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Ago 4, 2013, 10:30pm

I just tagged 37 books. There were a couple that I didn't tag as a copy is probably out there somewhere, I just didn't have the time to look for them.

Editado: Ago 4, 2013, 11:47pm

The last column, with a " human head " icon in each member's collection will indicate the number of members who owned the same book as you. It is a very challenging task/project to gather this information. Is there a short-cut method to do it ?

If the LT's catalog's format is able to classify or formulate the list of only-owned books by each member will be interesting and exciting.

Ago 4, 2013, 11:54pm

You can sort your catalog by members (the little head column) by using the sort icon: two arrows, one up, one down. You'll find it next to the lightning bolt icon.

There is no way to find out site-wide which books are loners, except through the folks who choose to tag with the ultb tag. However, you can go to the tag page for that tag and see all the books that have that tag.

As of this writing, it has been used 24,328 times by 128 members. There are bound to be more, but I don't know how you'd find them.

Editado: Ago 5, 2013, 1:06am

Thank you.

"....but I don't know how you'd find them." Yes, we can access the full list of those unique-owned book( catalogued- by one member only).

(as pointed by you)

Use: Tag: ultb

Click: Weighted

Search and Scroll - Titles

Ago 5, 2013, 3:16pm

4 > When I said "but I don't know how you'd find them" I was referring to the singleton books cataloged by the members who don't use the ultb tag. Only 128 members use it, thus there are many, many thousands more than that who don't. There is no easy (or perhaps not any) way to find their untagged ultbs.

Ago 6, 2013, 8:10am

Maybe there are some other threads in other groups where this group could be announced. I am in LT 2.5 years and didn't find out about it until the other day. It popped up on the little "groups you might enjoy" and I came over to see what it was all about. Since I have always been proud of my little single copies amid so many members I joined.

Ago 8, 2013, 5:07am

The idea behind ULTB is a nice one but I find that any cataloguing differences ( I wont call them errors) may result in a book being shown as a 1 member LT item when it is not really -- different editions, different ways of entering the title , perhaps a different variation of the author's name and so on. I do find I need to keep going back over the ULTB list , (useful to use the sort icon), to clean up and try to be accurate. I do not believe that I have over 3000 ULTB books ( of nearly 14 000 books) but that is what the statistics show.. it just does not seem credible. Remember too that people using other cataloguing systems eg Good Reads could own the book. How exclusive are we trying to be? I am now trying to go through my catalogue and clean up missing authors and missing dates of publication. And to see what can be done with "anon " or " anonymous" coming up for the author when it may not be anonymous at all.

Editado: Ago 8, 2013, 5:24am

A same( in term of text ) by an author have many variation of book titles published in different countries(different translations) and edition/reprints are the main "culprit" as pointed by you is 100 % correct leading to inaccurate figures of ULTB books. This is really difficult to monitor, or fine tuned to almost accurate statistical figure.

Tagging and Cataloguing are just keep track of the books you owned, and not purchasing a book twice , this will save "wasteful" spending of books.

Ago 8, 2013, 8:16am

it's called ULTB = Unique LibraryThing Book, so it doesn't matter who else wherever might have another copy, it's just LT we're concerned about.

It's also your duty to check for a bit before tagging your unique work with ULTB. Check the author page, search for the title, try some variations.

Ago 8, 2013, 12:00pm

How right you are, JerryMmm- I am happy to try all of these approaches to check details. are there other checks to be comprehensive in approach? What I also notice is that the cataloguing systems which LT draws upon ( the 700 odd libraries) make some mistakes in their cataloguing -- ideally one would like a really reliable and consistent cataloguing short cut ( the long way round is to do the manual entry and so work from the book you own). I think it is a superb method all the same. So back to doing some follow ups on ULTBs.

Ago 8, 2013, 1:18pm

And, I am guessing here, but really the ULTB designation is 'for fun' - at least it is to me. Whether or not one tags a book as such or not won't stop the world from spinning. I find lots of tags on books that I have just read that have nothing to do with the book and no one is pouncing on the person who put it there...if we can even tell. And I am sure that there are also 'one-ofs' that aren't tagged... so is the tag for anything other than fun? The little joy that we have a book that is unique...and if it isn't, need we know that? I think that those who do label will try to be as accurate as possible, so I, for one, will accept the list in good faith and get on with other stuff.

Ago 8, 2013, 1:29pm

Let's say you have a book that appears to be unique on LT but you are doubtful that it is true. Here are some steps to consider.

1) Is the author correct (some data sources have flawed data)?

2) Is the title correct and normalized for LT quirks?


* Content in titles in parentheses () are ignored for auto combination.
* Content after (and including) a colon are ignored for auto combination.

It is sometimes helpful to adjust a title punctuation such as:

Tom Swift and His Airship; or, The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud
Tom Swift and His Airship: or, The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud (Tom Swift, #3)

Here I have used a colon to separate the main title from the subtitle. The series information can be added in parentheses for my own use and other humans but does not affect combinations.

3) Recalculate author/title. This may cause LT to initiate the auto combination process, especially after steps 1 and 2 were done.

4) Go to the author page (click the author name link). On the right side you will see "Improve This Author. Combine/separate works. Click this link to see a list of the author works with a chance to combine it with others that are the same work.

When you come up with things that are not easy to combine, visit the Combiners! group and ask for specific help.


Ago 8, 2013, 4:38pm

I will confess that I have applied the ultb tag to a few books that are cataloged twice -- once in my husband's account and once in mine -- because I know the two entries represent only one physical copy.

I'm not entirely sure about tagging unique works of which I have more than one copy; in other words, an item no one else has cataloged, but I have several of them. Is it then user unique or physical unique that counts?

Ago 8, 2013, 5:35pm

#13 by PhaedraB>

I raised that point before and the general reaction in the group was that if my copies were the only ones in LT then they should count. My example was a scarce story owned by Edward Stratemeyer called Malcolm the Waterboy by "D. T. Henty" (pseud.).

Mershon, 1900 first printing

Wanamaker Young People's Library edition with early dust jacket

Only seven Worldcat libraries have a copy. Of course, I'd be the first to recognize that this is not a book that libraries would be likely to carry in the first place, let alone retain for more than 110 years. Very few collectors, Stratemeyer or, oddly, G. A. Henty collectors have a copy.

LT says 2 members have the book. That's incorrect. There are two copies, both mine. The label on that piece of data is misleading on the book page and book catalog pages. There's no motivation to change it to better reflect what is actually being counted, let alone try to count what the label says.


Ago 8, 2013, 7:55pm

I tend to get suspicious when I add a book and see that message that "no other members" have the book, or that a low number do, and then I'll go hunting for combinations.

A potential complication is that sometimes author names get encoded quite differently, so the same work might be sitting in copies on different pages that don't talk to each other. As an example from when I peeked into Africansky's ULTBs, author Erdem Yücel has been entered/imported differently by different users, so sometimes it's encoded as yucelerdem, other times as ycelerdem, and other times as yuumlcelerdem. Combining all those author pages makes it easier to find work combinations. Any authors with diacritics, multi-word surnames or multiple last names are often ripe for this kind of combination need. Middle names and initials also have this problem, but are trickier since they often need to be split and aliased instead of combined. (Even the diacritics occasionally get tricky ... iturriagajose stands for both Jose (N.) Iturriaga and José E. Iturriaga.

And then there are the fun cases of works that are catalogued by some under Editor1, others under Editor2, others under the famous Foreword writer, others under "Editor1 and Editor2", others under publisher name, and others with no author at all! :-) If I can figure out that it's all just the same work, and figure out who is who, I'll get the copies combined and then massage Other-Authors to make sure the work still appears on all the right pages.

Ago 9, 2013, 1:32am

A lot of my ultbs are things like maps, dvds, etc. My attitude is that if it's something a public library would own and catalog it's fair game for Library Thing. On dvds the combining problem usually is the "author"; I use the director but others use the producer, the star actor, etc. I note most recent dvds have an ISBN number so this will facilitate combining.

Ago 9, 2013, 1:54am

I have a fair number of manuscripts in my ultb, which might not be fodder for a public library but certainly a university library. As a matter of fact, I'm in the process of donating a lot of them from my husband's collection to a university library.

Sometimes I can't remember if I've sent something already, so I look it up in WorldCat. I get a kick when I see there is one copy of that item on WorldCat, and it's in the library to which I send things. Hey, that's my item!

Maybe I should use a uwcb (unique WorldCat book) for those works. :-)

I do keep using the ultb tag for deaccessioned works, since it's the same situation as with a Legacy Library.

Ago 9, 2013, 1:32pm

12 and 14 Keeline, thanks for the careful explanation as to how to realy double check for ultb status. I am trying to do a bit more of that but its a long process as it turns out that I still have 3000 plus ultbs -- I am the first sceptic here. However I find that doing the checking give me more skills in using LT to fullest advantage. I know that many of my titles are ULTBs because they fit in my Africana collection and collecting Africana books is pretty rare in the LT community. I am trying to tag with the phrase "Africana" for books that fit in the category - about Africa - but of course not all books about Africa are rare or collectable and that label Africana should be limited to fine collectable older books which are sought after but the boundaries are porous. Any other views on this Q of definitions - anyone with a tighter definition of say, "Americana" ?

Editado: Ago 10, 2013, 6:11am

" African Studies" is a politically correct tagging label. Refer to:
Wikipedia for the actual definition.

Suggested tags: African Studies . Africana Studies, Africology

Do I misunderstood your question of proposed views of tagging ?

Editado: Ago 10, 2013, 8:31am


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Ago 10, 2013, 8:32am

Interesting .. African Studies refers to the study of sub Saharan Africa but is more germane in academic or scientific circles and yes, studies are organized around this title at institutes and universities . The term Africana still applies to book collecting and book dealing and many of the main dealers in Africana books retain the term in their titles ... Eg Clarke's Africana book dealers in CT. or see this link below about Slotow in Pietermaritzburg . Some interesting questions arise in fact, with the term African Studies, as to exclusion of North Africa and the Egyptian world as being "Arab" ( for that read Islamic ). This same problem of definition crops up in African art . Africana books traditionally referred to books about South Africa , but that is too tight a geographical definition. And who still uses the phrase "Rhodesiana" for books from Zimbabwe and Zambia? No one!

I shall track down more on line reflections and discussion as to what is or is not Africana .. But I am not a purist . thanks for your suggestions re tags .. But the term "studies" really fits with a more conscious effort to study "Africa" as a fruitful area of research or a problem.

Editado: Ago 11, 2013, 5:35am

According to Dewey Decimal Classification Sub Group 960 -"General History of Africa' covering the whole of African continent with different sections of different African nations( Group 961 to 969 )

I will modify my tagging of books by using the subject matter headings(for any group concerned) by editing the words used by Dewey Decimal Classification .

If you refer to :

will guide you to tag your books correctly by reference to the index, from Africa to Afrotropic
close to the main subject matter of the book. This give more accurate tagging "labels" to your
African-related books/materials. I hope that this method is not too elaborate and time-consuming.

If you use DDC - a complete set of 4 volumes,catalog and label your books will be properly grouped on the shelves. A very tedious task but worthwhile for your hugh collection of books.

e.g. 800 Literature & rhetoric

>890 Literature of other languages

>896 African Literatures

Fulani (Fulah)
Ibo (Igbo)
Bantu ( e.g. Swahili,Zulu)

Ago 17, 2013, 1:40pm

To get back on the ULTB topic.. Currently I am on the massive task of revisiting all the titles, authors, publication dates .. I am picking up a good many errors because there were mistakes in the original cataloguing. this does affect the ULTB status . I find the following challenges to straighten ... Anonymous authors or "not known" , Authors with names reversed, missing initials or middle names or initials included for some titles but not for others, incorrect labeling of say editor or illustrator status vs. being an author. Titles may be too elaborate or I sufficiently detailed . correctiosn have now knocked out about . 200 ULTB status of 3 thousand and I have covered about 1/4 of the library. Now taking me into combining author territory. Most interesting but Objective is to ultimately produce an accurate catalogue , rather than how many LT members own a title . keeps on reminding me that a computer system is only as good as the data entries . I guess that is basic!