[bksvol-discuss] Re: renewing books you're validating

  • From: Mike Pietruk <pietruk@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2005 06:22:57 -0400 (EDT)

BookShare, as I see it, has 2 kinds of Book submitters:

(1) those who scan books for themselves and send it on to BookShare as an 
after thought.

(2)  Those who scan books with the intent, from the outset, to submit and, 
hence, take the extra steps they consider essential to make the books 
readable by others.

The second category of book submitter, many of those on this list fall 
into this category, generally submit books that need little beyond cursory 
examination and spot checking.
And if more is required, these submitters tend to point those things out 
within their comments.

The first category of submitter is where the problem submissions tend to 
be in.
Of course, some of these books are excellent from the outset; but the 
reality is that a book for my personal use may not necessarily be as good 
as that required by others.
Also, as has been pointed out by numerous submitters and in line with 
stated BookShare philosophy, BookShare is supposed to be a sharing 
mechanism not the equivalent of publisher submitted texts.

Now, of course, as the collection has reached a critical mass, and as the 
number of produced books by both inside and outside volunteers mushrooms,
quality can be more picky.  The reasons for this new luxurious vantage 
point are many including the very practical one that administrators can 
validate only so many books and attempting to squeeze more in requires 
additional staffing (funding).

I, for one, am glad that I don't have to make decisions on this thorny 
issue.  Telling certain folks that their submissions are no longer welcome 
is frought with perilfrom a political standpoint especially if you happen 
to pull on the chains of someone in a key place or that might be a 
financial supporter.
Simply eliminating the "fair" category won't work as that will result in 
more books being labeled "good".
You cannot have an automated tool eliminate books with a lower than xxx% 
recognition threshhold as some books would get mislabeled due to dialect, 
foreign words, technical terms, and all the rest.

But, on the other hand, as the Bookshare readership expands and reaches 
more and more mainstream consumers, these individuals will be less 
tollerant of scanning errors, garbled texts, and all the rest.

How do you balance these issues?  On our volunteer side, this will fall to 
the new volunteer co-ordinator (assuming Marissa's job isn't merged 
permanently into others) who will have to have great people skills.

Perhaps Bookshare will have to take the road of NLS or RFB&D and require 
submitters to pass some minimal requirements
Perhaps new potential submitters might be required to submit sample work 
to a comittee (perish the thought as this will create a bureaucratic 

Bookshare's realities, from the standpoint of Benetech, is that the 
service is bursting at the seams.
How do you harness that growth, how to keep in budget, how to increase 
fund raising, 
how do you keep reading customers from complaining about book quality 
which hurts the service as these individuals tell others about the "bad" 
book they got the other day?
Real thorny issues.

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