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Archive of the Community Portal - October-December 2010

Story by Michael Z. Lewin

I checked author and see that he has one item, a short story from an anthology. I queried him about this and he replied: "I don't quite understand what "Cormorants" has in it to qualify, but hey."

It seems to me from years past when I was quite active here that I noticed that one kind of mistake that occasionally gets made is when someone enters a story from an anthology, a story that is *clearly* speculative fiction of one kind or another. Then, because it's in the same anthology, *other* stories get entered also, stories that are *not* speculative fiction. Could this be one of those cases? —The preceding unsigned comment added by Hayford Peirce (talkcontribs) 17:00, 1 October 2010

It could be, indeed.
If an anthology is primarily in-genre, i for one will enter its contents complete. For example I just recently entered Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / The Secret Sharer / Transformation : Three Tales of Doubles which has quite a bit of non-genre content, but the primary content of which is celarly in-genre (2 of the three title works).
For a primarily non-genre anthology or magazine what i now do is add a note "This entry is intentionally incomplete, showing only speculative fiction content."
I also use the "non-genre" tag at the title level, and/or notes at the title level. However I dislike the addition of "(crime genre short story)" to the title used in this case, and would urge it not being used in other cases. Tag or annotate the stories, or else delete them, but don't overload the title field in this way. -DES Talk 22:50, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I totally agree and don't understand why the contents of this pub is listed at all. It's a non-sf anthology without one qualifying piece of speculative fiction. Because the editor is well-known in the spec-fic field doesn't mean we have to add the contents, although I understanding having a pub record. I think the content records should be purged from the database. Mhhutchins 03:10, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Is the author "Over the threshold" in your opnion? if not, we should probably delete both publication and contents. RoA #9 says: "Works (both fiction and non-fiction) which are not related to speculative fiction, but were produced by authors who have otherwise published works either of or about speculative fiction over a certain threshold (see below). This includes any non-genre works published as standalone books as well as non-genre short fiction,..." I take that to mean that if the anthology is IN because the author is well-known, so are the contents. On second thought it would mean that for a collection, an anthology where the editor is over the threshold but none of the contributors are is perhaps a different matter. I'm not sure. But if we don't delete the contents, let us please rename them to remove the parentheticals. -DES Talk 05:59, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I believe Jakubowski is over the threshold enough that his non-genre works can be listed, BUT his work is limited to his editing of the book, not its contents. Thus the contents should not be listed, creating non-genre records by non-spec fic authors. Mhhutchins 19:37, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I can agree with that. Does anyone object? -DES Talk 01:27, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
FWIW - I routinely enter partial contents in ISFDB and the full contents in the publication's Bibliographic Comments wiki page. When I read the collection/anthology I'll add notes on the nature of its specfict content, if any.
London Noir is tricky - a non-genre anthology where 13 of the 17 stories are from authors that have a good chunk of genre work. I suspect I would index all 17 stories in ISFDB and also use the "(crime genre short story)" overloads like how this one was entered.
I like doing "(crime genre short story)" overloads as they cleanly address a deficiency in that ISFDB does not support non-genre titles other than showing them as novels on the author bibliographies. When I'm dealing with a non-genre collection, anthology, or short story I'll use the collection, anthology, or shortfiction title types and add "(crime genre short story)" to the title. I sometimes also tag them as non-genre. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:25, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
We really need to decouple NONGENRE and NOVEL so that we could support non-genre short fiction, but it will be somewhat time consuming to implement. Ahasuerus

Ancient works

Are works like Beowulf and Gilgamesh (or their English translations) considered "Fairy tales with no known author" and so not in scope? (If so i would change that to 'Fairy tales, folk tales, legands, and myths" or some such) Or should they be entered. I noticed this ed of Beowulf while entering items from the "Longman Cultural Editions " pub series, and was surprised to find we had no entry for any edition. -DES Talk 18:09, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

I personally would index them but dealing with all of the variant editions seems like a real, and not speculative, nightmare. I dealt with a similar situation recently when entering/verifying The Book of Ballads which has a modern adaptation of a ballad by a specfict genre writer followed by the original ballad. While setting up the title record notes for each story I was Googling them up, plus looking at Wikipedia. I ran across many variants for each story and would have no idea which one is canonical nor was it easy to figure out first publication dates for the stories. Thus I chose to not include any of the original ballads in the ISFDB contents. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:28, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

President Obama goes back in time to pose for cover of 1980 sci-fi book!


An appropriate choice for a time traveler! Ahasuerus 05:45, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Donald H. Tuck

According to this link, an author of one of our bibliographic sources, Donald H. Tuck has died. His Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy through 1968 is always one of the first books I reach for to look things up. I thought folks may want to know. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 14:38, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice, Ron. And thanks to Donald H. Tuck, wherever he may be. I always admired his amazing accomplishment, even more so knowing he did it all from Tasmania, before the internet and personal computers. His work will live long after him. Mhhutchins 21:44, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Given the resource disparity, we can only hope we can do as much as he did (in relative terms). Ahasuerus 04:16, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

A peek inside a writer's life

I found this blog entry interesting as the author/artist lays out his results from attending conventions to sell his books: --Marc Kupper|talk 01:06, 20 October 2010 (UTC)


I've been browsing the lists lately and would like to make a few comments. The list of "Oldest Non-Living Authors" has recently gone non-functional. --Rkihara 17:16, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

It turns out that the script can't handle multiple 0000-00-00 birthdays. The two offending 0000-00-00 dates have been corrected, so it's back in business. I will fix the software when I am feeling better. Ahasuerus 17:20, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Fixed in r2010-62. Ahasuerus 01:17, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

The list of "Oldest Living Authors" should probably have it's age boundaries reset. The lower end is set to 75 years, while the average age (and median) at death in the US is closer to 80. --Rkihara 17:16, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, 75 is entirely too low given the number of authors that we list. Ahasuerus 17:20, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Changed to 80 in r2010-62. Ahasuerus 01:17, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

The upper end is set to 115 years, when more realistic number would be 110, an age which only one person in 100,000 reaches. When the list of "Oldest Non-Living Authors" was still working, the oldest author in the list was only 106, which implies that most of the listed as being alive at 105+ are probably deceased.

Well, 110 is probably more realistic, but it would eliminate less than a dozen authors. Ahasuerus 17:20, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

I would also like to suggest the addition of a graph showing the "age at death" distribution.--Rkihara 17:16, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Sounds useful. We also need to re-run the scripts that were used to generate the ISFDB Age Graphs. Ahasuerus 17:20, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

A unique text comparison opportunity

Librivox has released an audio version of Black Amazon of Mars which is also a version of People of the Talisman. Instead of having to compare physical texts to determine if the two stories have any significant differences the ambitious editor can listen to "Black Amazon of Mars" while perusing the text of "People of the Talisman".--swfritter 13:49, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Change in my ISFDB time

I'm going to be somewhat scarce for the next several months, though not totally out of the picture. Michael Bishop and I are putting together a retrospective of his short fiction for Subterranean Press, and I'll be converting most of his out-of-print work for POD and eBook markets. I'll try to check in with the wiki every once in awhile just to keep up with any changes. Thanks. Mhhutchins 03:20, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

That's excellent news on the Michael Bishop front. We'll leave the light on for you here. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:45, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Great news for Michael Bishop! (And we'll try to keep up with the queue here, but it will be rough...) Ahasuerus 16:21, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Ace Double listed twice

The Ace double The Winds of Darkover / The Anything Tree appears to be listed two different ways, resulting in an apparent duplicate entry. At Rackham & Bradley it is listed as by John Rackham and Marion Zimmer Bradley. At Phillifent & Bradley it is listed (as a variant title) as by John T. Phillifent & Marion Zimmer Bradley. All other data is the same, including the Ace catalog number. John Rackham is a pseudonym for John Phillifent. On my copy, John Rackham is listed on the cover, and his true name is listed nowhere. I would guess that the Phillifent & Bradley listing is in error and should be deleted, but I'd like someone with more experience with the ISFDB standards to verify this. Chavey 05:10, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

The same thing happens with Ipomoea / The Brass Dragon listed under both Rackham and Phillifent Chavey 05:17, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
This is a result of how we deal with pseudonyms. Rackham is a pseudonym for Phillifent. Once we have set up a pseudonym relationship such as this, we make the pseudonym's titles variants of titles that replace the pseudonym's credit (Rackham) with a credit for the canonical author name (Phillifent). So if you go to John T. Phillifent, you will see both of these doubles, and each is annotated [only as by John Rackham and Marion Zimmer Bradley]. That is trying to tell you there is no publication recorded that directly credits Phillifent. If some books were published using Rackham and some using Phillifent, it would read "also as by..." instead. The title displays work similarly. In your first example, the Phillifent & Bradley title is the parent/"canonical" title (credited to the canonical author name). When you look at the display, you'll see it lists the other title as a variant (this list could be longer), and below it lists all publications under any title. Notice it is showing a publication by Rackham, not a publication by Phillifent. If you put your mouse over the title in the Publications section, you'll see it is a link to the tag WNDSDRKFR1970. If you go to the display for the variant Rackham & Bradley title and do the same thing, you'll see the link is to the same publication. It would be more obvious if there were some publications that had appeared using Phillifent (then the list under the Phillifent version of the titles would be longer than the list under the Rackham version). --MartyD 10:46, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
So if I look up the Title "Time to Live", I see two copies of the title -- one by John Rackham, and one under his true name of John Phillifent. But if I look up the Title "Up the Walls of the World", I see only one copy, by James Tiptree, Jr. I do not see a copy listed under her true name, Alice Sheldon. And this is intentional? The difference here is, presumably, because the canonical name of James Tiptree, Jr. is "James Tiptree, Jr.", since only a few items in her bibliography were published under the name of "Alice Sheldon". But the canonical name of John Rackham is "John T. Phillifent", even though only a few items in his bibliography were published under the name of "John T. Phillifent"? And, again, this is intentional? So, to understand what's shown under a "Title" listing, I have to understand the (somewhat obscure) rules as to what the "canonical name" is? I guess I'm not surprised that I was confused. Chavey 00:24, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
When you look up a title, you should find one instance of the author's name as credited in each publication, and one instance credited to the author's canonical name as defined here in the ISFDB. If the author's name as credited is the same as the author's canonical name, there will be only one instance. If the author's name as credited is different from the author's canonical name, there will be more than one instance (one for each distinct non-canonical name, plus the one for the canonical name). Each credit to something other than the canonical name should be labeled "Variant" in the search results. As for author names, the canonical name is supposed to be the name by which the author is most commonly known (see Help:Screen:MakePseudonym), not necessarily the author's true name. I do not know the history of that practice here, but that is the current ISFDB practice. I can't speak to Tiptree vs. Sheldon or Rackham vs. Phillifent. I do know that sometimes which name should be the canonical name is brought up for discussion in this forum. Contrary to some obsolete comments in some of the help, the pseudonym handling was changed so that changing the relationship is possible if we decide a different name should be the canonical one. So if you think one or both of these (or some other cases) should be different, do bring it up for discussion. --MartyD 01:28, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Nominating editor Hauck for moderator

See Moderator Qualifications#Becoming a moderator for the nomination process.

Hauck (talkcontribs) has shown an enormous drive in entering and verifying his English and French collection. He rarely makes the same mistake twice, and his user page shows good communications skills. His knowledge of French publishing alone makes him an asset. The ability to at least self-moderate would also help him work faster, or with less effort. Hervé is willing and I think meets the Moderator Requirements. --Willem H. 16:01, 31 October 2010 (UTC)


  1. Support, as nominator. --Willem H. 16:01, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  2. Support. His submissions rarely have problems, and his choices always have sound research and/or knowledge behind them. He's also very careful. And the moderator team could certainly use his French publication expertise! --MartyD 18:26, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  3. Support, of course. His work on English pubs we're both familiar with has been very good, and he'll certainly be better than me at French ones. BLongley 19:06, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
  4. Support, si je ne peux pas lire le français. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:18, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
    That phrase comes across to me as "IF I cannot read French". If it was meant to say "Because", double support the nomination. :-) BLongley 00:01, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
  5. Support He seems to have the required knowledge and experience, and I recall no problems of significance in his submisisons, nor do i see any on his talk page. Additionalment, nous avez besoin de plus persons qui lire et ecrive le français. Moi, Je parle un peu seulement. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DESiegel60 (talkcontribs) .
  6. Support, His submissions have been good. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 12:43, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
  7. Support I've had no problems with his submissions and he has learned the basic fundamentals of merging and varianting. Self-moderating at the least is appropriate at this point. And we need some non-Anglos in the mix. Mhhutchins 13:39, 2 November 2010 (UTC)



  1. Comment: I haven't worked with Hervé's submissions often enough to form an opinion. Based on his Wiki history, he has been diligent and communicative, so he will most likely make a good moderator. The fact that I don't have enough information to formally support his candidacy is more of a comment on my lack of availability lately (especially on the Wiki side) than on his efforts. Ahasuerus 05:17, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
As we grow, it sometimes seems that Moderators are expected to do more work on investigating potential new Moderators than "mere" Editors. I'd like to see more Editors contribute to these discussions. 200 or 300 edits here is a good start, it seems. But anyone that has had a discussion with Hervé should pipe up too, before we get too full of ourselves. BLongley 01:13, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
  1. Abstain I don't have enough experience with his submissions, though the ones I've moderated have been fine.--Rkihara 17:48, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Outcome The nomination was a success and the moderator flag has been set. Congratulations! Ahasuerus 20:23, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the trust put in me.Hauck 20:43, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

The decline of white American males in SF

Amazon just released their Top 10 Science Fiction & Fantasy novels for 2010. Only three authors on that list are white American males, who used to so dominate the field. Five of the authors are writers of color! (Two of them are friends of mine, so I noticed :-)

Question: Does this status deserve an "award" notification in the database for these 10 books? Chavey 21:31, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Ah yes, awards, another huge can of worms.
At the moment, all award-related editing screens are disabled since they still have a few quirks. More importantly, only a predefined set of "major" awards is currently in the database -- the whole award sub-system would need to be revamped to let editors enter arbitrary awards. It's a worthy goal, but the less prominent the award, the more issues is typically has, e.g. awards given by Web sites may change over time as their vote tallies and/or sales charts change.
It would be really nice to have online reporting tools that would generate lists of "best" Titles based on a user-defined set of awards, genres, year of publication, title length, etc. The field has gotten so big and diverse lately (from paranormal romance to media fiction) that SF-wide awards are much less useful than they were just 20 years ago. Unfortunately, it will have to wait... Ahasuerus 23:37, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
And besides...who cares what Amazon thinks are the best books? There are hundreds of "best of the year" lists generated by as many critics. Every Locus reviewer provides their own list in each year's February issue. I respect Gary K. Wolfe's opinions more than I do an anonymous "Amazon Editor". Mhhutchins 01:37, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
And another thing: Wolfe isn't enriched when someone buys a book from his list. Mhhutchins 01:38, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Those last two paragraphs are certainly convincing to me that the Amazon list does not deserve ISFDB "award" status. Chavey 19:18, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Considering our origins, I find it a bit ironic that we're NOT up to date with even the major awards. I created this page a while back to encourage people to go look. There's very little fixable though, with current tools. I would advise people that when you do link an award with a title, check whether the award title was given the right year. Some empty award titles were created with a presumption that they were for the previous year, but were actually awarded at the end of the same calendar year. BLongley 01:49, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
I'd be glad to update the James Tiptree, Jr. awards, and to create/update the Carl Brandon Society awards, the two award-giving groups that I work with, but presumably I do not have edit authority to create pages such as those linked to from your index. But if ISFDB gets back to working on the awards, I would certainly be willing to maintain those two groups. Chavey 19:18, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Henry Bott vs. Charles Recour

It looks like Charles Recour was the pseudonym that Henry Bott preferred prior to 1954 (confirmed by a.k.a..) Do we have volunteers to set up VTs? Ahasuerus 17:00, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

I had a few minutes to kill,so I VT'd them all. --Willem H. 21:31, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! Ahasuerus 22:49, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Editing Bookmarklet

I was tired of having to scroll down (2 screens!) to reach the Edit link for titles, so I crafted a bookmarklet to do for me (which I can place in my (excessively large) bookmark toolbar. I'm sure it could be cleaned up, but OTOH, at least it's done:

javascript:void((function () {if(String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org/cgi-bin/title\\.cgi\\?([0-9]+)")!=null) { document.location=""+String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org/cgi-bin/title\\.cgi\\?([0-9]+)")[1]; }})())

Enjoy! JesseW 23:55, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Very nice, thanks! I hope to move the editing navbar to the top of the screen and convert it to a bunch of drop-down menus some day, but for now it's very handy. Ahasuerus 05:50, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
Very nice JesseW! That inspired me to do a similar one for edit-pub.
javascript:void((function () { if(String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org/cgi-bin/pl\\.cgi\\?([A-Z,0-9]+)")!=null) { var liArray = document.getElementsByTagName('li'); var liIndex, nNumFound = 0; for (liIndex = 0; liIndex < liArray.length; liIndex++) { if (liArray[liIndex].textContent == "Edit This Pub\n") { var aArray = liArray[liIndex].getElementsByTagName('a'); if (aArray.length == 1) { document.location = aArray[0].href; nNumFound++; break; } else { alert ("Error, num 'A' tags is " + aArray.length + ", expected 1"); } } } if (nNumFound != 1) { alert ("Error, found " + nNumFound + " 'li' tags for Edit-Pub, expected 1"); } } else { alert ("Not on ISFDB Publication Listing page"); } })())
I tested it in FireFox and I don't have a way to test that in Internet Explorer at the moment. Here's the same code in a more human readable format:
javascript:void((function () {
    if(String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org/cgi-bin/pl\\.cgi\\?([A-Z,0-9]+)")!=null) {
        var liArray = document.getElementsByTagName('li');
        var liIndex, nNumFound = 0;
        for (liIndex = 0; liIndex < liArray.length; liIndex++) {
            if (liArray[liIndex].textContent == "Edit This Pub\n") {
                var aArray = liArray[liIndex].getElementsByTagName('a');
                if (aArray.length == 1) {
                    document.location = aArray[0].href;
                else {
                    alert ("Error, num 'A' tags is " + aArray.length + ", expected 1");
        if (nNumFound != 1) {
            alert ("Error, found " + nNumFound  + " 'li' tags for Edit-Pub, expected 1");
    else {
        alert ("Not on ISFDB Publication Listing page");

--Marc Kupper|talk 23:55, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Marc, that's great! It makes me want to hack up one for the wiki (half-working sketch below), and combine the three of them into one...
javascript:void((function() { r=String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org\\/wiki\\/index\\.php\\/(.+)"); if(r) { t=r[1]; r2=t.match("(.+)[#?]"); if (r2) { t=r2[1];}; document.location = ""+t+"?action=edit" } })())
Above is my half-working version of the bookmarklet edit button for MediaWiki. I can't believe there isn't one already out there... JesseW 09:44, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
OK, here's the simpler, and better form:
javascript:void((function () { e=document.getElementById("ca-edit"); if (e) {document.location=e.firstChild.href;}; })())
Now I'll put the three of them together... JesseW 20:35, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

And here's a version with the three combined:

javascript:void((function () { if(String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org/cgi-bin/pl\\.cgi\\?([A-Z,0-9]+)")!=null) { var liArray = document.getElementsByTagName('li'); var liIndex, nNumFound = 0; for (liIndex = 0; liIndex < liArray.length; liIndex++) { if (liArray[liIndex].textContent == "Edit This Pub\n") { var aArray = liArray[liIndex].getElementsByTagName('a'); if (aArray.length == 1) { document.location = aArray[0].href; nNumFound++; break; } else { alert ("Error, num 'A' tags is " + aArray.length + ", expected 1"); } } } if (nNumFound != 1) { alert ("Error, found " + nNumFound + " 'li' tags for Edit-Pub, expected 1"); } } else { m=String(document.location).match("http://www\\.isfdb\\.org/cgi-bin/title\\.cgi\\?([0-9]+)"); if(m) { document.location=""+m[1]; } else { e=document.getElementById("ca-edit"); if (e) { document.location=e.firstChild.href; } else { alert ("Can't figure out how to edit this page."); } } } })())

We still need to handle author pages, and...? JesseW 20:43, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

That's pretty cool - a universal edit button. Within ISFDB we can likely make a more general purpose edit as we have "Edit Author Data", "Edit Title Data", "Edit This Pub", "Edit Series", "Edit This Publisher", and probably more. All of them start with "Edit " and so it's just a matter of finding that link and jumping to it. A wiki page is the same other than it's "edit" with a lower case "e" and no trailing space. --Marc Kupper|talk 09:09, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
It would be neat if we implemented the actual [If we update the wiki to at least version 1.14 (we're currently at 1.12), or add an extension, we'll get it on the wiki. For the database, we'll need to implement some code ourselves. If/when I get a development environment set up, I'll look into doing this. JesseW 22:34, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Forthcoming Books updated

The Forthcoming Books page has been reorganized a bit. In addition to minor housecleaning and bug fixing, it now lets you sort forthcoming books by author. Ahasuerus 05:50, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

This site was recently mentioned on BoingBoing, and is a way for a man who inheritited a large collection of SF pulps to display their covers. He's uploading one a day, for a total of 11 so far. While we have some of the covers already, I think we should keep an eye on it in case he posts something we don't have. Also we could ask him for help in verifying. JesseW 19:02, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Hey - I mentioned in the comments of the boingboing article that I also have a batch of old pulps. I know that I have a lot of IF, Galaxy, Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, and Astounding Stories. I just found which looks like it may have everything I have physical copies of.
I'll head down to the basement tonight and get a rough inventory of what magazines and years I have though. --Jonathanpeterson 21:00, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
Two of the best sites for cover images are Galactic Central and Visco.--Rkihara 22:01, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

This is the BoingBoing story (to check for comments). Two cover sites we may not already know about are: and . JesseW 01:28, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

I think we've discussed flickr before - although some are Creative Commons licensed, not all are. And we don't have an automatic link-back to the ones that are. Might be codeable though? BLongley 01:36, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure it's feasible to link to Flickr images any more -- didn't they implement some way of blocking image downloading and deep-linking a while back? Ahasuerus 02:55, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
At least with the fickr collection, I was thinking we'd locally upload any ones we don't already have. JesseW 08:16, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

I've thrown another small hand-grenade into the WWW - prepare to duck.

I've been finding that a lot of our authors are on Livejournal. (I also think many are on facebook, myspace, bebo, or others, but I've left those for now.) So I created this LJ account to connect with the 129 authors we already know of. It's now up to 162 and there are obviously many more to be added. BLongley 02:01, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

On the good side, it might stimulate more editors here: on the bad side, it might encourage them to just moan about us. But a few (check the ones that have friended us back) might actually become active here. BLongley 02:01, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

It looks promising, but you do realize that you have just made yourself "speaker to LiveJournal" by choosing "isfdb" as the handle, right? :-) Hopefully the volume will be manageable... Ahasuerus 02:53, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's why I've left it this long. BLongley
Some of the least tech-savvy people I know are authors. Reading some of the responses already on the LiveJournal blog are enough to show that our help pages aren't really very helpful unless someone actually takes the time to read them. And most authors won't (well, maybe Cory Doctorow would.) Good luck, but I'll leave the little world that you've created to those brave souls with more patience than me. Mhhutchins 03:21, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
A text submission process similar to fictionmags? Looks like Bill is going to be very busy.--swfritter 16:17, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully there won't be too many that can't do something useful by themselves - and I'm not volunteering to do ALL their work for them. BLongley 16:49, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

{Unindent) We're beginning to catch some new users - e.g. please encourage User talk:Mmuenzler. And I found another dozen authors on LJ today, just from checking Electric Velocipede. BLongley 20:18, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Awards - scope?

One of the discussions above got me thinking - what is the desired scope of our award coverage? Here is what LibraryThing has for Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell:

<fact>World Fantasy Award (Novel, 2005)</fact>
<fact>Hugo (Novel, 2005)</fact>
British Fantasy Award Nominee (August Derleth Fantasy Award, 2005)
British Science Fiction Association Award Shortlist (2004)
<fact>Nebula Nominee (Novel, 2005)</fact>
<fact>SF Site Editor's Choice (#1, 2004)</fact>
Book Sense Book of the Year (2005.8 | Adult Fiction Winner, 2005)
<fact>Whitbread Shortlist (First Novel, 2004)</fact>
<fact>Locus Recommended Reading (First Novel, 2004)</fact>
<fact>SF Site Reader's Choice (#1, 2004)</fact>
<fact>Guardian 1000 (Science Fiction & Fantasy)</fact>
Time Magazine's Best Books of the Year (2004.10|Fiction (1), 2004)
<fact>Salon Book Award (2004)</fact>
<fact>Booker Prize Longlist (2004)</fact>
<fact>Guardian First Book Award Shortlist (2004)</fact>
British Book Award Shortlist (Literary Fiction Award  2005)
<fact>Locus (First Novel, 2005)</fact>
<fact>Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (Adult Literature, 2005)</fact>
<fact>British Book Award (Newcomer of the Year, 2005)</fact>
<fact>Geffen Award (Best Translated Fantasy Book, 2007)</fact>
<fact> 100 Greatest Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels of All Time (95)
The Morning News Tournament of Books (Quarterfinalist, 2005)
<fact>Village Voice 25 Favorite Books (2004)</fact>
<fact> Best Books (2004)</fact>

Implementation considerations aside, is this depth of coverage desirable? Ahasuerus 04:03, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Presumably if we were up to date, we'd also have the British Fantasy Award Nomination and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award recorded. I'm not too bothered about recording the others as they're mostly not genre-specific and I don't visit SF Site. BLongley 16:46, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
I'd still like to get our existing award coverage up to date. How far away from (re)-implementing Award editing are we? BLongley 03:43, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that I should have a fair amount of "ISFDB time" over the next few weeks. The bad news is that it's somewhat related to the fact that I am currently heavily medicated, so my ability to improve the software is likely to fluctuate. Hopefully I will be able to recognize the times when I am really shouldn't be making software changes :-)
I plan to clean up the accumulated backlog of bugs first and then implement a few requested features. Awards are fairly high on the list since they require a limited amount of cleanup before they can be reactivated, but I will need some time studying the software to make sure that I do no harm. Ahasuerus 21:26, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Evelyn Whitell, "Shekinah"

The book Shekinah, by Evelyn Whitell, 1937, is listed in Bleiler's "The checklist of fantastic literature", is listed in Reginald's "Science fiction and fantasy literature: a checklist, 1700-1974", and is listed in Schlobin's "Urania's daughters: a checklist of women science fiction writers". But it's not listed in ISFDB. I would have expected that by now those standard bibliographic sources would have had all of their listings absorbed here, so I wonder if there's a reason that it's not included (other than oversight)? For example, not having read the book, but seeing some of the other work of Whitell, I could imagine that this book deals with topics from much more of a religious viewpoint than a traditional spec-fic viewpoint, but I don't know if a decision was actually made that it doesn't belong here. Anyone know? Chavey 14:11, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Very simple. It's not in the database because no one has entered it. Not all of the sources have had their listings added to the database. That requires human input, sweat, and time. Feel free to add anything that's listed in Bleiler, Tuck, Reginald, etc. If it's in the db but not source-verified, you can do that also. The more editors working on this the better. I've been working on Tuck and Reginald off and on for more than three years and have got up to C. :( Mhhutchins 19:13, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
OK, that explains things. I have an electronic version of Schlobin's Urania's Daughters, so I can check that one fairly easily (well, easier than most people), so I'll work on that reference. Then maybe someday I'll get around to helping with the other ones :-) Chavey 20:48, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
When you enter something and the source is not the publication itself then please make a note of what the source was. For example, I'll do a note like "November 2010 - The source for this publication record is" I date it when it's a web source so that people can later check Amazon and if things have changed then they can add a new note with the date. --Marc Kupper|talk 01:24, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

William M. Sloane [2] and James McCosh

I wonder why we have bibliographies for "William M. Sloane [2]" and James McCosh, who don't seem to have done anything in the SF field? Ahasuerus 03:31, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Good question. And one maybe only you can answer - who submitted that stuff? BLongley 03:47, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Ask and you shall receive:
    <Subject>Life of Napoleon Bonaparte</Subject>
    <Title>Life of Napoleon Bonaparte</Title>
      <Author>William M. Sloane [2]</Author>
2008-05-11 14:16:09 | 2008-05-11 14:19:20

    <Subject>Life of Napoleon Bonaparte</Subject>
      <Author>William M. Sloane [2]</Author>
2008-05-11 14:16:34 | 2008-05-11 14:19:29

    <Subject>French War and the Revolution (American and French Accounts of the
American Revolution.)</Subject>
      <Author>William M. Sloane [2]</Author>
  <cTitle>French War and the Revolution</cTitle>
 | 2008-05-11 14:17:44 | 2008-05-11 14:19:39

    <Subject>The Life of James McCosh: 1896 Edition</Subject>
      <Author>James McCosh</Author>
      <Author>William M. Sloane [2]</Author>
 2008-05-11 14:18:38 | 2008-05-11 14:18:49

    <Subject>The Life of James McCosh: 1896 Edition</Subject>
 2008-05-11 14:19:10 | 2008-05-11 14:19:50

    <Subject>William M. Sloane [2]</Subject>
    <Legalname>Sloane, William Milligan</Legalname>
    <Birthplace>Richmond, Ohio, USA</Birthplace>
2008-05-30 16:05:46 | 2008-05-30 19:15:24 |

    <Subject>James McCosh</Subject>
    <Birthplace>Ayrshire, Scotland, UK</Birthplace>
2008-06-05 11:31:05 | 2008-06-05 18:43:41
(Internal IDs snipped to protect the innocent.) So it looks like the pubs were entered by one Bill Longley and the author records were updated by Lorenzr.
Do you happen to recall why you submitted the pubs in May 2008, Bill? Clearly there must have been a reason since there were a number of them, all entered around the same time. Ahasuerus 21:45, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I can't recall doing that, but it looks like I was disambiguating the relevant William M. Sloane from the irrelevant one. I should probably have deleted the pubs instead. However, those are "PubUpdate"s - what were the "NewPub" submissions that created them in the first place? BLongley 12:58, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't see any relevant NewPubs in the "submissions" table, so I assume that they were inherited from ISFDB-1. The chopping block, then? Ahasuerus 01:22, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Zapped. BLongley 13:32, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
P.S. I have copied the Author and Title records to Biblioholics so that they wouldn't get lost. Ahasuerus 01:29, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

N/A in Primary Verifications?

According to the Nov 20 database dump, there are 49 publication records with N/A in one of the Primary verification entries. This seems like a mistake. I've listed them below:

  1. Forbidden Area
  2. Hot Sleep: The Worthing Chronicle
  3. God Game
  4. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
  5. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
  6. This Side of Infinity
  7. Dr. Dimension: Masters of Spacetime (Void Where Prohibited)
  8. Beyond Belief
  9. Fiends and Creatures

What should we do with these? JesseW 08:11, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Looking at it more, it turns out that 40 of them are from one editor (who I've now contacted), so I've removed them from the list above. The remaining 9 should be easier to handle. JesseW 00:27, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
By itself, I think it's pretty minor. I'm not sure it causes any issues. However, looking at several of these cases, it might be the verifier was intending to select a reference work and missed (at least there are quite a few cases where most the reference sources were all marked N/A except for that one of the ones right next to the primary transient one which is marked N/A). In those cases, I'd definitely suggest contacting the verifier and see if they did mean to select a different source. --JLaTondre 13:56, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea! It's also possible that in some cases a later verifier accidentally overwrote the original verifiers' data. We have a feature request to prevent this from happening. Ahasuerus 18:41, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Remove Titles broken

"Remove Titles" is broken after the last patch, I am looking into it. Ahasuerus 11:56, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

I have restored the previous version of the script and it's still not working even though everything looks fine on the development server. It's 7am here and I need to get some sleep, but I should be up in a few, at which point I will revisit the issue. Sorry about the inconvenience! Ahasuerus 12:15, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure we can get by without it for a few hours. Sleep well! BLongley 18:58, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, it took longer than expected, but the problem has been fixed now. It was one of those differences between Unix and Windows that CVS handles transparently, but only if you always go through CVS. The good news is that if you attempt to remove a Title from a pub with "dangling pointers" -- like this one -- you will now get a big red error message rather than a Python error (thanks, Marty!)
Another change that went live with this patch was JesseW's modifications to the "Submit Pub" button in the Clone Pub screen. It now reads "Clone Pub" to distinguish it from its "Edit Pub" cousin. Ahasuerus 05:35, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

"Recent Edits" updated

The list of Recent Edits has been updated to link some submissions to their respective records. Not all submission types are supported for now, but it's a start. Also, the same list available from the moderator menu doesn't have this functionality due to the way our software works at this time. Ahasuerus 09:19, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

The moderator version was updated in the latest patch (r2010-69), so the two Web pages should behave similarly now. Ahasuerus 07:41, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Merging "About the Author"s

In doing some Andre Norton verifications, I added a couple of "About the Author" content additions. In doing so, I noticed that three of them (separated by 7 years) were word-for-word identical. Following the (more-or-less) standard practice, I've named these content items "About the Author (Star Gate)", "About the Author (Storm Over Warlock)", and "About the Author (The Zero Stone)". (I suspect with more work, I'd discover the same essay in various other Norton books as well.) Since these essays are all identical, it seems that I should do a Merge on those essays (right?). If I do, what would the Merged title be called? Chavey 04:29, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

If you can verify that they're identical, they should be merged. I would suggest renaming the record "About the Author (Andre Norton, Ace Books)" or something similar to disambiguate it from similar essays. Mhhutchins 05:18, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
I had all three in front of me at once, and I verified that they were identical. So I went ahead with the merge, and once it's approved I'll fix the title as you suggested. Chavey 07:41, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Enhanced support for Unicode live

I just installed a new patch which enhances our support for author names with Unicode characters. You can now search for and otherwise access authors like Janka Kaščáková who were previously inaccessible because of one or more non-English characters in their names.

Please note that the changes were very extensive with over 40 scripts affected, so it's possible that something went wrong somewhere. If you run into any problems, please post them here. TIA! Ahasuerus 07:34, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Added a pseudonym

It's been quite a while since I edited here, but I just ran across a note in Mike Ashley's Gateways to Forever (pp. 75-76) that Ted White is the pseudonymous author of "Science Fiction and Drugs" in the June 1970 issue of Fantastic. I added the relevant pseudonym, but since there's no way to indicate there the source, I thought I'd mention it here. Perhaps it should be mentioned on the pseudonym bio page? Mike Christie (talk) 01:38, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Welcome back! I have approved the pseudonym submission, created a variant title, added notes to the two affected Title records and to the magazine publication record. I think we should be all set :-) Ahasuerus 01:51, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I'm a bit out of practice. Mike Christie (talk) 02:31, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Note fields of titles, as you have done, is probably the best place since they are an integral part of the database but wiki pages are a good place for further documentation. I might also note that we have developed an informal policy of notifying verifiers of changes that affect their pubs. This title is in one of my verified pubs. If the change is properly documented, as you have done, a non-notification is OK by me but in some cases a pre- or post-notification is in good form. Nice to have you back.--swfritter 18:42, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, that makes sense re the notifications. If I do submit more I'll remember that. Mike Christie (talk) 19:24, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Google Editions - coming soon

Could be a big deal. Google will serve less as a publisher and more as a conduit for reasonably priced multi-format non-DRM ebook titles. Getting started with Google Editions outlines the methodology for submitting an ebook for publication. The Partner Program requires that the book be copyrighted. Likely a great source for many out of print titles.--swfritter 19:47, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Interesting, thanks! The e-scene is changing so rapidly that one wonders where we will be in a couple of years. There are more than 10 million e-book readers in the US alone and with Google's Web-based approach it will make the potential audience even bigger. Ahasuerus 03:29, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
Google Books is online; they dropped the Google editions name. Apparently still a few bugs to work out for submitters but not as device dependent as the Amazon Kindle. Setting up a Google account takes a fairly minimal amount of effort and requires the use of Adobe's digital editions. If your local library has the functionality the adobe program can also be used to borrow ebooks. You may also want to check and see if your library allows audiobook borrowing via overdrive.--swfritter 15:23, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Wiki purge

The ISFDB Wiki has once again grown too big and unwieldy. It takes longer to post and it contributes to out nightly downtime.

I plan to purge the old versions of all Wiki pages tomorrow while keeping the last 30 around. The process will mostly affect the Community Portal and other popular pages whose ancient history is of limited interest. If you need to save data from very old versions of some pages, you may want to grab it before the axe falls. Ahasuerus 03:34, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

The Wiki will be purged around midnight Eastern US time, i.e. in half an hour. It will be unavailable for about 10(ish) minutes while the database reclaims the freed up space. Ahasuerus 04:30, 6 December 2010 (UTC)
The Wiki has been purged. The space reclamation process took less time than expected because the live server is so much faster than my ancient development server. We have reclaimed over 1.5Gb, which should help with nightly backups and Wiki performance. Ahasuerus 04:51, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Python error is kicking out a type 'exceptions.TypeError'. A secondary issue is that the error message is mashed into the left margin. It looks like this happens when the author name is not known. --Marc Kupper|talk 10:07, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

It's a problem with the recent patch that improved support for authors with Unicode characters in their names. The problem occurs when displaying the navigation panel on the left hand side, which is why it's displayed that way. I have created a Bug report for this problem; thanks for finding it! Ahasuerus 15:13, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Fixed in r2010-76. Ahasuerus 07:51, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Server problems

The ISFDB server is experiencing strange issues tonight. I had to bounce it twice and it may not be the end of it yet. Ahasuerus 07:58, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I often seem to have trouble with it about this time of the evening. I had always assumed it meant the server was doing some sort of backups, or other type of self-check. Chavey 08:17, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
We do experience most of our downtime late at night/early in the morning (East Coast time). Our backups don't take long (5+ minutes), but our server is a "virtual server" and we share the underlying hardware with other applications, so chances are that we are affected by those other folks' activities.
This time, however, is different. There is something wrong with MySQL. When the server hangs, I can still run manual queries on the server side, but when I touch the Author table, e.g. "select count(*) from Authors", the query hangs. I download the backups nightly, so I will have a fresh copy in a few hours and restore it to see if I can recreate the problem on the development server. Ahasuerus 09:02, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I fear I may have unknowingly caused the server errors last night & today. There's that thing that happens when you bring up an author's page, and there are no entries. And folks tell me that it's usually about some review of a work of theirs that isn't in our database. So I was searching for why "Erik Choi" appears in the system with no (apparent) reason. I went to "Advanced Search" and searched for a publication record that had "Erik Choi" in the author OR "Erik Choi" in the title. It seemed like an innocent search, but that is possibly what killed the system. Thinking it was just the normal evening slow down, when that search timed out, I tried it again. (Great idea Darrah, let's try to kill the system again :-( ). At some point, the system managed to actually give me an error message. A copy of that error message can be seen here. And while I can't be certain that it was my search that killed things, it seems there's a good chance that it was. Chavey 23:46, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
This was enough information for me to recreate the problem internally. Good catch! I will ask Marty, our resident SQL guru, to take a look at what's wrong with OR in the Pub search (it hands even when I add parentheses around all parts), but for now I will disable OR in the form. Thanks! Ahasuerus 02:22, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Don't try this at home, kids. It definitely sends MySQL off the deep end.... I seem to think we ran into this in one of the other queries. I will see what I can do about it. --MartyD 13:54, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
I guess there is only one legitimate way to test your hypothesis (local copy please!) although I guess that 'Server shutdown in progress' message is a pretty good clue! Not quite as bad as crashing a system when 100 students have a major programming project due that day.--swfritter 15:07, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
100 college kids? Bah! Amateurs! Ahasuerus 02:22, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
"OR" has been disabled for Advanced Pub searches until further notice. Ahasuerus 05:35, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

19-th Century SF: People of the Moon

When I have some spare time, I amuse myself by picking some "unknown" author in the db and trying to do the research to figure out who they are. (Because of my own research interests, it's usually someone with a somewhat gender-ambiguous name.) So far I've been able to create at least modest "Biography" pages for 43 such authors. I was fairly pleased with my latest one though, and I'll mention it in case anyone reading is particularly interested in 19th century SF.

The book The People of the Moon is an 1895 SF novel by "Carter Tremlett Carter" about a utopia on the moon, in which they've mastered the "electrical properties of the ether" to power their society. The book is mentioned in various SF history books, including Bleiler, but with (apparently) no information about the author. I tracked the author to "Edward Tremlett Carter", an electrical engineer (1866-1903) and found a detailed obituary on him. I've built a Biography page for him, and a Bibliographic page detailing most of the evidence I found verifying that these two people are the same. This author might be important enough to justify a WikiPedia page, but someone else would need to check out references on the value of his SF book to do that properly. Chavey 03:22, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Good job, Detective Chavey! For what it's worth, the full title of his non-fiction book was Motive Power and Gearing for Electrical Machinery: A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of the Mechanical Equipment of Power Stations for Electrical Supply and for Electrical Traction (1896, 2nd edition 1905 revised by G.[eorge] Thomas-Davies). Re: his novel, most library catalogs list "The Artemis library" as a publication series. MELVYL lists London: "The Electrician" Print. and Pub. Co. : Simpkin Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co. as the publisher. BTW, the library of Trinity College (Dublin) claims to own a copy of "The People of the Lagoon" (1896) by the same author, but apparently it's was a cataloging error. Ahasuerus 06:11, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately no Google Books scan of the actual book! Worldcat lists five library locations with the oddest one being the Idaho Falls Public Library.--swfritter 15:34, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
If anybody wants to buy me a Christmas present.--swfritter 15:36, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
$4.00 for s&h? Quite a deal! :) Ahasuerus 17:00, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps free shipping for Christmas could be negotiated.--swfritter 17:39, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I've always found it ridiculous that someone will charge thousands of dollars for an item and then tack on some ridiculous handling charge. Someone's willing to pay your asking price and you want to charge them to "handle" it? Sheesh! Mhhutchins 18:34, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

[unindent] According to our fellow editor, Robert Reginald, the book was published by "The Electrician" Printing & Publishing Co, and Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent in 1895. This OCLC record agrees but dates it as [1896], the brackets meaning the date isn't stated in the book. Another OCLC record dates it as [1895], and both OCLC records state that "The Artemis Library" is a series, not a publisher. Reginald doesn't give publication series. Mhhutchins 18:45, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Easy accents for special characters utility

I usually copy and paste since it is a rare issue for me but this windows utility may be of use to others.--swfritter 15:38, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Lucian (20th Century)

I identified the pseudonymous Lucian (20th Century) as John Hobson (1858-1940), and updated the Author data appropriately, except for one field I'm unsure of. The current record lists his "last name" as "century)" [sic]. That doesn't seem right, although I'm not sure how this is usually handled. I would guess that the last name should be either Lucian or else Hobson, but I really don't know. Recommendations? Chavey 19:33, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

I would think it would be Lucan - the "last" (and only) name of the canonical author.--swfritter 14:51, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
"Lucan" sounds about right -- the "last name" field is only used by the Author Directory, so we need to populate it in a way that will make sense in Author Directory.
The way it works is that when the software creates a new author record, it parses the entered name and tries to guess the last name. Most of the time it does a good job, but parentheses and other beasts confuse it, so manual intervention is occasionally required. Ahasuerus 07:50, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Ok, it's "Lucian" (sic), and I linked to his Wikipedia page and the documentation about the pseudonym. That was my guess as well, but I'm glad others agreed. Chavey 05:44, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Ahasuerus's e-mail

Just a note that is having problems today. I could see that I had half a dozen new messages earlier today, but I couldn't access them and now the "mailbox is temporarily unavailable". Hopefully, it will be back later in the day. Ahasuerus 17:57, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

It's back up now, catching up. Ahasuerus 05:18, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Advanced Search is back

Thanks to Marty's indefatigable efforts, you can once again use "OR" in Advanced Publication Searches. There are still a few quirks when searching for publishers or publication series in conjunction with other search criteria, but that's fodder for another fix. Ahasuerus 05:18, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

"New Novel" fixed

As some of you know, there was a bug in the "New Novel" screen. If you were entering "additional contents" for a new novel and clicked "Add Title", "Add Review" or "Add Interview", none of that additional data would be processed by the system. The bug was found and killed earlier tonight and should no longer bother us. Please report any problems here. Ahasuerus 07:23, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

New Publication fields

I am working on adding new fields to publication records this week. Here are the fields that are currently in the process of being added:

  • Catalog ID
  • alternative ISBN
  • Printing #

Do we also need a separate for field for "alternative Catalog ID" when a book has two separate IDs, e.g. some 1980s DAWs and perhaps those 1970s paperbacks that had catalog IDs as well as SBNs? Or is it overkill? Ahasuerus 16:45, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Volume and issue #.--swfritter 17:39, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Maybe: "Cover artist credited (Yes/No/Unknown); Cover art signed (Yes/No/Unknown)"? That could absorb an awful lot of Notes. Chavey 01:55, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Web link to downloadable version - for sites like librivox, manybooks, etc.--swfritter 22:22, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Edit Title validation added

The latest patch added in-browser validation to Edit Title. At this time it performs two checks when you try to submit the Edit Title form:

  • It makes sure that there is a value in the Title field
  • It checks that the value entered in the Series Number field is an integer up to 9 digits long

If either condition fails, the browser will display a pop-up message and leave you on the current page instead of displaying a separate error page.

This is something of a departure from our standard validation procedures since up until now we haven't used pop-ups. If this works well and doesn't cause any problems, we can add similar pop-ups to Add Pub and Edit Pub, which are considerably more complex. This functionality should help prevent potential loss of submission data when the value of just one field (Title, Year, etc) is missing or invalid.

I have tested my changes using Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6 and Chrome and they seem to work fine, but this browser-side logic is notoriously fragile and browser-specific. It's always possible that some version of some browser may be incompatible in some way, so if you run into any problems, please post your browser information here along with the description of the problem. Ahasuerus 06:53, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

"Edit Title" has been further enhanced. It now checks for missing authors/editors/reviewers/reviewees/interviewers/interviewees and gives the same kind of error message that you previously got when you tried to submit an author-less Title. It also insists that series numbers can't start with "0" (a minor change to the logic implemented last week.) For dates, the following checks are now performed:
  • The date field must be valued
  • The date field must follow the YYYY-MM-DD format
  • Years after 2020 are not allowed except 8888-00-00 and 9999-00-00
  • 8888-MM-DD and 9999-MM-DD are not allowed -- it will tell you that you have to use 8888-00-00 and 9999-00-00 instead
  • Months greater than 12 are not allowed
  • Days greater than the number of days in the entered month are not allowed. February always allows 29 days for now.
  • If your browser has JavaScript disabled or if you have JavaScript blocked for ISFDB pages, it displays a BIG warning at the top of the screen telling you that editing ISFDB requires JavaScript.
If everything looks good over the next few days, I will add the same type of validation to New Pub, Edit Pub, etc. Please report any problems or concerns here. Ahasuerus 07:54, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Tried to update this title record. (It should be dated 1982-01-00.) I'm not sure what's happening... Mhhutchins 14:50, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Oops! Fixed now. Thanks for finding it! Ahasuerus 16:06, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Advanced Search Bug

Searching titles under Advanced Search brings up only 100 titles. A couple of weeks ago it was working fine, so I suspect that this has occurred as a result of recent changes to the software.--Rkihara 18:37, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what problem you're seeing. I get 100 titles, then options for records 100-199, then 200-299, etc. BLongley 21:27, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Working fine again. Maybe an error on my part.--Rkihara 06:53, 29 December 2010 (UTC)