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Archive of the Community Portal - October-December 2009

Hey there's a title I'm trying to change in a pub and it is locked

THANKS!!!! and thanks for the online Help link. I am one happy camper.--swfritter 19:41, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

And there were wild celebrations in the streets! :) Ahasuerus 01:30, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, just been caught out trying to change both pubs I just entered in one edit. Guess the software still doesn't know it's all me. I can live with that. Next step - stop people changing a single title to one it's already a variant of? BLongley 20:11, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure I fully understand when/how this may happen. Could you please provide an example? Ahasuerus 01:30, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I guess it's when we have a record from a secondary source, someone else makes it a variant of a reliable one, then it turns out the secondary source was wrong and someone corrects the variant. Or someone just doesn't know how variants work. (Remember the Keith Woodcott / John Brunner "The Biggest Game" recently?) But we keep getting variants of themselves and at times it's not easy to see which is right. How about Bless Me, Father, for I Have Sinned for a current confusion? BLongley 18:04, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
And while I'm at it, can anyone explain Seven Conquests, Jizzle, (Learning About) Machine Sex, The Illusionists, The Reason Is with Us, Terminus, Ananke, And I Think to Myself, What a Wonderful World, Williamson, The Blight and The Last Dawn? BLongley 18:16, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
In some of these cases I think there may have been an author or title variant, and someone later changed (possibly for good reason, possibly not) the author or title to the canonical form on the variant record, but does not undo the variant or merge the variant record with the main record. Merging would probably be the correct action in most such cases. That is just a guess, but it would explain how such records are created. I could easily fix most of these by merging, but I'll leave them as examples for the moment, if that's OK with you. -DES Talk 18:49, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I'd definitely leave them alone rather than assume a merge is the right answer. For instance, "The Biggest Game" needed one of the titles changing back to "Keith Woodcott". These will have to be looked at on a case by case basis, and unless someone can find or recall the edit(s) that caused them they should all be put up for re-verification. I think I own a few ("Jizzle" I remember finishing less than a month ago) but even if it was me messing that up while editing drunk I'm pretty sure they're not all my errors. BLongley 19:13, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I'd agree that they need to be looked at case by case, I merely suspect that merge would turn out to be the correct answer in most cases. I own at least one pub of Seven Conquests, but perhaps not the pub involved. Secondary research (locus, OCLC, etc) will in some cases be enough to determine what to do, I suspect. -DES Talk 19:21, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Anyway, I don't see how a code change could easily prevent such cases from occurring in future. I suppose the edit title code could check if the title is a VT or the parent of a VT, and if so, whether the change would make the parent and child have identical titles and authors. If this occured, the editor or the mod, or both, could be given warnings/notifications. But this might scare off some inexperienced editors, and might be a bit tricky to code anyway. But I suppose it would be possible. -DES Talk 19:27, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Coding is easy - I'm happy to share the code that found those example problems. Performance might be an issue, it takes a while to find all potential problems, I haven't tried it on single titles yet, but that shouldn't be bad. Given the low number of problems we have (18 to check as of last backup) it shouldn't worry new editors too much. And given the difficulty of undoing such, I'd like it to be included in the automated checks. BLongley 20:26, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
"Jizzle" (1949) was first published in Colliers as by John Beynon. It would appear that all of the appearances currently in our db are by Wyndham.--swfritter 23:14, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
The Last Dawn by Frank Lillie Pollack (Contento) was first published in Argosy as Finis by Frank Lillie Pollock (Fictionmags). One or the other source might be wrong about the spelling of the last name.--swfritter 23:25, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-40: You can now remove "container" Titles from Publications

Patch r2009-40 has been installed. You can now remove "container" Titles from Publications. This means that you can remove Novel Titles from Novel Publications, Collection Titles from Collection pubs, Editor Titles from magazines, etc. These titles are displayed in a separate section at the top of the page and are listed as "Container Titles". Most of the time they shouldn't be touched, but there are certain cases when it's necessary, e.g. if there are multiple Anthology Titles in an Anthology pub. Please be careful when removing "container Titles". Ahasuerus 03:01, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-41 is live

Patch r2009-41 has been installed on the live server. The following changes are now live:

  • When editing a "container" publication (i.e. a Collection, Anthology, Omnibus, Magazine, Fanzine or Chaperbook), all Titles that match the Publication Type are now displayed in fashionable yellow. They still can't be edited, but at least you can immediately see strange cases with, say, 2+ Collection Titles in a Collection pub.
  • Clone Publication now lets you add Reviews and Interviews with multiple reviewers/interviewers correctly.
  • Clone Publication now displays the "Add Author/Reviewer/Interviewer/Interviewee" buttons when a single Title blank section is displayed.
  • "Add a Variant Title" no longer appears in the navbar for Reviews and Interviews, so users can no longer create incomplete Review/Interview records. (You can still turn these Title Types into VTs.)
  • "Add Publication to this Title" no longer appears for any titles that do not have an associated Title type (Essays, Interior art, etc). There is a separate Feature Request to create container publications for them, but that's still outstanding.
  • We now credit Bookscans regardless of whether the URL starts with or
  • The publication display screen no longer errors out if the cover URL doesn't have two periods in it.

More details can be found at the bottom of Development/Recent Patches. Some of the changes were quite substantial and involved a complete rewrite of certain sections -- please post any bugs here. Ahasuerus 21:43, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

P.S. "Storylen" is no longer editable for locked Titles in Edit Pub since it was causing subtle problems. Ahasuerus 21:46, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Cosmetic issue: the warning refers to ""containter" titles. BLongley 21:49, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! (Note to self: Find a spellchecker for Python.) Ahasuerus 21:54, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Fixed in patch r2009-42 (along with the Clone Pub bug). Ahasuerus 02:33, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Enhanced support for other languages

Here is our current (well, it's been "current" for about 3 years) devious plan to enhance support for other languages:

  1. Create a new table, "languages". The MARC-21 standard maintained by the Library of Congress has a nice list of languages, but other options can be considered as well.
  2. Add a new field, "Language", to the Title record and update the data entry forms to accommodate this new field.
  3. Change Help to tell users to enter foreign language translations as Titles (rather than as Pubs under the canonical Title) and then create VTs.
  4. Add a User Preference page which will let each user decide which languages he wants to see. "Show all" may be an option and at least one moderator wants a "Suppress all foreign language originals" check box, but that may be harder to do.
  5. Make sure that any users who are not logged in still see "Originals+English translations", i.e. preserve the current behavior for casual browsers.
  6. For any logged in user who has selected his preferred language(s), show the original title and any VTs whose language matches his preferred language(s).
  7. Create an option to show all VTs in all languages for a given author or title -- this will accommodate "single author collectors" without forcing them to wade through lots of irrelevant content.
  8. Display something like "Log in to see other languages" at the top of each page or in the navbar to encourage more users to log in.
  9. Display the language code for foreign language VTs

Additional functionality that we will get out of this:

  1. Adds the ability to search for foreign language titles
  2. Adds support for translations of short fiction titles
  3. Lets us easily distinguish between, say, the English and the Polish versions of Solaris.

Known limitations:

  1. The thorny issue of translators will be ignored for now -- pseudonymous translators would be a pain to implement and will require more thought. I'd love to implement it at the same time as the language codes, but it would likely overwhelm the project.
  2. Latin-2 (and especially Cyrillic) languages will still require transliteration.
  3. Multilingual books will not be well supported.

Things to consider:

  1. What do we do about foreign language collections/omnibuses that have no analogs (no pun intended) in the original language? There is any number of foreign language Heinlein/Asimov/etc collections which collect their stories more or less randomly and do not have a matching canonical title in English.
  2. How many languages do we want to support? The MARC-21 standard support a lot of them, from Sanskrit to Klingon, but do we really need all of them? And if not, how do we decide what languages would be safe to drop? I guess we could start with all European and major non-European languages and add more languages as needed.

Anything that I am missing? Ahasuerus 22:40, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand why a translator field raises particular problems. Wouldn't this use the same logic as an author or editor field, simply being one or more names from the author (person) table? I'm sure I am missing some aspect which makes it harder than i am thinking, but could you expand of the issue a bit? -DES Talk 23:20, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
You are quite right that translators will simply go into the Author table. Some of them are fiction writers/editors in their own right, e.g. Brian Stableford, and their Summary page will need to have a separate section for "Translations". That's not particularly difficult to do, though.
The complexity lies in the fact that there is only one type of relationship between Titles and Authors at this time, something that is deeply embedded in our software, and we will need to add another relationship between Titles and Authors to support translators. Think of all the complexities that are associated with handling Authors, e.g. all those nooks and crannies where we need to display things like:
Trudno Byt' Bogom (1964) with Boris Strugatsky  only appeared as:
   * Variant Title: Hard to Be a God (1973) [as by Boris Strugatski and Arkadi Strugatski ] 

and then visualize adding another layer of complexity on top of that:

Trudno Byt' Bogom (1964) with Boris Strugatsky  only appeared as:
   * Variant Title: Hard to Be a God (1973) [as by Boris Strugatski and Arkadi Strugatski ] [tr. by Joe Schmoe and John Doe [as by John Q. Public]]
In addition, individual translations are effectively "derivative titles" and, in theory, each one needs a VT. So what do we do when dealing with, say, the Italian translations of Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland? There are translations by Masolino D'Amico, Marisa Nascimbeni, Marisa Nascimbeni, Guido Marè and possibly others. Do they all get a separate VT since they are all separate texts? Or will it make the Summary page look so busy that it will become hard to navigate? On the other hand, if we set up only one Title record per language, how do we know which translation appeared where and how do we create "translator bibliography" sections on the Summary page?
Another issue to consider is that there are other "person roles" that we would like to add to the software, e.g. "Editor of a single author book" and "Screenplay writer". If we decide to implement translators, we should probably do it as a step on the way to full support of "roles", which imposes additional constraints. Of course, "roles" may be associated with Titles as well as with Publications, e.g. "cover design by", so that's something else to consider. And so on and so forth.
None of it is insurmountable, but it will take quite a bit of time to design, program and test. Ahasuerus 00:40, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Yes that is a significant bite. I can understand better now why you want to delay translator support, or at least consider doing so. -DES Talk 00:58, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually, there is a 2nd existing relationship between Titles and Authors: interviews (for the interviewee). Book reviews may be a different relationship also, I'm not sure. But I don't advise a similar special case for translators, or probably not. -DES Talk 01:01, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
We have a table for "title relationships", which includes fields for reviews, series and translations, but only the review column is currently used. We also have a column in the (horribly misnamed) "canonical author" table, which specifies whether a title-author relationship is for a regular title, a review or an interview. It's quite messy, really, and at least parts of it will need to be redone if translator support is implemented. (We also have an old "translation" field in the Title table which stores a list of translations for the title, but it's wholly inadequate, sparsely populated and no longer displayed.)
As an aside, one of the problems that we face is that some parts of the code have reached the point where the software has become "fragile". The code works, but some parts are so convoluted that if a "naive" programmer tries to add more complexity to them, he will likely break something. I have rewritten, commented and simplified a few sections, but it's very much a work in progress and I am not exactly the world's most knowledgeable programmer. Then there are areas that are just inherently fairly complex, e.g. there are some sections where the Python codes generates JavaScript code which then drives all those buttons that magically appear when you click on "Add Title" or "Add Author". Oh well, we'll muddle through. We always do :) Ahasuerus 02:24, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent) As you said elsewhere - "Oh well, one step at a time...". I think we can add the data capture fairly easily. Default all new pub entries to English and no translator, but allow other choices. If any are entered that aren't English or have been translated, let's have that data NOW. It will be easier to work with later. Yes, I'm particularly looking at Ernestoveg - don't make him reenter everything, or make Mike Hutchins re-approve everything. BLongley 22:45, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

I think that a first pass is to record the translation of the title, the language of translation, the translator and display these informations at publication level. A possibility for the translator is to be treated as author, with a flag to distinguish from author (so in the list of the original titles the translator don't appears. The problem is to mark the actual data with the correct language tag. I think, if we must reenter (copy and past from the notes) data, it is possible to confirm the data with a "fiduciary" OK. There are about 3000 or 4000 click to do :-)--ErnestoVeg 16:13, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, adding a separate field for translators is not feasible at the moment (see above for all the gory details). And yes, there will be a fair amount of data re-entry involved, which is why I am trying to get this out the door as soon as possible even though it means tackling areas that I am not 100% comfortable with (yet). Ahasuerus 05:19, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, yes - why do you think foreign language support has suddenly moved to the top of the list of priorities? ;-) Ahasuerus 22:50, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Substantively, I expect that we will roll most of the new features out one at a time, but some will have to be bundled since they won't work in isolation. Ahasuerus 22:57, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Bug in new pub screen

When you use the New Magazine or New Anthology (or presumably other New... links) to start entering a pub record, the type pull-downs for individual content items do not have "Editor" on the list. (This is a fairly recent change, and a good idea, because EDITOR records need never be manually added to a new pub.) But if there are more than the default number of content items present, and the "Add titles" button is used to add additional content-item fields, then the pull-downs for those added fields DO include the "Editor" option. This complicates data entry because on the first group one can tab to the type field and press E once to get an ESSAY type, but on the added fields a user must press E twice, and if the habit from the first section causes a user to press E only once, a pub may be saved with a spurious EDITOR record, which will need correction.

I have logged on SF this as Bug #2874394 (Added titles in New Pub screen have "Editor" in pulldown). -DES Talk 23:06, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Funny you should post about it tonight -- I was thinking earlier today that we may want to discuss whether we want EDITOR to be kept in the drop down list for "New Titles". Over the last few patches, I have removed EDITOR, REVIEW and INTERVIEW as drop down choices for regular content Titles (and REVIEW/INTERVIEW for "New Titles" as well.) However, I was hesitant to remove EDITOR for "New Titles" since at one point we had a lot of Magazine pubs with no EDITOR record and we had to add it manually via New Titles. Let me see how many Magazine pubs without a corresponding EDITOR Title we still have ... Ahasuerus 01:17, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
There are 486 Magazine pubs with no EDITOR record as of last Saturday. That's not too bad considering that we had a few thousand of them just a year or two ago. Let's clean them up first -- ISFDB:Missing Editors has been updated -- and then disable EDITOR in the last remaining drop down list. Ahasuerus 01:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I see. New titles are the same whether on a NeuPub or an EditPub screen? I was only figuring to have them removed on a NewPub screen, where there is no possibility of needing an editor type.
It's possible but rather troublesome since you would have to increase the complexity of the JavaScript generator, which is fairly convoluted as it is. Probably not worth it given the long term fix that we can implement once the EDITOR-less magazines have been addressed. Ahasuerus 03:06, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
How hard would it be to change the order and put Editor after Essay on the dropdowns that still include it? Then as single E as a hot key would always go to Essay, never to Editor. -DES Talk 04:49, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
This one is easy to do. Let's create a Feature Request and I will try to add it to the next patch over the weekend. Ahasuerus 03:06, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-43 live - double quotes disabled in Author names

Patch r2009-43 is now live. All author records with double quotes in them have been changed to use single quotes. All data entry screens where Title and Pub Authors can be entered have been changed so that double quotes are automatically converted to single quotes before a submission is created. Also, as of late July, the "Author Edit" screen gives you an error if you try to enter double quotes in the canonical name. We shall never again live in fear of double quotes! (hopefully) Ahasuerus 03:03, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

I forgot to mention that this fix also automatically removes all leading, trailing and double spaces from Author names. The only way you can create double spaces in an Author name now is via Edit Author, which we probably need to change as well. Ahasuerus 03:41, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

User Preferences - Part 1 implemented

Patch r2009-44 has been installed. The navbar links to Amazon, AbeBooks, OCLC, etc now come from a newly created table of Web sites rather than directly from the Python code. There should be no difference in user-experienced behavior, so if anything is different, please report it here.

The next step is to create an option that will let users select which sites they want to see in the navbar. Ahasuerus 23:57, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

I wonder if we should move the following navbar links:
  • My Recent Edits
  • My Pending Edits
  • My Rejected Edits
  • My Votes
  • My Tags
along with User Preferences, to a new page, which will be called something like "User Data/Options" and linked from the navbar? Ahasuerus 00:46, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure. For newcomers, having the My ... Edits right on the navbar can, I think, be very helpful in figuring out how things work here -- they were to me. Putting off on a separate pafge may make it less likely that a newcomer will look at them.-DES Talk 01:43, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
How about this, create the new page, put all 5 items on it, but leave the 3 My ... Edits option on the main nav bar, and eventually implement a preference as to whether those three options will be on the main navbar or not. Sound plausible? -DES Talk 01:43, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Hm, yes, I can see the problem. Oh well, let me implement User Preferences first and then we will see what types of customizations we can add. Ahasuerus 03:05, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Amazon errors

Anyone seen a more inaccurate cover image than this one?

File:Amazon Covers.jpg

Or are Seetee ships really that unusual? BLongley 09:41, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Did they take over an image spot we were using or just pop this into an image slot. No matter, Amazon apparently has little/no control over it. As bad as this is, it is apparent. I checked for an image and found a totally spurious 'retitling' of "Forerunner Foray", which six retailers were trying to sell to me by ISBN. One checked and confirmed they were misstating their product and one told me it was beyond reason for them to check their inventory before selling the product. Of course, four did not bother to do anything. Thanks for the smile. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 11:23, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
Looks more like hardback than paperback to me. ;) --Phileas 12:36, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
They've corrected it now, and thanked me for the correction. I R l33T EDITOR! ;-) BLongley 00:10, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Even when the cover is right, the reasoning seems wrong. How does wanting a particular Jack London paperback lead to a recommendation for a book on Italian cookery? BLongley 23:02, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Amazon Recommends.jpg

Hiding edits from the Recent Changes page

Because of the ease in adding cover images, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of uploads visible on the Recent Changes page. This makes it difficult to search for and spot changes in the more important pages, especially those in the community pages. Is it possible to create a user preference so that any changes to the upload log not be seen, just as one can filter out the minor changes now? Thanks. MHHutchins 22:55, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

If you have "Enhanced recent changes (JavaScript)" checked under "My preferences/Recent changes", the Upload Log, like all other pages, should appear as one line on the Recent Changes page. I think it still counts against the total number of edits displayed, though. Ahasuerus 23:45, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
That's a lot better, and I'm going to try it for awhile. The one drawback to this, is that you only see the last time a page when changed, and have to do a history to see others. I guess it's better than the other way. Thanks for pointing this out. I never knew it existed. MHHutchins 00:06, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Wooh! I just noticed the arrows. Great, it only took me three years to learn this. MHHutchins 00:08, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Just make the change and Mike's correct, WOW!! I wonder what else I'll learn in the next three years!Kraang 00:45, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
The Wiki software that we are using has a lot of nifty features, but they were mostly developed to support larger Wikis like Wikipedia which need to combat vandalism, trace user IP addresses, support multiple levels of management bureaucracy, etc. A smaller Web sites like ours has little use for most of these features, but there are still gems to be found -- as you discovered today :) Ahasuerus 03:12, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
You can also look at recent changes for just a single namespace. The Main, ISFDB, and User Talk namespaces will cover most "Important" pages. You can also use your watch list to see the most recent change to any page you are watching. But I like the enhanced Recent Changes display. -DES Talk 14:58, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
The "Hide minor edits" switch can also be very useful on recent changes. -DES Talk 01:13, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Some image counts

From Special:Categories

This probably means roughly:

Image uploads have really taken off since the semi-automated upload link was added, but more than half of the images are still using C, which does not credit the artist.

Still there is Artist Images (now at over 620 members), plus several hundred artist categories not yet linked into Artist Images. This forms our art gallery, so to speak. It is a set of categories for individual artists, each containing one or more images credited to that artist (some have 20 or more images). I think it can be useful when trying to find examples of an artist's work. -DES Talk 00:18, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

It's quite useful, but I still like to generate such pages offline so I get covers not stored here. (Although given recent activity, that may not be needed for long!) And I can find pictures by series or author instead. However, one category that's getting unnecessarily large is "Unknown" - a lot could be classified as "None" (there really is no art, e.g. some Doris Lessing books like this} or IMO "Not Applicable" {e.g. cover is a photograph from a film or TV show). Is it time to add some new conventions so a good artist spotter like Don Erikson can review the Unknowns without having to look at ones that don't need it? BLongley 18:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Currently, if no artist is specified, the template defaults to "Unknown", and i think that is proper. -DES Talk 19:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Fine, but I'd like to be able to override the default easily where appropriate. BLongley 20:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The default is now overridden by anything that follows "Artist=". The default only applies when the artist parameter is not specified at all. If the cover artist field is empty, the semi-automated uploader generates an explicit "Artist=Unknown" parameter, but the uploader need merely replace "Unknown" with 'None" or whatever may be appropriate. i don't see how to make this any easier. -DES Talk 21:19, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll try it tomorrow. BLongley 23:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
For a photograph, I would want the photographer (if known), or studio, in the artist slot. Where there really is no art but lettering, as in your Lessing example, "None" might be appropriate. -DES Talk 19:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm happy to credit a photographer when he or she is responsible for some "Art", e.g. David Davies produced some very interesting covers like this. I definitely dislike adding a studio - at present, such gets entered as an "author" and suggests we want birthdate/location and suchlike, which are obviously inappropriate. I'd prefer not to misuse that field, it just clutters up our author lists, and can wait till we get "cover design" roles sorted. BLongley 20:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I disagree here, if there is a credit for the production of the cover image, I want to record it. I think it is just as obvious that we don't want a birthdate for a "studio" as that we don't want an email address for an artist who died in 1880, although there is a field for such data. -DES Talk 21:19, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm happy for it to be recorded, just not in that field. I find author searches as badly cluttered with non-writers as Title searches used to be with covers and essays. Leave it to notes for now, I'd say. BLongley 23:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(Oh, and if there's no email in the afterlife, I'm not going to bother dying. ;-) )BLongley 23:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
We could record author data and categorize images accordingly if we choose to, and i think the semi-automated upload feature could capture that easily enough, since it is part of the pub record. Series might have to be done manually, since it is a title-level field. i didn't include either in the cover templates, since I was trying to make them relatively simple, but if people think such would be worth while, it would be easy enough to add them.-DES Talk 19:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Would anyone object to a convention "Artist=None" for cover images that really have no art? -DES Talk 19:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
No objections from me. BLongley 20:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
What do you think about capturing author data? Worth the trouble? -DES Talk 21:19, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Probably not. If people are interested in such artwork searches, it's probably easier to develop screens for searching from the database info. As I said, I do such offline, so half the development work is already done. Do people want such? BLongley 23:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I've just been looking at images in Category:Artist:Unknown Images and found more than a dozen that actually have cover artists recorded in the pub record, but have "Unknown" on the wiki page. We also need a convention: "If you update the artist in the pub record, and the cover image is on the ISFDB server, update the wiki page too, please." -DES Talk 19:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
A suggestion for such is fine by me too. BLongley 20:21, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Image upload issues

I notice that two fairly new editors have uploaded a number of images (8 & 15) apparently via the semi-automated "Upload Cover image" link, but have not edited the pub records to add the newly created image URLs. I left notes for each user on his talk page, but what do you think we can do to make this clearer to other new users, if anything? In any case, it is not a bad idea when you see a new user in the upload log to check one or two images and see if the linked pub has been updated. -DES Talk 00:23, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

They had to be logged in to upload images, so now that they have messages on their Talk pages, their "My Messages" link will be highlighted and the word "(New)" will be prominently displayed. Hopefully they will notice it and check their Talk page. Ahasuerus 03:11, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, of course. What I mean is, what changes can we make to help or elsewhere to make it less likely that other new users will make similar errors in the future? When two different new users make the same mistake in a short time frame, i think there is a systemic problem. And part of the danger is that this is an error which a moderator could easily miss, as it consists in not making an edit. -DES Talk 14:27, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I can see how we can easily miss it unless we monitor the Upload Log for new editors' submissions on a daily basis.
Well, I suppose we could automatically create an "Edit Pub" submission with the URL of the "about-to-be-uploaded" image, but the validity of the submission will rely on three assumptions:
  1. We can reliably recreate the logic that the Wiki software uses to create directory/file names for uploaded images
  2. The editor doesn't abandon the upload process half way through
  3. The editor doesn't change the name of the destination file
I believe we should be able to recreate the algorithm that the Wiki software uses (it was posted somewhere here just a couple of weeks ago), but the other two assumptions are problematic since we have no control over them. In addition, this would mean creating an Edit Pub submission before the file has been uploaded, which may confuse the approving moderator. I guess we could check for bogus ISFDB-hosted files at moderator approval time, but the whole approach seems just too messy.
On the plus side, this would make the semi-automated upload process even easier for experienced editors. I wonder if there may be a better programmatic solution... Ahasuerus 17:45, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
For the wiki algorithm, as i posted at User talk:Mhhutchins#Wiki image URLs "What the wiki does is take the image name and hash it (MD5 hash). It then takes the first 'character' (hex digit) in the hash and makes it the first subfolder, and takes the first two hex digits in the hash and makes them the 2nd subfolder. So, for example the image Image:PRDNDPRJDD2009.jpg apparently has a hash that starts "1a", so the file name is The "/1/1a/" subfolder names derive from the hash." This algorithm is documented and IMO is unlikely to change even if we upgrade the wiki software. (The MD5 hash algorithm is published. I have a copy.)
On the approve-before-upload issue, it usually takes only a few minutes to finish the uplaod process from teh pre-filled upload form, unless the editor waits and does a scan only after clicking the link. Most of the time, the delay before a mod looks at a submisison is that long anyway. Mods could simply delay approving any edit for which the upload is not yet complete.
However, there will be times when an editor clicks the "Upload Cover Image" link and doesn't complete the process, if only when the link is clicked by mistake. File name changes should be rare, but may happen.
The ideal system would be to have the completion of the upload process trigger an automated editpub submission, but if there is a way to make the wiki software do that, i don't know what it is.
In the meantime, we will need to educate new editors once they start uploading covers, and watch the upload log for new names, and perhaps improve the help. -DES Talk 19:09, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

User Preferences are now live

"My Preferences" went live as part of patch r2009-45 earlier tonight. The new option is right below "My Messages". It lets you select which bookstores you want to see linked for ISBN-enabled pubs. If you are not signed in and/or have not changed your preferences, all stores are displayed, so there should be no changes as far as casual users are concerned.

This was the first time that we added a couple of new tables to the database without Al's guidance. If everything goes well, we should be able to implement additional User Preferences, including language preferences, in the foreseeable future. Please post any issues or suggestions here. (If nothing else, I am sure we can improve the wording.) Ahasuerus 03:07, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Looks good to me. I presume that when we have more than one set of preferences they will be on a tabbed dialog? -DES Talk 14:30, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
At the moment we are using only a small percentage of the real estate on the User Preferences page, so we can easily add another column with Language Preferences without making the screen look too busy. Once we have more than a page worth of data, we'll add tabs unless there are other suggestions? Ahasuerus 17:50, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Change to "My Messages (new)" link behavior

I've submitted a change to make the "My Messages (new)" link bring the talk page up in "last change" mode, the way you would get if you click on the "(last change)" in the wiki's new message notification. You get to the same page, but the most recent change is highlighted in a diff region at the top. I thought it might be a little friendlier for new wiki users, rather than just being put at the top of the page. If you disagree with that thinking or otherwise have violent objections to the change, its deployment can still be stopped.... --MartyD 10:52, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

We can try it. I wonder if it would be possible to bring it up in History mode, so you can see if there have been multiple changes? -DES Talk 12:30, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Now that Ahasuerus has the ball rolling, perhaps a preference for this link would be in order. The downside I see to History mode is you're not actually on the page, and someone might end up even more lost. But that said, I think it may be possible to bring it up in "diff" mode for all unseen changes, which would be a good compromise. I'll take a look -- thanks for the idea. --MartyD 12:38, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
That would be very good indeed, if possible -- although it might be a bit daunting if there were many changes. A preference item (simple page, last diff, unseen diffs, history) would be ideal, IMO. -DES Talk 14:54, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Marty's change has been installed as part of patch r2009-46. Ahasuerus 21:29, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Wiki trimming

Marty and I have been experimenting with purging the Wiki over the last couple of days and it looks like we may have a workable solution. Unfortunately, some parts of the Wiki will be frozen while the purging process is running (probably some time tomorrow) but it shouldn't take more than 10-20 minutes. If you get locked out, don't panic :)

The plan is to delete all but the last 100 versions of all Wiki pages. If you can think of any reason not to do so -- or if some pages should be exempt -- please post them here and we will add an exception. Thanks! Ahasuerus 03:52, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

The Wiki is being trimmed as I type. There will be a short (3-5 minutes) outage for some parts of the Wiki around 5:45pm Eastern time. Ahasuerus 21:30, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
All done. The nightly downtime associated with the backups should go from 30 minutes to under 10 minutes and system performance may improve somewhat. Ahasuerus 21:51, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-47 live

Patch r2009-47 has been installed. The following changes have been made:

  • Ampersands no longer cause errors in the page number field
  • Entering a single empty space in the Artist field no longer causes an error
  • Moderators are now prompted to "hard reject" Publication update submissions that point to non-existing (usually previously merged) Titles

I am about to start working on foreign language support, which I plan to release in small chunks. My availability is not as high as it was in August-September, but I hope to have something tangible in the next 1-2 weeks. Ahasuerus 01:02, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Languages - first pass

I have extracted the following languages from the MARC 21 standard:

  • afr Afrikaans
  • alb Albanian
  • ara Arabic
  • arm Armenian
  • aze Azerbaijani
  • bel Belarusian
  • bul Bulgarian
  • bur Burmese
  • chi Chinese
  • cze Czech
  • dan Danish
  • dut Dutch
  • eng English
  • epo Esperanto (some translated SF)
  • est Estonian
  • fil Filipino
  • fin Finnish
  • fre French
  • geo Georgian
  • ger German
  • gre Greek (do we need ancient Greek as well?)
  • heb Hebrew
  • hin Hindi
  • hrv Croatian
  • hun Hungarian
  • ice Icelandic
  • ita Italian
  • jpn Japanese
  • kaz Kazakh
  • khm Khmer
  • kir Kyrgyz
  • kor Korean
  • lav Latvian
  • lat Latin (early utopias)
  • lit Lithuanian
  • mac Macedonian
  • mon Mongolian
  • nor Norwegian
  • per Persian
  • pol Polish
  • por Portuguese
  • rum Romanian
  • rus Russian
  • slo Slovak
  • slv Slovenian
  • spa Spanish
  • srp Serbian
  • swe Swedish
  • tgk Tajik
  • tur Turkish
  • ukr Ukrainian
  • uzb Uzbek
  • vie Vietnamese
  • yid Yiddish (some SF stories in the 1800s and 1900s)

Hopefully, this should cover 99%+ of all cases that we will be dealing with. If I am missing any obvious candidates, please post them here. Of course, we can always add more languages later. Ahasuerus 02:05, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

WorldCat shows 26 Catalan, 20 Indonesian, 8 Thai, 8 Latin (!), 8 Basque, 7 Frisian, 7 Malay, 6 Galician, 5 Bengali, 4 Urdu, 2 Gujarati, 2 Irish, 2 Marathi, 2 Tamil, 2 Ancient Greek (!), 1 Malayalam, 1 Sinhalese, 1 Scottish Gaelic, 1 Welsh and 1 Tibetan translations of Harry Potter. Ahasuerus 14:53, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Yep, I knew about the Latin and Ancient Greek and Welsh and Irish and Scots Gaelic, we have them already. Plus a few others I can't recognise. And I couldn't tell you which of the Welsh ones was right. BLongley 17:54, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
The languages are ganging up on me tonight. I just received a British book stickered with "Kr 99.00" and "Kr 69.00 TILBUD" labels. That's the first time I've had to deal with Norwegian here... BLongley 18:23, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
What about Pictish?--swfritter 19:23, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
I think I covered that here. Unless we need "Nac Mac Feegle" as a separate language. BLongley 20:42, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
A table consisting of 73 languages has been created and deployed to the live server as part of patch r2009-48. There is no way to access it at the moment, but it's the first step. Ahasuerus 03:16, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure there are Klingon books. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:56, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The Klingon Language Institute publishes books in Klingon, e.g. The Klingon Hamlet: The Restored Klingon Version and Much Ado About Nothing. However, the only books that I have been able to find so far are bilingual, i.e. both in Klingon and English. Since we don't have current plans to add support for more than one language per book, we will want to file these oddities under English or else they will become invisible to anyone who doesn't have Klingon checked as one of their "preferred" language. Ahasuerus 15:24, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
According to [1] the KLI also publishes "jatmey... a vehicle for original poetry and fiction composed entirely in the Klingon Language." I'm not sure the we would even want to index this, but if we do, it arguably would be useless to anyone not fluent in Klingon anyway. -DES Talk 18:56, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
I can confirm that The Klingon Hamlet, The Klingon Dictionary and tlhIngan tIgh: SuvwI' DevmeH paq are bilingual. We probably only need Klingon for the original language titles, which have no pubs as they won't be published for a few hundred years yet... 20:08, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Another source link for images (amazing site!)

Editor Ernesto Vegetti has obtained permission from the maintainers of the French website Collectors Showcase for us to link to their images. (Permission statement here) All we need to do is give the source link on the images (like we do for Amazon, FantasyFiction, Galactic Central, etc.) This is a great source for images of pulps, digests and early hardcover editions, and not just French publications. I suggest everyone take a walk through the site. You'll find some great stuff there. MHHutchins 18:09, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

There are links to two sections of particular interest: American paperbacks & hardcovers and American pulps & magazines.
Great! Should we add this to ISFDB:Image linking permissions#List of sites granting permission, or wait until the coding change is made to provide the required link? -DES Talk 18:42, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
The coding change will be implemented some time over the weekend. Ahasuerus 22:24, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Please, add also Mondourania that give us the permission some time ago.--ErnestoVeg 19:15, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Mondourania is already automatically credited. If the credit doesn't appear when it should, it's a bug -- please post an example and I will fix it pronto. Thanks! Ahasuerus 22:24, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
But it isn't on the wiki List of sites granting permission. I'll add it, please expand the description. -DES Talk 22:45, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Added. The list is actually stored at Template:Image Host Sites. Anyone may edit that page to update the site descriptions. -DES Talk 22:50, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see, thanks! Ahasuerus 23:47, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed this appears to be a very good site; thanks for getting their permission, Ernesto. I'm tempted to go through some of their pages and check our listings both for images and for missing data -- they list collection and anthology contents on a number of classic paperbacks it seems. But I think I'll wait until the image credit logic is in place. -DES Talk 20:47, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Jacques Hamon knows that some days are required to show the credit. Yuo can use the links freely.--ErnestoVeg 13:10, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
They list the contents of quite a few pulp magazines which we don't have or do not cover well. There are numerous typos and such, but it's a very useful resource. Ahasuerus 23:47, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Help:How to convert a novel to a "chapterbook"

I just created Help:How to convert a novel to a "chapterbook", in response to a comment (in this thread that instructions for this case were not found.

I think this page as i wrote it correctly describes our current consensus and practice on this subject. Buti have tagged it with {{NotFinal}}, pending indications that my views are shared, or at least not objected to, by other editors. Detailed comments might be made at Help talk:How to convert a novel to a "chapterbook". More general comments, or objections to the creation of the page at all, might be made here, or perhaps we will need a Rules & Standards discussion (I hope not) if the consensus is not as clear as I think it is. -DES Talk 18:38, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Bill Longley has made some comments here at my request, and i have made some changes to the page in response. Comments from others would be very welcome. -DES Talk 00:29, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
I did some minor copy editing, and cleared up some repetition in the last paragraph, but otherwise, it looks good to me. MHHutchins 16:44, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-49 installed

Patch r2009-49 has been installed. The following changes were made:

  • Collectors Showcase and the Trash Collector are now properly credited
  • When making a Title into a variant title of a brand new Title, the original title's "storylen" value is copied to the new Title. This applies to short fiction as well as to omnibuses and any other Titles that may "storylen" valued, including "jvn", "nvz", etc.
  • Publisher pages no longer error out if the publisher ID doesn't exist
  • Award bibliographies no longer display incorrect award information for authors whose names are sub-strings of other authors' names
  • Award bibliographies print pseudonym information just like regular bibliographies
  • ISFDB pages should be slightly faster since they no longer distract your browser with spurious errors

Overall, a minor patch due to limited availability and fighting what appears to be some kind of virus. I'll resume the work on Foreign Language support once the virus has been defeated. On the plus side, we are down to 38 open bugs, less than half of what we had three months ago. Ahasuerus 02:39, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Nominating editor Bluesman for moderator

It's been some time since we've opened a position for a new moderator, and looking around, I find that Bluesman (Bill) to be among the most qualified to fill the spot. He's been an editor since July 2008, racking up more than 17,000 submissions, with an additional 18,000 verifications. A glance at his talk page will show that he's very communicative, always cooperative, and respectful of other editors. He will readily admit that there are certain areas of the database that are puzzling, but in those cases, he reaches out to other editors. This might at first limit him to approving his own submissions, but will eventually lead him into a more complete understanding of the database's structure. As the approving moderator of many of Bill's submissions, I can attest to the accuracy and the attention to detail that he brings with each one. Having played Watson to his Holmes (and vice versa), I know he's a bibliographic detective like most of us, and a solid asset to the ISFDB team. He's accepted my request to nominate him, and in doing so, I whole-heartedly endorse him with this nomination to the position of moderator. MHHutchins 17:20, 27 October 2009 (UTC)


  1. Support, as nominator. MHHutchins 17:20, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support, as someone that needs a break another moderator that has seen many of this other Bill's edits. I feel confident he can do more for us yet resist things he doesn't understand. BLongley 19:28, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support, Bill has helped me on several occasions, and not only in editing the ISFDB. I would love to be moderatorized by him. Willem H. 19:56, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support for all the reasons listed above. When in doubt -- ask and everything will work just fine. And no experimenting with the "Take the database off-line" button after 1am! Ahasuerus 20:10, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support, better the Gremlin you know. Canada price anyone? Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 22:06, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support A keen worker, he will be a great asset. --Chris J 19:56, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support I have approved many of Bill's submissions (and he makes a great many). It has been quite a while since I have had any reason to hold one. The ability to self-approve will only make him more productive, and i am sure he will tackle the submisisons of others with the same verve. -DES Talk 20:13, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support About time he did his own. :-)Kraang 01:19, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support Have had very few problems with his submissions, I think he has found more errors in mine. Dana Carson 06:53, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
  10. Support A little belated but Bluesman now has double digit support.--swfritter 16:05, 13 November 2009 (UTC)




The nomination was a smashing success and the moderator flag has been set. Congratulations, Bill! :-) Ahasuerus 02:08, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Thank you all! Well, most of you... well, some of you..... lololol! I may regret this but will do my best to uphold the at-times lofty standards you all set, and re-set, and ignore, and re-set once again! Hopefully it will never be boring (hasn't yet!). ~Bill, --Bluesman 02:22, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Enric vs Enrich -- same artist?

In User talk:DESiegel60#Duplicate artist listings User:Sfbooks52 asks if Enric and Enrich are the same artist. A Google search suggests that these are the same artist, and that his legal name may be "Enrique Torres-Prat" and his birth year may be 1938. However, art and artists are not my area of expertise. Can any of you shed light on whether these are in fact the same person, and if so, what the canonical name ought to be? I have listed the relevant links found in a google search in the thread linked above. -DES Talk 23:03, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-54 - no more blank "Used As Alternate Name By:" lines

Patch r2009-54 has been installed. All pseudonym associations are now removed when an Author record is deleted or merged. Some 337 existing Author records have been corrected so they no longer display blank "Used These Alternate Names:" and "Used As Alternate Name By:" lines. Ahasuerus 05:02, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Disabling the Enter key

I have found what appears to be a reliable way to disable the "Enter" key when working with our data submission pages. (I am still trying to figure out how to allow the use of the Enter key in the search box but not anywhere else.) If it's technically possible, should we disable the "Enter" key to prevent accidental submissions while editing? Ahasuerus 22:46, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

A strange thing I have noticed while editing the Bleiler pre-30's book. I am up to about 1100 entries now. When I hit the enter key it takes about six minutes to process the submission and there is a lot of hard-disk thrashing on my local before it goes through. If I hit the submit button it goes through in about a minute with no thrashing. There must be some different processing going on based upon the two submission methods.--swfritter 23:47, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Hot key? so one doesn't have to scroll down the the submit button. Now that I have been thoroughly programmed I rarely hit the Enter key by accident.--swfritter 23:51, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
A hot key may be difficult to implement, but how about making it a User Preference? We'll just need to decide what the default behavior should be. Ahasuerus 00:00, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
It's actually pretty easy to hit the end key to get to the bottom of the screen and then hit the submission button. A user preference would be nice but implementing suppression of Enter key processing without implementing preferences would be a good first step. It would make life substantially easier for new editors which should be a high priority; I would just have to learn a new habit. It's the old feature versus bug factor.--swfritter 00:37, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
OK, Feature Request created. Marty has kindly provided a snippet of code that lets you disable the Enter key in the main submission form yet keep it enabled in the Search box, so it shouldn't be hard to implement. Ahasuerus 20:45, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

"Magic Eye" covers

OK, here's a rather different cover-art question: can you see the 3D image here?


I can on the book itself, but find it impossible on the uploaded art. BLongley 23:58, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Actually, it seems I can, but only after "priming" myself with knowledge of what it should show. I still find these "2D that makes you think it's 3D" images remarkable. BLongley 00:23, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

User Preferences updated

My Preferences have been revamped as part of the Foreign Language Support project. My Web Sites have been moved to a separate page and there is a new check box to specify whether you want Publication pages to default to "Concise listing". I don't expect many active editors to take advantage of this option, but at one point it was requested on rec.arts.sf.written and, besides, it was a useful proof of concept for other things needed by this project, so in it went. Please report any errors/issues with the new options here. Ahasuerus 04:51, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

I can't even recall what "Concise listing" does, or where I'd see that option normally. :-( BLongley 22:59, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
It's displayed next to the word "Contents" on every Publication page that has contents :) Ahasuerus 00:36, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Ah yes. As it doesn't have a fiction-only (no essays either) option I never use it, and have eventually become blind to it. Maybe when there's a "Very Concise Listing" I'd use it. BLongley 20:44, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Still, it reminds me of another feature I'd like - I keep Amazon DE and Amazon FR on "My Web Sites", but as I can't read the pages they link to, it's just a quick check that there might be some value in going and finding those same pages via Google or some such search engine that offers a "Translate this Page" option. Can we have "yes, show me this web-page, but translated" as an option? BLongley 22:59, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
You can feed an arbitrary URL to the Google translation tool and it will translate the page for you. I am sure there is a way to automate the process so that the Amazon DE link for Carrion Comfort will appear in English, but I suspect that most users who decide to go to their local incarnations of Amazon want to see the raw version rather than a translation. Ahasuerus 00:36, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's mostly going to be for people that need to look at English explanations of data they don't understand, so people that look at other people's work - like linguistically-challenged moderators for instance. BLongley 18:48, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

"Cancel submission" implemented

If you have pending submissions and go to the My Pending Edits page, you should be able to cancel erroneous submissions by clicking on "Cancel submission". As always, there are safeguards in place to prevent hostile robots from canceling other editors' submissions. (And if someone had told me just a few decades ago that I would be implementing safeguards to block "hostile robots", I would have assumed that he had OD'd on SF...) Ahasuerus 04:38, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

P.S. Please note that at this time you can cancel a pending edit even if it is on hold by a moderator. If this behavior turns out to be undesirable, e.g. if moderators find "amazing disappearing submissions" confusing, we can change it easily enough. Ahasuerus 04:40, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Looks good to me. If I notice my mistakes fast enough then I can stop the cascading effect. Canceling a hold would be dicey though, unless it was a week or more, still I would not since I am warned. Yetch, on "Robots", I just lost my saved shopping cart at ABE. Checking cover scans, can produce 'need' lists. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 15:56, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Maybe it's a good thing you lost the cart. You might be able to afford something other than macaroni & cheese or Top Ramen noodles this month. There have been times when I have had to choose between pizza and a back issue of Startling Stories.--swfritter 16:35, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Startling Stories are a lot healthier! Ahasuerus 16:49, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Eating magazines? Is that what The F&SF Diet is about? BLongley 18:53, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
You mean "Force Toasted Wheat Flakes" was not about the flakes that pulp magazines shed?? Ahasuerus 21:11, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea. I'll make myself some Cheese on Toast and ponder the matter. (It's cheaper than calling The Pizza Man, and most Tomato Sauce is unhealthy anyway}. BLongley 22:14, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Did you see where the tomato sauce came from? No wonder it's unhealthy, unless you're a vampire. MHHutchins 00:04, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Quantum Science Fiction

While re-re-checking this before it got packed for the impending move, I realised we haven't spotted much "Quantum Science Fiction". Anyone seen any such pubs, or is this a dead project? "An international publishing venture presenting the best in modern science fiction, selected and edited by Isaac Asimov and Ben Bova" sounded fairly promising. BLongley 23:14, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

There were only six titles released in the US by The Dial Press / James Wade. Two of them are among my favorite books of the 70s: John Varley's The Persistence of Vision and Gregory Benford's In the Ocean of Night. The Robinsons' Stardance won some awards in the novella version, but I didn't care for it. The other three titles are Varley's The Ophiuchi Hotline, Dickson's The Far Call, and Bova's Millennium. Pretty good average, I would say. (But then I was a big supporter of Hartwell's Timescape program, but that lasted less than four years.) MHHutchins 23:54, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
The "international" joint venture was Dial Press hc / Dell pb in the US, and Sidgwick hc / Orbit pb ini the UK. In the UK, Sidgwick later published four of the titles in two-for-one omnibuses called "Quantum Science Fiction Specials" here and here. MHHutchins 00:00, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointers. I've always found the Sidgwick & Jackson Omnibuses very poorly represented here, to the extent that I have my doubts over their existence at times. I would surely have read them while growing up, unless they had some policy against selling to libraries: I know I read most Gollancz hardback SF that way. BLongley 20:48, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Herminie Templeton Kavanagh

I stumbled on Herminie T. Kavanagh, Herminie Templeton, and Herminie Kavanagh, all of whom seem to be the same person. Her Wikipedia entry sheds some light on the name variation. Now that we can reverse pseudonyms, there doesn't seem to be any reason to avoid stepping into the breach, so I'd like to set up the pseudonym relationships. Does anyone have an opinion about which to use as the most appropriate canonical name? I find some references on Locus to Herminie Templeton Kavanagh as well, so I'll probably set that one up too (we might as well have the complete set of variations, right?). Thanks. --MartyD 02:31, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Might as well fix the ones we've got. I've no preference, but would lean toward choosing the one with most verified pubs (verified shortfiction not being easy to find here.... hmmm, maybe that should be a feature request....) BLongley 20:40, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
A three-way tie! One pub each, none verified! Oh, four-way, as I added one using Herminie Templeton Kavanagh. From the little research I've done so far, it looks like most of the stories were published while she was Herminie Templeton, while most modern publications and secondary references use Herminie Templeton Kavanagh. I suspect that latter one will end up with the most publications, so I am inclined to go with that in the absence of strong opinions advocating a different choice. --MartyD 20:51, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
I'd go for the full name, Herminie Templeton Kavanagh, under which the first edition of the Darby O'Gill stories was published (Darby O'Gill and the Good People, Reilly & Lee, 1903) as well as the later collection The Ashes of Old Wishes (1926). MHHutchins 21:01, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Just checked the Tor edition on OCLC and saw that our record doesn't match the author credit. They have it with the complete name, not with the middle initial. Other records with non-full names may also be in error. Because they're not verified, I'd go with the OCLC credits (under "Responsibility") before going to the trouble of setting up pseudonyms that may not exist. MHHutchins 21:08, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed the "T." one. The odd thing is that both Amazon and OCLC have a thumbnail of a cover (not the title page, I know), with "Herminie T. Kavanagh" on it. Both Amazon's Look Inside and OCLC's Google Preview then take you to a scan where the full-size cover's art is the same, but the author's name is "Herminie Templeton Kavanagh". I can't tell on the Amazon one, but on the Google one searching by "Kavanagh" yields the title page, which likewise shows the full name. Both views show a copyright page with a full number line and stated "First Tor Edition: February 2006". Our "T." one comes from Amazon data, so it seems likely both credit and cover changed between the pre-release and the actual release. Unless there's a later release or hardcover at play, of course. I was going to make it a variant of the full-named version I constructed from the two scans until I have some time to see if I can find an edition using the T. As for the "T." itself, I found a couple of references on Locus using "Herminie T. Kavanagh" ("Darby O'Gill and the Little People" in The Idler in 1902), which they link to her full name. So I'm planning to do a little more hunting for that variation of her name when I get a chance. I found a full scan of a 1903 publication on Google Books that uses just "Herminie Templeton", which I will also enter when I get a chance. Where do we sign up to get more hours in a day? --MartyD 22:15, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
FWIW - I'd second using the full Herminie Templeton Kavanagh as the canonical name as that would have also been the name she was most well known by though in society it would have been Mrs. Marcus Kavanagh. Something I've done when I'm uncertain as to what author name was used in a publication is to pick a name but also to add a note explaining that the stated name is unknown. Ideally, I'd use the publication's bibliographic comments wiki page to document what I have discovered. Darby O'Gill and the little people is also a Disney movie. You can get more hours in a day by traveling to the west. I used to work on ships and 25 hour days were routine when crossing the Atlantic. Of course, the other direction with 23 hours days was not convenient. --Marc Kupper|talk 09:52, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. I ended up going with Herminie Templeton Kavanagh. It certainly seems to be the name she's most likely to be referred to by now. In a later (1926) work published during her lifetime, I found a dedication that she signed "Mrs. Marcus Kavanagh", but none of the stories or collections were credited that way. I managed to hunt down a bunch of scans that give us the actual name(s) used. I also concluded the "Herminie T. Kavanagh" credit from Locus for The Idler in 1902 must be wrong, since she didn't marry Kavanagh until 1908. See this discussion for some more details about the "T." form of her name and the resulting entries/edits. --MartyD 11:24, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Nominating editor MartyD for moderator

Note that Moderator Qualifications describes moderator qualifications and the process of becoming a moderator. Ahasuerus 02:03, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Although Marty has not made a huge number of submissions, his work on the Edgar Allan Poe bibliography page has made him familiar with some of the more complicated facets of ISFDB data relationships. In addition, his programming activities have made him very familiar with the technical details of the system. He has graciously elicited and accepted advice and is sure to do the required research when he gets into areas in which he is not familiar. Although he is a little reluctant to accept the responsibility, I am sure he will be a fine Moderator.--swfritter 15:42, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


  1. Support, as nominator.--swfritter 15:42, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support, a real go to editor, who has developed very noticeable skills. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 15:51, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support. About time too. BLongley 18:58, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support, I haven't had much dealings with Marty, which is generally a good sign. I'll probably profit a great deal from his work when I reach my Edgar Allan Poe books. Willem H. 19:49, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support, All his edits are good and his knowledge of how this works at the background level is a real plus!Kraang 01:41, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support. Good communications skills and good working knowledge of the database. The only outstanding area is Chapterbooks, but it's just a matter of time until he has been properly indoctrinated! Ahasuerus 02:03, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support. Marty is a great asset to the team. (And my right-hand forefinger needs some rest, because his submissions rarely require more than a click of the mouse.) MHHutchins 04:49, 14 November 2009 (UTC)




The nomination was a success. Marty is now a moderator -- congratulations! :-) Ahasuerus 18:11, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Another key milestone achieved in my plan for Total World Domination! :-) Thank you all for your support. I'll do my best. --MartyD 23:15, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Only one world? I thought you had more potential than that... ;-) Still, we'll keep you busy here while the rest of us dominate other galaxies, I guess. BLongley 00:36, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Given Marty's use of the world "total" (as opposed to regular-plain-boring world domination), he clearly goes for quality over quantity. Ahasuerus 00:52, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
If I had to pick a world to dominate, I wouldn't choose this one. But as I live in the worst town in Britain and will remain there after my move (it's only a mile or so, haven't even changed postal district) I obviously have no taste. BLongley 22:22, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Language Preferences installed, but have no effect for now

My Language Preferences have been installed on the live server and are accessible via My Preferences, but have no effect at the moment. I should have a fair amount of free time next week, so with luck foreign language support will make more progress. Ahasuerus 04:31, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

What's the difference between "English (always shown)" and "English"? BLongley 23:00, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
It's a minor bug, soon to be exterminated. Thanks for helping shorten its lifespan! Ahasuerus 23:30, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Fixed. Ahasuerus 02:36, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I note Klingon (tlhIngan Hol) hasn't made the cut yet either. I hope the native-speakers don't take offence. BLongley 23:00, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
ghobe' tlhIngan! Ahasuerus 23:30, 17 November 2009 (UTC)


Restrict Author Merges to Moderators?

I think the suggestion has been made before.--swfritter 15:53, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree this should be restricted to Moderators only.Kraang 02:05, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
It's probably safer that way, but have we had any Author merge problems lately? Ahasuerus 05:13, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm the problem, I suppose. But I've decided to not use for the future this option. No problem to inform moderators about the opportunity to merge titles. :-) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by ErnestoVeg (talkcontribs) .
I have no problem with this restriction. I only needed the feature once. If it ever comes up again, I can always use the moderator noticeboard. Willem H. 11:29, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
James Gunn/James E. Gunn for the nth time. I am also holding some submissions from a relatively inexperienced editor. I think the concept is confusing to new editors; I know it was to me.--swfritter 14:02, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
It's a good idea to restrict this function to moderators. MHHutchins 14:22, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I have been refraining after one fiasco. There are a lot of complications/ramifications possible. Just finding a true 'canonical' name is troublesome. So I would advocate the use of "Help in merging" scenario with at least three days of commentary to allow 'experienced' people ponder the problems. Just the question of 'when it is necessary or most helpful' is a bag of worms. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 15:31, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)OK, Feature Request 2900620 has been created. I will see what I can do tonight. Ahasuerus 18:09, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Done. Also got rid of the SQL code at the top of the second and subsequent pages of Advanced Author searches. Ahasuerus 04:14, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Nominating Rtrace for moderatorship

Ref: Moderator Qualifications#Becoming a moderator for the nomination process.

Nomination statement

I nominate Rtrace (talkcontributions) for moderatorship; he has accepted the nomination. Ron has over 6,300 submissions, a good working knowledge of all aspects of the database and good communications skills. I believe that he is qualified.


  1. Support, as nominator. Ahasuerus 18:50, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  2. Support, though a newbie MOD I've seen few problems with Ron's edits. ~Bill, --Bluesman 19:19, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  3. Support, working with Ron is a pleasure (happened only a few times, but still...) Willem H. 21:22, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
  4. Support. I was going to be Neutral and make some comments about lack of communication, but after a quick review, he doesn't need to communicate much, he gets it right first time almost all of the time, and when he doesn't, he learns. He's definitely ready for self-approval. I'd like to see a little more effort in instigating conversations rather than responding before he goes further, but then again we have several moderators that quietly just get on with their own stuff. BLongley 22:06, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
  5. Support. I can't speak to his breadth of knowledge, but I have seen his attention to detail, communication skills, and follow-up to be quite good. --MartyD 11:12, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  6. Support. Very composed editor with great attention to details. Smoooth! Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:19, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  7. Support. Full support and his area of interest, from the submissions I've seen will be a good addition to the data base.Kraang 01:47, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
  8. Support. I'm late to the party, but wanted Ron to know that I fully endorse his being chosen to be a moderator. MHHutchins 18:09, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
  9. Support. Must be a time zone thing because I haven't seen many of Ron's submissions but I don't want to miss the festivities. Where's the keg?--swfritter 22:41, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
    Could be the time difference. Ron and I (both in the Eastern time zone) have spent many late evenings together, virtually speaking. MHHutchins 03:42, 1 December 2009 (UTC)



  • Note: Due to the holiday season in the US, the nomination will be kept open until Sunday to let all editors review it.


The nomination was a success and the moderator flag has been set on the account. Congratulations! Ahasuerus 01:35, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Thank you all for your support. I'll endeavor not to disappoint. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 01:46, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

2 for 1 with same ISBN different titles

Morning! This. [2]. Which we have as 'The War of the Worlds', but same ISBN for 'The Time Machine'. Both have same 2 for $1 sticker. Also both do not have copyright pages, presumably because nothing is worth copyrighting? Artist for 'The War of the Worlds' is on cover. Other not on cover, but work looks similar. Likewise no credit for 'forward' or 'introduction' on first, nor 'introduction' or 'Preface' on second. Price is great, but the results not to my taste. Amazon says ISBN goes to this. [3]. ABE lists the ISBN for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden (Tor), The Time Machine, The House of the Seven Gables, etc. The ISBN seems generic to Aerie and maybe others. Happy Thanksgiving yesterday! Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 14:39, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Adding a link to other issues to Magazine records

One of the weaknesses that we have at the moment is that there is no way to go from a Magazine pub to other issues of the same magazine. You have to go to the editor's Summary page and then find the right magazine series/year. It's even more time-consuming if the editor used a pseudonym and/or if the magazine had multiple editors. Chances are that a casual user will never find other issues, something that has been confirmed via e-mail over the last couple of years.

Now, the good news is that a vast majority of our Magazine pubs have Editor Titles even though these Titles are not displayed on the Publication Listing page. We could easily make changes to the underlying logic so that a "View Other Issues" links would point to the EDITOR Series for the displayed magazine or, if there is no Series but there are multiple issues for the current EDITOR record, to that EDITOR record. Where would be a good place to display this link? Right next to the "Title:" field, perhaps? Ahasuerus 05:37, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Maybe I'm missing something? I use the magazine link in left hand menu to get to the magazine listings, which link into the individual magazine pages. Selecting a magazine shows all issues in a table, and it's just a case of backing up and selecting another issue from the table. Several of us have also inserted nav bars into the comments section of some magazines, for example so just clicking on the bar will move forwards or backwards through the issues.--Rkihara 07:10, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I have never been able to figure out why people have indicated that they have a hard time navigating through magazines. Perhaps the primary problem is that occasional users do not realize that the magazine link leads to the magazine wiki page. Just a few mouse clicks and you've got the magazine you want. If you want to view multiple issues of a magazine CTRL-left-click on the issue link opens the pub listings in a new tab. The option above sounds like a good idea. Would it work like a drop down list which would still leave the current pub open?--swfritter 15:21, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Could you please clarify which option you have in mind? If it's the originally proposed approach, then we can make it so that clicking on "View Other Issues" will open a new window, but that would require an exception to our design. At this time, the only time we open a new window is when the user follows the "Upload an image" link, which takes him to the Wiki.
As an aside, I suspect that we may be vastly underestimating the problems that non-editors have navigating the database. For example, one of the MITSFS librarians, who uses ISFDB pretty much every day and sends me corrections whenever he finds errors, occasionally asks questions that reveal just how opaque our system is even to the most experienced users. Similarly, most of the attempted corrections that I receive from rec.arts.sf.written regulars are also cases of simple misunderstanding and they are probably our most persistent and genre-savvy users. (Most of them have neither the time nor the inclination to register and edit the data directly and when they try it, they give up in frustration.)
As far as using Notes and Wiki pages as a replacement for proper database links goes, it is an acceptable temporary solution, but there are several long term problems. First, Notes links are hard-coded to use "", which doesn't work correctly for local instances of ISFDB and will completely break down if and when we lose the "" domain -- unlikely but possible given our history over the last 15 years. The ISFDB software was specifically designed to allow installation on any domain, so hard-coding "" links violates a fundamental part of the design.
Second, the Wiki is not a part of the publicly available backup, so Wiki pages are less durable than the database itself. Third, most links in the navbar appear to be ignored by most casual users and I hope to be able to move them to the main page (a few at a time) over the next few months.
My long term plan is to add enough new fields to the database to let us migrate the biblio data that is currently hosted in the Wiki to ISFDB proper, e.g. Publication Series and Author Biblio notes. Similarly, once Series notes have been added, we can move magazine-specific data from the Wiki's Magazine namespace to the respective Editor Series. It is also possible to recreate the "issue grid" in ISFDB, although it may require adjusting some date fields to enable proper issue sorting for "Spring", "Summer", etc. Ahasuerus 23:42, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I have added a link next to the pub title -- see Startling Stories, Spring 1944 for an example of how it works with magazines that are in a Series and The New York Review of Science Fiction, January 1990 for an example of how it works when the EDITOR record is not in a Series. It's easy enough to undo if we decide that we don't like it. Ahasuerus 02:00, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

(unindented)Looks good to me!Kraang 03:46, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

It is nice functionality. It would be sort of nice to have a separate line (perhaps replicate the title page's Series: line?) that had Prev + View All + Next links, perhaps with some cute little arrows. And it could then be available on any pub whose title is in a series, and likewise could be available on the title page, too. --MartyD 11:43, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
It would be nice to have Prev/Next automatically, but I don't think it's going to be completely possible without a little more effort on data entry. All those seasonal magazines that only have a year in the date, and season(s) in the title - we can deal with Autumn=Fall but we can't programatically put them in the right order within a year due to those pesky Antipodeans. ;-) Still, some sort of date convention for quarterlies/irregulars shoulkd be possible, and is far better than my other thought of demanding "Series Num" entries for all Magazine series. ;-) BLongley 21:22, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
My ultimate wish would be for a tree list that works like browser bookmarks. The only way to keep the lists persistent now is by opening multiple tabs - Tab A, CTRL-Left Button to Tab B which still keeps Tab A open. The Back function of the browser can also be useful. One of the things I thought about doing for now was adding a link to the series from the wiki page. See Famous Fantastic Mysteries. This is still only useful if the user can find their way to the magazine wiki page; unfortunately there is no "read my mind" option. I might note that I reluctantly generated the HTML navigation code to be pasted in the notes when it became obvious that editors were going to do it manually anyway; manual entry would have resulted in some failed submissions. I also figured that any programmatic implementation of the method, which I assumed would never happen, would be easier to implement if the data could be easily parsed from consistently formatted notes. If portability is an issue why are we cramming HTML into the notes? Any possibility of actually formatting notes with embedded carriage returns/line feeds?--swfritter 16:20, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Carriage returns and line feeds are currently stored in the database, but there is something funky going on with them at certain points, e.g. they are responsible for unchanged Notes appearing as if they were modified in Moderator approval screens. Keep in mind that submissions get XML-escaped/unescaped and database-escaped/unescaped multiple times between the time they are entered and the time the data is filed in the database, so our Python code is constantly juggling different formats. I try to fix mismatches as I find them, but it's not a trivial proposition, at least for a Python/MySQL newbie like myself. In any event, I will check to see if it's possible to display carriage returns/line feeds properly without breaking anything else. Ahasuerus 04:12, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
How about implementing a search by adding "Magazine Series" to the dropdowns in the primary search box. The following SQL seem to do the job as far as returning the mag titles that are in series although there will be some work involved in getting everything into mag series ('%fan%' being a constant that would actually be a parameter):
select distinct (s.series_title) from series s, titles t, pub_content pc, pubs p
where t.series_id = s.series_id and pc.title_id = t.title_id and p.pub_id = pc.pub_id and t.`title_ttype` = 'EDITOR' and p.`pub_ctype` = 'MAGAZINE' and s.series_title like '%fan%' order by s.series_title--swfritter 22:34, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
It seems to do what we want it to do, but a search on "a" took 12 seconds to finish, so it may have unfortunate performance implications. Would something like:
select distinct(s.series_title) from series s, titles t where t.series_id = s.series_id and t.title_ttype = 'EDITOR' and s.series_title like '%fan%' order by s.series_title;
work too? It finds more Series records, e.g. it finds not only "Science Fantasy" but also "Science Fantasy (US)", and takes only 0.08 second to complete. Ahasuerus 04:12, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
My own personal optimizer. My version does not get pseudonymous editor series. Fanzines would also be brought back - if we ever have enough of them to put them in series. Another issue is the General Interest magazines; I have only placed them in series when they have gotten so cluttered that it became difficult to check if a specific issue has already been entered. We might have to modify the series title to something like "All-Story (spec fiction only)" so users don't think we are trying to be another Fictionmags.--swfritter 14:38, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
The solution proposed here will probably great value. Most users probably begin their initial access by looking up an author or title which eventually leads them to a magazine from which there is seemingly no place else to go. The casual user is not likely to immediately notice the Magazines section under Other Pages and leaves.--swfritter 15:36, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, I have created a Feature Request and I'll see what I can do this week. If other moderators could help out with Fixer submissions, I would have more time for software changes <hint hint> ;-) Ahasuerus 05:20, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Another thought. If we want to exclude the General Interest magazines we could link the series title to a parent title like "General Interest Magazines" and exclude based upon the series_parent value.--swfritter 16:31, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there are so many magazines out there that we need to limit the new Magazine Search logic to genre magazine. If a user wants to search for "Argosy" or "Playboy" or "All-Story", I don't think there is harm in letting them find all related EDITOR Series. Ahasuerus 18:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) The ability to search "Magazines" is now live. Please keep in mind that it won't find any EDITOR records that are not in a series. And, of course, it will not find any EDITOR-less Magazine pubs. Ahasuerus 02:35, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I will try to flesh out the Help for creating such series tomorrow. Sounds like project time!!! In my mind the non-genre magazines are going to take lower precedence then the genre magazines. I think a very huge percentage of the magazines people are most likely to look for are already in series.--swfritter 03:06, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Issues with "Forthcoming Books"

As some of you may have noticed, we have very few "Forthcoming books" listed for the month of December and even fewer for January. Normally, Al runs Dissembler a few times a year and it queries Amazon for "core" forthcoming books. Unfortunately, back in August Amazon implemented new and rather convoluted authentication requirements, which pretty much stopped Dissembler cold. Since Al historically took care of forthcoming books, I didn't realize the implications until earlier this week (duh!), so now I am scrambling trying to teach Fixer how to use the new authentication mechanism. Foreign language support enhancements are on hold until this issue has been resolved and forthcoming books are back in business. Ahasuerus 00:02, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

OK, Fixer has been convinced to step in and take over the forthcoming books duties. He isn't very good at it at the moment and still learning, but he should get better with practice. He will be quite busy over the next few days and moderators are likely to be similarly busy.
Note to moderators: Please don't forget to remove Moderator Notes after approving Fixer's submissions. If you want to preserve some of the genre data found in Mod. notes, please use Tags at the Title level. Also, keep in mind that Fixer can't tell Anthologies/Collections/Omnibuses from Novels (unless we already have another edition of the book on file), so title type adjustments may be required. Ahasuerus 06:33, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Did my baker's dozen. No wonder s-f once again has a lousy reputation. There was a brief period when I could tell people I read s-f and they did not automatically classify me as a geek; they were able to make that value judgment at a later date.--swfritter 17:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, Sturgeon's Law is still with us :-) Ahasuerus 18:19, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
There was a cartoon in an issue of Vector I entered recently that covered this: one character mentioned that as it's Sturgeon's Law, the other 10% must be Caviar. Very droll. The other character said the other 10% was what got published. Obviously untrue. (The sheer lack of amusement is why I haven't bothered entering cartoon strips for most of my pubs, so somebody else will no doubt revisit all my Vector entries to ensure completeness.) BLongley 21:37, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
but I can think of at least three trends in the speculative fiction field over the last decade that have significantly affected what "SF is all about". First, it's the proliferation of YA SF in the wake of the Harry Potter phenomenon, mostly of the fantasy variety. Second, it is the rise of urban fantasy and especially of the paranormal romance sub-genre, which drew in a significant number of romance readers, a much larger crowd than the traditional SF gang. Third, it's the general move from science fiction to fantasy, which has been going on for the last 30 years and which was accelerated by the two trends mentioned first. Ahasuerus 18:19, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
And the audiobooks. I'm beginning to loathe them. Especially ones that may turn out to be merely dramatizations with no dead-tree version available - yet! I can see the call for Readers/Narrators to be promoted to full "Author" status soon, often it's a major IMDB name reading or performing them. (Rant caused by Fixer submissions for "Torchwood" audio-books today.) BLongley 21:37, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Should I ask Fixer to auto-suspend all of them if it helps with the workload? Ahasuerus 23:08, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Don't forget the re-Ackermanization of s-f due to the advent of Star Wars and Star Trek. I'm taking my J. G. Ballard books and heading for Vermilion Sands. I hear it is deserted now. Assuming that Fixer's submissions are a good sample of what's going on in the rest of the world I would have to up the percentage to 99.9%.--swfritter 22:20, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Media tie-ins are indeed a big part of the scene these days, but that's more of an incremental increase rather than the big bang that paranormal romances experienced in the mid-late 2000s.
Juveniles are time consuming to catalog because you can publish so many of them in a very short period of time, e.g. there were 20 (sic) Magic Ballerina books published between 2008-10 and 2009-10, but at least they help us raise an SF-aware generation. The paranormals, on the other hand, are fast becoming a world upon themselves with little overlap with "regular" SF. Ahasuerus 23:08, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
P.S. Also keep in mind that the current batch of Fixer's submissions are mostly US-centric and fantasy flavored. The catch may be different when I ask him to fetch science fiction and raid Amazon UK. Ahasuerus 23:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Poppy The Piano Fairy? OUCH!!! We need to find some younger editors.--swfritter 00:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Subordinating Interior Art

I would like to suggest a programming change to make "Interior Art" subordinate by indentation, like the "Reviews" are presently. This would make the magazine listings much easier to inspect visually, and if precedence of order is given to the title, it will correct the problem of the art appearing in order before the story listing if they both have the same page number.--Rkihara 19:03, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Good point! Ahasuerus 19:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
It might be good to make this an "editing" function for other types of entries, in that an editor could subordinate letters within the "letters column," and also stories that appear in departments like "Probability Zero." Again with the subordinated title appearing in order after the unsubordinate.--Rkihara 19:46, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
And for Letters, and other short essays, it would be nice to have fractional page numbers or another "position on page" field so that 3 or 4 entries for the same page sort correctly. Not a biggie, but I've found it mildly annoying while entering Vectors. BLongley 21:08, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
How about indenting any Essay that starts with the word "Letter"? As an aside, at some point we need to convert the "storylen" field to a general purpose "title sub-type" field. We could then define different "allowed sub-types" per Title Type, e.g. "map" and "cartoon" for INTERIORART, "letter" and "introduction" for ESSAYs, etc. This will make it easier to implement any changes based on sub-type, e.g. indenting letters. The only technical issue with this change is that it will require dynamic changes of the values in the sub-type drop-down list. I guess I'll need to learn more Javascript... Ahasuerus 21:09, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I can help you with this. You can set up a trigger so that when one menu's value changes, a function gets called, where you then change the other menu's contents. --MartyD 03:06, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Great, thanks! We'll have to think about the scope of the change since it will affect Edit Title, Edit Pub, Make Variant and a whole lot of display changes. Ahasuerus 04:55, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
While we are talking about interior art it would also be nice if multiple pieces of artwork for the same story actually sorted correctly on the artist's biblio page.--swfritter 20:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I'll create a Feature Request and see what I can do. Ahasuerus 21:09, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)I have added interior art indentation on the development system, but I am not sure I like the results:


Looks kind of ugly, doesn't it? Ahasuerus 16:11, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

What if you made it look more like the presentation for reviews? Pre-pend a label of some sort like "Art: " or "Artwork: " (or, I suppose, "Interior Art: ") and perhaps shorten the type label prior to the artist's name?
  • 6 &#149; The Trouble with Tweenity * short story by Jack Sharkey
  • 6 &#149;   Interior Art: The Trouble with Tweenity * artwork by Blair
This approach could be used for anything (review, interview, essay, whatever we consider "subordinate"). If/when we have subtypes, we could put the subtype prior to the "by" (e.g., "cartoon", "map", "photo", "drawing", "letter", "introduction", "afterword",...) in place of the redundant "artwork"/"essay"/whatever. --MartyD 18:45, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
How about a variation of that, compressing multiple artwork into one line, and dispensing with the title, since it's subordinate? That would substantially compact and de-clutter the listing for some magazines, such as pulps, some of which have over ten illustrations per story.
  • 6 &#149; The Trouble with Tweenity * short story by Jack Sharkey
  •      Interior Art: by Blair   pp. 6, x, y
Allowance would have to made for the rare story illustrated by more than one artist--Rkihara 19:10, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Sometimes the art has a title of its own, which I'd think we would want displayed. The same is true for other things we might want to be subordinate. So any condensation might have to be smart a la variant title displays in the author and series bibliographies. --MartyD 00:48, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Python error for pubs with an exisitng Wiki comment

FYI, there is a bug which makes Publications with existing Wiki comments error out, e.g. . It will be fixed later tonight. Ahasuerus 22:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

The fix seems to have worked. Ahasuerus 04:30, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Pulp memories

Here is a 1926 magazine rack (have to follow the link) and here is a 1935 magazine newsstand: magrack.jpg

Those were the days... Ahasuerus 00:30, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Dave Seeley - As canon for David Seeley and David Robyn Seeley

Morning! This. Dave [4], David [5], and David Robyn [6]. My reasoning is his choice of site. This [7]. This is not a request for merging necessarily, just making obvious the connection and the obvious artist preference versus other sourcing. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:10, 5 December 2009 (UTC) Of course if the community would like it tidied up, I would gladly merge. LOL Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:10, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

As in voting, I think even if you do not have an opinion, it would be helpful to establish that people are aware of the issue. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:10, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Seems ok to me. That the IMDB also refers to him as Dave Seeley perhaps adds to the likelihood of people thinking of that form of the name. --MartyD 15:04, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Forthcoming Books and how to make them useful

Fixer is still learning how to import forthcoming books (US/UK variations are a pain), but I think we have enough information to plan the next step. When you look at the January list, a number of things stand out.

First, audio books can quickly get out of control since publishers tend to simultaneously release them in multiple audio formats. At the moment, Fixer is auto-suspending all audio books, but eventually we will need to figure out how to handle them.

Second, the list is huge and I suspect that few users will be interested in all of the categories at the same time. If we could separate "SF romance" from "Children's/YA SF" from "Regular SF", it should help all kinds of our users. A separate section for "media tie-ins" may be useful as well.

Third, posters have asked for identification of reprints vs. new books, something that we do not do well at this time.

Fourth, we do not display Series or Tag information, which makes it harder for users to determine whether they may be interested in the book.

With that in mind, here is how we can try to reorganize the page. First, for each Publication record, we need to find the "reference" Title, i.e. the main Title in the book. For Novels, it will be the Novel Title, for Anthologies - the Anthology Title, for Magazines - the EDITOR Title, etc. Once we know the Title record, we can retrieve and display that Title's Series and Tag information. We can also compare the publication date of the Publication with the date of the Title and display "Reprint/New" based on whether the year/month is the same. We can then analyze the Tags associated with the Title and break up the page into at least three sections using the following logic:

  • Any Title with a Tag containing the words "juvenile", "young-adult" or "children" is relegated to the "YA/Children's" section
  • Any Title with a Tag containing the words "romance" or "erotica" is relegated to the "SF Romance" section
  • Optionally, any title which belongs to a "known media tie-in" Series is relegated to the "Media Tie-In" section. If we decide to do this, we will need to maintain a list of "known media tie-in" Series or at least a list of keywords like "Warhammer", "Star Trek", "Star Wars", "Dr. Who", etc.
  • Everything else is displayed in the main section at the top of the page.

Does this look reasonable? Anything that wouldn't work or anything that I am missing?

P.S. Given the number of forthcoming titles, retrieving all Title/Tag information from the database may take a few seconds. If performance becomes an issue and if we can't address it via database tricks, we may have to make the list static and regenerate it every hour or so, but that's speculative at this point. Ahasuerus 21:43, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

If we had a drop list of the main tags in editing this would help.Kraang 03:07, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Hm, yes, I can see how it would be useful... Ahasuerus 04:13, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, the first round of changes is live -- take a look and see if you like it. No separate sections for YA/paranormal stuff yet, but it shouldn't be hard to do. Performance seems to be OK, but I am not sure if the layout looks reasonable on smaller monitors. Do we need column headers? Move the author(s) to the left hand side? Ahasuerus 05:16, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Note to self: Get the Series/Tags data from canonical titles when applicable. Ahasuerus 05:29, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Latest changes:
  • Made the table prettier
  • Added headers
  • Changed the list of upcoming months to a mini-table
  • Moved authors to the left
  • Series/Tags data now comes from parent titles when applicable
Things to do next:
  • Improve performance
  • Break up into smaller sections by genre (YA, romance, media, regular)
  • Allow sorting by author or by publication date
  • Add the ability to add Tags quickly as per Kraang's suggestion above.
Anything else that we need? Ahasuerus 04:28, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

(unindented)At the moment tagging is very random and subject to much variance, how may ways can you enter Young Adult. A drop down list with 5 - 10 major categories and an "Other" section would help at least for new books entered by "Fixer" and approved by "Experienced"(HA! HA!) moderators.Kraang 01:25, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not a tagger, but based on this discussion I decided I should tag Fixer submissions I work on. I find it difficult to know the proper way to tag in the face of "composite" values. I.e., should I use "young-adult fantasy" or "young-adult" + "fantasy"? A vetted list of values I ought to pick from would be a big help. --MartyD 11:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Keep in mind that, unlike almost everything else in the database, title tags are associated with the person who created them: you can only edit/delete the tags that you originally created. Tags and votes were something that Al implemented late in the game to mimic the functionality of many popular "social Web sites". That's why there is no approval mechanism for tags and votes -- they are "yours" and you can do anything you want with them. Our display screens show all tags created by all users for a given title, but it's possible to get a more detailed breakdown of who tagged what, although it's not well documented or well displayed at the moment. Since tags are highly individual, there is potential for overlap and imprecision, but that's the nature of the beast. I wouldn't worry too much about "young-adult fantasy" vs. ("young-adult" + "fantasy") as long as the result is reasonably clear when the Title is displayed.
As far as creating a drop down list of "core" flags goes, it's definitely a good idea and I will code it as soon as I finish the current round of changes. I started improving Forthcoming Books performance yesterday night and found a number of other things in the Clone Pub screen that begged me to be fixed, so I got sidetracked a little. Once I test and install these changes and add a breakdown by category (adult/YA/romance), I will start working on adding "core" flags. Ahasuerus 23:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Patch r2009-69 is now live. The Forthcoming Books page should load somewhat faster now and, as a side benefit, some other pages should load slightly faster, including Publication Listings with numerous Titles. The performance improvements turned out to be marginal and probably not worth the time spent on them, but them are the breaks. Other changes to Forthcoming Books:
  • Added a REPRINT column for known reprints
  • Broke the page down into 'Adult', 'Young Adult' and 'Romance' sections and added a navigation tool at the top of the page
  • The YA and Romance sections are built based on Tags and Publishers.
I plan to keep the page "as is" for a few days and see if everything works OK. There were a lot of changes under the hood, including changes to Clone Pub, Pub Listing and Remove Title, so please be on the lookout for any problems with these pages. Ahasuerus 04:52, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Added "storylen" for Omnibuses. Ahasuerus 03:31, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Editor Series Checklist - document in main magazine wiki

Now that we have magazine editor series we need to make sure that the editor records are in series which means we need a way to know which ones have been done. Perhaps we can use the main magazine wiki to do this by implementing links to the editor series from there also. See Famous Fantastic Mysteries. By putting a link to the magazine editor series here we will create more look-up flexibility for that page and at the same time document which magazines have been placed in editor series which means we will not need a separate checklist. Good idea? Visually pleasing?--swfritter 16:32, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like a good start! Once the first pass is done, we can check for stragglers programmatically. Ahasuerus 17:30, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
At the same time we will make the wiki page redundant. I am busy with tons of ebook entries in the submission queue. ISFDB moderators will be propelled into the 21st century.--swfritter 17:36, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Forthcoming books for February and March

Fixer is slowly improving and the last run returned, for the most part, regular (i.e. not children's and not romance-flavored) SF. There are quite a few submissions in the queue, but there is no hurry, we can handle them one at a time :-) Ahasuerus 04:59, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

They were little trouble - only took me 12 hours or so, and I gave in on the "(Original MM Art)" entries and approved them anyway. I suspect those were all here anyway and one edition or the other will turn up eventually. (I did cross-check on the Penguin web-site and they have the same lack of detail as Amazon.) Now, there's a dozen new-to-me authors I must go double-check - unless someone wants to take them over? "Cate Tiernan" and "Merlin" and "Xombies" delayed me a bit, but it was educational. BLongley 01:32, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Fixer says "Many thanks!" :) Ahasuerus 17:29, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Fixer can now go look at all the author web-pages I found while dealing with the last lot... I'm afraid I have something called "work" to go back to tomorrow. BLongley 00:01, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Changes to "Check for Duplicate Titles"

"Check for Duplicate Titles" has been changed so that review/interview/anthology/interiorart/chapterbook records are also checked for duplicates against other review/interview/anthology/interiorart/chapterbook records. In retrospect, I wonder if Chapterbooks should also check against Collections and/or Anthologies? Ahasuerus 17:28, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Chapterbooks now cross-check against all other title types except Shortfiction. Anthologies once again cross-check against all other title types. Ahasuerus 03:29, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Font Change?

Has the font become heavier/darker in publications or is this just my imagination?Kraang 03:57, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

There have been no intentional changes, but it's always possible that an unrelated change affected something. I haven't noticed any font-related changes, but then I have just changed the monitor on the development system, so things look different anyway. Ahasuerus 04:05, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
The publication listings (and links to them) under title records are now in bold face when they weren't yesterday. MHHutchins 06:00, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Just noticed the "quick tag" function and think maybe the code that makes that bold-type wasn't "closed". MHHutchins 06:02, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see it now! Yup, will be fixed tonight, thanks! Ahasuerus 12:32, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Fixed. Ahasuerus 03:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! That's much easier on the eyes.Kraang 03:48, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

New 'Quick Tag' functionality

The ability to quickly add Tags to Titles has been implemented. As long as you are logged in, you will see a drop down list of 20 popular tags. Just select one and click on Submit Data (which I need to change to "Submit Tag") and the selected tag will be applied. If you have already tagged the Title record with one of the 20 tags, it will not appear in the drop down list.

Please note that after submitting a quick tag, the system will immediate take you back to the Title page. This is experimental and may be undone if the "flashing" effect irritates some editors. Ahasuerus 04:02, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes I used the new tag system and its works fine, except for the sudden seizures (apparently from the "flashing") I think it will work out alright :-)Kraang 04:34, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Forgot to mention that the regular tagging screen has been revamped to move the data entry fields to the top of the page. There are so many tags now that you had to scroll down to enter data. Ahasuerus 15:02, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
"Submit Data" changed to "Submit Tag". Ahasuerus 03:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Suggest adding "Obit" to the tag list.--Rkihara 05:29, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Also "Bio."--Rkihara 05:31, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
You can enter any tag on the main Tag page. If it doesn't exist, it will be created for you automagically.
Since different editors work on different parts of the database and use different tags, we may want to make the drop down list of "quick tags" user-definable. FR 2914913 created. Ahasuerus 17:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Possible clone option - Do not transfer page number option

As more ebooks are being published and entered in the database, this would be a nice option since page numbers are irrelevant for most ebook formats. It would also be nice to have invisible page numbers so entries in a pub can be ordered by the editor.--swfritter 15:34, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Like both ideas. It would also be nice to have an option of keeping the page numbers when importing contents. MHHutchins 17:23, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Good points, let's create Feature Requests before we forget about it. Ahasuerus 03:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Allow keeping page numbers when importing pub contents. FR 2914914 created t.
Suppressing page numbers. First we need to decide how the editor tells the application whether he wants the page numbers to be cloned. We can create an intermediate page, but it will contain only one check box and a Submit button.
Invisible page numbers. Possible, but requires a new field in one of the tables, so won't happen overnight. How often is it needed? Ahasuerus 17:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
For those who like the the stories to be in the same order as they appear the base number would be the number of anthologies/collections in ebook format we think will be in the system. Which would be a lot. Could entering negative numbers work as a trigger?--swfritter 23:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see it now. Yes, it would be useful for e-books and the amount of time to code it is unlikely to be all that significant (a few nights?), but I am not sure how to do it gracefully. Hm, I'll think about it. Ahasuerus 17:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Not a gigantic priority. But if the back of your mind can find a simple solution that does not require increased data entry complexity. I can always look at a book version, if there is one, to get the order correct. If there is an unused bit left over in the pub record a flag could be set to suppress page numbers.--swfritter 15:18, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
An excellent point! I'll create an FR to add a new checkbox for "Do not display page numbers". Ahasuerus 17:10, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Upon further research, it's also known as Option 1 in FR 2802098. Option 2 in the same FR also has value, but will require more thought/work to implement. Ahasuerus 17:14, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps page numbers entered with a 2 digit decimal part? With only the integer part displayed?--swfritter 22:40, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Or rather, one digit since we are dealing with content on a single page.--swfritter 00:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that would address the issue of having multiple titles on the same page (Reviews, Poems, etc) and wouldn't be very hard to implement. However, FR 2802098 also mentions Ace Doubles and other pubs where the ideal display order should be controlled independently of printed page numbers. That would require a separate numbering scheme, a more challenging proposition. Ahasuerus 03:11, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"Duplicate check" and Title case

The default mode for "Check for Duplicate Titles", aka the "Exact Title Match" mode, requires that two titles use the exact same case before they appear as suspected duplicates. You have to use the more aggressive "Similar Title Match" mode to find suspected duplicates with slightly different capitalization, but then you get a whole lot of other, often erroneous, stuff. Should we change the default mode to find otherwise identical titles whose capitalization is different? Ahasuerus 17:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I've always felt this to be a fault in the search for duplicates function. If it can be easily changed to find duplicates regardless of capitalization, I'm all for it. Thanks. MHHutchins 18:18, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
It's a simple change and can be implemented tonight. While we are at it, there is an outstanding feature request to reduce the number of "false positives" by eliminating COLLECTION/SHORTFICTION and perhaps other "matches". Here are the Title Types that are not checked against other title types:
CHAPTERBOOKs are not checked against SHORTFICTION, but are checked against all other Title Types. Similarly, we can make COLLECTIONs. OMNIBUSes and ANTHOLOGYs not check against SHORTFICTION. Any other combinations that shouldn't result in matches? Ahasuerus 18:52, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I think making SHORTFICTION separate from all other types should suffice. All container types (NOVEL, ANTHOLOGY, COLLECTION, NONFICTION, CHAPTERBOOK, OMNIBUS) should be matched only amongst themselves. MHHutchins 18:59, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, case sensitivity has been eliminated. Also, the logic no longer tries to match SHORTFICTION records against COLLECTIONs, ANTHOLOGIES, OMNIBUSES or CHAPTERBOOKS. For now I kept the biggest offender, NOVELs, off the container list since, as DES wrote in the Feature request:
  • once in a while when a novel has been mis-entered as a short work (or vice versa) such a merge is the right thing to do. (This can happen when a large anthology is enterd from a secondary soruce and the entering editor incorrectly assumes that all contents are shortfiction.) It would be nice if there was some visual alert about mis-matched types, because often such a merge is a mistake.
If, as seems likely, we decide that we shouldn't be checking SHORTFICTION against NOVELs after all, I will add it to the list of "container" titles. Ahasuerus 04:28, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
The one thing I like(d) about case mismatches not being selected as candidates is that the editor has to think about the reason why there is no match. So we will probably end up with a few instances where an editor, especially a new one, will not notice the difference or not be aware of the rules and select the wrongly capitalized version. No biggie. Check for Duplicates can be very restrictive as long as Advanced Search can be used to accomplish the merging of oddball titles. It might be even better if the editor is forced to manually change one of the candidates so that it is correct before merge checking. --swfritter 15:11, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
True, but hopefully the approving moderator will catch any capitalization issues :) Ahasuerus 04:38, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Might be a good task for robo-moderator. At first it could warn the human moderators about such potential issues and eventually it could take over all moderator duties.--swfritter 16:55, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Making the moderator screen more helpful/intelligent has been on my list of things to do for some time, but other things keep interfering and foreign language support really needs to be wrapped up first... Ahasuerus 19:33, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Make Variant Title changes

Make Variant Title has been changed so that if the original title was in a series, the series name and number are moved to the new parent record (unless it already had a series name/number of its own). Ahasuerus 04:37, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, that certainly helped me fix T. H. Lain. BLongley 17:07, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

A Possible Cover Image Source

I ran across this site ( with thousands of book & comic cover images. The best being Books>Vintage Sci-Fi. But there are others under Publishers and Authors. It may be useful as a cover image source for anybody who wants to look into it.Don Erikson 20:13, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Trouble With Ants/The Simple Way in Simak's City

Prompted by a merge. Since this story appears in many verified pubs I am noting here - the story and its variants are now all novelette length. The changes for "The Simple Way" affected the most pubs. The story itself is about 9000 words long and is also classified by Contento as a novelette.--swfritter 16:16, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

HEMEAC merged

Thanks for multiple input. I have merged all the titles as HEMEAC.--swfritter 21:24, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Sales by Golden Gryphon and PS Publishing

In case anyone hasn't heard: Golden Gryphon is having a two for one sale on all titles through the end of December. PS Publishing's sale is buy three and get the cheapest one free, through January 2010. Golden Gryphon doesn't charge for shipping within the US. PS will charge for shipping on all books. MHHutchins 04:32, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

PJ Haarsma

I've let Fixer add a couple more PJ Haarsma books, and filled in the missing one in the series, and de-regularised the first from "P. J. Haarsma" as I don't think a hyphenated name like "Philip-Jon" should be separated into "P. J." - but if anyone else has a strong opinion on how the name should end up, please speak out. BLongley 23:37, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Re-using page numbers during Import/Export operations

It turned out that the original design was to carry page numbers over to the new pub, but it wasn't working due to a bug. I fixed the bug earlier tonight, so from now on page numbers should always be copied. If the ability to select whether they should copied at import/export time turns out to be desirable, we can add it via a separate Feature Request. (And I found 2 more bugs in the import/export code, so I will be revisiting it in the foreseeable future anyway.) Ahasuerus 04:24, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Looking up birth/death dates for US authors

It turns out that there is a Web site that lets you search the US "Social Security Death Index" for free. I assume that it is supposed to cover everyone who had a US Social Security number, including other countries' citizens who worked in the US, but I suspect that their coverage of non-US deaths is poor. Ahasuerus 17:28, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Just tried it on Charles Addams born Charles Samuel Addams known as "Chill". American artist born January 7, 1912, died September 28, 1988. It told me 121 possibles listed only 1-4, no apparent chance to check the others, but his was there at no. 2 slot. It gave him one more day till he died. I then tried adding middle name, no result. I think it is mostly a gimmick to get you to a pay site. If they wanted to be more useful they would have included a birth date field. It is interesting though. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:02, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
It works well for many well known authors like Heinlein and Asimov, but it's less useful when the legal name is unavailable or in doubt, e.g. "Lester del Rey". Ahasuerus 03:19, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
Seems to have worked for Ben P. Indick. Still not sure about C. Bruce Hunter so I've left that edit on the queue. And there was someone else that is rumoured to have died recently that I stumbled across on another author edit, but I can't recall who - one of the all-lower-case people, I think. Co-authored something with someone else I researched recently. Too morbid for me to go back and look though. BLongley 00:32, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
It works well if there's an exact birth date, and the name is not common. The more general the search, the more chance of getting a hit. If I don't get a hit on the full name, I delete the middle name/initial first, then the first name. Re., birth date field, it's under advanced search.--Rkihara 18:25, 11 January 2010 (UTC)