[bksvol-discuss] Re: venting my frustrations

  • From: "E." <thoth93@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 13:17:31 -0500

I too have spoken on this list. By the way, thanks for the information you provide. At least if we volunteers know the structure under which bookshare works we can make suggestions which work within those constraints.

One of these suggestions is to create niches for volunteer jobs which could be done by some of us. This would take some strain off any paid employee.

I nominate the role of communicator between volunteers and staff for this one. I could be like Marissa but unpaid. Perhaps smaller in scope than hers. Someone who has the ear of official staff, has time to systematically speak with volunteers via email or perhaps by phone (cell phones being free in many cases).

Also what about some programming assistance from volunteers? And if these folks are so strapped for money, let's scan in books on grant writing. I can learn to write grants or someone else can. Perhaps we can make them some money.

At 12:34 PM 12/2/2005, you wrote:


Since you're obviously wondering why you as a volunteer couldn't be allowed to help with approvals, let me explain the issues. BTW, You aren't the first volunteer to wonder about this, and certainly won't be the last. I had seen this issue brought up earlier this year, so I asked Gustavo the question several months back when I began monitoring the list because I knew it would eventually pop up again and wanted to be prepared if it did.

Time isn't the issue here. It's money. An administrator needs to be a paid employee in order to have accountability. Bookshare has legal obligations to meet every time they add a book to the collection. If an employee adds books to the collection without ensuring that those legal obligations are met, then they can be held accountable. Volunteers can not. There is also the issue that it would probably take a considerable number of books in the collection with incorrect titles, authors, or copyright info before the problem could be discovered. if the problem gets that far, then Bookshare has a serious problem to deal with. Also, accountability means possibly losing your job, not losing your membership.

There is also the issue of administrators having access to members' and volunteers' personal information since that info is probably kept in the same database or on the same system.

As for Gustavo handling the load by himself at this time, He seems quite capable of doing so, so I wouldn't worry about him having to do it all by himself right now. There will no doubt come a time in the future when he will no longer be able to carry the load without help, and Bookshare will address that problem when it occurs. Hopefully Bookshare will be in much better shape financially before that does occur and can hire someone who can not only share in some of the responsibility of approving books, but can act as a volunteer coordinator as well which will free up Gustavo and Janice to focus on all of the other tasks they were doing before Marissa left for graduate school.

BTW, don't worry about venting on the list. A certain amount of that is not only expected, but healthy. It's only a big deal when a volunteer chooses to post about the same problem day after day after day.



-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of tom hawkins
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 1:13 AM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: venting my frustrations

Hi Gerald, I apologize for venting. I understand the book being kicked back under the circumstances. I didn't know that Gustavo was doing all of the administrator approvals.But then the question remains, Why is Gustavo trying to carry the entire program on his back? I know money is an issue, but cirtainly there is some way through some of these problems. I don't have a million to donate, but I do have time. Is there something I can do to help? Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: <mailto:geraldhovas@xxxxxxxxxxx>Gerald Hovas
To: <mailto:bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:55 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: venting my frustrations


From what Gustavo has told me, the most common error related to filling out the copyright fields on the submission form is entering the publisher in the copyright name field instead of the copyright holder. Because he has to kick so many books back due to this error, you should always provide information about the copyright holder in the comments field when the copyright holder turns out to be the publisher after all. In this instance, I believe it is well worth the trouble of verifying the copyright holder through an internet site like <http://www.copyright.gov>www.copyright.gov or through sighted assistance then including a comment informing him that you have verified that the copyright is actually the publisher and include an explanation of how you went about verifying it. If the book isn't a new release, then I'd recommend using the <http://www.copyright.gov>www.copyright.gov site since Gustavo can reference the site if he wishes.

As for opening the book up and looking for himself, that isn't always the most reliable way to verify something as important as the copyright information since the volunteers who are putting the publisher in the copyright name field by accident could have been confused enough about copyright to have changed that line before submission. Granted that it's unlikely, but if I were in Gustavo's shoes, I wouldn't feel comfortable about trusting the contents of a submission by someone who couldn't fill the form out properly due to a possible lack of understanding of copyright.

I understand your frustration, but when you take into consideration the number of books Gustavo has actually approved this year, it's understandable if he accidentally kicks one back by accident every now and then. I'm not sure, but I believe Marissa approved a handful of the 4900 books which have been added so far this year. Even if she did, I'd suspect that Gustavo's approved at least 4700 of those 4900 books, if not 4850 of them. With that many books being approved, it's bound to happen since he is always going to err on the side of caution since adding a book to the collection which has incorrect copyright information has the potential to be a more serious problem than frustrating a volunteer over getting their book kicked back by accident.

BTW, the staff is aware that it would be helpful for the system to notify a volunteer when one of their validations is kicked back or accepted. As long as Bookshare has limited resources though, Engineering will have to postpone some upgrades which volunteers want in order to make improvements which will have a greater impact on members and volunteers.

Again, I understand your frustration. I've had a book kicked back on me too, and from what Gustavo and I were able to determine, it was due to nothing more than his approving books when he should have been in bed instead. My kickback didn't even happen to have a note. It just looked like Gustavo clicked the wrong button because he was tired.


-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of tom hawkins
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:55 PM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: Gustavo Galindo
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] venting my frustrations

Hi Everyone,

Well I' am totally frustrated with bookshare and the lack of simple communication procedures. I spent a great deal of time validating a book to make as near perfect as possible including using my wife's time which she treasures dearly. I went to the step one list to see if any of the Dale Brown books that I submitted nearly three months ago were returned, only to find the book that I just validated back on the step one list and no communication from bookshare. When I checked the notes, the administrator apparently did not like the copyright.

Well a publisher is clearly listed as the copyright holder. So now what does it take to fix the problem! If the administrator took a moment to open the book it clearly states that the copyright holder is the publishing company as listed. Is there some special miracle to be performed? I have decided not to list the problems that I encountered with the web site, as Iwell it seems that the designer was a mouse user and could see what they were doing.


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