In my previous post I compared how much thingISBN and xISBN know about my fiction books. Today I look at how much the two services know about nonfiction in my personal library.
Exactly 1000 works of nonfiction in my collection have ISBNs. Of that, xISBN knew more manifestations for 371, and thingISBN knew more for 338. In 187 cases (call it 20%, or half the rate for fiction) it was necessary to combine and de-dupe the results to get the most ISBNs.
xISBN knew about all of my books, but thingISBN had never seen 116 of them. There was a tie for the most-manifested book unknown to LibraryThing: Clark Blaise’s Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time and Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker’s Raymond Chandler Speaking have eight manifestations at xISBN but LibraryThing has never seen the ISBNs of my copies so it can’t give any results. It does know about other editions. Superduping will help in such cases.
Herewith, the top nonfiction results. There are twenty books covering nineteen works, ten of which are translated into English. The
x+t column shows how many combined and de-duped ISBNs there are;
t is thingISBN’s results;
x is xISBN’s.
x+t t x 322 140 280 0877735425 Tao Teh Ching 273 68 241 0140441212 The Bhagavad Gita 141 28 132 0140390448 Walden and Civil Disobedience (Thoreau) 130 59 107 0140209158 The Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels) 92 45 71 0486290735 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 88 2 87 0140150609 The Portable Gibbon
The Portable Gibbon is the first odd one. It’s in the Viking Portable series, and it’s an abridged (very abridged, but it’s still thick) edition of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. In FRBR terms, abridgments are new expressions of a work. (See Barbara Tillett’s great “Family of Works” diagram in What Is FRBR? for more on when something is the same expression, a new expression, or a new work.) xISBN gives 87 because it considers The Portable Gibbon and Decline and Fall to be the same work, as FRBR dictates, but thingISBN gives 2 because LibraryThing users consider it a separate work. That’s understandable, especially in this case, because it does really seem like a different work.
x+t t x 87 33 70 0380010003 The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud) 83 51 59 0812968255 Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) 83 51 59 0140441409 Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)
Both of my editions of the great Stoic work are grouped together, as they should be. They are different translations, so they are separate expressions.
x+t t x 79 61 53 0020867409 The Screwtape Letters (Lewis) 78 60 41 055305340X A Brief History of Time (Hawking)
Interesting that thingISBN is ahead on the Hawking book. I suspect a clustering problem at xISBN.
x+t t x 69 23 56 1857150848 Confessions (Rousseau) 60 23 45 0553370901 The Tibetan Book of the Dead 59 39 47 0879510188 A Book of Five Rings (Musashi) 52 40 29 0062700375 Halliwell's Film Guide (Halliwell)
My Halliwell’s Film Guide is the eighth revised edition, the last one he edited; he died afterwards and someone else took over the series. Both services group together all the revised editions as the same work.
x+t t x 50 20 42 0141182768 Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Lawrence) 47 47 2 1580085415 What Color Is Your Parachute? (Bolles)
Something odd at xISBN with this one. What Color Is Your Parachute? is a book about how to find a job, and it’s revised every year. WorldCat mostly considers it an annual serial, and xISBN groups all of the yearly editions together, but for some reason mine is in a separate cluster. thingISBN groups all the years together as the same work.
x+t t x 46 29 35 048642703X The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber) 46 2 46 0801856620 History of My Life (6 vols) (Casanova) 42 35 17 0553225987 Robert's Rules of Order (Robert)
Nice to follow What Color Is Your Parachute? with Weber’s classic work of sociology, and then get on to Casanova’s memoirs. There’s a trio for you.
The Casanova is an interesting case. (He was a librarian at the end of his life, by the way.) The ISBN I’ve showed is for the first volume of six in W.R. Trask’s translation. This manifestation comes from Johns Hopkins University Press. The other five volumes all had almost identical numbers at both services. xISBN groups this translation in with lots of others, including the various printings of Arthur Machen’s translation, but thingISBN doesn’t. There are other editions of Casanova’s memoirs in LibraryThing, including the Penguin Classics abridgment, but they’re not clustered with this. It gets confusing, because some English translations are called The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova, and different manifestations have different numbers of volumes. If you look at the LibraryThing page for combining works by Casanova you’ll get an idea of how bibliographically challenging the memoirs are. A full FRBRization, with the expression layer dealing with translations, would help a lot. Anyway, here it seems like thingISBN is missing out, whereas with What Color Is Your Parachute? xISBN was missing out. Superduping will fix this.
That ends the big comparisons of fiction and nonfiction. Lesson learned: If you’re using either xISBN or thingISBN, you should be using both and combining and de-duping results. I think superduping will give interesting even more and I’ll post on that soon.