How do I search the overlap between two collections?

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How do I search the overlap between two collections?

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Ago 10, 2012, 9:28 pm

Just wondering if it's possible to see all my books that exist within two collections.

Specifically, I've got a "Home" collection and a "To read" collection. I'd love to see a list of the books in my house I have yet to read.

Thanks in advance.

Ago 10, 2012, 9:49 pm

It's a little buried.

Go to (you get there from your Profile, via "Statistics/Memes" > "Collections"; Collections is way down at the bottom of the left sidebar on your Statistics page).

There you'll see the Collections Overlap data; for each collection, it will tell you how many books are in each other collection as well, and have a link to the overlap. So you'd find your "Home" collection there and click on the link to "To read", and get the display of the overlapping books.

Ago 10, 2012, 10:17 pm

2>> Thanks! I'd always wondered this myself. I just added your message to my Favorites.

Ago 10, 2012, 11:47 pm

Ah, thanks. I should have asked sooner!

Ago 11, 2012, 7:11 am

THANK YOU! I've been trying to figure this out for roughly a billion years. Roughly.

Set 23, 2012, 2:16 pm

It's wonderful - and a little frustrating. We have overlap and negative (not in X collection) - but so often what I want is the overlap with the negative (in X but not in Y), or the negative overlap (not in X or Y), which it can't do. I keep going to that page and looking at it again, to see if it magically produced more sets...

Not really complaining. It's wonderful that we have any of the sets. But I wish there was some (easy, not heavy-developer-time) way of getting at all the unions and intersections...

Nov 29, 2012, 1:06 pm

Oh, me too ... those are *usually* what I want!

Modificato: Nov 29, 2012, 1:32 pm

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Nov 29, 2012, 1:44 pm

In short: it hugely depends on how you use collections (and tags). I have several books that show in more than one collection. For example: in my library a book could be listed under history and under linguistics, if it's about historical linguistics.

Nov 29, 2012, 2:29 pm

And I have mostly functional collections - so a book is almost always in more than one collection. Your Library is all the books I physically own; Read is books I've read; Working On is books I need to add a cover to (or improve their cover). A book could easily be in all of those.

I use tags for genres/subjects, specifically so I can put it in more than one (Childrens and SF, for instance). My CDO won't let me tag a book only one thing when it's really two or three...

I love the way everyone uses LT differently!

Nov 29, 2012, 2:35 pm

I do it like jjmcgaffey. Pretty much everything is in at least two, covering whether it's in my physical library or not, and whether it's read or not. And yeah, must tag with all the things! lol

Nov 29, 2012, 6:24 pm

That's pretty much how I work it too; I have several different collections for stages of the scanning process, which a book may move through slowly or rapidly. Your Library is all the books I own except for computer books, which are in their own collection that has recommendations switched off. I have several collections relating to different phases of my main hobby (after reading, of course); and there's the abomination collection, for books I am only keeping so that my review stays. Etc., etc.

Nov 29, 2012, 11:30 pm

#12 You do realise that we’re all heading straight to your abominations category now?
(A few clicks later …). only two?! More abominations please!

Nov 30, 2012, 12:30 am

Mine is Discarded - which isn't necessarily bad, good ones that are duplicates are in there too. You'd have to look at the rating/review. But I definitely have some in there just to remind me why I don't want that book (that was the trigger for a good deal of my entries on LT - some way to track the books I bought, read, and hated. It was when I bought the same one for the third time that got me moving - the back cover copy sounded very interesting).

Huh. You didn't like A World Lit Only By Fire? I'll have to look at your review - that's on my TBR pile. Not very high on the pile, but it's there...

Nov 30, 2012, 2:40 am

They certainly sound like two books NOT to read.

Nov 30, 2012, 4:21 am

I've only read bits of AWLOBF but remember it as a very untrustworthy book. William Manchester preferred reporting salacious gossip as fact to using, you know, historical method and stuff.

Nov 30, 2012, 4:59 am

16> Yeah, that's pretty much what Shelley (and a lot of other reviewers) said. I should read it quickly so I can dump it. Now Zoë will wince...but I can't get rid of a book I haven't read. It might be wonderful! (fat chance here, but still.)

Nov 30, 2012, 7:12 pm

No chance at all, I'm afraid - the devil is that he's a good writer, very readable. I haven't ever read any of his books that actually *are* in his core competency, but they're probably great!

Nov 30, 2012, 7:15 pm

>13 joannasephine:
Joannasephine, the criterion is whether the book makes me want to throw it against the wall! Not too many books have come my way that elicit that reaction, fortunately.

I used AWLOBF as the poster child for a bad resource in a lecture course I gave on research techniques a few years ago.

Nov 30, 2012, 7:23 pm

Heh. I think I just have an unusual amount of faith in the ratings of others ;). At 3.64, I wouldn't hesitate for very long before dumping it unread. And if I had doubts, I would review my year's reading and remind myself how much of it consisted of books acquired in 2010 or earlier and not previously read: that would be three. And two of those were actually bought and read by other people in my family, so they hardly count.

Basically, it's a lot easier to get rid of unread books when I know that my chances of reading them are slim to nil.

Nov 30, 2012, 7:24 pm

>18 staffordcastle:

You should though. With the exclusion of his free composition on the topic of the Middle Ages, he is a very knowledgeable historian.

>14 jjmcgaffey:

It is very readable and very inaccurate... If one does not know the era, they might fall for it. But anyone that had ever been in a history class or read another book....

Nov 30, 2012, 7:34 pm

I am sure that all those folks who gave it a high rating had not ever been in a (medieval) history class, or read another book!

Dic 1, 2012, 10:23 am


At 3.64, I wouldn't hesitate for very long before dumping it unread.

Wow. For me, 3.5 is an above-average rating - something I couldn't finish would be 0.5 or 1. I hate to think that anything I enjoyed but didn't think was spectacular is contributing to a negative opinion of the book in your eyes!

Dic 1, 2012, 11:55 am

>23 lorax: Agreed, a 3.5 for most people (and I look at everyone's "rating criteria" whenever I see someone has it posted) is a positive-but-not-amazing rating.

Dic 1, 2012, 12:02 pm

Yeah, but I think Zoë works on the theory that with a lot of books, the ratings tend to skew high, so even though a few people rate conservatively (I'm also one who has 3.5 as a good read, but not so much that I insist all my friends should read it, too), on the whole, a 3.5 is just "okay" or even "hey this book might be good, but read other books on your TBR list first, Zoë".

At least, when I see a 3-3.75 average rating, that's how I interpret it. I also look at the tags and reviews to decide if it's still an interesting enough topic/theme/whatever to try it.

Dic 1, 2012, 1:35 pm

I dunno, a 3.75 is pretty darn good; it's a rare book that goes above 4.25. Anything above 3.6 (and more than just a couple people - you need a large enough amount to balance it out) I'd think has a high shot at being worthwhile.

Dic 1, 2012, 2:10 pm

Oh, yeah, and that's why I look at the tags and reviews and so on. Certain types of books tend to have more discerning ratings, so to speak.

But when there's a lot of books on your TBR, sometimes it's easier to have a slightly higher cut-off.

Dic 1, 2012, 2:14 pm

Eh, I have a few hundred on my shelves, and over a thousand on a list of -I'd like to read this someday maybe- lol, I dunno, I think it depends on the type of book. If we're talking like, historical, non-fic kind of thing, then yeah I'd prefer at least a 3.75 and the higher the better. But if we're talking simple thriller or something like that, anything 3+ I'll probably read and not mind. They're quick and fun, if it's a little less than stellar I don't much care. But something I'm reading to be more informative, then yeah, I want it to have accurate info, not be dry, etc. So yeah it depends. :)

Dic 1, 2012, 2:54 pm

The problem is that there are just too many books, and I don't read quickly enough. If I don't get to a book within a year or so of buying it, I'm pretty unlikely to get to it later. And if I'm only going to read a few books from my TBR backlog in a given year, "above-average" just isn't going to make the cut when there are plenty of great books that I also haven't read. (Though there are exceptions, based mainly on topic: the more obscure the subject is, the more likely that I'll read whatever book is available, because there just won't be higher-rated equivalents out there.)

More generally, I do think 3.5 is below average for the site as a whole, though I don't think any individual rater does any harm: for everyone like lorax who uses 3.5 as above-average, there are probably two people who give pretty much everything 4 stars or higher. Tim has said repeatedly that the average is 4, anyway.

Dic 1, 2012, 4:06 pm

I think most people tend to avg around 4 because people generally aim to read things they presume they'll enjoy. If you hate romance you don't go reading lots of them. If you love history, you read it, and you'll look at ratings and reviews and you'll pick out ones that sound good and appeal to you before reading them, and therefore... so, it's pretty self-fulfilling that people often avg a higher rating.

Dic 1, 2012, 4:13 pm


So if people read books they're predisposed to like, and a particular book is below average for site-wide ratings, doesn't that mean it's less likely to be a particularly good read?

Dic 1, 2012, 5:44 pm

Is there somewhere that says what the actual site-wide average is? Because I'm pretty sure the vast majority of books I look at are under 4... From my experience most tend to be 3.6-3.9, with some falling -/+ .3 from either end, and then just rarely further up or down from that.

Dic 1, 2012, 6:16 pm

Zoë can say with more certainty than me, but I'm fairly certain Tim has said as much multiple times, as his reasoning for why he doesn't do much with ratings on the site (since, they're "mostly useless" as a result of being so high on average).

Dic 1, 2012, 8:01 pm


Well, duh.

Some of us account for that in our ratings. I like something that I rate a 3.

Dic 1, 2012, 8:15 pm

Tim doesn't believe ratings are interesting or useful, so there's no place to see site-wide rating statistics. I think an average rating of "around 4" might actually be 3.8. I'm pretty sure he's said that 4 is the most common rating, anyway.

There could also be a difference between the average rating across all ratings, and the average rating across all books: the better books might end up becoming more popular and having more influence on the average ratings, although there does come a point when that starts to work the other way as books become so popular that they get read even by people who don't generally like that genre.

Modificato: Dic 2, 2012, 1:14 am

Heh. For me, personally, looking at my Stats/Memes page - my average (mean) rating is 3.6, but the mode by far is 4. Almost twice as many 4 ratings as the next highest, which is 3.5.

I consider 3 readable, 3.5 enjoyable and likely to be reread, 4 as very good, 4.5 as excellent, and 5 as a rare wonderful book. I have ratings at every level, though only one .5 star.

And I look at my own ratings (and sometimes adjust them - 'it wasn't _that_ bad' or (more commonly) 'I must have been in a bad mood that day'. Or 'it wasn't _that_ good'!) and pretty much ignore sitewide ratings. I will look at the ratings of someone else who shares my taste in books - or I would, if I found such a person (who actually rated their books).

Modificato: Dic 2, 2012, 2:40 am

#36 or I would, if I found such a person (who actually rated their books).

I know what you mean. Plenty of times I've tried to find out what someone who seems to share my taste thinks about a book I'm considering, only to find they haven't bothered to rate it or review it. In many ways it's a failing of the site that ratings aren't really treated seriously. But five stars is hard to use in a meaningful way (even though being able to use half stars effectively doubles the range). Maybe Tim should adopt some other sort of scale? Mine is the Park Bench scale, based on how many blocks I would be willing to retrace if I had inadvertantly left the book on a park bench somewhere.

Dic 2, 2012, 3:17 am

Hmmm. For me, that would be more a scale of how difficult it was to obtain the book rather than how good it was - or only partly about how good it was. I'd go back a few miles for an OK Howard Pease (they're almost impossible to find), but only a block or two for a Mercedes Lackey, even a favorite - very easy to replace.

It's partly chicken-and-egg - if the site made more use of ratings, there would be more ratings - but also, as you say, ratings are somewhat less than meaningful by themselves. I just did SantaThing, observed my Santee's ratings...and had no clue what s/he thought of the books. I had to look at the (many fewer) reviews s/he'd written to get a feel for what 2, 3, 4 stars meant.

I put my star ratings on my profile - not so much for other people, but for me, to keep my ratings consistent. I keep wobbling up and down, where a 3 means barely adequate one day (week/month/year) and a fun read another time. The profile list lets me recalibrate.

Dic 2, 2012, 3:51 am

> 38: Good point. Reinstated a key to my rating.

Dic 2, 2012, 2:33 pm

38 > "if the site made more use of ratings, there would be more ratings"

Not necessarily. I give stars to things once in a great while, but really, I hate rating or ranking things. Having the site use rating more would make not a whit of difference to me. I doubt if I am the only person who feels this way.

I know ratings are important to many people, but they are equally unimportant to many others. I might look at a rating if it's there, but unless I know who's rating and what their taste is, it's not something I particularly trust. It's like the stars that movie reviewers give: some reviewers love stuff I hate, and some reviewers' opinions mean a lot to me.

Modificato: Dic 2, 2012, 2:42 pm

> 40: Yeah, I hear you. But there's also the opposite: because ratings don't actually function on this site - why bother? There's simply no incentive. As jjmcgafey said in #38: it's a chicken-and-egg situation.

Dic 2, 2012, 4:59 pm

I usually ignore exact ratings - both here and on Amazon - what I usually look at is how many people dislike the book (1-2 stars) and how many actually like it (4-5). I wish there was a way to just say "like/dislike/indifferent" somewhere - this can be a lot more useful than the current 10 levels of stars (which anyone defines the way they want).

And even if we did, the reviews are saying why... and help a lot more than a number.

Dic 2, 2012, 5:45 pm

There's another issue, too, and that is, just what is being reviewed? Is it a work itself? Or is it a particular edition.

For example, I don't that much care for Romeo and Juliet within the Shakespeare canon, but I 5***** rated and reviewed a recent Early Review edition from Demitra Papadinis based on the quality of its annotations. I gave 4½**** to the first edition of Juliet Barker's biography of the The Brontes but 5***** to the second edition in Kindle format. I gave 4**** (and this may be generous) to the Library of America edition of Sarah Orne Jewett, one of my favorite American writers, based on the relative incompleteness of the LoA edition.

Now, granted, you won't find that kind of edition-based reviewing for most contemporary works, but the quality of an edition can make a lot of difference for classics. And of course, despite the quality of the original work, a Norton Critical Edition will almost always be rated on the basis of its annotations and its supplementary materials -- as, for example, I did in my review of the NCE Oliver Twist.

Dic 2, 2012, 6:23 pm

Yes. And are you (are we, is one) rating the quality of the writing/editing, the accuracy of the research (which can apply to fiction too - historical fiction with subtle anachronisms drives me nuts), or whether you agree with the opinion expressed? Any and all of these are (reasonably) appropriate things to rate on, but with a single set of stars there's no way to express which is being rated. Which is why I try to review along with my ratings - or rather, when I decided I was going to express my opinion of every book I read, I decided it would be with both a rating and a review.

Ratings are interesting in and of themselves, but an individual rating only has power insofar as you know the person doing the rating and understand what they're expressing with it. Aggregate ratings - as AnnieMod mentions - actually carry more information. And for that matter, on Amazon and to a lesser extent here what I'll do first is look at the most negative reviews, to see if what bothered them would be a problem for me.

On Amazon, I don't think you can rate without reviewing. I don't think LT should do that, but I wish Tim would get inspired to make a meme about rating. Think of how much CK data, of dry and (to me) largely irrelevant type, was added when he created Dead or Alive and Male or Female! And how Nationality has languished because the statistics about it are messed up - Other Authors too, a lot has been added but with them not showing up in search fewer people are inspired to spend the time. A meme that used rating data could get a lot more people interested - not the hardcore dislike group, like PhaedraB, but the people who don't bother because there's not much point to it, like me with gender or death dates for authors. I did enter quite a few, when the meme was new.

Dic 3, 2012, 7:17 pm

I think it's the other way about - on Amazon you can't review without rating. I've rated lots of books without reviewing.

Dic 3, 2012, 8:45 pm

Ah, maybe. Yeah - I do a lot of rating for recommendations; I don't think you _can_ review there. But I don't see a bunch of ratings without reviews on product pages. So yeah, a review must have a rating attached, and the only thing you can do that shows up on the product page is review. I can rate for myself, but I can't rate for others, only review-and-rate.