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

  • From: Lisa Friendly <lisaf@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2007 16:48:19 -0700

Wow. Pratik thank you for your exceedingly gracious email and for the
valuable historical summary which helps me continue to gain the perspective
I need to do my job while balancing all the factors you mention. I will be
soliciting input regularly from the volunteers through the list and in the
chat room and the Bookshare team will work hard to keep everyone updated on
changes and improvements.

Breaking news ... new release tomorrow. John will send a summary.

All the best, Lisa



From: Pratik Patel <pratikp1@xxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 17:13:41 -0400
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [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,

Here¹s 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. Here¹s 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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