[Update!] Temperamental issue with book search functionality

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I did some research during the last days.
And I believe I fixed it.

It's slightly more complicated than what I'm going to outline below. But this description gives a reasonable overview, anyway:

- Google Books has a daily(?) quota for lookup request from a single IP (like from bookcrossing.com). - I haven't found out how much is allowed, but it must be many thousands (see below).
- Every day we did hit that quota sooner or later. That's when lookup started to fail, day by day.
- [skipping some tech stuff ... ;-> ]
- Every registered book has this "Global Overview" link. When you click that link you get sort of a - yeah - global overview. That page automatically calls a Google Books lookup.

-> "Spiders", those crawlers of search engines, follow rather any link they find. So these crawlers found these "Global Overview" pages.
They accounted for some two thousand Google Books lookups - per hour!

--> For the time being I've closed that "Global Overview" for anyone who's not logged in.
In the long run this probably doesn't make sense, I think this page should be avl for the public (what do you think?).
But as a short term solution this reliably locks out those overactive spiders. And in the background I've made a few more modifications to further leverage this issue.
(Yes, there are more regular ways to achieve this, but this is a quick, short term solution.)

---> As a result I expect Google Books Lookups to - more or less permanently - start working properly again within the next 24 hours.

On a side note this seems to indicate, well, I think I'm mostly back again.
But that's a different story to be told another time.

 

Complete Thread
We are aware that there is an issue with the search function not pulling results when entering a book's title, author or ISBN during the registering process from here: https://www.bookcrossing.com/register

Although we are finding that:
- the best source option to use from the drop down list is Google
- the best entry option to use is the title
- there is generally a specific time of the day when it works, depending on your time Zone
... we acknowledge that this too does not always return results to select from.
In the event this occurs, you can still register a book by clicking the 'skip search' button, and follow the prompts from there taking you through the process.
You will need to manually enter the title of the book, and the author (as well as the book's category), by typing in the information. We also highly recommend that you manually enter the ISBN, if there is one.

Numerous threads on this topic have been created in the Bugs and Broken Bits Reporting forum https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/25 (it's been very lively in there of late), and as you can see when visiting that forum, the label [Error flagged with Tech Team] indicates that the error/bug/issue reported, has been escalated to BookCrossing's Technical & Development Team.
As it stands currently, we are awaiting a response from the Team, (namely Reno who successfully worked on this area several months ago when it had been failing due to Amazon changing things on their end and thus BookCrossing's existing coding to pull results from Amazon no longer being valid).

We acknowledge this is causing great frustration within our Member group, and hope to have some help resolving the issue soon.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE: As at 4:15pm MST 20 June 2019
We have just heard from Reno that he is currently looking into the matter and it is currently working ok and he is unable to recreate the issues that have previously been reported.

UPDATE: As at 4:45pm MST 20 June 2019
This issue seems to be gremlin free.
If you encounter the issue, please report it in this thread using the link: https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/561417
Tell us what you are entering into the search box, and if you are trying to search using Google Books from the drop down menu, or one of the Amazon options.

UPDATE: As at 8:45pm MST 20 June 2019
Bug back in force

UPDATE: As at 10:45am MST 21 June 2019
We are back firing on all cylinders with search.
Tested "Echo Park" and search returned results using Google and UK, US, CA and FR of Amazon.
----------------------------------------------
UPDATE: As at 4:34pm MDT (Mountain Daylight Time) 25 September 2019
Bug back is in force

UPDATE: As at 9:06am MDT on 26 September 2019
We are back firing on all cylinders with search.

 

The original thread was deleted whilst removing spam. We will investigate to see if it can be reinstated in full

 

Thanks for letting us know.

 

Currently working at 2.08pm British time

 

Woo hoo! Fingers crossed something is happening 😊🤞

 

Maybe

 

Didn't work all day yesterday for me and still doesn't work today.

 

Didn't work all day yesterday for me and still doesn't work today.

That's unusual.

Are you trying it at the times stated in this announcement and using the workarounds also listed in the announcement ?

 

The hours that it "supposedly" works are during the middle of the night here. I have a good number of books to register and while I can do it all manually, it is time consuming, and there is no picture of the cover of the book displayed. It would seem that if half the world can register books, the other half should be able to as well.

 

It would seem that if half the world can register books, the other half should be able to as well.

I'd go further than that: it should be working all the time. But unfortunately it isn't. And saying that it should doesn't make it so. We all wish it would!

 

The hours that it "supposedly" works are during the middle of the night here.


I'm in the same time-zone as Texas and it works just fine during the day. Which means I have to register books while at work, which is not ideal.

But I registered several books yesterday between noon and 4:00pm, so I know it works during the day for U.S. Central Time Zone.

 

I have tried at all hours and days and sadly still unable to use this function. Such a shame as manual entry takes so long and no pic.

 

Even when the book search was working, it doesn't always find the right version, so I've often had to update the cover manually, and I've got it down to under 2 minutes:

1. Go to Amazon, or whichever reseller, and search for the book;
2. Right click on the correct cover and "Save Image" to desktop;
3. Open the desktop file, click and drag to select the right size, then crop and save
4. Edit your newly registered book entry, click update cover, and select the desktop file

and Bob's your Uncle.

 

3 . Open the desktop file, click and drag to select the right size, then crop and save


As far as I know I don't have to do step 3. I just save from Google, LibraryThing, Amazon, etc. and add it to the book without sizing or cropping anything. I only have to crop if I can't find a picture online and have to use one I took with my phone.

 

Go to Amazon, or whichever reseller, and search for the book;

I use the bookcrossing site to find my images.

Books & people tab
Search
Enter book title, press go

If I'm lucky the book cover is on the first page of books listed. If not I go though each page until I find it. It can be longer that way but thankfully it's usually on the first page :-)

When I find it I download to my device and then upload the book cover

 

Even when the book search was working, it doesn't always find the right version, so I've often had to update the cover manually, and I've got it down to under 2 minutes:

1. Go to Amazon, or whichever reseller, and search for the book;
2. Right click on the correct cover and "Save Image" to desktop;
3. Open the desktop file, click and drag to select the right size, then crop and save
4. Edit your newly registered book entry, click update cover, and select the desktop file

and Bob's your Uncle.

You don't have to crop or edit the book image at all. Just do a google image search for the book, save the image to your desktop and then upload it to bookcrossing. I have two tabs open in my browser and it only takes seconds.

If searching on google for book cover images intimidates you, you can just go to GoodReads.com and search for the book there. I've never been unable to find a book and image on goodreads and those images are sized appropriately to work well on Bookcrossing.

 

I have tried at all hours and days and sadly still unable to use this function. Such a shame as manual entry takes so long and no pic.


It would probably work for you very early in the morning - like 7:00 am because I was registering books yesterday at 4:00pm U.S. Central Time. I'm not sure if it still works after 5:00pm here, but if so, then it might work for you at 8:00 or so, depending on your time zone (4:00 pm here is 7:00 am in Sydney)*.

*I just realized that Daylight Savings time just ended, so you should be able to register a couple hours later than that now. 9:00 am or 10:00 am may still work for you at the late end of the working time frame.

 

I just registered a biography and everything went OK - including the cover shot showing up. That wasn't happening for a long time.

 

I did some research during the last days.
And I believe I fixed it.

It's slightly more complicated than what I'm going to outline below. But this description gives a reasonable overview, anyway:

- Google Books has a daily(?) quota for lookup request from a single IP (like from bookcrossing.com). - I haven't found out how much is allowed, but it must be many thousands (see below).
- Every day we did hit that quota sooner or later. That's when lookup started to fail, day by day.
- [skipping some tech stuff ... ;-> ]
- Every registered book has this "Global Overview" link. When you click that link you get sort of a - yeah - global overview. That page automatically calls a Google Books lookup.

-> "Spiders", those crawlers of search engines, follow rather any link they find. So these crawlers found these "Global Overview" pages.
They accounted for some two thousand Google Books lookups - per hour!

--> For the time being I've closed that "Global Overview" for anyone who's not logged in.
In the long run this probably doesn't make sense, I think this page should be avl for the public (what do you think?).
But as a short term solution this reliably locks out those overactive spiders. And in the background I've made a few more modifications to further leverage this issue.
(Yes, there are more regular ways to achieve this, but this is a quick, short term solution.)

---> As a result I expect Google Books Lookups to - more or less permanently - start working properly again within the next 24 hours.

On a side note this seems to indicate, well, I think I'm mostly back again.
But that's a different story to be told another time.

 

Awesome detective work!

 

nranger7 3 wks ago
THANK YOU!
I was pleasantly surprised to see the search was working again tonight. YAY!!! And the quota issue seems to explain why I was having trouble even during the supposed functional times. I work nights so by the time I woke up it wouldn't be working. So glad you were able to figure it out. Stupid spiders...

 

Thank you very much, you are a real detective!

 

You absolute hero, well done!

 

But as a short term solution this reliably locks out those overactive spiders. And in the background I've made a few more modifications to further leverage this issue.
(Yes, there are more regular ways to achieve this, but this is a quick, short term solution.)
BRILLIANT!!!😊
As a result I expect Google Books Lookups to - more or less permanently - start working properly again within the next 24 hours.
THANK YOU SOOO VERY MUCH, Ardik!!!💖
On a side note this seems to indicate, well, I think I'm mostly back again.
🧨🎉✨🎇HIP HIP HURRAY!!!🎇✨🎉🧨
But that's a different story to be told another time.
Looking forward to hearing it.😉

 

Thank you for your hard work :)

 

Well, I personally call you my tech hero from now on 😉

I am glad that you are back and very thankful for all the hard work you invest in our hobby BookCrossing and all work you do to keep this site working.

 

Thank you :-)

 

Thank you so much for your excellent detective work.

I haven't found myself _unable_ to register books, but it is definitely much easier when the search function is, well, functioning. :D

 

Awesome! Thank You!

 

Wow, Ardik. Thanks so much. These bugs have been a challenge, esp. for my 92-year old Mom, Bucklesbook. Also, this is so great the bugs are gone, because we want to encourage, not discourage new Bookcrossers, with a smooth-running system. You have done a great job. Thank you, danke, merci, grazie again!

 

Fantastic/wunderbar/merveilleux!

I'm on U.S. Pacific time (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver), so I was able to register a few books at a reasonable time of day. If I were halfway around the world, I probably would have given up on registering books until the problem was fixed.

 

If I were halfway around the world, I probably would have given up on registering books until the problem was fixed.

I'm halfway around the world, or rather: you are... and the time when the search was working generally started at 17:00 for me. Not so bad, really.

 

I'm really wondering how that point in l time is chosen / defined when the quota is reinstated.
For the new Google Books API they say it's midnight PST, if I remember correctly. That doesn't really match 1700 CET / 1600 UCT ...

 

For the new Google Books API they say it's midnight PST, if I remember correctly. That doesn't really match 1700 CET / 1600 UCT ...


Maybe because Google HQ is on PST.

 

wingifyouknewwing 3 wks ago
Yay!
Thank you for your work on this- it really was a big issue and I'm delighted that it's fixed.

 

--> For the time being I've closed that "Global Overview" for anyone who's not logged in.
In the long run this probably doesn't make sense, I think this page should be avl for the public (what do you think?).

Could you just do a no follow command on those pages so the spiders won't crawl them, but legitimate site visitors who aren't logged in can still see those pages? I mean, I don't think it benefits Bookcrossing to have those pages crawled. It shouldn't affect site ranking or anything.

I don't know how common it is, but if someone catches a book and visits Bookcrossing for the first time, they might look around on the site and try some searches before registering an account. If it doesn't work for them, maybe they wouldn't go on to create an account.

 

Could you just do a no follow command on those pages so the spiders won't crawl them, but legitimate site visitors who aren't logged in can still see those pages?

Legitimate search engines respect no follow commands. Not all search engines are that legitimate, unfortunately.

I don't know how common it is, but if someone catches a book and visits Bookcrossing for the first time, they might look around on the site and try some searches before registering an account.

As far as I know, searches within the site are not affected. Just the Global Overview page. I'm not sure how many aspiring members would look at that.

 

 

Your hard work is much appreciated.

 

Your hard work is much appreciated.

I absolutely second that! Thank you very much, ardik!

 

Your hard work is much appreciated.

 

What a brilliant solution. I don’t think non-members need the global overview. It’s only needed for registering and looking up books on wishlists; non-members don’t do either of those things AFAIK. Congratulations!

 

 

wingAzukiwing 3 wks ago
OMG!!
I am overfilled with joy. This is the first time in I can't remember how long that I am able to register a book at night, when I come home from work!! I registered a book last night and then did it again tonight. Both time works beautifully!!!!

Ardik, you will receive a hero's welcome and salute in Gold Coast!! I will give you a big hug and buy you a beer... or 2 or 3 ...

And guys, if you want to personally thank Ardik, sign up for the 2020 BC Con! ; )

This is certainly a week with lots of good news for BookCrossing!

 

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