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Archive of messages from December 2012 - February 2013

Question about series numbering & Omnibus

The title series The Switch consists of two titles. The first is a chapterbook which is a 16 page prologue to the second book. The second book contains the first book as well as the 120 page "Clockwork". I'm not sure how to enter these. Two problems: There's really only book 1, and an omnibus of book 1 and "Clockwork". So should I enter "Clockwork" as book 2 in the series, or as an omnibus of book 1 and book 2 (in which case there wouldn't actually be a book 2)? And how should I handle the contents of "Clockwork"? It contains the shortstory "The Switch" and the novel "Clockwork", but the novel "Clockwork" doesn't actually exist as a separate novel. So I'm unsure how to proceed. (For now, I have it as a single book, with no separate contents listing, and with notes mentioning the inclusion of the prologue.) Chavey 21:38, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

In general CHAPTERBOOKs should not be put into series, although there are a few exceptions when dealing with complex mega-series like Perry Rhodan in his many guises. In this case I would make the short story record into the first title in the series and keep the novel record as number 2. It's OK to keep The Switch II: Clockwork pub as a NOVEL since our standards allow the inclusion of a "bonus story" in NOVEL pubs. Ahasuerus 07:47, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
An OMNIBUS implies that the novel was previously published. A first-time publication with a bonus story does not an omnibus make. Our current definition of an OMNIBUS is consistent with this: A publication may be classified as an omnibus if it contains multiple works that have previously been published independently, and at least one of them is a novel. (I personally disagree that one of the reprints has to be a novel. I've already argued that a reprinting of two collections or anthologies is also an OMNIBUS.) So I agree with Ahasureus that "The Switch II" should be a NOVEL record. Also that only the shortfiction title record should be part of the series, not the CHAPTERBOOK record. One other thing just occurred to me: you shouldn't create a content record for the "Prologue" of a novel as it is part of the novel and not really a "bonus story". You can always note that the prologue was previously published as a separate story as in this case. Mhhutchins 23:10, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks much! Changes made. One question: Mike suggests adding the note that the prologue was previously published. I had put that note in the pub record; Mike's example put it in the title record. Which location is correct? (And why?) Chavey 14:53, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I would suggest that an editor record it in both the title record of the novel and the title record of the shortfiction (as I did for the situation above). I see no point in recording it in the publication record because it's not publication specific. The only time I record such info in a publication record is if there's a statement about it in the book I'm working on. But that's just a personal preference. No one is stopping anyone from being as detailed as they want in a publication record, but generally the information should be specific to that edition of the title. Mhhutchins 17:34, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Done. Chavey 19:23, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

EDITING OFFLINE - 2012-12-10

Editing is temporarily disabled due to a problem with the last patch. Ahasuerus 03:19, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

The problem has been fixed and editing has been re-enabled. I will be posting patch notes shortly. Ahasuerus 03:58, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Language-related changes - 2012-12-10

The following changes have been made:

  • You can now select your default language under "My Preferences". If you don't select one, your default language will continue to be English.
  • All Title- and Pub-specific edit forms have been adjusted to display Unicode characters correctly. Author- and Award-specific edit forms still display the numeric values of Unicode characters; they will be fixed in the foreseeable future.
  • Edit Title no longer mangles Series names when the latter contain double quotes.
  • For Review and Interview titles, the value of the "title type" field is greyed out in Edit Title since the field is not editable.

If you run into issues associated with the changed edit pages, please post your findings here. Ahasuerus 05:18, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Series fix - 2012-12-11

Another minor patch has been installed. It fixed the behavior of the Series Editor page when an invalid (or missing) series number is supplied. It all tweaked the software internally, which should not affect user-experienced behavior. Ahasuerus 00:01, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Remove Titles changes - 2012-12-11

Remove Titles has been cleaned up a bit. All title and author records are now hyper-linked and extraneous spaces have been removed. Also, if you pass an invalid or non-existing publication number to the script, it will now display an appropriate error message rather than erroring out.

I also looked into making the script display titles in the order dictated by page numbers, but it's a somewhat larger task than I realized. I will need to take the relevant logic out of the Publication Listing script and make it available to all editing scripts. Ahasuerus 05:28, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Page number changes - 2012-12-12

The Contents section of the Publication Listing page has been changed as follows:

  • Square brackets are now ignored for the purposes of determining title order, so "5" will appear after "[4]", but before "[6]"
  • Titles which do not have page numbers or whose page numbers do not follow a recognized numbering scheme, e.g. "A1", appear first
  • Titles whose page number field is set to "fc" appear second
  • Titles whose page number field is set to "fep" appear third
  • Titles whose page number is a recognized Roman numeral, e.g. "xv", appear fourth
  • Titles whose page number is a recognized Arabic numeral, e.g. "15", appear fifth
  • Titles whose page number field is set to "bep" appear sixth
  • Titles whose page number field is set to "bc" appear last

The (Title) Removal Editor page and the associated moderator approval page have been changed to use the same display logic. In addition, the moderator approval page has been modified to hyper-link all title and author records.

The software changes that were needed to support the new logic were extensive and rather tricky, so please keep an eye out for any bugs or unexpected behavior. Reviews and Interviews are a particular area of concern because the software handles them differently. TIA. Ahasuerus 05:20, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

P.S. I see that we have 8 publication records with page numbers like "8, 10" and "7, 11, 1", e.g. see the second Contents item of this pub record. This format is currently not supported by the software and I don't think it's allowed by the Rules and Standards, e.g. see Help:Screen:NewPub. Ahasuerus 05:40, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
About the first rule (concerning the ordering of bracketed numbers): what if a content (like a map) appears on an unnumbered page before the first numbered page? I have counted the pages before page 1, recorded them in the page count field with brackets (e.g. "[8]+345"), and then entered the page number of the map's content record based on the bracketed number. So if it appears on the seventh unnumbered page I'd enter "[7]". The logic you describe would place it after the novel content record which starts on page "1" (or "5"). Mhhutchins 05:58, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Well, I based the new logic on my interpretation of what Help:Screen:NewPub says, i.e. "Use the lower case form of Roman numerals, for pages in introductory material. This will happen, for example, for material on the inside cover of a magazine, since the pagination usually starts inside", but perhaps my interpretation was, er, idiosyncratic :-)
The way I see it, in any pub which uses regular (i.e. Arabic) integers as page numbers you can have a block of pages that precede the first explicitly numbered page. If that first numbered page is labeled "N" and there are fewer than N-1 unnumbered pages before it, then we can use Arabic numerals [1] through [N-1] (in brackets) for the unnumbered pages and everything will work out fine. If, however, there are more than N-1 unnumbered pages -- in the extreme case that you referred to above the first numbered page is "1" -- then we need to use the aforementioned "lower case for of Roman numerals" like [vii] instead of [7] and everything will still work out fine.
A major advantage of this approach is that it lets you use bracketed Arabic numerals for unnumbered pages which appear at the end of the pub, something that would be impossible if we assumed that all bracketed numbers appear up front.
That said, now that the code that handles page numbers has been cleaned up, streamlined and documented, it should be fairly easy to change it to do whatever we want it to do. Ahasuerus 07:07, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Bracketing indicates the number of unnumbered pages. So it's illogical, in my opinion, to indicate that number by using roman numerals. Not only illogical but highly possible that it would be misunderstood by the casual user (and probably several editors) to indicate that the content appears on an unnumbered page within a larger range of roman-numeraled pages. I can see the problem caused by unnumbered pages at the end of the book, so is it possible to say that if the bracketed number is lower than, let's say 50, then it's listed first, and if it's higher it would be ordered with the non-bracketed but numbered contents? Mhhutchins 16:37, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
It's certainly possible, but consider records like The "New" Howard Reader (second state), #4 January 1999 or Slippery and Other Stories where [29] and [40] refer to pages after the last numbered page. In addition, there are pubs like "...and Their Memory Was a Bitter Tree...": Queen of the Black Coast and Others where "[t]he items with page number in brackets are two-sided plates with the number of the page they face", so listing them at the end of the pub wouldn't work too well. We also have books like Bran Mak Morn: The Last King where "[a]ppendix pages [are] numbered A1-A45" and magazines like The WSFA Journal #80, May 1972 and Matrix, August 1976 where page numbers are preceded by a letter or a group of letter designating each chapter. And then there are records where the verifier used negative numbers for pages preceding page 1. It's enough to drive a man to drink [green tea]!
I am not really sure what the best way to handle all of these cases would be, but at least the software has been cleaned up and we can make it do whatever we agree upon (within reason.) For example, we could add support for "fractional (secondary?) page numbers" so that plates and inserts would be listed as "53.1", i.e. an unnumbered page following page 53. That would presumably eliminate the need for brackets when dealing with plates. Ahasuerus 05:07, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
I like this suggestion. Chavey 21:01, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Upon reflection, the easiest way to handle all possible permutations may be to add a new "display order" field. When valued, this field be used by the ordering logic instead of the actual page number. For example, if you have 4 illustrations numbered A-1 through A-4 between pages 51 and 52, you will enter A-1, A-2, A-3 and A-4 in the regular "page number" field, but "51.1", "51.2", "51.3" and "51.4" in the "display order" field. Ahasuerus 15:06, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

"Rocket to the Moon" vs. "Girl in the Moon", by Thea von Harbou

Under the title record for Die Frau im Mond, by Thea von Harbou, we have two 1930 English translations: "Rocket to the Moon" and "Girl in the Moon" listed as variant titles. However, the title page for "Rocket to the Moon" (paperback size book of 187 page) says: "From the novel 'The Girl in the Moon' by Thea von Harbou". This would seem to imply that "Rocket" is an extract, or portion of, the longer "Girl". Should these two books be listed differently? Or is my note on "Rocket" good enough? Chavey 09:17, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

According to SFE3, Rocket to the Moon was a cut version of The Girl in the Moon. I think the current variant structure is fine, although we may want to add a note to the two English VTs to clarify their relationship. We don't really have a good way of tracking textual changes (adaptation, abridgements, expansions, etc) at the moment, but there are plans to improve this area. Ahasuerus 05:30, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I expanded the notes a bit, but left it as a VT. Chavey 01:31, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

r2012-62 installed

A small patch has been installed, but, in case anyone is wondering, it shouldn't change the way the software behaves. I am just cleaning up the existing code to make adding more language features possible. Ahasuerus 05:23, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

r2012-63 installed

Another small patch has been installed. The Advanced Search page now lists the values used in the Storylen field. Ahasuerus 14:07, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Soldier, Ask Not

Am I right in thinking that there's something wrong with this record for "Soldier, Ask Not"? It was published as a novel in the UK and the US (Daw and Sphere) and I don't see that anywhere. Or is it just that nobody's submitted those records yet? Mike Christie (talk) 23:42, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

You're looking at the novella, but I suspect you're thinking of the novel. --MartyD 00:39, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Both of them show up in the series listing at Dickson's page, which is what confused me. Mike Christie (talk) 01:08, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Riverworld: The Great Short Fiction of Philip Jose Farmer

There's a title listed at Farmer's entry at SFE3: "Riverworld: The Great Short Fiction of Philip Jose Farmer". I apologize if this is another stupid mistake, like the one just above, but I can't see any evidence of this title in Farmer's ISFDB page, and yet the book clearly exists in multiple editions per a search of used book sites. Is it truly missing? Mike Christie (talk) 22:47, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

We do have two entries for that title under Riverworld and Other Stories. Not verified, and probably wrong. The PJF International Bibliography has both as editions of "Riverworld and Other Stories". I'll ask the webmaster what he thinks. --Willem H. 09:25, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
On second thought, I checked my copy of Riverworld and Other Stories. According to the titlepage, the title should be "Riverworld: The Great Short Fiction of Philip Jose Farmer", we even have a note about it ("The Great Short Fiction of" below title and before author on title page), but changing the title feels very wrong. What to do? --Willem H. 09:46, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Per ISFDB standards, the title field of the publication record should reflect the title given on the publication's title page. There are many cases where the author's name is given in the title of the work: here, here, here, and many others. What feels wrong about changing the title of this collection? Mhhutchins 14:33, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

2012-12-24 - expected downtime notification

I am wrapping up the latest patch and expect to install it later tonight. It will require a minor database reorganization, so I will have to disable access for a few minutes. If you see an "ISFDB is currently not available" message, do not panic :-) Ahasuerus 00:29, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Going down in 3... Ahasuerus 01:18, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Everything should be back up. I will be posting the patch notes shortly. Ahasuerus 01:27, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Done. Ahasuerus 02:00, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Polly/Kelly Freas artwork

Following is an e-mail exchange with the

"There were a series of books done by Starblaze/Donning in the late 70s to early 80s. The earliest ones had cover and interior art by Kelly Freas. On the covers was a statement: "Edited and illustrated by Polly and Kelly Freas" All of the artwork is signed, mostly with Kelly's unique flourished 'kf' in a circle. The cover statement could lead one to think that Polly also had a hand in the artwork, though I read it that she did the editing. Did she do any of the art?"
attached was a link to our bibliographic page for Kelly Freas, which is about five times longer than the list on the Freas website
Reply: "Yes, Polly worked on the editing and Kelly did all the art. Thanks for the link....definitely some titles missing. Cheers, Laura Brodian Freas Beraha [I remarried On June 17, 2012]"
Result is that we have numerous records erroneously attributing cover and interior art to both Polly and Kelly Freas. I'll clean up the ones I own, or anyone else can pitch in. Shouldn't be more than a couple of dozen records. Cheers! --~ Bill, Bluesman 01:35, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Additional follow-up e-mail today : Thanks again for getting in touch with me. Also for the bibliography URL -- Outstanding __==-- and Kelly's agent, Mark Corrinet thanks you, too. He says it is a tremendous help and saving him a lot of work as we try to make a catalog of all of Kelly's images. Seems we have a fan or two!! --~ Bill, Bluesman 23:32, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Author language addition - Part 1 (patch r2012-64)

The latest and greatest patch has been installed. It added a new field, "Language", to all author records, but left it blank. From this point on, every time you edit an author, the Language field will default to your user-specific value (English unless you have changed it in User Preferences), so make sure to change it if the author's primary language is different. (The Help pages will be updated shortly.)

At the moment, the only Web pages that this new field affects are the four author pages (Summary, Chronological, Alphabetical and Award), but the plan is to modify the software to display the languages of all canonical titles that do not match the author's primary language. For example, Philip K. Dick's Summary page currently lists a number of Italian, Dutch, French, etc collections that have no analog in the English language and it will be beneficial to display their languages on the Summary page.

For bilingual authors (Sam Lundwall, Jean-Louis Trudel, Vladimir Nabokov, etc), pick the most frequently used language, but don't agonize too much about it -- the only thing that it affects is which titles will have their language displayed on the Summary Page. The worst thing that can happen if you choose poorly is that the author's Summary page will have too much language information displayed.

In addition, the following bugs have been fixed:

  • The Author Editor page is no longer confused by double quotes
  • The moderator approval page for Author Merges no longer displays IMDB links instead of author images
  • The Author History page (available to moderators through the list of Recent Integrations) no longer errors out when trying to display the history of an author whose record doesn't exist due to a subsequent Author Merge operation

As always, please report any bugs here - TIA! Ahasuerus 01:58, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

How does one access the Author History page? I didn't see a link labeled as such from the Recent Integrations page. Or is it just the link that displays the submission that edited an author's data? Mhhutchins 14:26, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
The latter, I am afraid. It's also potentially confusing -- see Bug 3598404.
The ultimate goal is to make a complete edit history of every record in the database (author, title, pub, etc) available to all users. I expect that we will get there some time next year. Ahasuerus 00:34, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Isn't this already readily available (but not currently highly legible) via the existing submissions queue? It seems like the best way would be just to search or link submissions into individual record histories. Searches might be time consuming but could be done once and indexed and linked and further submissions should be linked at moderation time. Uzume 13:49, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there's a guaranteed way to recover past submissions (what happens when items are merged/deleted?), and going forward we could run into performance problems if we have to adjust the submissions table to keep things in line. I also believe that the XML will not be acceptable to most users - I've tracked down edits manually before and had a hard time finding the bit I wanted. Remember, one submission may update dozens of DB records - e.g. adding page numbers/story lengths to an anthology's contents. BLongley 15:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I am aware of the limitations. I never said it would be easy (and it may not be feasible to cross old merges, etc. but there could be a way moving forward to track such). And yes a single submission could be in multiple record histories. Uzume 15:28, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
There are a few differences between the submission table (which stores the bodies of all submissions) and the history table, which is used to display record history. First, the submission table is not publicly available as part of our backups, so any code that relies on it would be broken if you tried to set up a local/clone copy of ISFDB. Second, the submission table stores the new values of any fields that it intended to change, but it doesn't store the old values. The history table, on the other hand, stores both the old and the new values, so you can immediately see what exactly the change accomplished. If you wanted to get the same kind of information from the submission table, you would have to hunt all over the submission table to find and correlate different submissions. Ahasuerus 22:35, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Author/title edit bug fixes (patch r2012-65)

Removing a Web page or e-mail address from an author or title record should no longer result in the loss of other web pages and/or e-addresses when the removed page/address is not the last one displayed. Ahasuerus 01:51, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Author Edit - date validation added (patch r2012-66)

The Author Editor page should no longer error out with a Python error when an invalid date is entered. Instead, invalid dates will be silently converted to "0000-00-00", which is what Edit Pub currently does. More robust validation similar to the pop-up error messages generated by Edit Title will be added at a later point. Ahasuerus 04:19, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Macmillan of Canada

The publisher notes for Macmillan of Canada have a link to a "Macmillan Canada" record. However, this record no longer exists so the link produces an error. Doing a publisher search on Macmillan shows a Macmillan Co. of Canada (which is the earlier version), but no Macmillan Canada. We could just remove the sentence containing the link as it's no longer applicable (at least in terms of conflicts), but thought I'd post this here in case whoever added the note may wish to refactor it. -- JLaTondre (talk) 15:03, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

"Kinder- und Hausmärchen" by the Brothers Grimm

We just reached the 200th birthday of this book, and Google knew all about it, but we had no record of it. Of course we have English translations, but not the German original. So I thought I'd work on adding various editions of this book. (Aside: Since the English version we have are usually translations/adaptations/selections from both volumes, I'm treating their Vol. 1 and 2 as a single title, and distinguishing the two volumes by publication name variants, but not as full title variants.) I'm confused by the contents though, and wonder if anyone can help. Multiple sources comment on how they would keep the same title, while revising the story. And sources talk about changes in the stories included over the various editions, but generally with slow changes. But the two apparent "trustworthy" sources of the contents of this first edition agree on only about 36 titles, while disagreeing on more than 50 titles. So I have no idea which source to believe. The first source is Wikipedia-English, which seems to be done carefully, with notes about changes from the first edition to the second edition, etc (includes titles and ordering only; no page #'s). The second source is Wikisource-German, which has page numbers, and include links to page photos from the original book. You can go to their page (i) and verify that they've taken these photos from an original first edition. Since this probably amounts to a "transient verification", it seems that this should take precedence. But I have a hard time believing that Wikipedia has 50 out of 86 stories wrong. Anyone have an idea of what's going on here? Chavey 17:46, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

There were another titles in first edition (German Wikipedia) Denis 11:11, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Denis, you linked to the English Wikipedia article on Grimm's Fairy Tales, but you're right that the German page has better lists of the ToC for the various editions, although still not as complete as we will have. With a little investigation, it's now clear to me that the English Wikipedia has the ToC for a later edition, or some "standard" list, but is not the list from the first edition, which I had assumed. I was also surprised by how much change there was between editions: Going from the 1st to 2nd edition of Vol. 1 (with 86 stories), 35 stories were replaced, and 10 were renamed. (My favorite renaming was from "Die drei Raben" to "Die sieben Raben", although my German housemate and I had a good laugh over a later change from "Das kluge Grethel" to "Die kluge Grethel".) So getting all of the contents for the first 7 editions (my goal) is going to take some work, especially VT'ing all of the name changes in these editions. Chavey 15:42, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia-English doesn't seem to recognize the changes between the early printings and just puts together a list of the two volumes probably from the 'definitive' edition (whichever it recognizes as such: the last put together by the Grimms?). Wikipedia-German does show the process of alterations and additions, so this should be the one to follow. The various 'printings' would be better regarded as different editions, I think. If you do need any assistance in translating the text of this source, please let me know it. Stonecreek 16:44, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I soon realized the weaknesses of the English Wikipedia, and I'm strictly working off the German Wikisource. The Wikisource link also has substantially more data than even the German Wikipedia. I am uncertain as to how to handle the editions and volumes. It appears that from the second edition on, the changes are modest enough to fit within our "same edition, slight variant" category where we leave changes to the notes. But the variations from the first edition to the second are huge. (35 stories out of 85 are replaced), so it does seem as if it might deserve its own title record. I'm also unsure whether to list the two volumes as different publications or different titles. One of the problems with the multiple title solutions to these books will be the difficulty with how to handle English translations as VT's of these books, which will need to be done. E.g., if I separate Vol. 1 and 2 into separate titles, then which one is the target VT for the various single-volume English editions? Similarly, even keeping the volumes together, if I have various editions under different titles, it will be difficult to decide for each English edition which German edition it should be a VT of. I would appreciate input into these two decisions.
I appreciate the offer to help with translation. So far, when my German is inadequate, I get advice from my native-German speaking roommate. But when I get to the stage of having many similarly titled versions of a story, and need to decide which is the "canonical title" (of which the others are variants), I'll come back to ask for your help. Chavey 20:11, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Glenn Cooper - In or Out ?

I am not sure about the inclusion of Glenn Cooper's works (or at least a few of them) into ISFDB. I do not have read the books and the Author site does not help much. Any opinion ? --Pips55 22:08, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Based on reviews, his books are thrillers, but at least some of them contain "secret history" and/or SF elements. For example, here is what his Web site says about The Librarians, book 3 in the the Library of the Dead / Will Piper series:
  • Florida, 2026. Will Piper, former FBI agent, is retired and living a life of leisure, his days filled with sun and fishing, his thoughts far from the notorious “Doomsday Killer” case that vaulted him into minor celebrity status fifteen years earlier. But according to what that investigation uncovered at a secret government site in Nevada, the world will change irrevocably on February 9, 2027. Is it the End of Days? No one knows what the Horizon, as it’s been called, will bring, and much of the world is suspended between pre-apocalyptic hedonism and despair.
which sounds reasonably SF to me. Ahasuerus 01:00, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Also keep in mind that one book in a series may be eligible for inclusion while another one may not. There's no need to be "completist" when it comes to such situations. Mhhutchins 01:02, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
My thinking is that it depends on the ratio of SF titles to non-SF titles in the series. For example, there are a couple of SF books in the Nancy Drew series, but that's less than 1% of the total, so we definitely do not want to include the other 200+ titles. On the other hand, a few years ago I had to process a two volume horror series in which the protagonist fought redneck cannibals in volume 1 and zombies in volume 2. Because the ratio was 50-50, I entered book 1 as NONGENRE and book 2 as a NOVEL. Ahasuerus 01:24, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
I was looking for an easy way out... I'll do more research on the stories, thanks --Pips55 21:20, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Some RPG pub questions

I have a couple board games based on Dragonriders of Pern and Doctor Who. Question: would those be allowable to be included in isfdb?
I also have some RPGs base on Doctor Who, Star Wars, and the Well World series. Would these, and their supplements, be allowable?--Astromath 15:30, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

This question is very similar to the one you asked at the Moderator noticeboard. The answer is the same: Game related materials are not allowable unless they meet the exception granted by clause 4 of the Rules of Acquisition. When I mentioned the Community Portal, that was in the context of asking about specific works if there was a question about whether the author meet the threshold.
If you think clause 4 may apply, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Is the otherwise non-allowable work credited to an author of speculative fiction (as defined by ISFDB)? If no, the work is not allowable. If yes, the work may be allowable and proceed to the next question. As I said before, the work must be credited to the genre writer, not merely based on the genre writer's works.
  2. Is the credited author clearly above the threshold? If yes (Asimov for example), go ahead submit it. If you are uncertain, then ask a specific question about that work.
-- JLaTondre (talk) 15:50, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Obviously, this leaves the Doctor Who board game & RPG out since they are not credited to a single author, so that was easy. The Well World RPG may meet the threshhold, but I need to check about the credit. Same goes for the Star Wars. I need to check the credits on that. Even if that RPG was credited to George Lucas, would he meet the threashhold?--Astromath 21:04, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
I'd say board games are ALWAYS out. RPGs aren't so easy as they tend to start with a big rule BOOK. :-( BLongley 16:31, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Need opinion

Re: The Cataclysm
This anthology has no editors credited. What is the policy here? It has 4 of the authors on the cover with "and more". The title page only has the title, the introduction's authors, the cover artist, and the interior artist credited. The copyright page also has no credits. Is it ok to use "uncredited" like the 3rd volume of this series?--Astromath 21:30, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

There's no codified rule that I'm aware of. But it seems that the de facto standard is to credit the authors who are named on the title page, which many of these non-editor-credited anthologies tend to do. Some editors, myself among them, draw the line to four authors. Anything above that I enter as "uncredited". If there are no authors named on the title page, then it should be credited to "uncredited". That seems to be the case here. Mhhutchins 02:20, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok. I'll edit the authors to uncredited.--Astromath 03:13, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
You'll also need to update the author fields of both publication records. Mhhutchins 03:22, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

LibriVox audiobooks

Just a heads up. All titles of this public-domain publisher's audiobooks should be entered as "digital audio download" instead of "audio (mp3)". It was recently changed but someone has continued to use the old designation. Thanks. Mhhutchins 02:15, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

One more thing. Ever who is creating these records is not sourcing the data. Mhhutchins 02:23, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Question about the Trantorian Empire series

Re: Trantorian Empire
Question: where does the series name Trantorian Empire come from? The books I have use the Galactic Empire as the series name. Just wondering.--Astromath 03:19, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

There are several answers to your question, depending on what you mean by the question.
  1. Etymologically it comes from the name of the capital planet of Asimov's Galactic Empire.
  2. Wikipedia calls it the "Trantorian Empire". (Not a good reason, but worth noting.)
  3. Logically, the empire developed from a single planet to 5 planets, and eventually to half the galaxy, so if you called it "Galactic Empire", you wouldn't logically be able to include all of the books and stories about the empire from before it became that big.
  4. Logistically, we probably got it from Locus, because that's what they call the series.
Chavey 20:55, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Question about the Wild Card series

Example: Jokers Wild This is labeled a NOVEL. However, it has an editor like an ANTHOLOGY. The book labels itself as a MOSAIC (but this is not a choice for Type). I guess the question would be "should this be labeled as NOVEL or ANTHOLOGY?" Which would better represent the pub's type?
Personal opinion is that it should be labeled as ANTHOLOGY despite the fact that each part of the mosaic is uncredited (other than a listing of authors on the title page). Second personal opinion: MOSAIC should be a choice for Type.--Astromath 15:20, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

This work is correctly entered as a NOVEL. An ANTHOLOGY is a publication of stories by more than one author, each of which can be entered individually and credited to their respective authors. Jokers Wild doesn't have "stories" which can be attributed to the various authors. The term "mosaic" describes how the work was written, but it's still a NOVEL. "Mosaic" is not a form of publication (e.g. NOVEL, COLLECTION, ANTHOLOGY, or OMNIBUS), but a type of novel, just as a "fix-up" is a type of novel. Mhhutchins 23:07, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Never heard of "fix-up" novels. I think there should be a way other than the notes to indicate that a particular novel is a mosaic so that the editor can be clearly stated in the author field rather than resorting to notes. Maybe add a checkbox to indicate a mosaic with a number field to indicate how many editors there are, then that would indicate that the first X authors are editors and all the others would be the actual authors of the mosaic. Again, this is only an opinion.--Astromath 00:52, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
There are a hundreds of more fix-up novels than there are "mosaic" novels, which are so relatively rare that making a check box to indicate such would be overkill. The Note field is sufficient enough for explanations about the novel. And the author field of a novel record attributes only author credit, not editor credit. (And in this case, Martin is credited as an author in the author field.) Editors can only be credited in the Note field of novels and single-author collections. That's a problem that will be fixed some time in the future, when the developers have a chance to expand credits for other roles, such as translator, adapter, book designer, etc. Mhhutchins 01:36, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Another FR that might have slipped through the gaps in my memory! I did indeed start "translator" support last year before Ahasuerus gently asked me to stop submitting stuff till he'd caught up. I think I got as far as recording translators but not as far as putting such on their Author page. I must revisit that - although I frankly still can't drum up much enthusiasm for "book designer". BLongley 15:55, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
It's a very important, yet overlooked and underappreciated, role. Many designers are credited on their books' copyright page. Such book designers like Arnie Fenner (for Ziesing), Carole Russo (for Tor), Gail Cross/Desert Isle Design (for Cemetery Dance and Subterranean Press), Robert Freeman Wexler/Alligator Tree Graphics (for PS Publishing) are clearly underrepresented in the ISFDB based on their importance in the field. A book's interior design, i the long run, is more important than a dustjacket which is not an intrinsic part of the book. (I'll surely get some flack for that last statement.) Mhhutchins 19:44, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Translator support is fairly complicated. We'll need to figure out what database changes will be required first. Ahasuerus 17:00, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Ah. I noticed I have several of the "fix-up" novels listed in the Wiki. I never would have noticed. Since you mention that some things are in development, I don't have any more relevant comments. Thx for the info.--Astromath 04:51, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Tau Zero signature found?

Re: Tau Zero
I have just confirmed that the artist is indeed Richard Powers here. (At least I think so.) I need somebody else to confirm. I also think I see a signature on the the image, but it is so garbled, there seems to be no way to read it. Maybe somebody else could help with a better image. The white veritical streamer, about halfway down about a half inch to the right is where I think the signature is. But it blends into the black cloudy streamer to the left pretty well, so I'm not sure. I've been trying to compare it to signatures on others of Powers works without any luck.

I just found this website. I'm emailing the curator for his opinion.--Astromath 18:30, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

The illustration is by Powers. No need to search for other sources though. It is credited in Jane Frank's The Art of Richard Powers, page 124 as a 1970 Berkley paperback (wrong year). The full painting is on page 116, with signature (see here for a temporary upload, I will delete this image next week. --Willem H. 20:41, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Many Thanks!!! Could you update the notes? Thx.--Astromath 22:03, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
No problem. Done. --Willem H. 08:56, 31 December 2012 (UTC)


Re: Shadowkeep
There's a ™ symbol next to the title (on cover & title pages) so it reads Shadowkeep™. Shouldn't the ™ be part of the title?--Astromath 02:51, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't believe we have anything official in the rules, but the defacto standard is no. The trademark, in this case, is not actually part of the name, but rather indicates the name is trademarked. -- JLaTondre (talk) 13:22, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok. Though I wonder why this particular title is trademarked. Oh, well. Thx for the info.--Astromath 00:21, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
It's a tie-in novel to the Shadowkeep video game. -- JLaTondre (talk) 03:20, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I think Dragoondelight used the symbol quite a lot (on "Aliens" related works I think). Now he's retired, I guess somebody could now go through our pubs and correct them, but we should probably document the standard first. Also with '®' - I have actually used that one myself, see The Technicolor® Time Machine BLongley 16:05, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
That pub appears to be a different case, however. There is distinction between a title that has a '®' or 'TM' as part of the title and a title that adds the '®' or 'TM' for legal reasons. -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:23, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

First 2013 patch

The first patch of the year is now live. The following two changes have been made:

  • Publication tags are no longer editable. They are still (automagically) created by the software when a new pub is entered. Please note that this change doesn't affect title (or "subject") tags in any way.
  • Invalid review and interview dates are now silently converted to 0000-00-00 instead of causing Python errors at approval time.

Ahasuerus 02:57, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Fantastic Adventures from TSR

I have one of the books of this series Tale of the Comet by Roland Green (July, 1997), but not the other two: A Thief in the Tomb of Horrors by Simon Hawke (April, 1997) and Knorrman Steel, Charonti Bone by Jeff Grubb (May, 1997). I don't know if there's any others of the series. You have Tales of the Comet, but not the other two. Since I don't have them, I'm alerting you to the other two if somebody wants to add them.--Astromath 16:20, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

If they're not in the db, it's highly unlikely another editor has copies of them. I was going to suggest that you create records for them, making sure to note your sources, but I was unable to find any evidence that these titles were ever published. What is your source? There are no OCLC records, and no copies available of either title on Amazon or Abebooks. Are you certain these were actually published? Maybe they were announced but cancelled before publication. Mhhutchins 17:36, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
My source is Tale of the Comet. The series page before the title page. From here: Abebooks & Amazon & WorldCat. The other one is here: Amazon & Abebooks, however this one is not in Worldcat.--Astromath 18:42, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Look closer at those Amazon and Abebooks links. You'll find no copies available. "Out of Print--Limited Availability" is Amazon-speak for "announced, but not published". Those Abebooks records are not dealer listings, they're title listings. And now that Amazon owns Abebooks, their listings are from the same database. How unlikely is it that there are no copies for sale anywhere on the internet if the book was actually published? The Worldcat record for the first title is also highly suspect. The one available copy is at a single library in the UK. Strange that no other libraries in the world has a copy. Mhhutchins 19:11, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
You may be right. I can't seem to find anything more than what I did. I'm contacting Wizards of the Coast for more information.--Astromath 20:53, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I just received a response from Wizards of the Coast. Here's the answer they gave: "Thanks for writing in. The novels you mentioned were published, however they are out of print so in order to find them you can search online, or check with local used book stores." I'll go ahead and add them.--Astromath 01:57, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
One request before you do: try to "find, or check with local used book stores." (Some unpaid intern probably answered your email, or someone who wasn't around 15 years ago and has no idea what was actually published.) If you can find a book dealer who can actually sell you a copy (you don't have to buy it), I'll accept your submission to create a record. Mhhutchins 03:34, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I see you've already made submissions, but you did not source your data. When you're able to, I'll accept them. Mhhutchins 03:36, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I've sent them another request for cover images and image credits as well as the list price when published. I'll post again when I receive an answer.--Astromath 03:39, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Good luck. Check this out. Mhhutchins 03:53, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

(unindent)I just got notification that the novels were published by Random House and they gave me both an email & 1-800 contact number. Again, I'm going to try to contact them. Thx for your patience.--Astromath 03:04, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

I contacted Jeff Grubb through his blog, but he's not yet responded. Mhhutchins 05:07, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Here's the final word from Random House:

Good Day,

Thank you for contacting Random House, Inc., distributors for Wizards of the Coast. We appreciate your continued interest in our publications.

We have neither published no distributed 'A Thief in the Tomb of Horrors' by Simon Hawke nor 'Knorrman Steel, Charonti Bone' by Jeff Grubb. We also do not have record of either title published under that name by different authors.

Thank you,

Consumer Services


I suppose we could do to things: 1) Cancel submission. 2) Leave submission, but label it as unpublished. Which do you prefer?--Astromath 00:50, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
It's better to accept the submissions and then change them to unpublished. This will alert future ISFDB editors and users of the situation and avoid everyone from having to go through the process again. Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:59, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
I placed the titles into a series (Fantastic Adventures (TSR)), but that may have been two hasty. These stories may not actually be related either in setting or characters, which would make them a publication series and not a title series. What do you think? Mhhutchins 01:08, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
I think they should be placed in a series. They may be unrelated, but there has been other series that's also unrelated character-wise (see Ravenloft Villain series). I no long have the book in front of me (been reboxed) but they are clearly labeled under the heading of Fantastic Adventures on the page just prior to the title page. As far as the setting goes, it seems to be a general "Fantastic" theme type setting. Tale of the Comet has the theme of "Magic vs Machine". I'm not 100% sure what the themes of the other two were supposed to be. (Sidenote: "two hasty"??? Is that worse than "one hasty"?) 486.png --Astromath 03:09, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's twice as hasty! Back to series, though. I've always assumed the Ravenloft novels were part of a sharecropper universe, which would qualify them as a title series. If there's nothing textually connective about two titles then they should not be placed into a title series, with the one exception being anthology series, which are borderline between a title series and a publication series. (See this page for a better understanding of the difference.) The one question I ask myself: if this title was reprinted by another publisher, would it still be part of the same series? So, if Tale of the Comet was reprinted by Tor, for example, would it still be part of the series "Fantastic Adventures"? Mhhutchins 04:13, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
To answer your question, I would like to think so, but I'm not sure. I'm prejudiced towards putting them into a series. One thing I do know is that "Fantastic Adventures" is a specific type-faced logo similar to the other logos produced by TSR. On the other hand, that logo does not appear on the cover image of "A Thief in the Tombo of Horrors" on the Amazon site, though Amazon does have "Fantastic Adventures Books" as part of the title (most other sites also include "Fantastic Adventures Books" as part of the description). The other book does not have any cover image to be found anywhere and no "Fantastic Adventures Books" as part of its description. The only indicator that it is part of "Fantastic Adventures" is on the series title page of "Tale of the Comet" (the page before the book title page).--Astromath 12:22, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Proposed The Blood Wars Trilogy name change

Re: The Blood Wars Trilogy
I wish to propose a series name change from The Blood Wars Trilogy to Planscape: The Blood Wars Trilogy. This will bring this series in line with other TSR/Wizards of the Coast series (e.g. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, etc.).--Astromath 18:49, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

It's already a sub-series of Planescape. This was done to separate the trilogy from two other books in the parent series. What do you propose we do with the parent series and the titles under it? Mhhutchins 19:14, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I see what you mean by the Dragonlance parent series having it's name in all of the sub-series. It seems redundant to me, but does no harm. Feel free to submit a change to the name of the trilogy. Mhhutchins 19:17, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I believe it was done so that all "Forgotten Realms" series, when alphabetized, will appear appropriately in the "at home databases" such as Readerware. Same for Dragonlance and others. Since Readerware only reads through their import routine the immediate series title of a novel, it will not put it in the appropriate spot in the database unless I modify the series title.
I'll go ahead and request the change. Thx.--Astromath 20:28, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Elfquest Graphic Novels

Elfquest began as a comic book, was released as a series of graphic novels, but also has book adaptations and anthologies published in that world. The books obviously are "In". What about the graphic novels? Our current listings, e.g. as under Wendy Pini, include a massive number of graphic novels, including a large number of German translations of those graphic novels. I love the graphic novels, but it seems to me that they are "Out". Wendy & Richard Pini don't have enough "book" output to be included here. But before deleting them, I thought I should raise the question here. Opinions? Chavey 20:30, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

It depends upon how you define the "threshold". Is it based on quantity or percentage of work within the spec-fic field? Or is it based on the author's reputation within the field? I believe Wendy and Richard Pini are as well know within the spec-fic field as they are in the comics field. But again, it depends upon that nebulous threshold that no one's been able to define. Mhhutchins 21:07, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
When I was deleting the the graphic novels and illustrated childrens books[1] I felt these should also be deleted. Since their spec-fic is mostly graphic novel related I'd be for saving only the books.Kraang 01:55, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I also have all the graphic novels. I also have the RPG. All the graphic novels can now be found online for free here.--Astromath 01:52, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Returning to this question after a month off, I see there is no clear resolution, so I will leave the graphic novels in. If someone else wants to enter all the ones we don't have listed, feel free. (Remember, graphic novels only, not the individual comic books.) Chavey 03:11, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

IMDB award links fixed

A minor patch has been installed. IMDB links for awards should work again, e.g. if you click on "The Legend of Hell House" on the 1974 British Fantasy Award page, you should see an IMDB page which will list all titles that match the title. Ahasuerus 00:53, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

A follow-up patch has changed the name of the field from "Movie URL" to "IMDB Title". Also, Unicode characters should now appear correctly when editing existing awards although the Add Award page still needs to be fixed. (Please note that award editing is currently only available to moderators. Once all major award-related bugs have been fixed, all editors will be able to edit awards.) Ahasuerus 04:25, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
As of this morning, titles with Unicode characters are displayed correctly by the "Add Award" page. Ahasuerus 17:03, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Yet another minor patch has corrected the Help message for Select Title Award. I expect that there will be quite a few of them over the next few days as various Award-related bugs get fixed. Since only moderators can edit awards at this time, I will be posting related patch notes on the Moderator Noticeboard rather than on the Community Portal. Ahasuerus

Renaming of subseries of TSR/Wizard of the Coast series.

Since Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms & Ravenloft subseries have the series title as part of the subseries title, the other subseries of the other series should follow the same format. This is particular to this publisher. All the Dark Sun subseries should have Dark Sun in the subseries title. The same goes for Spelljammer, etc. The first three series I mentioned set a precident that either should be followed for all subseries of a series, or the series title be deleted from the subseries title of all subseries.
This looks like this is also true for some of the Star Trek and Star Wars subseries.--Astromath 19:15, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Adding the parent series name to a sub-series name is redundant. I accepted your earlier request because all of the sub-series of that one already had the parent name appended to it. But I can see no reason to add the parent name to the sub-series of Dark Sun. Why is this one different from any other sub-series in the db? If this practice sets a precedent, there will be other attempts to add parent names to series. I still don't understand the point you were trying to make above about Readerware. What does it have to do with the ISFDB and how we display series? There's no need that I'm aware of that we be compatible with another database software. Mhhutchins 19:27, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Re: Readerware, I am unaware of any attempts to make ISFDB compatible with it or any similar products. Ahasuerus 06:40, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


FYI, for someone who knows how to fix it: Skeletons appears to have the wrong image; that's apparently the cover for The Shop of the Mechanical Insects. Mike Christie (talk) 03:56, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

The record was linked to the wrong image on Amazon, and it was just a matter of removing the URL. I was able to find the correct image and upload it to the ISFDB server, and then link it to the pub record. Mhhutchins 05:05, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

General Question: Sources for "Upcoming Books"

I was curious where information for upcoming books is available. Does Amazon maintain a page someplace for upcoming SFF books, or do most contributors collect this info from the individual publisher's websites? On the ISFDB homepage, there's even a 'Selected Upcoming Books' section, and I assume that this list is generated from those upcoming books with the most activity? Thanks! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Gideon (talkcontribs) .

There are various ways to get lists of upcoming books from Amazon, the Library of Congress, etc. We have a robot that regularly pokes around the Web, leverages various APIs, downloads/massages the data and creates automated submissions. These submissions are then reviewed and approved by moderators, so the process is not entirely automated.
As far as the "Selected" section goes, it's based on our list of frequently viewed authors. It's a rather long list (2,000 records or so), so it doesn't take much to make it. Ahasuerus 16:14, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Fanucci Editore (Italy)

Is there any particular reason why this publisher's name has been disambiguated by adding the country? I'm not aware of any more Fanucci Editore in any other country that would require this. Mhhutchins 04:51, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

As I recall, one or two of our editors started doing this for Hungary and a couple of other places a while back and it sort of spread by osmosis. Ahasuerus 05:47, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's documented, but it's de facto policy to only give the country name if there's duplicate names for different publishers, or if the same publisher publishes separate lines in different countries (like Orbit/Orbit (US) or Vintage/Vintage (UK). I'll remove the country name from this publisher's name. Mhhutchins 00:15, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Somebody beat me to it. Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:15, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Wolfe/Aramaspian Legacy

I don't know which is correct, but there is a discrepancy between the book and contents title in this Gene Wolfe title. In addition, the SFE3 page on Wolfe gives a third spelling. Mike Christie (talk) 12:33, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

They match now. The book's data appears to be from a primary source but it wasn't primary verified, so I took the name from Lloyd Currey's website. Mhhutchins 16:38, 10 January 2013 (UTC)


Sorry to keep dropping problem notifications here, but I am using the ISFDB as a resource for some bibliographic work and am letting you know when I see oddities -- I can stop leaving these notes if you like. Anyway, I just spotted this, which looks highly suspicious; I can't find any online support for the existence of a collaboration, and the title is a fragment of one of Benford's more famous books. I think this may not actually exist. Mike Christie (talk) 23:17, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Another simple fix. Delete the title. There's no publication records, and there's no evidence it was ever published. The title is all over the internet (usually as In the Ocean of Night), but not one copy is for sale. The error probably originated from an error by one person at a single publishing house (probably Gollancz, because this edition is the one that shows up giving Wallwork co-author credit). It spread like wildfire because of Amazon's ubiquity. You've gotta love/hate the internet. I'll delete the title. Mhhutchins 00:04, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Search page enhancements

As of the latest patch, you can now access "Add New Data" options from the main search page. Ahasuerus 17:01, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Books belonging to more than one series.

Too bad you cannot indicate pubs that belong to more than one series. For example, First Strike is listed under Star Trek Pocket Books. However it also belongs to a 4 book miniseries called Star Trek Invasion! This miniseries is unusual in that it spans 4 different Star Trek series.--Astromath 03:42, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it's an unfortunate software limitation. Since it would be possible (although not easy) to implement, I have created a Feature Request, FR 3600743, for it. Ahasuerus 04:01, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
In the meantime, it's fixable. "Star Trek Pocket Books" isn't a title series - see my extensive notes on how they were renumbered when published in the UK by Titan Books. Anyone care to perform several hundred edits to fix these? :-/ BLongley 07:43, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Not me! (I've never read a Star Trek book in my life.) But this happened because it took many years to add the publication series feature to the database. I'm betting there are many more title series that should be converted to publication series, especially those academic series, of which I've already converted many. I'll leave Star Trek to anyone who really feels it's worth all of the drudge work. Mhhutchins 16:55, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I think I could write a one-off script to convert the Pocket Books editions to publication series with numbering, and the Titan editions to a publication series with numbering needing to be done manually. (That's currently only on the wiki, which I don't know how to access in code.) Alternatively, we can let a wannabe moderator prove themselves with this task. ;-) BLongley 17:10, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Being assigned such a Herculean labor would only prove the editor's ability to withstand mind-numbing typing, and nothing about their database skills! I say go for the script. Mhhutchins 17:16, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Leave the feature request, though. There are cases like Pellucidar 4 which is also Tarzan 13.--Ron ~ RtraceTalk 22:32, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
It seems to be fairly common in shared universes, e.g. R. A. Salvatore's Servant of the Shard is book 2 of the Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness series as well as book 1 of the Forgotten Realms: The Sellswords. Ahasuerus 22:42, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
But sometimes there's a single author with a single title in two different subseries of his "retro-fitted" universe. Mhhutchins 01:10, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
And there's problems like Pratchett's Discworld series where we haven't really satisfied the problem of separating the YA books from the 'adult' ones. I think there's a bug report in for that though. BLongley 12:26, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

(unindent) Ok, with the help of some scripts, I began to correct the Star Trek Pocket Series, and did the first 10 titles. Before I continue, care to look at the series and tell me if I'm doing something wrong? I'm moving all "Pocket Book" publications, except for the hc Pocket Book SFBC pubs, to a publication series, and leaving other editions out. (I'll let Bill worry about the Titan series.) I'm putting all of the titles into the parent "Star Trek: The Original Series" series, and I'm keeping the same numbers as they had in the Pocket Book series. I'd like to know if I'm doing anything wrong before I continue to the other books. Chavey 05:23, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

You probably shouldn't give them the same number in the title series as they have in the publication series. What's the point of moving them from a title series to a publication series if they keep the same number? As far as Star Trek goes, the only titles with title series numbers are the film novelizations, and other works that have a continuous story from one title to another (like the "Stargazer" series by Michael Jan Friedman or the "Vulcan's Soul" series by Sherman and Shwartz. Any self-contained single novel probably shouldn't have a title series number. Mhhutchins 05:38, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd say DEFINITELY don't keep the pub series number on the title series entry. You're very brave to tackle Star Trek as a starting point, unless you're trying to catch Michael as Top Contributor! BLongley 11:36, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I'll remove the numbers. And I'm certainly not trying for Michael's position! It's just that I'm really good at writing GUI scripts (I use Keyboard Maestro to do most of the work), so I figured that I would have a much easier time of the task than anyone else. Chavey 15:41, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

More award changes (patch 2013-12)

The latest patch, r2013-12, is now live. The software has been modified as follows:

  • For variant titles, the Title page now displays "[may list more publications, awards and reviews]" on the "Variant Title of:" line. Hopefully this will help unconfuse our users who occasionally report that we are missing title-specific information which is found on the canonical title's page - feedback welcome.
  • For canonical titles, the title page has been changed to displays all awards/nominations associated with its variants (in addition to any awards associated with the main title.) Moderators can also select VTs' awards for editing/deletion from the parent title's page. The awards displayed on VT pages are still limited to that VT's awards (which is similar to the way pubs and reviews behave).

Ahasuerus 04:09, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Excerpt vs Extract

Got a question: what's the difference between an excerpt and an extract? I'm asking because Klingon has an excerpt/extract from 4 novels. I can find nothing in Klingon to indicate which is would be the correct term to use.--Astromath 13:21, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

They're the same. (Post a message on the verifier's talk page to find out how they're presented in that particular record.) The ISFDB standard is to add "excerpt" (small "e") parenthetically to the title, if its title is the same as the larger work from which it is excerpted. If it has a different title, there's no need to disambiguate it. In that case enter the title as published and add a Note to the title record indicating it's an excerpt from another work. They should be entered as SHORTFICTION without a designated length. Mhhutchins 16:47, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
There's an exception to your advice, I think. I've seen a book which included an excerpt from a forthcoming COLLECTION, which in the end turned out to be an entire Short Story. I did put a length on that one, and eventually merged it with the content of the collection. I can't remember exactly what it was - but I'm pretty sure they were Fred Pohl books. BLongley 23:14, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Unnumbered pages at end of book -- what to include in Pages area for publication

Hi folks, Mike Christie & I have been discussing a book that has 20 unnumbered pages at the end. The first 16 have an essay, the last 4 have ads. For the Pages for the publication -- should we list them as 354+[16] -- including only the essay -- or as 354+[20] -- including the ads? For the full discussion and links to the publication, see this discussion. BungalowBarbara 22:02, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't include Ads in the page count, and certainly don't add them as content. So I vote for 354+[16]. BLongley 23:18, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I haven't been including in content -- the Help pages are clear on that -- and so far have not included them in un-numbered pages at end of book. I've included essays and excerpts (if un-numbered). Have not included short author biographies, acknowledgements, or additional copyright pages either. I guess my rule of thumb has been that if I wouldn't put it in contents, I wouldn't show it in a count of un-numbered pages either. BungalowBarbara 00:55, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Darn it - I've just (half) remembered an exception. I'm pretty sure it was a Jasper Fforde book, I just can't recall which one. But the Ads at the end of the book were obviously fictional, related to the background of the novel - I think I included those somehow. If only my memory still worked, rather than being like... oh, what's that kitchen equipment called? Thing with holes in? BLongley 01:19, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Never understood what "the exception that proves the rule" meant -- but yours is a good example. Made-up ads are plainly part of the "story" and should be included. (And the "thing with holes in" is a sieve -- or do you mean a colander? Or maybe a slotted spoon -- don't get me talking cooking, I could go on all night. ;) )
"Colander" is right. Although "slotted spoon" is just as good a simile. If you want to talk cooking though, try starting with Serve It Forth -- Cooking With Anne McCaffrey ;-) BLongley 04:50, 21 January 2013 (UTC)


My Lady and I are downsizing and I find myself in the unhappy situation of having to get rid of my collection. Of course, I can try to sell it on Craig’s List but would prefer to donate it to an institution (college library, etc.) that has an interest in the genre and where it would be maintained as a part of a collection. I live on the East Coast and its large enough that it would be improbable to ship, i.e. 1695 Science Fiction and Fantasy mass market books in 18 boxes. Since the ISFDB population has a definite interest in the genre, I thought someone might have some ideas. ~ Rhschu

There are a lot of SF Conventions on the East Coast, I would suggest setting up a dealer table at a local Con. Cost membership plus table charges. For example, the Windy City Pulp show in Chicago would be $35 membership, and $90 per table, but they're on the low side.--Rkihara 19:06, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd love to take them off your hands, but I'm more Central than East coast - and in England rather than the US! :-) As it's obviously impractical for us to do a deal, as I'm downsizing as well (last place was a 3-bedroom house that I turned into a 1-bedroom, 2 libraries house, current place is a 2-bedroom that I'm using as a 1 bedroom, 1 storage room place). I'm also thinking of decimating my collection, and am currently thinking of taking a dealer's table at the British Eastercon: then donating what's left over to the Science Fiction Foundation. Which I believe is now based at Liverpool University. (You can probably check them out here, I think they've published many SFnal critiques, biographies and bibliographies.) As a non-US resident, the only place I can think of is TAMU, our former hosts. They had to abandon our hosting, but I think they still like SF books? It would be good to recompense them in a small way for all our good years there. BLongley 01:09, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Doc Savage double novel

I just came across mention of a Doc Savage double novel that isfdb does not have. It is mentioned in all 7 of the double novels that I have. It is "20 and 21 THE SECRET IN THE SKY and COLD DEATH" (as listed on the series listings page). I do not have this novel, but I have traced it to Alibris & I'm reluctant to add it since I don't actually own a copy. Should I go ahead and add it just for the basic details? Or should I let the isfdb bot add it? Or somebody else?--Astromath 01:56, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

You can add it yourself. Give all the details you're able to, but you must give the secondary source for your data in the record's Note field (not Note to Moderator field). And take precaution: the two sources you cite aren't considered among the reliable sources for publication data of books published more than a dozen or so years ago. Try OCLC. Mhhutchins 02:20, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
We should probably update our help with some warnings about the reliability of some secondary sources. (There's good reasons we don't include Amazon as a verification source!) I'm no longer quite sure about OCLC - after all, they link back to Amazon. But in this case, it seems to actually be available to buy (always a good sign - though if there aren't many copies on sale it's probably worth checking with the dealer(s) to see if they REALLY have it. Don't actually buy it needlessly though.) I'd actually be more convinced by the 7 double novels you actually have that reference it - but you don't mention whether they're actually mentioning it as a past publication or a forthcoming one. So, at worst, it would be worth entering here as an 8888-00-00 ("unpublished") or an 0000-00-00 ("unknown date") publication. BLongley 02:54, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
It is listed as past publication. In fact, I have the last volume of that series and it lists it as a past publication.
I have a separate question: shouldn't the "/" be replaced with "and" in the titles? All 7 of my novels use the word "and" on the title page. Just asking.--Astromath 03:03, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Always use the title page title if you're working from a primary source. If you're working from a secondary source, try to get more than one in order to get a consensus. According to the OCLC record, it's an "and". Mhhutchins 03:26, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I might add: the publication record's title field doesn't necessarily have to be an exact match of the title record's title field. If you're adding a new publication (simultaneously creating both a new publication record and a new title record), they will match. Mhhutchins 03:28, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Time for even more mods?

I see the submission queue is getting rather long again. I think part of the problem is that we're now doing so much more non-English work, so a lot of our current mods are not actually qualified to deal with them. They may even be ignoring certain editors on the grounds of different languages - e.g. I just approved two Dirk P Broer submissions that were no-brainers, and I don't have any skills in his native language. Obviously we are going to have to be slightly more careful about choosing specialist mods - we don't want anyone to sneak up to mod-level then start using us as an Arabic porn-site for instance - but I think I see a backlog that can only be cured by new mods. Discuss! BLongley 10:31, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I do think it would be good to have new moderators, only there aren't that many I can think of. Dirk comes to my mind as possible candidate, he really did some more work than just updating authors in the last few months, and my impression is that maybe MLB is near the portal (but I can't decide if he's ante or post it). Maybe BarbaraBungalow isn't too far from it, also? Stonecreek 14:33, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree Dirk is probably ready, do you want to start the process? First step is to make sure he WANTS to be a mod. I've known people turn down the opportunity before - maybe through a lack of confidence, or the thought that once you're a mod you'll be left on your own to deal with things: I hope nobody thinks that's true, we still support each other don't we? BLongley 16:17, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
At the moment the queue looks worse than it actually is since it contains a significant number of my pseudo-Fixer submissions. I will be working on them later today now that I have found the faulty cable and straightened out my internet connectivity.
In general, as the number of contributors grows, the average number of outstanding submissions in the queue is liable to grow as well, but I would only start worrying about it if there is a significant number of "stale" submissions older than 12-36 hours. Or if moderators report overload, of course. Ahasuerus 17:05, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Do you think we need better guidelines on approving another mod's work? Since you took back Fixer to your own account I've stopped modding them, whereas there are times when I quite like to get my teeth stuck into some stuff I'd never have found by myself. BLongley 17:11, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
As of a few patches ago, it's no longer possible to approve other moderators' submission. However, Fixer's submissions will be making a triumphant return in the not too distant future (once I finish some software improvements.) Ahasuerus 17:17, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
You'd better check the logic - the two submissions I'd left in the queue for me to follow up on have both been approved by another Mod. Fortunately, I can recall what titles were involved as I also left the physical copies on top of my scanner. BLongley 08:28, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the list of Recent Integrations shows that Michael approved "Fantasy Newsletter, No. 28" and "Fantasy Newsletter, No. 29" yesterday night. I will ask him how he did it -- it's possible to get to another mod's submission by manipulating URLs. Ahasuerus 17:57, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I must have missed that patch (maybe it was while I was in hospital?) and am not sure I approve of it. (No pun intended.) What happens when a mod goes inactive on the rest of us? E.g. Pips55 has some of the stalest submissions around, and frankly that's a cause for concern. BLongley 17:32, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
This sounds a little disturbing. Not actually being a moderator, I cannot say I am up on all the latest moderation policies but frankly if I were a moderator I would rather have another moderator look at my submissions. Methinks we could all do with another set of eyes and thoughts. I am not saying that is necessarily appropriate for everything submitted but I find it odd to require moderators to moderate themselves in every situation. Perhaps I should make another account if I was ever nominated for modertatorship and make submissions from there if I want someone else to look at them (I have considered such for a bot anyway). Uzume 13:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd quite like to encourage Mods to help other Mods, but it might be best to have two types of submission - normal, that any mod can approve, or 'reserved' where the submitter intends to follow up. For instance, the two outstanding changes I've got in the queue look like simple Cover uploads, but I intend to check why those two issues seem so much shorter on the number of reviews. BLongley 14:29, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps a good method would be to have two methods for moderators. First the original returns where a moderator can make submissions that can be moderated by any other moderator. Next a new method to make a submission and automatically place it on your own hold list so that in this case your submissions are automatically held by you so other moderators would not try stepping on you when doing some project or similar. Uzume 15:34, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
In the past, we had problems with moderators accidentally approving other moderators' submissions and also creating messes when trying to 'help' other mods. For these reasons the ability to approve other mods' submissions won't be making a return unless there is a groundswell of support for the feature AND we implement some kind of "opt in" flag similar to the one described above. Ahasuerus 22:14, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
We could probably use a lot of existing functionality here. Just allow Mods to choose 'Submit' or 'Submit and Hold' options. The former are fair game for any other Mod, the latter is automatically restricted to the Mod submitting it. BLongley 23:59, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
As a work around, moderator's submissions could be made to always be submitted on hold to themselves then they would be visible to all moderators and a moderator could remove the hold if they wanted supervision on some submissions. Uzume 19:08, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I think that is less optimal than my solution. With mine, there's no need for a second step to release the hold. Mods can choose one button or the other, and even the most unpredictable of mods shouldn't get it wrong very often. BLongley 21:15, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
That is why I called it a work-around. What I described might be easier to with the current code but it not really an optimal solution (which is more along the lines of what you describe). My point was to attempt a quicker reversion to previous usage without moderators stepping on one another (which was the impetus for the change to begin with). Uzume 04:25, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
That said, it would be fairly easy to make other mods' submissions visible (but not approvable) by all moderators. Ahasuerus 22:14, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Count me in as a supporter for that. BLongley 23:59, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Meanwhile, while I think of it before I go for something to eat, can I point out that SFJuggler is coming on nicely, and Paul-Heinz Linckens looks VERY promising to me. BLongley 17:36, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
If a moderator becomes inactive, his submissions can be accessed by other moderators by manipulating URLs. The primary intent of the change was to prevent accidental approval of other mods' submissions, which has caused problems in the past. Ahasuerus 17:41, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
To answer the original question: no. There are currently only 10 submissions in the queue by non-mod editors. There have been times in the past couple of months when there were upwards of 200 submissions, when I was the only moderator working on them while other moderators worked on personal projects. (Adding to the length of the queue is my refusal to work on one particular editor's submissions. Thanks for handling those, Marty. There's another one whom I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with, but at least that one eventually gets the point.)
I've not moderated anything but my own submissions in the past few days because of a personal project, which usually results in the queue building up. As for the list of possible moderator candidates presented here, there's only one who might be close to eligibility, but someone would have to present a strong case even for that one. Mhhutchins 18:18, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Marion Zimmer Bradley question

In the middle of a bibliographic project and using the ISFDB as a resource, I noticed that "Ancestors of Avalon", by Bradley and Paxon, appears on Paxon's page but not on Bradley's. Shouldn't it be on both? Mike Christie (talk) 01:47, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

It was written solely by Paxson and credited to both only in the UK editions (for obvious commercial reasons), so a variant was created for the UK title record. The software displays all variants on the page of the parent record, which is credited only to Paxson. So the title wouldn't appear on Bradley's page, because she didn't write it, regardless of the publication credit given in the UK. Mhhutchins 20:35, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Got it. Thanks for the explanation. Mike Christie (talk) 01:48, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Remaining space on the ISFDB server

I'd read something recently on one of the talk pages (heaven knows I can't find it now) about how we're fast approaching the limits to the available space for our website. Did I misunderstand, or is this true? Mhhutchins 20:31, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

We are currently using 20 GB out of the 40GB that we have. At the rate we are adding cover scans, we may need to get additional space in another year or three, but it's not a concern at the moment. However, it means that we shouldn't be uploading large (multi-MB) files to the server since they can add up quickly. Ahasuerus 20:37, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I've been keeping an eye on the image files and with few exceptions they've been kept under 150kb. Should we consider lowering this? A bigger problem seems to be that when a file is replaced, the previous file remains on the server and has to be deleted manually. This is fine for those moderators who upload replacements and are aware of the situation and remembers to delete the old file (at the moment I know that Bluesman and I are the mods who are doing this). But when a non-moderating editor replaces an image, they may be aware that there's a preexisting one but are not in a position to delete the old one. Is there a way to flag such files so that a moderator can go back and delete the old one? I wouldn't want this deletion to happen automatically, because occasionally an editor replaces the wrong file. But I would like to be able, during quiet times, to go through these replaced images and either revert the change or delete them. This should free up a substantial amount of space. Mhhutchins 20:47, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I think 150Kb is fine for now. I can relatively easily identify all files that exceed this (or any other) limit and we can shrink them if needed. For example, is 1.3MB in size, a prime candidate. Ahasuerus 21:23, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Damn! How did something that big even get on the server??? Talk about disregarding warnings! Mhhutchins 21:28, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I suppose uploading can get repetitive and tiresome and when people are tired, they make mistakes... Ahasuerus 02:31, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
If you can make a list of these files (say, over 250kb), I can take a look at them, and shrink them if necessary.
Yes, it's doable. Here is a quick list of the worst offenders, i.e. 1MB+ files:
  • 1.4M MNDFLGHTQB2009.jpg
  • 1.2M PIDFPBEJDR9609a.png
  • 1.6M Oscar.jpg
  • 1.3M SBLJRRBNWX1978.jpg
Ahasuerus 02:31, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Is it possible to get a list of replaced files as well? Thanks. Mhhutchins 21:28, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I believe so, but I'll have to look into the way the software stores replaced files. In general, the MediaWiki application doesn't delete anything, it just moves files to special ("deleted" and "archive") directory trees which are normally invisible to users. If we start running really low on space, I can zip them up, download the resulting archive and burn it on a CD/DVD, but we are OK for now. Ahasuerus 02:31, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Another question about "exact matches"

Re: Doctor Who Target Novelizations Shouldn't this series be renamed to "Doctor Who Library"? All of the novels I own have the following on the title page: "Number x in the Doctor Who Library"; where "x" is the series number.--Astromath 01:12, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't recall it being in the first editions of earlier titles, but I couldn't tell you offhand when it changed. And the Target versions should probably be a publication series, even though we have 6 different versions of the Target publisher name. BLongley 01:36, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Too bad there isn't a way to add notes to a series record for this kind of stuff.--Astromath 01:44, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
There is a FR to add a Notes field to Series records. Probably another couple of months out, though. Ahasuerus 02:15, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Laumer/Knight of Delusions

I was about to submit a change for this title to "Knight of Delusions (novel)", with this justification: "The history is complicated: Night of Delusions is the first version of this novel, and it was retitled "Knight of Delusions" for 1982 publication, which was in a collection titled "Knight of Delusions". The collection and the novel need to be distinguished, but "rev 1982" is not a good way to do it because there is no other version of the novel with that title."

However, I'm wondering if there's any disambiguation needed in the title at all, since they're of different types. Can't they both just be "Knight of Delusions"? Mike Christie (talk) 17:06, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

There shouldn't be any disambiguation at all according to the ISFDB standards. When a work is revised, but keeps the same title and author credit, it's not supposed to be varianted, only noted in the title record's Note field. But in this case, the titles are different, so a variant has been made, which means that it's unnecessary for the "rev 1982" disambiguation. I'll remove it and record that it's revised in the Note field.
And if a collection and a novel have the same name, just the type itself should be sufficient to keep them separate, with perhaps a note of warning for editors not to mistakenly merge the two records (although I believe the logic has been fixed so that there's no "auto" matching of these title records when the "Check for Duplicate Titles" function is used.) Mhhutchins 17:55, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation; if I see another like this I'll know what to do with it. Mike Christie (talk) 18:06, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Duplicate Finder logic refinements

The Duplicate Finder logic has been enhanced not to report VTs as potential duplicates of their parents. In addition, a new column, Storylen, has been added to the page in order to help with disambiguation. Ahasuerus 04:38, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Tag search enhancements

The Tag Search logic has been tweaked. Tags are now displayed alphabetically and the internal tag number is no longer displayed. Each tag is hyper-linked to go directly to the individual tag page. In addition, the Publication Month search page (as well as the Forthcoming Books page, which uses the same format) has been changed to display magazine tags, which were previously ignored. Ahasuerus 04:53, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

User pic

FR 3601975 reads "User pics? Like author pictures, only for Editors rather than authors?". Unfortunately, the user who created the FR hadn't logged in, so s/he won't be getting an e-mail notification when I respond on SourceForge. Since the question may be of interest to other editors as well, I will post my answer here:

"There is no need to modify the ISFDB software to support this functionality: User pics can be hosted on a third party server and then linked from the User page."

Ahasuerus 05:03, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

It is even easier to just upload them to the wiki since the wiki has that functionality built in. If that's something we don't wish to use wiki resources on, then probably should have that discussion as I've already seen an editor page that has done that. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:00, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Since our disk space is limited, I'd rather not encourage users to upload personal images to the Wiki. A few dozen images won't make a difference, but if even a few people start using the Wiki as a general purpose image repository, we can quickly run out. Ahasuerus 20:18, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Possible brief service interruption

A new patch is about to be installed and it may result in strange display errors for the next few minutes. I will disable editing until the patch has run its course. I will post again when we are back to normal. Ahasuerus 04:32, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

The patch has been installed and we are back to normal. I will be posting the patch notes shortly. Ahasuerus 04:35, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Award and biblio warnings changes (patch r2013-29)

Patch r2013-29 has made the following changes to the software:

  • The Award Bibliography page has been cleaned up to display the year and the name of the award more consistently and cleanly, e.g. here is what Heinlein's award page looks like now.
  • The "Awards" section of the Title page has been cleaned up as well -- see Stranger in a Strange Land for an example.
  • Bibliographic warnings are no longer displayed for ebooks missing ISBNs and/or page counts.

As is often the case, the changes were more wide-ranging than they may appear, so if you see any odd behavior, please report it here. Ahasuerus 04:58, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

It turns out that the patch introduced a bug in the process of moderator approval of Award Edit and Award Delete submissions. The bug has been fixed. Ahasuerus 23:59, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Publication Listing changes (patch r2013-30)

As per FR 2909643, INTERIORART and letters are now indented on the Publication Listing page, e.g. see Startling Stories, March 1948.

However, now that I am looking at the results, I don't like the fact that individual titles are staggered because page numbers can be anywhere between 1 and 3 characters in length. I'll try to get them to line up properly tomorrow. Ahasuerus 07:22, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Still looks good, but I can see where the transition from 1 to 2 digit numbered pages, and from 2 to 3 digits can cause some display problems. Mhhutchins 07:51, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
I like it now and will like it even better, when the fix is installed! Thanks, Ahasuerus. Stonecreek 08:59, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
It turns out that it's not quite as simple as I hoped it would be. I had to convert the Contents section to a border-less table and then tweak it to look like a list, but it caused some other problems. I'll put it on the back burner for now. Ahasuerus 23:29, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Self-referential series no longer allowed (patch r2013-33)

As per Bug 3598815, Series Editor no longer lets you enter the name of the current series as its own parent, which was known to cause an infinite loop. Ahasuerus 06:26, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

This should probably go one step further and totally disallow such loops by walking up the series specified to check if the current series is the same as or the parent of any series specified as a parent. Uzume 12:53, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Award navigation enhancements (patch r2013-34)

The Award Bibliography page has been enhanced to display a matrix of all years when the currently displayed award was given. See this page for an example. Ahasuerus 20:53, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Nominating Dwarzel (Desmond Warzel) for moderatorship

Nomination Statement

I nominate Desmond Warzel (Dwarzel) for moderatorship, and he has accepted the nomination. In more than four years as an editor, he has made over 4000 contributions, and honestly, at this point accepting his submissions has become ridiculously easy. Moreover, he has excellent communication skills, responding fast to every message on his talk page (it's amazing how few messages were necessary for that number of years and submissions), and agreeably putting up with all of the nonsense I've thrown at him. (Give him a medal!) Desmond specializes in small press publications and podcasts, but in that area, he's learned all the skills necessary to become a moderator: merging and varianting title records, adding and updating pub records, working with series, and pretty much anything that can be tossed in his direction. Hopefully with this position, he'll be a more active participant in policy and rules discussions, but that's never disqualified many current moderators. (That's a joke in case anyone can't detect the tone in my words.) I think Desmond will make an excellent addition to the moderating team.


  • Support, as nominator. Mhhutchins 22:53, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Ahasuerus 23:01, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. MartyD 00:47, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Rudam 09:36, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. --Willem H. 09:46, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Hauck 11:30, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:11, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support --~ Bill, Bluesman 17:19, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. PeteYoung 04:25, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. BLongley 21:21, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Stonecreek 09:38, 13 February 2013 (UTC)



Outcome The nomination was successful (closing it a few hours early since I may be gone for a day or two.) Congratulations, Desmond! Ahasuerus 15:39, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Further award tweaking (patch r2013-36)

The annual Award page has been changed to display authors for title-based awards based on the title's current authors rather than on the authors as of the time when the award was entered. The page should also load slightly faster, although the difference won't be noticeable until we have a lot more awards (we have 32,794 award records at the moment.) Ahasuerus 05:14, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

New publisher fields?

A few months ago Darrah created FR 3523186, which reads:

  • As we get into more international publishers, it would be helpful to have regularized information about where a publisher is located. I request that we add a "Headquarters in" field to the Publisher record, as displayed in (for example) Companhia das Letras. While adding this field, I suggest also adding a "Founded in" field, or "Years of publications" fields, which are generally useful information, e.g. when a book is submitted with a year outside the expected range.

I have been thinking about this and I don't think a separate Headquarters field would be feasible. Small presses move all the time (as their owners move from place to place) and even larger companies have been known to move more than once during their lifetimes. Besides, larger companies can have more than one HQs. The current practice is to state (in Notes) where the publisher was based as of a certain date and it seems like the best we can realistically do. "Founded in" may be more feasible, but I am not sure how useful it would be.

As far as "Years of Publication" goes, I can see how a field like that could be used to check new pubs to determine if the submitted year falls outside of the previously established range. We'd probably implement it as two separate fields, but we can figure out the details later.

Thoughts? Ahasuerus 01:16, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

I agree that adding a place of publication is not feasible. And I can't think of any other reason for the "Years of Publication" feature other than as a warning for moderators (like the "Unknown Publisher" warning now). Figuring out that range should be fairly easy for the major publishers, but I can't see how it could be done (or why it needs to be done) for publishers with less than a hundred records in the database. The bigger question though is why should it be a field? Couldn't that be done by the system rather than having any editor input? It would just be a matter of the system checking the publisher's records and a simple warning popping up saying "Date before (or after) the publisher's first (or last) known publication" or something like that. Mhhutchins 02:41, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I think there's value in recording the official publication date range on the publisher, to pick up existing problems. I wouldn't want us to have to rely on derived-from-Amazon-data dates. BLongley 21:19, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
And now that I think about it more, I really don't see much value returned for the effort involved in determining the "Years of Publication". The feature request doesn't offer a strong case for it. Mhhutchins 02:43, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, folks, I will record the feedback in the FR and lower its priority. Ahasuerus 00:10, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Image file limitations again

I'm not sure if it's a recent phenomenon, or just that I've been paying more attention to the uploaded file list (some newer editors are having unexpected difficulties with file uploads), but I've noticed a significant number of files being uploaded which exceed the stated standards of 600 pixels on the longest side. Most of these are being uploaded by veteran editors and moderators. I believe the original reason for limiting the size of the image was to bolster our claim of "Fair Use". I brought this up for discussion back in October, but nothing definitive was settled. At that time, all I wanted was for the warnings to at least match the stated standards. Only a few editors made a practice of exceeding the limits then, but I've seen others joining in. I think what may have caused this is the ability for some image software to produce larger images dimension-wise while keeping the size of the file relatively smaller (under the 150k limit) than they had to be in the past. If we can't police ourselves, perhaps it's time that the system be programmed, if possible, so that the standards are set and no file which exceeds those standards can be uploaded to the server. In the past we allowed exceptions for wraparound dustjackets, but I think many editors have used this exception for getting around the standards. I see no need whatsoever for the ISFDB to host cover images that are more than 600 pixels tall. If anyone can argue otherwise, I would like to hear it. Mhhutchins 03:19, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

No argument here, just a technical comment. The MediaWiki software (used for the Wiki and for the file uploads) only has built-in capability to warn about, and limit, uploaded file size. It does not have a capability to warn about image dimensions that I'm aware of. All of its dimension-related functionality pertains to how the image is rendered in the Wiki. --MartyD 11:45, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Argument - I believe that the internet has 'matured' as a medium over the last decade and particularly over the last many years (6?, 7?) since the ability to upload an image has been available. Simply put..... Absolutely everyone (Blogs, websites, fan sites, news articles, reviews, affiliate links, etc) uploads and hosts cover artwork these days. Any publisher stupid enough to complain about linked and titled cover artwork in the far (internet) past has been well educated as to the positive power of free publicity, regardless of the size or quality of the linked book image. I am aware of exactly 'zero' artists who are bothered or concerned by the proliferation of uploaded copies of complete cover art images of works that have been previously sold. Many I believe are ecstatic when they are properly attributed as the artist in reference, instead of merely noting the author or publisher). (I am not aware of anyone in particular but believe there are artists that have (and should) object to print ready, artwork files, without the Book cover text, title, blurb, logo overlay being applied - but plain artwork is not the question.) 'Cover Art' is the amalgamation of the artists underlying image or picture, and the publishers title layout. The question of 'Fair Use' of 'Cover Art' when referencing a published work has been asked and answered. The answer is 'yes'. Kevin 18:34, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I believe that we should drop all consideration of 'fair use' being the limiting factor in allowing upload (and storage and serving) of cover art images. The discussion/limitation should center on the requirements of storing and serving the files. Kevin 18:34, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
This post wasn't meant to turn into a Rules & Standards discussion. I wanted to know if there is a way that the wiki can limit uploads to the documented standards, whatever they are. (Marty, thank you.) If anyone believes we should change those standards, feel free to start such a topic on the appropriate page. Mhhutchins 20:57, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Search anomaly

Why do only Italian serials come up when I do a title search for "complete novel"? Mhhutchins 04:35, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

You are running into the 300 hit limit of the regular search. If you use Advanced Search and click Next Page a few times, you will see the rest of the matching titles around page 5+. The problem is that many Italian serials appear first when the software sorts by title, which, in turn, is caused by the fact that they contain a space as the title's first character. A data entry problem, I assume? Ahasuerus 05:30, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I did use the Advanced Search, but after the first 4 or 5 pages, I stopped looking. Looks like these records were all created by Bill Longley's Data Thief and he, or anyone else, noticed the leading space. Hope they can be fixed without updating each title record. Mhhutchins 05:37, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Unfortunately, browsers do a darn good job of hiding white space from users :-( And yes, it's possible to remove the leading spaces automatically -- let's see what Bill says. Ahasuerus 06:35, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I can't see any reason to keep a leading space in a title. And I think that if these had been entered via the manual user interface, leading and trailing spaces would have been silently trimmed away. We could probably do with adding that to the web API - but there's many things we need to do with that (eventually). I haven't yet managed to get a local implementation of the system to accept API submissions, has anyone else? BLongley 21:14, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, leading and trailing spaces are automatically removed when processing regular submissions. Unfortunately, most of our validation/cleanup occurs when submissions are built via the user-accessible front end, so robotic submissions do not go through the same process. It's on the list of things that we need to improve. Ahasuerus 00:30, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I believe the code current zaps spaces in the web editor before the submission is actually made and there are minimal checks on submissions actually made after that (via the API or otherwise). Since this is a purely mechanical thing, we might go so far as to bandage this going forward at moderation time when the submissions are applied and records are updated. Ideally such submissions should be rejected up front however. Uzume 12:45, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think leading white space is worth a rejection - new editors get disheartened pretty easily anyway, the more we can do to help the better. I've seen double spaces creep in, and those could be fixed silently. Now that we've standardised our ellipses, those could be auto-corrected too. I'd favour auto-correction with a notification to the user as to where they went wrong. BLongley 14:14, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I was thinking more auto-fixing at the editor level and rejecting at the actual submission level (where API submissions also exist). This keeps the submissions clean (and thereby easier for moderators) while still making the hurdles for editing easier. I called it a bandage to auto fix it at moderation because that might be easier for now versus fixing it in the editor. Uzume 15:38, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Just to clarify what I said above: all regular submissions already have leading and trailing spaces removed automatically (what Uzume called "auto-fixing") at the time the submission is created. It is a part of the standard validation/auto-correction process that handles all human-initiated submissions. Unfortunately, robotic submissions do not go through the same process at this time. What we need to do is to add the validation/auto-correction logic which is currently used to handle human-initiated submissions to the logic used to handle robotic submissions. How exactly we do it is a technical question and probably not something that we need to go into on the Community Portal. Ahasuerus 22:27, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
In the meantime, feel free to zap those spaces. BLongley 21:14, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Series for artwork?

Hello, I wonder if it's possible to create "series" for artwork. I have in mind Hunter's robot, for example, 61256 61127, etc. Thank you. ForJohnScalzi 01:00, 14 February 2013 (UTC).

My testing has shown that coverart records won't display the series on the artist's summary page. The software developers would have to make some underlying changes for it to be displayed. Mhhutchins 01:06, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the software has no concept of art series. There's no reason I'm aware of that would prevent us from making it display such things, if we thought it would be useful. We'd have to decide whether it's better to have one "Artwork Series" section or separate "Coverart Series" and "Interiorart Series" sections and, in the latter case, then what to do with a series having mixed types. I can experiment a little just to make sure it would work, but those records are titles just like everything else, so I'm pretty confident it would be fine. --MartyD 02:07, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure about general usefulness of such thing as art series:) If the defining characteristic of series is the subject matter then probably there will not be many. But those robot things by Hunter as so good - it's worth having art series just for them! ForJohnScalzi 02:15, 14 February 2013 (UTC).
I take back "not many". There would be things like Gaughan covers for Lensman, or D'Achille dragons of Pern. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by ForJohnScalzi (talkcontribs) .

Brief ISFDB downtime

I will be installing a fairly big patch later today and I will need to take the site down for about 5 minutes, so don't panic if you see an "ISFDB is unavailable" message :) Ahasuerus 17:08, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

The patch has been installed. I will be posting the patch notes shortly. Ahasuerus 01:22, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

What do you expect from Primary Verifications?

I've been reducing my collection a bit and so have been moving my Primary verifications to Primary (Transient). When this means that the FIRST Primary verification is gone, the pub no longer shows as [VERIFIED]. I think this is a fault, but want other peoples input before creating a Bug or Feature Request. There's actually a few questions here:

  1. Should a publication be shown as [VERIFIED] when there's only a Primary (Transient) Verification?
  2. Should a publication be shown as [VERIFIED] when a Primary 2, 3, 4 or 5 is present but no Primary 1?
  3. When removing a Primary Verification, should all the lower Primaries be moved up one position?
  4. Should the Verifier Name be shown on the Verification screen? I've had to go back and check which Primary I'd actually taken, I couldn't tell from the Verification screen alone. In the end I left a gap at Primary 3.

Answers to any or all the above would be appreciated. BLongley 22:25, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

I would answer "Yes" to all four questions. Mhhutchins 23:16, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Me too. We really need to redo verifications to be more in line with the rest of the software, though, and eliminate the limit on the number of primary verifiers. Ahasuerus 01:24, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed - verifications are a coding mess at present and need a lot of fixing in the long term. The above 4 suggestions could be added in a day though, plus testing time. I think they would be worthwhile as a short-term stopgap, but if you're not keen then I'll just plough on moving my verifications despite the misleading messages. I think I've probably got about a thousand verification changes to make though, which could disrupt displays quite nastily in the meantime. BLongley 02:38, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, if the changes turn out to be reasonably self-contained and do not take a great deal of time to test, I am sure I can squeeze them into my testing schedule. Ahasuerus 05:52, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Methinks the best solution would be to make a more generalized primary verification system that allows arbitrary number of primary verifications (instead of just 5; I know it would be nice to have my entire library verified but there are pubs that already have five so I cannot add such). And further with such a system have a means of setting whether one wants to "own" and be notified of changes to the record. If not this would be like our current "transient" primary. If one does want to "own" a record then this could be handled like current normal primaries are now. Uzume 12:36, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, in the long term we will want unlimited primary and transient verifications. But then we have to consider suppressing the full list of verifiers to keep pages manageable. We should probably separate Secondary sources from Primary sources - at present any mod can add a few more primary slots but the "[VERIFIED]" code won't be able to detect them. The whole system is broken as we don't use the Primary Key for a source, we use the position in the list of all sources - a big Relational No-No. We should be able to automate "N/A" entries by date of publication compared with the known date-span of Secondary Sources. I added "My Verifications" so that people could generate a list of most of their collection, but as you point out, 5 isn't enough. There's a lot to do, and it doesn't seem high priority, which is why I'm suggesting some small quick fixes in the meantime. BLongley 14:05, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
BTW, we already have FR 3312724, which reads "It would be useful to at least display some skeletal information about the pub on this [Verify Publication] page". Ahasuerus 02:16, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Easily doable, if the requirements are made a little clearer. I'm not sure of the connection between osteopathy and bibliography though. Is this a Spine question? As most Books have them and most Magazines don't. Do we need to add a "vertebrate" flag? ;-) BLongley 06:18, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
You can be very funny, Bill. Uzume 19:12, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

(Unindent) I've submitted changes for 1, 2 and 4. I looked at 3 but a) it wasn't as easy as I expected and b) it doesn't seem really necessary after 1 and 2. So if somebody prefers to take the Primary 5 slot each time even if earlier primaries are blank, they can continue to do so. The long term solution will probably remove fixed numbers anyway. BLongley 20:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks--that will go a long ways until the proper fix can be made. Uzume 02:54, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Award enhancements (patch 2013-42)

Additional award enhancements have been implemented. There is a new "Award Overview" page which is meant to display award-specific information which was previously only available in the Wiki. The new fields displayed on this page are: Webpage(s), Wikipedia Entry and Notes. The page also lists all years when the award was given (hyper-linked) and all categories that have ever been used by the current award (not hyper-linked yet). Overview pages can be accessed from annual award pages and I plan to link them from author-specific award pages in the next patch. Moderators can edit this information via the "Edit This Award Type" option in the navigation bar on the left.

The next step is to move the data that we have on the Wiki Awards page to individual overview pages. I have done the first two (Analog and Prix Apollo) -- calling for volunteers to do the remaining 50ish awards. I would estimate that it takes no more than 5 minutes to move the data for one award. I am thinking that we may want to leave the "Status" information on the Wiki page, but that's debatable.Ahasuerus 01:48, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

I've copied all the Wikipedia and web pages over, although there'll be at least four more to do when we separate the Heinlein/Bradbury/Norton/Atheling awards. Notes not done yet, as some of them will need rewriting after the separations. BLongley 20:37, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Bill, appreciate the effort! I will be adding a new field, "Description", to the Award Types table shortly. Well, shortly after I finish sorting out the changes that you have committed over the last couple of days :) Ahasuerus 23:16, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Once all data has been migrated, I will change the "Awards" link in the navigation bar to point to a new "award directory" page. It will be similar to our author directory page except that it will consist of just one page since we don't have that many awards.

As is always the case with big patches, new bugs are fairly likely. Please report any irregular behavior here. TIA! Ahasuerus 01:48, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Patch r2013-43 has been installed. The award list on the Award Biblio page has been converted to a table -- see Ellison's, Simak's and Heinlein's pages for examples of what the new layout looks like. As mentioned earlier, the links in the "Year" column take you to individual award years and the links in the "Award" column take you to their respective Overview pages. Ahasuerus 05:51, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I have seen you doing some significant work on award code lately. I find that interesting since awards were sort of originally Al's thing and how ISFDB got started. Uzume 12:38, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
When we started working on ISFDB back in 1995, it wasn't clear that we would be able to cover all SF-flavored pubs. Award-winning titles seemed like a good starting point since their inclusion guaranteed that we would at least cover the core works. Of course, we ended up cataloging a lot more than that.
When the conversion from ISFDB 1.0 to ISFDB 2.0 occurred in 2005-2006, awards were the last thing to get converted. Unfortunately, Al never had enough time to finalize the awards-related code, so it remains the least polished part of the software. Bill started working on awards in mid-2010 and I finally got to test/implement his changes in late 2012, which led to more enhancements coded and deployed in January/February 2013. There is still a fair amount of work that needs to be done in this area (award levels are a mess and award categories need to be changed), but we are getting there. Ahasuerus 20:54, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Methinks I asked this before but evidently I did not fully grasp it. So we moved from ISFDB 1.0 (I believe a C/C++ type of implementation as memory serves) to 2.0 (something akin to and the base of the current Python). So tell me again what does "ISFDB Engine - Version 4.00 (04/24/06)" mean? It says "06" so still 2006 time frame to I assume this is still some version of 2 but perhaps this could be interpreted as some sort of 2.4.0 perhaps? It may also be some sort of reference to some other version like DB version (which from the same says 'SCHEMA_VER = "0.02"'). And of course we have gone beyond that with a joint SF CVS repository and continuous (albeit perhaps some what slow) development over the years. I am just trying to figure out that the "four" in the engine means/meant with respect to the current "two" code base. Uzume 21:04, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
No idea, I am afraid. Perhaps Al still remembers the gory details. Ahasuerus 23:52, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I started to work on Awards after Darrah expressed interest in adding some new awards. Ahasuerus seems to have taken it even further, and I must check it out to see if any of my fixes are actually in there! BLongley 14:09, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
All but one of your changes, Bill, have been implemented, although they had to be adjusted to work with the rest of the changes. The one change that was not implemented had to do with adding Award Types -- the approach that I ended up taking was completely different, so your code couldn't be reconciled with it. Still, about 85% of your changes went in after massaging/rewriting, not a bad batting average. Ahasuerus 20:47, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Not bad at all, considering the vague or non-existent design specifications! I expected far lower, considering I'm now working for another developer/designer rather than being the lead developer/designer/despot as I had been for the last decade of my paid career. I've just submitted a small change to see if I can remember the processes - I spent longer on documentation than on the fix itself, which probably indicates we have some robust checks in place. BLongley 23:52, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Exotic Gothic 4

I have a problem like #Books belonging to more than one series. where I want to add "Exotic Gothic 4" to the Exotic Gothic title/work series but that breaks the Postscripts series as "Exotic Gothic 4" cannot be in more than one series. Now it is true that the Postscripts series is really a pub series and not a title/work series, however, this is further complicated by the fact that Postscripts was a magazine now turned anthology pub series. This furthers my assertion that magazines/fanzines should be pub series and not title/work series (we could still have editorial title/work series but they would not have to cover the entire magazine necessarily; multiple pub series could handle reissue/reprints). Currently the magazine issue grids are sort of hackishly implemented to find the pubs within a title/work series. A similar pub series issue grid would be simpler and much more useful. Anyway, short of software and policy changes, any ideas on how to handle this? Thanks. Uzume 13:35, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

I would argue with the statement "that the Postscripts series is really a pub series and not a title/work series". If that were true then no anthology series could be considered a title series. And since publication series can't be displayed on an author's summary page (only titles [works] are displayed, not publications), then, for example, all of the fifty + anthologies currently displayed on Terry Carr's summary page in series would be distributed chronologically among other nonseries anthologies which he edited. This would be far less useful than having them displayed as title series. There are more or less extreme cases than Carr's, but this is a good reason to keep anthologies in title series.
Also, it's not true that "the magazine issue grids are sort of hackishly implemented to find the pubs within a title/work series". They work only by placing editor records into an editor series and have nothing to do with title series. If an editor record is not placed into an editor series, it will not appear on the magazine grid. (These editor series are displayed on the editor's summary pages as "Magazine Editor Series".) Mhhutchins 15:57, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Michael with one caveat: when a series contains both EDITOR and ANTHOLOGY records, the grid logic will display all pubs associated with both types of records, which is what is happening in this case. If the result doesn't look right, you can always create two separate series, one for the magazine version and another for the anthology version and then put them in a super-series. Or we could easily change the grid logic to ignore all non-EDITOR titles in the series. Ahasuerus 22:45, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I am aware of how the issue grid logic works and that is why I said it was sort of hackishly implemented to link to pubs that have title records (albeit usually editor title records) within the same title/works series. As far as I know there is no restriction on title type or pub type shown within an issue grid (though I would have to check the code again to be sure). I believe the link to the issue grid is only shown/listed when on a title/works series that contains editor title records (though it is not hard to construct the URL for an issue grid on any title/works series--even ones that contain no editor title records) and on pub records magazine pub records that have editor titles in a series. This is as opposed to pub series which are linked on the publisher, individual pub records and title records listed pubs within such a series. In a similar vein title/works series links are present on author/editor records and individual title records. Uzume 19:54, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I beg to differ. My point was not that all anthologies should be pub series but that Postscripts should be. Mike, what makes you believe my assertion that Postscripts should be a pub series implies all anthology series should be? That seems a rather large leap as I see it. Uzume 19:34, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
You're correct. It was not a clearly logical leap. But the matter-of-fact delivery of the statement that Postscripts is "really a pub series and not a title/work series" led me to make that leap. I will reassert my belief that Postscripts is not a publication series. If one were to believe that then the next logical step is to believe that all similar anthology series would be publication series. What makes this series any different than Universe, New Dimensions, Orbit, or hundreds of other anthology series? None of the volumes in these series have any connection other than the editor and the series name. If Postscripts were a publication series, what would keep another editor from making the logical decision, based on the precedent, to change other anthology series into publication series? Why wouldn't Exotic Gothic also be considered a publication series by this same logic? What would each volume in this series have in common other than their "exotic gothic-ness"? BTW, having the same publisher doesn't make a series into a publication series. There are many publication series which have jumped publisher. When this type of series was created we chose not to use the term "publisher series" for that very reason. Mhhutchins 21:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
You make a valid point that pub series can and do jump publishers (usually following an editor and/or change of the hands of an imprint). I suppose it is sometimes a fine line as to what makes a series a pub series vs. an editorial series (be it magazine, anthology, or other editorial work). Uzume 02:50, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I am not sure why whenever I suggest something be a pub series I get such a major push back and words like "convert" appear. I was never suggesting editorial records (and series) should go away (in fact they should stay) but rather that a series of pubs should be handled as a pub series--why does that have to be so complicated? I would like to see the issue grids converted to use pub series. I really do not understand why that appears to imply that any (editorial) title/works series would go away. I would in fact advocate that several of the existing pub series probably need more in the way of editorial records (someone had to put the pub series together--they should get their credit and blame). Uzume 14:37, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
A "major push back"? It's just one editor speaking to another. Unless you're conferring more power on me than I have, I wouldn't consider this conversation "major" at all. And no one has gotten close to saying that you were "suggesting editorial records (and series) should go away". I've looked back over what I said and there's no such accusation (and I never used the word "convert".) Perhaps we're both guilty of misinterpreting the other's words. I'm prepared to end the discussion as it seems now we're just going in circles. Mhhutchins 18:07, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Well I did not mean just this incident but I shall grant you we have probably misread one another several times in the past. Uzume 20:17, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
In fact the point that I wanted to put this anthology into the Exotic Gothic title/works series goes exactly against that "leap" so that was definitely not my case. My argument that Postscripts should be a pub series stems from the point it has several editors and the series is really only bound together by the publisher PS Publishing. Exotic Gothic on the other hand is an anthology series bound by a single editor Danel Olson across publishers. It is true a pub series does not show up as a series on author/editor pages but the same case could be made for title/works series not showing up on publisher pages. I believe Postscripts would be better off being a series on PS Publishing, than on editors: Peter Crowther, Nick Gevers, and Danel Olson. I can see how that could be argued against but that was my initial assertion not that all anthology series should be pub series. Oh and by the way, editor records are a type of title record so editor series are title/works series. In fact as far as the database and code is concerned there is no such thing as an editor series. It is only a title/works series that may happen to only contain editor title records. Uzume 19:34, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
If you were aware of this, then you should have referred to this "type of title record" by its given name: editor record. It would not have added to my confusion over the point you were trying to make. I don't know anything about the underlying code, but only what each record is called in the daily communication among editors. Mhhutchins 21:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I did not mean to assume certain information of the reader of my comment but obviously I did. It can be clearly seen via URLs which records are title/works records and series vs. pub records and pub series. Even magazine (and anthology, etc.) editor records are listed under title.cgi. Their correlated series are listed under pe.cgi like all other title/works series (albeit issue grids under seriesgrid.cgi are also commonly used for these). I am surprised you have not noticed this. Uzume 02:50, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Now who's jumping to an unsubstantiated conclusion? Just because I don't know code doesn't mean I can't read a URL. I only wanted to point out that on this wiki in discussions we try to differentiate each of the different types of records, and this one is an EDITOR record. We don't call it a "title" record. The same situation with INTERIORART, COVERART or ESSAY records. Yes, they're all "title" records, but when we talk about them, we refer to the type of record. I was wrong in assuming your reference to "title" didn't include editor records. And for that I apologize. Mhhutchins 18:07, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Well I do not feel slighted and do not feel I need an apology. You expressed some lack of knowledge in an area and I was just trying to communicate to make sure we are "on the same page". I know you have much more experience in bibliographic work here than I and frankly it shows and I am pleased to get you help. I freely admit an interest in spec-fict bibliography but also a stronger interest in the code and development here. Uzume 04:18, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Back to the original problem: changing the database's ability to place a title record into two different title series would solve the problem. How that's done is beyond me, but I believe it's doable. Mhhutchins 15:57, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that would be FR 3600743. Ahasuerus 22:45, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
So what is the suggestion during the interim when we do not have such functionality? Thanks. Uzume 19:34, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Enter the record, title or editor, into one series and note the work's apparent placement in another series. That seems logical to me. Mhhutchins 21:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I was going to suggest something along the lines of using a title variant but that breaks the invariant assertion of keeping variant titles out of title/works series (for which there is a cleanup script to find such things I believe). I shall just have to place a note on the title and/or pub record--thank you. Uzume 02:50, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Poll winners now bolded (patch r2013-44)

Poll-based awards have been fixed to display their relative poll position rather than the word "nomination" (a bug introduced in r2013-43.) In addition poll winners now appear in bold on the Award Bibliography page. Ahasuerus 00:50, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Verification changes (patch r2013-45)

The Title page has been changed to show pubs as verified if at least one of their 5 "Primary" verifications -- or the "Transient Primary" verification -- has been done. Ahasuerus 02:08, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

P.S. Bill, your submitted code had some detritus from older versions of the software, so you may want to do a refresh. Ahasuerus 02:08, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Wow! If we could implement all changes that fast, we'd clear the Sourceforge lists within a month! I will look into refreshing, but I have got several branches of coding that I don't want to lose - e.g. "Sourcing made simple', "Unmerge Foreign Titles" et cetera, so I want to be careful about changes till we're more aligned. When I've caught up, I can strip this PC down and give it to my parents as an upgrade for them, while I move to my newer Windows 7 machine. BLongley 03:31, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, yes, if all changes were one liners, I am sure we could implement them very quickly :) However, consider what I had to do with this (effectively one line) change:
  • Identified a collision between your change and the changes that I was working on at the same time and resolved it.
  • Found the previously mentioned extra code which was accidentally committed because your development environment was out of sync with the repository and removed it.
  • Tested the new code and found a bug -- the code was displaying the word VERIFIED once per verification, so it could be displayed anywhere between 1 and 6 times per publication. Fixed the bug.
  • Ran some searches and discovered that the exact same code already existed in our standard SQL library. Replaced your code with a call to the library, tested again, updated version numbers, committed, tagged, deployed, updated SourceForge, etc.
Granted, it was an outlier, but that's a lot of things that could (and did) go wrong with a one line change! Ahasuerus 04:49, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, CVS is supposed to help with point one and maybe point two. Point three was my fault - glad to see the Testing process caught it. Point four is one of the bigger problems - a centralised SQL library is no doubt a good thing, but it increases the number of conflicts when you have multiple developers. Fortunately there seem to be only the two of us at present. I've added another quick fix - I can see already that it doesn't quite do what I said it would, the scope has accidentally got wider, but hopefully not in a bad way. When we get back to big changes like additional columns on tables, then there's a lot of help and documentation that need to be part of the process - coding can be as low as 10% of all the editing required! BLongley 05:59, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
CVS did catch point one, but it didn't catch point two, presumably because your version of the software had been modified to change CVS version numbers. It's easy enough to do if you start manipulating your files using OS (rather than native CVS) commands. That's why I think it would be beneficial to back up your copy of the software and then do a complete refresh.
As far as point 3 goes, bugs happen, nothing to worry about. Re: point 4, we already had a function in the SQL library to do what the FR called for, so no changes to the library were required. Copying that code to the main script meant code duplication and, as we discussed earlier, that's no longer allowed -- I am trying to eliminate code duplication, centralize all database access points in the SQL library, then move all library access points to classes. And then relax and take a day off :-) Ahasuerus 19:33, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I have some outstanding unfinished patches that I have had to keep merging to sync up with the newer swifter changes of late. I should get some time to get ahead and actually check them in however. Uzume 20:15, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Summary/Award/Alphabetical/Chronological bibliographies inter-linked

As per FR 2855260, the four Author Bibliography pages are now inter-linked at the top of each page. The functionally identical section of the navigation bar has been removed. I am not much of a UI person (being color-blind and all), so all and any suggestions re: improving the look and feel of the links would be more than welcome. Ahasuerus 04:34, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

And as an added bonus, the Awards page now handles pseudonyms correctly. Ahasuerus 05:15, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Nice. Small suggestion: I think it would look better left-justified instead of centered. Especially on a relatively empty page. See, for example, this. --MartyD 13:38, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Easy enough to do, but now that I have slept on it, I wonder if we really need to display the "Other views of this author's bibliography" line for pseudonyms? Ahasuerus 19:26, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I was going to suggest that the "other views" not be displayed for "pure pseudonyms", i.e. those that have no independent titles. Chavey 20:57, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I think the new display over-uses the BOLD font. I'm not sure how often the other displays are used - I remember telling swfritter about the chronological option that he'd overlooked for several years. Award links are probably worth the emphasis now we're getting close to full usability. BLongley 21:09, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

(unindent) OK, the "other views" line has been left justified and shortened. Also, it no longer appears on "pure pseudonym" pages.

As far as the use of bolding (actually "h3") goes, well, the reason why the "other" biblios have largely unknown is that you couldn't find them easily. We'll see how much use they will see now that users can actually get to them. Ahasuerus 04:21, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Do we actually have any way to check they're being used? On an edit page, we can see if somebody submits something, but for plain viewing I don't think we can do much except check the Apache logs (if enough detail is set for collection). Do you ever check those? BLongley 11:08, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I imagine the raw web server logs have a lot of noise in them and to get any useful data out of them they would need significant processing. I know many of the scripts still have issues and dump crap into the logs via standard error (stderr). That is not to say a tool to look for something could not be made. That said, though I believe we do have some sort of hit counts in the database too (I would have to look at that again but check out Annual Page Views and Database Growth; those numbers were generated somehow). I am not sure they record/give enough information to determine which pages are hit however. Uzume 14:45, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Those pages were derived by Al, and he hasn't passed on his secrets. There only appear to be two types of view recorded, and it's not even clear if pseudonyms are counted with canonical author or not. They're pretty useless stats. BLongley 15:37, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Every time an author's biblio is generated, a database counter is incremented. Ahasuerus 23:58, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
However, Apache logs are very customisable and with the right settings you can derive a lot of info via grep and wc alone. We could usefully analyse them to find the least used scripts and consider whether to improve, remove or relegate them. BLongley 15:37, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. I was very confident that the DB stats would be very useful for this but they were sort of close and I would not recall what they actually covered. The web server logs would be valuable to see what is going wrong with the scripts too (as well as collect stats like you suggest). Uzume 20:12, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
There are various log parsing tools which could be leveraged. We could run them in 6-12 months to see how much use these pages get and perhaps adjust their visibility based on usage (a low priority task.) I don't think we will ever want to remove any functionality just because it's infrequently used -- see LiveJournal's misadventures in this area. Ahasuerus 23:58, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, some of the Cleanup Scripts were intended as temporary until we'd fixed the underlying bugs and cleaned up the corruption. Will "Empty Series" and "Duplicate Publication Tags" ever find anything now? BLongley 09:25, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh, sure, internal tools can and will change over time. I was only referring to user-accessible functionality.
As far as empty series go, it's still possible to create them. Ahasuerus 16:54, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
For now, the font size has been reduced (patch r2013-53) to make the "Other Views" line less conspicuous. Ahasuerus 00:47, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Verification changes (patch r2013-50)

The "Verify Publication" page has been changed to display the title of the pub being verified and the names of the users responsible for various verifications. In addition, you can no longer change verifications entered by other users, but you can undo another user's "Mark N/A" operation. Also, the page that appears after submitting your verification has been modified to display an "Add More Verifications" link, which takes you back to the verification page. Ahasuerus 03:40, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

This is a welcome change but I can see the need for moderation to remove and/or fix certain erroneous secondary verifications at some point. I considered suggesting secondary verifications should go through moderation much like other publication changes but not sure if that is the optimal solution. Uzume 04:28, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

ISFDB for Dummies

OK, it's not actually called that - it's titled "Using the ISFDB (Internet Speculative Fiction DataBase)" - but it is a beginner's guide to allow people to get the most out of the online database without logging in. Some of you reviewed an earlier draft, and were so nice about it I didn't change much. Now it's out in the wild and you can download version 0.03 from Smashwords - - in various formats. I've only double-checked the online HTML version and obviously need to do some more work on the screenshots, but would like to know if there are problems with any of the other formats. I'd offer a reward like a Free copy or a percentage of the royalties for your help, but it's priced at £0.00 - you might have to make do with a credit in version 0.04. BLongley 01:37, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

P.S. It's not going to be published everywhere just yet, it needs a Cover Image for certain stores. Does anyone want to volunteer to provide one? 1400 pixels wide by about 1.4 to 1.6 times that high, including title and author in big enough letters to show on a thumbnail version. BLongley 01:43, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm game. And I'll even waive my usual £10,000 fee (+VAT). Contact me off-list with what you have in mind. PeteYoung 01:46, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Title page changes (patch r2013-55)

The Title page has been modified as follows:

  • You can no longer enter tags for VTs
  • VT pages also show their parents' tags (if present)
  • There is no longer an extra space between the tag counter and the comma that follows it

Ahasuerus 07:52, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Conflicting editor credits for Arrow Book of Spooky Stories

It's been a while since this discussion of the Arrow Book of Spooky Stories, but I'll report now on the resolution. This book was credited, in its first printing, to Nora Kramer, and in a later printing that I was verifying, to Edna Mitchell Preston. Based (apparently) on which printing various people had, other secondary sources attributed the book to one or the other of these authors, but without resolving the conflicting authorship claims. After some shopping, I ended up with copies of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 14th printings. The contents are all identical. Kramer is credited on both the cover and title page of the first printing. Preston is credited in both places in all of these subsequent printings. There is no acknowledgement anywhere of the change or the reason. It's pretty clear (IMHO) that the first printing was an error based on the publication 2 years earlier of the similarly titled Arrow Book of Ghost Stories, and that they corrected this for the 2nd and subsequent printings. (There is no overlap between the stories in these two anthologies.) I've added notes to this effect in the book's title record, and made the first printing a variant of the main title/author. Mhhutchins suggested not bothering with an author pseudonym, but I've included that so that if someone is looking up the book thinking it's by Nora Kramer, they will still be able to find it. I wish I could structure it so that the first printing listed its author as "Edna Mitchell Preston [as by Nora Kramer]", but unless there's a secret I don't know, that's not how it's going to show up. Chavey 01:13, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Making Nora Kramer into a pseudonym for Edna Mitchell Preston doesn't help the person looking for the first printing of the book. Look at Kramer's page: it's not listed, and rightly so. It's varianting that moves a title to the correct author's page, not making a pseudonym. If an editor (or user) doesn't search by title, they will not find the record. Some may then try to create a new record. I can't see a way around it. Mhhutchins 01:55, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I was hoping that when they went to Nora Kramer's page to look for the book, that they might notice that the first line there says "Used As Alternate Name By: Edna Mitchell Preston". That would lead them to the book and the problem. At least it's the closest I can see us doing to help such a user. (Of course they might also do a search on the title name.) Chavey 18:23, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Visited links within the database

The indication by different coloring for visited links has disappeared. Mhhutchins 21:56, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

The coloring of visited links is generally controlled by the browser rather than by the ISFDB software, so presumably something has happened on the client side. It's still the same on my PC using Firefox, IE and Chrome. Ahasuerus 22:10, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Are you sure? On my websites, I can determine whether the links within the pages show if they've been visited, using simple HTML: LINK="#BD0000" VLINK="#BD0000" ALINK="#BD0000" or in the Header using the <STYLE> attribute: a:visited {text-decoration: none;}. Besides, here on the wiki, the links are showing as being visited. When I go to Google, visit a link, and then return, the color changes to show the site was visited. I did have a Chrome update loaded when I booted up this morning, but I'm wondering why only this one website (the database side) is affected. Mhhutchins 22:18, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Every website I've gone to that shows visited links, including Wikipedia, and Amazon, still show different colors. This is strange. Mhhutchins 22:25, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Hm, that's indeed peculiar. Everything is still working fine for me. Have you tried deleting the browser cache to see if it may help? Ahasuerus 22:50, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I did that...but that's actually the exact opposite of what I want, which is to be able to see which pages in the database which I've visited. So a record of those visits would need to stay in my cache in order for the browser to identify them as visited. Why it works on the Wiki (and every other website) and not on the database is freaky. I'll shut down my computer to see if they might remedy the problem. Mhhutchins 23:21, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

John Brunner data

The recently published biography of [John Brunner] contains a complete bibliography of his fiction and selected bibliography of his interviews/panel discussions/non-fiction. This includes dates with the month, even for all of the Ace editions of his work. Rather than leave what may be hundreds of notes on verifiers' pages, I'm posting this one note. In each case where the date is expanded the above source will be noted. If the existing date is different it will not be changed but discussions will follow. Also, the ISFDB is listed as one of the 'Secondary Sources' in the back. Thanks! --~ Bill, Bluesman 17:36, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Affected pub records: [100th Millenium]; [The Altar on Asconel]; [The Astronauts Must Not Land / The Space-Time Juggler]; [The Atlantic Abomination]; [Bedlam Planet]; [Castaways' World / The Rites of Ohe]; [Catch a Falling Star]; [The Day of the Star Cities]; [The Dramaturges of Yan]; [Echo in the Skull]; [Endless Shadow]; [Enigma from Tantalus / The Repairmen of Cyclops]; [I Speak for Earth]; [Into the Slave Nebula]; [The Jagged Orbit]; [Ladder in the Sky]; [Listen! The Stars!]; [The Martian Sphinx]; [Meeting At Infinity]; [A Planet of Your Own]; [The Psionic Menace]; [Sanctuary in the Sky]; [Secret Agent of Terra]; [The Shift Key]; [The Skynappers]; [Slavers of Space]; [The Super Barbarians]; [Threshold of Eternity]; [Times Without Number]; [To Conquer Chaos]; [The World Swappers]. And that's all the book-length fiction. --~ Bill, Bluesman 23:56, 28 February 2013 (UTC)