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nickrey

EatYourBooks.com: search your own cookbooks for recipes online

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We are hoping that once we open up the indexing to member volunteers that more of the less "popular" books will get indexed. We obviously had to make our priority the cookbooks that the most members want indexed. But it was never our intention to just index recent books - our indexed books are mainly from the 80's up to date, with a few from the 60s and 70s. The problem with vintage collections is that the number of people owning each book is bound to be smaller.

It is very expensive to index each book so it's not possible to index every book that EYB members own. That is hopefully where members will get involved - and as we expand our membership there will more members with older collections who will share in the workload. So you shouldn't have to index all your books to access the recipes. Though it actually is quite fun indexing the books - you get to know them really well.

Although at the moment we just list books with ISBNs we will in the future be opening up the EYB Library so members can add books without ISBNs as well as foreign language books (not sure we will have foreign language ingredients though). We are still in beta, so we have a to-do list a mile long of improvements we want to make to the site. So I can't give you a date when the pre-ISBN imports will happen, but it will be done.

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You know what would be wicked cool (says the Boston kid)? Creating an online indexing workzone that would enable me, Max, and the other seven people who treasure their copies of Ye Olde Cookery Book to index it. You'd have some potential for quality control problems, but it would be an excellent way to tap into EYB members' collective investment in getting the job done.

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So you would divide up the chapters between you? I'll have to think how that would work. The recipes have to be in a sort order so they appear in the same order as they are in the book. Yes, we know the quality control aspect will be critical. We will have to do a lot of proofreading!

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Thanks for the info, Jane.

... that would enable me, Max, and the other seven people who treasure their copies of Ye Olde Cookery Book to index it.

The exotic Ye Olde Cookery Booke is a good angle (and lightly taken, as I think intended) -- in fact if you like cookbooks with titles like that, there's a delightful broad anthology (again not recent) and I'm currently learning things from its recipes.

Just to be clear: As an avid practical cook, my interest isn't in narrow or "collector" stuff. I'm just thinking more of merit than age. Cookbooks of quality do actually tend to be popular, once people notice them. Being receptive to cookbooks before the current batch (just like reading general writers beyond the current batch) can also be eye-opening, imparting sense of perspective or history, less thrall for the fads and fatuities of the moment.

I'm thinking more of things like the classic epic US sandwich book, or the best-selling US authors who popularized French cooking over the 150 years before Julia Child took her turn at it, or the books defining famous national cuisines of several countries with long histories, or the French home cook's classic counterpart to Escoffier, or the perspective that Cracknell and Kaufmann's translation of the Guide Culinaire (Escoffier's professional reference cookbook) is traditionally cited by English speakers as the Guide Culinaire just as they also call the famous encyclopedia Larousse Gastronomique. Important but pre-current cookbooks enabled me to answer many current food-related questions on eGullet and elsewhere. (You can decide for yourself if it's a benefit or curse to become conscious, also, of how much needless misinformation crowds Wikipedia food and drink entries.)

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MaxH, I don't at all mean to tease, and I agree completely that merit and not age is the issue. Your examples are perfect.

So you would divide up the chapters between you? I'll have to think how that would work. The recipes have to be in a sort order so they appear in the same order as they are in the book. Yes, we know the quality control aspect will be critical. We will have to do a lot of proofreading!

What we do here in eG Forums on projects like this is create teams, determine indexing criteria, and sit around "together"/across the globe hacking away at it. Order is just a labeling problem: step one could be assigning recipes numbers. But once those are done it's simply a matter of generating data within predetermined fields for each record and quality control.

I'd also bet that your web designer could create a UI on the website itself that would enable this work to be done in a uniform way -- hell, google now has forms that dump data into CSV, excel, you name it formats. S/he also might be able to create a chat room where the folks can yak as they index.

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It sounds like a lot of work is going into the new version of EYB, I'm really stoked about some of the changes that are coming down the pipeline. Do you want us to continue submitting bug reports about the current version, or would it be best to just wait until after the big upgrade?

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Can I ask how you're currently indexing the books? OCR? Crowdsourced labor? In house teams? A combination of the above?

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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.

I'm using a free app called ZBar on an iPhone 3GS to get the barcodes; it's working quite well. Although we've had a few books where the bookshop has put their barcode sticker over the ISBN barcode.. a bit irritating.

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It sounds like a lot of work is going into the new version of EYB, I'm really stoked about some of the changes that are coming down the pipeline. Do you want us to continue submitting bug reports about the current version, or would it be best to just wait until after the big upgrade?

We always welcome bug reports - if it's something already fixed in the upcoming new version we'll just tell you, if it's a new bug or suggested enhancement, we welcome the input.

Can I ask how you're currently indexing the books? OCR? Crowdsourced labor? In house teams? A combination of the above?

Unfortunately we don't use OCR due to the complex nature of cookbooks. We could do for just the recipe title but the categories and ingredient names don't leap off the page. E.g. a recipe for chicken dopiaza may have nothing in the recipe listing to indicate it is a Indian curry and a main course (all three categories we would enter) and the ingredient words we want are usually buried in other text. But we are going to investigate ways we might be able to automate more of the process so if you have any thoughts I'd welcome them.

So at the moment it is all done by paid indexers, who are spread around the world, going through the physical book, recipe by recipe, manually entering the data. We are going to open up the indexing to member volunteers who will be able to index their own books, particularly the less "popular" ones that may not reach the top of our indexing queue for some time. We will still have to proofread the work - the quality of the data is critical and we know from even the paid indexers work how variable the quality can be. We now use mainly back-of-the-book cookbook indexers as they understand the importance of data integrity and have good culinary knowledge.

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I've now input the last of my books. I have cataloged 130+ in and recognized. I have about 60 to 70 unrecognized.

If they aren't in EYB Library the system doesn't seem to have a way for me to put them in. Hence nearly all of my old Beard books are not in. Even as an inventory item.

I want to print a listing of what is in EYB of my own and will then reorganise my Bookshelf so I can find the noncatalogged ones with out having to read every one of the publish pages. How?

How does one get an ISBN for pre ISBN published books from say the forties or fifties? Can you manually add to the list of books the EYB folks have?

I have used this to find a recipe for supper yesterday and I will love it even more when it grows up, I want to help it to help me. Of course maybe I need to learn how to uwe it better. I'll even give a try on Chris A's Indexing team [though I question my abilities in that sort of thing].

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Glad to hear you managed to add the majority of your cookbooks - that has given you more than 25,000 recipes to search through in seconds. The books that you were not able to add, you should import the ISBNs using the Book Import feature and we will then add them to the Library when we set up further affiliations with booksellers stocking older and rarer books. The books will then automatically be added to your Bookshelf.

The new version of the site, which should be up within a couple of weeks (bug testing like crazy at the moment) will allow you to do an abbreviated listing (title, author, ISBN) that you can print out.

You cannot yet add books without ISBNs but that is on our to-do list after we get the new site up.

Thank you so much for your offer of help. Even if you don't want to index your books, just giving feedback is really valuable to us.

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I tried to sign up for a lifetime membership today, but couldn't make it through PayPal's opaque account set-up system Are there any plans for alternate payment options?

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I tried to sign up for a lifetime membership today, but couldn't make it through PayPal's opaque account set-up system Are there any plans for alternate payment options?

There is a giant thread on EYB over at Chowhound and I think I remember someone else not wanting to use Paypal. If I remember right, Jane said they would have other payment plans once they were out of beta, but then there wouldn't be the lifetime option anymore. She is just offering the lifetime membership while they are in beta.

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That's too bad. I'm not really keen on linking my bank accounts to PayPal, and some of the information required by that site is not information I can acquire without some back and forth between myself and the bank, which I doubt can be resolved before my free trial is up. I guess I'm stuck.

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I remember Jane saying somewhere that they don't automatically delete your library once your free trial is up. They save the information in case you decide to join later so you don't have to upload all those ISBNs again.

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That's too bad. I'm not really keen on linking my bank accounts to PayPal, and some of the information required by that site is not information I can acquire without some back and forth between myself and the bank, which I doubt can be resolved before my free trial is up. I guess I'm stuck.

I have paypal linked only to my credit card.

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I remember Jane saying somewhere that they don't automatically delete your library once your free trial is up. They save the information in case you decide to join later so you don't have to upload all those ISBNs again.

Yes, this was my experience. My free trial expired on July 31, while I was off on vacation with no computer access. I was pleased to read this part of the e-mail notice I received:

We have saved your Username, Bookshelf and other settings. Should you decide to take out a membership at a later date just sign on with your Username and Password and you will be taken to the Registration screen.

We will let you know before we delete any of your information.

This thread reminded me to go back and pay for a membership and all my books were still there.

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I tried to sign up for a lifetime membership today, but couldn't make it through PayPal's opaque account set-up system Are there any plans for alternate payment options?

We definitely plan to add alternative payment systems once we are out of beta. PayPal was a convenient system while we started up but we know that not everyone wants to use them. You can just pay by credit card through PayPal (as Kerry Beal mentioned), you don't need a PayPal account to use the service.

The new version of the website will go live tomorrow. I would be really interested to know what existing EYB members think of it.

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Been using it a lot today -- for beets, in particular! -- so I'm eager to check it out tomorrow.

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I've used my cookbooks more since I joined the website than I think I have in total over the past few years. Looking forward to checking out the new site.

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I have paypal linked only to my credit card.

I thought this was the case also (as I had done in the past), but when I went to update my credit card information, they said the account couldn't be linked, and asked for bank account information, thus pissing me off. Anyway, it's an issue with PayPal, not EYB.

I remember Jane saying somewhere that they don't automatically delete your library once your free trial is up. They save the information in case you decide to join later so you don't have to upload all those ISBNs again.

Well, this is good news, at least!

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I've used my cookbooks more since I joined the website than I think I have in total over the past few years. Looking forward to checking out the new site.

I second this: in the past week alone I've pulled over a half dozen books off my shelf that hadn't seen the light of day in years. I really think that EYB is a revolutionary idea, and I certainly wish them success. Especially since I have a lifetime membership!!

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Been using it a lot today -- for beets, in particular! -- so I'm eager to check it out tomorrow.

Wow, such serendipity. I was also looking for beet recipes as I pulled a bunch of golden beets from the garden this morning. I entered roasted beets

The recipe is in the Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast (Martha Stewart).

Orange, roasted beet, and arugula salad

It specified one large beet but I used four small ones. Delicious :wub:

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I've used my cookbooks more since I joined the website than I think I have in total over the past few years. Looking forward to checking out the new site.

I second this: in the past week alone I've pulled over a half dozen books off my shelf that hadn't seen the light of day in years. I really think that EYB is a revolutionary idea, and I certainly wish them success. Especially since I have a lifetime membership!!

Me three. I am really enjoying rediscovering my cookbooks especially with all the beautiful produce this time of year. And just now I was reading the thread about Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's book "Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking". I thought I bought that book, I remember looking at it. So instead of ransacking the house I typed it into the EYB database and there it was in my library. Yay!

And why would I have to ransack the house to find that book if I didn't have EYB? Because now that I have that index I have arranged all my books by------wait for it------COLOR! Yep. I've put different colored books in different bookcases and it's pretty. The room feels much more harmonious and now my books are all girlied up. :wub:

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I read about this site last night as I was reading an Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine in which there was a little blurb about it. I immediately went online to check it out and was hooked, I've dreamed about something like this for years.

I've had issues with paypal for years and after it rejected every card I have I created a whole new paypal account, complete with a brand new e-mail address, bank account and credit card. It took me most of the morning but I really wanted to get in before the lifetime membership thing expired. Now I need to go and start inputting all of my books. I'm so excited to try this out.

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