Help talk:Entering non-genre periodicals

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What are non-genre magazines?

I have moved a long parenthetical sentence to a separate paragraph, "What are non-genre magazines?", and cleaned up a few spelling/grammar issues, but I also wonder if we want to describe the data entry rules in detail here or point the users to the main Help page/template that deals with these issues? Ahasuerus 19:05, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Page is still a work-in-progress, i saved it only because I had to be away from my computer for a while and did not wish to risk a crash.
My reason for describing the data entry rules in detail here is to specify which ones are actually optional for this special case. i will include a link to the main help on these issues as well.-DES Talk 19:12, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Dialog between Bill and DES

Thanks for creating this! I composed my response offline so apologies for any criticisms that have already been fixed.BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

No problem, responding inline, inserting copies of your signature to make it clear who wrote what. This is still very much a work in progress, which is why it isn't linked anywhere yet. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

"What are non-genre magazines?" - we should include examples of newspapers too. The New York Times, the London Evening Standard, for example.BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, will do. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

"Why should one enter non-genre magazines" is a question, so either it needs a "?" at the end or should be changed to "Why one should enter non-genre magazines" (statement). BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, will do. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

It also doesn't state WHEN we should add such:

  • When the first printing was in a magazine?
  • When the first printing in a certain country was in a magazine?
  • For ANY printing in a magazine?
  • Do we include SF stories that have ONLY appeared in non-genre magazines (so far)?
  • If an author is notable enough that we're including their non-genre books, do we include their non-genre shortfiction in non-genre magazines?
  • When we spot stories by SF authors in such a magazine, do we include them "just in case" or leave them out? BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I would say that an editor may choose to create stub entries for any of the above, but it is more important when the first or only printing (or first or only printing in the English language, since the ISFDB is English-language-centered) is in a non-genre publication.
As to non-genre short-fiction, i would tend to leave it out for now, but that is really a separate discussion, and i don't presume to settle that question now.
As to stories by known SF authors, when the editor doesn't have the actual story at hand, and must guess as to whether it is SF or not, that would be a judgment call, IMO. If it were me, i would tend to do additional research and see if i could find some other reference (an anthology, a lotus listing, or whatever) to indicate tha tit was SF before listing it, unless the author involved was pretty well known to write nothing but SF, or the title suggested that it was SF, or perhaps suggested that it was part of a known SF series, or something of the sort. failing that I wouldn't list, but I don't want to state that as a rule. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

"Required data" - all the example dates are day, month, year: I've bowed to American format and allowed month, day, year for Saturday Evening Post entries for example. Do we want them regularized in general, or for each magazine, or do we not care? (Personally I vote for "not care" - these are only stubs and the CONTENT is important, DATE of the publication is important, date FORMAT in a title is not.) BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Standardizing within a given magazine is IMO a Good Thing, beyond that i don't think it is vital. I'll mention other date formats. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
It's purely cosmetic. One thing I do want to avoid though is the need to create individual Wiki pages for each magazine to state the rules for such - I think the "look at other editions for formatting advice" you give is a good guideline though. BLongley
Largely cosmetic, but not quite purely. If you know the format used, and it has been used consistantly, doing a search for a specific issue is easier and more reliable (that is, no result really means no such issue on file.) But I agree it isn;t vital, and if anyoen really wants to do clenup afterwards to enforce consistancy it is easy enough to do, there is no need for the editor who does inital entry to feel constrained by hard and fast rules on this point. -DES Talk 20:51, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
That's the main thing for me - keep this simple or it will put people off. We've already gone from one simple submission, to maybe needing two (if Editor Series have become desirable). Even creating the Non-Genre Magazine index has meant there may be three edits needed, if it's a new one: and then we've gone from ISFDB-editing to Wiki-editing (and you know how many editors are currently frustrating us by not even finding their own talk-page!). If we're not going to standardize all dates though, I doubt anybody will remember exactly how each magazine title is formatted: and as I don't want us to create Wiki pages for each non-genre magazine to record such, my original 'title, abbreviated month, year' in separate fields is still likely to be my preferred search. (Or is anyone thinking of entering Months numerically for any particular title?) BLongley 21:39, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't disagree that things need to be as simple as possible. Note that editor-series, if though valuable, can be done afterwards by anyone who thinks they are valuable, there is no need to require the editor who does the initial entry to do them. The same is true of editing wiki pages. As for date format, I'll standardize them if people want that, and write a standard into the help page, but I was trying not to be overly prescriptive in leaving that a bit looser. Mind you, if we did create such wiki pages they should be short and quick to create, and once created should need little maintenance -- if someone else thinks it worth the effort I don't see why you would complain. I don't plan to create such pages at this time, however. -DES Talk 22:13, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

"date of the issue (or issues, in the case of a serial) " confuses me too. I don't think we should discourage entry of a single episode if that's all that we know about. There's no guarantee that a serial completed even in a genre magazine. I think at this point that we should also mention that if we HAVEN'T found a precise edtion of a magazine, notes on the title record will do just fine in the meantime - there's no good reason to make a monthly or weekly or even daily title look like an annual if all we have is a year.BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I intended that line to cover cases where a serial is know to have been printed in multiple issues, and the dated of each issue are known. i will cover the other possibilities better. i agree with you when a reasonably accurate issue date is not known, leave it to a title note. I will mention title notes in general better. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

"If there is no information about a variant title, you may assume that the title was not changed." I think this is too dangerous an assumption. Many references don't state that it was published under a different title in ISFDB terms (lacked or added a leading "The" for example). I think the default should be "assumed the same, but not proven" until we get a primary check. BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

What i meant was, in the absence of evidence, enter the title in the known later form, but obviously this can be changed when and if evidence is found. I didn't mean to imply that was good enough to verify on. I think we are in agreement on this, just a question of how to say it for clarity. I'll reword. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

"Steps to take" - if we've done it right with the "Editors of..." stuff, then there's no need to go to ADVANCED search at all unless there's going to be a LOT of results and you want a smaller results page. Some existing data is also missing the EDITOR record so I wouldn't recommend restricting the search by that yet. If we do find there's enough data to want to narrow it down, I find title, month (abbreviated), year in the three separate fields of the "ISFDB Publication Search Form" best - that avoids any problems where the title format is vague. And these are only stubs - we have to be allowed to be a bit vague. BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I DO want to allow for stubs to be entered with the actual editor's name when known, and not all such will be marked as pesuds of "the editors of" since that is a separate step that may be missed. Besides, I would send people to advanced search anyway to avoid the 100-entry limit, we're already over thirty on the SEP

Editor Field - either we stick with "Editors of MAGAZINE NAME" (and we probably need to standardize Magazine name a bit - e.g. I've no idea when Collier's was "Weekly" or "Magazine") or we have problems. Pseudonyms are currently controversial - they work well as pseudonyms of "Editors of MAGAZINE NAME" but creating such makes "promotion" of such editors to full ISFDB "Author" a major pain. BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Then I will remove the recommendation to make such entries pesuds, but I think that if the actual editor's name is known, it is perverse not to enter it.
I'm not recommending NOT entering such at all, but if it's an insignificant detail then a note for the relevant issue is enough, IMO. When it's someone like Alice K. Turner then it's not insignificant. If people are against pseudonyms (and I can see why) then we can either leave notes or credit the Editor in the database field, in which case we've lost all the simplicity of entering these: the original suggestions meant you could create these stubs in ONE sunmission. As soon as you start adding inconsistencies then it means more work - e.g. varying the Editor (which breaks simple search for "Editors of...") means that to keep all the publications together you have to go along the lines of swfritter's Editor Series. Which means a second edit pass and second approval at a minimum. The more work we make, the less likely people are to do it: this is also why I demonstrated that for small runs of magazines, with consistent editors, it's easy to add one link to the set without doing all that work. BLongley 20:26, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
My feeling is that a) we can't be sure that we know who is "significant" or not, it might well be that a change of editor will correlate with a change in the frquency of SF content, and b) really any editor is significant. IMO the only reason to use an "editors of" entry is when we don't know and can't easily find the actual editor's name. When i make such entreis I plan to dop a little research, at least a google search and an OCLC searc. if either yields an actual editor's name i would of course use that instead of "editors of".-DES Talk 20:46, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Then I'll leave you to do the Editor Series work. (And I think we should probably stress that people enter the data anyway, the people that CARE about such can fix it up later - if this help page ends up with too many rules then I want it separated into "How to Enter" for normal editors and "How to Arrange" for the zealots.) To me, almost all Editors are INsignificant. Really. Even Campbell or Gernsback. ("SACRILEGE!!", I know). The Editors I have been known to look for are Damon Knight and John Carnell - but currently ISFDB isn't even properly set up to search for all real Editors whose taste in selected works is something I share. I'd search for "Angus Wells" if it did but Editors of Single-Author Collections don't get credited. I'd much rather that was sorted than add every J. Random Bloke that ever edited a non-genre magazine to our Author directory. We're already having to deal with multiple authors with the same name, I'd like to minimise the risk of more collisions between Good SF Bloke and nonentity with same name. BLongley 22:30, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
As for the issue with searching, i frankly don't see it as a major issue. Instead of searching on "Editors of Playboy" one can just do a title search on "Playboy", or an advanced title search on "Title=Playboy" and "titletype=Editor". The latter finds all the same records, plus at least one that already exists using a real editor's name (the above mentioned Alice K. Turner). (Indeed several of the playboy editors may have been significant -- i have read comments in author's intros to stories about various SF authors having ongoing relationships with such editors.) -DES Talk 20:46, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
The simple search for title Playboy gives 57 results, none of them of type Magazine. Yes, WE know we have to look for the EDITOR records among them, but many of our casual users don't. (Seriously, go show ISFDB to someone that's never seen it before but likes SF - the "Simple" searches are anything but that to them, the results are so polluted with things they never wanted to see it really does put people off - but I know that's something Al will have to attend to, we won't fix that here.) Advanced search does mostly give us what we want, but 1) there are still a LOT of missing Editor records (I had to fix half a dozen just to do the few non-genre mags we've just covered) and 2) if we've put people off with a bad Simple search there's no way we're going to get them to try Advanced. BLongley 22:30, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
In the words of one Web programmer who looked at the ISFDB earlier this year, "Do you really expect casual users to be able to use this, um, interface?"... Ahasuerus 23:19, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

"In the year field enter the date of publication in YYYY-MM-DD format as closely as it is known" - this again is where we should consider title notes instead. There's no point creating a "Playboy 1962-00-00" record just because you haven't pinned down which of a dozen it is. Nor a "Saturday Evening Post 1962-02-00" record if you can't pin it down to one of the four (or was it five that year?). If it's not accurate enough, title notes are the way to go. BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I was thinking more of magazines that were only quarterly, If the issue was "1892 Spring" i would put the date as 1892-00-00. Similarly a monthly or bimonthly would not have the day, and might not have the year, filled in. I will clarify a bit. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Publisher - I don't want too many new publishers, leave blank if it's not someone publishing SF. Or at least keep it consistent. BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Consistent yes. I don't think most of these mags had all that many publishers, and in most cases people working form secondary sources will leave this blank anyway. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Page count - approximations are enough for me. Format - I'm not bothered, just don't invent any more new ones please. I've left dimensions in notes when I found them. "Digest", "Pulp", "Bedsheet" are STILL so poorly defined here that I wouldn't use them anyway. (Someone go fix the regular help please?) BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

OK I'll suggest leaving this field blank. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Notes - Ah, this is one of the big philosophical differences. Yes, if you think you have a good authoritative source, mention it. If you're creating a Frankenpub from multiple sources, as I occasionally do, I prefer NOT to reveal my sources as I want them investigated. Quoting sources for such may stop people investigating further and from challenging entries. Even an "Information sourced from Ebay auction" comment seems to make people think "that's good enough for me". (And in this case, The FictionMags Index does have a LOT of such.) BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I strongly dosage. I want to know what sources a person used so i know where not to waste time and where else might be worth looking, or on the other hand where to check if an entry seems odd. Indeed if I were the ISFDB dictator, i might be inclined to say "make no entry at all without a noted source". But I'm not, still i want to encourage listing the sources used. Still we can discuss the matter. -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
It's precisely BECAUSE people want to "know where not to waste time" that I avoid such notes - as I don't think a double-check is ever wasted. (Treble might be, quadruple, quintuple ones, yes... but I'm still waiting for multiple verifier support. I might stop checking everything when I see two or three careful verifiers have put their names to something.) And I don't mean just go check I transcribed it right, I mean RESEARCH it by the best means you know how. (Any good sources I find are mentioned in ISFDB, just not at publication level.) It's probably not worth a big discussion - we've had those before, and you're not the only person telling me I should quote sources, but I think my slightly maverick attitude helps in the long run. If I don't quote sources, it means someone that thinks sources are essential will double-check it. Of course, someone could just delete the 80% of data here that doesn't have a source credited and start over again: but if so I'd rather they do it with our data on another site. Al might get a bit annoyed that so much of his original typing was wasted, too. -BLongley
I am not proposing to delete unsourced data, but like anthologies without page numbers, I would hope it becomes rarer over time. You may be right about lack of sources inducing people to double check, but it is still a bit unfair IMO, people should be able to decide if they want to spend time double-checking you, or single-checking stuff that no one has really vetted at all. As for myself, if I see something that looks odd, I am I think at least as likely to check it if I see a source listed, perhaps by trying a different source, to see if they agree. If no one ever records sources, who will we know when something has in fact been quadruple-checked, and avoid quintuple checks. Well I've made my point, and I probably won't convince you. But I think it it is a good idea for this help page in particular to recommend recording sources, as this sort of data is even more likely than most to be built on secondary sources, and recording them may help us get a better handle on where our info is coming from, and may induce some people to do a bit more research when creating an entry. Frankly, i suspect that many if not most of the "non-genre magazine" entries will come, not from general checklist such as we might have in the "sources" page, but from "acknowledgments" or "history" sections of reprint anthologies. I could be wrong. If people actually record their sources we might find out. -DES Talk 21:35, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh, don't let me discourage YOU from adding sources: I just think with current ISFDB software a mixture of those editors that don't add sources and those that do is probably healthier all round in the meantime and encourages multiple checks. If I didn't research as much as I do I'd probably be adding far more notes AGAINST current entries: which might be another useful indication, e.g. if I spot an Ace publication with an ISBN starting "07221" I immediately know that can't be right: I could add a reference to the publisher page that points out which publisher DOES use that prefix, and it isn't Ace: or I could just remove the incorrect ISBN: or correct the pub from my other research: or delete it entirely. I make deletion a last resort, but as people won't always go down to pub level notes I prefer to correct rather than note, where possible (I don't want anyone thinking Ace ever published 07221 pubs if they're just looking at a publisher/year summary, for instance). BLongley 23:35, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
One thing that MIGHT make me change my practices is if notes were signed, verifiably. I agree over-checking is a waste of resources, and I'd be happy to stop checking a pub from secondary sources if it had, say, been checked by you against The FictionMags Index and swfritter had commented that another later magazine said it was a reprint from that exact magazine, and MHutchins mentioned that the original magazine was credited in a Collection. I believe Al is working on Edit Histories that might give me that confidence that Notes were added by the person that the Notes SAY added it (and in the meantime, you might want to add "SIGN your notes" as a guideline). Of course, I'll never be truly satisfied until it's been Primary Verified several times over by people I respect, and I want people to treat my edits with the same paranoia I exhibit towards other people's work. (I see I've recently passed 30,000 edits - I'd guess at least 5,000 of those are correcting myself, 1,000 of the rest are probably still not perfect, and there's 100s where other people gently pointed out where I may gone wrong. I do NOT want to sound "authoritative" in any way - so I WANT a bit of vagueness about the reliability of anything here, before anybody finds out that I am actually a conglomerate of Scientologists sent here to establish a reliable reputation before we reveal the fact that L. Ron Hubbard wrote all Speculative Fiction, ever, and we WILL shortly submit and approve the Variant Authors when you're all asleep. ;-) BLongley 23:35, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, as Bill said, you are not the only one pointing out that recording one's sources is a Good Idea for numerous reasons. For starters, an unsourced FrankenPub can be misleading since it doesn't warn casual users where the data comes from and that it may not be reliable due to possible conflation of multiple publications -- see examples below. Moreover, even if Bill returns to the pub later on, he (not to mention other editors) will probably have to re-do all the legwork since he won't remember what sources he may have checked. Finally, based on prior experience with unsourced publications, the Frankenpubs will be eventually reviewed and re-checked by other editors, who will confirm and source some of the data elements and move the rest of them to Notes with a comment along the lines of "Original ISFDB record stated that the publication date was 1923-00-00, but the source of this information is unknown". Doesn't look like a productive way to approach things, but it's been my experience that many otherwise sane contributors occasionally disagree with me (!) on what appear to be clearcut issues. Probably something in the water... Ahasuerus 23:19, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
(Is this a Trialog now? Not sure of the term...) Anyway, yes, casual users aren't warned about where the data came from but that is a problem that has existed since ISFDB1. Verification adds another level of possible reliability, but still isn't guaranteed (see all the questions about "your verified pub" on active editor's talk pages), and people can look at a pub and ask themselves "it's not verified - should I trust it?" or "it's Tuck-verified, good enough for me" or "primary-verified - well, I'm still not sure, but I know who to ask now". I could add a lot of "Amazon says this was actually published under the name Enid Blyton" notes and that wouldn't improve our data at all. I'm not adding random data - anything I do add that isn't primary is researched to a level that has convinced ME, currently, that such a publication exists with that data. If I do come back and think it looks wrong based on what I know now, I'm happy to research it again, unbiased by prior notes. Re-doing the legwork is not a problem in my eyes, it probably SHOULD be done every so often until enough people stamp their approval on it. BLongley 01:11, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll give away an example of the sort of things I do add. "First British publication" entries based on credits in a later British paperback edition. ISFDB lacks a LOT of such pubs for titles where we have only the US versions. I usually don't credit them as "First British publication" as there's often some weasel-phrases involved and "First Published in Great Britain by Sphere in 1974" may actually mean that's the year that Sphere first published it here, NOT that it was the first British publication. But it's a probable genuine publication we don't have here, and so I'll add it, after checking that Amazon/Alibris/Abebooks/Ebay or such have it and some sellers give similar date details, and I'll probably get an ISBN out of such searches too. It's a good starting point, but next year it might not be for sale anywhere and I'd start again. Why don't I just state what it says in the pub I started from? It's because you can't handle the truth until you all understand British printing practices. (I have multiple editions of the same title that swear it was originally published by Panther: or Granada: or Grafton: they're all right in a way.) Adding items that demand further research is fine by me, at least I've pointed you all at something that NEEDS more research. BLongley 01:11, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The exceptions (for me) are entries from some sources that people think are good but I'm yet to be convinced of - so I'll quote OCLC if that's all I used. But if I found a pub on "Read It, Swap It" and somebody on Alibris wants to sell it to me, and Amazon admit it exists but assure me it's by HarperCollins even though the pub existed years before HarperCollins was formed, and there's a cover-scan on somebody's personal site that we can't use, but seems to prove there was a Panther edition, even if Panther was just an imprint of Granada by then, I'm not going to quote sources. BLongley 21:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

In that kind of case i might say something like "Data combined from various online vendors, no one of which seems fully reliable". The notes I really want are "Data from 'acknowledgments' section of Best Vampire Stores edited by Elwood and Greenburg" (to make up an example). -DES Talk 22:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I do add some notes about sources in a roundabout way - e.g. here is information about 36 different printings, recorded in the source. The page for that title is long enough already that I didn't use it to create all 36 though, just the ones I could verify. BLongley 21:20, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll be getting back to this later tonight.

Other Comments

  • Do not enter a cover artist, nor a cover image URL. Leave both fields blank.

I'm curious about the above limitation. Could we extend this and allow 'genre' covers and cover artists to be listed? (i.e. the Cover is for the SF work being added)

You may also want a line about crediting interior artwork (When its associated with the SF work. kpulliam 01:14, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Interior art is mentioned in the fifth step of this section. I see your point about the cover art of the magazine. I agree that if the cover illustrates the spec-fic that's indexed, it and its artist should be credited. MHHutchins 01:35, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough, i will qualify this. -DES Talk 01:50, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Bonestell for example did covers for Colliers which are worth recording I'd think. The articles and pictures became The Conquest of Space which we have a stub entry for already. Dana Carson 03:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Going forward

I think that I have incorporated all the comments made to date in the current version of the help page, and that it is reasonably complete, if not correct. Please review it and make further comments, as needed, so that we can come to a consensus on this issue. -DES Talk 18:51, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

You might consider adding in Step Seven that if the editor is familiar with merging that they search the author's summary page to determine if a previous title record exists, and if so, merge it with the newly created record. (I believe a title merge to be of immensely more importance than merging pub records into an editor series.) Other than that, this help page is in good enough shape to be considered part of the Help Pages. Good job, David. MHHutchins 00:10, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Good point, Mike: I originally came at this with the view that we were trying to record original publication dates with a covering Magazine title: and so a title merge was obviously going to be the next step. Now people mention later publications, unreliability of original publication titles, making all magazines nicely standardized, etc, we may have lost sight of this. BLongley 01:23, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I will add that. -DES Talk 15:45, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Done. -DES Talk 20:46, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Further Comments

  • In What are non-genre Magazines, the last two sentences "General newspapers, such as the New York Times and the London Times have occasionally published SF. Any issues containing works of speculative fiction can also be entered in the same way as a non-genre magazine." should be combined to read "General newspapers, such as the New York Times and the London Times have occasionally published SF and any issues containing works of speculative fiction can also be entered in the same way as a non-genre magazine."
    • If you want to change it, you may, and I won't revert. i think the two sentance version is better writing, but that is a matter of taste and/or judgement. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Why...." second paragraph, "It is never required...." should be changed to "It is not currently required...." or "It is not always required...." or even better... "It is not always necessary...." Never is such a strict word. (Required is too.)
    I agree, siding with "It is not always necessary..." Much more user friendly.

MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

  • I was trying to be friendly, to imply "you don't have to do this if you don't choose to." I will reword. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Required Data": "The name(s) of the author(s) credited in the initial publication." is flat wrong. We would (and mention a few lines later) gladly take the canonical name of the author, if that is all that is available. Perhaps a better first sentence would be "The name(s) of the author(s) as credited in the initial publication, or if unknown then the name of the author as shown in a secondary source." - This line needs more work... I don't like what i just wrote either.
    Actually, author credit should be the name of the author EXACTLY as credited in THIS non-genre publication. We can worry about merging and creating variants if this happens to be a non-canonical title. MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
    That is more or less what I was trying to say. Beter wording welcomed. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
    What I meant here is that secondary sources don't always list the pseudonym, if any were used. By Requiring it you exclude secondary data... which you accept later in the same paragraph. The paragraph contradicts itself.Kevin 02:11, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
    I'll clarify this. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Steps to take", "In the "year" field...." I think we need more definition on the quirks of periodical dating. Some obvious dating problems (that a predefined conversion would solve:
    • Mid-MONTH should be entered as YEAR-MM-15
      Really? I would have entered it as YEAR-MM-00, I would never put a day in unles a specific day was known with precisiuon, normally only for a dalily pub or a weekly one with a known day of issue. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
      There are 13-14 years of Analog and Asimovs with Mid-MONTH issues. I just spot checked a few. As you said, none of the ones I spot checked had a day to indicate it was published AFTER the MONTH issue (but then several of them didn't even have a MONTH entered even though the month was in the title). Is it really more accurate to imply simultaneous same day publication of 2 issues, as to imply a separation of some weeks between the issues? (This may need to be a separate discussion)Kevin 00:13, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
      As I understand it, YYYY-MM-00 does not imply simultaneous publication with another pub also marked YYYY-MM-00. What it says is, this was published soemtime during the specified moth, we don't know when. Indeed when i find a book with a non-zero day specified, i normally convert it to 00 as a matter of course, unless there is a note justifing the specific day, or unless the publication has been primary verified, on the assumptuion that the day is invalid, quite probably from amazon. -DES Talk 20:55, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    • MONTH_XX-MONTH_XX+1 should be entered as YEAR-XX-00 (Use the first of two months listed)
      I see. i would probaly have listed it as YEAR-00-00. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Unless it's DEC-JAN and the year of publication matches JAN, then use YEAR-01-00
    • Is Winter at the end of the year or the beginning? Should WINTER 77 be entered as an early '77 date, or a late 77 date?
      Ah. I would have entered it as simply YRAR-00-00. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Season Month = Month Season Begins? (Or the reverse SEASON=Month Season Ends) - Barring other evidence, where FALL is in Year XX and Winter is published in YEAR XX+1.
        • Help:Screen:EditPub says to use YYYY-00-00 for a magazine issue with an issue date of "Fall" or other quarterly season. That seems sensible to me. -DES Talk 20:47, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Others: BONUS, EXTRA, 'Holiday', etc. What to do if a supernumary issue falls is issued on the same day as a regular issue. (This one will be exceedingly rare to even occur and to ALSO have SF in it. Feel free to ignore this one, just postulating.
      • Just being silly on this one... what about those poor periodicals issued prior to 1751, where Jan 1-March 24 were part of the preceeding year by current standards... should the editors be concerned about that. (Seriously - I'm just kidding; of course we should record the printed date - Now where did I leave those copies of the Transcripts of the Proceedings of the Royal Societey.. Oh wait.. they weren't fiction - Did they 'ever' publish fiction. What IS the oldest periodical to include fiction. Newspapers have been doing it for centuries....)
    • Issue no. and year (no month) enter as YEAR-01-IssueNumber (This puts multiples in order) or enter it as YEAR-XX-00 through No 12. All others get entered as YEAR-12-XX?
      • I strongly oppose overloading the day field with issue numbers. in fact, i won't do that nor write text advising it. if that is the consensus, i won't enter such magazines. The overloading of the day with printing number was a failure, and I think this would only be worse. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Steps to take", "If the accurate page count (including front and back covers)" Do we really want to do this? I thought page counts excluded from and back covers. (I could be wrong, will go read the help) - Yep. I'm wrong. the instructions say use front and back covers.... BUT I believe the early astoundings and other magazines entered from secondary sources often/usually left off the covers. Something for me to go research some then)... moving on...
  • In "Steps to take", "If a novel-length work published in a single issue is being entered, add "(Complete Novel)" to the title, and use a type of "SERIAL"." needs an admonishing that just because the magazine calls it a 'Complete Novel' we don't. And then a link to the right help file describing that fact.
Good point, I agree this caveat should be added to this section.

MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Will do. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Steps to take", "Leave the date field blank." Why? Per previous instructions this will most likely be the first or only publication in a periodical. We have already determined some date, and it's likely an original publication. We should instruct them to duplicate the issue date unless they have a reason not to. (Or maybe I don't understand what's supposed to go here - Feel fee to throw the clue stick at me.)
The system automatically fills in blank content dates with the date of the publication as entered in its DATE field, so entering the date again for each of the content entries is superfluous. MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Then (As I surmised) I just didn't understand how it was working. Kevin 00:16, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Serials". "Do not assume that a serial started in one issue must have been continued in the next. There are cases where a serialization was started but never completed." - Are there really? And the next issue was published? I personally thought that the only time this happened was when a magazine went under, or didn't go to print due to war/paper/money shortages for some several months. (But I'm often wrong - I'm just questioning the need for this. Even if it didn't get published... we would want to document that with an 8888 date wouldn't we?)
Yes it happens (see the magazines edited by William F. Crawford, who stranded at least three serials.) But these were cases where the magazines died in mid-serial, as you point out. I think David (or the person who wrote that section) was merely pointing out a fact of the publishing business: don't assume anything!

MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Indeed soewmone else (bill?) pointed it out to me above, which is why i wrote it in. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • In "Editor Pseudonyms" how about if the Editor is known, have them add both the known editor and the Editors Of. No Pseudonym problems, and this solution is upgradeable while preserving all information, and making list link (to Editor Series) wok prior to the upgrade. (besides, few editors worked in a vacuum... they must have had lackeys or henchmen)
    • We need more discussion on this issue, i think. -DES Talk 20:49, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • "The Alternative" should be moved to "Why one should Enter"... why make someone read to the bottom... if they were going to give up and move on.. they did it LONG before they found out about the alternative.
Good point, but if someone didn't want to know "how to enter non-genre magazines", they wouldn't have come to this page to start with. :) Putting the alternative at the end is like saying "OK, we know this may be more complicated and too much information than you expected, so here's the last resort." And if you re-read the second paragraph of the second question it states "A note in the title record for the work is an acceptable alternate way of recording the information." If anyone reads further, it's because they intend to sail the dangerous seas of non-genre magazine entry. MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
That was more or less my thought, and don't forget there is a ToC right at the start. But if you want it moved, we can move it. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I added a more explicit reference and an inter-page link at the top. i think the subject logically belongs at the bottom, but will move it if others still wish. -DES Talk 20:49, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry there was so much... the page as is, is great... these are just the things I thought of... many (most?) of them can be ignored. Kevin 00:05, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

No need to apologize. We need as much feedback as we can get. This is a collaborative effort and nobody is too full of himself to think that someone else's opinion doesn't matter. If they did, they wouldn't hang around very long! MHHutchins 00:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I am very glad to get any and all commentes, even or especially if ZI don't agree with them. I will soon make at least some changes based on the above comments. -DES Talk 15:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Date format in title is important

We have a standard and basically a very simple one. Why not stick to it since it does not take any great effort to do so? We should also have a system standard for periodicals which have a day of publication. I use Magname, August 21, 2008 but there are other possibilities. The only thing that needs elaboration on is oddball date formats and date formats for publication types, such as newspapers, for which no current standard applies. There are a lot of fields that it is totally unnecessary to enter data into but if data is entered in these fields it should be according to standards. My own inclination would be to discourage entry in these fields but if someone wants to enter the data it should be done right. The stories are the critical data but that does not mean the standards should be totally discarded for the pub fields.--swfritter 16:40, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

While I disagree totally about the importance, I agree there should be a standard. ONE standard, that we can document on "Help:Entering non-genre magazines", certainly not per magazine. I'm not too bothered whether that's "stick to the same format as existing magazine entries" or "exactly as stated on the magazine" or "regularized in the same way as Genre magazines". BLongley 19:20, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
But that's not as simple as you suggest, except for monthly titles, so that help could be improved. Yes, we need a rule for days in dates, but you also need to clarify the "Missing or variant dates" section. Does the "the form given on the magazine" rule for bimonthly or quarterly magazines totally override the "Month in full, then Year in full" bit? E.g. If a pub says: "'60, Jun/Jul issue" do we record that exactly or change it to "June-July, 1960"? The hyphenation rule immediately afterwards suggests we override part of the "the form given on the magazine" rule but doesn't make it clear if we also apply the month and year "in full" bits. The examples could also be improved - "Interzone, Fall 1979" doesn't exist. The magazine didn't even get created till 1982 and as a British magazine, there were no "Fall" issues, but some "Autumn" ones. BLongley 19:20, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I have revised this a bit, is it sufficient now, or do we need a stricter or celarer standard? -DES Talk 20:50, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
It's the normal magazine date help that I'm questioning, and I'm without enough examples to see what is actually done in practice. Titles like Century may be following a standardisation rule that isn't made clear, or may be in error. Intertext looks particularly confusing. BLongley 21:05, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
The Help for this subject matter is totally unambiguous. I would suggest that the Help for non-genre magazines refer the user to the EditPub Help rather than trying to create a separate standard. The only specific date issues that need to be addressed in non-genre Help are for issues that are only likely to occur in non-genre pubs - newspapers come immediately to mind. I noticed that in the examples the months are not spelled out completely. I will fix them.--swfritter 16:20, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I can do that if othes agree. Any further comments by anyone? -DES Talk 16:24, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I am frankly ASTOUNDED that anyone can state the EditPub help is currently "totally unambiguous", it's completely the opposite to me. But if it's fixed satisfactorily then I'm happy to use it and keep consistency. May I suggest an advanced Pub search for "Science Fiction Weekly" though? That seems to be a Genre magazine with consistency problems, that will cover some of the problems that will occur more often in non-Genre ones. BLongley 19:02, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Editor names

First of all, i think I have addressed all the comments above in the help with the exception of the issue with editor names. In some cases i may not have addressed them sufficiently, or people may not agree with my wording, but I think we have something close to a consensus. On Editor names, I think there is clear disagreement. Let me state what the various positions are, as I understand them, and see if we can come to an agreement. -DES Talk 15:57, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

This is about what test to put in the "editor" field when creating or editing an entry for a non-genre magazine. The choices suggested are:

  1. Always use "The Editors of Mag Name".
    • This has some advantages:
      • A search on the "name" will always return all the issues (if they have been properly created).
      • As few new records as possible will be created.
      • There will be no need to do research into who the editor was for any particular issue.
      • There will be no chance of such a name duplicating that of a real author of SF (or editor or artist).
    • Disadvantages (and responses):
      • This means, in some cases, discarding accurate information of unknown significance.
      • In most cases, a title search on "Mag Name" will return the same issues, including ones incorrectly created. Editor series can also be used.
      • Patterns may appear in which editors published more SF.
      • If an editor turns out to be a significant person in SF history, the data has already been gathered.
  2. Use "The Editors of Mag Name" unless the editor's name is known, and the editor is in some way a person significant to the history of SF.
    • This has most of the advantages and disadvantages of #1, except:
      • Occasionally, searches on "The Editors of Mag Name" will be incomplete. Publication series will be needed to insure that a quick, correct, and complete search can be done.
      • There is now some pressure to do research into who the actual editor of an issue was, in case it was a "significant person".
    • This has the additional disadvantage that it opens up the question of who is a "significant person", which might become heated, and can't possible be cleanly resolved in all cases.
  3. Use the name of the actual editor if reliably known, otherwise use "The Editors of Mag Name".
    • This has the following advantages.
      • Known data will not be discarded.
      • Editors who were more accepting of SF may become known.
      • Then ISFDB may be somewhat more useful as a research tool.
      • Individual editors can choose whether or not to spend time researching issue editors.
      • If an editor is a "significant person", data showing this will eventually be available.
    • Disadvantages:
      • Searches are not as clear as in #1, and publication series may be desired.
      • Some people will feel pressure to research editor names, statements in the help to the contrary notwithstanding.
      • Some editor names may be identical to names of actual SF authors, artists, or editors, requiring disambiguation, which may not always be done correctly.
  4. Use the name of the actual editor if reliably known, otherwise use "The Editors of Mag Name", but if an editor name is used, make it a pseudonym of "The Editors of Mag Name".
    • This has the advantages and disadvantages of #3, except:
      • Searches will be as clean as in case 1.
      • If an editor does turn out to be a "significant person", in particular if s/he turns out also to be an author (artist, editor) of SF, we will be stuck with a misleading and hard-to-get-rid-of pseudonym relationship.
  5. Use the name of the actual editor if reliably known, otherwise use "The Editors of Mag Name", but if an editor name is used, make it a co-editor with "The Editors of Mag Name".
    • This has the advantages and disadvantages of #3, except:
      • Searches will be as clean as in case 1.
      • The formulation may seem misleading or odd, but can be explained as our convention.

Personally I am inclined to favor either case 3 or case 5. I think Bill has been supporting case 1. Let's see if we can come to some consensus on the matter, so that the help can clearly indicate the preferred procedure. Let us remember that in the majority of instances, the actual editor's name will not be known unless someone visits an archival library where actual issues can be checked, or in some other way does a primary verification. This will probably be a rare event. -DES Talk 15:57, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

My own inclination is case 1. Any information about editors can be put in the notes.--swfritter 16:07, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
My own inclination is 1, but I am happy to start with that and let (other) people move it to 5 if some people think the non-genre editors really need to be searchable. I don't think anyone is proposing that data be discarded, as swfritter says it can always be recorded in notes (and I have done so the one time I encountered such). I have tried 4 and if people will EVER be wanting to promote to significance it is not recommended, it's far too much work to undo. I've also tried creating Series and found the extra work far outweighed the benefits (indeed I found NO benefits in most cases). BLongley 18:49, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
By "start with 1 and permit other people to move to 5" do you mean that it would be all right with you if people chose to enter actual editor names in accord with method 5, as long as you are not expected to do so? I agree with you on the problem with 4. Would you (or anyone) object if I wrote the help to make 1 the standard but 5 a permitted and documented alternative? I do tend to favor 5 myself at this point. -DES Talk 20:21, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I like 5. I believe that (over time) images/etexts for all the 'fiction' oriented periodicals will be available through Gutenberg/Google Books/Internet Archive or some similar mechanism, so I don't think it will (over time) be as rare as we might think for the info to be available. It also preserves all data in searchable/usable formats with the software we have today. Kevin 00:26, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
1 with 5 acceptable is OK. We don't want to discourage editors from entering important data by seeming to require more work than they have the time/resources to do.--swfritter 13:21, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
I have revised the help to that standard: 1 normal, 5 an optional acceptable altenative. -DES Talk 20:19, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Magazine titles

Should we use FictionMags as the first common source for determining pre-sf magazine titles? Like the isfdb it is still under construction but is seems now to be quite stable. It has the advantage of being commonly available to everyone. Most of the other sources are books, some of which are fairly expensive and/or rare. Using multiple sources would likely result in a number of inconsistencies.--swfritter 16:41, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Galactic Central's Magazine checklists also has relevant useful information, and posibly should be included on our Sources of Bibliographic Information, as perhaps the FictionMags site should be. In particualr the magazine checklist have many cover scans, giving primary evidence of what the cover name, if not the title-page name, of a particular magazine was. -DES Talk 16:50, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
That's even better. Help for determining magazine title does allow a little wiggle room for user discretion and a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps we should recommend this as the primary source and fictionmags as a secondary source since both are online.--swfritter 16:56, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
The one problem there is that soemtimes a magazine used a shortened or alternative version of its name on the cover, but the full official name on the title page or masthead. How about if we reccomend checking both Galactic Central's Magazine checklists, and the FictionMags site. if they agree, so be it. If not (and they don't agree for All-Story, the covers show "The All-Story" for issues where FictionMags lists "The All-Story Magazine") a check of the LoC and/or OCLC is suggested as a tie-breaker (OCLC lists "All-Story Magazine" for those same issues). How does that procedue sound to you? all are online checks. -DES Talk 20:28, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Moving on

I think I have now incorporated all the advice given to date into the help page, or at least altered the help page in reaction to it. Are there further issues to consider? Are we ready to declare this help page as definitive as any of our help pages are? Obviously nothing in our help is ever graven in stone, that's why this is a wiki. -DES Talk 20:58, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

I just did some slight copy-editing, so it appears to be in good enough shape to remove the warning. MHHutchins 03:00, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Allow me to add that this is the first time in my relatively short time on the ISFDB (since February 2007) that a question was asked (August 13, 2008), was thoroughly discussed and completely resolved in the span of TEN DAYS. Kudos to David, Bill, and everyone else involved in the creation of this help page, and to Kevin for bringing it up in the first place. MHHutchins 03:25, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I just removd the "NotFinal" tag. -DES Talk 15:58, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Alternate Method

I think the latest statement that "this method cannot be used if the only place that an SF work has been published is in a non-genre magazine, collection, or anthology" is not true. I will gladly teach anyone how to create a stub record in order to add a note concerning its only publication. Mhhutchins 20:55, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

So you are saying we could and should create a title record with a publication record that effectively points nowhere in order to index the title and have a place to add the title note? Yes I suppose we could do that. Shall I alter the comment to mention that possibility? -DES Talk 22:59, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Not really. I don't think it would be necessary to qualify the "alternate method", as the possibility of this happening is relatively rare. But if you must, there's a better way of creating a title record without having a pointless publication record: add a content record to a pre-existing publication record (doesn't matter which one) and then remove it from the publication record, leaving a publess title record. Mhhutchins 23:41, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
What made me think of it was my recent entry of "They Just Click", a story so far published ONLY in a non-genre mag. -DES Talk 23:45, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I've always felt that this depth of coverage is overkill. How is this any better than just creating a title record and noting the story's original publication? You have a publication record for an obscure non-genre magazine, an interiorart record by a corporate entity (another of my pet peeves), an editor record for a person who will probably never have a spec-fic credit, another editor record, and a publisher record for a publisher that doesn't publish spec-fic, all of which have dubious value, and all just to add a title record for a story that may get reprinted in a genre source (or may not, it really doesn't matter). But that's your call, your effort, your time, and it's entirely out of my hands. Mhhutchins 00:09, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
A minor point, CACM is actually not an obscure publication, it's as well known in its field as the Journal of the AMA is in its. It was in a paper in CACM that Claude Shannon defined the concept of Bandwidth. "GOTO Considered Harmful" in CACM more or less formalized structured programming. But it is NOT a fiction magazine, genre or non genre, usually, so your point is not really affected.
To me the main value in entering such pubs in the ISFDB is that the first pub date properly shows up in the summary display rather than being hidden in a title note. I also find that I am interested in the info about where a story first appeared -- even more so for work first published in 19th C general fiction mags, as much classic horror was. -DES Talk 01:29, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I have revised the help page further, to mention the possibility of creating a title record in which to put a note if none exists. Does it cover the case, in your view? Does anyone else have a view? -DES Talk 14:03, 22 July 2012 (UTC)