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This archive includes discussions from April - July 2016

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Subdivide Short Fiction Category on Author Page?

I would like to suggest a programming change to split the "Short Fiction" listing on the author page into Short Story, Novelette, and Novella.--Rkihara 16:32, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

IMHO, not a desirable change (perhaps to be propsed in the "Other Views" section). Hauck 16:51, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
If were to do that, we would also have to add a sub-category for "short fiction". FYI, we currently have:
  • 169,830 short stories
  • 37,747 novelettes
  • 16,994 novellas
  • 70,513 uncategorized "short fiction" pieces
I don't think having 4 sections instead of 1 would work well.
Having said that, at one point I proposed displaying the "story length" code on the Summary pages, which currently display a generic "[SF]" code. Ahasuerus 17:16, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Maybe two sections, Short Stories and Novelettes/Novellas? I'm surprised there are so many pieces categorized as Short Fiction, since I thought that category had been obsoleted long ago. Maybe a Cleanup Report for Short Fiction?--Rkihara 17:39, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
"Short fiction" is used for excerpts and for works whose length we do not know. Ahasuerus 17:44, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
It's also used for stage plays, screen/teleplays, graphic novels' fiction content, etc. And it also just happens to be the default category for any SHORTFICTION work that hasn't been lengthed. A clean-up report would be impossible to clean, unless someone is willing to do a word count for 70K records of SHORTFICTION. Mhhutchins|talk 19:58, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Maybe have it split up into alphabetical groupings, or separate pages for each author, or sorted into publication year pages? There should be some way of finding all the uncategorized ones so they can eventually be corrected. Yes, I realize it will take a lot of work to do so. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:23, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Not really. A script could find all of them in a few seconds. Creating a clean-up report would be easy. Cleaning it would be practically impossible. First, you'd have to find a primary verifier. Then, that person would have to be willing to do a word count. So much effort for too small reward. I'd wager that less than 25% of those 70K stories are contained in primary verified publications, since most of the editors who verify publications also add the story length for the contents. Mhhutchins|talk 22:37, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
So perhaps have a cleanup report only for those which also have a primary verifier? That might make it more manageable, and it would update as people verified contents. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:05, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
That would work for a clean-up report to get more SHORTFICTION records lengthed, but since the ultimate goal of the poster was to separate them into categories on a summary page, it wouldn't work until all records have been lengthed, not just the verified ones. The unlengthed SHORTFICTION titles would still remain in a fourth category on many author summary pages which most users wouldn't understand. Mhhutchins|talk 23:53, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Well, at least it would be something to get the ball rolling. If we don't have a verifier for something, there's not much we can do to correct that. In the meantime, we can make sure the ones that do have a verifier are listed correctly. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:29, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I would like having the story length code displayed on the summary page. Since the record is being listed, it shouldn't increase the load on the server too much to add that. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:23, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
I would be opposed to grouping the story lengths on an author's summary page, and would only approve of displaying them next to the titles if a user has the option not to display them. Mhhutchins|talk 22:37, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
If you build it they will come. Cleanup scripts could be limited to magazines, anthologies, collections, and the like. I still run across SHORTFICTION as a "subcategory" in magazines, although it was eliminated years ago. I remove those as I find them. Verifiers of magazines do word counts all the time. I still feel there is utility in grouping fiction by length or at least identifying them by code. I don't understand your objection to having this visible, other than it may offend your eye.--Rkihara 22:59, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're saying Ron. Nothing has been "eliminated years ago." It remains as a default category for all unlengthed titles. It's not like some entry fields where a user is required to choose from a dropdown menu. Editors have the option to leave it blank. Mhhutchins|talk 23:53, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
I also oppose grouping them by story length (other than how they are right now). I only think it would be useful to have the (nt), (nv), or (ss} next to any short fiction titles. As it's not really obtrusive, I don't really care if there is a way to not display it (and I wouldn't object to having that option, if that's the only way to get the feature past Mhhutchins' objection). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:05, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Just being among the majority who is for the feature is "the only way to get the feature past Mhhutchins' objection". Believe me there have been many changes here to which I have objected when proposed. Being pointed out as the obdurate one, only riles me up even more and makes me present an even stronger case. Mhhutchins|talk 23:53, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
I apologize. I didn't mean to be rude. I merely indicated I was fine if that option existed or was added to appease you (and anyone else) who didn't want the added information being displayed. No offense was intended. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:29, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
(outdent) I'm not in favor of the original suggestion either. To me, it just creates more clutter with no benefit. Adding the story length codes is fine though it's not something I care about. -- JLaTondre (talk) 00:14, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
We can certainly add a user option to suppress story length codes on Summary pages, but first let's take a step back and consider what the proposed functionality entails.
Summary pages currently display short fiction works in two different places. There is a section for "Shortfiction" where the assumption is that all listed works are short fiction. Then there is a separate "Fiction Series" section, which comes first and which can also include short fiction titles.
Let's use Jim Butcher's Summary page as an example. There are short fiction titles in the main "The Dresden Files" series. In addition, there are numerous short fiction titles in its sub-series, "The Dresden Files Short Fiction", and its sub-sub-series, "Bigfoot". All of them have "[SF]" displayed next to them to indicate that they are "short fiction".
My original proposal was to change the "[SF]"s in the "Fiction Series" section to "[nt]", "[nv]", "[ss]" and "[sf]", as the case may be. The current proposal, however, would also add "[nt]", "[sf]", etc to the titles displayed in the "Shortfiction" section. Which is fine by me, but we'll need to decide how the proposed user option/setting will affect these two separate areas. Ahasuerus 00:30, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Re, Mhhutchins SHORTFICTION Subcategory. You'd probably have to be a magazine editor to have seen it. I can still point out more than a few magazines that show that subcategory. There is a drop-down menu for SHORTFICTION, ANTHOLOGY, and the like, and second drop-down which appears when you select SHORTFICTION, for the subcategories, SHORT STORY, NOVELETTE, etc. One of the choices in the second used to be SHORTFICTION, so you could pick both, SHORTFICTION and SHORTFICTION. The ability to do that for the second drop-down was eliminated, but a lot magazines have that choice grandfathered in until you change it.--Rkihara 00:51, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Why not make some mock pages showing each layout so we could see how it appears? It seems to me that splitting SHORTFICTION up into four sections would only make the page eight rows longer.--Rkihara 00:56, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Ron, I've created hundreds of magazine records, and their content entries are no different than any other type of publication. Maybe there was one in the distant past, but I can not recall there ever being a "SHORTFICTION Subcategory". There is an "Entry Type" field that includes SHORTFICTION as one of the options. And there is a "Length" field which gives the editor four options: 1) "-", meaning unlengthed, 2) "novella", 3) "short story", 4 "novelette". If an editor chooses not to complete the "Length" field, the record defaults to "shortfiction" which is how it is displayed in both the title record and the publication record. There may have been a "shortfiction" length option in the past, but now it's simply the default. 70,000 records in the db are a clear indication of that. More than 600 of them are from the first 5 months of 2016. Please give me an example of a magazine record that shows the "SHORTFICTION subcategory" when you get a chance. Thanks. Mhhutchins|talk 01:29, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
OK, now I see what the discussion is all about. You are both right -- sort of :-) If you choose "-" at data entry time, then the software will default the "story length" value to "sf" for SHORTFICTION titles. In most cases, "shortfiction" does not appear in the drop-down list, but until very recently there was a way to make it appear in the list by changing the title type in Edit Title, e.g. to ESSAY, and then going back to Edit Pub. I think I eliminated it when I fixed Bug 563 "EditPub doesn't recognize changes of Length values to '-'" a few weeks ago, but I can't guarantee that there is no way to recreate it now (that part of the code is horrible and needs to be rewritten.) The bug was fairly harmless because "-" and "shortfiction" mean the same thing for SHORTFICTION titles. Ahasuerus 02:06, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

[unindent] With 70K records of unlengthed SHORTFICTION-typed records, any attempt to display the titles in separate categories is going to be confusing to the average user. Yes, we ISFDB editors will understand why there would be a fourth unlengthed category. But put yourself in the place of the new user. They wouldn't understand it. Some authors may have a few dozen such unlengthed titles, and some may have one or two. Now how awkward would that display look? But let's forget about the aesthetics. A user comes to an author's summary page who wants a chronological or alphabetical listing of all of that author's short fiction. They're not going to get that if it's divided into these arbitrary categories. And believe me, to the average reader these categories are as arbitrary as they come. SF geek John Hodgman mentioned on his podcast the other day that he was going to host this year's Nebula awards ceremony and was trying to read as many of the nominees as he could, but had absolutely no idea what a "novelette" was!

So let's look at the second option: just giving the category as a suffix to the title, but all under the SHORTFICTION category on an author's page. The average db user would wonder why some of the titles have "ss" and others have "sf" when they know that these works are roughly the same length. How do we make it clear that: OK, so you want to know what we mean by "sf". Well let us explain. It could be that we don't know its length, or it's an excerpt for which we don't provide the length, or it could be a play or a graphic story. That's why I suggested that if this feature is passed by a consensus, it should be the user's option to have them displayed. At least one other editor concurs with me. Right, JLaTondre? I think we sometimes forget that we're not just doing this for ourselves. (Though I wouldn't be far off the mark to state that it's close to being some editors' attitude about working on the database.) Mhhutchins|talk 01:55, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Sorry to return to the Short Fiction subcategory again, but the ability to do what I was talking about went away over five years ago, so maybe few people remember it. There are plenty of examples still in the System. Check out, go to edit and look at the drop down for Time on My Hands, by Mort Weisinger. I clear these as I find them. Once you change the sub-category, it cannot be changed back.--Rkihara 02:40, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
If you change the "story length" value to, say, "novella" in EditPub, you can still go back and change it to "-". When you do that, the software will set the "story length" value back to "shortfiction". Ahasuerus 02:53, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Mhhutchins, If your going to talk about people speaking only for themselves, you should look in a mirror. I've seen more than a few of your tantrums when you didn't or thought you weren't going to get your way.
As far as someone not understanding why we've split things up, a one line explanation should suffice, and I don't think people are as dumb as you think they are.--Rkihara 02:46, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
To go back to the discussion that we had the other day, diplomacy is all about being able to disagree without being disagreeable. It's harder to do on the internet because so much of the body language is lost, but I am sure we can do it if we make a concerted effort. At least we are not limited to 140 characters per message like certain other sites! :-) Ahasuerus 02:58, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Ron, you're upset only because I speak the truth. I'd hold my record of service to this project up to anyone's, especially yours. As a clear indication of how much you've moderated other editor's submissions, just look at the queue. With six of your own submissions sitting there for a couple of days, it's clear that you never even go near the moderator's queue. So I don't need any whining from someone who pops in and out to work on his own submissions. And I don't think our users are dumb. I just have the ability to look at things from an outsider's perspective. I presented my case opposing your suggestion rationally and unemotionally. You take it as a personal attack, and there's nothing I can do to assure you that it wasn't. I am bowing out of this discussion for my own peace of mind. Mhhutchins|talk 03:56, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
This is from the person who threw a temper tantum here,, and essentially said he was going to kick his heels and hold his breath until he turned red in the face, because he wasn't getting his way. You're too full of yourself.--Rkihara 04:08, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
<puts his bureaucrat's hat on> OK, this has gone too far. Time out. We can revisit the proposed changes to author biblio pages in a different section at a later time. Ahasuerus 05:42, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

A Public Statement & An Appeal

After much debate with myself I have decided to speak up, even if I may speak out of line.

I want to publicly state that I am very upset to find that this community seems to have finally managed to drive off one of its major contributors by repeated finger-pointing and name-calling during heated flame "discussions". For heaven's sake, folks, please remember your manners and re-read some basic netiquette rules !

To Michael I would like to send the appeal: Please come back. If not as your former super-active moderator self, then at least as an editor that responds to requests on his talk page. Michael, you have been moderating my submissions for a long time, and I always felt you did an excellent job! Usually the errors you patiently and politely pointed out were on my side, and if they were not we were able to figure things out quickly. Recently we had a minor clash over procedure, but I like to believe we managed that rather professionally and especially without the flinging of dirt. Nevertheless, I am sure that clash contributed in some way to your withdrawal, and even though I can't promise that something similar won't happen again in the future (we all have opinions), I hope that, by affirming my positive attitude towards you and your work, I can convince you that it is, indeed, worth to come back to the project and continue with your contributions.

Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 13:09, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

I should like to point out that Michael had little respect for the rules of netiquette. Just a couple of weeks ago he made a point of saying so. I've been around long enough to remember him bragging a couple of times when his rude exchanges caused editors to give up and leave. Just remember it takes at least two people to have a flame war, and in my opinion, Michael was always the first flamer. Initially, I always tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I'd rather not see him come back unless he learns to be respectful of other opinions.--Rkihara 17:26, 8 May 2016 (UTC)
(puts his bureaucrat's hat back on) As Policy says, "Anything that helps make the ISFDB a more useful and more reliable bibliographic tool is encouraged. Anything that hinders this process is discouraged."
Nothing kills collaborative projects faster than drama. I will archive this section shortly. Ahasuerus 20:12, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

Used book store in London

It's been one and a half years since my last used books buying frenzy in Honolulu. The result then was not too bad, but shipping most of the books back home was rather expensive, and stowing the remainder in my backpack without damage was quite a struggle. So this time I intend to do it right: In March I have the opportunity to travel to London for a few days, and I will bring a large empty suitcase! The operation is still in the planning stage, but I know already that I will have two full days for raiding the SF sections of various used books stores in and around the city. The main question is: Where to go? In the past when I visited London I always checked out the Forbidden Planet store, but when I was last there (in 2009 I think) it had grown to juggernaut-like size and I felt rather turned off. So if any of you dear ISFDB editors have a personal recommendation where I could spend a pleasant couple of hours browsing bookshelves full of used SF books, it would be most welcome. Also if the opportunity arises I would not be averse to chat a bit over a coffee or cider :-). I will be there from the evening of March 16h until the weekend. Cheers, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 14:47, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

A good place to start might be the Charing Cross Road, not far from Forbidden Planet. There are a handful of bookstores just north of Leicester Square tube station, notably Quinto Books and Any Amount of Books, which IIRC has a small paperback SF section near the entrance and a small hardcover SF section underground, but Quinto certainly has the better quality books. Charing Cross Road's SF/mystery store Murder One closed a few years ago, as did the excellent Fantasy Centre in north London on the Holloway Road. The best place to go in the area now for secondhand SF is probably Cecil Court, three streets south of Leicester Square tube station. It's full of secondhand/antiquarian bookstores but these stores stock mostly hardcovers rather than paperbacks. I've occasionally spent a whole day there, however unfortunately I won't be in the UK around 16 March. :( PeteYoung 23:18, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I visited both Any Amount of Books and Quinto Books on Charing Cross, and as you said they only have tiny SF sections, roughly 1 and 1.5 shelves, respectively. After my raid they probably need to recuperate a while :-) before they again have something on offer that is worth its while. Slightly better equipped (one set of shelves, floor-to-ceiling) is the basement of Henry Pordes Books, also on Charing Cross and right next to the other two stores - they mostly have newer books, a lot of them were duplicates from the Gollancz SF Masterwork series that they must have picked up from some wholesale source. Next I checked out some of the stores in Cecil Court, but I soon found out that they cater only to collectors who are willing to spend serious money for first editions. My Back Pages in Balham no longer exists, Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street was supposed to have a second-hand book section in the back but I couldn't find it, and Judd Books on Marchmont Street, although a gorgeous second-hand bookstore, mostly has academic books and only a relatively small general fiction section with a mere handful of SF books strewn in. With such meager success, at last I succumbed to the lures of the Forbidden Planet megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue, but what a disappointment - not a single book by John Brunner, two copies of Babel-17 but nothing else by Delany, and just one (1) book by Pohl (Gateway) and Vance (The Complete Lyonesse). The most attractive part for classic SF readers like me was the Gollancz section with a lot of omnibuses from the SF Gateway pub series. Another large commercial bookstore that I visited was Foyles on Charing Cross: This was a pleasant surprise because they had a sizable SF section, and I liked the tasteful ambience of the place much more than the Forbidden Planet's cold neon glare. After so many so-so experiences, at last I found happiness in Skoob Books, which is located in The Brunswick off Marchmont Street. They have a large SF section of second-hand books, both old and new, in a delightfully packed basement full of nooks and crannies and hidden corners where you can sit down and browse at your leisure. I chatted a bit with the owner, and it appears that their SF section is so large because they are now picking up all the stuff that used to go the now-closed Fantasy Centre. Cheers, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 18:38, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the update, Patrick. I hope to visit London sometime in 2017, and I hope that you (or otzers) have left something worth to collect ;-) Christian Stonecreek 18:48, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
If we had a 'Like' button I'd click it: thanks for the useful info! I was in Charing Cross Road a couple of days ago, and yes, Any Amount of Books has virtually no SF left its shelves!. PeteYoung 14:40, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
As long as Skoob Books is around I wouldn't worry about running out of stuff to buy :-). Just one thing: Stop buying anything by Philip K. Dick now - when you get to London you will find yourself swamped in seas of his books. What is really strange is that when I inspected my acquisitions upon returning home I found more books by Dick than I can remember actually buying. Apparently reality warps not only within his works! Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 14:19, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

"Classics of Modern Science Fiction"

(Asking here since the decision will affect pubs verified by multiple editors.)

Classics of Modern Science Fiction was a publication series published by Crown Publishers (US) in 1984-1985. It ran out of steam after 10 volumes. The first 4 volumes were reprinted by Robson Books (UK) in 1985. The UK covers were the same and included "Classics of Modern Science Fiction" at the top of each cover.

Earlier today I noticed that the Robson pubs had been entered inconsistently: two were under the Crown publication series and the other two had a publication series of their own. I merged the two publication series and was about to inform the verifiers when it occurred to me that a separate publication series for the 4 Robson books may be a better solution. What do you think? Ahasuerus 18:19, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

P.S. It turns out that volume 4 was also reprinted by the Australian publisher Greenhouse in 1985. Ahasuerus 18:26, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, separate is better. Hauck 18:29, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Would we have a third publication series for Greenhouse then? Ahasuerus 18:31, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes. Hauck 18:35, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I have to disagree. They are the same publication series: the series name, design, logo, and numbering are consistently the same. I can't think of another series which we separated when it moved from one publisher to another. I see no problem with them being displayed together, which lets the user know that some of the titles were reprinted by another publisher. Separating them will force the user to do further research. Mhhutchins|talk 18:41, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
It's the transnational facet of this publication series that make me choose a different approach than in this quite similar case. It's possible that users may be interested (at first) by publications in their country. Hauck 18:58, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
I have to agree with Michael. This feels like a single series. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 19:10, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
I would treat this pub series the same as the Quantum series, i.e. keep them together. Another question is, do we want the book club editions in this pub series? These also have the same cover, except for the numbers. --Willem 19:47, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Michael too. It looks as one series with different publishers per country, but with the same -consistent- outwards appearance.--Dirk P Broer 20:32, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Apologies for the late reply, I just now came back after a long'ish absence. I don't have much to add to this discussion, especially no strong opinion, although I tend to lean on the "one pub series" side. As of now, the pub series record does not mention the Greenhouse reprints, so I am going to add this as a note. Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 20:32, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

What's the current rule of thumb for 9999-00-00 forthcoming?

The special value 9999-00-00 is not documented on Template:PublicationFields:Year nor Template:TitleFields:Date. Should it be?

One of the unwritten rules is that we should not have titles and publications entered that are more than three months in the future. Regardless of that, ISFDB has support for the special value 9999-00-00 which displays as "forthcoming" for publications and titles. At present only two publications (and their titles) are listed as forthcoming with both of them being more than three months out. --Marc Kupper|talk 07:43, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

We had a discussion about this issue a couple of weeks ago. At the time I wrote:
  • A little bit of history. Back in the day, we were naive and tended to trust authors' and publishers' announcement about forthcoming books, hence the use of "9999-00-00". Many years and thousands of cancelled ISBNs later, we learned better :-) That's when we came up with the previously mentioned "60-90 day window" as the standard for entering forthcoming books. It was a compromise between our desire to continue providing "forthcoming" information to our users and the unfortunate reality of wide-spread vaporware. At one point I even wondered if we wanted to change the software to disallow "9999-00-00", but some editors felt that it could be useful in certain cases. The cleanup report that Michael mentioned earlier was a compromise that allowed us to keep an eye on "forthcoming" books. Which reminds me that we should probably enhance it to include books to be published more than 3 months in the future... [implemented 3 days later as per FR 879.]
The more I think about it, the less value I see in 9999-00-00, but there are so few 9999 pubs that it's probably harmless. Ahasuerus 15:35, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

Edward Everett Hale

We appear to have unconnected entries for both Edward Everett Hale and Everett Edward Hale. I can't find any reference that Hale ever went under the name "Everett Edward Hale" and suspect the name was initially entered in error, possibly via the reviews in Bleiler's Science Fiction: The Early Years. None of the pubs associated to "Everett Edward" are verified, but there are the review links. If any editor knows of an actual use of "Everett Edward" then we'll need to make a pseudonym, otherwise I propose making the necessary corrections to remove the "Everett Edward" duplicates and correcting the reviews. Thanks. PeteYoung 05:38, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

He's given as "HALE, EDWARD EVERETT" in Bleiler (page 325). Hauck 12:33, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
According to the standards:
If the review uses a version of the author's name which differs from any of the versions of this author's name known to the ISFDB, but which still serves to unambiguously identify the book (e.g. if the review has a misprint, or abbreviates the author's name), then enter a corrected name
So, I have corrected the review records (which was the proper procedure, even if it had been confirmed that the reviews were credited in the publication to "Everett Edward Hale".) I also corrected author credit of the the publication records based on secondary sources. All were actually published as by "Edward E. Hale", which created a new pseudonym. The corrections I made eliminated the pseudonym "Everett Edward Hale" since there are no longer any records under that name in the database. Mhhutchins|talk 18:26, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

How to handle the "split" of a multi-volume novel?

I created an entry for the book Eleagabal Kuperus, published in 1910, printed (and reprinted several times) in two volumes (part 1 & 2). This is not unusual (here's another examle). In 1928 the book was reprinted again in 2 volumes but each of them got its own additional subtitle: 1989900 and 1989902. I know that the "parts" of a splitted novel should be treated like stand-alone books. Should this example here also be handled as a split novel? Even if the book had been published before always in two (nameless) volumes? If the answer is 'yes': shouldn't the 2 'new' novels be connected by a 'series' entry? My own preference is to handle the two parts as variant titles of Eleagabal Kuperus (similar to the handling of a splitted translation of a book). Thank you for advice! Boskar 18:57, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

For books published in multiple volumes and intended to be sold as a set, you should create one publication record, give the page count for both in the Page Count field (e.g. "245+322") and note the number of volumes in the Note field. For ISFDB purposes, a "split novel" is the publication of a work which originally appeared in one volume and subsequently split into multiple publications and sold separately.
To answer your first question, the title records of "split novels" (as defined by the ISFDB) can be varianted to the title record for the whole work. The answer to your second question: the software prevents variant titles from being entered into series. Only the parent title can contain series data. What you describe as your preference is the way the split titles should be handled. Mhhutchins|talk 20:06, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure why Mhhutchins recommends doing it has a single publication. We have a number of two volume sets as separate publication records. For example A Treasury of Great Science Fiction by Anthony Boucher was always sold as a pair of books. The spine artwork looks odd until you have the book side by side on a shelf. We have that on ISFDB as Vol 1 and Vol 2 titles and their vol 1 and 2 publication records.
There's no problem with making a series that contains the all-in-one edition, vol 1, and vol 2. A downside is that the all-in-one edition will appear at the bottom of the series list if you assign series numbers to vol 1 and 2. I tested and ISFDB does not support something like |0 in the series number field to push a record to the top of the list. You can variant title the vol 1 & 2 titles books versions were published with slightly different sub-titles. --Marc Kupper|talk 04:52, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
The publication you cite, Marc, shouldn't be used as an example in this case. It's an anthology, not a novel, and that's what we're talking about here. I was trying to point out the difference between multi-volume novels and "split" novels, because the original poster may have thought the two were similar. They're not. Mhhutchins|talk 21:26, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Mhhutchins' answer does not correspond to how I understood How does the ISFDB deal with "split novels"?. But if the ISFDB rules really permit to handle the two volumes as variants that's fine; if they don't permit then Marc Kupper's example is also a fine way to handle the issue. Boskar 17:26, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
As I pointed out above, that example doesn't apply here. I see "split" novels as similar to serials, which are varianted to the parent title. If we didn't variant the titles of each part of a "split" novel they would be separate from the work's parent title without any connection. (Creating a fake series isn't the answer, IMHO.) The best way to currently connect these titles is through the variant function. Now if we had a relationship function, the question would be moot. Mhhutchins|talk 21:26, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Boskar, what part of my answer does not correspond with the current standard. There is nothing in the documentation that explains what to do with the titles of split novels after they're created, only that they should be entered as novels. My response to your question was to show how I would handle them once they're in the database. Perhaps the standards should be clearer and actually document how they should be handled. The examples that are linked to are handled incorrectly, in my opinion. Without further research, the average user would find no direct connection to the original titles. But if that's the way they should be handled, then it should actually be documented, especially since there are probably just as many (or more) cases in the database of varianting split novels than not. Mhhutchins|talk 22:16, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
I am absolutely happy with this answer! I also think the best way to handle the situation is to define the separate volumes as variant titles. Thank you for clarification! Boskar 16:46, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

"Fenix", Polish SF magazine

Just in case you see some Polish stories suddenly showing up amongst your favorite authors, I thought I would mention what I'm up to. I've added the Polish magazine Fenix, with 107 issues. I'm about half-way through adding issue contents, and will finish that off by the weekend. The contents are adding a lot of Polish translations of English-language SF (plus some from other languages), which for now are not varianted to their original publications. I have many (but not all) of the original titles, and will get to the varianting in a few days. In some cases, I may also be creating variant spellings of some authors (e.g. the "Strugaccy" brothers, better known as Boris & Arkady Strugatsky), but I'm hoping that some of the cleanup reports will find those that I don't notice. Also, since I now have some macros to help me with the Polish SF databases, I many continue these efforts into some of their other magazines, so these "stray Polish variants" may continue over the next few months as I import their data. Chavey 13:21, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

These problems would be avoided by varianting the contents of each issue before moving on to the next issue. That's usually how publications with translated contents are handled. Otherwise, in the meantime, all of these will just be sitting in the database, waiting to be repaired, and risking the chance that many of them might be overlooked when you get around to fixing them. Mhhutchins|talk 08:08, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

Cover: Le grand oiseau des galaxies

Is this correct? An interior art from 1979 as a variant of a cover from 1983? Thanks.Wolland 01:06, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

Fixed, I hope. It appears to have been first published as interior art in the 1981 artist's collection, and later as covers to different publications. Mhhutchins|talk 01:21, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
Not fixed yet. An internet search shows a different cover (DNA strand made up of figures) than the other one (a eagle-like bird). I'll try to figure it out. For now I'm going to break all variants. Thanks for finding the error. Mhhutchins|talk 01:24, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
If you take a look in Tim White's summary page you will find some more records in this situation.Wolland 01:28, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

Dragon Awards at Dragon Con

Dragon Con is starting the Dragon Awards this year. It's an award based on fan popularity (like the Asimov's Readers' awards). Do we want to add them so we can include them once they are awarded in September? Since it has the potential to be voted on by up to 60-70k people, it seems like a good one to add. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:39, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

If someone volunteers to keep the data up to date, I see no reason not to add them. In most cases, the limiting factor is the man-hours that are needed to maintain currently missing awards. Ahasuerus 19:55, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
I can do it. Since this will be the first year, they won't need to be entered until September, and there is no backlog of previous awards to add. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:20, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
Sounds good. Let's wait until they announce the nominees, though. If we create the basic data now, the award type and/or its categories will show up on our nightly cleanup reports. Ahasuerus 23:33, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
That makes sense. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:41, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

New/Edit/Add/Clone Publication cleanup

Please note that the behavior of these Web pages has been synchronized to support the EDITOR title type in the Content section. The associated Help page has been updated.

In addition, the software has been cleaned up, but the changes shouldn't be visible to the naked eye. Unless, of course, I messed up and accidentally introduced a new bug (not that it ever happens!) Ahasuerus 20:40, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

The Annotated ...

We have at least four instances where The Annotated X is handled merely as a publication of the famous NOVEL; that is, without any OMNIBUS or COLLECTION title record under the Annotated name.

  • The Annotated Charlotte's Web P70804 -- Annotations only
  • The New Annotated Dracula P295412 -- many essays, etc
  • The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth P360225 -- Annotations only
  • The Annotated Wizard of Oz P281974 -- several essays, etc

Thus The Annotated Charlotte's Web is in the database merely as a publication of Charlotte's Web.

In two of those four cases, "Annotations" is the only ESSAY content in the database (no Introduction), so there is only one author other than the original writer and perhaps illustrator. For Oz there is one major new author, ie the usually so-called editor, and for Dracula there are dozens.

More commonly we have The Annotated X as an OMNIBUS or COLLECTION distinct NOVEL whose publications are among the publications of the famous novel or novels. At least for The Annotated Alice T31174 there are two constituent novels, hence OMNIBUS. There we have "Introduction" as the only ESSAY content (no Annotations).

Is there agreement about how such works should be handled? --Pwendt|talk 23:37, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

I know of no annotated novel which is typed as anything other than NOVEL. Can you give an example of a publication of a single annotated novel which has been typed as OMNIBUS or COLLECTION? As to an annotated work's contents, it depends upon whether the record has been primary verified, and that editor's personal decision to add an ESSAY for the annotations. I personally would, but there's no hard and fast rule that it's required. Mhhutchins|talk 23:50, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Thanks for reply concerning the entered contents of the "Annotated" publications.
(one amendment above, strikeout and bold) The Annotated Alice is an OMNIBUS and The Annotated Brothers Grimm T157392 is a COLLECTION, so classified by the nature of their famous original contents. Both are in the database with distinct "Annotated" title records. At the moment I do not find any OMNIBUS or COLLECTION whose so-called Annotated edition is handled as the four NOVELs listed far above.
The point of first paragraph is that those four so-called Annotated novels do not have distinct title records. The Title Reference for The Annotated Charlotte's Web is Charlotte's Web, for instance. --Pwendt|talk 00:04, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm going to drop the issue of annotations entirely for my answer: If a work is published with a title which is not the canonical title, it should have its own title record which is varianted to the canonical title. In the case of Charlotte's Web, it should have its own title record. I will unmerge it from its title record and variant it. If you find others like this, either proceed to unmerge the publication from its title record and make it into a variant, or leave a message on the Moderator noticeboard asking one of us to do it. Mhhutchins|talk 00:18, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

(interjection 40 hours later) FYI to whom it may concern, I did promptly post to ISFDB:Moderator noticeboard#The Annotated X novels without distinct Title records, or without variant status. Since then verifiers/moderators of the particular publ's listed at the top have replied. --Pwendt|talk 20:27, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

Now back to annotations: this title isn't varianted because there are multiple editions of stories by the Brothers Grimm, with a wide variety of contents. This particular work is a distinct collection, thus it isn't varianted to any other. Same situation with The Annotated H. P. Lovecraft and The Annotated Poe. The reason why you can't find COLLECTION-typed records of this sort as varianted is because of the nature of the collections. Each is almost invariably unique and not a previously published collection. Mhhutchins|talk 00:29, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Do we want to consider placing the Norton and Liveright annotated books into a publication series? Many of them have a matching trade dress. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:30, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Other than Dracula and Lovecraft, are there more titles so that we can determine it's a series? Other than having the same editor, I'm not sure that there's sufficient data to assume they're part of a series, especially since they're under different imprints. Mhhutchins|talk 03:05, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
There are a bunch:
I know there is also A Christmas Carol, Hans Christian Andersen and The Secret Garden which we don't have listed. Of course, they also do several others which are outside our scope. I have their Sherlock Holmes and Huckleberry Finn. I don't know if the Lovecraft coming out on the Liveright imprint is just for that one, or if they are moving to that imprint for the series. The trade dress doesn't match, except in size, which is uniform with much of the rest of them. Also, it lists Norton's other annotated books. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 08:43, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

Writers and Illustrators of the Future

Would this fit under Awards? Should we have a listing for it? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:20, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia says that:
  • Winners and published finalists in the contest have included the writers Stephen Baxter, Karen Joy Fowler, Carl Frederick, James Alan Gardner, Jim C. Hines, Jay Lake, David D. Levine, Syne Mitchell, Nnedi Okorafor, Michael H. Payne, Brian Plante, Robert Reed, Bruce Holland Rogers, Patrick Rothfuss, Dean Wesley Smith, Catriona Sparks, Sean Tinsley, Mary Turzillo, Sean Williams, Dave Wolverton, David Zindell, and the artists Shaun Tan and Frank Wu.
and that the list of past and current judges includes:
  • Algis Budrys, Gregory Benford, Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, Jack Williamson, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Brian Herbert, K. D. Wentworth, Tim Powers, Robert J. Sawyer, Frederik Pohl, Jerry Pournelle, Andre Norton, Larry Niven, and Anne McCaffrey.
That's an impressive list and I would be in favor of adding this award if someone is willing to enter the data. Ahasuerus 21:25, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
I will add it to the list of awards I am entering. Once I get past the Japanese short stories, it should go faster since I won't have to enter them, then wait for approval, then enter the awards, and wait for approval. That really slows things down. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 21:56, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
It's now on my list. There should be two award types: Writers of the Future, and Illustrators of the Future. There are three quarterly winners for each (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for the writers, and three quarterly co-winners for the illustrators) and one Grand Prize each year for each (one for writers and one for illustrators).
Writers of the Future (for each year):
Quarterly First Prize
Quarterly Second Prize
Quarterly Third Prize
Grand Prize (winner of this prize will always have won one of the quarterly prizes)
Illustrators of the Future:
Quarterly Co-Winner
Grand Prize (winner of this prize will always have won the quarterly prize)
Hope that helps make it clear. I know someone who can help me find a list of which people won which prizes. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:09, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
It's completely covered at the SFADB. There are a few other categories, but those can be added on the fly (or is that a moderator only function?). --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:20, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Their coverage isn't complete as they have a few holes at the beginning and in more recent years. Only mods can add the categories. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:35, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Only "bureaucrats" (Al and myself) can create new award types. Only moderators can create/edit/delete award categories within existing award types. All editors can create/edit/delete individual award records.
One thing that we probably want to decide ahead of time is whether "Illustrators of the Future" is a separate award type or whether it's an award category under the award type "Writers of the Future". According to the SFADB, there is one annual Grand Prize and about a dozen nominees per year, which makes it look more like a category than a separate award. However, the way the ISFDB software handles awards, an award type is either a "poll" or "not a poll". Poll-based awards like the Locus Poll awards let you specify "second place", "third place", etc. Non-poll awards are limited to "winners" and "nominees". Since the "Writers" award is a poll-based award and the "Illustrators" award is not a poll-based award, it would be hard to set them up as different categories within the same award type. Ahasuerus 23:43, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
The contests are held together, with the winning illustrators working on an illustration for a winning story (or stories) in the collection volume. For ISFDB purposes, they should be considered separate awards as they have separate prizes and the writer and illustrators are not competing against each other (they only compete against other writers in the case of writers, and other illustrators in the case of illustrators). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:11, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
I disagree. They should be considered as separate categories of the same award. The Hugo award has separate prizes, and the writers don't compete against each other, so that's not an effective argument. SFADB puts them together as two categories under one award. Wikipedia puts them together as two categories under one award. We should do so as well. Chavey 00:32, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
They aren't the same award, though. All of the Hugo awards are Hugo awards because it's one award with multiple categories. The Writers of the Future award and the Illustrators of the Future award are not different categories of the same award. Trying to combine them will only cause confusion. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 07:03, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
Also, Wikipedia doesn't list them as "two categories under one award". They just have them both in one article (likely because there aren't very many references being used in the article, and the Illustrators article may not have had enough to support it as a separate article. It doesn't say they are the same contest (because they aren't) or that they are two categories of the same contest. As for SFADB, I don't know enough about the site to make a comment (I've used it in the past, but found it to be hit-or-miss for the things I was looking for. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 01:11, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

S. N. Dyer

Anyone know anything about S.N Dyer? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wizkorea (talkcontribs) .

That's Sharon N. Farber. Chavey 00:34, 14 April 2016 (UTC) --and other legacy webpages

I am not familiar with Today I added its copy of a NYTimes obituary to the Webpages at Nancy Garden A5888.

Later I found that the obit is freely accessible now at [1]. Another day I might replace the other URL, but I decided to mention it here.

I reached that copy at via the author's homepage [2], which links four June 2014 obituaries, all still freely accessible now. The footer on her webpages states: "This is the only authorized web site for Nancy Garden. Content updated April 2011. Copyright © 2011 by Nancy Garden. All rights reserved."

I did not add her homepage either, although I would have done so if known at the time I revised vital data (legal name and deathdate per NYTimes obituary).

For all three domains, prospective future accessibility of the content may be relevant here, but I don't know that it is considered relevant. --Pwendt|talk 21:13, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

If there is currently a requirement that the user be registered (free or not) to access a specific page on a website, then it should not be linked to ISFDB author summary page. You have the option to create a bio page on the wiki in order to link such sites, but you should state that registration to the website is required. Or you can add the data from such websites into the author's data, and use the wiki bio page to give the source for the data, whether you're able to link to it or not.
If there is currently no such requirement to register, feel free to link it. We can't know what's going to happen in the future.
If there's a choice between the two, always choose the one with unrestricted access. Having said all this, I don't believe there is a stated policy as such, but the way I've outlined it here seems to be the de facto standard. Mhhutchins|talk 23:14, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

Changes to Wiki cleanup reports

The cleanup reports that identify publications, publishers, series, magazines and fanzines with matching Wiki pages have been changed. The algorithm no longer flags the following types of records:

  • publication records whose Notes fields contain at least one link to the ISFDB Wiki
  • publisher, series, magazine and fanzine records with a "Webpages" link to the ISFDB Wiki

What this means is that we can keep meatier Wiki pages as long as we link them from their respective database records. Hopefully, this change will make the cleanup process easier.

Once everything has been cleaned up, I will remove the current "lexical match" link from all pages. Ahasuerus 19:45, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

Is it possible to display these within their own category rather than intersperse them in the others? Mhhutchins|talk 20:50, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Let me first make sure that I understood the question correctly. The way these cleanup reports work post-patch is that they no longer display any records with links to the ISFDB Wiki. Are you suggesting that we create a separate suite of cleanup reports that would show records with links to the ISFDB Wiki? If so, then yes, it would be fairly easy to do. What kind of use cases do you have in mind? Ahasuerus 21:12, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
P.S. Re-reading your question, it occurs to me that you may be asking whether we could move all Wiki cleanup reports to a separate section/block on the main cleanup menu. If so, then yes, it would be very easy to do. Ahasuerus 21:14, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes. That's what I meant. It would be nice to have all of the wiki migration reports all in the same category on the cleanup report list. Thanks. Mhhutchins|talk 01:04, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 16:58, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
There is a -misleading- 25 titles long list of Fanzine Wikipages that do not link to Fanzine records. Mostly because a Fanzine:Title of the Fanzine wikipage can't be properly (as in working vice-versa) linked unless it is moved to Series:Title of the Fanzine. The 'Title of the Fanzine' needs to be the precise title of the fanzine record too, or the link will fail. See e.g. the history for Fanzine:The Philip K. Dick Society Newsletter.--Dirk P Broer 09:57, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
The same holds true for Magazines, as Kpulliam already found out four years ago.--Dirk P Broer 10:56, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
What I'm misunderstanding is that there's a clean-up report which finds unlinked wiki pages, and another one that finds wiki pages to be migrated to the database. So what's the point in linking wiki pages to the database when the goal of the project is to delete them entirely from the wiki? Shouldn't the data on those unlinked wiki pages be moved to the database and the wiki pages be deleted? If you only link them to the database, you're removing them from one clean-up report but adding them to another! Mhhutchins|talk 16:28, 20 April 2016 (UTC)
I expect that the contents of the vast majority of these Wiki pages will be migrated to the database and the Wiki pages will be deleted. Some "meatier" Wiki pages -- like Publisher:Science Fiction Book Club -- will likely be kept and linked from the database side.
At this time we have four reports for each record type (publication, publisher, series, magazine, fanzine):
  • [records] with Wiki pages
  • [records] with Talk pages
  • [record] Wiki pages not linked to [records]
  • [record] Talk Wiki pages not linked to [records]
It may be possible to combine each set of four reports into one, but there would be technical difficulties because of the way the nightly reports work. I also suspect that it would make it harder for editors to understand what is going on with each Wiki page. Ahasuerus 19:24, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Edit Publication bug fixed

Bug 563, "EditPub doesn't recognize changes of Length values to '-'", has been fixed. (The way we handle "storylen" values really needs to be changed, but that's a much bigger can of worms.) Ahasuerus 22:29, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

Cheap Street Press Collection at Tulane University Library

I'll be in New Orleans for a conference in early May and will be taking the opportunity to spend a day at the Rare Books department at Tulane University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library to view the Cheap Street Collection. In addition to having copies of all of the Cheap Street books, the collection also houses promotional material and correspondence between the O'Nale's and the authors and artists whose work is represented in the collection.

My primary interest is in the KSR correspondence, but if anyone has anything else they'd like me to investigate or grab pictures of please let me know. My appointment is on May 9th. Albinoflea 15:59, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

Scheduled maintenance on 2016-04-28 at 8pm

The database will be down for patch installation between 8pm and 8:05pm server (North American Daylight Time). The patch will add support for transliterated titles. Patch notes will be available shortly. Ahasuerus 23:33, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

Everything should be back up. The first few titles listed on Vladimir Colin's and Arkady Strugatsky's Summary pages showcase the new functionality. Detailed patch notes to come. Ahasuerus 00:06, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Patch 2016-04-76: Transliterated titles

A new field, "Transliterated Title", has been added to title records. It's similar to the other "transliterated value" fields that have been added lately. You can use it to add romanized versions of titles that contain non-Latin characters.

Please note that you can enter as many transliterated versions of each title as necessary, which can be handy when there is more than one possible transliteration. (If nothing happens the first time you click on "Add Transliterated Title", please do a clean page reload by pressing Control-F5.)

The regular Search logic has been updated to check transliterated titles, so a search on "ulitka" should find this record and this record. The main Advanced Search page has had "Transliterated Title" added as one of Title selectors.

Approximately a dozen Web pages have been updated to display transliterated titles in mouse-over bubbles. Again, this is similar to the way other "transliterated values" fields work.

As always, if you run into any issues, please report them here. Ahasuerus 00:32, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

P.S. This patch also added a dozen new title-specific cleanup reports to the cleanup menu. The data will be available tomorrow morning. In addition, all cleanup reports that deal with transliteration issues have been moved to a new "Transliterations" section. Ahasuerus 00:44, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
Awesome! ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 16:06, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

"Check for Duplicates" bugged

Of the three versions of our Duplicate Finder two -- the publication-specific one and the title-specific one -- are currently broken. The one that handles authors is OK. I expect to have a fix deployed shortly. Ahasuerus 02:01, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Fixed. Ahasuerus 04:47, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Author Biblio pages for "uncredited"

As of this morning, we have 43,063 titles whose author is "uncredited". It takes over 30 seconds to load this "author"'s Summary page and the resulting bibliography is so long that I doubt anyone finds it useful. In addition, every time the server builds and displays this page, it hammers the database and affects everyone else's response/load times. I assume that few users access this page on purpose, but I see that it has been displayed 29,406 times since we started keeping track. That's a lot of extra work for the server for very little gain. As the number of "uncredited" titles continues to grow, this will become a bigger problem.

I propose that we change the software that drives our Summary, Alphabetical and Chronological pages to display the following message when one of these pages is accessed for "uncredited":

  • Summary[/Alphabetical/Chronological] Bibliography for "uncredited" is not available due to the number of titles associated with this "author".

We can also change all other pages that link to the Summary page not to create a hyperlink for "uncredited".

Am I missing any legitimate reasons why a user may want to view "uncredited"'s biblio pages? Ahasuerus 23:27, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Is there a way to create a report which compares titles on this list with other titles with the same or a similar name which were published within a few years of when the uncredited work was published? It might help reduce the number of items on the list. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:52, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
Also, perhaps run a chron job nightly which creates a cached version of the pages. That way, it hits the database only once a day for each one, but they are still reasonably current as far as new items being added to them. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:54, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
I used to go that summary page to see if there's anything that can be legitimately cleaned, e.g. COVERART records. But since one editor insists that there's a legitimate reason for crediting COVERART records to "uncredited", I don't check any more. Mhhutchins|talk 01:12, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
I will be very interested by the creation of a new author called "uncredited cover artist" (or any other circumlocution). 1) This will decrease the number of "uncredited" titles by a grand total of 4 (an exepriment of my doing). 2) This will somewhat align the COVERART category with the other types (it's the only one where an authorship along the lines of "uncredited" is not allowed, which is sometimes quite hard to explain to newcomers). 3) More importantly, this will allow a real bibliographic work on such items (date of first appearance (like here), place of first appearance, language, re-uses for the same title (like here), re-uses for a different title, re-uses in different countries (like this one)). 4) Finally, when the "real" artist will be found, it will allow a quite rapid update of all concerned records (as they will be varianted). Hauck 08:21, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
An interesting thought, but perhaps it deserves a separate topic. Ahasuerus 18:13, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
So the issue at hand was to decrease the strain on the server, and Hauck proposes that we create another form of credit that will most likely cause the same or even greater strain than the current problem. Add to that the time and effort it will take to update thousands of records in the database with this new credit. Amazing. Mhhutchins|talk 18:42, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
Here's how to explain the difference in handling artist credit and author credit to new editors: they're two different things and the ISFDB handles them accordingly. Period. Mhhutchins|talk 18:44, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me periodically why I usually don't partcipate in debates (sic) here. Thanks for your advice on how to explain things to newcomers, this may really win new contributors. Hauck 07:31, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Community Portal/Rules and Standards debates do get heated from time to time. I would urge all contributors to exercise restraint in order to make the process smoother and maximize editor participation. When editors give up on these discussions, it increases the likelihood of important considerations being overlooked when deciding which direction we should take. Ahasuerus 16:33, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm unable to restrain myself when I read something so extraordinarily bad, and our software writer says it's "an interesting thought". It would have been an interesting idea back in 2005, but a decade later, it just will not work. Don't complain when I speak my mind about a topic under discussion and then later point out that I should have been part of the discussion before such bad ideas are implemented. Mhhutchins|talk 16:52, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
It's great when editors speak their minds, I am just urging everyone to do it in a less heated way. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar :-) All of us have changed each other's minds over the last 10 years -- most recently you convinced me to implement the COVERART changes differently -- but the reason why we have been able to do it was that we presented convincing logical arguments and left the communication channels open. Ahasuerus 17:46, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm not a diplomat, and I'm not going to sugarcoat my words when reacting to a bad suggestion. Maybe if I'd spoken louder and firmer in the past, a lot of directions the ISFDB has gone in the last few years could have been altered. (I won't go into those unless you insist, but in a separate post.) I'm going to make my opinion known as strongly as possible. I know no other way to do it. Take me as I am, or not at all. Now I'll take a few days break to clear my head of this anger. Mhhutchins|talk 18:10, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Diplomatic skills are just that, skills. We are not born with them, but they can be learned. It's the art of dealing with people in a tactful and effective way, something that greatly facilitates communications and policy development. Ahasuerus 19:07, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I think that addressing the issues raised in Hervé's #3 and #4 would be helpful, but I am not sure what the best way to support this functionality would be. It doesn't have to be done as yet another "uncredited" "author"; there may be other, more elegant, ways of accomplishing the same objectives. I'll have to think about it.
That said, it's a potentially huge can of worms and I think it would be best to discuss it separately. Ahasuerus 19:20, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
I think it's a good idea to display the message rather than the summary page. Once or twice a year it happens that I accidentally hit on uncredited's link, and I also think of no good reason to display all the titles of this eager beaver: it wouldn't be useful to any search purpose. Stonecreek 18:46, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Christian. And I like the idea of not creating the hyperlinks -- I know I've clicked by mistake from time to time. --MartyD 01:48, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
I think dropping the hyperlink is best, but allowing searches for "uncredited" under "Advanced Search," with searches for "enabled" only after the specification of at least one other parameter, such as Year, Publication Type, etc.--Rkihara 19:41, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
The proposed change would affect author pages and author links only. It shouldn't affect title links or the ability to run Advanced Title searches. Ahasuerus 20:16, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

(unindent) The software has been changed not to display "uncredited"'s Summary, Chronological or Alphabetical biblio pages. It will require additional work not to display "uncredited" as a hyperlink. Ahasuerus 19:41, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Wells Odhams editions

I have several copies of what I think is this series. The note there gives reasons for making the date 1953; the books look much more in the style of the 1930s to me. This listing mentions inscriptions dated 1933. I have eight of those nine, plus three more, one of which is very slightly different from the others -- the red cloth is a slightyl different tone and the lettering is gilt, whereas on the other ten volumes the lettering is grey to black. The differences could be just due to differential wear and storage; I bought the different one from another source. One volume (not the different one) has an inscription dated 1935. The other nine like it were all bought together and can be assumed to also be the same age; it looks like the owner just inscribed one of the books.

I'll go through each volume and see if each is already entered in the database, but what do I do about dates? I think I should change the note about 1953 to indicate that it seems to be no more trustworthy than the others, and give 1933 as the best guess, mentioning both my inscribed copy and the reference on the web. Is that good enough? Mike Christie (talk) 00:20, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Here is an image of one of the books in the series, from a current eBay listing. Mike Christie (talk) 00:24, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Thomas Harris?

Thinking of deleting the entry for Thomas Harris. Hannibal Lecter seems to fall outside of the definition of SF.--Rkihara 16:27, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes! Hauck 16:30, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Harris's books have been nominated for 5 Stoker, 1 Locus and 1 World Fantasy awards. I suggest we change them to "non-genre" instead of deleting them. Ahasuerus 17:25, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
They definitely fall into horror (if nothing else), which falls under the umbrella of speculative fiction as defined here. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:24, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
The Rules of Acquisition define speculative fiction to include supernatural horror, but not psychological horror. In other word, for our purposes zombies are "genre" and cannibals are "non-genre". Unless they are zombie cannibals, of course :) Ahasuerus 15:27, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I clarified ISFDB:Policy#Exclusions based on the above. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:19, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I actually feel that you may have muddied things a bit. Your three examples of exclusions are all works which have been allowed into the database either due to a de facto standard of having been nominated for an award, or because their author is above the threshold. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:11, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I agree that the chosen examples are not helpful because they are exceptions. I doubt that we need examples in this section at all. Ahasuerus 23:50, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
That's fine. They can be removed (and I just did that). I included them because they were mentioned specifically in the Wikipedia article as examples of it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:32, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I should note that Wikipedia included Ringu as an example of psychological horror, even though it includes some supernatural elements (disease transmission via video, cursing, etc.) ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:34, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I'd also like to point out that several Harris' titles have not been nominated or won awards. He's clearly not above the threshold. Some of them were probably entered as a result of reviews when that was the standard. But I can see no reason that we include Black Sunday under the current ROA. Should we either delete these titles, revisit allowing reviewed works in, or consider allowing psychological horror in? The Stokers, Jacksons and the Locus awards don't appear to make the distinction. Perhaps we shouldn't either. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:11, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
My take on it is that psychological horror is fundamentally different from speculative fiction. All branches of spec fiction -- from alternate history to ghost stories -- postulate a world different from ours while psychological horror does not. Ahasuerus 23:50, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I lean more toward supporting Rtrace's suggestion. Excluding some horror may only lead to confusion. Yes, we have the policy page we can point to, but most people aren't going to know about it right away (I know I didn't know about it for the first while when I started submitting works). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:32, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the term "speculative fiction" is nebulous (e.g. see this peculiar categorization), so new users won't know for sure what we cover until their read our Policy.
We recognized it as a problem back in the 1990s, but we couldn't come up with a better term. We wanted something that would cover science fiction, fantasy and supernatural horror (I don't recall whether alternate history was discussed since it was still pretty rare then), but "The Internet Database of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Supernatural Horror" would have been too unwieldy. John Clute's Fantastika wasn't "a thing" at the time and I am not sure it would be less obscure even in 2016. Ahasuerus 01:14, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I think this may be one of those things that's just on the border and should be included (similar to the way non-genre works by those "above the threshold" are included). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:32, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
That's a very different case. When we include non-genre works by authors "above the threshold", we include all of their book length works regardless of genre. The proposal to include psychological horror is based on genre. Ahasuerus 01:03, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I think the percentage of psychological horror compared to supernatural horror is pretty small, especially nowadays. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:32, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
It goes up and down. The whole horror field crashed and burned in the 1990s, then made a comeback. And there is no telling what we may end up with once we start getting more Chinese, Russian, etc books.
More importantly, I believe we should change our definition of speculative fiction based on merit and not on whether something is popular. Ahasuerus 01:03, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
What do you mean? I wasn't aware of our definition being based on popularity. Sorry, I'm just not understanding what you mean. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:58, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I was responding to your comment that "the percentage of psychological horror compared to supernatural horror is pretty small, especially nowadays". My point was that I don't think that the amount of psychological horror being published should be a significant consideration when determining whether to include it. If we decide to change the scope of the ISFDB project to include another genre or subgenre, I believe we should do it based on our understanding of where the borders of speculative fiction lie rather than on the number of books in the (sub)genre. Ahasuerus 05:27, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
That makes sense. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 06:46, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
My personal preference is that with works where it's unclear if it's speculative, the person who enters it should normally include in the title synopsis something that says "why this is speculative fiction". E.g., what about The Secret Garden or A Little Princess makes them speculative? And if someone wanted to add the horror book Little Angie to the database, I think they should be obligated to explain what they think is supernatural horror instead of "just" psychological horror. Chavey 01:18, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Magazine Directory and Magazine Search updates

Magazine Directory and Magazine Search have been updated to take advantage of transliterated titles. For example, the "Te" part of the Magazine Directory now lists "Техника – молодежи" because the transliterated title of one its title records is "Tekhnika - molodezhi". Ahasuerus 00:01, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

2016-05-05: Sporadic connectivity problems

Some users are reporting experiencing sporadic connectivity problems since noon server (US Eastern Daylight) time. Ahasuerus 18:01, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Title tags revamp

Due to the number of titles associated with popular title tags like "fantasy", "science fiction", and "young-adult fantasy", the Web pages that display them have been revamped. They now display 100 titles per page, which is similar to the way Advanced Search pages work. In addition, the displayed data has been tweaked and expanded to use the same table columns as the Advanced Title Search results page. Finally, more links have been added so that if you are on the page that lists the titles that I have tagged with "young-adult fantasy", you can easily jump to the page that shows all of my tags or to the page that shows all titles associated with the "young-adult fantasy" tag. Ahasuerus 23:43, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Planet Savers

This title really seems to be a NOVELLA rather than a NOVEL. It has barely 100 pages in most of its publications (or even less) and is afaik often referred to as SHORTFICTION. In fact it has been already published in 1958 in Amazing, see here. It seems to me that we have another case of a 'novel' that got entered as such only because the publisher Ace said it was one. Is there any reason that would speak against changing the title type? Stonecreek 15:26, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

Looking through various sources (SFE, wikipedia, two Darkover sites) I could find no evidence that the 1962 publication as Ace Double features any fundamental change or addition. It seems that the two titles have to be merged, unless there's new information supplied. Stonecreek 14:02, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
A quick check of the online Project Gutemberg version and the Ace Double F-153 doesn't show any changes in the text. Hauck 15:13, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
So the titles were merged and the corresponding publications were adapted. Stonecreek 03:57, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
Changes made for the french translations. Hauck 06:32, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

List of people who can work in various languages

I think it would be useful to have a list of people somewhere on the site of those who can work in various languages. For instance, I would be listed as English and Japanese (at least), as would Uzume. Then, we could add a "Language help" link in the navigation menu on the left, and perhaps add one to one of the submenus on the main site, too (under "Other Pages" or "Editing Tools", perhaps). Thoughts? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 16:56, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes, this could be useful. But what exactly do you mean by working in a language? For example, due to a school course in Latin and a basic learner course I may be able to understand written Italian and could handle such submissions. Would that be enough by your definition or should we establish different levels of fluency? Stonecreek 17:24, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
Just to be able to handle entries here. Transliterations, mostly. I don't think we need a lot more than that here. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:52, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
I expect that different housekeeping tasks will require at least three different tiers of language proficiency:
  • Working knowledge of the alphabet to be able to add transliterations
  • Working knowledge of the basic grammar and bibliographic terms/abbreviations to be able to parse bibliographic information
  • Ability to translate titles
Ahasuerus 21:07, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
So, should I whip up something? And what about the links I mentioned? Would that be something we could add to make it easier for people to find the page? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:38, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
Something like this: Language help. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:05, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
Ahasuerus, will this work? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:43, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Sure, it's a start. We just need to decide which Help pages should link to this list.
P.S. Sorry about slow responses, I am currently buried in Fixer's stuff. Last month the eager beaver... er, the eager robot found almost 20,000 ISBNs for me to process. Ahasuerus 19:38, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Hopefully it will prove useful. Now to encourage people to go add themselves to it... ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:47, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Have we picked a transliteration systems for each language yet? For example, I would transliterate Japanese using Hepburn, rather than JSL or Kunrei-shiki, since that is the system I am most familiar with.--Rkihara 16:02, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
I usually use a modified Hepburn. For example, "ha" instead of "wa" for は, "wo" instead of "o" for を, and "he" instead of "e" for へ, for those particles. I also use "sho" instead of "syo" for しょ (and the like). I prefer to use macrons instead of double letters or "ou". And "n" instead of "m" for the syllabic ん. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:51, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
The decision was to support multiple transliteration systems instead of choosing one transliteration system per language. As our mouse-over Help says, "If there is more than one possible Romanization, click on the Add Transliterated [record] button below and enter the other Romanized spellings of the [record]. You can click on the Add button as many times as necessary." Ahasuerus 18:21, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
That makes sense, especially since we use the title in the original script now. Makes things much easier. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:23, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
I wonder if an option should be put in to hide the transliterations (so you have to click "Show" to make them appear)? In some cases (such as Japanese, as shown above), there can be quite a number of possible transliterations, which would make the page look unwieldy or ugly. Would that be easy to add, Ahasuerus? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:04, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
It wouldn't be that hard to implement, but first we need to agree on the nature of the change. For example, would it be better to display all transliterations on one line and use slashes (pipes?) as delimiters? Ahasuerus 00:29, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
I thought about that, but I think that would make the titles harder to read, especially if there were more than just a couple of them. There are a couple titles which have 6-9 different transliterations, so that could get messy quickly. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:41, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
Alternatively we could use mouse-over help, which we already use elsewhere, e.g. see this pub. Ahasuerus 16:30, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
That would work, too. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:31, 20 May 2016 (UTC)


Added a few things (Hebrew, Latin, Ancient and Modern Greek, Hungarian…). I put "3" where I felt most comfortable, but I suppose I could work out approximative translations for most of them if I really had to… :o) Linguist 09:40, 18 May 2016 (UTC).

I'm wondering why we're putting a list of multi-linguistic editors on a page. Are people supposed to contact them by email? Or put questions on their talk page? The three things I'd have expected I might find on a Language Help page would be support information about how ISFDB deals with languages (such as profiles for viewing, and the Add Transliteration button Ahasuerus mentioned above), a place to request translations from anyone able to provide them or identify languages, or a forum for discussing particular problems that are language related (although I don't know why these wouldn't be in the Community Portal). By the way, my French is 40 years out of use and my Icelandic consists of counting. Doug H 13:12, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Right now, it's likely putting questions on their talk pages. We could add information about how ISFDB deals with each of the languages (I know there was recently a question about using a cedilla or a character with a comma under it for Romanian). Since this page is just starting out, it's definitely open for suggestions on how to make it even more useful, I think. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:01, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

New cleanup report -- "Series Names That May Need Disambiguation"

We have a number of partially disambiguated series names on file. For example, there is Anomaly (Williams) by Sandy Williams and a plain Anomaly by Krista McGee. Ditto "The Inheritance trilogy" and many others. To use a more extreme case, of the 6 versions of "The Fallen", 5 are disambiguated and 1 is not. On the other hand, in some cases the main series probably does not need to be disambiguated, e.g. "Perry Rhodan" or "Harry Potter".

A new cleanup report to identify these series names has been deployed. All editors can access the report, but only moderators can "ignore" series. The data will become available tomorrow morning. Ahasuerus 21:15, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

Shouldn't cases where a series listed in the "Other Series Titles" column of the report is only a sub-series of the one listed in the "Series Title" column be excluded from the report? Example: why does Alien Contact need to be more disambiguated? Jens Hitspacebar 10:21, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
An interesting idea. I'll take a look. Thanks! Ahasuerus 01:21, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

J. S. Fletcher (1863-1935)

This author has both Wikipedia and SFE3 links. They agree on the day of birth and death, but disagree by 3 years on the years of those events. We currently list the dates from SFE3. Any idea as to how to be confident that those dates are correct? Chavey 22:44, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Well, The Yorkshire Post and Hathi Trust Digital Library both have 1863. So does this book (view the Look Inside and find the bio on the first couple pages). I say we go with the 1863 date. I can't find anyone other than Wikipedia that has the 1860 date. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:30, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
Contemporary Authors gives 1863-02-07 and 1935-01-30.--Rkihara 03:13, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks much! And thanks to Nihonjoe and JLaTondre for correcting the Wikipedia entry! Chavey 19:55, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Eiji Yoshikawa

Unless someone objects I will be removing author Eiji Yoshikawa from the database. The author and his works have no SF connection.--Rkihara 18:02, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Did you check with MLB and Don Erikson to have them see if there are any fantasy elements in "from Musashi"? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:36, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
I left a note with MLB. "from Musashi" is an excerpt from the book, which I have read. It is tied to another SF pub, so I will leave it. It needs to be identified as non-genre. I removed the other reference to Musashi.--Rkihara 23:02, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Just doing some checking around, I can't find any evidence anything written by Yoshikawa included any fantasy or science fiction elements. Musashi seems to have been an historical drama more than anything. "Based on a true story", but embellished to make it a fun read. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:06, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
I submitted a change to remove "from Musashi" by Eiji Yoshikawa from this pub as it is a non-genre work. I added it as a pub note instead. I advised MLB and Don Erikson since they had verified the pub. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 01:33, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
My computer is still down. Please do what you need to do, I have no objection. I have never read this anthology. The page was created by someone else, I had just double checked the contents before passing the book on to others. MLB 06:02, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
Looks like everything is done and the author is no longer in the database except as a comment on this pub. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:41, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Is this appropriate for inclusion? Chavey 20:59, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

I would say it could be included, since it includes Humbaba, a giant with the face of a lion, breathes fire, and can kill people with a look. At least that is one description of him. There are others even more fantastical. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 21:59, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
The problem here is that it can be hard to tell whether a myth was considered fiction or non-fiction at the time of its creation/compilation/etc. If a story of gods, demons and monsters was presented by its compilers as a factual account of what happened 10 generations ago, then it wasn't really speculative fiction. The problem is aggravated, as the Policy page says, by "difficulties with distinguishing between speculative and non-speculative fiction (or even fiction and non-fiction) when you are dealing with pre-1800 works." This was taken into account when the Policy pages was created:
  • "The older the book, the more likely we are to include it even if it is borderline eligible. This is caused by the fact that there were relatively few works published prior to 1800 and by the difficulties [see above]."
but at the same time "Fairy tales with no known author" are excluded. And so it remains a gray area. Ahasuerus 22:10, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
So, being a gray area, I can include it if I wish? Chavey 06:39, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it's going to be a problem for now. At some point we may want to have a Rules and Standards discussion to settle this issue once and for all. Ahasuerus 16:26, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
That might be useful. I'd like the opportunity to vote against "The Iliad". Chavey 17:59, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

Cover artist for "3001: The Final Odyssey"

There is an iconic image for Arthur C. Clarke's 3001: The Final Odyssey". We sometimes credit it to Tim Brown, and sometimes to David Stevenson. The details reported on various pub records say: "Jacket photo © Tim Brown/Tony Stone Images. Jacket design by David Stevenson" and also note that Locus credits Stevenson. Who should rightfully be given the credit here? [This affects verified publications from Waldstein, Kraang, Phileas, MartyD, Holmesd, Willem H., Syzygy, Teddybear, Hauck, Bluesman, and SpanishMill.] Chavey 07:25, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

I have the paperback edition (March 98) which does not credit the cover art, but when it is a choice between artist/photographer and the designer, I always go with the artist/photographer for the credit. I believe a designer uses the art/photos already available to him but does not create the art/photos. Also, Locus1 data has its fair share of errata entered by human hands so they could be in error here. Syzygy 00:00, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
I'd do the same: at least back then a jacket designer only used to choose the fonts for the letters, the background colors and other things like these. Stonecreek 03:45, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

ISBN curiosities

1. Seven for the Sea (Andre Deutsch, 1972) 558407 --see Notes item from the linked LCCN record, "ISBN: 0233963683 (reportedly invalid "bad checksum")"

After seeing the report upon submission, I deleted that number from the ISBN field (or the moderator removed it). Now I see elsewhere that others do it differently, eg 158211, found among others by search for "bad checksum".

2. A Net to Catch the Wind (Harper & Row, 1979) 571624 --see Notes below the whitespace

I did not clone a record of the library binding format, despite having two distinct prices from LC. Is that reasonable? The note "ISBN for this book re-used" pertains to both ISBN-10, so I should have written "these books".

3. The Ice is Coming T5079 (Hutchinson UK and AU, 1977)

For the UK ed. I added the Hutchinson (London) cover image from Amazon and ISBN-10 from the linked library records, with Note "1st UK ed. (same ISBN as published both UK and Australia)". Is the use of same ISBN for UK and AU editions likely? Sometimes I have declined to add an edition from library records because the reported ISBN matches one that we have. Perhaps one should clone and modify only with the book in hand (and probably the price in another currency)?

--Pwendt|talk 18:43, 24 May 2016 (UTC) (add 3.) --Pwendt|talk 21:10, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Names of the country "Russia"

About a year ago, myself and a couple of other editors worked to standardize the names we use across time for England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. That's been reasonably successful, and we have a cleanup report that checks that those standards remain (more-or-less) as is. I'm working on a similar task for the various names of Russia. Using Wikipedia as the source, and using what have become de facto standards here for some of the naming, my understanding of the names we should be using are:

  1. "Russian Empire" from 1721 to March 14, 1917.
  2. "Russian Republic" from March 15 to Nov. 7, 1917.
  3. "Russian Federation", short for "Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic" from Nov. 8, 1917 to Dec. 29, 1922.
  4. "Russia, USSR" from Dec. 30, 1922 to Dec. 25, 1991.
  5. "Russian Federation" from Dec. 16, 1991 to the present.

I am in the process of updating author "birth places" to use these names. That's changed very few "country of births", but one that I must mention is that it changes Isaac Asimov's birth place from "Russia" to "Russian Federation". That makes it a major change, and I wanted to give other editors the opportunity to challenge that, if they wish. Chavey 01:47, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

I should note that there has been a persistent minority viewpoint that the 1922-1991 name should be "Russian Federation, USSR". Chavey 02:10, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
1721 is correct, but March 14, 1917 is not. To quote page 44 of "The Russian Revolution and the Soviet State 1917–1921: Documents":
  • Believing it necessary to terminate the outward vagueness of the form of government, and mindful of the wholehearted and enthusiastic acceptance of the republican idea that was shown at the Moscow State Conference, the Provisional Government declares that the political form under which the Russian State is governed is a republican form, and it proclaims the Russian Republic. [... signed:] A. F. Kerensky, Minister-President, Zarudny, Minister of Justice, 1 September 1917 (From Izvestiya, 3 September 1917)
Quoting the Wikipedia article on the "Russian Republic":
  • The Russian Republic was a short-lived state that controlled, de jure, the territory of the former Russian Empire after the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II on 15 March [O.S. 2 March] 1917.
With essentially all revolutions, there is an overthrow, a new group is in power and it's now their country, it takes a while for them to figure out their constitution, their name, what government positions they have, etc. I think there's little doubt that after the February revolution (on March 15th), that the new nation (whether or not they had their name set) had been created. Chavey 05:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
As a general rule, I don't think our nomenclature reflects revolutions, coups, new constitutions and so on. Between 1789 and 1875 France had a dozen constitutions and the state changed its name/structure almost as many times (monarchy, republic, directory, consulate, empire, monarchy, republic, empire, republic.) And yet we just call it "France" for our purposes.
On the other hand, our nomenclature tries to account for hierarchical changes, territorial transfers, formations of new countries, etc. For example, M. E. Patchett was born in "Sydney, Colony of New South Wales, British Empire" in 1897, but Christina Stead was born in "Sydney, New South Wales, Australia" in 1902.
Similarly, for our purposes the big issue with Russia in 1917-1922 is not that the form of government changed a bunch of times. The main issue is the dissolution and the subsequent reconstitution of the transnational entity known as the Russian Empire in 1721-1917 and the USSR in 1922-1991. Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc were all parts of the Russian Empire in the 19th century. They became separate states in 1915-1918 and some of them were incorporated in the USSR in 1922. Thus we state that Arkady Strugatsky (1925-1991) was born in "Batumi, Georgia, USSR" rather than in "Batumi, Georgia" or "Batumi, Georgia, Russian Empire". Ahasuerus 13:56, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Note that Russia used the Julian calendar, which was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar in 1917, at the time. 1917-09-01 Julian is 1917-09-14 Gregorian. We use the Gregorian calendar for all of our dates.
I tried to do that throughout. Chavey 05:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Nov. 8, 1917 is also incorrect. "Russian Soviet Federative [or Federated] Socialist Republic" was proclaimed when the 5th Congress of Soviets adopted the first Soviet constitution on July 10, 1918. By then Bolshevik-controlled parts of Russia had switched to the Gregorian calendar, so there was no ambiguity.
Again, the October revolution (Nov. 7th) brought in the new government, regardless of the fact that it took another 9 months for them to have a constitution. What would you suggest we do with someone who is born while a new government is forming, put down "[No Nation]?" Chavey 05:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
If we are going to use a formal name like "Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic", I don't think we can use it retroactively for dates that precede its adoption. If we decide to use "Russia" as per my suggestion below, then it won't be an issue.
Re: the argument that the 1917-11-07 revolution brought in a new government, well, Russia had 6 revolutionary governments between March and December 1917. They all claimed to be "provisional pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly". The forces that overthrew the fourth Provisional government on 1917-11-07 (Bolsheviks, anarchists and the left wing of the Socialist Revolutionary Party) blamed the previous government for delaying the Constituent Assembly elections and promised to hold them ASAP. True to their word, they formed yet another provisional government and held an election on 1917-11-25. It was only after it had become clear that they had lost the election that they slowly abandoned the notion that their government was provisional, disbanded the Constituent Assembly on 1918-01-19 and proclaimed a permanent Soviet-based republic at the Third Congress of Soviets.
Which just goes to show how complicated these things can get and, I believe, is another argument in favor of using a short name like "Russia". Ahasuerus 14:38, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Also, if we are going to use "Russian Federation" for 1918-1922, then we should probably use it for 1922-1991 as well. Even though Russia became a part of the newly formed "USSR" in December 1922, its official name remained "Russian Soviet Federative [or Federated] Socialist Republic". It kept the name after the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. The name was finally changed to "Russian Federation" with the adoption of the post-Soviet constitution on December 25, 1993.
That's what I was expecting discussion to actually be about. Chavey 05:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Oh, and I think you meant "Dec. 26, 1991" rather than "Dec. 16, 1991". Ahasuerus 03:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes; a typo. Chavey 05:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
The larger question here is whether we want to use official names or commonly used names. If we use "France" instead of "French Republic", "Germany" instead of "Federal Republic of Germany", "Poland" instead of "Republic of Poland", and "Mexico" instead of "United Mexican States", shouldn't we use "Russia" instead of "Russian Federation"? If the answer is "yes", then how about the following system:
  • 1721 through 1917-09-13: "Russian Empire"
  • 1917-09-14 through 1922-12-29: "Russia"
  • 1922-12-30 through 1991-12-25: "Russia, USSR"
  • Since 1991-12-26: "Russia"
? Ahasuerus 04:23, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
In general, I'm in favor of shorter, more "common" names, as opposed to formal, legal names. However, when there are two substantially different "countries" in play, as in these last three Russian eras, I think there is value in using different names to distinguish those "different nations". Even if that does mean that one of them goes with a more formal name. I'm not sure "Russian Federation" is the best choice, but it is what several editors have been using. Chavey 05:48, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Wasn't it actually RSFSR while part of the USSR? That was the name I was taught when I was in school at the time. I personally prefer Ahasuerus' suggestion. --MartyD 11:07, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
That's right. The official names of Russia proper have been:
  • 1721-11-02 through 1917-09-13: Russian Empire (included Russia proper, Poland, Finland, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, etc)
  • 1917-09-14 through 1918-07-09: Russian Republic (included Finland, Ukraine, etc in 1917, but lost them in 1918)
  • 1918-07-10 through 1922-12-29: Russian Soviet Federative [or Federated] Socialist Republic, an independent state
  • 1922-12-30 through 1991-12-25: Russian Soviet Federative [or Federated] Socialist Republic, a constituent part of the USSR
  • 1991-12-26 through 1993-12-24: Russian Soviet Federative [or Federated] Socialist Republic, an independent state
  • 1993-12-25 - current: Russian Federation
As I mentioned earlier, I think the important thing is to capture these hierarchical changes. Ahasuerus 14:13, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm in favor of using short names, since things will become incredibly complicated if we use the proper historical names throughout. Even the US will be difficult, since parts belonged to Mexico,Spain, and France, and before that, various Indian nations. For example, Hawaii was kingdom, became a republic, then a territory, and finally a state. Maybe a script could be written to automatically assign the official name based on the birthdate or a drop down menu for editors that appears when you enter the short name?--Rkihara 17:05, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
There is a nightly cleanup script that looks for invalid uses of "Kingdom of England", "Kingdom of Scotland", "British Empire", "USA", "Kingdom of Hawaii", etc during various time periods. Once we decide how we want to handle Russia, we can update the report accordingly. Ahasuerus 21:35, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

(unindent) It looks like we have 3 people in favor of the short form of the country's name and 1 person in favor of the long form. Any objections to changing the nightly cleanup report to look for places of birth that do not follow the following convention:

  • Prior to 1721-11-02: Russia
  • 1721-11-02 through 1917-09-13: Russian Empire
  • 1917-09-14 through 1922-12-29: Russia
  • 1922-12-30 through 1991-12-25: Russia, USSR
  • After 1991-12-26: Russia

? Ahasuerus 00:05, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

Looks good to me. I'm not committed to particular names; I just prefer some level of consistency. I'll change the "Russian Federation" authors to Russia, and I think that will make the initial run of the revised cleanup report start clean. Chavey 03:39, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
OK, FR 896 has been created. Ahasuerus 19:39, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Romanian ș and ț

Two new cleanup reports have been deployed as per FR 890. They identify Romanian titles and pubs which (incorrectly) use "ş" and "ţ" instead of "ș" and "ț". "ş" and "ţ" are valid in certain other languages, but not in Romanian. The data will become available tomorrow morning. Ahasuerus 21:21, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Great ! Thanks a lot ! Linguist 12:48, 28 May 2016 (UTC).

Publication display and language mismatch

Publication pages have been changed to display the language of Contents items if they don't match the language of the main ("reference" or "referral") title in the publication -- see the Contents section of this pub for an example. Ahasuerus 23:26, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

That's very nice. Thanks! ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 01:24, 27 May 2016 (UTC)
Well, that's not the best example, since those "English" titles were assigned that language in error (and will soon be corrected). But I'm pleased to see this change, e.g. because it will help me find those titles in "Fenix" that were incorrectly assigned "English" as a language. This improvement will also make it much clearer for those examples that have a story printed in two languages, such as this edition of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Chavey 08:10, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Regular Search improvements

The logic behind regular Search has been tweaked to make certain types of searches faster. In addition, single character searches (like "a") have been disabled for "All Titles", "Fiction Titles", "Names" and "Publishers" searches. You can still user single characters in Advanced Search. Ahasuerus 18:58, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Inactive verifiers

As time goes on, I've notices more often that a verifier I'm leaving a note with is not active. When I look up a publication and see that there are a full allotment of five verifiers, I skip the verification. If any of the existing verifiers were no longer active, I could take on that role. The impediments are: the time it takes to check the talk page for each of the verifiers and the lack of protocol for replacing an existing verifier. Is the problem worth the time to address these? Doug H 15:07, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

I think so. IMHO "Definitively" (perhaps here lays the problem as some were inactive and then became active again) inactive verifiers shouldn't stay as PVs as for me to be capable of answering about a specific publication is the essence of the PV status. Hauck 15:28, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
There may be a few things that we could do about this issue. First, we could change the software to support more PVs per publication. Second, we could add an "inactive" flag to user accounts and display it in the verification section of publication pages. Only moderators (and perhaps the account owners?) would be allowed to set/clear this flag. Ahasuerus 17:23, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Is there a reason (other than current code) to have a a set number of slots for primary verification? It seems to me it should be open ended. You would just select primary verification (vs. a specific number) and it would add it to a table of primary verifications. When the pub is displayed, it would display all primary verifications sorted by time stamp (or active state first if that is implemented). That would also help with another annoyance (at least for me) in that when someone un-primary verifies, there are now "gaps" in the slots. For example, I changed a number of my verifications today from primary to primary transient. Since Primary2+ is below the secondary verifications, than can make it seem the pub is unverified at first glance.
I would also like to see primary transient handled the same way (unlimited) or at least also expanded. It would be nice to know that multiple people have checked the publication when applicable. And while I'm on a roll ;-), it would also be nice to be able to 'convert' a primary to a primary transient while keeping the same time stamp.
As far as an inactive flag. I think that would be a good thing. But rather than manually setting, why not just have the software track the last time someone has logged in (database or wiki) and base it on that? That would be more accurate.
-- JLaTondre (talk) 18:13, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
I agree with the proposed approach. How about the following implementation:
  • The verification page is to be split into three sections
  • The top section of the Web page will be for the currently signed-in user's primary/transient verification. If the user has not verified the pub, this section will give the user the following choices:
    • Primary-verify the pub
    • Transient-verify the pub
  • If the user has already verified the pub, he will be given the following choices:
    • Remove his verification
    • Change the verification type from Primary to Transient or vice versa depending on the type of the current verification
  • The middle section will display other users' primary verifications. The currently signed-in user will not be able to change them.
  • The bottom section will display secondary verifications. They will be displayed using the current table using the current layout and the current functionality.
? Ahasuerus 00:22, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
I like it. -- JLaTondre (talk) 00:30, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
I like this too... it would be a big improvement, especially with unlimited PVs. Albinoflea 05:14, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm not thrilled by the idea that inactive primary verifications should be removed. Verification is also about knowing that someone has checked the record against the publication. And unfortunately, not every verification is equal. I'd rather not loose the knowledge that some of our more experienced editors have verified a pub even if they are no longer participating. It is also the case that some inactive editors will respond to email inquiries, they just don't check the site regularly. -- JLaTondre (talk) 18:19, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
I agree that removing primary verifiers can be problematic. It would be safer to allow an unlimited number of primary verifiers as per the discussion above. Ahasuerus 00:25, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
I think there would be value in having the software "rotate" an active verifier up to the PV 1 slot if that slot was occupied by someone who becomes tagged as inactive. But do so by pushing down the inactive verifier, not by deleting their verification stamp. Chavey 06:18, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
I like the ideas of unlimited primary verifiers and having the system automatically tag someone as an inactive verifier based on their last active date. And maybe have the system list the primary verifiers by when they verified it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:33, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
"tag someone as an inactive verifier based on their last active date" is an interesting idea, but let's think it through.
There are two types of ISFDB-related activities: database submissions and Wiki edits. The "last Wiki edit" date is easy to determine because it's already stored in each user's Wiki profile. The "last database submission" date is not stored in the ISFDB database, but it can be calculated by examining the submission table. We can use these two dates to determine the "last ISFDB activity" date. We can then use the calculated date for sorting and display purposes when editors view the verification page. Ahasuerus 20:05, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes, this is exactly what I meant. Perhaps a field could be added to track the last edit on the ISFDB side? Just have it update any time they do something. If that would be too server intensive, maybe have it update the field once a day via a cron job? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:21, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
Each submission has a date/time stamp associated with it. Finding the last submission for a user in an efficient manner is just a matter of leveraging existing indices or, worst case scenario, creating a new index. We'll call it "minor implementation details" :) Ahasuerus 20:46, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

(unindent) OK, FR 897 has been created. Ahasuerus 16:13, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

ISBNs -- internal changes

The way ISBNs are handled internally has been changed. Externally, the software should behave the same way. If you run into any bugs, please report them here. Ahasuerus 20:23, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Box Set with its own ISBN

Where does ISFDB stand on entering box sets? I have one for Douglas Adams titled "The Hitchhiker Trilogy" published by Picador. It has an ISBN that Amazon recognizes as the box set. Each book in the box has its own ISBN. I plan to enter each publication (all are unregistered later printings). If I do enter the box, what is the content? After all, it is just a box. Do I put that in the notes and leave the contents as the default title? Is the page count the sum of the books or empty? Is the publication year that of the first printing of the books I found in it (all 2002), or unknown because none of the actual books inside have one? Or September 4, 2009 because Amazon lists it? Is the binding "tp", because the books are, or a box? Is the type Omnibus? The only price was on a sticker on the cellophane and that was the bookstore discount. Do I enter that as the price? Or the sum of individual prices? Doug H 14:53, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

There are for example several boxed sets of The Lord of the Rings, which may be helpful to your problem(s). As amazon isn't always reliable, and the single books are dated to 2002, it's best to document this year. If there's no valid price to be found, leave the field blank (most likely, the price for the set is not derivable from the sum). I hope that helps. Stonecreek 08:15, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
If it has its own ISBN, I would enter it as its own entry as an omnibus (since it is a collection of multiple novels), with each book entered as part of it. The book titles would then have to be merged with the main title entries (though the moderator might do this when approving, if they are feeling kind). I would then add the individual books (with their individual ISBNs) as later printings of whichever book they are, so they would be in the system as well. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:07, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

"Cover:" Designation

Historically, cover art has had a "Cover:" prefix at the start of the title. I'm not sure if this is actually required by the database or a convention. However, with the increased number of non-English titles, the number of cover art titles without "Cover:" is growing. As evidenced by the COVERART titles without a 'Cover: ' Prefix cleanup report. So a couple of questions:

  1. Is the use of "Cover:" a convention or a database / software requirement?
  2. If it's a convention, is it time to drop it? (Recognizing there will need to be software changes to stop adding it.)
  3. If kept, can the software be changed to enforce its presence when the title is changed (vs having to clean-up after the fact)?
  4. If kept, what should go in the transliterated field? The transliteration with or without the prefix?

Cover art is the only type which uses a prefix. As a convention, I'm not seeing a need. The title type is used to separate everything else. I don't see that there is anything special about cover art in this regard. The only thing I can think is that it does make it a easier to see at a glance when interior art has been varianted to cover art, but not sure that is a big deal. The use of "Cover: NON-ENGLISH" seems odd to me and outweighs that gain in my opinion. -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:05, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

I didn't realize it was a convention/requirement(?), as it's not done in magazines. I've been deleting the "cover" prefix when transliterating titles, since that also clears it from the cleanup report (Non Latin Titles with Latin Characters), if there are no other Latin characters. It does seem redundant, since the title type is clearly defined as COVERART. I'll stop doing it for now and if it's declared a requirement, I'll go back and fix things.--Rkihara 18:44, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Seems like that defeats the purpose of having it there. It might be better to tweak the report to exclude those titles unless there are Latin characters outside of the "Cover:" part. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:41, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
The affected cleanup reports already ignore "Cover: " in titles. If you encounter a record where "Cover: " is not ignored by one of these cleanup reports, please report it as a bug. Ahasuerus 20:57, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
As to whether the prefix "is actually required by the database or a convention", the prefix is automatically added by the software when a new COVERART title is created. It's done the same way for magazines, e.g. see Lee Brown Coye's Summary page: the COVERART titles have the same "Cover: " prefix regardless of whether they are associated with books or magazines.
Re: "can the software be changed to enforce its presence when the title is changed", yes, it would be fairly easy to do.
Re: "not seeing a need" [to enforce the "Cover: " prefix], I'll have to do some digging before I can comment. As I recall, we had this discussion a few months ago and there were a few arguments pro et contra that I'd like to review. Ahasuerus 20:57, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Found it. Ahasuerus 22:58, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Missed that the first time around. I like the suggestion that it be removed from the text field and made the software's responsibility to display. It's the best of both worlds. However, it's more work for you. ;-) -- JLaTondre (talk) 23:28, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
I also like the conclusion that was reached in that previous discussion. I think it would make the treatment of art records more consistent across the system. For example, in the summary bibliography of an artist such as Harry Douthwaite, within the "Cover Art" section of their bibliography, there is no reason to require a title such as "Cover: The Final Programme", since the entire section is for cover records, whereas in other places we would want to include that kind of prefix information. Chavey 04:52, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

(unindent) FR 898 has been created. Ahasuerus 16:35, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Screenplays categorized under?

I have a series of Star Wars screenplays published in the early 90s by O.S.P. After not finding them listed in ISFDB, I am planning to add them as new publications. My initial question is what to categorize them as. I see some listed as chapbooks and others as non-fiction. What category do screenplays fall under? Rns1963 20:04, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

Screenplay titles are generally entered as NOVEL or SHORTFICTION titles depending on whether the word count is over or under the 40,000 word threshold. Standalone appearances of <40,000 screenplays are entered like other standalone appearances of SHORTFICTION titles, i.e. as CHAPBOOK publications with one SHORTFICTION title in the Content section. (At one point we discussed adding a new title type for plays, scripts, screenplays, etc, but it hasn't been implemented yet.) Ahasuerus 22:52, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the information. I'll enter it as a Shortfiction as it seems to be the prevailing method. Best, Randy Rns1963 01:28, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
Ahh. Well, it seems my only choice is Chapbook, so I will go with that selection. Randy Rns1963 01:32, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
In general, you should include a title note that the item is a screenplay. In some cases, if there is another work of the same title (e.g. a novelization of the movie), it can be useful to disambiguate the title by added "(screenplay)" to the title, as with The Empire Strikes Back (screenplay). Chavey 05:03, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Transliterated name question

I noticed that the transliteration of the Миры Филипа Фармера publication series is "Miry Filipa Farmera". Google finds that the source seems to be Amazon.

Is it ok to add a translation as a transliteration? The help pages are silent on that aspect. I'd use "Worlds of Philip José Farmer" (3 google hits)[3] or "Worlds of Philip Farmer" (107 google hits)[4] as a translation. --Marc Kupper|talk 18:07, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

Only transliterations should be put into the transliteration field, though you can add multiple transliterations to cover all the possibilities. Any translation should be put into the Note field. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:29, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
That's right, the recently added "transliterated" fields (all 4 of them) are for transliterations only. At one point I proposed adding similar fields for translated titles, but there was not enough community support for me to proceed. For now the only place where we can enter translations is the Note field.
This question has been asked three times over the last few months, so I guess I should add the answer to Help. Ahasuerus 20:12, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

English Titles with Non-Latin Characters

This cleanup report needs an ignore button, since it picks up titles with mathematical symbols, letters with macrons, such as The World of Null Ā, and so on.--Rkihara 17:43, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I hadn't thought about mathematical symbols -- good point. However, English titles with accented letters, macrons, etc. need to have transliterated titles added. If we don't, then a user searching for "The Gods of Pegana" won't find "The Gods of Pegāna". Ditto "Regarding Čapek's Works", "The Players of Ā (Part 1 of 4)", etc. Ahasuerus 18:11, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Search for Transliterated Title Works Sometimes

I've been searching for transliterated titles and find that it works only occasionally. For example, searching for "Kangarū Tsūshin" should bring up this title, but brings up "No Records Found." I've tried setting criteria to both "is Exactly," and "Contains," with the same result.--Rkihara 00:12, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Regular Search and Advanced Search handle transliterated values differently.
When running a Regular Search, you don't need to do anything special. You just enter the value that you are interested in, select the appropriate search type (Publisher, All Titles, Publication Series, etc) and click "Go". The software will check the entered search value against all appropriate regular names/titles and -- for Titles, Publishers and Publication Series -- against their transliterated versions.
Advanced Search works differently. You have to select "Transliterated Title" for Title Searches and "Transliterated Publisher"/"Transliterated Publication Series" for Publication Searches explicitly. As we discussed a few months ago, the reason for this discrepancy is that I was unable to make Advanced Search behave like regular Search without killing performance. I expect that the software behavior will change once I revamp Advanced Search which I hope to do later this year. Ahasuerus 02:10, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
It seems to be hit or miss. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. I've tried three different browsers; Firefox, Safari and Chrome, and all behave the same way. I've tried Regular and Advanced Search, and I did select "Transliterated Title" in Advanced Search. I'm going to play around with it a bit more and see if I can figure something out.--Rkihara 07:14, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Could you please provide an example of it not working correctly? Ahasuerus 15:05, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
The behavior is a little complicated. I tried searching for "Maigo no Robotto" using simple search, titles search selected. I used Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. The first run gave results for the latter two, and none for the first. I restarted all three and searched for the same phrase again. This time only Safari showed a result. I made three runs using "Kangarū Tsūshin" restarting all three browsers after each run. Chrome failed to give a result in one run. All three browsers found the title in two of the runs. In case it matters, I'm using a Late 2009 iMac, OS 10.11.5.--Rkihara 03:00, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I am afraid I have been unable to recreate the problem using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer 11 under Windows 7. Has anyone else run into this issue? (In theory, searches should have nothing to do with browsers or operating systems, but stranger things have been known to happen.) Ahasuerus 17:00, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I may have figured it out. I've been cutting the transliterations from the page to do a search. The problem seems to be trailing or leading spaces when I do this, though sometimes it doesn't seem to matter if they're there or not. When I remove them, search seems to work fine. If I type the transliteration in, that works 100% of the time.--Rkihara 17:56, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Aha! :) FYI, searches ignore leading and trailing spaces unless the user has "Keep leading and trailing spaces when searching" checked under User preferences. However, it's conceivable that a copy-and-paste operation may grab something else from the underlying HTML code and that the exact details may be browser-specific. Ahasuerus 18:09, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Displaying only main and not VT publications

When viewing a title record it normally shows all of the publications included because of the variant titles. I can click on a variant title and will only see the publications that use that variant title record. Is there a way to view the list of publications that reference a specific title record? --Marc Kupper|talk 05:34, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Not at this point, but it may be something to add. FR 900 has been created. Ahasuerus 14:37, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Semi-related - Is there a way to view the list of publications for a title that do not reference another title? For example, many of the publications listed for a title reference an essay. I want to know if there are any publications that do not reference that essay. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:34, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

I am not sure I am following. Could you please provide an example? Ahasuerus 14:39, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I was on the title Three Martian Novels and wanted to know which Dover and Peter Smith publications did not use title 1428423 which is a glossary. Specifically, I knew that the Dover editions should have 1428423 and that the Peter Smith editions were Dover tp editions with a Peter Smith hardcover case meaning those too should have 1428423. I ended up doing it manually but it was a messy process as some of the publication records referenced the variant-title version of 1428423 used by other publishers meaning there was a bit of time doing add-title, drop-title, and rechecking the list to make sure I'd covered all of the Dover and Peter Smith records.
Usually it comes up when there are many publications from the same publisher shown under a title. When viewing the pub-records I see that most of them include the content-title for something. I want to find the publication records that don't have that content-title record so that it can either be added or notes added to be on alert for the content-title.
The VT part above which is now FR 900 (thank you) was a similar thing in that I wanted to see the list of publications that use title 1427801 but not the VTs of 1427801 to see if there were any Dover or Peter Smith publications in there. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:58, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Got it, thanks. Yes, I can see how it would be advantageous to be able to tell that a particular title record is present in a given set of publication records. I can think of two ways of doing it now:
  • Use Diff Publications for the title in question. At this time it can only diff two publications, but it may be possible to extend the software to support diff'ing multiple pubs. At the very least we should hyperlink the displayed Content titles.
  • Open two browser windows and pull up the tow title records -- Three Martian Novels and "A Glossary of Names and Terms Used in the Martian Books" -- side by side. Comparing the two lists should help identify pubs that may need to have the glossary title added. As you indicated above, it won't be perfect because of variant titles.
I guess I'll need to do more digging and then create an FR to enhance Diff Publications. Ahasuerus 15:40, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
FR 902 has been created. Ahasuerus 20:55, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Hyperlinks added. Ahasuerus 23:06, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Tor/Forge/etc ISBNs

The way the software displays Tor/Forge/etc ISBNs that start with 0-765 or 0-812 has been changed. In the past, all 0-765 and 0-812 ISBNs were displayed with a hyphen after "765"/"812". Post-change, only 10-digit ISBNs are displayed that way, e.g. 0-765-30105-9 or 0-812-54416-1. 13-dight ISBNs have been changed to display the hyphen after the 8th digit, e.g. 978-0-7653-8387-7 or 978-0-8125-2139-9.

The change reflects the way 99%+ of Tor-published books display ISBNs. There were a few outliers published in 2006 that had a 13-dight ISBNs, but displayed the third hyphen after "765"/"812". Ahasuerus 19:01, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Access to Auslit

I sent a request to Auslit for extended guest access, which they have granted. They said other ISFDB editors/moderators make could use of this. I've deleted it from this post so it doesn't get spread all over the web. I don't recall if we have a restricted noticeboard, if so I can post access there.

We do not have a restricted noticeboard, but if an editor posts a request for username/password here, you should be able to send it to him or her via Wiki e-mail. Ahasuerus 04:13, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

I asked for confirmation that we can all use this one username and password, or if they want us to have individual sign-ins. I've posted the correspondence below.

I am one of the editors (Rkihara) working on the ISFDB (Internet Speculative Fiction Database) and I would like to have guest access to your database. We are attempting to catalog all known works and authors of SF worldwide. A large number of these authors are Australian, but it is difficult to find information on these authors and their works in the US. Auslit is not available through any resources that are available to me, so I hoping that you will grant me guest access.
Best Regards,
-Ron Kihara

The response,

Dear Ron,
Certainly we can provide you with guest access. Below are the case-sensitive log-in details:
This is our stable guest access (as opposed to month-by-month access), so should provide you with access for the rest of the year. (We’re happy for other editors on the ISFDB to make use of this access.)
It can be difficult for us to trace short fiction published by Australians in the US market: the periodicals can be so transient, or we simply aren’t alerted to the publication. I’ve noticed that you do offer AustLit as a source on some records, but we’d very much appreciate it if, when you come across an Australian author with international publications that we’ve overlooked, you could give us a quick head’s up, so we can improve our records.

Dr Catriona Mills
Senior Researcher and Indexer, AustLit
School of Communication and Arts
Room 330, Joyce Ackroyd Building (Building 37)
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, 4072

My reply,

Dear Dr. Mills,
Thank you for granting access. I’ll post this note to our internal noticeboard minus the user name and password since it is semi-public. Do you want us to apply for individual guest access passwords, or can the group use this?
You can search through the database for authors born in Australia en masse. The interface cannot search through listed references, so looking for authors that we’ve referenced Auslit to is not possible. The programmers who maintain the database can and have written scripts to retrieve specific data from the database for some of our editors. I don’t think it would be hard to retrieve a comma, delimited list of all authors born in Australia or referenced to Auslit. If you can let me know what information you would like, I’ll pass the request on.

Best Regards,
-Ron Kihara

Response From Auslit on Using the Database

Reply from Auslit regarding password use and searching the database.--Rkihara 03:15, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

We’re happy for the password to be used by the group generally (but please don’t make it public): I’d be providing each editor with that exact same password, either way!
If you haven’t used AustLit before, the quickest way to isolate specific genres is via the Advanced Search (under the Search tab): using the Form / Genre / Type section (I’ve attached an image) will allow you to isolate speculative fiction from our records. We don’t have a general ‘speculative fiction’ tag (though we have been considering it), so works should be tagged ‘science fiction’, ‘fantasy’, ‘horror’, or a combination of the above.
I’ve pulled a list of authors whose birthplace is Australia from the ISFDB, which I’m going to compare to our database. Hopefully, AustLit will throw up a few more for you, or flesh out a few bibliographies. It would be interesting to see which authors are linked to AustLit, but I won’t put your programmers to that work yet! However, if you do come across an author who is Australian and who doesn’t appear on AustLit, we’d appreciate knowing about them.
Have fun exploring the database, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about refining searches etc.

Cover Upload Size vs. Resolution

Hi, I was trying to upload a cover for "Fondazione ID" to resolve a credits mismatch between the existing record's cover artist and the one reported on my printed copy of the publication. However to upload a readable front-spine-back cover I exceed the upload limit. What solution should I try? --Orcolat 07:25, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Upload it, I'll resize it after examination. For your questions on your "notes to moderator", your physical copy trumps all other sources. Hauck 07:43, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
A comment on that cover is we usually only include the back cover if there's artwork that wraps onto the back. The publication notes do not explain why if or why it would be necessary to include the back cover in this case.
If size restrictions preclude me from uploading a readable copy of something that people would want to read then I'll enter the information into either the notes or the publication's bibliographic comments wiki page if it's long. If it's something like an artist signature or a publisher logo then I'll normally scan that part of the page at 600 dpi and reduce the cropped scan to 600px for upload. I use Easy Thumbnails to make the 600px images. That software seems to know about text within an image and makes an effort to keep it readable as the image is reduced.
I'm not sure what the mod-note had but if I'm primary-verifying a book and there's a note about data from other sources that conflicts with what I see in the book then I'll add a note. For example "Locus1 incorrectly gives page count as 506". Sometimes I can see how or why the secondary source was wrong or different and will explain what I saw. --Marc Kupper|talk 06:37, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Web API Changes

If you leverage the Web API to create submissions programmatically, please note that the submission part of the API has changed. In the past, any user could use the Web API to create submissions. As of 2 hours ago, you need to be explicitly added to the list of authorized users. If you need this level of access, please post your request on ISFDB:Moderator noticeboard. Ahasuerus 01:10, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

I am curious as to the reasoning for this type of change. Thank you. Uzume 11:55, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
There are certain unpleasant things that a malicious user could do with the Web API. For example, he could flood the submission queue with tens of thousands of submissions created on behalf of thousands of fake users. Ahasuerus 14:44, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
True but that has been the case for years since the API was developed. The same could be done with web interface as well (both have similar security systems in place; a secure hash in a cookie vs. in the submitted XML) so I do not think that really answers the question. Uzume 16:13, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it would be prudent for me to go into the details of the "certain unpleasant things that a malicious user could do with the Web API" on a public forum. Ahasuerus 16:35, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
Well if the exposure is now closed it does not matter too much but I agree. I shall ask you about it via email. Thank you. Uzume 20:14, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

ISFDB and search engines

A few years ago we asked all search engines (except Google) not to index our site. We were experiencing performance problems at the time and we tried to limit the load on the server. Now that the performance problems have been resolved and our hardware has been upgraded, we once again allow all search engines to index the site.

It's unlikely but possible that this change may affect response times. If you notice performance degradation over a prolonged period of time, please post your findings here. Ahasuerus 02:36, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Thanks - that was a quick fix. --Marc Kupper|talk 06:40, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
You are welcome! A few days ago I finally caught up with Fixer's relentless data crunching, so I have a few days to work on the software ... until the cycle starts again.
In a way, Fixer and I are victims of our success: the more data we find, the longer it takes to process it. To some extent it's simply a reflection of what's been happening in the field (self-publishing, hybrid publishing, "digital first", etc.) but some of it is attributable to Fixer's ever-improving algorithms.
I have been able to offload most AddPubs to the moderator crew, but, unfortunately, I still have to process the vast majority of NewPubs myself. Ahasuerus 20:50, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Edit/Clone Pub and Import/Export Contents changes

As per FR 48, Edit Pub, Clone Pub and Import/Export Contents have been updated. The titles listed in the Contents section now appear in the order used by the Publication Display page:

  • no page number
  • "fc"
  • "fep"
  • "bp"
  • Roman numerals
  • Arabic numerals
  • "ep"
  • "bep"
  • "bc"

Ahasuerus 20:42, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Diff Publications

"Diff Publications" has been revamped. The main change is that it now lets you diff any number of publications rather than just 2. In addition, it now displays each pub's date/publiser and each Content title's author(s). Ahasuerus 00:22, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Automatic conversion of fullwidth yen characters

The software has been modified to automatically convert "fullwidth yen" characters to regular yen characters at data entry time.

A new cleanup report has been deployed and will become available tomorrow morning. There are approximately 27 publication records that will need to be cleaned up. Keep in mind that simply pulling up one of the affected publication records and re-filing it won't do the trick because the software will think that no changes have been made. You will need to change the value of the price in some way and then change it back. For example, you can change "¥2052" to "¥2052!" and then back to "¥2052". For this reason it is probably best if the 27 pub records are corrected by moderators, who can approve their submissions. However, the report can be viewed by all editors. Ahasuerus 15:00, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Cleanup completed. Ahasuerus 14:22, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

"Pubs with Multiple COVERART Titles" made available to non-moderators

The cleanup report "Pubs with Multiple COVERART Titles" is now available to non-moderators. You still need to be a moderator to have access to the "ignore" functionality. In addition, the report has been modified to display each pub's authors and primary verifiers.

As a reminder, it's possible for a publication to have multiple COVERART titles, e.g. if it is a "dos-a-dos" publication. However, the majority of our multi-cover pubs actually have a single cover co-created by two (sometimes more) artists. In the past, the software wasn't sophisticated enough to distinguish between these two different scenarios consistently, which caused various discrepancies. The software was fixed in late 2015, but we still have 800+ pubs with multiple COVERART titles which need to be reviewed and either fixed or, if they are true multi-cover pubs, "ignored". Ahasuerus 17:23, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Help with Tang Qi

Could someone familiar with Chinese please enter the canonical title of Tang Qi's To the Sky Kingdom? I can see it on the copyright page of AmazonCrossing's edition (via Amazon's Look Inside), but I am sure I would make a mess of it if I tried to enter it myself. TIA! Ahasuerus 21:57, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

I found it at wikipedia:zh:唐七. Done. Uzume 16:35, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
Approved, thanks! Ahasuerus 16:39, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Server downtime -- 2016-06-28

The ISFDB server will be unavailable between 7:15pm and 7:20pm (NorAm Eastern time) this evening. The downtime will be used to implement FR 898 "Eliminate the 'Cover: ' prefix for COVERART records". Patch notes will be posted around 7:30pm. Ahasuerus 22:55, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

The server is back up. Ahasuerus 23:19, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
All "Cover: " prefixes have been eliminated. The cleanup report that used to report missing "Cover: " prefixes in COVERART titles has been deactivated. Author-, title-, and publication-specific Web pages have been tweaked to display the nature of COVERART/INTERIORART VTs, e.g. see Bruce Pennington's Summary page -- note how "A Princess of Mars"' VTs are displayed. Similarly, see how the relationship is displayed on The Flights of Icarus' publication page. Ahasuerus 23:24, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm seeing a client side validation while editing a publication complaining that the title of the coverart needs to start with "Cover:". I worked around it by adding the prefix back and then removing by editing the title record for the coverart. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 00:16, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
It sounds like your browser is still using the old (cached) version of the JavaScript file. Could you please try a "hard reload" (Control-F5) of the page? Ahasuerus 00:40, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
That did the trick. Thanks. Also, I wanted to mention that I really like another recent change, which keeps the contents in page number order while editing. I no longer need to keep another copy of the publication open in a separate tab while editing. Thanks again. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 01:27, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Glad to hear the changes are moving us in the right direction! :-) Ahasuerus 01:43, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you! I am glad to be rid of this historic vestige. Uzume 21:25, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

(unindent) A new cleanup report has been deployed and will become available tomorrow morning. It will check for COVERART titles with a 'Cover: ' prefix. Ahasuerus 23:10, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

This is awesome. Thanks. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:08, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Transliteration of Central/Eastern European Languages

I've been looking at the transliteration cleanup reports for Romanian, Polish, Czech, etc. I'm wondering if transliteration is the correct term, since these languages already written in Latin script. Does transliteration in this case mean retyping the titles minus diacritics, etc., for searches? If so, wouldn't it be easier to have the search ignore diacritics, etc., for specific languages, or do an auto conversion? I apologize if this has been covered already, as I was mostly absent for over a year.--Rkihara 17:21, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Rtrace asked a somewhat similar question a few weeks ago and I posted an explanation of why it is desirable to enter the titles minus the diacritics for Central European languages. There are some things that we could do on the software side to facilitate searches, but they are non-trivial (basically converting the whole database to a different internal format) and may take a while to implement. Ahasuerus 18:32, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
That was a very good explanation. So to be clear, before I make a mess of things. Transliteration of these languages involves converting the titles to the nearest Latin-1 equivalent? Should the diacritics be left off even if they are available in Latin-1, e.g., Jose vs José?--Rkihara 19:23, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Hm, I don't think I have considered this issue. I guess I just assumed that Central European languages would be transliterated by replacing non-English characters with their English analogs. However, you are right -- some Central European languages do use a mix of Latin-1 and non-Latin-1 characters. For example, Romanian has three "a"s: "a", "â" and "ă". The first two are supported in Latin-1 while the last one is not. Our transliterated values need to replace all occurrences of the letter "ă" with "a"'s, but replacing "â"'s with "a"'s is optional since searches would work either way.
Having said that, I don't think I have ever encountered a transliteration system that would replace non-Latin-1 characters with their English analogs but leave non-English Latin-1 characters alone. I suspect that it would confuse 99% of our users who presumably do not know the difference between the way our software handles letters like "â" and "ă" internally.
I guess we could use the fact that our software supports multiple transliterated values for each title/name (e.g. see how this publisher is handled) and enter both versions, but I am not sure it would add value. Ahasuerus 20:48, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
I feel that simpler is better, so I'll go with the straight analogs. Using the supported diacriticals might work better to disambiguate author names.--Rkihara 23:09, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Also it should be noted that although the languages mentioned in this question are indeed already in a Latin script, the transliteration field itself is not specifically for only Latin script transliterations. I am sure titles in those languages would benefit from Japanese kana and Cyrillic script transliterations as well. That said, I am not that familiar with what the transliteration cleanup reports for those languages are targeted at. Uzume 22:49, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Anthology editor or Collection writer

I suppose this is appropriate for a request at the Moderator Noticeboard, but I am not certain so here I am.

George Grinnell, Blackfeet Indian Stories T172688, are in the database as editor and ANTHOLOGY. As I understand the database (little experience with ANTH and COLL, nor rtfm) and the ordinary terms, these should be author and COLLECTION. I have assembled information on the first edition (not 1915 but 1913), on hold until this is resolved.

Internet Archive provides a digital copy of the first edition. See the copyright page and author's note. Click on the left page for frontispiece and title page, or on the right page for table of contents, etc, and page 1 where the first story begins.

Grinnell is credited as "Author" (title page). There is no identification of particular people as sources, merely "Grandfathers have told them ..." (author's note). And the first story begins "Once, a long time ago," without any preface.

--Pwendt|talk 18:54, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

I'd say you are right. His books of collected tales seem to me a similar case to the german Brothers Grimm who listened to people but are credited for the tales. If there's no different opinion you should proceed with the change. Stonecreek 19:57, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Christian. I don't know the most efficient way to make the change technically. By starting in the wrong place I have sometimes created the need for a lot of steps. --Pwendt|talk 21:21, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, transformed to COLLECTION. Stonecreek 03:59, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Server downtime -- 2016-07-06

The ISFDB server will be unavailable between 6:45pm and 6:50pm server (Eastern/Daylight North American) time. The patch notes will be posted around 7pm. Ahasuerus 22:17, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

The server is back up. You can now enter transliterated titles for publications, e.g. see this pub. The new functionality is similar to what was implemented for titles, publishers, and publication series earlier this year. I will update Help later tonight. A dozen+ new cleanup reports will become available tomorrow morning. Ahasuerus 22:52, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Green check template

For anyone who may find this useful: {{done}} produces . Useful for checking off things in a list and such. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:19, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Changes to "Add a Variant Title"

"Add a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work to This Title" has been changed to support adding transliterated titles directly. Ahasuerus 20:46, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Randall Garrett's "The Egyptian Diamond"

It turns out that this poem has an unusual history. I have updated the record, but, as the Note field says, "we still need to do a more detailed textual analysis of the three versions of the text". Calling for volunteers! Ahasuerus 18:06, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

As the only active PV for Takeoff Two!, I'll give it a look. Hauck 10:13, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! Ahasuerus 14:14, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Comparing Bennett original text and Garrett's poem in Takeoff Two! shows that Garrett's poem is a quite close copy (some words are changed, e.g. "working" being modified into "figuring" and a few sentences are deleted in Garrett), which confirm the notes. The poem inserted into The Foreign Hand Tie match Garrett's version, not the original. Hauck 15:52, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Updated, thanks! Ahasuerus 19:11, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Primary Verification etiquette

What is the etiquette with Primary Verifications? If a book is not verified at all, it is Primary (Transient or not depends on if it is my book or a library one). That part is clear. But what about the ones that are already verified? If I have the book, should I look through the entry and add a Primary2, 3 and so on? Or should I leave it alone? If the latter, when is it a good idea to add a second/third verification? And if I have the book from the library, it is already primary verified but does not have a Transient verification, should I add that one - or just leave it alone?

In a nutshell, the more PV we have, the better it is (some become inactive, some simply gafiate, others -what a crime- resell their book, etc.). Also, the more PVs there are, the more can an user hope that the data is accurate (there are sometimes blatant mistakes that are only detected and corrected by PV4 or 5). The interest of a transient verification follows the same ideas, that it add weight to the data that we present and that multiple pairs of eyes are more likely to be correct than one. Hauck 10:06, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
That makes sense. Thanks. Anniemod 11:49, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

If that had already been discussed, feel free to point me to the old discussion (I think I looked through all the archives and did not see it but I did not read every single response in all discussions). I am just trying to figure out what is the accepted behavior. Anniemod 23:52, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Later Printings - to add or not to add

Easiest to explain what I am asking with an example... This book The Morgaine Saga already has 2 entries - one for the first and one for the second printing. I have the 10th (library book so here only for a few weeks but enough for a Transient Verification if added eventually). Do I add this one as a new entry under the same publication (same details, same notes except for the number line)? Or is it not different enough to need yet another entry? Thanks Anniemod 12:16, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

As we aim for completeness, it's better to enter your book as another publication under the same title. To achieve this in the most economical way, go to the 2nd printing then use the "Clone This Pub" function and then modify what needs to be changed (notes, price, etc.). Hauck 13:17, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

"Forthcoming Books" and "Search by Publication Month"

The Web page that displays "Forthcoming Books" and "Search by Publication Month" results has been rewritten. The new version:

  • is much faster
  • displays publication series information
  • suppresses "private" tags like "read in 2010"
  • correctly sorts authors whose last names start with a lowercase letter, e.g. "de Camp"

Ahasuerus 21:54, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Nominating Linguist for moderator

I hereby nominate Linguist (talkcontribs) to be a moderator and he has accepted. He has been an editor on the ISFDB for more than two years, and with now close to 30.000 contributions of various types he has (IMHO) all the necessary technical qualifications for the job. Add to this his implication, his knowledge of languages that I can't even decipher, his communication skills and his respect of our standards, all facts that lead me to believe that he will be of great help to our slowly-but-surely-becoming-truly-international project.


  1. Support, as nominator. Hauck 14:40, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  2. Support. He does good work. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 15:37, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  3. Support. I believe that User:Linguist meets the bulk of our Moderator Qualifications. If in doubt, don't hesitate to ask :-) Ahasuerus 20:17, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  4. Support, Submissions that I've seen are universally good. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 21:40, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  5. Support. I've been meaning to make this nomination myself for some time. --MartyD 22:33, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  6. Support. Quality editor. -- JLaTondre (talk) 23:54, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
  7. Support. Good editor.--Rkihara 00:50, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  8. Support. Seems a good fit. Albinoflea 02:02, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  9. Support. What I've moderated all good!Kraang 02:46, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  10. Support. A big +1 from me too. Overdue! PeteYoung 04:17, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  11. Support. Great language skills! --Willem 19:16, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  12. Support. An asset! Rudam 20:46, 12 July 2016 (UTC)




The nomination passes. Congratulations! Ahasuerus 18:10, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

Congrats, Linguist, and good luck! ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:27, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for a decision and a show of trust that I hope no one will have to regret… I'll take the time to read and digest all these new instructions before I start moderating anyone else's submissions, be it human or automated. And thanks again to all those who supported my nomination ! Linguist 13:08, 19 July 2016 (UTC).

Searching for Transliterated Japanese Titles

Japanese is written continuously without spaces, so when Japanese is transliterated, there can be some ambiguity about how to parse the transliteration. Maybe 98% of the time there is no question. Sometimes it's not clear whether to join words or split them with a space or a hyphen. I think the accuracy of a search for Japanese transliterations would be improved if the search algorithm ignored spaces and hyphens in the search terms and transliteration, though that may not be easy to do.--Rkihara 17:04, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Or just add another transliteration. I think it might be even more rare than the 2%, and there are unlimited transliterations. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:12, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
There is a feature request to add support for fuzzy searches. Once implemented, this FR will address this specific issue as well. However, it is not very high on the list of priorities, so for now we may want to use Nihonjoe's proposed approach. Ahasuerus 20:12, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Magazines in e-formats

I had been looking at the major magazines (Asimov's, Analog) and trying to figure out how we are handling e-versions of them. And it looks like they are simply not there. Is that a policy or is it just that noone had added them yet (I have some of each in Kindle format and was looking to help with verifying) Anniemod 23:00, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

The way that was chosen to handle magazines -- a single "editor" title record, with "issue" publication records all linked to a shared title -- is different from how other publications are handled (which is one title for the "work", with linked publication records for different editions of that same work). If you were to try to record an ebook version of an issue of a magazine, it would show up in the series list and grid as another issue, which is not desirable. I don't know what others have been doing, but I have been recording alternate formats, and any pertinent details, in an issue's notes. --MartyD 16:44, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
That explains it and this is why I am asking. So treat a print and e-copy the same way for the purposes of magazines. Thanks for the explanation Anniemod 17:50, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
And then I found this and . Looks like every magazine is having its own idea. :) Anniemod 07:34, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

ISFDB in the News

In today's daily "Pixel Scroll" in File770, the ISFDB is mentioned, and commended, as follows:

(5) ERRATA. Lee Gold sent me a link to Jack Bennett’s poem "Ben Ali the Egyptian" which appeared in 1893 in St. Nicholas Magazine, having just learned the authorship was misattributed to Randall Garrett in the collection Takeoff Too, which was assembled when his medical condition did not allow him to be consulted. I see the Internet Science Fiction Database already captured that information. Though as long as I had the link I took a look at the poem and now I understand its fannish appeal.

The poem he is referring to in the collection is "The Egyptian Diamond", and the title entry for that poem gives the details to which Mike Glyer is referring. Chavey 14:58, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

It was a multi-step process. First a friend (whom I won't name for privacy reasons) notified Lee Gold, who in turn notified Dave Langford (Ansible/SFE3.) Then Dave notified me and I asked for volunteers to compare the three versions of the text. Finally Hervé checked the texts and we updated the record. The fannish hive mind at its best! :-) Ahasuerus 15:53, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Wonderful! It's great when that kind of effort pays off, and in this case where somebody *noticed* that we had all those details! Chavey 22:35, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Amitav Ghosh's In an Antique Land

I propose removing this title. The author has only one novel deservedly in the database, but no short fiction and nothing else that would put him 'above the threshold' for inclusion of his non-fiction and non-genre works. The two pubs are both unverified. Comments welcome. PeteYoung 07:36, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

EX-TER-MI-NA-TE. Hauck 08:33, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
If he ever decides to write in genre (which if I judge from his last books won't happen), it can always be added back. Even I know that this does not belong here :) Anniemod 09:36, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Done. PeteYoung 11:31, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Author/Title Language Mismatches

The cleanup report "Author/Title Language Mismatches" has been made available to non-moderators. It has also been expanded to include EDITOR and NONFICTION titles. New data will become available tomorrow morning.

Please note that translated titles should have their parent titles identified and entered instead of "ignored". I am currently reviewing the list of "ignored" novels and a number of them were marked "ignored" in error. Ahasuerus 19:44, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

The Big Book of Space by Earl Oliver Hurst

I have an edit on hold by Don Erikson to add The Big Book of Space by Earl Oliver Hurst. This is a nonfiction book from 1959 that is a children's book on the future of space exploration[5][6]. While it is a nonfiction book, it appears to take a rather fanciful view of the future. This technically does not meet our inclusion criteria, but given the nature of the work, I thought I add ask for community input. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 21:55, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

I vote for inclusion, since books like that are SF in the broader sense of the word "Fiction."--Rkihara 23:05, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
I think it should be included. I've seen it before (don't have a copy myself), and it would definitely fit into science fiction with much of the content. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:16, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Submission approved. -- JLaTondre (talk) 13:00, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Summary page improvements

I am currently in the process of tweaking the part of the ISFDB software that handles Summary pages. It's quite complex, so the cleanup process will require a number of patches over the course of the next few days. Ultimately the changes should result in long pages (Asimov, Silverberg, etc) loading much faster, but if you see anything unusual in the meantime, please let me know here. Ahasuerus 23:19, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Further tweaks have been installed. There should be no user-facing changes except longer pages may take a little less time to load. Ahasuerus 19:59, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
Yet another patch has been installed. Long pages should be taking somewhat less time to load. In addition, serialization authors are no longer displayed if they are the same as the parent record's authors. Ahasuerus 21:54, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Can someone figure out what is wrong with these publications?

I am working on transliterations and I cannot figure out why a few titles are on the list:

None of them have no-English characters. I verified that none of the letters that are the same in Cyrillic is used here by mistake - all titles are with proper Latin letters. They all appear in issues in the same series (Under the Bed) so it seems like there is something that connects them all but I just followed every publication and title and cannot find anything even resembling a non-English letter.

Can someone figure out what is wrong with these and why they are flagged? What am I missing? They do not need an ignore (or I would asked in the Moderator board - they just should not be on the report at all to start with and the fact that they appear means that something is weird with them). Anniemod 23:34, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

They all have an invisible "line separator" character embedded in their titles.
The easiest way to identify problematic characters is to pull up the source code (Control-U), which will show you any abnormalities. Ahasuerus 23:49, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Ugh. I did check for special non-Latin characters, even checked if all the punctuation signs are the proper ones and not their Windows counterparts or whatsnot. Even looked for blank characters before/after that may not be really blank. I did not even think of invisible characters. Should have. Thanks for finding these! :) Anniemod 23:58, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
Control-U is a surprisingly powerful tool :) Ahasuerus 00:57, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm surprised we don't convert those to just plain spaces on ingest... Albinoflea 03:24, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
We have a translation table that converts 200+ Unicode punctuation characters, "combining diacritics", currency symbols and other beasties. However, Unicode is huge, so there is always more stuff that we could add. Ahasuerus 03:46, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, that one seems to be an epidemic. Maybe add it to the list? This way at least we won't need to deal with that one again :) Anniemod 03:52, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Sure, I'll take a look tomorrow. It's likely a copy-and-paste artifact when copying from another source. WorldCat, perhaps? Ahasuerus 04:57, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Done. Ahasuerus 15:28, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Help with Japanese translation of Arthur C. Clarke short story

The Japanese title is "遭難者" (Sōnansha, literally "survivor", "victim", "someone who suffers"). The story was written in the 1940s, but none of the titles on this page seem to fit. Anyone familiar with his stories from that time period know of one that might be titled like this? Thanks for any help. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 21:24, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Maybe Castaway? --MartyD 21:44, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
It's "Castaway." I did a Google search for the title in Japanese and found this page, which lists many of Clarke's stories in both English and Japanese.--Rkihara 03:14, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Awesome. Thank you. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:23, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Weird characters in titles

Hi everyone, what would the correct course of action for this case: Perce Rock ▬ First Sighting - add a transliteration, fix this weird character with a plain "-" or ask the moderators to add this to the ignore list? I vote for changing the title of it not to contain the weird dash... Thanks. Anniemod 22:17, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I would change it to the emdash used in this title, and then add a transliteration for both that uses a hyphen instead. I wonder if the search algorithm ignores any non-alphanumeric characters? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:52, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
That's why I asked - I am not sure how the algorithm handles that :) Anniemod 22:55, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I guess the first problem is that we can't be sure that "▬" (an obscure Unicode character) correctly represents what's in the publication, which hasn't been verified. For now, I have added two transliterations, one with an "em dash" and one with a regular hyphen, which should take care of the immediate problem. Ahasuerus 23:42, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I would have asked the verifier to check (did on a few things I found and did not seem to be correct) but with non-verified titles, it is not that easy. Maybe time to find my copy (I am not sure which one I have actually :) ) Anniemod 00:25, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Policy question

We have quite a lot of these books: for example with wrong script for name, author and publisher - pretty much any non-Latin based language has a few of those at least. That one is pretty easy to find the correct details for: here for example. Should I just leave these alone or is it a good idea to try to fix them? Thoughts? Anniemod 16:51, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Eventually all of them will need to be fixed. The only question is whether it makes more sense to start fixing them now or wait a few weeks until we add support for transliterated author names, at which point we will need to go back and fix a whole bunch of records. Ahasuerus 17:32, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
May as well fix them now. We've got all these cleanup reports which help us find them. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:14, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
And I just submitted an update for the example 地铁2033. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:17, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Approved, thanks! Ahasuerus 18:20, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Well... this also can use fixing while we are working on that specific work - if we are going to be fixing, we might as well go for broke :) Anniemod 18:48, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
So looks like the consensus is that we are fixing those. I did a few yesterday but was wondering if that is the thing to do so figured I would ask. Anniemod 18:45, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
By the way we need a report about COVERART or INTERIORART being different language than the text entries in the work - A cover in English and text in Hungarian for example. There is a lot of art items set to English or default - sometimes with the artist set the same way (or in a different language because it is a translation). These are easy to fix but chasing them is not so easy :) Anniemod 18:45, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
An interesting point. Let me think about it... Ahasuerus 00:02, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
And while thinking, some more food for thought - any chance to have a visual difference on the artist summary page between a work with a language not set (so default) and set to the language of the Artist/author? At the moment both show without a language in the square brackets -- and that means that they do not get caught from the transliteration scripts (default seems to equal English). Or to make the default be treated to be the author language... Anniemod 01:35, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
PS: An example here (kinda for both issues) Zygmunt Januszewski: Piekielny trójkąt COVERART. Because the language is not Polish, it is not on the Polish transliteration report (its cousins with the same name all were there as Polish and as for the interior art who knows who caught it how - there had been a lot of work on the Polish titles). Because the English is not explicitly set, it is not on the English with non-Latin characters report either. It is effectively invisible unless if someone ends up on the page itself - and if it did not have special characters, you cannot see it needs a language change (so when someone updates it downstream and is not careful, English will get set (I got caught a few times by that in the last days). Anniemod 01:35, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
It might be worth changing things so art entries default to "none" for language. Unless there is actual language use in the art, art doesn't have a specific language. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:20, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
We already had this discussion many times. For the record, I think that art titles (be they covers or interior pieces) should have a language assigned. Hauck 19:51, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm curious: why? An image, unless it has text in it, doesn't have a language. It seems counter-intuitive to assign a language to something that doesn't have one (especially for interior art). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:03, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Let's use an example to make it easier to visualize. Tim White's cover for Galaxy of the Lost has been re-used as cover art and interior art in various English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, and Spanish books. We currently show each language on the Summary page and on the Title page. I think it's useful information and will become even more useful as we add Chinese, Hungarian, Japanese, etc versions. What would be the benefit of removing this information? Ahasuerus 20:06, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
For covers, I can see keeping it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:45, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Covers I can see having a language since they usually have text on them, but interior art more often has no text in it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:03, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, we treat cartoons as INTERIORART titles and they frequently include text. Ahasuerus 20:06, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
That's why I suggested defaulting to "none". If it has actual language content, then set the language. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:45, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
We will still lose the information about in what languages editions the art is used. It is a valid data point - the art had always been part of the ISF space. I am with Hauck and Ahasuerus on that one - art should carry a language (which is why I had been fixing a lot of them these days - and why I want a report on them so it is easier to go and find them). Anniemod 20:49, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Titles without a Language by Non-English Authors

The cleanup report Titles without a Language by Non-English Authors has been changed to include language-less variant titles. Once the nightly process runs, there should be 846 new titles to clean up. Ahasuerus 02:38, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

P.S. Oh, and the layout of the cleanup report menu has been tweaked to display language-specific reports together. Ahasuerus 02:39, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Will that include authors that do not have language set or just the ones that have it set as non- English? Anniemod 07:22, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Only the latter for now. There are too many of the former to handle all of them at the same time:
+-------------------+- +
| count | title type   |
|   685 | ANTHOLOGY    |
|   277 | COLLECTION   |
| 17668 | COVERART     |
|  8260 | INTERIORART  |
|   344 | EDITOR       |
| 11773 | ESSAY        |
|   437 | INTERVIEW    |
|  7765 | NOVEL        |
|  1586 | NONFICTION   |
|    37 | OMNIBUS      |
|  4030 | POEM         |
|  2003 | REVIEW       |
|   156 | SERIAL       |
| 20907 | SHORTFICTION |
|   506 | CHAPBOOK     |
Once we take care of the explicitly "non-English" authors, we will examine if we can automate the process of language assignment to "non-language" titles and authors. Ahasuerus 12:47, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
REVIEWs have been added. The data will become available tomorrow morning. Keep up the good work! Ahasuerus 22:41, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Lawrence Block's 'Evan Tanner' novels

Firstly, I wonder if Lawrence Block would be considered an author 'above the threshold'? He is far better known as a crime novelist who has made occasional forays into SF. Secondly, what would the group mind therefore think about the inclusion of Block's eight Evan Tanner novels? The premise is that Evan Tanner, a soldier in the Korean War, took a piece of shrapnel to the head that destroyed the sleep centre of his brain, meaning that he can basically stay awake 24hrs every day of the year, and go on to have various James Bond-style international adventures. This may sound borderline speculative but there is no actual medical condition that equates to this, so I think the sleepless premise could properly be regarded as speculative. The eighth novel Tanner on Ice is directly science fictional and involves Tanner being awoken from cryogenic suspension after 25 years, so this one certainly warrants inclusion. Opinions please! PeteYoung 02:49, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

A little bit of background information. There have been multiple claims along similar lines. Wikipedia mentions at least three cases (here, here and here) and I recall coming across more. The third example cited by Wikipedia ("The bullet removed part of his frontal lobe. Rather than killing him, this made him unable to sleep.") is almost identical to the Tanner case. I don't think any of these claims have been accepted by the medical profession, so I guess the idea remains as speculative as, say, telepathy. Ahasuerus 03:05, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Sounds as speculative (perhaps moreso) than magic realism stories, many of which are included. I think it would be fine to include them. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:57, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

Reviews of later issues of Weird Tales

I'm working on improving the Wikipedia article on Weird Tales, and I recalled that the ISFDB indexes reviews, but I can't figure out how to search for them. I'm looking for any reviews (e.g. in Locus) of any of the post-1954 issues. Is there a way to use the Advanced Search page to find these? Of course, any pointers to other material about the later Weird Tales (or any feedback on the article itself, come to that) would also be very welcome. Thanks -- Mike Christie (talk) 11:06, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

On the Advanced Search page, use the Title Search section, with Title Type is exactly REVIEW and the other criteria whatever you are searching for. For example, all REVIEWS that contain 'Weird Tales' in title: [7]. If I misunderstood the request, let us know. -- JLaTondre (talk) 21:10, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
Let me know if you need any admin-ey help over on Wikipedia (for this or any other project). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:00, 28 July 2016 (UTC)