ISFDB:Help desk/archives/archive 24


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This is an archive page for the Help Desk. Please do not edit the contents. To start a new discussion, please click here.
This archive includes discussions from January - June 2016.

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Archives of old discussions from the Help desk.

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Expanded archive listing


Missing Verifications

I was checking on my verified publications and I noticed that many where missing , how is this possible? Or is somebody erasing my verified publications? I can not believe that. I know that I have verified them all, only this evening I noticed there were 4 to 5 books missing. How can that be, has something gone wrong? William 23:25, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

The software isn't supposed to let users change other users' verifications, but it's conceivable that there is a bug somewhere. If you could provide a few examples of "unverified" publications, I could try to check older versions of the database to see what happened to them. Ahasuerus 23:43, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
This is difficult because the ones I came across I verified anew. When I come across unverified ones (that should be verified) I will let you know, thank you. William 13:57, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, please. I can check our backup files from the last few weeks/months to see when they were verified/unverified. It may take some time, but it should be doable. Ahasuerus 13:59, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
So far it was only the 4 or 5 Dutch titles, no problem with the English ones. Yesterday I verified again this pub same here and here and this one. If you can check this title before 2015-12-22, if it's possible because I verified again. Maybe it's a Dutch bug. As of yet I did not find further pubs unverified. William 02:58, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll be away until after Christmas, but I will take a look when I come back. Ahasuerus 03:14, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

(unindent) So far I have checked the following backups:

  • 2015-03-21
  • 2015-04-18
  • 2015-05-23
  • 2015-06-20
  • 2015-07-18
  • 2015-08-15
  • 2015-09-19
  • 2015-10-17
  • 2015-10-24
  • 2015-10-31
  • 2015-11-07
  • 2015-11-14
  • 2015-11-21
  • 2015-11-28
  • 2015-12-05
  • 2015-12-12
  • 2015-12-19

but none of them have this pub verified by you. Would you happen to remember when you first verified it (give or take)? Ahasuerus 16:05, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

When I buy books, I enter them first in My Books on Goodreads en then on ISFDB on the same day, so I have a date 2015-08-21. That should be the date that I verified them. Thank you for checking.William 16:45, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, let me check the 2015-08-22 backup... Ahasuerus 17:06, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I have checked the 2015-08-22 and 2015-08-29 backups. Neither one had this publication verified by you. Perhaps they slipped through the cracks? Ahasuerus 17:46, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Ok I verified it again so thank you for checking, I didn't come across other ones so that's a good sign. William 13:14, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Omnibus, Anthology or Novel

Question on Publication Type. I've read the Help Screen for this, as well as archived posts discussing the subject and I couldn't determine how the following situation is handled. How to type a book that has a novel and a short story by different authors, both having been published separately previously. The title of the book is the title of the novel. There is no editor stated. By the Help that could be either ANTHOLOGY or OMNIBUS. Either one of those calls for an editor - would that be "uncredited". Or is this a case of a NOVEL with a bonus story by another author? Thanks, Doug / Vornoff 22:27, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

The first titles in this publication series follow this path. I've decided (mainly based on usage and packaging of the books) to consider them as NOVEL. Hauck 09:16, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Hervé, that's exactly what this is - a member of a series like Galaxie Bis.Doug / Vornoff 12:43, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Publication series or Imprint

Foreword. On this issue I find nothing useful in the manual for Publication series, Publisher, or Series. The wiki categories are not useful because the we have no article on the particular publ series or imprint Smart Pop (Category:Imprints contains only 20 pages); merely a two-word article on the particular publisher Benbella Books, namely Publisher:Benbella Books.

  • We now identify both publisher "Smart Pop / Benbella Books" Publisher 31932 and publication series Smart Pop Publ Series 601.
  • The Smart Pop website uses banner heading "Smart Pop Books" and uses domain name I doubt that these uses of the word 'books' should be decisive that Smart Pop is an imprint rather than a publication series.
  • begins by calling/describing Smart Pop as both "the pop culture imprint of independent publisher BenBella Books" and "a line of smart, fresh, engaging nonfiction titles on the best of pop culture TV, books, and film, with a particular focus on science fiction and fantasy television and literature". Its blurb on Editor-in-Chief Leah Wilson [ Author ] says that "she's been working with the Smart Pop series since 2003".
  • The U.S. Library of Congress does have pages --that is, pages at Library of Congress Authorities online, and LCCN-- for some publication series. Indeed it catalogs Smart Pop as one such: a series published by Benbella Books. See LCCN no-2005-93435, "Smart pop series". The 45 catalog records, available via the Browse report, cover many we attribute to the imprint and many we attribute to the publisher.
  • I don't know whether LC catalogs any of our Smart Pop titles as published by Smart Pop Books.

If LC catalog practice is considered decisive in the particular case --that Smart Pop should be a publication series here, I presume-- the questions remain open where no such practice is established.

By the way, Smart Pop imprint publishes / Smart Pop series includes primarily Nonfiction Anthologies. That may be relevant to how we catalog Smart Pop or its title and publications. And it must be relevant to how the manual is improved. But the manual pages that I have consulted are not clear regarding (probably both more common and more important) publication series that feature single-author fiction books, or fiction anthologies, or single-author nonfiction books.

P.S. Today I submitted changes to author Leah Wilson (above), publisher Smart Pop / Benbella Books (above), and all three publications of Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series Title 16000354 (including one each with Smart Pop as imprint and series). None for publication series Smart Pop, as I then decided instead to do further research and find a pertinent discussion page. As I sign off, all five are in the queue. --Pwendt|talk 21:55, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

I am not familiar with this imprint/pub. series, but I have seen cases where the lines were so blurred that it was effectively a coin toss situation. Perhaps this is one of those cases. Ahasuerus 00:33, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
FYI, those yesterday submitted revisions were all five approved by Hauck (timestamps 04:15, etc, as displayed in My Recent Edits). One of those records is directly linked above, namely SmartPop/BenBella Publisher 31932. One is editor Leah Wilson A114818 and three are the publication records for Demigods and Monsters T1600354. I did not edit BenBella Books Publisher 3536. --Pwendt|talk 20:55, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Incorrectly credited and uncredited interior artwork

The tp edition of The SEA Is Ours only credits interior artwork on the table of contents, where they have erroneously listed Trung Le instead of "Trungles" (his preferred handle). In this case, would it be appropriate to update the author record to reflect the correct handle and note the errata in the publication notes? I have both personal communications with Trungles as well as a link to his website that shows all his work credited to Trungles, not Trung Le. S. Qiouyi Lu 15:58, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

The ISFDB policy is to record credits exactly as they are given in the publication. There's some leeway with art credits, especially when the credit is from a visible signature or secondary source. If the only credit in the book is for "Trung Le", and we determine that the artist's preferred name (we call it the "canonical name") is different, we can create a canonical/pseudonym relationship between the two names, and then variant the pseudonymous credit to the canonical one. If you're absolutely certain that the artist credit is a typographical error, you can correct the record, and note the discrepancy. Mhhutchins|talk 18:47, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Additionally, my tp copy of Steampunk World only credits James Ng as the cover artist. According to the associated Kickstarter, James Ng also did the interior art; however, this is not explicitly indicated anywhere in the book itself. Would it be okay to credit interiors to James Ng rather than "uncredited" and put a note in the pub notes that includes all of what I said here? S. Qiouyi Lu 15:58, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, you can change the uncredited titles to credit the artist, but you must note the secondary source, which must be a reliable one. Art credit differs from text credit in this regard. For uncredited text, the title's credit must remain "uncredited" and then the record is varianted to credit the correct author. Mhhutchins|talk 18:47, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Reprint of an issue of a magazine

This likely doesn't happen very often, but since there were so few copies of the first issue of The Leading Edge, they did a reprint of the first issue in 1986. The only difference seems to be "Reprint 1986" on the cover just to the right of the "Vol. 1 /Apr. '81". What is the best way to enter a reprint of a magazine issue? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:49, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

I tried cloning, but that doesn't work. That's why I ask. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:54, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Create a new MAGAZINE record, but don't enter the contents. Once the submission has been moderated, you can import the contents from the other record. Mhhutchins|talk 05:01, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, submitted. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 05:13, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Replace existing Catalog # with derived ISBN?

I have a question about the ISBN for The Men Who Smiled No More, a Doc Savage pb, dated Feb 1970, right on the borderline of when ISBN's were 10 or 13 digits. The Catalog ID# entered is #553-04875-060, which, of course, looks like an ISBN but isn't. If you remove the 060 (price) and add a "0" in the front and a "9" at the back, you get a 10 digit ISBN that works and comes up with the right book on internet searches. The ISBN help says "If you entered a value that was not exactly as stated in the publication, then please add a comment about this in the Note field." To me this implies that it's permitted to do this as long as it's a valid ISBN. Of course notes would be added to explain this and the previous number would also be entered in the notes. I'm sure this topic has been banged around before. What's the current protocol on this? Thanks, Doug / Vornoff 04:41, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

I personally am against this practice. The ISFDB record should reflect the data of the published book. If an editor wants to create an ISBN, then it should be entered into the Note field. Just because Amazon (and Abebooks, Goodreads, and Shelfari, by default) has created an ISBN for non-ISBN publications for its own purposes, and other online databases followed suit, doesn't mean the ISFDB should acknowledge these fake ISBNs. Just because a valid ISBN can be created doesn't mean it's a true ISBN.
One exception: the SBN preceded the ISBN for some publishers, and it is a valid procedure to convert the SBN into an ISBN. Mhhutchins|talk 07:39, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I have a better picture of what's going on with regard to IBN/ISBN's. I couldn't quite get my answer from the Help. Could be me. Anyway, it looks like books didn't have to get ISBN even when they could have. I get now why these derived ISBN's are used and why you get so many results after pumping the number into a search engine. Fine with me to not use those in the ISBN field. Is there a value to adding a derived ISBN to the notes or is it just unnecessary clutter? I don't want to add extra notes if it's not useful. Doug / Vornoff 08:52, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The only value is that you can find that specific edition when you search on Amazon (or any of its partners' websites). The reason why some editors want to add it to the ISFDB's pub record's Catalog#/ISBN field is because it will link to those websites directly using the "Other Sites" menu. My opinion on that is that we shouldn't change our standards in order to cater to the powerful Amazon empire. Mhhutchins|talk 20:19, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Good enough for me. Thanks for the explanation. Doug / Vornoff 18:09, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

The Shadow Box Set

I've just entered The Living Shadow, one of six Shadow novels in a box set which, according to the Shadow wikia, was published in 1975. The Living Shadow shows a second printing with an ISBN, the first printing, already in ISDBF, has no ISBN. The other five novels in the set all have ISBN's but have no reference to a second printing. The pub date in these five are the same as the pub dates in the existing ISFDB publications, none of which have ISBN's and all but one have Reginald verifications. Two have primary verifications. Can I infer from this that since the existing pubs have no ISBN's my versions, which do have them, are later printings with the earlier date only and therefore should be entered with a pub date of "0000-00-00"? Thanks, Doug / Vornoff 02:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

If the non-ISBN records are primary verified, ask their verifying editors to confirm this. This was during the transition from catalog numbers to ISBNs, so some of them may have both or the editor(s) may have missed them. If there are no ISFDB records that match the printings in your box set, then create them, even if you have to zero out the dates because they're not given in the books themselves. Mhhutchins|talk 04:13, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Good, that will take care of 4 of the 5, I think. This one, verified by you with Reginald3, shows the Pyramid catalog number but no ISBN. My pub's data is the same as yours except that mine shows 28 more pages than data you entered, and has ISBN. Is it possible that mine is the same pub as yours and your source didn't give the ISBN and got the pages wrong? If that's so, I'd update the existing record. But if you think yours is different than mine, I'd add a pub. Also, just to make sure, if I enter data from my personal copy to an existing ISFDB pub which has non-primary verifications with sources, should I delete the sources information in the notes? Thanks, Doug / Vornoff 04:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I've corrected the page count of Double Z based on the OCLC record. I can't be certain that it's the same printing as yours. Probably not, because OCLC doesn't list the ISBN, but that's been known to happen. Does your copy have a catalog number? Mhhutchins|talk 06:45, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it has the N3700 catalog no. These may have been issued without ISBN's and then a later printing was made without adding a second printing date; I can't find anything online that really nails it down. I guess to be on the safe side I should leave the ISBN-less pubs alone and just add new additions, all without publishing dates?? Doug / Vornoff 07:55, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Unless a publication date is actually stated in your copy. In that case create a new record and note the possibility of a duplicate record. We can always reconcile the difference if someone comes along to do a primary verification of the non-ISBN records. Mhhutchins|talk 16:38, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, I'll go ahead with that in mind. Doug / Vornoff 17:00, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Magazine binding question

I've got a magazine that was issued as "normal" octavo for many years: 5.5 x 8.5, saddle-stapled. The cover was essentially the same weight as the interior pages. It then changed to the same size, but a glued binding and heavier-weight cover (seems like double the weight of the interior pages, although otherwise the same glossy paper). What's the appropriate format to use for this? The help's "not usually side-stapled or glued" isn't exactly helpful, implying both that octavo is ok and that octavo is inappropriate. --MartyD 00:14, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

I know I'm totally out of my league, but looking at the definitions it seems that 'bedsheet' comes closest. Stonecreek 16:12, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Bedsheet seems far too big. This is about half that size. Maybe digest is best if octavo is inappropriate? --MartyD 01:16, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
As the help documentation states, choose "Other" if a publication can not fit comfortably into any of the dropdown menu options. This requires that you describe the binding in the Note field. Mhhutchins|talk 01:40, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I read the help before posting this question. What I meant to ask is: How should not usually side-stapled or glued be interpreted? "Usually saddle-stapled, but sometimes side-stapled or glued" or "Not side-stapled or glued"? The pubs fit comfortably into "octavo", but they are glued, not folded and saddle-stapled. Is that ok for octavo, or does that mean not octavo? Thanks. --MartyD 02:19, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I wrote it to mean "not side-stapled or glued". But I concede that the way it's written, it could be interpreted either way. Quarto and octavo both mean that the pages have been folded and bound, usually saddle-stapled or stitched. If the pages have been cut and then bound by either staples or glue, then it would be a bedsheet or digest, depending upon the dimension. That's the problem with the ISFDB format field. It carries two functions: 1) the dimensions of the publication, and 2) the type of binding. It would be nice to have two different fields, but it was too late in the game to change the rules when I started playing. Mhhutchins|talk 02:31, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, I had a feeling there was more to it than just size. I will go with digest. --MartyD 11:20, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

uncancel self-cancelled?

I decided to improve a submission so I cancelled it, but when I backed up to the edit page I lost a lot of the (long) contents, and I can't see a way to transfer the data from the Canceled/Rejected New Publication Submission page, or to resubmit it (and/or edit the cancelled submission and resubmit), and not to have to reenter all that stuff. ?? Thanks. gzuckier 06:49, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I am afraid there is no way to "uncancel" a submission at this time. There is a Feature Request to add the ability to edit submissions, but it will be some time before it's implemented. For now the best you can do is pull up the cancelled submission in a separate browser window and copy-and-paste the data into a new submission. Ahasuerus 15:20, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't know if this helps but after I hit the submit button and I realize I screwed up, I immediately go back to the previous page with my submission intact in the edit mode. Then I open a new tab, go to My Pending Edits and delete the recent submission from there. Then go back to the other tab, make changes, and resubmit. I rarely have a problem if I do it that way. Doug / Vornoff 16:41, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Some browsers will let you do it (Firefox is particularly good at it), but the behavior is highly browser- and version-specific. Ahasuerus 16:47, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Fair-use question re magazine-cover scans on ISFDB

I am currently working on a book project titled "If and Galaxy: The Pohl Years," covering the time-frame Dec. 1961 through May 1969. I note that you have cover scans of all of the magazines; I would like to use them in my book.

What is the legality of such use? Does it fall under fair-use for scholarly research purposes? If it is legal for me to use these, how do I secure permission from ISFDB to use them (with proper attribution, of course)? I am under the impression that all three of the Pohl magazines--If, Galaxy, and Worlds of Tomorrow--are thoroughly defunct (alas!).

I hope to hear from someone at ISFDB on this matter soon. My email address is

This will be my third book on classic SF--currently, I have published "That Old Science Fiction," and "Writers of the Purple Page" is in the works with my editor.

Clear ether, Sourdough Jackson

If you have a publisher for the book already, they will be able to answer that question. No one here can offer legal advice to you on the subject. Speaking as a non-attorney specifically not offering legal advice, most publishers like to get permission for any images or non-original content. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 02:58, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll add that to do our best to ensure that our art fits within the constraints of academic "fair use", we reduce the resolution substantially. The images posted here are then, in most cases, probably unlikely to be of high enough quality to use for a published book. Certainly my academic publisher, who insists on 300 dpi photos, would only be willing to use the photos posted on for 2" tall photos. Of course that may be good enough for your uses. For our statement of copyright on these images, I invite you to look at our cover image template, which applies to the cover images you are interested in. This template does not assert a copyright over these images in our name, but the relevant sentence says: "Reusers of the ISFDB's content should take care to be sure that their use conforms to applicable copyright law -- not all such uses will constitute fair use, and copyright law varies significantly in different nations." Chavey 00:06, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Lots of interior art

Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones has a lot of interior artwork, like one or two for every story. Should every one be in the TOC, or is just the current just one entry without page numbers oK? Thanks. gzuckier 22:27, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

If they are all by the same artist, just create one INTERIORART entry using the title of the collection. If they are by different artists, either create an INTERIORART entry for each or create one INTERIORART entry per story. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:03, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
thanks gzuckier 02:41, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Fair use/copyright expired?

For old publications, e.g. pre-1900,

1) is the copyright for the cover still unexpired?
2) if not, and if a pic of the cover is published on some random website, is it copyright to that website, or can it be used in a publication page? Thanks. gzuckier 22:32, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Works published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, i.e. no longer copyrighted (at least in the US where the ISFDB server is located). A reproduction of a public domain work is not copyrightable in of itself. So if it's an exact copy, it can be reused without any copyright issues (if it has had substantial changes, than it may qualify as a new work with a new copyright). If you find a public domain image, you may reuse it. However, if it is not one of our approved sites to link to (see here), you should upload the image to the ISFDB server and use the Template:Cover Image Data-PD Old (vs. the default template). -- JLaTondre (talk) 22:52, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
thanks gzuckier 02:41, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

The Saga of Darren Shan / Cirque Du Freak

The subseries of this series appear on the cleanup report: Series with Numbering Gaps. Methinks you can see why but I am curious what the right solution should be (perhaps just renumbering the all one to three). Thanks. Uzume 01:54, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

It's cases like this that we have the "ignore" option. It appears someone has already removed it from the list. Mhhutchins|talk 03:30, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
That is fine but actually they (the subseries not it) are still on the list:
I personally think renumbering the is the better solution (I doubt most books actually have such a number; it seems the HarperCollins Children's Books publications do have such a number on the cover). Uzume 19:12, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Since the numbering follows that from at least one of the publishers, and are numbered 1-12 on the author's official website, I suggest that you leave them as they are and use the ignore option. Mhhutchins|talk 20:18, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Non-moderators do not have access to the "ignore" option. Instead they see the following message:
  • If you find a record that is listed erroneously, please post on the Moderator Noticeboard and a moderator will remove it from this report.
Ahasuerus 20:45, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Question about map names for the Mercy Thompson series

I am working on verifying books and e-books in the Mercy Thompson series and have a question about entering the names of the maps, which are all by Michael Enzweiler.

All the maps I have viewed have a title on them -- "The Tri-Cities." The maps for different books are similar, but not identical. They generally have different "markers" on them pointing to places that are important in the story. Some of the maps are named with the book title followed by (map), for example, "Moon Called (map)," "River Marked (map)," and "Silver Borne (map)." Other are named as "The Tri-Cities (map for Blood Bound)" or "The Tri-Cities (map for Bone Crossed)."

I think it would be nice if they were all named consistently. MMHutchins has pointed out that the ISFDB standard is to "either give the title of the map if stated in the publication or the title of the work which includes it with disambiguation '(map)', but not both." Sure enough, that's what it says here Template:TitleFields:EntryType#INTERIORART.

So, I guess the options are to do them all as "Book Title (map)" or all as "The Tri-Cities (map)" -- and the latter would be really confusing, and apt to lead to errors, since each book has a slightly different map. How does that sound to you? BungalowBarbara 03:45, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

There are no documented standards for map titles other than what you cited. By giving editors the choice of two options, then you're going to have the possibility of two different titles for the same work. I personally believe that there should be a single option. But that's a Rules and Standards discussion, not to be held here at the Help Desk. Following the current standards to disambiguate works which have the same title by the same artist is to use this format "[title of map] (map in [book title])" as in "The Tri-Cities (map for Bone Crossed)" or "[title of work] (map)", "[title of work] (map) [2]", etc. If you want consistency in the titles for all appearances, you should gather all of the primary verifying editors onto one page and discuss it. Mhhutchins|talk 20:03, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Trouble loading cover images.

Hello: I have gotten this message numerous times. It looks like the system uploads the image, but then does not process the thumbnail for the Publication Record.

Error creating thumbnail: /varhtml/wiki//bin/ line 4: /usr/local/bin/convert: No such file or directory —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gaseff (talkcontribs) ..

First, make sure that the files are no larger than 150K and the images are no more than 600 pixels tall. Then go to your preferences here on the wiki, then click on the "Files" tab, and change the two dropdown menus to the last setting (the largest number.)
BTW, the files you uploaded are still here. They just don't display unless you have the preferences set as above. In fact, you uploaded the same file five times. But it exceeds the ISFDB standards in pixels. I will copy the file, resize it, and reupload it. Then you can link it to the publication record.
Also, don't forget to sign all posts to the ISFDB wiki with four tildes, i.e. end each message like this: ~~~~. This automatically "signs" and dates the message. Mhhutchins|talk 19:35, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
Here is the wiki page for the file. Now click on the cover image and copy the file's URL. Then go to the publication record, click the link "Edit This Pub" under the Editing Tools menu. Then on the edit page, copy the URL of the image into the "Image URL" field. Then submit for moderation. Mhhutchins|talk 19:42, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
Go to "my preferences" of you Wiki account, then tab "Files" and change the value for "Limit images on file description pages to" to at least "800x600px" (or bigger). If the setting is smaller, e.g. "640x480px", you'll get this error because the Wiki tries to create and display a thumbnail of the original image and fails because the program to create thumnails is not installed on the server. If you use "800x600px" or bigger you'll always see the original image and the error message should not appear anymore. Jens Hitspacebar 20:32, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I just saw that this had already been explained above. My bad! Jens Hitspacebar 21:13, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Can't search by ISBN

within this past week, I can't seem to search by ISBN. I used to be able to. My most recent search was "".

Text from the page:

<type 'exceptions.TypeError'> Python 2.5: /usr/bin/python Sat Feb 20 14:36:44 2016 A problem occurred in a Python script. Here is the sequence of function calls leading up to the error, in the order they occurred.

/var/www/cgi-bin/se.cgi in ()
 565                 if len(results) == 1:
 566                         PrintReplaceScript("pl", str(results[0][0][PUB_PUBID]))
 567                 else:
 568                         PrintHeader("ISFDB ISBN search")
PrintReplaceScript = <function PrintReplaceScript at 0x8a7533c>,
builtin str = <type 'str'>, results = [(297559L, 'Annals of the Witch World',
'NNLSFTHWTC1994', '1994-08-00', 1849L, '519', 'hc', 'OMNIBUS', '1568651066',
'', '$12.95', 184859L,
None, None)], PUB_PUBID = 0
<type 'exceptions.TypeError'>: 'long' object is unsubscriptable

Adding the dashes produces the same result. How can I get this working? --Auric 19:43, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

By removing the last two digits of the ISBN. I don't know what caused this error, because it's possible to search by all 10 digits. I just tried it for other ISBNs and it worked. Maybe when Ahasuerus returns he can figure out the problem. Mhhutchins|talk 19:58, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
Ah, that worked. Thanks.--Auric 21:17, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
That was a brand new bug introduced two patches ago. Fixed now. Thanks for reporting it! Ahasuerus 01:51, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

pseudonym stuff

Could somebody clarify the standard procedures where a series has a single pseudonym for "author" when ghost written by another or many other authors? For instance, Tom Swift, the varied way Howard R. Garis and Victor Appleton are referred to; which is correct, and what are the procedures to edit things to achieve the correct result? thanks. gzuckier 00:11, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

As I understand your question, you want to "edit" credits in the series display. That can't be done by editing the series. You have to edit the author fields of the title records to change the way the authors are shown in a series display. But much care must be taken before you do this.
First, the publication record must be entered with the author as it is explicitly credited in the publication. If a work is credited to "Victor Appleton", then that is the credit which goes in the Author field of the ISFDB publication record. After the record is in the database, and we have established from a reliable source that it was actually written by another person, then we click on the title reference link on the publication record, which carries us to the title record. When there, we click on the link "Make This Title a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work" found under the Editing Tools menu on the left side of the page. That will take us to a page in which we variant the title to credit the actual author. Go to the bottom section of that page and replace the credited author with the name of the actual author and submit. This will create a new title record which becomes the canonical title record and has a variant relationship with the original title record. If it hasn't already been done, you must follow this up by creating a pseudonym relationship between the two authors. Go to the author summary page of the pseudonymous author and click on the link "Make/Remove a Pseudonym" under the Editing Tools menu. On the next page, enter the name of the author who will be the "parent" author (the actual author) in the "Parent Name" field and submit.
Now the series credits will be correctly displayed, showing any pseudonymously published titles. Mhhutchins|talk 03:44, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

IR£ Irish pound?

Do we use 'IR£' for Irish pounds? Per Wikipedia: Irish pound "the usual notation was the prefix £ (or IR£ where confusion might have arisen with the pound sterling or other pounds)".

Advanced Search of Publication: Price does not hit IR£ but that may mean only that IR£ does not appear alone in the field (whole word search).

As afterthought I think I need to enter Irish pounds here. --Pwendt|talk 01:59, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

If you're certain that the book was published in Ireland and priced in Irish pound, and not British pounds, then use "IR£". Mhhutchins|talk 18:21, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

confusing number line

How does one interpret this number line?
18 17 16 15 14 5 4 3 2 1
thanks. gzuckier 02:05, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

The 18-14 represent years (so 2014). The 5-1 represent printings (so 1st). A good overview of some of the varieties is here. --MartyD 02:57, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
ahhhh. thanks. gzuckier 03:41, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

contents for nonfiction book

the nonfiction book "famous robots & cyborgs" has 16 chapters with various topics; "how to kill a robot", "living ships", "the modern age", etc., all by the same author. should these be listed separately in contents? thanks gzuckier 02:19, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

Chapters are not entered as separate contents. Individual content items are separate works -- they could be published elsewhere, without the other contents, or they're "supporting" works (such as an introduction, an afterword, etc.). --MartyD 03:17, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
great. thanks. gzuckier 03:40, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
A quick search of Amazon reveals the first 2013 edition: ISBN 978-1844680795. Uzume 03:42, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

Notifications for title entries

Who do I notify when submitting changes to title entries? I submitted number orders for the books in this series. Each title has several editions, all with different primaries, but none for the titles themselves. So who do I notify?--Auric 00:50, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

No one. Title records can't be primary verified. It's a moderator's decision whether to accept the submissions or not. Mhhutchins|talk 06:57, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Non-genre flag on non-genre magazines

The Help page for entering non-genre magazines was created before we had the non-genre flag. Consequently, it doesn't mention how we should handle that flag. It seems the policy could be to set it, because the magazine is non-genre. Or the policy could be to leave it unset, because the only story/stories that will be listed in the contents will be the genre stories. My guess is that the latter is correct, and that's what I've done with a magazine I just entered. But I really don't know. And it seems the answer should be in that help page. Chavey 05:05, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

For the reason you cite, I believe that the records should not be flagged. But I'm open to changing my mind if someone can give a compelling reason for flagging them. Mhhutchins|talk 07:00, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
I took the opposite approach (i.e. marked it non-genre) with this one I entered awhile back. I viewed it as the magazine being non-genre, but the listed content not. Since we refer to this type of magazine as non-genre in our documentation & our everyday discussions, it makes sense to me to flag them as such. Also, looking at it from their respective "author" pages (Editors of Grand Magazine and Editors of IEEE Spectrum, I think it's clearer that you should not expect to see every issue w/o having to dig down into the individual records. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:27, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Merging or Not Merging

I add two duplicates [1] [2]. Im not sure merging or not merging this entries. Henna 20:44, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

There is no apparent reason not to merge them. Exact author, title, language and type. If there's a difference in either of those, merge only with care. Unless there's a note of warning not to merge what would otherwise be identically credited and titled works, it's OK to merge them. Mhhutchins|talk 21:38, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

page numbers reboot for excerpt of coming attractions

I'm looking at the book Incarceron; the novel itself ends at page 442, followed by a sneak peek of the sequel, in relatively normal fashion, except that the sneak peek restarts again with page numbered 3, oddly enough. I.e., 442 numbered pages of novel, 1 unnumbered title page and 1 unnumbered blank page, then the sneak peek starts on numbered page 5. How does one deal with this in the TOC? use the pipe to make it come after, like 3|443? thanks. gzuckier 07:28, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

We normally do not include sneak previews at all. Sneak previews are essentially ads. We don't include ads. So there's nothing there to put in the ToC. Chavey 08:07, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
There are thousands of these types of records in the database (just search for "(excerpt)"). I personally don't create content records for them in my primary verified records, but, as you can see, many editors do. In this case, if you choose to create a content record for the excerpt, the page count field should be "442+x" with "x" being the last page of the except. You would use the pipe method for the except's content record, but I would give the starting page as "1|443" since the excerpt starts on its title page for ISFDB purposes. You should also add a note about the pagination starting over in the record's Note field. Mhhutchins|talk 23:41, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

OMNIBUS with one genre and one non-genre novel

Hello. I couldn't determine what the usual policy is in the case of an omnibus containing one genre and one non-genre novel. Can one use a double title for the pub but only record one novel ? Or use a single title ? TIA, Linguist 20:40, 1 April 2016 (UTC).

I would use the "Title A [genre]/ Title B [non-genre]" format for the title and the pub, then enter Title A in the Content section and Title B in the Note field. Ahasuerus 15:57, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
That's what I would have done, but I wanted to feel the ground first (instead of having a moderator screaming at me ;o) !). Thanks. Linguist 16:31, 2 April 2016 (UTC).

Genre vs. General Interest magazines?

Do we have somewhere definitions of spec-fic/genre and general interest magazines? Or an explanation of the difference? I can't find anything in the help or rules of acquisition. I was dealing with a submission for The Sirens Call, and it looks to me like some issues of this eZine are all-genre, while other issues are all non-genre. Should we treat it as general interest? Or treat it as a genre magazine but then record only the issues that have a genre topic? --MartyD 02:20, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

The term "general interest" has never been used, to my recollection, when discussing such magazines. It's always be "non-genre" and those rules are explained here. (I personally prefer the clearer designation "non-spec-fic".)
To your question, my understanding is that we record only the issues that contain speculative fiction. I would think the same rule applies for all publications: if the publication isn't a spec-fic publication (under our current rules of acquisition), then only the spec-fic contents are eligible for the database. In other words, you can enter publication records for "general interest" magazines but include only its speculative fiction in the record's contents. If an issue contains no spec-fic, then a record shouldn't be created, even if someone thinks the database should include a complete list of issues from that periodical. Look at the issues in the database for Playboy and you'll see the generally accepted standard. Mhhutchins|talk 03:07, 5 April 2016 (UTC)


I have a 6th printing of this Gollancz edition of Keith Roberts' title Pavane (clone submission is waiting in the queue). I noticed that in my book the title pages of the individual stories have the format "nth Measure <over> Story Title". Examples:

  • First Measure <over> The Lady Margaret
  • Second Measure <over> The Signaller
  • etc.

The only exception is the last story which is simply titled "Coda". When you look at Roberts' author page you will see, however, that no ISFDB editor has ever recorded a title that includes the "nth Measure" prefix. At first I thought the Gollancz edition is the only one with the prefix, but then I found this 1969 Ace Books edition which has been verified by several editors and merely mentions the prefix in the pub notes. Clearly, I am missing something here. Why do we not follow our usual rule of recording the titles exactly as they appear (I guess in this case it would require creating variant titles)? Thanks for enlightening me, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 17:37, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

I think it's because all of these editors who verified these records believe that "First Measure", etc. isn't actually part of the title. Adding these prefaces and creating variants seems to me to be counter-intuitive. Mhhutchins|talk 04:14, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
Yesterday my thinking must have been a bit muddled. I can't explain exactly why, but today it all makes much more sense to me than yesterday. For some reason, what helped me most was realizing that Pavane is a collection (I should have seen that yesterday). Also important is that "First Measure" etc. is an expression like "Chapter 1" etc. because Pavane is a dance, and the word "measure" comes from dancing. But I knew that already, yesterday. Oh, I just can't explain it!! Please let's pretend that I never asked... Thanks for your time, and sorry for the bother. Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 09:47, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Flowers for Algernon - doubtful pub record

I just made a submission for a 3rd printing of the Gollancz SF Masterworks (II) edition of Flowers For Algernon. I noticed that the database already has an unverified pub record for the 19th printing of this edition. I believe the information in that record to be largely incorrect. First of all, the binding is certainly wrong (pb instead of tp). Also, the price for the 19th printing is lower (£7.99) than the price for my 3rd printing (£8.99). Finally, both the ISBN and the pager number are different, and the 19th printing has an introduction that is missing in my 3rd printing. I am unsure what to do about this. Can I fix the binding and add a pub note that lists the other discrepancies? Or is there a rational explanation and I should just leave things as they are? Thanks for your help, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 19:54, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

I found this short post from 2011 on the Gollancz blog and watched the YouTube video linked to from that post, so apparently the introduction by Justina Robson is genuine. I therefore must assume that the introduction was added at some point after the 3rd printing, which would also explain why the page count increased. Could it also be that Gollancz changed the ISBN, maybe for a complete revamp of the edition? Which still leaves the binding (I have never seen a Gollancz Masterworks book that is not a trade paperback) and the price (since when do prices go down over the years?). Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 20:12, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
This may be a first then. OCLC says the publication with this ISBN is 18 cm. And so does this verified record of what is presumably the first printing in this edition. (Dated 2011 and with the Justina Robson introduction, which looks like it first appeared in the "Gollancz 50" edition in 2011.) You may want to ask that record's verifier to confirm the binding and introduction. He verified two other "pb" editions in this series. I'm going to delete the unverified record you cite, because of the problems you point out (about the price and the higher printing number), and also because the moderator who accepted it didn't ask the original editor for the source of the data. Mhhutchins|talk 20:24, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for taking care of this, and also for pointing out the verified first printing. I'll talk to Ron about this, then. Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 20:38, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
Relevant to this (and copied over from the conversation on Ron's page), I've seen around half a dozen 'SF Masterworks (II)' titles as pb editions – they do exist, and are produced for overseas markets because they are cheaper to export. They sometimes have different introductions from the tp editions, and like Ron I've verified a couple already. PeteYoung 22:52, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Varianting INTERIORART titles contained in translated publications

I just entered the German translation of Ray Bradbury's Dinosaur Tales and am not sure if to variant its INTERIORART titles or not. Most of these INTERIORART titles are disambiguated by [number]. German and English version mostly seem to use the same count of artworks per artist, but without being able to compare both editions visually you can't tell if English and German version really use the same artwork or if the German publisher probably shuffled the artwork's order. For example: is Steranko's artwork "The Fog Horn [3]" really "Das Nebelhorn [3]" in the German edition or not? You can't tell without both books at hand. So, are there any rules for this? I'd assume that these INTERIORART titles should all rather not be varianted but left as is. I ask especially regarding Steranko's artwork, because Steranko is a pseudonym and his titles must either be varianted to an existing English parent or should get a new German parent title. Jens Hitspacebar 14:23, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

There is a rule (if it's documented, I have no idea) that before merging INTERIORART titles, you should probably have both publications in your hand, or can reasonably assume that the works are the same. I suppose varianting would fall under the same rule. So if there are three art records for the same story, you can assume it's the same artwork in all publications. That becomes tricky if the number doesn't match. In that case, merging and varianting shouldn't be done without having access to both publications. This may require that you discuss with the primary verifying editors and ask that they describe each piece. (See what a headache interior art contents have become!)
It's times like this when I wish the option to create separate records for each work of art was never implemented. If there were one artwork record for each story, cases like this would be easier to handle. And moderators like me wouldn't spend 50% of his time handling submissions for art. I'm not exaggerating. This all started a few years back when editors started entering contents for art collections, and now it's even worse. I will forever dread the day when this option was allowed. Mhhutchins|talk 18:33, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for the explanation. I'd rather delete the disambiguated interiorart records and shrink them down to one per story (or leave them unvarianted) than start time-consuming "describe each piece of artwork" discussions with (probably several) primary verifiers. As for the pub in question I'll variant the interiorart titles if possible, as you described above. Thanks again. Jens Hitspacebar 19:39, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, but I think the ablity to enter different artworks is a worthwhile addition, since there are those cases where a piece of art is reproduced in totally different circumstances (analogous to cover art pieces), like this piece, that was used second-hand for a shortfiction by George R. R. Martin. I don't think that it is the most pressing task, but it's nice to have the opportunity. Stonecreek 10:37, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
If this were the Internet Science Fiction Art Database, I would agree. Mhhutchins|talk 18:34, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
It seems we've become something in this vein after cataloging (cover) art. I now more and more see your point in being cautious in accepting additional types and publications that aren't or weren't eligible in the beginning. Stonecreek 18:40, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
I once had a request from an editor that I expand my "InteriorArt record" in one book to individual records for each piece of art, and add descriptions to each piece so that they could compare them with art elsewhere for merging. My answer was, essentially, "No". I still have far too many fiction records to try to enter to have the time to go back to previously entered works and spend my time on the "Internet Science Fiction Art Database". Chavey 13:39, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Serialized stories with non-English titles

I need to convert some stories from the Polish language magazine "Fenix" from short fiction to Serial. In general, these serialized stories have formal titles of the form "Ciężki bój (cz. 1)". My inclination (including our English-preference approach to comments and documentation) is to change that title to "Ciężki bój (part 1 of 2)", but a reading of the Serial Help page implies that since the original title is unique, I should leave it as is. What is the preferred approach to this? And would the answer be different if the original story language was English (as in this example story by Greg Bear) or Polish (such as "Egaheer (cz. III)")? Chavey 13:21, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

I see our "(part X or Y)" convention as a way to disambiguate SERIAL titles. If a SERIAL title was disambiguated by the editors, then there is no need for additional disambiguation, which is why we have this moderator-only cleanup report. Since "(cz. 1)" is already part of this SERIAL title, I think it should be entered "as is". Ahasuerus 17:55, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll add that to the Serial Help page. Chavey 13:01, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
I disagree with this change and believe it mistakenly interprets the standard. If you look at almost any novel that has been serialized in periodicals, you'll find editorial titles are almost always added in the publication to distinguish the parts in the various issues. It's been ISFDB policy to use the author's title, and add the ISFDB standard for disambiguating parts of a serial, thus ignoring the editorial disambiguation. Pull out a copy of the nearest publication that has a serial and see how it's titled. There are multiple editorial methods being used to distinguish a serial's parts. That's why the ISFDB came up with a single standard for all serializations. (For example, the serialization of Venus on the Half-Shell in this publication is editorially subtitled "2nd of 2 parts".) So the serialization of a work titled "Ciężki bój" would be entered into the ISFDB as "Ciężki bój (Part 1 of 2)", etc. [note the capitalization of "Part"]. This method is used regardless of the language, e.g. this record. I believe the purpose of the Help section (which was recently updated) was for serials in which each part of the serial had a distinctive title, thus making it unnecessary to add the "(Part 1 of X)" disambiguation. Mhhutchins|talk 18:46, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Michael, Druga śmierć Thery (cz. I) is less clear for the average (non Polish locutor in this case) user (including me of course) than Druga śmierć Thery (Part 1 of 2). Hauck 06:47, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Re-reading the linked Help text, it looks like it comes down to how we want to interpret the word "unique". The example used in the previous version of Help, "Butterflies in the Kremlin, Part Eight: As the Bear Turns", was clearly unique, so we entered it "as is". To use another example, "Part 1" wouldn't be unique, so we would enter it as "Part 1 of [X]". "2nd of 2 parts", which Michael references above, is currently treated as not unique, so it's listed as "Part 2 of 2".
I guess the question that we need to answer is where to draw the line between "unique" and "not unique". Perhaps we should replace the "unique" clause with something more explicit, something that would basically say:
  • If the SERIAL title contains a subtitle and the subtitle is some form of disambiguation that does not contain additional substantive (?) information, replace the subtitle with (Part X of Y).
Does this sound about right? Ahasuerus 21:19, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Sounds good to me, as long as we make it clear that all titles, regardless of their language, are handled the same way. Mhhutchins|talk 22:45, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Let me copy this discussion to the Rules and Standards page and add a few thoughts there. Ahasuerus 16:14, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks much for the help on this! I've correct all of the Fenix serializations to drop "cz. II" and use "(Part 1 of 2)". I have one more question on serializations, but I'll put that as a separate thread. (You can probably tell that I haven't done many serializations before.) Chavey 17:14, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Serializations with no "complete" publication

The help page on Connecting Serials to Titles gives explicit instructions for the cases where the story has also been published combined as a book or single short fiction, but is not explicit about what happens if the work has only been published in serial form. The only statement about this case I can find is what is implicit in the last sentence:

A novel-length serialized work should be varianted to a NOVEL type record, and a 
less-than-novel-length serialized work should be varianted to a SHORTFICTION type record.

Assuming that this applies to all serializations, and not just those that already have titles to which they can be varianted, this implies that I should create "blank" titles for such works, and then variant the serializations to them. I've done that with, for example, Marta Tomaszewska's "Dolina Czarów", which (so far as I know) has been published only in serialized form. So I created a "fake" complete short story by that title, and varianted the serializations to it. Is this correct? (Regardless of the answer, I suspect that the help page should be clarified on this point.) Chavey 17:45, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Yes, you should create a title record for the short story or novel that has never been published as a whole, and then variant the SERIAL record to it. These new title records are neither "blank" nor "fake", because we have recorded the circumstances under which it was published, regardless of whether it took one, two, or more publications to complete it. I believe the text you cite from the help documentation is sufficient, but feel free to make further clarification if you believe it's not. Mhhutchins|talk 18:44, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I would also point out that we create titles without publications all the time. For example, consider John G. Hemry's bibliography. The majority of the novels that appear on his Summary page are listed "only as by Jack Campbell", which means that they don't have publications directly associated with them. Ahasuerus 18:57, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
This one was done like that. The story has never been published in a collected form (all four parts together) as far as I know. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:59, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
There are literally hundreds of such examples. Consider all of the novels serialized in magazines which have never been published in book form. It only makes sense to create a NOVEL record so that the parts can be varianted to it. Mhhutchins|talk 01:14, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

Author of omnibus with novels by different authors

From the help: "[...] An omnibus should show the names of the authors of all included fiction. [...]". However, when I click the "Add new omnibus" link the resulting page displays "Editor1" as field title and the corresponding button below is labelled "Add editor". Unsurprisingly, this pub and this pub both have "Wolfgang Jeschke" as the author, which is the editor. I am in the process of adding new omnibuses from the same publication series as these two pubs, now of course I am no longer sure which is right: The help page, or what is currently in the database? Thanks for the clarification, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 19:04, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

When an OMNIBUS contains works by more than one author, usually the editor is credited in the ISFDB as the "author" of the publication. (Otherwise, the single author of the contained works is credited as the author.) If the editor is not credited in the publication and there's no secondary evidence to determine who edited it, then the authors are credited. (See the Ace Doubles, for example.) In the examples you cite, is Jeschke explicitly credited as the editor? Mhhutchins|talk 19:17, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
I see how the help documentation can be confusing. When it says "single-author collection or omnibus", "single-author" describes both collection and omnibus. I will clarify it. Thanks for finding it. Mhhutchins|talk 19:21, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
I have clarified the help documentation. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Mhhutchins|talk 19:43, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes, Wolfgang Jeschke is explicitly credited as the editor, so the pub records I linked to are correct. Thanks for rewording the docs. I hope I never find an omnibus with five authors but no editor credit ☺. Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 22:18, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
Ahem... The Paranormal 13 :=\ Ahasuerus 22:32, 1 May 2016 (UTC)

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy - No price on dust jacket, do I have a different printing?

I have recently verified The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. The dust jacket of the book I have in hand does not state a price, but Prof_beard says that the dust jacket of his book states a retail price of £50.00. Does this mean that I have a different printing and should add a new pub record to the database? Usually price differences printed on books mean exactly that, but in this case I am unsure because the difference is "merely" in the dust jacket. I might also ask: For the purposes of ISFDB, is the dust jacket an integral part of a book? Sorry for asking a question that may have an obvious answer, but most of my books are paperbacks and I am not very used to deal with hardbacks. Thanks, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 13:57, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Dust jackets are not an integral part of the book, but the data from them can be used to identify printings. In this case, you very possibly have a book club edition. Is there an identifying number (non-ISBN) on the back of the jacket? And can you confirm that it is the UK Orbit edition and not the US St. Martin's edition (which did have a book club printing)? Mhhutchins|talk 15:19, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
No, there is no identifying number. In fact, in the place where normally ISBN and EAN bar code are located on the back, I only have a completely white rectangle with no letters/nummbers/bar code printed inside. As for the edition: I believe I do have the UK Orbit edition. The name "Orbit" and the Orbit logo appear on the title page and on the spine of both the book itself and the dust jacket; the copyright page also has "An Orbit Book". The name "St. Martin" or "St. Martin's Press" does not appear anywhere in the book. I bought the book in 2009 for £20 from a London-based used book seller (this one, I think} via Amazon, but that probably doesn't help much. Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 15:56, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Create a new record for it, and note the discrepancy against the retail edition. Mhhutchins|talk 20:00, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Done. Thanks for your help. Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 13:40, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

Transliterated Titles

I have to admit that I've not been paying full attention to some of the features added recently to support non-English works. I'm currently holding three edits where the editor is attempting to add a transliterated title. The original language of the titles is German and they use the Latin alphabet with diacritical marks on some of the letters. If I read the hover help correctly for this field, we should only be adding transliterated titles when the original title uses a non-Latin alphabet. Does the use of an umlaut with a Latin letter, necessitate the addition of a transliterated title? Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:48, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

A very good question indeed! Let me take a step back and explain what "Latin" means in this context.
The way the ISFDB database works, there are three types of letters derived from the original Latin alphabet:
  • English letters.
  • Latin-1 (aka ISO 8859-1) letters, which include non-English characters used in many European languages like German, Danish, Swedish, Spanish and French (except for œ) -- see the bottom part of this table for a complete list of covered characters.
  • Other Latin-derived letters used by Polish, Czech, Romanian, Hungarian, etc.
The reason this distinction is important is because our database treats these types of characters differently when running searches. Let's compare Philip José Farmer and Stanisław W. Czarnecki. They both have non-English characters, "é" and "ł" respectively, in their names. If you enter "philip jose farmer" (note the use of the English "e" instead of the accented "é") in the regular Search box and click "Go", you will be redirected to Farmer's Summary page. If, on the other hand, you enter "stanislaw w. czarnecki" (note the use of the regular English "l"), your search won't find anything.
The reason for this behavior is that "é" is part of Latin-1, so the database "knows" that it is related to "e". It is similar to the way the database handles uppercase and lowercase characters during searches: even if you enter an all-lowercase or an all-uppercase search string, the database will still find the right records because it "knows" that A/a, B/b, etc are the same for search purposes. The Polish letter "ł", on the other hand, is not a part of Latin-1 and the database doesn't "know" that it is related to "l".
Then there are non-Latin alphabets like Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew and so on, but it goes without saying that we want to have transliterated versions of any titles that use these alphabets. The only catch is that some non-Latin characters may look like Latin characters, especially in Cyrillic which uses characters like "в", "е", "с" and "а". It's important to realize that although these characters may look like Latin characters, not only can they be pronounced differently, but the database also stores them differently.
Now that we have covered the basics, let's review the changes that have been implemented over the last year. Every time I added a repeatable "transliterated value" field to an ISFDB record type like publisher, publication series or title, I also adjusted the search behavior to check these transliterated values.
Let's use Robert Silverberg's "Hunters in the Forest" as an example. We have two translations on file, "Chasseurs en forêt" (French) and "Łowcy w lesie" (Polish). Because "ê" is part of Latin-1, you can search on "Chasseurs en foret" (note the use of the unaccented "e") and the database will find the record. On the other hand, "Ł", as we discussed earlier, is not part of Latin-1, so a search on "Lowcy w lesie" will fail by default. However, once you enter "Lowcy w lesie" in the "transliterated title" field -- which I did a few minutes ago -- the search will succeed.
Hopefully, these examples explain why it's important to add transliterated values to any records that use Latin-based characters that are not a part of the Latin-1 character set. And, conversely, why it's less important to add them to records that use Latin-1 characters. Ahasuerus 01:59, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
The original submissions, done by me, were from titles given as 'Georgian'. Upon giving the transliterations I noticed they were nor Georgian at all and changed them to German.--Dirk P Broer 21:56, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Cannot upload cover, file name is already in use

I would like to upload a cover for this pub record, which has the publication tag THWRFTHWRJ0000. The upload fails, however, because there already is an image under this tag: Image:THWRFTHWRJ0000.jpg. That image is used by this pub, although that record has a slightly different publication tag THWRFTHWRQ0000. How do I proceed in this situation? This is what I would do with no guidance:

  1. Download the image that is already present under the wrong publication tag
  2. Re-upload it under the correct publication tag
  3. Fix the pub record
  4. Upload my own cover scan under the correct publication tag, thereby replacing the previous image
  5. Carry on as normal ...

Does that sound right? Or is there a simpler solution? Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 17:44, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

I think your problem was caused by the possible fact that all slots for the unknown year 0000 are already occupied, so I have set the year of publication to 2016. Please do the usual uploading and revert the year to 0000 upon entering the link. Christian Stonecreek 19:03, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm afraid that's no solution, because it doesn't change the publication tag. The easy way is to change the 'destination filename' in the upload screen (to THWRFTHWRJ0000b.jpg or something) and link the uploaded file to the correct publication. --Willem 19:26, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
OK, thanks, I did it the "easy way". Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 18:07, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Entering new webzine

I'd like to enter data for a new online magazine, but am stumped as to procedure.

I don't have permissions to edit the webzines page [3].

I can add a new magazine, but the format does seem geared to print magazines, not a webzine with e.g., weekly stories. I see that periodical webzines such as Clarkesworld and Beneath Ceaseless Skies seem to be entered as series.

Advice on how to approach this would be appreciated. --Evil Overlord 22:41, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

The best place to start is to have a read of the ISFDB's Rules of Acquisition to determine if the online magazine falls within the guidelines. However, if it is a new magazine with stories appearing online only, I can probably safely say now that it doesn't. The Rules of Acquisition (under Excluded) states:
Works published in a web-based publication (webzine) and available only as an HTML readable file are not eligible for inclusion with the following exceptions:
  • It is published by a market which makes the author eligible for SFWA membership (listed here).
  • It has been shortlisted for a major award. (This last may include works which are self-published by an author on their own website. Otherwise such works are not eligible.)
Magazines such as Clarkesworld, etc., fall within our guidelines and are therefore included. One of the reasons we have these requirements is because magazines may disappear off the internet and we would have records only of what no longer exists, but if the magazine also produces PDFs or other e-book formats for its contents, the likelihood of it falling within the Rules of Acquisition are much higher.
You should be able to add the magazine to the list of Webzines (Online Magazines) by clicking on [edit] at the right hand side of the header.
If you wish to put the case for inclusion of the magazine as an indexed publication, you can do so by raising the subject at the Rules and Standards Discussion page. Thanks. PeteYoung 23:32, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

books of literary critique?

Does isfdb list books of literary critique which mention individual novels, rather than actual reviews of the novels? E.g. in this case, an academic book on the growth of the gothic style in American culture, with frequent references to Frankenstein, Dracula, Poe, Lovecraft, etc. etc. but not posed as reviews of those books? thanks. gzuckier 03:58, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

IMHO, it's a question of proportions. If a NONFICTION title is in its majority "about" spec-fic works, it should be included, if it mentions spec-fic works only in passing, it shouldn't.Hauck 07:25, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
In this case, I'd think 'gothic style' could be a synonym for a certain kind of speculative art, fiction seemingly prominently featured, so it should be in. Stonecreek 07:47, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

Limiting searches to Parent titles

Is there any way in an Advanced Search for titles to restrict the search to Parent titles, i.e. to filter out variant titles? Chavey 16:15, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Not at this time, I am afraid. Ahasuerus 17:45, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

How to Enter Translations

I'm going to begin transliterating Russian titles, and would like to enter the translations for those I feel comfortable with. It's not obvious to me where or how to enter the translations. Is there a help file for this?--Rkihara 16:15, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

The recently added "transliterated" fields are for transliterations only. At one point I proposed adding similar fields for translated titles, but there was not enough community support for me to proceed. For now the only place where we can enter translations is the Note field. Ahasuerus 16:19, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Russian Capitalization Rules for Transliterations?

I've started transliterating Russian titles. Do we want to maintain the Russian capitalization rules in the transliterations?--Rkihara 18:05, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

I don't think this issue has been discussed, but I have always assumed that all transliterated fields would keep the capitalization of the original title/name. Ahasuerus 18:45, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
Okay.--Rkihara 19:36, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Question and Comment About Cleanup Reports

I've been working the cleanup reports for transliteration and a lot of the report entries for titles with Latin characters are actually transliterations of the original language. Should I transliterate them back? --Rkihara 06:12, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Yes, please. In most cases it's not that hard to determine the original spelling, e.g. "Angielskij wychodnoj" should be "Ангельский выходной", but sometimes it may require additional research. For example, S. Bardin's "Lemma: Nehmen wir doch einmal an, wir wären allein im Universum" is currently set up as a VT of "Memma". The original Russian title is "Лемма", so the transliterated title should be "Lemma". Ahasuerus 15:04, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I'll probably leave reversing the variant titles for editors that know more about them. Most of the titles that have to be transliterated back were probably entered before foreign language support arrived, and reversing the English transliteration of those will not be difficult.--Rkihara 17:42, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

There is a problem with clearing the report for Japanese titles w/Latin characters, since the only way to clear it is to remove the Latin characters. IIRC clicking on "ignore," will only remove the entry temporarily. English has become ubiquitous in the Japanese language, so we need a way to leave correctly entered titles with Latin characters out of the report.--Rkihara 06:12, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

I'll take a look to see if it's a bug. Thanks for reporting it! Ahasuerus 15:04, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, not sure if there's a bug, it's just that I remembered a discussion about the function of "ignore" vs "resolved," regarding cleanup reports.--Rkihara 17:31, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I have run a couple of tests on the development server and it looks like the "Ignore" link is working properly. If you run into a title that reappears on one of these reports after you "Ignore" it, please let me know and I will take another look. Ahasuerus 18:20, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Question from AndyjMo

I've just started updating isfdb with my book collection. I have an account but when I try and update the text on my User Page it returns:

You do not have permission to edit pages in the User namespace.

How do I get permission to edit my User Page? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by AndyjMo (talkcontribs) .

At one point our User pages (as well as many other Wiki pages) were under continuous attack by spam bots. As a counter-measure, we implemented a somewhat elaborate anti-spam algorithm. You will be able to edit your User page once you have accumulated a certain number of Wiki edits. I don't want to post the number in case a botnet operator is reading this, but it's not very high.
Sorry about the hassle, but, unfortunately, the alternative is much worse. Ahasuerus 14:47, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for this. I have now exceeded the magic number of edits and can now update the text AndyjMo 18:00, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Add Transliteration to Pub Title?

I reverse transliterated a Collection and it worked well, until I did that to the pub title. After entering the Russian, there seemed to be no way to enter the transliteration.--Rkihara 18:56, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Collections don't have that option yet. There are one or two other types which don't have that yet, either. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:09, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
At this point the following fields have associated "transliterated" counterparts:
  • Legal names in Author records
  • Publication series names in Publication Series records
  • Publisher names in Publisher records
  • Titles in Title records
Publications and authors' canonical names are on the list of things to do. If only I didn't have thousands of new ISBNs to process every month... Ahasuerus 19:34, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I'll work with what's there. If you have time to do a report for Russian authors needing transliteration either way, I'll take care of that next.--Rkihara 20:00, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Would that report cover something that is not already covered by "Russian Titles with Latin characters" and "Russian Titles without Transliterated Titles"? Ahasuerus 20:15, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I was thinking of un-transliterated author names.--Rkihara 23:03, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I see. The patch that will add a "transliterated" field for canonical names will also add language-specific cleanup reports for author names. For now, as Help:How to enter foreign language editions says:
  • When entering the name of an Author that uses non-Latin characters, use the Latin (i.e. transliterated) form of the name. This is due to software limitations and is expected to change in the future.
Ahasuerus 00:09, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Errored out submission

I just had a Pub Update error out on me, however, I could not find what may have caused it. All data changes/additions up to the cartoon title seemed to go though, but everything after that went south, though the submission shows the rest of the data. Why would this happen? My error, a bug, an EMP, cosmic rays, dare I say intervention of some neutrinos? Syzygy 14:49, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

To quote my response the last time this problem was reported:
  • Every month approximately 5-10 submissions do not make it all the way through. It's a very low number compared to where things stood even a year ago, but it can happen. The two known causes are conflicts with the daily backups and an elusive memory leak in one of our library modules. For now, there is no remedy aside from manually adding the missing data.
Sorry about the hassle :-( Ahasuerus 17:08, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
No problem. It is a straightforward edit I can redo, though I feel I should go out and get a few lottery tickets first :) Syzygy Syzygy 17:33, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

series summary prolog; part of series or not?

Hi In cases where there is a prolog to a novel which is part of a series, bringing the reader up to speed with what went on in the series previously, does that count as part of the series or not? I'm thinking specifically of "Arguement (Wizard and Glass)", the prologue to Wizard and Glass. It's not written in the same style as the actual novel, more like a cover blurb about the first 3 volumes of the "Dark Towers" series, except a few pages long and more detailed. So does that get flagged as part of the series or not? Thanks. gzuckier 04:28, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

If it's written as a narrative summary, I would include it as an essay since it's done from an external point of view (meaning it's not "in story"). I haven't run into that on anything I've entered yet, but that's how I would do it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:38, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think introductions are usually added to series while in-universe essays are. This particular case sounds like it's somewhere in between, so it could be done either way. Ahasuerus 20:32, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

odd formats where the publisher is unclear

How do we deal with things like Youtube 'audiobooks' (,, or multiformat ebooks where the publisher is not clear ? thanks. gzuckier 08:44, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

A YouTube video is not eligible for inclusion in and of itself. However, the first one is a LibriVox recording someone put an image on and uploaded to the YouTube. A LibriVox recording is eligible and the publisher would be LibriVox. "He Walked Around the Horses" is part of the Short Science Fiction Collection 026 which is already entered in the database here. Ebooks are entered as a single record for all formats (unless the publisher uses separate ISBNs for the different formats). In the case of ManyBooks, they are the publisher and have been entered as They are producing their own ebooks (many times adapted from Project Gutenberg, but some are unique). Whether either make it into the database is dependent on users who are interested in cataloging them. ManyBooks hasn't been anyone's priority. Most often I've seen them entered when a Project Gutenberg version is not available. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:08, 5 June 2016 (UTC)


I seem to recall that if there is an introduction to a story, not part of the story itself but specific to it in this publication, on page X and the story itself begins on page X+1, the ISFDB TOC custom is to just list the name of the story, but at page X not X+1; is that right? thanks. gzuckier 05:44, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Are you referring to those extra short (one-two paragraphs) introductions that do not have a separate title and usually appear in italics? Ahasuerus 04:31, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
well, short but no ultra-short; more like half a page +, but on a separate page from the first page of the actual story. I know that in such a case, the into wasn't listed in the TOC, but I believe i read somewhere in the voluminous help documentation that the TOC entry for the story would use the page # of the intro, not the page number of the story. Is that correct, or did i see that in an alternate universe? thanks. gzuckier 19:40, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
If artwork illustrating a story appears on the page before the story, we use the page number of the artwork as the starting page for the story. I would apply that same thinking here. If the introduction is not something to be indexed separately, I would consider it part of the appearance of the story and use its page number. You could add a note (in the publication's notes) that each story begins with an introduction as its first page. --MartyD 02:21, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
That's my understanding of our (de facto) standard for such intros. Chavey 03:49, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

unnumbered pages at end

dumb question
if the last numbered page of story text is an odd numbered page, then there are say 3 unnumbered blank pages and some unnumbered printed pages; is page [1] the first unnumbered page, even though it's on the lefthand side, so that the odd/even of the unnumbered pages are in reverse right/left from usual? or is the first unnumbered blank page after the story on the left hand sort of in limbo, and the first unnumbered [1] page considered to be the right hand page? thanks gzuckier 03:18, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

It is of no importance if the first unnumbered page is on the left or the right side. Stonecreek 06:07, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
Yup. Just keep counting the pages as if they were numbered, though you can put them in brackets (though it's not really necessary for those at the end since the number of the page can be determined using the last numbered page): xi+315+[5], for example, or xi+320 and put a note indicating the last five are not numbered. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:47, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
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