[bksvol-discuss] Re: hold for revisited

  • From: "Scott Blanks" <scottsjb@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 10:37:11 -0800


Currently there are only twelve titles designated with the hold for request on step one. This is out of 430 some odd books, or approximately 3 in every 100 titles. The first five titles have only been on step one for a few days, all less than a week. So, that leaves seven titles which have lingered. Again, as I've stated before, I don't see this as a problem, let alone a significant one.

I tend to work with specific validators because they have a track record of doing an exemplary job of proofing the books I scan. So, your fourth point of a submitter working with a specific validator for quality control is certainly true, and I will freely admit to that. If you like, contact me off list and I can give you a list of books, numbering in the 50's or 60's, which I submitted with hold for in the title, which have since become part of the collection, and you can take a look at their quality.

Now, as with any system, there will certainly be flaws. If a submitter uses a particular validator just because they like that person, or because the submit gets into the collection in a more timely manner because the validator rushes it through, that could be a problem. However, poor quality books would quickly become noticed, if they were read by Bookshare members, and at very least, the submitter would be known, and that person could be contacted and given assistance to improve their scans. Also, I think it's important to consider the alternative of hold for, that being no designation. My strong belief is that the overall quality of the collection would dip, possibly a good deal, if the hold were removed. In other words, I maintain that there are enough bad validators out there who are presently prevented from accessing hold for titles, to easily justify the hold for representation.

As for the lingering books, I would say that most of the holds are for people who are on one or both of the email lists, so if you see a title hanging around, contact the list to find out if you could take the title in question.

Finally, you are correct that many volunteers are not on the volunteer list, nor should they be required to join. However, I would say that having the list available to you, and choosing not to join could potentially prevent you from gaining valuable insight into the process of submitting/validating books. Also, a very clear message on the step one page does indicate the reason for holds, and requests that people honor the practice.

Lastly, and I mean it this time, I'll say this about the books which find their way into Bookshare's collection. I want those books to be as close to flawless as possible, and perfection is ok too. So, if the hold for practice seems a bit elitist, I'd actually agree to that assessment. I'd rather be a bit "elitist" and create a fabulous collection, than have just a pretty decent one. In short, I feel that the hold for has greatly helped quality control.


----- Original Message ----- From: <talmage@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 8:31 AM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] hold for revisited

I'm going to lead off here with the passage from the Step 1 page regarding books with 'Hold For' in their title.

Titles denoted with a "Hold For" prefacing the title are intended for a specific validator. Please respect this request.

My first question here is, why? Now I must admit I am, and always have been, biased against the practice of 'Hold For' books. To me, the practice smacks of elitism, cliquishness, and in many cases the primary objective does not seem to be the quality of the collection. I understand there can be a number of reasons to put hold for in the title, and they include: 1. for a vallidator with a copy of the book, or text in question, to have something to compare against the submitted work;
2. for a vallidator with specific interest in the project;
3. for the submitter's assurance that the book will be picked up in a timely manner; 4. for the submitter's assurance that the book will be handled in an appropriate manner. Now I'm sure there are other reasons as well, but to me the only one that would seem to have merit, is the first one I sited above, with the proviso for our sighted volunteers, that any of the projects they touch can only be improved upon by the ability to compare the original print version with the copy submitted to Bookshare. I make this last tipulation because sometimes technology can become too clever and we can start relying on it too heavily at the expense of accuracy. Aside from that however, I don't believe that most of the hold for books fall under the 1st example above, but instead come under 1 or more of the others. In closing, before I get the fire storm going, no, I can't recall a specific instance where I wished to validate a hold for book, but I just don't like the exclusionary practice, and I would point out that not all volunteers are on the list so as to be aware of the why and wherefores.

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