This brief guided tour focuses on the Open Library (beta) UI:
Every record in our book catalog is editable by any user of Open Library. Options to edit the page content and view a revision history are easily accessible from the top navigational bar. From the revision history page, a user can see all of the edits that were made to any given page, and link or revert to a previous version if the information is more accurate or reliable. As an example, here is the revision history for this tour page.
If a book is available in digitized form on Open Library, a "READ ONLINE" button will appear on the page. Additional options are also available on the right for books that are not believed to be in the public domain. This includes options to buy the book at other sites, see if the book is available at your local library, or if it is available in full or in part from Internet Archive or Google Book Search.
In addition to bibliographic data from a variety of sources, the book view page displays a fully editable description of the book and a table of contents. All of this content is fully editable when a user clicks the edit button.
When a user enters edit mode on a book record, they are presented with a new set of options in the top navigational bar. The first two are familiar based on the overview of the view book page - "View" will return a user to the book record display, and "History" will display the revision history page for the selected book record. The other three options (Change Page Type, Modify Edit Template and Modify View Template) are aimed at developers of Open Library, and are outside of the scope of this tour (if you are interested in developing Open Library, read the documentation on our templating language).
The remainder of the form is reserved for direct editing of bibliographic data. Any field that is followed by a "+" sign is repeatable and allows our UI to aggregate data from multiple sources (If you are interested, you can view the schema that defines the book pages of Open Library). There is also a cover upload feature that presently supports one book cover per entry. Multiple book covers will be supported in the future.
A fully editable Table of Contents for every book is also available on the book edit screen. Fields are repeatable as with the bibliographic data. Support for cloning records is also available to facilitate the creation of book records for similar editions. Simply look for the "Clone This Book" option at the bottom of every book edit page.
Adding an author takes place on the book edit form. Open Library uses an autocomplete feature to help manage our large volume of author records. Type an author name in the author field and a pulldown menu will appear that shows all of the authors similar to that name - if the appropriate author name is not in the database, then select the last option in the menu: "Create New Author". A new author record has been created.
Another notable feature of the book edit page is the "Edit Summary." This field appears at the bottom of every edit page on Open Library. It provides a level of annotation so that users can describe the reason they made a particular change in the wiki.
This field, when combined with the recent changes or history view of any page, provides an informal control versioning system that enables people to collaborate more effectively. The revision history also appears on every user page so it is easy to track the changes that any member of the community is making to the system.
Adding a book cover or an author photograph is easy with our interface. You can upload an image from your computer or point to an existing image on the web. Browse through the available images and choose one that suits your personal preferences. All of the images in the OL Covers Repository are available to other developers through the OL Covers API.
The new internationalization feature of Open Library enables users to translate our UI into any language. Currently, machine translations exist for Spanish, French and Telugu (in progress). More translations are in the works for more information) - and any user can initiate a new language or improve an existing translation by editing the strings in our i18n wiki (the edit page for our Spanish translation is shown below).
Editing is as simple as with any book record - simply click "Edit" and you are ready to get started. To see the results, simply change your language using the language menu that is generally available in the footer of every page on Open Library.
Translation of individual content pages is also possible on Open Library. A page can be made available for translation by the community by changing a page type to "i18n_page". Once that has been completed, a user will be prompted by a pulldown menu to select the translation they want to edit. NOTE: If you change an existing page to type "i18n_page", be sure to copy the content into the English (.en) translation page. This procedure will be automated in the near future.
Search on Open Library is centered on faceted classification. In this mode, the top navigational bar is reserved for "facet surfing" which enables users to broaden or refine their result set by toggling options on and off and selecting facets from the "Refine results" option box on the right. A user can further refine their search by choosing the "Scanned books only" filter to browse the full text selections made available through Open Library.
To see a record for a popular current book:
To see a record for popular old book that we have scanned:
These full text books are made available through a flipbook interface which simulates the act of reading a physical book. Once a user enters the flipbook view, further searching can be conducted within the book using the flipbook search tool. Search terms are highlighted within the text, and denoted by yellow note tabs in the margins.
If a book record cannot be found, a new one can easily be added by clicking the "Add a new book" option at the footer of the search results page.
Supporting Document: The State of the UI.