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Archive of the Community Portal - January-February 2010

Happy New Year!

And may it involve less Paracetamol and Ibuprofen than mine has so far. Ah well, I've reduced my dosage by 50% over the last week so I guess I'm getting better. BLongley 00:55, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

A Happy New Year to all of you! And no failing heart valves, eyes and other bodyparts. Willem H. 09:59, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
May it be glorious and fulfilling! Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 12:54, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
2009 was a good year for ISFDB, hopefully 2010 will be at least as good! :-) Ahasuerus 01:30, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Import/export revamp

The import/export screens have been revamped and now let you decide whether you want to re-use existing page numbers. A number of errors were fixed along the way and the user interface was changed to look like the Clone Pub screen. Hopefully, no new errors were introduced, but if you find any, please report them here. Ahasuerus 04:28, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Used it for the first time tonight, transferring contents from here to a pub that was identical here and to a mass market pb of the same title that had more pages here. Your check box made it easy to do both methods. Thanks for the great improvement of this function. MHHutchins 07:18, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Glad it's useful! :) Ahasuerus 21:47, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I believe I have seen a glitch in one of my import edits from yesterday. I'm too lazy to try it again :-) but if I am not mistaken it should be possible to reproduce like this:
  • Have two publications (S for source, and D for destination) that contain both the same title (T), but with differring page numbers (pS and pD)
  • Import content from S into D
  • D now contains T twice (expected and OK), but the page number of T is both times the same: pD. In other words, the page number pS is not imported.
Admittedly, this bug (if it really exists and I don't suffer new year's hallucinations :-)) is really something small, but as my case shows it can have a slight impact on efficiency: In my case pS would have been correct and pD was incorrect, so now I need to make two cleanup edits instead of just one (first edit: remove the duplicate title, second edit: fix the page number). Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 10:01, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
It's often been brought up here on the wiki (you probably missed it) that you shouldn't use the import function if there are two identical titles in both pubs. In this case it would have been better to delete the duplicate content records from D before importing from S. You won't be able to delete only one of the duplicate titles. The "remove title" function will delete both. The fact that both now have the same page number indicates that the system considers them the same record. I know nothing of software design so I can't say whether this bug can be fixed. We just work around it. MHHutchins 17:10, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I just approved your edit removing "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son". The system deleted both copies, so you'll have to add a content title record back to both pubs. Sorry. MHHutchins 17:12, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I definitely missed the don't-import-duplicate-titles thing. I won't forget, though :-), sometimes it helps to get bitten. Thanks for the information, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 21:35, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
It's number 2 on my list of things to fix as soon as I get a few hours of uninterrupted ISFDB time. Unfortunately, January is shaping up as a bad month in terms of my availability... Ahasuerus 23:14, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Naming a fiction series?

How the name should be assigned to a series? For example, there is a series "Overlay Project" http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?26130 by Shane Tourtellotte. The current issue of Analog has a new episode belonging to that series, but in the magazine it is called as “First Impression” series. Should the name be changed? Another question: This series http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?6136 is named as “Paradise” in the magazine, but there seems already to be another, unconnected, series by that name. One of them should probably be changed? Tpi 11:59, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

The naming of a series (especially short story sequences, and newly formed series) can be objective. Sometimes it takes years before a general consensus is arrived, even with or without the author's cooperation! The name can be easily changed here on the ISFDB, so if it's determined later that there has become a canonical name it should be no problem. In the first case, I believe you should go ahead and change it to whatever the magazine is calling it. In the second case, be careful about two different series by different authors that are using the same name. Sometimes you have to append the author's name to disambiguate the series. I'd leave the older series with the name and create a new one for the newer series. Even so, over the years, the second one may become more important and it will have to be changed. MHHutchins 16:20, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Multiple names for the same series are OK, e.g. The Wardstone Chronicles (UK) / The Last Apprentice (US) - so long as you don't hit the length limit. But yes, Mike's right that sometimes the same series name is used in unrelated ways, and an author suffix helps. BLongley 21:08, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Data Consistency project reanimated

The Data Consistency project has been re-animated by popular demand. The compilation logic behind some of the pages could be profitably tweaked, so if you see a pattern of false positives, please post it here and I will change the scripts to ignore them. Thanks! Ahasuerus 05:49, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm seeing a lot of excerpts popping up on the Shortfiction / Novel Mismatches list. It can't be all of the excerpts or the page would be thousands of items long. It looks like the script has been designed to ignore those that fall into the pattern "Title (excerpt)", but some people use the word "extract" (ugh!) to describe these excerpts. Perhaps there should be consistency in how these are entered. I've even seen a few titled "Extract (Title)", an even stranger pattern. If we can't come up with a standard, perhaps you can rewrite the script to ignore "extracts" (vanilla, almond, orange and other flavors). MHHutchins 07:07, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Our Help currently says "If the excerpt has a title that makes it clear that it is only an excerpt, use that title. Otherwise, use the title given, but add " (excerpt)" to the end; e.g. "A Feast for Crows (excerpt)". ", so it looks like "(extract)" -- not to mention "(exerpt)" (!) -- should be changed to "excerpt" throughout. Ahasuerus 23:31, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
You don't have to rewrite it now, as I've already noted the excerpts on this listing. Perhaps on the next go-round. MHHutchins 07:10, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I plan to change the script to skip pubs with one Novel Title and one Short Fiction Title because of the "bonus story" clause, which should help reduce the number of false positives. However, I can't think of a way to identify novels with 2+ fictional appendices, prefaces, etc. Any suggestions/ideas? Ahasuerus 23:31, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

"ISFDB Oldest Living Authors"

"ISFDB Oldest Living Authors" list has been changed to ignore people who are allegedly over 116. SF writers tend to live a long time, but not that long. Ahasuerus 05:32, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Took this as a cue to update author data, I managed to put over a hundred zombies to rest, and update some of the living.--Rkihara 21:47, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

"Remove Titles" changes

The "Remove Titles" option has been changed to allow removing individual instances of a duplicate Title; associated moderator screens have been changed to display the page number, title type and authors for each title in the pub.

I also discovered that removing a Review from a pub would unlink that Review record from the reviewed Title. I believe that this behavior was in error since reviews can be present in multiple pubs and should only be unlinked explicitly or if/when they are deleted. The code responsible for the deletion process has been deactivated and I think we are in better shape for it, but please post any potential issues here.

I also wrote a script that looks for pubs with more than one occurrence of a title. Here are the results as of today:

Ahasuerus 04:18, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Sorry for being dense. Is this where the title duplicated itself and both were actually the same reference? Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 23:11, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Think of it this way: Every publication has a list of titles (plus optional page numbers) associated with each pub. There are very few limits on what can be done with this list within our software, e.g. it's possible to remove all titles from a given pub, leaving it an empty shell. It's also possible to merge two titles that exist in the same publication -- although you get a big yellow warning if you try it -- in which case the list of titles will contain two entries for the same title. If this happens, the software will only display the title once, but the second occurrence will hang around. In the past, removing one of the titles form a pub removed both of them, so then you had to re-enter it and merge the new title with the existing one, which was a pain. Now you can remove just one title and the other one will remain in the pub. Ahasuerus 19:36, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Excelsior! That is what I thought you were doing. I could never figure out why some duped themselves, nor how to clear the connections. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 20:59, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
The other method was to clone one of the pubs and the delete the original. The down side was you lost all the verifications.Kraang 23:16, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
BTW, that yellow warning was occasionally displayed in error when a Title was about to be merged with its parent. The error was fixed earlier tonight and the yellow warning should be displayed only when appropriate now. If you see it appear when you don't expect it, please let me know. Ahasuerus 03:53, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Variant Titles and the "^" character

Once upon a time (in 1995, to be precise), we didn't have proper Variant Titles, so we used composite titles separated by "^", e.g. "The Stars My Destination^Tiger! Tiger!". The software knew to look for "^"s and display variant titles accordingly. This convention was abandoned with the introduction of the current approach in 2005, but we still had a few places in the code that looked for "^"s and tried to display them as VTs.

Most of the time this behavior was harmless, since there aren't many titles with embedded "^"s, but when Marc tried to enter "10^16" as a title, he discovered that the software would helpfully display it as "10 [vt 16]".

As of tonight, the software no longer checks for "^", so from now on it is a regular character like any other. There are no fiction titles with embedded "^"s at this time, but we have a few dozen review records that need to be cleaned up. Also, there are some problematic Award records, but they will have to wait until we have a working award editor. Ahasuerus 03:29, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Project Gutenberg publications are now linked

Project Gutenberg publications are now linked in the navigation bar as long as they have a complete Catalog ID, e.g. "#1234". Ahasuerus 00:19, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Import/export of NONFICTION pubs fixed

The process of importing/exporting NONFICTION pubs has been fixed. It no longer adds a second occurrence of the main NONFICTION title to the book's contents. Ahasuerus 03:39, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

And now NOVELs, NONGENRE and CHAPTERBOOKs should be safe to import/export too. Ahasuerus 05:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Interview/review bugs fixed

Two more bugs have been fixed.

1. Pseudonymous interviews no longer appear twice on the reviewed author's page, e.g. the interview with Kirby McCauley now appears one time on his Author page.

2. When a review is written by 2 or more people, the reviewed title's author is listed properly, e.g. on Mark Shainblum's page, the review of Guns of the South now reads:

  • Guns of the South (1995) by Harry Turtledove (co-reviewed with John Dupuis )

rather than:

  • Guns of the South (1995) by John Dupuis and Harry Turtledove

Ahasuerus 03:06, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Ernesto Vegetti

I'm afraid I have some bad news. According to the SF site Ernesto died on January 16. In his last note he mentioned an operation on the first of January, looks like it didn't succeed. Willem H. 09:47, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

My friend Rias Nuninga placed an orbituary for Ernesto on the PJF International Bibliography. Willem H. 14:58, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Very sad and totally unexpected news. He was a conscientious contributor and a nice person :-( Ahasuerus 17:04, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Terrible news indeed. I enjoyed working with his submissions, especially the correspondence. Just reading his posts was enough to bring a smile to my face. I would imagine him speaking in this heavy Italian accent and that he looked like Federico Fellini. Looking at his photo on the PJF website, I can see I wasn't far off. I can only hope that one day the Urania project will be completed. I'll miss him. Mhhutchins 18:22, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully, Ernesto is out conquering new worlds. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 16:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Alas, Ernesto passed away with a submission in the queue. May all his submissions in the beyond be accepted without question. Mhhutchins 05:42, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

1940s cartoons

The other day I came across a 1948-02-00 Soviet article about American SF. The title is In the World of Nightmarish Science Fiction, which is par for the course for its time, but look at the cartoons at the top of the Web page and at the end of the article. The first one looks like it was copied from a Startling Stories department and the second one also looks awfully familiar, although I can't quite place it. I wonder if it was a direct cut-and-paste job or some kind of collage? Ahasuerus 05:00, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The bottom illustration looks like a collage of re-rendered material from Amazing Stories. --Rkihara 07:46, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
That sounds about right or at least the robots look Amazing-ish. Ahasuerus 02:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I think the title is better translated as "In the World of Delusional/Insane Science Fiction." The stories discussed are from Amazing and Astounding.--Rkihara 07:46, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Technically, the Russian word "bred" means "delusion(s)", but it can also mean "nightmare" and, in conversational usage, "nonsense". In retrospect, "deranged" would have been a better choice. Ahasuerus 02:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
You have to wonder how many readers were swayed toward science fiction as opposed to the decadence and insanity? Sometimes art can trigger intrigue. I would have had to break rules to see for myself. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 16:09, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Google Translate gives us these wonderful quotes: "And those who try to seek an explanation of the causes of social ills, corrosive capitalism offers the writings of literary sadist Shaver". Yet another Shaver Critic. And this "But no matter how hard the providers of delusional fantasy, the world's people believe in progress and a bright future, turning their attention to the country of happiness and freedom - to the Soviet Union."--swfritter 16:26, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Yup, 1948-1953 was the heyday of what it is now called "Mature Stalinism". You had to go Mao's China and eventually to North Korea to find comparable pearls of wisdom post-1953. Ahasuerus 02:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Opinions urgently needed: handling of Multiple Cover Artists

See ISFDB:Help_desk#Bug_in_changing_cover_art_credit. for background.

Adding a new publication and supplying multiple cover artists, or editing an existing publication and adding more cover artists to it, results in separate COVERART titles for each artist, rather than one jointly-credited COVERART. Compare, for example, Leo and Diane Dillon's credits on:

They have plenty more examples of each style of attribution. Editing a COVERART title directly, however, adds any new artists to the existing record as occurs with any title edit. The behavior in the publication editor is inconsistent with its handling of other title content (a new pub with multiple authors creates a single title credited to the whole set of authors; each new content with multiple authors creates a single title credited to the whole set of authors; adding more authors to existing content credits those authors to the same title and does not create more titles for each additional author).

I was fixing the deletion bug when I found this, and I have a "fix" for editing publications to add artists to existing COVERART instead of creating more titles. In testing that, I found the new publication behavior. So now I'm not so sure I'm on the right path. Do we want one title per artist for some reason? I'd like some responses quickly, only because I want to check in the deletion fix, and I have to decide whether to pull out the other change (either forever or until it can be discussed more) or let it go in. Thanks. --MartyD 13:00, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I prefer having separate coverart titles for each artist for the Ace doubles. It would be nice to have a choice for other publications though. Willem H. 14:35, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
I also prefer separate cover art titles. I could not connect the Norman Saunders crediting of an Ace dbl to the interior art credit in "Norman Saunders" due to the two artist problem. Hope I understand the question right. I for sure see the problem is very complicated. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 15:32, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
In light of situations (relatively uncommon) where there are two works of art for one pub (e.g. Ace doubles), why not have a choice when first entering a pub? For example, there could be a field for the second cover art which would be unused for 95% of pub records. The "Add artist" function would only be used to indicate a joint credit, not a second cover art. I don't know if this could be retro-fitted for existing pubs, but you could generate two lists. One would be a list of records that show the joint credit (and), and the other would list records with two credits. Then the community could work to resolve the lists before the new field would be added. Caveat: I don't write software so I don't know how easily this could be done. Mhhutchins 16:37, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree with previous entry. The user should be able to enter multiple COVERART records. Individual COVERART records should be processed as collaborations. Perhaps the same type of processing as occurs in the contents section. There are a few instances where there are multiple distinct pieces of art by different artists appearing on covers but that may not happen often enough to justify allowing more than two COVERART records unless such processing would be easy to implement; sometimes we go overboard trying to allow for exceptions.--swfritter 17:15, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree we want to be able to distinguish multiple artists on a cover from multiple covers. The simplest way would probably be to treat the "Artist1", "Add Artist", "Artist2" type of edit as collaborations on a single cover, and enable COVERART as an additional content entry for a second cover, where "Author1", "Add Author", "Author2" allows collaborations for the second cover. Limiting it to two covers might be tricky, but that might be unwanted anyway - for boxed sets for instance. And it probably doesn't solve the problem of showing clearly which artist(s) did which cover. BLongley 20:11, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
This approach appeals to me (separately-credited coverart as additional content). For the short term, I will NOT include my "fix" for adding more artists while editing. So the behavior will remain as it currently is (separate coverart title per artist) until I can propose a complete solution. Thanks for the quick feedback, and keep the thoughts/ideas/wishes coming. --MartyD 22:58, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Miller and Contento's Magazine Index

Got a copy of this CD-ROM yesterday, and thought it should be one of our secondary verification sources. Then I realized it's already there, but under the name "Contento2 (zine)" (which somehow I've never connected with this one.) I've always thought of this as the Miller/Contento Index, and that's how it seems to be referred to in most sf circles. I wonder if they'd be any objection to my changing the name as it appears on our verification list. It would be distinguished enough from Contento's anthology/collection index that it shouldn't cause confusion. Any objections, concerns, points I'm missing, etc.? Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:10, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable. I don't think it will break anything, but I'll run a couple of checks later tonight just to be on the safe side. Ahasuerus 00:23, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
<sounds of stones getting overturned and moss removed for inspection> Looks harmless enough! Ahasuerus 05:08, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Done! (The walls have not started tumbling...) Mhhutchins 05:42, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
A few things to note about the CD's. They use canonical names so what you see in their records may not be the name as credited in a publication. Also, if you see a page count like 128pp+ that is their way of indicating that the page numbers start with the first interior page rather than the cover. Our page count in this case would be 132. Their pseudonym attributions are sometimes at variance with other sources.--swfritter 16:03, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
I've noticed it's done the same way with the online indexes of Contento1 and Locus1 (especially with author credits, and variant titles). I'm not going to change credits that are already in the database, but if I add new info, I will give Miller/Contento as the source. Until someone can physically verify the issue, it's the best we can do. Something is better than nothing. Mhhutchins 16:31, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Verification Sources

I've created a page that lists our verification sources, and just what is included in each one. I'm familiar with most of these secondary sources, but not so with Bleiler's 1978 Checklist. Can anyone tell me if he includes page counts, catalog numbers, prices, cover artists, or contents? I would ask Kevin Pulliam who verified the pub, but he seems to be MIA lately. The page is still under construction, and I'm not sure what else to add to it. There's another page called Reference: General Overview which is fairly complete and comprehensive, but doesn't include the detailed information about what exactly is available in each source. I'm thinking that perhaps I should append my chart to that page, which is currently linked to the Sources of Bibliographic Information page. The link on that page seems to sluff off the General Overview page by dating it as being used during the formation of the ISFDB (1994-2004 period). I'd never gone to the page because of this. After reading it, I find there's a lot of good stuff there (thanks, Ahasuerus), and its importance should be emphasized, especially for newer editors who have no idea what that chart at the bottom of every publication record really means. (It took me awhile to figure it out myself.) Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed. Mhhutchins 18:22, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

I've got the 1978 Bleiler, and I believe it has pages and binding. I don't recall that it has catalog numbers or cover artists and it absolutely doesn't have contents. Unfortunately, I'm away from home, likely for this entire weekend (Washington DC, big snow storm). If nobody responds before I make it back home, I'll get you the details. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 19:22, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Bleiler 78 doesn't give binding and I've updated the grid to reflect that. Everything else is correct. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 02:11, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Ron. Mhhutchins 04:43, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Looks good, but maybe an extra column for details of which editions are usually recorded? E.g. when a source covers first editions and expansions/revisions/VTs only, many reprints could be marked n/a. BLongley 19:37, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
A separate issue - what do we do if/when Clute / Nicholls/ Langford / Sleight takes off? We haven't separated the first two editions, should we for the third, which looks to be twice as big? (Of course, we might not need to, we're actually one of Langford's noted Bibliography/Reference sites already. BLongley 19:37, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Now wouldn't it be nice if we could link from our db to their entries? And in some way other than HTML in the notes? Might require some communication.--swfritter 15:45, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, it still looks as though they're going to have a subscription/paid site so it may not be appropriate. But they might link to us. As to communication - well, I've dealt with Dave Langford before (it was actually due to him that I am the current curator of the Stableford collection) but the nearest I've come to Clute was over-hearing him talk to Brian Ameringen of Porcupine Books over the phone on Sunday. (A very productive day out - I can't remember the last time I bought 168 books in one go!) I could probably establish contact if desired. BLongley 21:06, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
It was my understanding that Dave did much of the bibliographic legwork on The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (I sent a ton of records his way in the mid-90s), so assuming that the distribution of responsibilities remains the same, he would be the logical choice to contact first. Ahasuerus 23:25, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Even if they are a commercial site it might be helpful if they knew there were sites that might potentially want to link to them. That might encourage them to have auto-login functionality. Possibly they will have tiered service with some information available free? It would seem to me that a very large percentage of our users would also be subscribers.--swfritter 00:56, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Historical information on magazine publications...?

Does anyone know where I might find records telling me how many issues of magazines were printed in a given year? Is that info that publishers would retain? Is it collected anywhere?

Context: I'm a fan, writing a magazine article on sf in the early Atomic Age, roughly 1945-1955. I want to find out how many people were reading what was then "pulp" sf in magazine form...

Most collected info on sf centers on authors and lines, and never seems to mention readership. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mjames (talkcontribs) .

The only source that I'm aware of is Locus Magazine which gives issue totals in its annual roundup of the field, but they didn't start until the late sixties. It would help your research to get a copies of Mike Ashley's The Time Machines (up to 1950) and Transformations (1950-1970). (I don't have access to either.) The latter has a limited preview on Google Books here which might give you idea about what you'll find. He might even include readership figures. Mhhutchins 16:56, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Apparently Gateways to Forever did, so there's a good chance. Here, I know I've seen Rkihara and swfritter add Circulation Figures to the notes in the issue they were published in. I don't know how far back they've gone though. BLongley 18:38, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
It was only in the late 60's that the post office required circulation numbers. I don't know of any other central source that would have those numbers; for the most part publishers probably considered it proprietary data. There are occasional apocryphal references. For instance, in Ashley's Transformations there is a reference to the November/December, 1952 issue of Fantastic having a highly unusual circulation of 300,000 primarily because there is a Mickey Spillane story in it. In Ashley's "The Time Machines" it is claimed that the Shaver Mystery stories increased circulation by 50,000 but there is no statement as to what the base circulation was.--swfritter 20:08, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
A couple of years ago, Mike Cristie, a one time ISFDB editor, greatly expanded a number of Wikipedia articles about the pulps. He added circulation numbers whenever he could find reliable sources and provided all requisite references, e.g. see his article about Wonder Stories, which states that it "had a circulation of about 25,000 in 1934, comparable to that of Amazing Stories, which had declined from an early peak of about 100,000" and references Ashley.
As far as the Shaver Mystery goes, Palmer often claimed that it boosted Amazing Stories's sales by X, but I am not sure whether the reported value of "X" was consistent. I have seen 50,000 as well as 100,000 mentioned. Ahasuerus 21:46, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm making my way through Ashley's book as we speak. I'm trying to build a quantitative picture of sf in the early Cold War years, as well as find some demographic data on fans in that era. I know that Syracuse U's special collections has the records of some publishers, so I'll see what that turns up. This database is phenomenally useful--I'm compiling a spreadsheet that shows the proliferation of sf/fantasy magazines in the late 40s and early 50s based on the magazines page. Anyway, thanks!

Here is a published Google spreadsheet, extracted via SQL, with the mags we have from 1946 to 1955. Note that some are non-genre magazines with s-f content. This link can be used to download a csv file with the same data which can then be loaded into a spreadsheet.--swfritter 01:10, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Non-genre mags, editor credits, cover artists

This pub and a number of other Colliers entries list an actual editor. Non-Genre Help does allow for this but only if a co-editor of the type "Editors of" is credit or a pseudonym attribution using "Editors of" is used. The "Editors of" mechanism is used to organize and find the magazines in an efficient manner. My own philosophy is that "Editors of" should be the only method used unless the actual editor is a person of interest to the s-f community. Also note that there is a cover artist listed. That should only be done if the cover illustrates and s-f story. In this case the cover does appear to be s-f in nature. The justification for listing the cover art should be listed in the notes; best case documenting which s-f story is illustrated. Yesterday I removed a Lowell Thomas, Jr. cover reference that was not s-f. Also, the Fictionmags link listed in the notes above is no longer valid. When that site is update every two or three months the web addresses for specific issues are no longer the same. I will fix up the Collier's issues in a few days. My intentions is to use the simple "Editor's of" convention unless someone objects. Thankfully these seem to be the only suspects so we are doing a good job.--swfritter 16:16, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I think I did the Collier's and it was the difficulty of finding pointless editors that led to me supporting different rules for Non-Genre magazines. There's a couple of Playboys with old-style-rule entries too. BLongley 18:31, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Trailblazers are forgiven.--swfritter 20:48, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Alice Turner is very important in the sf field, and as such, I think she should be credited as the editor of the Playboys in which she was the fiction editor. Some Playboy issues in the 80s sometimes had more spec-fic than issues of Omni (the credited editor of which, I also believe, should be the fiction editor solely.) We're not talking about Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione here. There's no reason why those issues can't be entered into the magazine editor series that contain the earlier issues which are credited to "Editors of Playboy". One of my projects is creating pub records for Playboy issues with sf content, and it currently is up-to-date through 1980. When I get to the Alice Turner era, I was hoping to credit her for those issues. But if there's a valid reason for not doing so, I'd like to know now before I get too far into it. (Yes, there shouldn't be links in pub records to Fictionmags or Locus1, both of which have unstable anchors. And cover art credit and links should be limited to spec-fic content.) Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:59, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Alice [K.] Turner keeping co-credit with "Editors of Playboy" would be fine with me, as a compromise for old and new rules. BLongley 21:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Some rediscussion on which editors should be credited and which can be left to notes for now might also be appropriate: "The New York Review of Science Fiction" looks a mess, as does the Omni you mentioned. But there's probably a good reason to readdress all "Editor" stuff as I still miss the opportunity to credit Editors of some Collections properly. And you're missing some data-capture as I tend to leave out the awkward bits when I enter stuff from the Stableford collection. Less awkward: more data. BLongley 21:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Steven Brust, PJF

After reading this I'm a little clearer about what "PJF" means (and it's NOT Philip José Farmer). But I'm not sure whether we should have the suffix or not - it's not really an official suffix. But we have a pseudonym set up, although with no titles, so somebody once thought it worth recording and regularising. We also have Will Shetterly, P.J.F.. BLongley 20:33, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

If it's worth doing, I'll adjust Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille to show the PJF (stated) or P.J.F. (regularised) suffix. But can anyone shed any light on just why we have the pseudonym we have, and don't use? BLongley 20:33, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Maybe there was a review which credits it? I agree neither should be a pseudonym and a mention in the note field should be sufficient. Mhhutchins 21:03, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I thought about reviews, but there's no sign of such. (This is why I added "Reviewed Author" to the Advanced Search - not sure if anyone bar me uses it though.) But maybe there was a review, the pseudonym was created, then the review was adjusted? I'm no longer clear on what people are doing with reviews. I'm now tending to leave the titles as stated, even if the reviewer got it wrong, so long as it's linked to the correct title. When the reviewed author is wrong, I tend to adjust the review and leave notes in the publication with the review, but just creating the pseudonym gets the right link from review to author eventually. But as it doesn't lead BACK I'm not keen on such. What are other people doing? BLongley 21:39, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I leave the title as is, even if incorrect. This means I have to go back and manually link the review to the correct title record. If the author's name is wrong, I correct it, but will note in the review's note field about the error. I think this is better than having those author records with no titles. And I do use the "Reviewed Author" field occasionally. Mhhutchins 22:18, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
It was used in these books I verified. The Lord of Castle Black, Tor, pb, Apr 2004. The Phoenix Guards, Tor, pb, June 1992, including "Acknowledgments". Athyra, Ace, pb, Apr 1993. Taltos, Ace, pb, March 1988. Phoenix, Ace, pb, Nov 1990. Also Gypsy, where title page reads thusly "Steven Brust, PJF and Megan Lindholm, PJF". I have 9 other paperbacks where he did not have it on title page. Since it is not part of his name nor a title that he has earned, etc, I felt it was not useful. I did read something he wrote about it and it was not as your example and frankly it left me disinclined to be 'victimized' by his joke. I do admit to being addicted to his "Jhereg" books. I guess I am a prig about authors adding things to their names, especially when it has been erratic. Of course, it could have been deleted by editors, publishers, copywriters, etc.
Found four more pb. "Sethra Lavode" also has PJF. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 21:58, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Harry, what do you think of Fanthorpe's titles? :) Mhhutchins 22:18, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully the same as me - AAARGH! AVOID! ;-) Although as he's still alive we might yet get an explanation of "M.B.I.F." or "M.B.I.S". Although from conversations with Brian Ameringen recently, Lionel isn't always sure of what he wrote, but is happy to sign things he might have written. Sidewise: apparently John Brunner was happy to sign things written under a pseudonym, but often asked to make a few notes about the publication he was signing, as he hadn't always known how he'd been published. I hope someone has those notes now. John Glasby came up in conversation too - another bibliographer's nightmare where some author memories could help a lot. BLongley 22:52, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I "desire" consistency and something having an upfront meaning. I do not think coded additions should be allowed, and actually should never become part of a name. Since, I have done most of my books, I have arrived at the conclusion that writers have discovered that there are really very few if any barriers to there writing use. Thus Afterwords and Notes can actually be part of the story. In the Brust Universe, certain editors/friends have started adding fictional character short story additions. Brust and maybe a few others want to explore what is in a name, but convention generally is to accept generational nomenclature, and scientific/medical degrees (things that show an author has qualifications that may relate to his writing). Andrew J. Offutt also has explored/exploited naming conventions, as he wishes it to appear as andrew j. offutt (no capitalization). So if BasedOnHerbIntake wants to spell his names as basEDonhERbIntaKE fine if he starts that way, otherwise I 'wish' to stick with a convention. Also, the problem is a little clearer when you check artists. They have their wish, editors and others have theirs (especially on copyright pages) and then we get 'signature' variations. I think we should conventionalize when possible. Signature "Lawrence" should be Lawrence Sterne Stevens. In other words art signature is not conventional nomenclature. I am kind of gooffy that Tom Kidd is so often Thomas Kidd with no problem, and it kind of works with Romas being Romas Kukalis (but not the variants created by others), Donato being Donato Giancola, Boris being Boris Vallejo, yet we stay with Lawrence when we know it is Lawrence Sterne Stevens. I know, this is all the hobgoblin between 'visually there' and what is the personal use (most common usage) of an author. My digression is an illustration of what happens when we stray to 'record' all oddities. We lose definition. If Brust wishes to change his actual name to P.J.F. then Mr pjf it will be, but if he just dribbles his 'characterization' occasionally, then I want to stick with a strict convention in it. It is not a case of 'Doc' Smith being used to distinguish him from the Smith clan, especially as Edward is too common and Elmer even then was "Fudded", but at a convention of SF writers 'Doc' was iconized into a single individual, even though there were dozens and more who could have used it. Clear as Mud(d)? I even itch when middle initials suddenly intrude or disappear! It is disgusting how much back and forth we go through just for those, so adding more for the 'whimsical' seems onerous. Better yet, what happens when an author appends "pass Jane forward" or "Play with your Kitty"? Oh, for the safe world where I find no affronting intrusions. LOL Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:34, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

[unindent] I feel for you there, Harry. Inconsistency is the bane of the bibliographer. It's too bad that writers and publishers don't care about it as much as we. Mhhutchins 19:29, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Matthew Stover vs. Matthew Woodring Stover

We have Matthew Woodring Stover and Matthew Stover on file. They are clearly one and the same person, e.g. MWS wrote volumes 1 and 2 in the "Overworld" series" while MS wrote volume 3, Caine Black Knife, according to Amazon's Look-Inside.

It would appear that Stover used his full name when he was starting out in the late 1990s, but then dropped the middle name at some point after 2001. Which one do we want to use as the canonical name? I assume it's "Matthew Stover" since that's what he seems to be using these days?

In addition, our data is occasionally off and some pubs do not match their constituent titles, so more research may be needed to determine which pubs use which form of his name. (And thats reminds me that I still need to write a script to find Author mismatches between pubs and their titles.) Ahasuerus 05:36, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

You could ask him. But both his old and new websites include the Woodring at the top of the page. BLongley 18:54, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Fortunately, it's now easy to make changes to the names and relationships meaning the name picked is not as important. What I try to do is to use the author's bibliographic notes page to explain my decision making process. I'll also redirect the bibliographic note pages to the "canonical" version so that we don't accidentally end up with two or more pages. That way, if we get more information (more verified pubs, the author weighs in with his/her own comments, etc.) we can add them to the notes and change the canonical name if needed.
For amusement I looked at Blade of Tyshalle. The Ballantine hardcover has Matthew Stover on the cover though Matthew Woodring Stover on the copyright page (per the Amazon Look Inside). A year later Ballantine does the paperback with the same artwork but Matthew Woodring Stover on the cover. I live a couple of blocks from the main public library for this region was able to verify that the pb has Matthew Stover on the title page. I'll transient verify the Stover publications I found in the library.
I'd guess that the author prefers to use Matthew Woodring Stover but would ask him why the Ballantine changed the name on the cover. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:25, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Unshelved.com

Just a general chat - Does anyone else read Unshelved? I quite like their SF reviews and have sneaked them into title notes at times. Was that Naughty or Nice? BLongley 23:37, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Text File Import Capability Question

Occasionally I find that I want to add a new edition of a book that is in my personal database. I was wondering if there is a (I can't find one if there is) method to load a text file (csv or something similar) that would populate the book entry and content fields in the web interface that could then be reviewed and submited for entry.

Quite often I find myself with a large anthology (sometimes hundreds of content entries and easily dozens) and I would like to be able to add the info but I don't necessarily want to do it by hand as this is time consuming.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

Dmatlock 15:19, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

If you have some programming skills, then have a look at the Web API. It isn't too difficult to reformat content entries, I find (until you get into multiple authorship). BLongley 18:45, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Given a CVS file, I could probably convince Fixer, one of our indefatigable bots, to create submissions for any ISBNs that we do not have on file. It make take a little bit of time since I am very busy at the moment, though. Ahasuerus 20:31, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I recently helped another editor do some imports of XML (he made the XML, and I got them imported). I'd be happy to take a look at a CSV file and see what I could do with it. I can't promise lightning turnaround, but it shouldn't be too hard. --MartyD 10:57, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Proposed addition to Reference:General Overview sources

I propose that Jane Frank's "Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary" [1] be added for cover artist information. Main strength: It lists under each author "published works", the titles and dates of book and magazine publications (many thousands of attributions). Also: it incorporates the material from "A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists" [2], by Robert Weinberg. Weakness: Biographical updates on cover artists for the oldest period have changed little. along with little or no update of Weinberg magazine cover artist listings. Year of publication is often the year the art was done (often 1 year early). Occasional (rare), mis-identification of publication year. Limitation: 400 artists, but that misses quite a few, especially the in-house artists (1960's & 1970's)of Avon and Signet. Fairly comprehensive to 2000 with occasional works to about 2006. Used the internet to obtain information and double check artists mainly 1970's to publication date. Other Faults: No art and high cost. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 13:07, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Do you want to add this to the list of verification sources or to the Sources of Bibliographic Information page? If the latter, then just add it. I'd say we can add it to verification sources too but we'll need to start thinking about code to help reorganize the list. At present it's hard coded using an internal index number meaning that as entries have been added over the years the order has started to make less sense.
Well, You have got me wandering through references ISFDB lists and then after checking those, references that are not listed, but appeared as additional listings at Amazon. My intention in nomination was to add Frank as a printed source complementing Di Fate's "Infinite Worlds". As for "Sources" I could find no specific place, nor Di Fate's book listed. Possibly, easily, I missed things as this is my third canter through, I still am finding things of interest. Sub section:Cover Artist/Interior artist data?. I also brought it up, so others besides Willem H. and I know it exists. Out of mind or listing and then things disappear. I will admit to being confused/re-confused by the NESFA Index, it did not seem clear that it was a yearly list (after 66-70?). Another question is why did they quit and what is the ongoing source to magazines/anthologies? I did find some progenitor's that I wished to view/read/buy. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 15:31, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Another option is to add a publication note to each of the publications documented in this reference and perhaps bibliographic notes for each of the artists. Create a page on bibliographic projects about this so that we can track which parts of the reference have been processed. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:33, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Now, that is an idea. Problem is I can never seem to find those type of things and if I lose a computer (on fourth one since joining). I lose my bookmarks. Search options do not work for me as I wish. I have held of in such an attempt for the above, lack of skill in creating page objects, and awaiting acceptance/disapproval of Frank as a source. Until Frank has some acceptance, which as with every other source with qualifications for errors, it seems to lead to problems. Thanks, Harry. --Dragoondelight 15:31, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Test Records

There are a number of test records in the database. The following are links to test author records, most of which have multiple title records.

BL Test BL TEST 1 BL Test 2 BL TEST Artist 2 BL TEST3
BLTESTCH1 Test Author Test Author 1 Test Author 2 Test Author 3
Test Author 3a Test Author 3b Test Author 3c Test Editor Marc Testing

These have been around for awhile. Are they test records used in the development of the source code? Or are they test records that people created and forgot to clean-up? If the former, I'd recommend adding a note to that effect to their entries. If the later, they should be deleted. --JLaTondre 17:31, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

In my case - often neither. I created several to demonstrate various problems and they're used in some conversations in the Wiki. So they're required as long as those conversations are - OK, that's a bit open-ended. If they bother you feel free to add notes - but if they're so obviously test records to you, why wouldn't they appear so to anyone else? I think the 'TEST' is a bit of a giveaway. BLongley 18:14, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
There are real stories with the "Test" in the title so these can clutter search results (and have for me). If they're not needed, why not make it easier on users? As for the suggestion of a note, it wasn't to identify them as test records, but as to why they exist. That was a secondary point, but seems like it could avoid confusion down the road. --JLaTondre 18:55, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
I do use these author records for software development purposes, but 15 records is excessive. If we could consolidate them and change the names to something clearly unambiguous -- "Marc Testing" could well be a real name -- it would be a step forward. Ahasuerus 01:11, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
I deleted the "Test Author" and "Marc Testing" authors and their titles/publications. Some were mine, others were DES', and a couple were ambiguous. I left the "BL" records in the system. For a while I was regularly using these records. --Marc Kupper|talk 06:19, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

The Mysterious Death and the Questionable Rebirth of the ISFDB Database Server

Something very bad happened to the database right after 7pm server time. The Web server valiantly kept trying to connect to it, but eventually it too died a slow and painful death at 7:44pm. The database server eventually recovered, so when I logged in a few minutes ago, all I had to do was restart the Web server. We are now back in business, but, as they say, "questions remain". Personally, I suspect Aliens from Space. Ahasuerus 05:20, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

I went to the ISFDB blog to make an inquiry shortly after 8PM, but it seems no one else thought of that as a way to communicate when the database goes down. Mhhutchins 20:11, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I am afraid I wasn't checking my email.com account yesterday night, so I didn't see the message which our monitoring software dutifully sent me. Thus I didn't realize that the server was down until around 11pm server time. I then restarted it, poked around and left this message without checking the ISFDB blog or Google Group. I'll see if I can set up the blog to send me e-mails when new messages appear. Ahasuerus 22:49, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I never even noticed. I guess I AM getting enough sleep at times. BLongley 22:14, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Server very slow today

Is it just me or is the server slower than usual today? I'm getting so many time-outs that I've given up on doing any work. Mhhutchins

Server very slow today

Is it just me or is the server slower than usual today? I'm getting so many time-outs that I've given up on doing any work. Mhhutchins 20:19, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

See. I waited so long for that last message to be posted that I hit refresh and it was double-posted. Mhhutchins 20:20, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
The few times that I accessed the server today, everything was fine. I'll check the logs tonight... Ahasuerus 21:12, 25 February 2010 (UTC)