I have found myself using Math.SE for finding books on various subjects.

The way I am doing this is writing the subject followed by the word book, or by filtering the search results with the reference-request tag.

For example, just this week I have searched "Probability book" to get to some books that were recommended in the past.

This method also brings back results like questions from the books (exercises).

Do we need a tag for books (or book-recommendations) tag?

P.S: I don't know if this feature exist, but I would like to see it [silly me, forgot to ask for the feature!]: Can it be a sub-tag of reference request?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ It already exists, but is a synonym for reference-request. $\endgroup$
    – 40 votes
    Jul 24, 2013 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @40votes - I didn't know that. But just the reference-request tags bring results like "Who first/proved/others..." $\endgroup$
    – Belgi
    Jul 24, 2013 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think that "reference-request" is different enough from "book-recommendation" so that having both tags would be useful. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2013 at 20:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Does anyone know a history of the synonym? Were there two separate tags books and reference-request and they were merged? (I did not find any discussion on meta about such merge.) I don't know whether I understand correctly the column named renames in the list of synonyms. Does the number 43 mean that there were 43 questions tagged (books) when the two tags were synonymized? $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2013 at 11:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As I have been told on meta.SO, the number 43 means that since creating the synonyms the tag (books) have been used 43 times. (I.e., someone actually typed books in the tags field, which was then automatically changed to (reference-request). $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2013 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Belgi As this was your idea, perhaps you should be the person who creates the new tag. (The only thing you have to do is to find a post where the tag is appropriate and add (book-recommendation) to the tags.) I would not be surprised if creating this tag could bring you taxonomist badge, since there probably will be 50 questions of this type soon. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2014 at 6:39

3 Answers 3


I think that total score 10 (13 upvotes/3 downvotes) can be considered as a community consensus for creating the tag. (This is definitely much more voting that we usually see in posts about .)

So I think that the tag should be created. (In the original post also the name was suggested. However, a tag with this name already exists - it is a synonym for reference-request. And the longer name is, in my opinion, clearer.)

Here is my suggestion for tag-excerpt.

This tag is for questions about recommendation of books for some particular area, topic, problem. Use this tag together with (reference-request) tag.

The reason I suggested that should be used simultaneously with this tag is that most of the questions asked so far, which could belong under (book-recommendation) are tagged (reference-request). It would be really difficult task to retag them all, so using the (reference-request) could help when searching for such question. (People who are used to look for book recommendations by searching in this tag would not be forced to change their habits.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have followed up on your advice and created the tag. I have used your description for the tag-excerpt, but it won't be visible until it is reviewed by others. $\endgroup$
    – Belgi
    May 5, 2014 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for doing that! $\endgroup$ May 7, 2014 at 5:40

Yes. We need a tag that is not synonymous with .

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This would, of course, mean retagging a lots of old questions. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2013 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ How do we create a tag, and who can edit the corresponding posts ? I don't want to bump 50 questions to the main page and I never created a tag before (should I create a tag myself ?) $\endgroup$
    – Belgi
    Jul 31, 2013 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Belgi You can read about creating tags in the list of privileges. It requires 300 rep points, so you are well above it. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2013 at 9:39

I would just like to point out that the situation, where we have a separate tag for some special type of books, but questions about (and book recommendations) are together with all other s, is rather inconsistent.

I am talking about tag. The tag excerpt says:

Use this tag for questions asking about "problem books", "exercise books", and their solutions.

I am not sure whether problem books deserve to have a separate tag. But I would definitely prefer it to be a synonym of (which I support) than a synonym of .

As far as possibility of creating is concerned, it might be worth mentioning, that MathOverflow has separate tags (reference-request), (textbook-recommendation)) and (books).

  • $\begingroup$ Apart from mentioning related exercises-and-solutions tag, I have posted this answer also to bump this question. (With the hope that some people will see it and upvote/downvote.) I am not sure whether the score 5 (+8/-3) on the other answer is sufficient to be considered community consensus. $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2014 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ The tag mentioned in this answer has been blacklisted in the meantime. $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2015 at 11:05

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