off one of them.

The subset is also properly slotted into Science Fiction and I thought genre fiction wasn't meant to show in General Fiction but I admit I may have missed some of the twists and turns of this 450-post thread.

452melannen
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 2:57pm

>412 hypatian_kat: Yes - for the opposite example to the Christie, the non-SF mystery A Whiff of Death by Isaac Asimov has 8% Science Fiction tags compared to 52% for something like Pebble in the Sky, but it's still one of its most common tags and the mystery was still put in Science Fiction. For cases where an author is writing outside of the genre they're famous for, tags are always going to have this problem, I think - not just errors, but also people who are using tags to organize their physical library and want it shelved with other books by the author, or who bought it based only on the author and don't actually know/remember it's a different genre than the author's other books they own.

I'm not sure this is necessarily even a bad categorization in general, because in bookstore shelving they might very well put all of the author's books together, but I think it's a mistake on LT.

453prosfilaes
Jun. 29, 2:28pm

>410 timspalding: I'm not arguing about it for GenreThing, more against the idea that all of Agatha Christie should automatically go into mystery.

But for this book, I've never read the book, but the description is "A striking novel of truth and soul-searching. Returning from a visit to her daughter in Iraq, Joan Scudamore finds herself unexpectedly alone and stranded in an isolated rest house by flooding of the railway tracks. Looking back over the years, Joan painfully re-examines her attitudes, relationships and actions and becomes increasingly uneasy about the person who is revealed to her... Famous for her ingenious crime books and plays, Agatha Christie also wrote about crimes of the heart, six bittersweet and very personal novels, as compelling and memorable as the best of her work." Reading the reviews, nothing any of the reviews says (at least in English) implies that it's a mystery even in the broadest sense of the genre. Maybe some of those people have tagged it as mystery in some broader sense; a biography of Nixon could certainly fall into the mystery category for some people. But I'm leaning towards the taggers quickly tagging Christies and tagging this volume without paying close attention.

454lorax
Jun. 29, 2:40pm

On an issue that, as far as I know, hasn't been raised yet:

The "Selected Works" portion of the genre pages doesn't do well for genres with popular series, especially fantasy and science fiction:

Fantasy: https://www.librarything.com/genre/7/Fantasy
Science Fiction: https://www.librarything.com/genre/16/Science-Fiction

For fantasy, four of the 18 books shown (and three of the top six) are in the "Game of Thrones" (Song of Ice and Fire) series. For science fiction, five are in the Murderbot series. These are popular series, to be sure, but featuring them so heavily doesn't really showcase the depth of LT's data. (In both genres there are also cases where authors have multiple books appearing that are not in the same series). Perhaps tweaking the "selection" criteria so that subsequent books in a series, or by the same author, be downweighted?

455melannen
Jun. 29, 2:46pm

>445 Maddz: Music, film, dancing, TV, drama, poetry, art...

456al.vick
Jun. 29, 3:26pm

>443 anglemark: If not a "games and recreation", then what genre are crossword puzzles? Quiz and joke books?

457PawsforThought
Jun. 29, 3:32pm

>442 timspalding: I'd rather have Sports & Leisure than Games & Sports. Surely gaming (or playing non-electricity-needing games) is a form of leisure activity? Or indeed an e-sport.

458prosfilaes
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 6:13pm

>457 PawsforThought: I'd rather have Sports & Leisure than Games & Sports. Surely gaming (or playing non-electricity-needing games) is a form of leisure activity? Or indeed an e-sport.

Surely gardening and fiction reading are forms of leisure activity, as well?

Roleplaying games may not be a top-level genre, but there's at least ten thousand works in that genre cataloged in LT. I'd think games deserves a mention as part of a top level genre, because it is such a major set of books, which leisure doesn't really describe.

459timspalding
Jun. 29, 5:54pm

>403 AnnieMod: The History of the World should have made it into History. Same for Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin :)
Twelve Years a Slave
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - Biography?
Democracy in America


Thanks for this report. They are all fixed and history will have been refreshed generally within the next 30 minutes.

Basically, all of these had some ratty data about being for juveniles. At an earlier stage I was reacting to this data with 0s. I realized my error, but through a programming error, the zeroes were "stuck." I have now cleared them and am recalculating everything. A few genres beside history will see gains.

460AnnieMod
Jun. 29, 6:08pm

>459 timspalding: Awesome.

A few more in my catalog that surprisingly did not get a genre attached to them:

The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights: Volume 1 (and volumes 2 and 3) - I am not even sure where these should go... Literature and Fiction?
The American stage : writing on theater from Washington Irving to Tony Kushner - non-fiction at least
Talking About Detective Fiction - non-fiction
Perfect Poison: A Female Serial Killer's Deadly Medicine - non fiction, biography?

Should I just assign them where they belong or do you want to look at why they were missed?

461PawsforThought
Jun. 29, 6:26pm

>458 prosfilaes: sure, but they already have genres they fit into. Other forms of leisure don’t (a few that have been mentioned before: fishing, camping, hiking, collecting) so need a place where they fit. Sports & Games doesn’t indicate that, but Sports & Leisure does, and since gaming can be seen as BOTH a leisure activity and a sport it fits in great there.

462DuncanHill
Jun. 29, 6:52pm

Will genres eventually display on author pages - perhaps like tags, or like characters?

463HeathMochaFrost
Jun. 29, 9:20pm

I've been trying to follow this thread in recent days, and I don't think this has been mentioned. When I'm on the top tab "Your books" and I select a Collection to view, and then I go to the drop-down to see Authors, Tags, or Series, the result for any of those choices only shows me the Authors, Series, or Tags (with number) for the Collection I have selected at that moment. But when I change the drop-down to Genre, it lists all the Genres I've chosen to see, with the number for All Collections instead of just the number for that Genre that are in the Collection I've selected. I don't think it's a big deal to have all my selected Genres there, since it's a finite number and wouldn't overwhelm the page (although that's different behavior than Tags, etc.), but I'd really really like it if the numbers listed for each Genre corresponded to the Collection I'm looking at.

I realize you're still working on the actual Genres, but I hope you'll consider making this other change in the coming weeks, when the Genre names, contents, and functions are basically settled--at least for now. Thank you!

464LibraryCin
Jun. 29, 9:36pm

>439 lorax: Historical Fiction. Few bookstores have a historical fiction section,

Historical fiction being one of my favourite genres, it drives me nuts that bookstores don't have such a section! I wish they would! There are so many historical fiction books, I think it's good to have its own genre.

465melannen
Jun. 29, 10:00pm

My sister just got her first job with her new anthropology degree in the grab-bag-social-sciences department at a small university, along with the geographers and so on, and it's in the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences, so I vote we go "Chemistry and Geosciences" for the genre that includes Anthropology, Geography, Politics, Sociology, Etc. :P

466SandraArdnas
Jun. 29, 11:11pm

>465 melannen: Was that humorous/sarcastic?

467quasar
Bearbeitet: Jun. 29, 11:35pm

Not sure if its something to grumble about, but amongst my classics/ancient history collection I have things like Gallic War by Julius Caesar and Selected Political Speeches by Cicero given the Fiction & Literature genre, whilst things like Annals of Imperial Rome by Tacitus given History and Non-Fiction.

468Carmen.et.Error
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 1:58am

On some works there seems to be a bug appearing where when the Young Adult category is selected for a work the system will then automatically select Kids, Tweens, and Teens upon saving, whether you've selected them or not.

It's seeming to happen on some works and not others, though. Possibly on works that only have Young Adult and another category selected?

It's not a big deal either way because the system seems to save properly if you go back in and deselect the categories. It just seemed like a bug, none-the-less, and I figured it could be worth mentioning.

469anglemark
Jun. 30, 1:47am

>464 LibraryCin: My local bookshop does.

470Carmen.et.Error
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 1:51am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

471al.vick
Jun. 30, 7:40am

>464 LibraryCin: I went to Barnes & Noble last week, and the helpful employee showed me the historical fiction section. They should have given him a bonus, I bought 5 more books. I don't think it was visibly labeled, but maybe bookstores are starting to realize it improves browsing for customers if they have such a section?

472jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 6:26pm

>471 al.vick: According to their website B&N also has sections for Psychology, Sports and True Crime all of which are too niche for Tim.

473melannen
Jun. 30, 10:55am

>466 SandraArdnas: The story about my sister is 100% true, I was just trying to set a new low bar!

474waltzmn
Jun. 30, 5:17pm

>472 jjwilson61:

According to their website B&N also has sections for Psychology, Sports and True Crime all of which are too niche for Tim.

This is, I think, unfair to Tim, who is trying to give us a new feature. More to the point, I think it misses a very important consideration.

You can invent a classification system that classifies everything -- and is totally unusable. If there are too many genres, no casual user will be able to find anything, because they won't know what to look for. I've seen this, with a classification scheme for ballads; it breaks down because it's too complicated. Barnes & Noble can have hundreds of different sections because they have a staff person whose job it is to know them all. You and I won't have that. The list of genres needs to be short.

That's not to say that your suggested genres don't belong; very likely they do (I'd like to see Psychology myself). It's just that the total number of genres needs to be relatively limited.

So, e.g. take your "True Crime" genre. I just searched my library. I have nine books that show up as "True Crime" using whatever non-genre system the search function uses to classify books. One is an Early Reviewers book and a special case. The other eight: The pirate hunter : the true story of Captain Kidd ... Murder in Minnesota : a collection of true cases ... Bald Knobbers: Chronicles of Vigilante Justice ... Lift Up Your Head, Tom Dooley: The True Story of the Appalachian Murder That Inspired One of America's Most Popular Ballads ... The True Story of Tom Dooley ... Death in North Carolina's Piedmont: Tales of Murder, Suicide and Causes Unknown ... The Infamous Harry Hayward: A True Account of Murder and Mesmerism in Gilded Age Minneapolis ... Hanging the Peachtree Bandit: The True Tale of Atlanta's Infamous Frank DuPre.

Know what genre I classify those as? "Ballad-related"; every one of them relates to a murder or crime ballad. I wouldn't have a clue that they were "True Crime" except that a couple of them have "true crime" in the description. (It's not on the cover.) And I wouldn't go near that genre if I saw it. :-) If we have a hundred, or two hundred, genres, I'll never search any of them, because there are too many to read through.

I don't know what the fifty ideal genres are (it isn't just a matter of the ones that are most popular, since we need to try to cover almost all books). But I would strenuously argue that we want fifty or fewer, even if it means that some books aren't as well "genre-ed" as others.

475lilithcat
Jun. 30, 5:30pm

>472 jjwilson61:

That's fine for B&N. But why use B&N as a model?

The bookstore that I most often frequent has neither a Sports section nor a True Crime section. It's got a Medieval Studies section, though, and a Books about Books section, and a Literary Criticism section. None of which B&N has and all of which are more useful to me than Sports or True Crime.

I'm not suggesting that we should use my favorite bookstore as a model. I am suggesting that using any one bookstore as a model is probably not terribly helpful.

I would also note that how a store lists things on their website does not necessarily equate to how things are shelved in the physical store.

476timspalding
Jun. 30, 5:46pm

So, at some point I may drop BIC, BISAC or Thema on LibraryThing. I have the data. They are three separate bookstore classification systems that places like BN use underneath. They are, however, both very deep, and come with their own problems. Here, for example, are 50 of the 2201 BISACs …

DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
HISTORY OF ART / ART & DESIGN STYLES_AUSTRALASIA, ...
ANTIQUES & COLLECTABLES: JEWELLERY
COOKERY FOR SPECIFIC DIETS & CONDITIONS
HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS
NATIONAL & REGIONAL CUISINE_NORTH CENTRAL & MID-WE...
EUROPEAN HISTORY_NORTHERN EUROPE, SCANDINAVIA
RENAISSANCE ART
TAXATION & DUTIES LAW
DECORATIVE ARTS
ORIENTAL ART
HISTORY & THE PAST: GENERAL INTEREST (CHILDREN'S /...
CYCLING
NATIONAL & REGIONAL CUISINE_AUSTRALASIA, OCEANIA &...
JEWELLERY & BEADCRAFT
LAND & REAL ESTATE LAW
DATABASE SOFTWARE
AFRICAN HISTORY_CENTRAL AFRICA
ARCHITECTURE
LITERATURE: HISTORY & CRITICISM_OF SPECIFIC GAY & ...
THE ARTS: GENERAL ISSUES
EARLY HISTORY: c 500 to c 1450/1500_BYZANTINE EMPI...
VIRTUAL REALITY
MUSIC
GENERAL & WORLD HISTORY_c 1914 to c 1918 (INCLUDIN...
ROAD & MOTOR VEHICLES: GENERAL INTEREST
TRANSPORT: GENERAL INTEREST
SURGICAL TECHNIQUES
POPULAR BELIEFS & CONTROVERSIAL KNOWLEDGE
CRICKET
AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
OTHER NONCONFORMIST & EVANGELICAL CHURCHES
PRINTS & PRINTMAKING
TRAVEL & HOLIDAY_AUSTRALASIA, OCEANIA & OTHER LAND...
AFRICAN HISTORY_NORTH AFRICA
ICE HOCKEY
OPERA
GAY & LESBIAN STUDIES
POETRY ANTHOLOGIES (VARIOUS POETS)_ANCIENT WORLD
ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING
EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
OPHTHALMOLOGY
METHODIST CHURCHES
SOCIAL ISSUES (CHILDREN'S / TEENAGE)
COPING WITH ILLNESS & SPECIFIC CONDITIONS
SOCIAL IMPACT OF DISASTERS
FASHION & STYLE GUIDES
BIRDS, INCLUDING CAGE BIRDS, AS PETS
NATIONAL & REGIONAL CUISINE_EUROPE

477timspalding
Jun. 30, 5:59pm

The point of GenreThing, however, is to create a create a simple system that leverages MANY different systems, allowing for greater coverage and exactitude:

FWIW, here are some stats on our current coverage:

Tags: 10,087,763 works
Dewey Decimal: 5,880,783 works
LC Subject Headings: 4,446,726 works
BISAC (store 1): 3,776,369 works
BISAC (store 2): 2,957,409 works
LC Classification: 2,922,286 works
Publisher-provided "Audience": 2,789,556 works
Calculated Age: 1,383,185 works
Bowker Subject Headings: 629,136 works
Publisher-provided Age: 575,961 works

These are processed down to:

Genres: 4,604,207 works

478jjwilson61
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 6:28pm

>474 waltzmn: I guess I didn't say that well. I wasn't suggesting that Tim include those genres. I was responding to a post that suggested that Historical Fiction should be one of Tim's genres because it was a section in B&N and I was trying to say that B&N isn't a small bookstore so their categories aren't the ones that Tim is aiming for.

479timspalding
Jun. 30, 7:19pm

I am adding children's books back into Fantasy. Demand for that seems very high.

I'm also redoing reference a bit. I was penalizing books for having an 8XX Dewey number, which hit style guides and such under 808.

480SandraArdnas
Jun. 30, 9:47pm

General Fiction seems to catch a lot of stuff that doesn't belong there and which is already assigned to its proper genre. E.g. Moonheart or A Game of Thrones. Should we flag those? I can see the point of dual fiction genres such as being both fantasy and horror for instance, but these seem odd and I don't think it gives a better idea of the work by adding general fiction genre.

Checked reference, and aside from catching one selected works, it works fine.

481reconditereader
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 9:52pm

>479 timspalding: I have noticed some changes in what's classified as Reference.

Things currently categorized as "No Genre" in my library include a bunch of books of essays & reviews; Dave Barry's humor books; psychology; books about writing.

Where did we decide these are supposed to go? Just all in general nonfic?

482reconditereader
Bearbeitet: Jun. 30, 10:12pm

It's also really weird how a series or even a trilogy is divided among multiple genres but really unevenly. Horror is particularly bad at sucking in only *some* parts of a series. E.g., it has included volume 3 of Sandman but not volume 1 (the most horrifying one!). It includes volume 4 of Monstress but no other volumes. It includes only one of the Bone Street Rhumba books by Daniel Jose Older. (I would count none of those as horror, but ok.) So wacky. Historical fiction includes some but not all volumes of the historical mystery series by T.E. Kinsey. Why?

483amanda4242
Jun. 30, 10:17pm

The more I poke around, the more I think a speculative fiction genre might work better than separate science fiction and fantasy genres. So many works blur the edges between the two that having a genre that encompasses both, as well as things like alternate history and dystopian, would be helpful.

484reconditereader
Jun. 30, 10:24pm

Half the things in my YA category are literally middle-grade, which is totally not YA.

485timspalding
Jun. 30, 11:23pm

>484 reconditereader: Examples?

>482 reconditereader: Thanks. That's an interesting problem.

486quasar
Jun. 30, 11:52pm

One question I have I guess given there is Young Adult, Teen, Tween and Childrens is where is New Adult. Do those books just get slotted into Young Adult or just part of adult fiction?

And just how does Teen relate to Young Adult in terms of GenreThing.

487ABVR
Jul. 1, 12:00am

>400 timspalding: Fair enough. If if were king, I'd rename "Art and Design" as "Arts and Culture" and set it to pull in not only things like

The Making of Middlebrow Culture
The Six-Gun Mystique
Fear and Clothing

(which it already does) but also history/criticism books about film, television, theater, and music, like . . .

Of Mice and Magic
Generation Multiplex
Hollywood Sings!
Rednecks and Bluenecks
The Heart of Rock and Soul
Woody Guthrie's Modern World Blues
The Platinum Age of Television
Dangerously Funny
Not So Prime Time
The Making of Star Trek
The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity

Pretty much all of these -- if they're assigned a genre at all -- are in (just) non-fiction, in history, or in biography and memoir . . . all of which are justifiable, but all of which seem to skirt the fact that the books are about the arts.

If I hadn't been deposed by angry mobs after all that, and thus were still king, I'd also set "Arts and Culture" to (still) pull in books about "design" in the sense of graphic design like

Populuxe
Icons: Magnets of Meaning
Eugenic Design

but leave out books about "design" in the engineering sense of how-to-make-the-object-more-functional, like . . .

The Design of Everyday Things
Success through Failure
In the Beginning Was the Command Line
The Inmates are Running the Asylum

And aggressively push out books that are flat-out engineering-for-general-audiences:

Why Buildings Fall Down
Flying Buttresses, Entropy, and O-Rings
The Great Bridge
The Evolution of Useful Things

that really belong in a hypothetical Technology category with the likes of

747
Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers
The Man and His Ship
The Path Between the Seas
Insanely Great
More Work for Mother

and so forth.

Obviously, just my $0.02. :-)

488reconditereader
Jul. 1, 12:29am

>485 timspalding: Examples of middle-grade fiction that got sucked into YA:

1. The Joan Aiken series beginning with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
2. John Bellairs books such as The House with a Clock in its Walls and that series
3. Then Again, Maybe I Won't; Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing (It's right there in the title)
4. The Secret Garden
5. Dear Mr. Henshaw
6. Matilda
7. The Great Brain series
8. The Phantom Tollbooth
9. Everything by E.L. Konigsburg
10. the Anastasia books by Lois Lowry
11. Greenglass House
12. Island of the Blue Dolphins
13. The Westing Game
14. Everything by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
15. Charlotte's Web

That should get you started.

489LibraryCin
Jul. 1, 1:54am

>469 anglemark: Oh, nice! I should visit your local bookstore! ;-)

490LibraryCin
Jul. 1, 1:54am

>471 al.vick: That would be really great if they did start adding one in!

492anglemark
Bearbeitet: Jul. 1, 3:13am

timspalding, A couple of us have asked whether we should flag General Fiction for typical genre books, say, science fiction and fantasy. Could you please comment on that?

493abbottthomas
Jul. 1, 5:11am

May I make a further plea for a reconsideration of MUSIC as a genre? “Music” as a tag is used over 350,000 times. There is a huge list of music related tags - if I am reading it right 22,000??, lots and lots anyway. MUSIC covers a huge range of sub-categories.

Tim has expressed concern that CDs and other recorded music would be included but they are very well established in LT now. Surely even the most intractable of espousers of paper-purity have to accept reality.

I find if very difficult to accept a recording of Der Rosenkavalier being labelled ‘Fiction’. ☹️

494LibraryCin
Jul. 1, 8:12am

>491 anglemark: Thanks. :-) So, if I'm ever in Sweden...

495lorax
Jul. 1, 9:10am

reconditereader (#481):

I have obstinately left my Dave Barry books genreless in the hope that Tim will see the need for a Humor genre.

496melannen
Jul. 1, 9:55am

>488 reconditereader: except for for Greenglass House (which my local public library at least can't decide of it's YA or not either) those are all older titles and thus may be a lost cause - the clear divide between young adult and middle grade is relatively new and post-dates much of what's on your list.

Meanwhile a lot of people who own older books are going to be adults keeping them for nostalgia who don't know or care about modern age-grading in their tags - even I have tagged most of my older "middle grade" as YA because I'm not that interested in keeping the two separate.

497AnnieMod
Jul. 1, 10:26am

>495 lorax: I was just looking at a Bulgarian book and thinking the same...

498reconditereader
Jul. 1, 10:49am

499reading_fox
Jul. 2, 3:28pm

Can we have Genre as field when editing books please. At the very least when adding books manually.

500majkia
Bearbeitet: Jul. 2, 4:25pm

>499 reading_fox: yes please. And let us sort on it in my books.

501Maddz
Jul. 2, 4:42pm

>500 majkia: And in Power edit. Manually changing genre on pages of books is frankly tedious.

502claire.rivers
Jul. 2, 10:24pm

First of all, I think this is great.

That said, I think the way genre works in a library--primarily as a category/shared shelving location--and how it works in a bookstore--primarily as a sales pitch of new items in a category are different enough that I'd LOVE a feature where I could look at the most popular 250 titles in a category VS the most recent 250 titles in a category.

I'm not sure what the current list of 250 consists of.

503timspalding
Jul. 3, 12:43am

>495 lorax: I have obstinately left my Dave Barry books genreless in the hope that Tim will see the need for a Humor genre.

Waiting for the joke…

>499 reading_fox: reading_fox: yes please. And let us sort on it in my books.

I guess. But the best it can do is to sort it by the FIRST genre, which is… meh.

504tallpaul
Bearbeitet: Jul. 4, 6:26pm

It seems like a lot of Portuguese (and Brazilian) fiction is getting incorrectly classified as Romance: Gonçalo M. Tavares, Clarice Lispector, João Ribeiro, António Lobo Antunes, Jose Saramago where the ones from my collection, (though not Antonio Tabucchi, who wrote novels in Italian (& Portuguese) set in Portugal). Novel translates to Romance in Portuguese.

505PuddinTame
Jul. 4, 8:59pm

>189 norabelle414: Since this isn't a bookstore, with physical locations, I think that books might as well be in as many genres as they fit. That displays them to a greater range of people.

This might overfill some genres, such as fiction and nonfiction, with so many titles that they are useless, except perhaps to alert users looking at a book as to whether it is fiction or nonfiction.

506PuddinTame
Jul. 4, 9:15pm

What is the distinction between 'General Fiction' and 'Fiction and Literature'? Is the latter for books about fiction and literature, as opposed to being fiction and literature? Library of Congress, for example has a tag for, let us say, 'Women', and others for 'Women in Art', 'Women in Literature.'

507Stevil2001
Jul. 4, 9:59pm

>506 PuddinTame: I think "Fiction and Literature" is all fiction in all genres; "General Fiction" is "non-genre" fiction.

508guido47
Bearbeitet: Jul. 5, 1:29am

Hmm Where does Literature get spread from...? and why?

509PawsforThought
Jul. 5, 2:54am

>504 tallpaul: I wonder if something similar might happen to Scandinavian novels (I haven't seen it yet, but it's something to look out for). "Roman" is the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish for for "novel", and I'm hoping they won't be accidentally drawn with the Roman empire books.

510Nicole_VanK
Jul. 5, 3:14am

>509 PawsforThought: Same in Dutch, German and French. I really do hope not.

511anglemark
Jul. 5, 3:24am

>509 PawsforThought: I haven't seen any evidence of that happening yet. Tim is internationally minded, I think he is aware that "roman" means novel in French and German and has taken that into consideration.

512PawsforThought
Jul. 5, 3:32am

>511 anglemark: I haven't seen it yet either, but it's better to be on the lookout. I've seen similar things happen on LT before, so I wouldn't be very surprised if it popped up.

513timspalding
Jul. 5, 3:33am

I'll take a look at how it's happening. I believe I was careful in the tags—I'm aware of the whole "roman*" thing—but it's possible it's picking up something in the LCSHs or something.

514jjwilson61
Jul. 5, 12:45pm

Half of my No Genre books were on computer programming which don't seem to have a place in the current genres so I added them all to Non-fiction. I still have several books about music and sports and I think Tim is still thinking about those genres so I'll wait to manually assign those.

515jjwilson61
Jul. 5, 1:07pm

What happens if I assign a book about music to the Arts & Design genre and later you decide to create a Music genre? Will someone need to manually unassign the book from the A&D genre?

516LibraryCin
Bearbeitet: Jul. 5, 9:09pm

>507 Stevil2001: This distinction (Fiction and Literature vs General Fiction) is tricky. I know this (the distinction) has been mentioned before, and the question has been asked more than once.

I was assigning a few to books that didn't have any genres the other day and (although I read the distinction here earlier) I forgot and just assigned both because I could not remember, as it's not obvious by what they are called.

517paulmdh
Jul. 6, 2:00am

Can I add my request for a "music" genre? Several of my non-genre books are connected with music or musicology

How about a "transport" genre? Four hundred of my titles are tagged "transport" (though I do use the term very broadly). Some of these could go into "history" and some into "art & design". Most would not really sit happily in either.
I don't know if this is much of a thing outside the UK though. Most bookstores here will have a "Transport" section. In other countries, I have been given a blank look. or directed to the "Travel" section.

518lorax
Bearbeitet: Jul. 6, 9:22am

"Fiction/Literature" is an umbrella. Anything that's not nonfiction - prose fiction of any genre, poetry, drama - goes there. "General Fiction" is literary fiction or mainstream fiction - what you'd find in the "Fiction" section of a store or library that pulls out genres like romance, science fiction, and mystery. Nothing tricky about it. Books can have multiple genres, and often do.

519PawsforThought
Jul. 6, 9:30am

>518 lorax: Except some of us do find it tricky. As I mentioned earlier, my experience with the term "Literature" as a genre is purely as a non-fiction genre. If I saw that in a bookshop I'd expect to find books about literary history, journalism, essay-writing, etc. Not Shakespeare's sonnets.

520rosalita
Jul. 6, 9:46am

>518 lorax: It is tricky, because every genre book I have in my catalog is also in both General Fiction and Fiction/Literature. I've asked previously in this thread for clarification from Tim or someone with LT and all I see are responses from users like you who are not the ones coding the system. I suspect that's why the question continues to get asked, and will continue to get asked until Tim clarifies and can explain if we are meant to be flagging the genre books that end up in the General Fiction category or not.

521lilithcat
Bearbeitet: Jul. 6, 9:55am

>518 lorax:, >519 PawsforThought:

Yes, how we view those categories depends in large part on what we are used to seeing in the bookstores we frequent.

My very favorite bookstore doesn't have genre sections; they don't carry enough of what is generally considered "genre" fiction to bother. There is also no "fiction" section. There is a "literature" section, which is where I'd look for fiction, and a "literary criticism" section, which is where I'd look for books about literature.

But I've been in plenty of other bookstore that do have genre sections, and some that separate "fiction" and "literature" (also fiction), which I will tell you drives me batty because I can rarely figure out how they are differentiating between the two.

I've never been in a bookstore where the "Literature" section was entirely non-fiction, but I'm perfectly willing to believe that they exist. (I wonder if this is a cultural difference PawsforThought. I see you are in Sweden and I am in the U.S.)

Point being, bookstores differ in how they shelve things, many in ways that make no sense whatsoever.

522anglemark
Jul. 6, 10:01am

>520 rosalita: I have asked that twice now without getting a reply from Tim.

523rosalita
Jul. 6, 10:06am

>522 anglemark: Yes, I am appreciative that you are also trying to get an answer to this question.

524aspirit
Jul. 6, 10:40am

>521 lilithcat: I think of "Literature" as books about books, usually non-fiction about fiction. That's from education's usage (in the USA) and the LOC's classification.

525aspirit
Jul. 6, 10:42am

This topic loads slowly. Will someone from the LT team create a new page, or should I do it with a summary of what I think has been asked and answered so far?

526tallpaul
Jul. 6, 2:33pm

>516 LibraryCin: That is how they should be assigned, they are not exclusive categories, General Fiction is a subset of Fiction & Literature (which also covers drama, poetry and belle lettres).

527Petroglyph
Jul. 6, 4:44pm

>522 anglemark:
See message >273 timspalding:

Fiction & Literature is the "made-up characters" equivalent of "Non-Fiction", the big umbrella term that encompasses SF, crime, romance, litfic, drama, poetry, etc. "General Fiction" covers the non-genre fiction / litfic subgroup.

528SandraArdnas
Jul. 6, 5:19pm

>527 Petroglyph: anglemark was referring to genre fiction being assigned to general fiction. Several of us pointed it out and asked whether to flag those.

529PuddyRat
Jul. 6, 5:29pm

Okay, I can't read this entire thread (527 responses as of this writing), but all I can say is, "THANK YOU."

I boxed up my entire collection to move last December. I've had to wait to unbox most everything until my built-in bookcase was completed. I'm trying to organize my library so it makes sense (filing simply by author when you have 1500 books just doesn't make sense when it's a combination of fiction and non-fiction). Having some genres already assigned to some of my books is so very helpful. I may now be able to assign general classifications to the rest of my books which may further help with organization.

And, while I have an fairly extensive library (thanks to my deceased grandmother & mother), I'm no expert when it comes to books. That said, I expect to use your genre assigning and will endeavor to lend my experiences and observations as I go along.

So, bottom line, the genre addition is very timely for me and, again, I say, "THANK YOU!"

530Petroglyph
Jul. 6, 6:26pm

>528 SandraArdnas:
Ah, I see. I must have got confused with the other discussion going on in the surrounding comments.

531hypatian_kat
Jul. 7, 10:08am

Reasons for "Fiction & Literature" as an overarching thing with "General Fiction" as a separate thing almost certainly come from US-centric categorizations in large bookstores.

Genre fiction (when I was growing up: mystery, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, romance) was often separated from other books—often because all of those genres especially were "pulp novels". Equivalent to modern US mass-market paperbacks.

Having those separated out leaves a need to describe "what's left over", which would happen under various names, all of which have problems. "Fiction" has this implication that the genre fiction could be in there. (My public library had "Fiction" as the only category for shelving hardcover fiction, and used spine stickers to indicate mystery or SF or the like.) "Literature" implies to some people "a higher class" of fiction, and to others "a broader class" of writings—including poetry (which isn't always fiction), sometimes essays and speeches, etc.

So, the "empty space" between the genres but still clearly in the realm of fiction becomes "Non-Genre Fiction", "General Fiction" or still sometimes just "Fiction" (with the "non-genre" implied by having separate areas for genre fiction.)

And all of that calls out a further over-arching category of "not non-fiction". Because while poetry isn't clearly fiction (though it sometimes is), it's also not non-fiction (although it... also sometimes is—consider biographical poems.) Essays could often be non-fiction... but are really opinion-driven essays that span subjects and which make more sense to collect by author than by subject-matter really... "non-fiction"? Not in the same way as a geology text, or even a populist science book on dinosaurs.

And then of course there are other pieces of stuff that fit into that space of not-fiction but not-non-fiction (or not-not-fiction but not-not-non-fiction).

And finally, collected volumes which contain a mixture of the above. Fiction, poetry, drama, essays, you name it.

Anyway, that's my take on how these categories came to be in the US world, in particular.




Here's a list from the UDC. This is all under "82", which is "Literature", and particularly 82-1 through 82-9, which are "genres", which in this case means mostly literary forms rather than subject areas. I'm just sharing this as an illustration of "stuff that's not unreasonable to consider 'literature' that is not 'fiction'":

82 Literature
82-1/-9 Literary forms. Genres
82-1 Poetry. Poems. Verse
82-2 Drama. Plays
- 82-2-1 Verse drama
82-21 Tragedies
82-22 Comedies
82-23 Melodramas. Thrillers. Mysteries. Popular theatre
82-24 Historical plays
82-3 Fiction. Prose narrative
82-31 Full-length novels
82-32 Short stories. Novellas
82-4 Essays
82-5 Oratory. Speeches; Addresses. Lectures
82-6 Letters. (Art of letter-writing); Correspondence. Works in epistolary form
82-7 Prose satire. Humour, epigram, parody, etc.
82-82 Polygraphies. Selections, extracts. Anthologies. Curiosa
82-83 Philosophical or discursive dialogues. Conversations on various subjects.
82-84 Sayings; Maxims. Gnomic utterances. Sententiae. Aphorisms. Adages. Proverbs. Thoughts. Table talk. Obiter dicta

Add ".09" to the end of any of those for works about literature:

82.09 Literary criticism. Literary studies
- 82-2.09 Criticism of dramatic works
- 821.112.2-2.09 Criticism of German dramatic works

(My own library uses UDC, and I only make a distinction between 82, 82-1, 82-82, and 82.09.)




Anyway, short form is that my take on "Fiction and Literature" is that it includes all of the genre fiction categories, as well as "General Fiction" and "Poetry".

It also includes things we have no separate category for but which are not clearly "fiction" or "non-fiction": Drama, essays, oratory, letters, satire, anthologies, dialogues, sayings.

I personally feel like "Drama" should have its own category, but while it doesn't I am glad that it does at least have a place under "Fiction and Literature".

And as for literary criticism... I'm still waiting for a "Culture & Society" category for that sort of thing. :)

532JMK2020
Bearbeitet: Jul. 14, 8:50pm

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