[bksvol-discuss] Re: How to correct errors in books in the collection

Lisa,

 

thank you for this explanation.  I am sure this will help clarify many concerns.

 

For those volunteers who still have questions regarding this policy, I would 
like to add a few things if I may.  As someone who has contributed to 
Bookshare.org from its inception, I've seen different phases in Bookshare's 
processes and different emphasis on areas where Bookshare has attempted to 
improve itself.  In many ways, the volunteer community has driven Bookshare's 
growth and quality.  Originally, as Shelly pointed out, the emphasis appeared 
to be in the quantity of submissions and not the quality.  The collection of 
books began with a few individuals submitting their existing collections, 
which, as might be imagined, were entirely done for personal consumption and 
not for others.  As a result, these books were admittedly of poor quality.  
They were also scanned by using systems that might be considered primitive by 
today's standards.  There are quite a lot of books in the collection that bear 
the mark of such old systems.

 

A few years after Bookshare became a well-known name, it conducted a user 
survey of needs.  In this survey, the users were asked about their preferences 
regarding books.  The most important finding in this survey was the 
overwhelming request for better navigability and better quality for 
Bookshare.org books.  Over the last few years, the Bookshare emphasis has 
slowly, but steadily, changed toward requesting better quality of books.  Some 
of the volunteers on this list--me included--have always insisted on 
superlative quality over quantity.  And, I've not met a larger number of 
perfectionists than among the volunteer community represented on this list.  
Having said that, I am grateful for the new Bookshare emphasis.  I always 
understood why Bookshare chose to increase its quantity of books.  Partly it 
was done for business reasons, partly it was to ensure that funding would be 
available for the type of initiatives that the volunteers and users 
desired--the same type of initiatives that we are seeing now.  A larger 
collection would mean a larger user base.  A larger user base would mean better 
chances of survival.  But now, I find many more BSO books and many more 
policies that emphasize increasing the quality of the collection.  The page 
break requirement, the removal of unnecessary submission formats such as text 
(TXT), and the latest decision to ask for rescans instead of resubmissions from 
the collection makes me confident that Bookshare is moving in a direction where 
its collection will be steadily improved--not only by having new quality books 
added but also by having rescans of old books replace the existing ones in the 
collection.

 

Even when there appeared to be a different focus in collection development, I 
have found the Bookshare staff to be quite responsive to volunteer needs.  
Whether Bookshare always had the resources and the expertise needed to carry 
out the various suggestions and correct errors is a different question.  
listening to the community and having the ability to carry out what is needed 
to implement the suggestions are entirely separate issues.  We should not 
confuse the two.  I have said this in the past and will say it again: the work 
done by the staff to compile a list of all bugs and suggestions into a single 
point where they may be tracked is particularly important.  The recent changes 
to the site and to the process points to the fact that Bookshare is committed 
to make our lives as easy as possible.

 

But, there will be times when Bookshare must make decisions without consulting 
volunteers.  It is not, as much as we might wishes it to be, a democracy.  It 
is a nonprofit business where many concerns must take equal precedence.  I am 
confident that with Jim's and Lisa's leadership, Bookshare will always be 
responsive to user/volunteer needs.

 

Above all, we always have to keep the big picture in mind.  Whether we are 
unhappy about a particular decision or about the way in which that decision was 
made, it's important that we all consider Bookshare's history--i.e., where it 
has been and what it was; and then, and only then, can we really evaluate where 
Bookshare is now.  Especially with numerous volunteers coming to Bookshare and 
joining this list, I want to be absolutely certain that we all understand where 
we have been.

 

Here's to the new changes, new staff, and the new spirit of 
cooperation/collaboration.

 

Pratik

 

From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Lisa Friendly
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 1:07 PM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] How to correct errors in books in the collection

 

Hi everyone,

Here’s our summary of the process for correcting books with bad content – 
the issue we were discussing on the list for the last couple of days.

Bookshare.org is now requesting that books be rescanned if a volunteer 
wishes to improve a book in the collection. Here’s why:

After reviewing the various options for converting books in the collection 
to one of the formats required for submission, it has been determined that 
unfortunately, there is no way to convert a book already in the collection 
to a submission format without an unnacceptable reduction in the subsequent 
quality of the books navigation. 

Depending on which option would be used, the resulting file will be missing 
page breaks or page numbers, and it may be missing formatting such as bold, 
italic, underlining or text size.  Since the loss of quality could be as 
much, if not more, than the quality gained by cleaning up the text, 
Bookshare.org has decided that it is in the best interests of its members at 
this time for books to be rescanned if a volunteer wishes to improve the 
quality of a book.

Thanks, Lisa and the Bookshare.org team 

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