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I still have a lot of maps to add but currently I note hand annotations in the comments field. Thinking about switching them to the tags field.
Anyone else doing this? Suggestions for cataloguing topos to make them search friendly?
I have a number of (Swedish) topographical sheets as well, but while they have printed bar codes, those are not ISBNs. I have deferred entering them until I have decided what to write in the "author" field, because having either a named author or an ISBN is necessary (I think) to combine items with different titles. I believe combining items into works is more useful than the ability to search for individual items.
Modern maps however don't have named "authors" in the usual sense of the word, as they are normally produced in an automated fashion from GIS data. I don't like putting the names of corporate entities, such as the publisher, in the "author" field, because it distorts LibraryThing statistics (there are an awful lot of works here produced by "author" Rand McNally). Lacking the name of the head cartographer or similar role, I prefer leaving the "author" field blank. This however means I will be unable to combine those entries with those of other LT users. I wouldn't mind having a separate field for the publishing company, treated similarly to the "author" field.
The official title of each map sheet, including any alphanumeric designator, should be searchable via the title field. I would however add the names of the cities, provinces or countries covered by the map to the "tags" field (if I ever use the "comments" field, it's for notes relating to the physical copy, such as whether it's heavily worn, missing pages, split into multiple volumes, bound together with a separately printed work, or in an unusual location).
I usually don't make annotations on my maps (or in any printed books), but if I did, I would probably mention them too in the "comments" field.
There is a maximum limit on tag length which may make it less useful for adding annotations to. Requests for searchable comments have been numerous, and as yet unheeded. Maybe sometime - apparently the whole inspiration for Tim to set up LT was the ability to record marginalia and notes. You could add them to the review field which is I think searchable?
Looking at xkyzero's "7.5" comments, I agree they don't belong in the "tags" field, the limited length of tags being merely one indication of that (I regard it as a "keyword" field, and individual keywords shouldn't be too long anyway). Maybe the type of annotations (such as "streams" or "parking places") made on a map could be expressed as tags, but hardly the comments in general.
While I don't see much need to search the "comments" field myself, I agree that it would probably be useful to a lot of people. I just noticed that you can't even sort your catalogue based on that field; it suggests to me that the field is not meant to be used in any systematic fashion, but rather for arbitrary free-format notes not suitable in any other field. If a lot of users want to record their annotations, maybe a new field should be dedicated for this purpose?
Well as LT is primarily a cataloging site, the guiding principle has always been "it's your data, do what you want with it" - hence if it is most suitable for you to put comments in the review field, don't let others opinions put you off. That said, I agree with #4, it isn't an ideal location either...
#3 Though I never write in my books, my map annotations contain info like water sources, hidden ruins, and escape routes out of canyons - info that has often been passed down to me from others and I consider invaluable.
I'll probably keep it in the comments for now but maybe add general tags like sm5por suggested.
BTW - I've been doing most of my topo searches against the University of California. They seem to have a good catalogue of US topos.
If they used to be seperate and have recently become combined you could look in the helpers log to see who did the combing, and leave them a note asking them not to.