Discuss Please: How to organize books

In this topic, we started talking about phasing out “Source Collections”, which have proved too confusing. This lead to thinking about the best way to organize one’s books, and whether there are ways we could improve Bloom in order to reduce the number of collections people have to create/maintain/share/etc.

Here’s my gut sense of when multiple collections are ideal:

  • You are working in different languages a separate projects.
  • You have multiple projects, each with their own funders and logos and other branding.

And here are some reasons that I think people create more collection which we should perhaps try and fix some other way:

  • Multiple versions of books, e.g. paper vs. digital, or with or without sign language.
  • So many books that Bloom bogs down (I’m not sure this happens?)
  • So many books that it’s hard to find / organize them.
  • Books in different stages (e.g. in process vs. done) and Bloom doesn’t provide a way to mark these stages or keep these sets of books separate from each other.

I hope we can get a good community discussion around this issue.

Thank you John for bringing this up. This is a good, foundational question to ask about functionality. I just found myself asking the same questions when I stumbled upon this post.

For me, I was thinking in terms of organizing by grade level / ability level. I want to organize by books by “sub-categories” but keep them in the same “collection”. It would be nice if there were “sub-category” option for organizing. The user could organize by funder, by topic, by completeness, by subject, by grade, by level, or by kind… the list could go on. It would be nice to have the ability to group similar books within the same collection.

Hey Casey thanks for that contribution.

For me, I was thinking in terms of organizing by grade level / ability level.

One thing I didn’t mention that makes it complicated to have a single collection is that larger publishers now make use of our feature that lets them set the BloomLibrary.org “bookshelf” for a collection. They then have one collection per level. For example, see this from the PNG national curriculum. This makes it easy for them to do a bulk upload and have any new books show up in the right place, automatically. Anyhow probably not really relevant to you right now, just thinking out loud…

We’re an example of a project with lots of collections, mostly because of what needs to be defined at the collection level instead of by book. We work with 3 related languages, so that’s the first reason for separate collections.

Then, for each of the languages, we have a separate collection for each of three formats:

  • book layout (which has its own title/credit page),
  • pamphlet layout (similar to the page-saver w/ title/credit info inside the front cover),
  • and digital versions.

Additionally, some of these collections are divided by subject/theme, something we would do when using any other publishing tool as well.

These reasons all have to do with the things you mentioned above; another reason we also separate books into special collections is for the purposes of archiving. Since the way we archive Bloom books is to archive the whole collection (to preserve the collection-level configurations), we’ve been moving books from our working collections to a corresponding “archiving” collection when they’re ready for that step. I guess that could fall under your point about books in different stages. One other reason where we could divide collections further in the near future would be based on whether or not we need the new “Team Collection” features.

We don’t consider it a problem to have a lot of collections for the most part. Like I mentioned, we would divide publications into different folders in a lot of the same ways when working with Publisher or OpenOffice, etc, anyway. One thing that would simplify our collections in Bloom would be if the frontmatter layout were defined by book instead of by collection. Sometimes we start working with a book in a “pamphlet layout” collection and realize that it will need more pages than we originally thought. When it needs enough pages to be considered a book, we have to move it to a different collection, which means using the “Open folder on Disk” command from the original “pamphlet layout” collection, closing Bloom, moving the book’s folder to the corresponding “book layout” collection, and then re-opening that collection in Bloom.

So if we could just change the frontmatter for the book, we wouldn’t have to move it to a different collection. Or if there were a “Change collections” choice in the same menu where the “Open folder on Disk” choice appears, so that the collection change could be done in Bloom, it wouldn’t be such an issue for some of our teammates who aren’t so confident working in the file system.