I think we need a new tag.

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I think we need a new tag.

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Fev 20, 2012, 12:23pm

With the problems we're seeing with the List that was created, and with pollution of the ULTB concept, I wonder if it's time we make a new tag and abandon the old. I'm thinking about SULTB - Super Unique Library Thing Book.

If it were up to me, what I would do is make a rule that the item tagged SULTB must be listed on LT through a library source. No manual entry. And if you have two of these that are exactly the same, you have to fix it so only 1 copy exists on LT.


Fev 20, 2012, 1:13pm

I do not support the library entry only restriction. By their nature, many ULTBs are not held by libraries. What is your rationale for requiring it?

Fev 20, 2012, 1:39pm

To legitimize the entry.

Fev 20, 2012, 2:00pm

We have tons of legitimate series books which were manual entry. Truly rare books will often not be in one of the sources LT allows. Series books are not always held in high regards in libraries and aren't always available. We own every book in our LT catalog. Most even have our own cover image. Are they not legitimate?

-Kim K

Fev 20, 2012, 2:10pm

I have real books that I have not been able to find a source for. I would have to leave those off, too.
I'm just trying to think of ways to have more accountability.
Maybe an image requirement would help? If you can't find a source, then post an image?

Fev 20, 2012, 2:14pm

And something else I am thinking about: private member. I think if the only other person with your book is a (private member) then you should be able to ULTB and SULTB. I don't know how many times I have had a ULTB, removed it because (private member) listed it, and then (private member) deleted it! I just don't think private member books should count at all.

Fev 20, 2012, 7:57pm

I have some books that show as 2 copies not because I have 2 identical (which I do in one case, but that's one case) but because the exact same singleton is cataloged in both my library and in my husband's. That does not dilute the concept in my mind.

I do have a handful of manuscripts tagged ULTB, if that is offensive, I can remove them.

My rule of thumb is, would a library catalog it? In fact, some items ULTB items I've manually cataloged were then given to the library at UCSB, who then cataloged them. So if anyone else ever came up with a copy, they'd have a library source for it when I did not.

I don't get the private member problem. Anyone or multiple anyones could delete their copies, leaving yours unique. Vigilance is the only cure for that.

I'm also thinking that having too many rules and saying something must be fixed so only one copy shows on LT, and so on, does take some of the fun out of it.

Fev 25, 2012, 1:36pm

4, What do you think about my image suggestion?

Fev 25, 2012, 3:53pm

2, I know this is going to sound snippy and mean, and I am sorry for that, but this is a discussion of what we can do to clean up the ULTB tag and make it more meaningful and I can't help but wonder W.T.H. when I see you have this book tagged ultb.

Editado: Fev 25, 2012, 5:55pm

>3 Collectorator: Many legitimate entries aren't from library sources, and a library entry can be easily faked should someone have the motivation to do so, just add whatever book from a library source then change all the fields to suit your own work, separate from whatever it was combined with and you've got the equivalent of a manual entry with a spurious library source.

>9 Collectorator: People outside the group must think the tag sounds "cool", slap it when they add a book and it appears to be unique, and never look back even if some check later or even right upon adding would have found other instances of the same work.

Fev 26, 2012, 12:01am

10a, ...which is what people could also do right now with the ULTB tag, but I don't see your scenario as having much influence on the direction we take with a ULTB clean-up. Just because someone could fake something doesn't mean we should give up. All of this could be fake, for all you know.

10b, I'm sure that's possible, but I don't think that is what happened in staffordcastle's case. His interest in the ULTB tag isn't of the drive-by variety.

Fev 26, 2012, 3:54am

I have no problem with a more strict super ULTB tag but I agree that requiring that they be added from a library source would knock out a lot of legitimately "super" ULTBs.

9> when you say you want to make the tag more meaningful, can you elaborate? I am thinking that the tag is just used to call out that I am the only person (on LT) that has a particular work.

I have tagged everything where I appear to be the only owner as ULTB. That includes a lot of ephemera (like theatre programs), street directories, sheet music that may well only be ULTBs because no one else cares to add them.

(Although I occasionally have a book like http://www.librarything.com/work/10354372/summary/64049257 that shows it is owned by 2 people but I am the only one listed, so I continue to claim ULTB).

Examples that must be ULTBs like http://www.librarything.com/work/10542005/book/65798610 or http://www.librarything.com/work/11980733/book/65771485 I was only able to add manually.

Fev 26, 2012, 5:10am

12, I should have said more reliable. I'd like to be able to search (or make lists) based on the ULTB tag and find lots of SINGLE copies of books that we can "trust" to be actual books (or maps, ephemera, etc.) I am not opposed to these things, so I hope no one thinks that's what I'm after. The reason I said we need a new tag is because ULTB is hopelessly polluted. The next solution may very well become polluted, but I don't see how it would hurt to try and see what happens. When we communicate in this forum it brings the topic to the minds of more people, hopefully people who want the ULTB tag to mean something. From what I can tell, there are only 101 users using the ULTB tag. Yet there are over 13,000 books. I am seeking to refine those 13,000 and to elevate the interest level of the tag's users.

On your Building Encyclopedias, the other person is (probably) a private library. I mentioned before that I think situations like this should allow for the ULTB and/or the SULTB tag because the private member is unaccountable. It could also be a system glitch, another unaccountable source. (snark)

For your Monumental Java, there's one at Texas A and M. 1912. I haven't looked for the other one but I will in a few minutes.

Editado: Fev 26, 2012, 5:22am

12, The University of Michigan has your Chronicle of the Emerald Buddha.

Both of those are SULTBs!

Fev 26, 2012, 6:58am


When I add my books, I think they get added by default from amazon. How do you ensure that they are added from a library?

Fev 26, 2012, 7:05am

I would remove amazon as a possible source now and forevermore. I would set my default source to Library of Congress, and use Overcat next. When those two fail me, I go to WorldCat and find it. Then I look through their list of sources for a source that LT also uses as a source. (Those are found by clicking that obscure link at the bottom of Add Books that (sort of) takes you to a link to the ~700 sources LT has.)

That's how I found Texas A and M and the University of Michigan.

Fev 26, 2012, 7:16am

Thanks, I see. I will give that a go next time I add something.

Editado: Fev 27, 2012, 1:48pm

>9 Collectorator:
Collectorator, I noticed that the first time I looked at the list for ULTBs, and took steps to clean up.

At the time I entered the book, I was the only holder, but now another member has it. I removed my tag, but the book has stubbornly remained on the list, which I would consider to be a bug. Moreover, the record immediately changed to say that there were three holders instead of two, which at that time did not appear to be true.

ETA: The record now lists four holders, but says five people own it.

Editado: Fev 27, 2012, 3:15pm

>18 staffordcastle: One of them probably has it private, whether the individual book or their whole collection.

Fev 27, 2012, 3:36pm

Jarandel, that may be true, but it is suspicious that the extra copy appeared at the exact moment that I removed my tag. What are the odds of that? Also, does not "private library" appear in the list when there are private holders of a book?

Fev 27, 2012, 3:46pm

#20 - perhaps a BugCollecters post is in order? I've long abandonned that group, but I assume it's still going. Maybe see if you can replicate it first?

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the tag list is seldom updated - 3months+ for some of the Zeitgeist instances, and they are at the customer facing LT rather than an obscure tag list.

Fev 27, 2012, 3:58pm

reading_fox, you may be right, but I think I'll test it again before I set up a bug report. Also I would like to re-read the thread on Lists; I think Tim has recently said something about how often (or whether) they are updated, and whether books will drop off when they no longer qualify.

Fev 27, 2012, 6:20pm

I'm sorry not to have been tracking more closely, but I didn't realize there was a problem. How has the concept been polluted?

Mar 3, 2012, 3:44am

>23 Meredy: People outside the group using the tag "ultb" with whatever identical or different meaning they may attribute to it, who can't really be contacted easily should the tag no longer prove true for one/some of their book(s) and/or who may have a relatively lax interest in keeping their ultbs up to date.

Editado: Mar 14, 2012, 6:10pm

It is the nature of tags to become somewhat polluted. My tag unique library thing book is another person universal little tight binding tag. Change to something else will not eliminate that effect. With tags there is always going to be some "pollution". Previously ULTB was "singleton" I imagine that tag is still out there.

The nature of any title being a unique book is never going to be stable. The first person to catalog the newest best seller can tag it ULTB. But, I really don't see that happening.

Besides that whole List thing is still under construction so I won't worry to much about it, for a while. I think it is more interesting to look at page 10 of the list. I mean "Modesty Blaise The Black Pearl And The Vikings" would seem to be Extra Super Unique Library Thing Book


(But note, unique can be neither super or extra. But, that's someone else's rant on a different thread.)

If Library Thing is about meeting people with common books. ULTB is just about meeting people with uncommon books.

Good Discussion!

Mar 14, 2012, 9:49pm

Thanks, m. I enjoy your input. When lists get finalized I may try a new tag and see if anyone wants to join me. But that could be a while, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of ULTBs, I got in a batch of books and already two of them are ULTBs!!

Images should be up in a day or two. Maybe even tonight!

Mar 15, 2012, 1:16am

I added the images to those two. 2 out of 25 is good, no?

Mar 15, 2012, 5:52pm

Bear Trouble, that is just classic!

Mar 16, 2012, 11:41pm

Here's a book that has me bummed out.
For one thing, some private library is the only one else who has it, which would mean I could count it as an SULTB under my rules.
But, although WorldCat has it cataloged, their only source is Harvard, and we don't get Harvard as a source on LT, so I couldn't count it as a SULTB under my rules.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Mar 22, 2012, 9:30am

One of my ULTBs just got knocked off so I dutifully removed the tag, however it still shows as ULTB in the work tag list.


Maybe it takes a while to update. The other owner doesn't use the tag.

Mar 22, 2012, 7:27pm

I took the ULTB tag off one of my books almost as soon as the list was created, but the book is still on the list, with more than one author. I don't think it updates at all.

Mar 23, 2012, 1:57am

That kind of looks like this bug, but in reverse. Perhaps a bug report is in order?

Mar 23, 2012, 8:20am

>10 Jarandel: There's also the apparent fact that the system doesn't seem to always recognize a book as being listed in other libraries. When I added Best SF72 it came back as unique which I thought had to be wrong and it is. I went back and re-entered the book just to make sure I didn't have some easily overlooked mistake in the entry and it still came back unique.

I happened on this thread while looking over the general offerings this morning and I do have a question. This ULTB tag is this just a tag you enter when adding a book or is it something you check off on a drop down menu somewhere?

Mar 23, 2012, 9:56am

"This ULTB tag is this just a tag you enter when adding a book"

ALl tags are. There is no LT ability for 'preselecting' tags. TIM believes that tagging works best as an individual experience.

Mar 23, 2012, 10:14am

33, depending on your source, it is conceivable that even a Bible could initially show in your catalog as the only copy on LT.

If a user wants to "play" the ULTB game, it is his/her responsibility to search for other copies and combine his/her work with those others. If, after a thorough search, no other can be found, it can be tagged ULTB.

If you already knew that, please accept my apology.

Editado: Mar 23, 2012, 10:35am

>34 reading_fox:, 35 - thanks for the information. 35 - most of my entries are manual. I tried using the sources but more often than not the version the sources selected were not the version I had. After nutsing around trying to turn the source selected/downloaded into what I had I found it was just easier to enter everything by hand.

Edited: Also 35 - how do you go about combining what you have with others? I'd like to do that with the BestSF72 since when you look it up separately the version I have does not appear as a cover choice.

Mar 23, 2012, 10:34am

36, I hear you about finding the right source! I spend more time doing that than I do finding the books to buy in the first place. I probably have about 3 hours invested every book I own. I use the backwards WorldCat technique. Maybe I should call it CatWorld. :)

Editado: Mar 23, 2012, 2:41pm

>36 alco261: I take it back! Caught out by a colon.

Mar 23, 2012, 1:40pm

>36 alco261:,38
Combined. See here.

Mar 23, 2012, 3:54pm

>39 eromsted: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Editado: Mar 23, 2012, 4:02pm

>40 alco261:
No problem. If you ever need anything combined and can't do it yourself you can post a combination request in the Combiners! group. Look for the latest "Combining/Separating (Please Fix This Book!) Request Thread." Include links to the works that need combining.

Mar 24, 2012, 12:13am

>40 alco261:, 41 Even if you can combine it, there are people on LT who simply LOVE to fiddle with stuff like combining. I always bring my combining requests to them (the please fix this book thread).

Now, to look at my ULTBs, to root out the ones which are not. Quite a few don't have covers yet. Sigh. I'll work on it!

Mar 24, 2012, 12:38am

I checked another of my books that used to be one of my ULTBs but I removed the tag after someone else added it (http://www.librarything.com/work/10404197). That was a few weeks ago and the ULTB tag has correctly disappeared from the work. I will keep an eye on http://www.librarything.com/work/10473493 expecting the tag to eventually go away.

Abr 2, 2012, 9:37am

Sunday I was adding some titles that I am using of a research project and thinking of this thread. I have changed the unique ebooks I have in my library to ultb-e, the ones in my wishlist to ultb-w, and the few I borrowed from the library or set free to ultb-sf. This leaves ultb for the physical books sitting on my shelves.

Abr 2, 2012, 10:42am

Good idea TLCrawford!