"Adopt an Author" Program

An Ongoing Project of the ModernLib Membership

ModernLib database pages have become a lot more information-rich than they once were. For any given page you'll find up to seven categories of information:

  • dust jacket images
  • an author biography
  • information about a title as it relates to the Modern Library
  • one or more links to complete content of a title
  • a table of contents for anthologies, short stories, essay collections with or without links to full content for one or more entries
  • a link to information about the contents of a title
  • blurbs from the panels and flaps of dust jackets

With around 435 authors and around 800 separate titles, and with Internet sources appearing and disappearing with breakneck speed, keeping the database complete, accurate, and with all links live is quite the job! In fact, it's too big a job for one guy (i.e. me) to handle well.

Enter the "Adopt An Author" Program. You—or a school-aged family member needing to develop Internet searching/research skills—pick one or more authors in the ModernLib ML lineup and keep the links/images on that page healthy and up to date. As that author's Guardian, your name appears at the bottom of the author's page just above the ML Home icon. (Click here to see an example.)

No Coding Required: As Guardian, you don't have to do any HTML coding or web page design. You just locate and verify the information and send it to The Managing Editor who will then add it to your author's page.

Guardian Duties

Every author in the database already has had some work done so nobody has to start from scratch; but few authors have had all work done. All links on a page need to be checked at least once a month, and there are always new and better links and better dust jacket images (and if we're lucky new images) to be found.

Each author should have a biography:



The Guardian makes sure that a link exists to the author's biography and clicks that link at least once a month to makes sure that the link is still active. If the link is busted, the Guardian tries to find a good working link.

If the Guardian determines that the link goes to a biography of inferior quality (for example, inadequate information or a biased presentation or it's Just Plain Boring), s/he tries to find a better link.

If the name listed on the Author's page is a pen name, the Guardian tracks down the real name and sends it to The Managing Editor for inclusion on the page.

For more information about biographies, click here.

Each title ideally would have all of the following:

DJ Images

If an image on the Author's page isn't that great, the Guardian locates a better one. Or the Guardian might be on the lookout for missing DJs for that author. When the Guardian locates the new or replacement image, s/he sends an e-mail to The Managing Editor telling the Editor where to find the new image.

If the Guardian has the DJ image already (for example, s/he might own the DJ and have a digital camera or a scanner, s/he would send the image along. Contributed images should be in JPEG format and be in the range 150-300 DPI.

Content Links

The Guardian clicks all links on the page at least once a month to makes sure that the current links are active and of good quality. If the link is busted, the Guardian tries to find a good working link.

If the Guardian determines that the link goes to content of an inferior quality (for example, a bad translation), s/he tries to find better links. If links to content are absent, assuming that the content is in the public domain and may therefore be available somewhere, the Guardian tries to find links.

In any event, the Guardian sends an e-mail to The Managing Editor if anything needs to be changed.

For more information about content links, click here.


The Guardian types up DJ blurbs from the dust jacket panels or flaps and sends them to The Managing Editor. This, of course, assumes that the Guardian has a dust jacketed copy of the title in question. If s/he doesn't, s/he doesn't -- and that part of the Guardian's duties are deferred until s/he gets a copy, or until s/he can convince somebody who owns a copy to type up the blurb.

Preserve the original capitalization, punctuation, and spelling exactly as it appears in the blurb. Save the work as a plain text file, Microsoft Word file, or RTF file, or just send it as text in an e-mail message including info on what might be italicized or boldfaced in the original.


The Guardian types up Tables of Contents as appropriate from all compilations in all genres (except poetry) where the contents is not evident from the title or from the dust jacket image as it appears in the database. So most of Ibsen wouldn't need tables of contents, but Singer's Selected Short Stories would. (A jacketless copy will do for this, although matching the date will likely be important since content sometimes changed with edition.)

Plain text in the body of an e-mail message is fine. Include the book title, the Toledano number (or some other way to identify the edition since contents sometimes changed with a new compilation), plus a transcription of the table of contents—page numbers not necessary. For titles that have poetry as well as prose (e.g. Swinburne's Selected Poetry & Prose), ignore the poetry but list everything else. The Guardian sends them to The Managing Editor.

Book Notes

The Guardian seeks to locate information, gossip, or trivia about a title as a Modern Library entity. It could be first edition points not listed in the Toledano Guide, sales figures, notes about its printing history, something about the author's relationship to the Modern Library, and so on.

The Guardian verifies the information and sends it to The Managing Editor for inclusion on the page.


The Guardian locates a link to metacontent about a title (plot summary, historical context, importance, criticism, and so on) or author's complete works (styles, influences, whatever) such that the reader of the metacontent will be encouraged to read the actual book.

For more information about metacontent, click here.

And while it's not strictly a Guardian's duty, it would be helpful to check the Genre page as well as the Period Studies page to make sure that your author's titles are properly placed.

To join the Adopt An Author program, do this:

  1. Pick your favorite author from the ModernLib database's Index of Authors.
  2. Click the link to go to that author's page.
  3. Scroll to the bottom to see if the author already has a Guardian.
    Even if the author already has a Guardian, that Guardian may be interested in sharing duties with you.
  4. If the author is available, contact The Managing Editor to adopt the author and begin your research.
As soon as you send any piece of research from the Guardian Duties table above, or you confirm that you have checked all the links on the page to make sure that they're all live, your name will be added to the bottom of the page as the Guardian.