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nickrey

EatYourBooks.com: search your own cookbooks for recipes online

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OK, so I register for my free Trial Membership, start searching by author for some of the cookbooks I own, and immediately discover a huge, FATAL flaw with this website.

It shows you a lovely list, with tempting photos, of all these other cook books, by the same author, that you don't already own. And they're just sitting there, begging you to buy them! What the hell is up with that? Like we're just supposed to look the other way and keep moving?

This is very, very bad. It'll all end in tears, mark my words.

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Here's my list of index requests, all of which are, imho, utterly necessary.

Cambodian Cooking by Joannes Riviere, Dominique De Bourgknecht

ISBN: 9780794650391

Catalan Cuisine: Europe's Last Great Culinary Secret by Colman Andrews

ISBN: 9781898697763

Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery (Revised) by Jane Grigson

ISBN: 9781902304885

Culinaria France by Andre Domine

ISBN: 9780841603622

Culinaria Spain by Marian Trutter

ISBN: 9780841603721

Poetical Pursuit of Food: Japanese Recipes for American Cooks by Sonoko Kondo

ISBN: 9780517556535

Southeast Asian Specialties: A Culinary Journey Through Singapore, Malasia and Indonesia

ISBN: 9783833140488

Also, I pitched all cocktail books by Dave Wondrich, Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan, and Ted Haigh. Fingers crossed.

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Also, the indexing being mainly for US editions is not a major issue precisely because it doesn't have page numbers. It's just the funny spelling that makes it a bit more challenging.

Well its not just the spelling of key words, some things have completely different names (courgette, rocket, aubergine, swede all come to mind as well as very different names for cuts of meat).

My search for honey cake did not pull up the recipe I knew was in my Claudia Roden book of Jewish food because in the US version it is called lekach and I would never have thought to search for it by that name (until now)!

But I love the sight and the advanced search allows for quite clever combinations of search terms.

Lapin

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This is a great topic. Since there are so many questions raised about how EYB works I thought I should jump in with some answers.

We are launching a new version of the website in the next few weeks which will have a much better user interface and resolve a lot of the niggles with the current searches.

Escoffier's Guide to Modern Cookery is on our indexing list. Books move higher up the list, the more members who own it. So cocktail books will get indexed, as long as enough members own them. Catalan Cuisine and the Culinaria books are already high up on the indexing list so should appear in the next couple of months.

We have indexed quite a few UK versions of the most popular cookbooks (Nigella, Jamie, Delia, Nigel, Madhur, Ottolenghi, etc) and will be indexing a lot more as we get closer to launching the website in the UK. In the same way we have indexed the most internationally available Australian books (Stephanie, Maggie, Bill, Donna, etc) and will be doing a lot more in coming months. In any event, if you search for recipes in the US indexed versions the search recognizes the UK/Aus version of the ingredient name. So search for courgettes, you will get all results for zucchini (and vice versa).

We do not list page numbers as there can be many different editions with different page layouts and hence page numbers. When we index one edition of a cookbook we link it to all other editions so no matter which one you own, the recipes will appear in your searches. If we entered the page numbers for the edition we indexed it could be wrong for the other editions.

I'm happy to answer any questions about how EYB operates.

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I've been a lurker here for quite awhile but this is my first post. I joined EYB last month as a lifer (they've said that they will no longer offer the lifetime option once they are out of beta). There are 2 features I like that I haven't seen mentioned here:

I have friends that joined EYB with me and we can search each others' cookbooks libraries. That's just plain fun.

Also, you can search the whole EYB library for recipes. While the site won't give you a recipe, it can help you intelligently fill in holes in your cookbook collection. For instance, I like borage, and I've grown a ton of it, but it's not something that I commonly find recipes for. If I put "borage" into the EYB recipe search, it comes up with 44 hits (including borage ravioli), many in books I don't own but can now seek out.

It's such an exciting tool. And every week they are indexing more books. They've also said that they will soon accept volunteering--if you have an extremely esoteric or old rare book that probably has no chance of being indexed, but you want it indexed for your library, you can index it yourself and upload it into EYB.

They are still working on the site but it has been significantly streamlined since I first looked at it in April. It's brilliant.

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Welcome to eGullet, runwestierun and Jane, and thanks for the tips.

This does seem brilliant. I have no doubt that eGullet members will give the site a thorough test-drive.

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Hi Jane, and hi runwestierun!

Jane, glad to see that the old chestnut Escoffier is rising up the indexing list. That must be a fun indexing project -- similar to reorganizing eG Forums... but I digress....

In any event, if you search for recipes in the US indexed versions the search recognizes the UK/Aus version of the ingredient name. So search for courgettes, you will get all results for zucchini (and vice versa).

That's a great touch. Want to keep things calm across the mighty oceans. :wink:

When we index one edition of a cookbook we link it to all other editions so no matter which one you own, the recipes will appear in your searches. If we entered the page numbers for the edition we indexed it could be wrong for the other editions.

Also excellent. I didn't realize that when I was entering my titles, and so I was pretty persnickety about editions, a pita for things like the Culinaria books. Perhaps you can mention that on the site itself when users are getting their collections entered? Or did I miss that?

I have friends that joined EYB with me and we can search each others' cookbooks libraries. That's just plain fun.

And a great way to check out a cookbook you haven't got via that friend. I'm game if anyone else is (username Chris A).

It's such an exciting tool. And every week they are indexing more books. They've also said that they will soon accept volunteering--if you have an extremely esoteric or old rare book that probably has no chance of being indexed, but you want it indexed for your library, you can index it yourself and upload it into EYB.

Fantastic! Um...

Hey, Jane? How long does it take to index, say, 200 recipes?

Oh, I'm a lifer as of yesterday.


Edited by Chris Amirault fix username (log)

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Indexing rates vary enormously according to how complex the recipes are - if there are foreign names, lots of ingredients, confusing layouts, etc it takes far longer than a simple recipe per page with a straightforward ingredients list. We estimate that indexers should be able to enter between 50 and 100 per hour. We try to vary the complexity of books and subject matters for them.

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We do not list page numbers as there can be many different editions with different page layouts and hence page numbers. When we index one edition of a cookbook we link it to all other editions so no matter which one you own, the recipes will appear in your searches. If we entered the page numbers for the edition we indexed it could be wrong for the other editions.

How does this work. For instance I have two of the three "Joy of Cooking" Each share the same name but are really very dissimilar, in fact, so much so in the shift from 2nd ed to 3rd ed that they probably shouldn't have the same title. Are you saying that you would give results for all three editions or only the one -maybe two- that we have listed in our collections?

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Where the book has been revised or updated we do not link them and if they are popular enough we will index each edition. So for Joy of Cooking we have so far indexed the 1975 7th edition and the 75th Anniversary edition from 2006. We have assigned the 1997 8th edition to an indexer but it is going to take a while to complete - those books are monsters.

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THANK YOU!!! I was wondering if there was a way I could get EatYourBooks and LibraryThing to communicate! This is outstanding!

(I guess now I have to find time to get a few hundred more cookbooks into my LibraryThing database... sigh)

Barb

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Can I just say that I'm enjoying the "location" function? Since I have cookbook collections in two countries, I can make sure I'm searching for recipes in my current location. A small thing, but valuable for me.

As someone who has a rather small cookbook collection (I've added 13 to my bookshelf; 11 have already been indexed), I was shocked to see how many recipes I have at my disposal - more than 3000. And I find it almost easier to browse the recipes on a computer screen than through the book; especially with books like "How to Cook Everything".

One question: is there an easy way to tag recipes as "tried"?

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One question: is there an easy way to tag recipes as "tried"?

You can have any tags you like by going to Classifications and clicking Add New Categories. Once you have set up "Tried" as a category it can be added to any recipe you want. The whole tags system is going to be greatly improved in the new site version launching in a few weeks. There will be a Bookmarks button for every book and recipe that will allow you to enter any tags there - Favorites, Do Laters, Menus, Locations, etc.

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Jane - can I add cookbooks not in the library?

We're not set up for members to add new books. But we do have a Books Import feature that lets you import ISBNs. Any books that are not in the Library are being added to a list that we will add when we set up affiliations with other booksellers in the next couple of months. When they get added to the Library they will automatically go onto your Bookshelf.

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After playing around with the site this afternoon I've seen so many benefits to it. Probably most importantly for me is the fact that I'll probably be using my cookbook collection more often, something i've been doing less of in the last couple of years as I've found that it just easier to check on the net to check for ideas for e.g. aubergine than trawl through all the books whereas now I can quickly see I have 83 aubergine recipes in my collection (& thats with only a quarter of the books from my as yet incomplete bookshelf being indexed).

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After playing around with the site this afternoon I've seen so many benefits to it. Probably most importantly for me is the fact that I'll probably be using my cookbook collection more often, something i've been doing less of in the last couple of years as I've found that it just easier to check on the net to check for ideas for e.g. aubergine than trawl through all the books whereas now I can quickly see I have 83 aubergine recipes in my collection (& thats with only a quarter of the books from my as yet incomplete bookshelf being indexed).

And the nice thing about using your cookbooks rather than just the internet is that you know that the recipes come from sources that you trusted enough to purchase a book from, rather than just "the cloud".

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Jane, just to clarify: if I import a book that's not indexed into my Bookshelf, do I have to click on the "RI" icon if I would like to see the book indexed? Simply importing it isn't enough?

The reason I ask is that the RI interface is a little clunky. If I don't have to go through it, I'd rather skip it.

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if I import a book that's not indexed into my Bookshelf, do I have to click on the "RI" icon if I would like to see the book indexed? Simply importing it isn't enough?

We use a combination of index requests and the numbers on members' Bookshelves when compiling our indexing chart. So the fact you have added a book to your Bookshelf will move it up the chart but if it's something you really want indexed then doing an index request will help more. Yes, we know it is clunky - it will be much better when the new site goes live in a few weeks. You don't have to send the email - just clicking the button sends the index request through to us. With the new site the index request will gray-out so you know you have already requested that book.

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Thanks, Jane. I'll keep that in mind with future books.

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Since I had never even thought of using a barcode scanner before this thread, I had to buy one. After driving around Seattle until I was dizzy and sick of being told I had to buy a Point of Sale system if I wanted one; I went to Google and found about a million. I learned that not all scanners will read ISBN but found one at Buy .com for $63 that would.

It is a ADESSO Nusscan 1000 series. Plugged into a USB port and started scanning.

I'm running about 20% misses. I have a fair number of pre 10 and 13 diget older books so I will have to figure it out. I'd like to see this program at least catalog ALL my books whether they will ever be indexed or not.

This system has me excited.

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Another Lifetime Member here. I'm looking forward to being able to enter my "antique" cookbooks, even if they aren't indexed.

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Haven't tried the site yet, and it sounds intriguing. I have a basic concern, which may not be an issue for everyone, but I'd better first explain where this comes from. I grew up cooking from and being tipped off about outstanding cookbooks from years past, and as an adult I continued to accumulate them (I have a lot of cookbooks now) based on quality and utility, rather than current publisher marketing.

Consequently many of my cookbooks (including utter, indispensable classics) have no ISBNs (those books predate the 1970s when ISBNs came into general use; many predate 1950). Some (10%?) are in languages besides English, also sometimes pre-ISBN; again sometimes indispensable. The following probably won't make sense to anyone familiar just with recent cookbooks, but the ISBN era only captures a minority of noteworthy cookbooks published, even in the US; it's even worse than that, because (acc. to US cookbook-history statistics in DuSablon's book on the subject) the rate of US cookbook publication greatly accelerated, coincidentally with ISBNs' advent, and in my observation the acceleration reflected more a desire to publish or sell books than a proportionate increase in useful content, though there are important exceptions.*

Therefore, short of indexing my hundreds of non-ISBN titles myself, it sounds like I'd be limited to recent decades.

* Few people have the perspective of a friend who owns one of the largest US cookbook collections in the world. She has remarked, in published interviews, that very, very little in modern US cookbooks can't be found before 1935 or so, so she regards current US cookbooks as largely a repackaging or rediscovery business. (The Hesses, some years earlier, went further, documenting vast plagiarism.) With notable exceptions, especially from overseas cuisines coming into US nowadays.

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Therefore, short of indexing my hundreds of non-ISBN titles myself, it sounds like I'd be limited to recent decades.

That's correct, though it's not really about pre-ISBN as much as currently unpopular. I have a smaller number of pre-ISBN books than you do, but enough of them that I had a similar thought. I suppose that, if enough members pushed for an index on an oldie but goodie, you could bump it up the index list. But that seems pretty remote given the idiosyncrasies of vintage collections in general and the crowd-sourced indexing priorities EYB has set. (Necessarily, I'd think: if you're running a membership-driven for-profit web service, it'd be foolish to place indexing resources on something only obsessives like us have on hand! :wink:)


Edited by Chris Amirault clarification -- (log)

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