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What about the unindexed books?   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:28:57 AM(UTC)


I am Dot from Ringwood, New Jersey.  I currently have over 300 cookbooks and was delighted to find this website where I can organize my books and look for recipes.  By the time I entered 129 books, I found that 65 books are indexed and 64 books are not.  That means half of my books, so far, as useless on this site.  I am very disappointed.  Does anyone else feel this way?

#2 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 12:05:08 PM(UTC)

I suppose it is in how you look at it.

Only a quarter of my current collection of books is indexed right now on EYB. But I am using those books a LOT more than before EYB when I had only a vague notion of what was in them. So I see it as a quarter-full glass that is mighty tasty.

And I know that more books are being indexed every day. I haven't kept track, but it seems like on a weekly basis another 5 to 10 books show up as indexed. Most of those aren't ones on my bookshelves, but they might be on yours.

EYB employs professional indexers who do the high-profile books. Recently they added the ability of members to index books as well. So I can and will have a hand in increasing the percentage of indexed books in my collection.

#3 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 1:09:37 PM(UTC)

I am very pleased that over a third of my book collection is already indexed. A lot of those are recent high profile books that I use a lot anyway.

A lot of my books are quite old and some are only owned by me so they won't be indexed unless I do them myself !  Some I wouldn't use much as the recipes are rather 'dated'.

Since I joined last summer several more of my books have been indexed including one I have done myself, there is one in the pipeline and I am currently indexing another one.  I intend to look for books to do which will be of benefit to a few other people as well as myself.  I have 10 books on my 'index soon' list so there are new ones being added nearly every week.

With so many thousands of cookery books listed in the USA, Canada, U.K. Australia & New Zealand it would be unusual for anyone to have more than half of their collection listed unless they have just recent big sellers.

#4 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 1:24:05 PM(UTC)

Even if your books are not all indexed, it has really helped me to organize and keep track of where all of my cookbooks are.  In the bookmark section you can list the room they are located in.  If you have an extensive collection, they are in so many rooms and places in your house and at least it reminds me of the books I have and where they are so I can get to them easy.  Hope this will help you to love the site like we do.

#5 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:57:11 PM(UTC)

Thank you all for your responses.   I love each and every one of my cookbooks.  That is why I was disappointed that only half of them were indexed.  I guess I just have to look at the bright side of things and know that, at least, all my books will be organized, after I've entered them all.

I wish I could index some books myself, but I am currently a college student an don't have enough time.  When I get a break from school, I will try to index a book or two.

#6 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:04:04 PM(UTC)

Hi Dot

I was also a little disappointed to find that only 50% of my books were indexed. But I've since developed more perspective :) An EYB person told me that about 60% of the books that are actually on members' shelves (as opposed to being in the database but not on any shelves) are indexed, and as saladdays said, more are being indexed all the time. I have quite a lot of older books that are on only on a handful of shelves (in a couple of instances only on mine!) and it's understandable that EYB aren't giving priority to those.

I've indexed a couple of my own books, giving priority to ones that a) are on few shelves, b) aren't too long, and c) I haven't used for a long time -- since part of the point of EYB for me is to rediscover neglected cookbooks. It's time-consuming, so I don't suppose I'll do this for many books, but I'm happy to do it from time to time since I do benefit from it.

I suggest you go through your unindexed books and whenever you find one that's on at least 10 shelves, request an EYB index. It's my understanding that the more members who ask for a book to be indexed, the higher up the queue it goes.

#7 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:26:12 PM(UTC)

Thanks everyone for your feedback to Dot.  I have also emailed her a personal response outlining how her own book collection will be indexed.

In 2011 we actually indexed on average 21 new books a week plus an average of 8 a week member-indexed books since we started at the beginning of November.  We expect that figure of around 30 new indexed books per week to be higher in 2012.  On top of that we are constantly indexing magazines and blogs.  So everyone should see their recipe count increase gradually, even more quickly if they index their own cookbooks.

#8 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 5:08:11 PM(UTC)

Thank you, veronicafrance, for your insight.  I appreciate it.

#9 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:22:45 PM(UTC)

Although there are still many unindexed books, EYB has focused on indexing the most popular, widely-owned ones first. So you will probably find that you have lots of indexed recipes, regardless.

I've done some member-indexing and find I can get through a smaller book (200 - 300 recipes) in an evening or so.  Right now I'm working on the Picayune's Creole Cook Book and it's taking longer.  It probably has more than 1000 recipes in it, plus you have to read each recipe as you index because it sneaks additional ingredients into the text that aren't in the recipe's own list!  Their ideas of editing in 1901 are rather different than today's! But it'll be worth having it available because even though it's an old book, it's still considered the Bible of Creole cookery! 

The more of us who index, the more recipes we'll have at hand! Even so, the indexers, paid and volunteer, seem to be busy and every week another book or two that I own pops up as indexed.  So I'm not feeling deprived of recipes on the site!  Quite the contrary! It's always a little thrill to see another of my books in the indexed list!

#10 Posted : Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:24:08 PM(UTC)

About 85% of my 116 books are indexed. Either I'm lucky or I only have the most common books (more likely).  Overall, I have been very impressed by the site and the work that has gone into it.  Nice job!

#11 Posted : Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:23:55 PM(UTC)
Today I went through my list of cooking books which were not in EYB library when I joined and found a further 23 of them were now in the library,some had been added automatically to my bookshelf and some I had to add. None of the additions were indexed so this resulted in my percentage of books indexed falling from 35% to 30%. However since I still have 11605 recipes in my indexed books and 5595 in online recipes I think at 80+ years I have plenty to go on with. No doubt the younger you are (unless you have all your mother's and grandmother's hand me downs) the chances are that your collection will have more recent and thus more likely to be indexed books, increasing your percentage.I have never been disappointed in joining and enjoy all it has to offer. So far I have indexed 149 of my personal recipes.The ability to personally add favourite recipes was a huge step forward for the site.

#12 Posted : Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:37:24 AM(UTC)

I took the opportunity to look through the list of my as yet unindexed books, and frankly the great majority are of mainly historic interest; I am not really likely to cook something by Elizabeth Raffald or Eliza Acton. Rather I am impressed by the sheer number already processed. The one gap I notice is non-English language books - French, Italian in particular.

So keep up the good work; with new books coming out all the time you have a job for life!

Interesting also to note from the 2011 best lists just how separate English, American and Australian tastes are - very few of the books secure a place on more than one list.


#13 Posted : Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:04:29 AM(UTC)

I cook recipes from my ancient cookbooks all the time! Including Eliza Acton. I don't really mind those not being indexed though -- I appreciate that they are a minority taste.

When I joined at the beginning of December, just under 50% of my books were indexed -- and I didn't bother listing the ones that were so old that they don't have ISBNs, or the ones in French and Spanish. I am a bit disappointed that since then, precisely one of my unindexed books has been indexed -- and that's because I indexed it myself! Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookery Book has been saying "Index soon" since I joined. I know it's a big book, but still ...

#14 Posted : Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:13:58 AM(UTC)

Ray - thanks for the support.  Yes, it is a job for life!  Even if print cookbooks decline significantly, as some analysts predict, the replacement eBooks will still need to be indexed as there is no central search for digital recipes.  I think people forget when talking about the ease of use of digital books that their recipe search function is just for that one book. So if you want to search across all your books, you still need EYB.

We see that lack of cross-over of cookbooks in our indexing too, though there is more between the UK and Australia/NZ than between the US and anywhere.  So our British, Australian and New Zealand indexers are always indexing books published in their own country.  The wonderful Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi is a true international success - and he did it without a TV show which is encouraging.

Veronicafrance - we are indexing the books by order of popularity i.e. the number of Bookshelves plus the number of index requests.  Which is why member indexing has been so great for the more obscure books as members can now index their favorites that not many others know about.  That Four Seasons book is an oddity - the British indexer who was doing it dropped out half way through.  I actually own two copies of that book myself (one is a signed copy, it's a classic) so I'm going to assign my copy to an American indexer to finish it.

#15 Posted : Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:43:18 AM(UTC)

That's great -- I dragged it out of my reserve collection in November, and I'd like to cook some more recipes from it, which would be easier if it was on EYB. I blogged about it here.

#16 Posted : Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:12:47 PM(UTC)

Very pleased to hear about the Four Seasons Cookbook, mine is a well worn paperback version that I have owned since 1972, not much used recently as there are such a choice of wonderful books now. It was a revelation when it was first published.  Margaret Costa used to write a weekly column in  the Sunday Times and I used to look forward to reading it just as much as Nigel Slater's present weekly article in the Observer.

#17 Posted : Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:08:30 AM(UTC)

Four Seasons  - yes - a real classic - would be very happy to see it. Wonder if the number of US members is so much larger than from elsewhere that their cookbooks get to the front of the indexing queue by sheer weight of numbers.

Member indexing is clearly part of the answer, but I imagine it needs uninterrupted peace and quiet - my only venture was with a UK project "Shroud" - indexing parish death records - happy subject - which I had to drop because of lack of quality "me" time - selfish old so-and-so, aren't I!


Ray Sadler


#18 Posted : Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:57:46 AM(UTC)

It seems to me that new British cookbooks are quite well represented on EYB, along with the true classics like Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson. If I look through my unindexed books, most of them are over 10 years old. I do wish there was some way of telling, when I request an EYB index, how likely it is to make it into the queue!

#19 Posted : Saturday, January 28, 2012 5:36:13 PM(UTC)

We can sort our indexing chart by country of publication and we assign the books to our indexers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand from their own chart.  So the EYB members in those countries shouldn't feel that the sheer volume of US members will dominate the indexing of books.  You can sort the Library by popularity then filter by country of publication which is actually quite interesting to see how different the books are - so the USA list is identical to the Library top books, but the top books lists for the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are all very different.

veronicafrance - in terms of telling whether your books are going to be indexed soon by EYB, you can assume that if the book is on more than 40 Bookshelves then it should be indexed in the next couple of months or so.  Sometimes we have a problem getting hold of a book, particularly when it is an older book, so you will see books pop up as newly indexed which are on considerably more than 40 Bookshelves, like the newly indexed Time-Life Foods of the World: Cooking of China which is on 86 Bookshelves.  But in general the books you will see being indexed now are on between 40 and 60 Bookshelves.

#20 Posted : Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:19:42 AM(UTC)

Thanks Jane. But hmm, that's bad news. None of my unindexed books are on anywhere near 40 bookshelves. So unless EYB gets a sudden influx of new members with the same tastes as me, I could be waiting a long time!

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