How does this work?

DiscussãoToo Obscure

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How does this work?

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Ago 10, 2007, 1:59pm

Does a library of really obscure books have an obscurity value as a high number or a low one? For example, I have a median/mean obscurity of 172/935. Which is more obscure, my median book (172), or my mean one (935)?

Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

Ago 10, 2007, 2:28pm

Which is more obscure
since the only place this data is displayed is on someones profile answering that question will be mostly opinion and guess work, and I would guess that they are about the same.

A higher Obscurity would be lower numbers, Mine is 16/432 so I am more obscure than you, however there are others who are much more obscure than me yet, BTRIPP I think is one.

Ago 10, 2007, 2:39pm

Untill we get charts, who know if readafew or I am more obscure.
At 19/338, I have a higher medium and a lower mean.
Call it a tie.

the earliest cataloged of twenty-five 19s is Selected Plays of Eugene O'Neill by none other than Eugene O'Neill
338 is Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer

Ago 10, 2007, 3:12pm

Readafew ... your 16/432 tops my current 26/380 ... mind you, at the start of this year I was at 12/189, so that's gone WAY up. Since I haven't added any Harry Potters or the like, I'm assuming that there have been a lot of people coming on board with a similar book mix to explain my "slippage"!


Ago 10, 2007, 3:34pm

BTRIPP > I guess I hadn't noticed you slipped that much, my comic book collection is having a large impact on my obscurity, we'll see what another 750 comics do to it, I kind of feel I'm cheating.

Ago 10, 2007, 7:52pm

Hmmm…I have 21 and 388. Right now, my catalog totals 1330, of which 179 are not shared, and 82 are shared with one other. Almost half of the 82 are maps, where I have two editions of the same title.

My first book at 21 copies is Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Michael Pyle. The only title at 388 copies is The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (a Pulitzer winner, but it is not high on my TBR list.)

I have 9 of the top 25 books (including 2 Harry Potters), and multiples of some very popular titles.
2 Huckleberry Finn (6241 copies in LT)
2 Alice in Wonderland (3574 copies)
3 Pilgrim’s Progress (2404 copies)
2 Uncle Tom’s Cabin (2014 copies)
2 Prelude to Foundation (1355 copies) - one is on the deaccession pile, so that should help
2 Silent Spring (833 copies) – one on the deaccession pile
2 Battle Cry of Freedom (815 copies)

I did cheat and list my LOTR as a 3-volume set, rather than the 3 individual volumes.

Ago 10, 2007, 8:54pm

So, if I deleted The Lord of the Rings, the two Harry Potter books I have, and a few other popular books, my numbers would go down and library would be more obscure, right?

Ago 10, 2007, 11:37pm

Right, so the median of 163 means that if you sort your catalog by number shared (by clicking the blue header above that column), the book that is at the midpoint of your catalog is shared by 163 people. Half of your books are shared by more than 163 people, and half are shared by less. This is a factor of the number of popular books you have, and the number of unpopular books. You don’t have a huge number of unpopular books, so removing 2 or 3 popular books probably wouldn’t change that number very much. Take out a few books and the median moves to 162, 158, 157, and so on.

The mean (average) of 910 comes from adding up the number shared for each book, and dividing by the number of books. This number is affected mostly by the degree of popularity of your books, and less by the number of popular books. Removing HP and LOTR would definitely change this number.

The question is: what do you want your catalog to do? Some LT users find achieving obscurity to be so important, that they decide not to catalog their popular books. Other users want to list every last book, pamphlet, and map. And some use LT to find other users who share their particular span of interests.

Ago 11, 2007, 9:08am

The median is better test of obscurity than the mean. The mean is very affected by high numbers. There are non-intuitive alternate types of (means) averages, that reduce the effect of outlier numbers like Harry Potter books and Dan Brown books. These are the harmonic mean and the geometric mean. They are fairly complicated equations that would impact negtively on LT to compute for everyone, besides the fact that even number-oriented people like myself don't have any feeling for what they indicate. If you owned only Harry Potter and Dan Brown books, your mean would be up over 10,000. Say you have 10 books with a mean of 10,000. Then you go out and obtain 10 books which no one else owns. Your mean for 20 books will now drop to 5,000 which is still a really huge number. Then let's say you go and enter in 80 guidebooks and maps that your great aunt left you from her travels in the 1930's, that no one else has. Now with a 100 books, your mean is at 1,000 (median will be 0). So, even with 90 totally obscure books, your mean rating still shows you as relatively unobscure as compared with other LT people.

Ago 11, 2007, 9:11am

I never read The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, but I did enjoy Oscar Hijuelos Mr. Ives' Christmas. I'm even thining of trying to enter that into my library catalog as a "library book."

Editado: Ago 12, 2007, 8:01pm

I've just started with LT and have entered almost 1,000 items some of which are quite obscure, and have an obscurity rating of 10/96. I don't know when I'll get around to entering fiction but when I do I imagine my obscurity will markedly change.

EDIT: Following the reference to Troilus and Criseyde above, I've noticed that 60-odd people have a copy of Gower's Confessio Amantis, but my copy isn't included. I wonder if this and similar anomalies make my collection appear more obscure than it reallly is?

EDIT#2: I've used "combine/separate" to join my copy of Confessio Amantis to the others!

Editado: Ago 12, 2007, 10:22pm

After a while, I started checking on books where the number of onwers was under 10, but I thought might be common. And I did do combinations. There are people on LT who make significant efforts to get works and authors combined. Combining tags tends to provoke controversy. Should "myth" and "myths" be combined, for instance? Then you get the arguments of the lumpers vs. splitters.

Ago 12, 2007, 10:15pm

As vpfluke said, combining gets complicated, and combining of tags (as opposed to books) is a contentious topic. See the Combiners! group for everything you would want to know about combining works to clean up your catalog,