Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Author links

As many have noticed, you can now add links to author pages. It’s part of an ongoing effort to give members more control over the site.

We’re still breaking in a new development environment and a related system (Subversion, for the tech-curious) of moving new stuff from development into production. As a result, the author links feature was launched a bit prematurely. That turned out to be not such a bad thing—a bunch of people immediately jumped in and started suggesting improvements, and the feature, minor though it is, was completed faster and better than it would have been otherwise*. Many thanks to everyone who helped troubleshoot, and to everyone who has contributed links.

One thing you’ll notice is that most authors already have a link to their Wikipedia pages, some of which say “unconfirmed” in parentheses. This is a side effect of a script we wrote to go through all the page titles on Wikipedia, match them against all the authors in LibraryThing, and create links. Which works great 90% of the time, but it turns out there are a lot of people in the world with the same name. To us, Alexander Robertson is an author. Our Wikipedia script, though, thought he was a British cop. To rectify this, we had the script say “unconfirmed” next to every author link that hadn’t yet been verified by a human being. So, if you want to be that human being, please check unconfirmed Wikipedia links when you come across them, and either confirm or edit them, as necessary (both options are available by clicking ‘edit’ in the links header).

Adding and confirming links turns out to be quite addictive—I’ve been working through the list of Nobel Prize winners, adding links to the author page of every winner, and reading half the bios in the process. If anyone can suggest other good link sources, please do so in the comments, it would be cool to have a somewhat organized effort to enrich the pages.

* I didn’t actually have anything to add, but I feel like I should throw in a footnote or two. Seems to be LT style.

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