ISFDB:Help desk/archives/archive 05

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This is an archive page for the Help Desk. Please do not edit the contents. To start a new discussion, please click here.
This archive includes discussions from February - July 2008.

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Error editing a publication

I attempted to edit a publication, and got the following result:

Internal Server Error The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Apache/2.0.55 (FreeBSD) DAV/2 mod_fastcgi/2.4.2 SVN/1.4.2 mod_ssl/2.0.55 OpenSSL/0.9.8a mod_apreq2-20051231/2.5.7 mod_perl/2.0.2 Perl/v5.8.8 Server at Port 80

I assume this is related to the title editing problem mentioned above. -DES Talk 11:39, 20 Feb 2008 (CST)

Python Error attempting to verify a publication

I tried to verifiy a publication, adn got the following:

SyntaxError Python 2.4.2: /usr/local/bin/python Wed Feb 20 17:48:04 2008

A problem occurred in a Python script. Here is the sequence of function calls leading up to the error, in the order they occurred.

  14 #import MySQLdb

  15 from isfdb import *

  16 from isfdblib import *

  17 from SQLparsing import *

  18 from login import *

isfdblib undefined

  16 import MySQLdb

  17 from isfdb import *

  18 from login import *

  19 from SQLparsing import *


login undefined

  18 from isfdb import *

  19 from Cookie import SimpleCookie

  20 from SQLparsing import *


  22 ####################################################################

SQLparsing undefined

SyntaxError: EOL while scanning single-quoted string (, line 255)

     args = ('EOL while scanning single-quoted string', ('/www/', 255, 149, '\tquery = "select distinct series.* from series,t...series_id and titles.title_id=canonical_author.t\n')) 
     filename = '/www/' 
     lineno = 255 
     msg = 'EOL while scanning single-quoted string' 
     offset = 149 
     print_file_and_line = None 
     text = '\tquery = "select distinct series.* from series,t...series_id and titles.title_id=canonical_author.t\n' 

Looks to me as if it might be a problem with missing or mis-named python files, but that is just on a quick look. -DES Talk 17:51, 20 Feb 2008 (CST)

That's right, there was a problem with a software upload on Wednesday morning and many scripts were broken. Everything should be back to normal now, but if you run into any residual errors, please post them here. Thanks! Ahasuerus 22:57, 20 Feb 2008 (CST)

How to verify an Ace pub date?

I see this all the time: on older paperbacks, Ace generally only included the original copyright date, not the date of the specific publication. How can you ever verify such a publication? For example, I see from Clute/Nicholls that Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium was first published in 1962 by Ace in dos format -- well and good. I have a subsequent Ace publication of this title (non dos). The existing ISFDB entry clearly states a date of 1967 -- where did this date come from? It is not anywhere in my copy -- the only date present is the original 1962 copyright. Does this mean that even with a copy in hand I cannot verify such a publication, as I cannot confirm the date? Mgpb 16:33, 24 Feb 2008 (CST)

According to the wikipedia page ace books serial numbers were often changed on reprinting. There are several pages on wikipedia documantign the specific serial numbers and dates. See
I hope this helps. -DES Talk 16:47, 24 Feb 2008 (CST)
It does, very much, thank you for the links. But... the question remains in transmuted form -- are these Wikipedia entries accepted as correct and okay to use for verification? And if so, I note that the Wikipedia entry for Ace M-165 (the Laumer title in question) specifies a date of 1966, whereas the ISFDB specifies 1967 -- would that imply I should correct the ISFDB date based on the Wikipedia entry? Mgpb 17:40, 24 Feb 2008 (CST)
As I wrote on the Standards page just a few minutes ago (synchronicity strikes again!):
"this is where Double Your Pleasure: The Ace SF Double by James A. Corrick comes in handy. He has a lot of useful data about uncredited cover art, month of publication, subsequent reprints, etc, etc."
In this case Corrick lists two Ace reprints of Worlds of the Imperium, one in 1967 and one in 1973, so yours is presumably from 1967 and the Wikipedia article is likely off by a year.
This brings up a larger point, though. Our verifications are only as good as the sources that we use to enter the data, so it's important to specify what sources we use in each case. If the book doesn't state the publication date, then we need to mention the fact in the Notes field and explain what sources (OCLC,, Wikipedia, Tuck, specialized sources like Corrick, etc) we used to determine the date. Sometimes sources differ and then all we can do is document what they state, e.g. our Fanzine:Spacetrails page currently says:
Publication date of #2 is uncertain: OCLC lists it as 1952, but the Miller/Contento Checklist gives the year as "194?" and lists it as "1949?". Publication date of #3 from the FanHistorical Archive Collection. #4 is dated 1952 in OCLC, but 1953 in the Miller/Contento Checklist. #5 is dated 1953 in Miller/Contento, but 1950 (sic) in the FanHistorical Archive Collection, presumably in error.
As far as milking the copyright page for all it's worth goes, here are some guidelines that I posted on Don Erikson's Talk page a few days ago:
Copyright pages generally contain two types of information: copyright data and printing/edition data. Copyright data tends to be quite unreliable for a number of reasons. Sometimes copyright is asserted months before the book actually appears, so its date may not match the month/year of the publication date of the first edition. For subsequent editions, the copyright date is even less reliable because it reflects either the date of the original copyright or the last date when the copyright was renewed -- which can be at any point in time. Sometimes the copyright date is the only readily available date, especially when the book is old (pre-1930), but if you use it as a "publication date" in the ISFDB sense, please make a note of it in Notes.
The other kind of data that can be found on copyright pages is actually quite valuable, sometimes indispensable. Many publishers specify the year but not the month when they print hardcover books, so this information can be difficult to establish after the fact unless you bought it the day when it came out and made a note in your diary :) However, subsequent paperback reprints will often say things like "First edition Atheneum October 1969. First paperback edition Dell August 1974" on the copyright page. In these cases the paperback reprint is one of our best sources of information about the original hardcover edition. Moreover, many paperback publishers will not state when the current printing was printed, but will list a complete history of all previous printings on the copyright page. Thus the last printing becomes a source of information about all previous printings. A little weird, but we'll take bibliographic information wherever we can find it :)
Again, if you use this "after the fact" information to create or modify records in the ISFDB, please state your source in the Notes field. That way when somebody with an actual copy of that edition/printing comes along, he will know where the data came from. Without this information, he will be scratching his head and trying to figure out why the ISFDB has information about his edition which is not found in his copy.
Perhaps we should compress these bits and pieces and update the Verification Help page? Ahasuerus 18:34, 24 Feb 2008 (CST)
Quite probably we should.
A minor nitpick: copyright can only be renewed at the end of the original copyright term, normally 28 years in the US (plus or minus one year of grace). A copyright renewal either before or after that period is legally meaningless, and will not normally be done by a professional publisher. (Note that US copyrights dating from 1964 and later are automatically renewed, so you shouldn't ever see a US copyright renewal dated after 1993. Then what are those strings of dates sometimes seen on copyright pages ("Copyright 1946, 1952, 1953" for example)? Those are most often dates when it is claimed something new was added that is entitled to a new and separate copyright. This can be a revision, minor or major, but it can also be no more than different layout and formatting, so it may or may not signal anything of interest to us. -DES Talk 18:57, 24 Feb 2008 (CST)
Thanks! I knew about the 27/28 year rule, but occasionally wondered why a new copyright date would be sometimes added when an apparently unchanged reprint appeared. Now it all makes sense! :) Ahasuerus 19:42, 24 Feb 2008 (CST)
Thank you for a clear discussion of the situation. It seems that verifying an older Ace publication is possible -- specifically, you must be able to verify the date from a source that you can reference in the note section. You cannot verify the publication solely using a copy of the book in hand (due to the lack of the date). In this specific case, the wikipedia data appears to be wrong, and I do not have another bibliographic reference to use. Otherwise, I could have noted that the wikipedia data (subject to editing though it is) was the source of the 1967 date, and verified the publication that way. Actually, had the wikipedia error not been mentioned here, I could have verified the publication erroneously, which is still a risk to the next editor. (Thanks again for the wikipedia pointers, very useful!) Mgpb 10:17, 25 Feb 2008 (CST)
Of course, if all the info available from the publication itself is entered and has been verified as correct, it seems to me that one can always make the date "unknown" (0000-00-00) and verify in that state, leaving to those with the proper bibliographic references the interpetation of the data thus entered.
It also seems to me that it would be a good idea if we had a way to enter a date as "unknown, but not earlier than nnnn". When the best evidence in a book is the copyright date, we do not know the actual publication date with certanty. But we can be tolerably sure that it is not prior to the copyright date, and it is unfortunate that entering the date as 'unknown" makes it sort before publications that may well be known to be earlier, just not how much earlier. -DES Talk 10:53, 25 Feb 2008 (CST)

Uncredited intros

I am currently entering an anthology with three identified editors. It has a preface, and introduction, and various section and story intros. None of these are individually credited. Should I assume that all three editors co-wrote all of these essays? or attribute them to "uncredited" or what? -DES Talk 13:50, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)

Also, each story has a story intro, most roughly a page long. These start on the page given for the story in the ToC, and after the title slug for the story. Should the story proper be listed on the page where the story text starts, or on the page where the ToC places it? By analogy with the rule for magazine interiorart, the latter, but I'm not sure the same rule should apply. -DES Talk 13:56, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)

I don't recall anything in Help that addresses this situation specifically, but if I am entering a collection/anthology with brief unsigned articles preceding each story, I treat them the way Help suggests we treat "blurbs":
  • Blurbs. Magazines often include lead-ins, or blurbs, before a story; these are not indexed
and then make a note of them in the Notes field. However, if the articles are more substantial and/or signed, then I enter them separately, e.g. Keith Laumer's Chrestomathy. Ahasuerus 21:33, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)
In this case, the story intros are all about 1 full page of a tp, and make significant critical comments on the story, and how it relates to the overall theme of the book. Moreover, the book is divided into sections, each of which has a several page introductory esaay. It seems to me that these various intros & essays have enough content to be worth indexing, and had they been signed, I would have had not the slightest hesitation in indexing them. But I am reluctant to attribute them automatically to all three editors. The book, by the way is this one. I couldn't provide a link before, as my inital (partial) entry had not yet been approved. -DES Talk 22:16, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)
Oh sure, if the articles are substantial, then there is no reason not to include them. Cthulhu knows we have enough space on the hard drives :) "Uncredited" is probably the safe thing to do since "joint editorship" often means "I'll do X, Y and Z and you write the intros". Ahasuerus 22:44, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)
Thanks, will do. I can see that the line between "blurb" and "critical introduction" is a fuzzy one, and needs judgement. -DES Talk 22:55, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)
done. -DES Talk 00:37, 27 Feb 2008 (CST)


I just entered data for Slippage and except for this issue, am ready to verify. This pub was closed from this pub. It therefore includes the story The Pale Silver Dollar of the Moon Pays Its Way and Makes Change which was included in 3 other pubs, one verified. However, in the pub at hand, there is included "The Pale Silver Dollar of the Moon Pays Its Way and Makes Change version 1" and "The Pale Silver Dollar of the Moon Pays Its Way and Makes Change version 2". These two versions have significant differences, including completely different opening paragraphs, but share much text. They have separate listings in the ToC. Should they be entered separately into the DB? Should either or both be listed as vts of the existing record. And an existing pub of Slippage is verified, listing only one occurrence of the story, but the verifier (Scott Latham ) is as I understand it currently inactive. Advice, please? -DES Talk 17:17, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)

If there are two separate versions of the story printed in the publication, then we definitely want to create two separate titles for them, especially since they have separate TOC entries, which makes it unlikely that it's some kind of Rashomon-like attempt to create a multiple POV story. The VT idea sounds reasonable too. We may later find out that the previously entered titles are the same as what you have, but that will be easy to fix by reshuffling VTs. Ahasuerus 21:16, 26 Feb 2008 (CST)

Walter Bupp? (Garrett vs. Berryman)

Looking at Project Gutenberg ebook #24277, I find it to be listed (in the metadata at the top of the ebook) as "Card Trick, by Walter Bupp AKA Randall Garrett". When I look "Card Trick" up in the ISFDB, I find that it is by Walter Bupp as by John Berryman. AFAIK Berryman was not Garrett. Was he? Nothing else here would suggest this. (In the past (a couple of years ago), trying to find biographical info on Berryman (the SF writer not the poet), I had no luck whatsoever.
I think I'm going to postpone entering this particular ebook; but it might be nice to clear this up some. Does anyone have any actual hard evidence either way? (Since Walter Bupp, AKA Lefty, is a character in this story & several others in this series, it seems likely that he is a pseudonym.) -- Dave (davecat) 13:32, 25 Mar 2008 (CDT)

It is not listed in Garrett's semi-official bibliography. 'Vigorish' is listed in Rock as Bupp by Randall. Tuck lists Bupp as a Garrett pseudonym as does Robinson. Cotento/Miller lists Berryman. The semi-official website says "In addition, there have been reports that he wrote under the names Walter Bupp, Alfred Blake, Andrew Blake, and Barbara Wilson. He definitely did not use Bupp, and Andrew Blake is a pseudnym of Larry M. Harris. I haven't found anything by the other two names."

Help with number-line please?

This Eighth(?) printing of Revolt on Alpha C has a number line like

19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8                   8 9/7 0 1 2 3/8

With no visible price or date. Do those numbers on the right mean anything to do with either? BLongley

I have the 5th Printing, November 1965 and there is no such weirdness.--swfritter 19:28, 11 Apr 2008 (CDT)
Sections 7 and 8 of Editions and Printings, How to Tell the Difference: a guide for book collectors may help. Holmesd 10:21, 12 Apr 2008 (CDT)
Nope. That reference seems to reinforce my opinion that I've got the printing number right, but the weirdness on the right still confuses. BLongley 23:38, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
While the 8th printing part seems clear enough I'm going to guess that "8 9/7 0 1 2 3/8" means August-1973 with the decode being
1968 1969/1970(start of decade) 1970 1971 1972 1973/August.
Possible, but it seems to break the "take the lowest remaining number" rule - I'd read the year as 1968, except that it looks like the 7th was fairly definitely dated later. And that remaining '8' for Month doesn't work for me - if you're going to use a number-line would you want an element that has to be updated rather than erased? BLongley 18:28, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Abebooks has seller listings for TX137 that say
  • 1959 - has clear photo showing 25 cents
  • 1st MARCH-1959 25 cents price at bottom of front cover
  • 3rd printing 1963
  • 3rd printing 1969 (probably in error)
  • 5th printing 1965 35 cents
  • 5th printing 1965 35 cents
  • 5th printing 1965 35 cents
  • 5th printing 1965
  • later printing 1966
  • 7th Printing 1969
  • 7th Printing 1969
  • 7th Printing January-1969 50 cent price on cover- has clear photo
  • 1969 - has clear photo showing 50 cents
  • 8th printing
Some booksellers really know their stuff and others generate garbage but overall these listings are consistent. Seller listings found via Google tend to be more in the garbage category.
I did not pay attention to the seller listings to see if any of these are the same seller with the same publication in different venues. Marc Kupper (talk) 00:46, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
That 7th printing photo might help as it shows one other clear difference - the "SBS" logo there is replaced by the "open book" logo on mine. Does anyone know when Scholastic Book Services changed logo? BLongley 18:28, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Just uploaded a photo of a definite 7th-'69 RVLTNLPHCM1969 and it still has the 'old' Scholastic logo on the back cover and title page. No crazy code like the one that started this thread. --Bluesman 00:06, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent) I have a similar problem with my Scholastic A Journey to the Center of the Earth, if people would care to take a look. BLongley 17:05, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Here is someone writing about Scholastic's number lines but the algorithm stated gives a very late date for Revolt on Alpha C (1978) and 1976 for A Journey to the Center of the Earth. --Roglo 22:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

verify warning?

I've been entering changes in Analog, July 1963, approving a couple of times along the way. The warning about its being verified against the primary source showed up. I'd checked that it wasn't verified before starting, so my reaction was that someone must have verified it while I was working. But thereafter it still said not verified, though the warning continued to appear. (I finally verified the thing myself so that I'd stop worrying about it.) I haven't seen this happen before, so thought I'd mention it. Anyone know why this might be? Thanks. Dave (davecat) 17:32, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

It's possible one of those other secondary source verifications caused it. Also, if a primary has been verified and then unverified the warning will still show up. --swfritter 20:28, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I suspect the latter, & I'd wondered whether that might be the case. -- Dave (davecat) 19:14, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Define "cover art"

I'm new and just trying to get a handle on how ISFDB works before I get too serious about editing anything, but the first book I looked at last night raised a question that I can't find answered. That is, what is "cover art" for purposes of crediting a cover artist? In this case, the book I was looking at (Jeanette Winterson's "The PowerBook") has a credit on the dust jacket for "Cover photograph and design". Should that credit be entered as the cover artist? Or is "cover artist" only entered when there is a painted or drawn work of art created for use on a cover? If a cover consists only of text and other design elements, would a credited "cover designer" be entered as the "cover artist"? Would a separately credited photographer and designer be entered as two cover artists (perhaps with a note)? --AndyHat 18:17, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Ah, a good question! And one with lots of answers. My personal view is that "Cover Artist" should be reserved for individual Human Beings - Artists will get their own Author entry so I don't really want a corporation like "Disney" getting in. (When I say "individual" I also mean that a pair of artists like Leo and Diane Dillon should be entered as two separate cover artists.) As for what counts as art - well, I don't tend to count photographs or covers listed as "designs" rather than cover "art". It's pretty safe to put all the extra credits in notes, though. And although I don't like companies like being credited they've been allowed in before so I usually let extra publications by them in. I think most moderators aren't too bothered about the issue, although there have been some discussions when we have to figure out a canonical name - e.g. "Jack Gaughan" or "Gaughan" (some artists are added from signatures rather than credits, so we can end up with several versions for the same artist). If support for artists is extended then I might make more effort for people like Robert Rankin, who not only writes books but occasionally sculpts or constructs an item which is then photographed for a cover designed by somebody else with technical support by another person or company... but mostly, this is one of the less controversial fields to fill in. BLongley 20:24, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

overloaded storylen field?

I happened to be looking at installments of a serial by Jack Williamson, called ". . . And Searching Mind", & noticed that in each title's storylen field it says "The Humanoids". I'm guessing that someone did this because that's the title of the complete novel as published. Assuming that's right, should I create a variant title of that novel & nuke the text in those fields? Or is this a valid overloading of that field, somehow? (I guess since serial not shortfiction that most things ignore storylen.) Thanks. -- Dave (davecat) 15:57, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't believe that this is a valid use of the storylen field (it does get overloaded for an indication of a juvenile, although not consistently, and for omnibus records) I have a copy of The Humanoids, and my memory is that it is an expansion of the story originally published as ". . . And Searching Mind". I don't recall if it includes the earlier story in the same setting ("With Folded Hands. . ." or if that was simply bound in with my edition. I would treat this in the same way as any other book whose novel publication has a different title from and possibly expanded content compared to the serial publication. A notes entry may be a good idea until we have better fixup/relationship support. -DES Talk 17:13, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
The storylen field was overloaded for numerous reasons (which we are slowly getting rid of) when ISFDB1 compiled dataset files down into a more compact version, and adding a new field was expensive. In this particular case, the storylen field was used for a SERIAL title whenever the serial title did not lexically match the title of the published novel. This was the only link between a serial title and its associated novel title. We'll get rid of these eventually and make storylen an enumerated type that can't be overloaded. Alvonruff 20:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I run into "nvz" (170 titles according to my last backup loaded) and "jvn" (1029) occasionally. I've used "nvz" at times when fixing X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer titles (well, not always "fixing", sometimes just adding Wikipedia Links to the episode involved), but am happy to stop. I don't add "jvn" as I'm a grown-up that still likes good stories whatever age they're aimed at. (E.g. go read The Phantom Tollbooth and see if you think it deserves a "jvn" label. BLongley 21:23, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Happily, there's only about 200 titles misusing the field for Serials, so we can clean those up manually. I think. If I'm guessing the way Al wants us to go. BLongley 21:23, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
As to "The Humanoids" - well, the credit to John Campbell for comments on the uses of folded hands suggests that the novel might include "With Folded Hands", but I only own the book and none of the magazines. Feel free to post sample extracts and we'll see if they match. BLongley 21:23, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
An adult can certainly enjoy books written for children, but the opposite is not always true -- think Laurell K. Hamilton's recent books or even Farmer's The Image of the Beast et al. That's why many libraries won't let children access the adult part of the library without their parents' permission while adults are allowed to access the children's section without their kids permission :)
Similarly, "jvn" may prove to be a useful data element if we get a significant number of searches of that nature, e.g. "Select * FROM Titles WHERE User_Rating >8 AND Storylen = jvn". Unfortunately, a book that will delight a 4 year old may not work for a 12 year old, so libraries tend to differentiate them even further: "4-8", "9/10-12" ("middle grade") and "12/13-17/18" ("YA"). Whenever I add or edit "jvn" records based on OCLC data, I try to remember to add this information to the Notes field and perhaps one day we will add a new "Age" field with these values in a shiny dropdown box. Ahasuerus 23:16, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Multiple Variants

Randall_Garrett's "The Foreign Hand-Tie" and his "The Foreign Hand Tie" obviously should be variant titles (which should be the parent is another question). But, each is already the parent of another variant (from author "David Gordon"). Variant chains are a Bad ThingTM. Would it be best to break all the existing variant relationships and set them all to a single parent, or is some other technique better? -DES Talk 01:45, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Breaking all Variant Titles first is always the safe thing to do and in this case it sounds like it's the most straightforward approach as well. A side benefit of breaking all VTs first is that sometimes you discover that one or more of them have no Publications associated with them and can be safely deleted.
As far as determining the canonical (parent) title goes, Help:How to record a variant title says:
  • It won't always be clear which is the canonical title, but it's a choice that can be reversed later, so it's not absolutely critical to get right first time. When in doubt, pick the title used on the first published version of the story; but if there is any question at all, make a note on the author's project page on the Wiki as to why you selected one title as canonical.
so I would go with the first published version. Ahasuerus 03:17, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Process started, waiting for approval of first phase. -DES Talk 03:52, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

before there were "audio books"?

Entering reviews for Analog, November 1962, I find at the end of the column reviews for two LPs: Burgess Meredith Reads Ray Bradbury & Roddy McDowell Reads the Horror Stories of H. P. Lovecraft. These are said to be from the Prestige Records Lively Arts Series, nos. 30004 & 30003, respectively.
I don't find these in our database. Miller does say what the contents are. Should I be entering some kind of pubs for these? I haven't dealt with any sound recordings at all, & I'm not sure what I'd need to do. Or aren't these something that should be in the database? If not, I can remove the reviews & just put a note in the pub. Thanks. -- Dave (davecat) 20:59, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

At about the same time (or a bit later) there was The Road Goes Ever On, a recording of verse by J. R. R. Tolkien, with music by Donald Swann, and a recording of JRRT reading aloud soem of his own work, both on LP (by Caedmon, IIRC). I think these should all be in, and i would enter them with a binding field of "Audio (LP)" and otherwise just like any other pub, provided the data can be found (price, cover artist, etc). -DES Talk 21:40, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
In fact, see The Road Goes Ever On. -DES Talk 21:42, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
IN, I'd say. We might have to create new audio binding types - "LP" is clear to me (33 rpm vinyl?), but some of our younger editors might not understand it - but they'd not understand 8-track tape cassettes either. Or 78 rpm records. The downside is that some of our "Poem" entries are actually for Songs, and we could be opening the doors to hundreds of Filk tapes and CDs. Old LP "Readings" of stories are fine for now, I think - they are "audio books" that just didn't call themselves that at the time - but I really don't want to have to find all the Merovingen Nights entries on Filk cassettes I have somewhere. And I have a Leslie Fish LP somewhere too... BLongley 22:36, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The usual solution to reviews that aren't of actual BOOKS we're interested in (or Magazines, or Fanzines) is to change them to Essays instead - this is the way we're dealing with Film Reviews for instance. Sometimes. BLongley 22:36, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I am all for including them, in part because there are relatively few of them, so they should be manageable, and in part because they are just a different flavor of audio books. Ahasuerus 03:59, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
When I was entering the reviews from Delap's F&SF Review, there were several reviews of recorded SF readings and SF film scores (on LP). There was discussion at the time to make these reviews ESSAY type instead of REVIEW type, so that there'd be no necessity of creating a separate record for the item under review. We concluded (I think) to only include reviews of books as REVIEWS, and reviews of movies, recordings, etc would be ESSAYS. So I went to the trouble of changing all of those reviews. I don't believe this ever made it into the help pages, but then I have very little luck doing a search on these Wiki pages. MHHutchins 20:34, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
If I were doing such a thing now, if there were reveiws of recordings of an SF text being read aloud, i would record those as reviews, and create a pub for the item. reviews of films or fim scores i would record as essays. -DES Talk 20:51, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
This seems to overlap with this discussion where performances (as opposed to readings) of SF texts are questioned. If there's a link from the paper text to a TV show to a radio show I'm not particularly AGAINST such, but they have to be basically the same story. Reviews of Film SCORES are out though, IMO. Reviews of Films doesn't add anything for me either - notes for "Filmed as" or "this is the novelization of film X" are enough for me. BLongley 22:07, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Visit to a Small Planet

I was entering a book review for this, & the title existed but not the pub (& no editions of just this play). I went off to OCLC & got data, & created the pub record here. I approved the submission, but I'm pretty sure that the page count info at least should really have someone else look at it. Any comments on anything I should have done differently would be appreciated. Thanks. -- Dave (davecat) 16:55, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Looks good. Page count is unusual because the first 16 pages were roman-numeraled with the remainder being numbered. I entered a book with the same numbering scheme a few days ago, but I can't remember exactly which one. I commented on the strangeness of the numbering in the pub notes, which seems to be a good idea in this case as well. MHHutchins 20:47, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Michael. I will go add some kind of note. -- Dave (davecat) 13:28, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Published date vs printing date

The third printing of Star Science Fiction Stories lists the First Printing date as February, 1953 but the Published date as March, 1953. My preliminary assumption is that the the Published date takes precedence since that is probably the date the books were actually distributed.?--swfritter 21:30, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I often find books for sale in the last half of a month that when you open them has a published date listed as the next month. If two dates were listed, I would probably chose the one that was first for a book, and usig the month on the cover is most intuitive for a magazine, but then again, the most intuitive isn't always what our rules say.CoachPaul 22:26, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
If one date explicitly says that it is a publication date, i would follow that, but i don't see a difference of a month or so as being very significant in any case. -DES Talk 21:11, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
There are some other sources that use Feb so I will go with that and leave a note in the first printing.--swfritter 23:04, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Piper's Rebel Raider

Ok, I got around to entering this Project Gutenberg ebook. You can look at what I did here for the pub & here for the title.
I'm posting this because I was more than a bit unsure about the pub type & title type. AFAICS, this is straight historical material, written in a style similar to historical fiction; it might be historical fiction. I made the title type NONFICTION; should it be NONGENRE? That doesn't seem to be available for the pub, so again I used NONFICTION.
Obviously, if this weren't someone like Piper, this wouldn't even belong in the database; but this kind of thing was apparently a passion of Piper's, & certainly affected the way he wrote SF. I just haven't had to deal with this kind of thing before. Any advice or correction welcome.
Incidentally, at the end of the text in the ebook it says: "A True Book-Length Feature". -- Dave (davecat) 19:35, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the proper way is to make the publication a novel, and the title of type "NONGENRE". I think that "NonFiction" should be reserved for critical studies, and other things that, if shorter than book length, we would record as essays. I can make those changes, but since you entered and verified this, I won't wihtout some input from you. I know we have entered at least some non-genre works by well known genre authors, and there are more we should enter (Jack Vance's mystery stories, for example). Ah yes, here is an example: the title record for The Quallsford Inheritance by Lloyd_Biggle,_Jr. shows it to be "Type: NONGENRE ", but its first listed publication THQLLSFRDN1986 shows "Type: NOVEL". I think this is the way to go. Should i update the help to clarify this? -DES Talk 21:09, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
NONGENRE and NOVEL are probably best for now until someone confirms it's real rather than fiction. NONFICTION works for books only at the moment, and works for not only critical studies but Biographies and Bibliographies too. For contents, all we have is ESSAY, and even those are debatable - an ESSAY about a fictional world is arguably SHORTFICTION as it has no basis in reality, or is a serious attempt at adding some real-world sense to a fictional world. As always, when there are borderline cases I lean towards gently pushing them aside, then maybe a bit further until people stop moaning about them. ;-) As soon as you make something NONGENRE or NONFICTION you get a lot less people querying them, and don't have to go to the hassle of deleting them. Or you can hide RPG sourcebooks and gamebooks and Graphic Novels under a big-name author. So long as they don't mess up the things we actually want to see, I don't mind them being here too much unless someone decides we NEED the other umpty-twelve issues of Baseball Manga Weekly or every issue of Uncanny/Classic/Original X-Men just because we have a couple of Novelizations of films. BLongley 22:22, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh I just skimmed Rebel Raider, it looks like fairly straight historical fiction to me. To the best of my limited knowledge the history is accurate, but thoughts and feelings as well as dialog is attributed to real historical figures that is almost surely not recorded in that much detail, and plausible but probably fictional characters occur. -DES Talk 22:41, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I'll make the changes. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that way to me, too. -- Dave (davecat) 14:16, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

One-item collection?

I have an odd situation. I have recently entered two collections: J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 1 and J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 2. These are the first two of a five "volume" series. My problem? Volume 3 contains a single novel (just over 50,000 words). Obviously i would like the various volumes to be listed together, but if I list this as a novel, they won't be, and J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3 will look really odd in the list of novel titles. Should I treat this as a collection with only one item in it? That is unusual, but seems like the best answer to me. But would it cause a problem for some reason I haven't thought of? -DES Talk 17:45, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Why not just put them all into a series called "J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales"? I think that would work unless a volume was non-Fiction. BLongley 18:02, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
This turned out not to work too well. If I started with "New Novel" I wound up with a publication that contained two titles, one for "J.S. Ghostly tales, vol 3" and one for the novel (The Haunted Baronet). If I started with the novel and did "Add a publication, I got no title record for "J.S. Ghostly tales, vol 3" so that only vols 1, 2, 4, & 5 appeared on the author bibliographies, not what i had in mind at all. The series didn't really help with either of these problems. We don't really have support for a publication that contains a single novel, but has a drastically different title from the novel. I wound up going with a collection with a single item in its contents, This is a bit odd, but it does the job. -DES Talk 23:49, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Oh, I also learn that in volume 5 of this series, "Stories of Lough Guir", included elsewhere as a work of short fiction, is a mini-collection consisting of 5 named stories plus an untitled "introduction" the "stories" lead into one another are are I think unlikely to have been printed separately, and all of them together total just less than 5,000 words. Should I ignore the sub-titles, list them in notes, or create separate title records for them? -DES Talk 17:54, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I'd say notes, unless there's evidence of any of them being separately published. Just Google for each "Chapter title" and you should get a quick idea. BLongley 18:02, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I will do that. However also found that "The Specter Lovers" is also an element of "Ghost Stories of Chapelizod", while the other tales contained in GSoCI don't seem to have been separately published. I resorted to The Specter Lovers (excerpt from "Ghost Stories of Chapelizod") -- a bit clunky perhaps, but it too does the job. -DES Talk 23:49, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Keep in mind that Series consisting of Collection Titles a la The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick have always been a bit cludgy because they collect unrelated stories and are really Publication Series in disguise. The only reason that we have been able to get away with them is that their Collection Titles are unique and generally don't belong to other Series, so the potential for conflict is low, although not quite 0. Ahasuerus 00:14, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, even in that example they're not unique: there's another Minority Report that doesn't belong in the Collected Stories. The variant titles were a pain too, and the reason to separate out that series entirely: there seem to a never-ending set of collections named after one constituent short-story. BLongley 10:07, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
What Ahasuerus says is quite true, but in this case the problem is more our lack of a concept of any heirarchy below shortfiction. Titles can belong to publications, and to series, but when a group of titles within a collection are associated into an overall (group) title we have no good way to deal with it. We have to either ignore the overall title (or relegate it to a series title) or, as in this case, ignore the individual titles or relegate them to notes entries. We have no "group title" type of entity. In an ideal world, we would. But I'm not sure that the (fairly low) incidence of such things would justfy the coding effort involved althouhg such a construct could also be used to handle collections in omnibuses. -DES Talk 18:23, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Illegible signature - help!

Anyone recognize this sig? File:Unknown Sig.jpg

It's from the cover of this publication, if people can recognize artists better than signatures. BLongley 22:07, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Got it! It's Peter Jones. He seemingly signs as "PAJ" with a two-digit year after it. BLongley 13:15, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Linking Reviews

Could someone please point me to somewhere that will show me how to link reviews to the books they review?CoachPaul 02:06, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

After the review is entered, it shows up under "Contents" as "Review: pub title." Click on "Review:," that will take you to a review editing page. On the left side under editing tools is "Link review to Title."--Rkihara 04:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you.CoachPaul 22:17, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

New Writings in SF (Carnell) - US "reprints"

Hi all, I'm looking for some advice on the best way to handle the following problem:

It seems that Bantam US reprinted the UK Carnell anthologies, but merged some together (or something), so that there is very little correspondence in content for the same "number" in the series, expecially on towards the end of the series. eg

Bantam's New Writings in SF 9 has the following contents:

  1. 1 • When I Have Passed Away • (1969) • novelette by Joseph Green
  2. 33 • Symbiote • (1969) • novelette by Michael G. Coney
  3. 53 • If You're So Smart • (1969) • shortstory by Paul Corey
  4. 69 • Testament • (1968) • shortstory by Vincent King
  5. 87 • The Macbeth Expiation • (1968) • shortstory by M. John Harrison
  6. 109 • The Last Time Around • (1970) • shortstory by Arthur Sellings
  7. 133 • Tilt Angle • (1969) • shortstory by R. W. Mackelworth
  8. 155 • The City, Dying • (1968) • shortstory by Eddy C. Bertin

These are in the UK Dobson &/or Corgi New Writings in SF 15, 15, 14, 13, 13, 12 (despite the date), 14 & 13, respectively.

My thoughts are to unmerge each Bantam, and then put them in a new series "New Writings [Bantam Edns]. Maybe also rename each title New Writings in SF 9 [Bantam], etc. so when you look at an individual story it doesn't look so odd - see eg here.

Is this the best approach to use? Thanks --j_clark 06:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

My collection includes Bantam's editions of 1,3,4,6,7,& 9. 1,3,4,& 6, have the same contents as the VERIFIED British editions. My copies of 7 & 9 have different contents. My preference would be to make the ones with different contents different TITLES, but I would use [AMERICAN VERSION] since Bantam will be shown in the METADATA. That being said, I'm sure that some sort of consensus can be reached here. Although nearly all of my experience here is with Short Stories and their various Publications, I'd be especially keen to hear what BLONGLEY, SWFRITTER and RKIHARA have to say as they have much more experience then I do.CoachPaul 21:27, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
If there's only a few volumes different, I'd just suffix the titles of the Bantam pubs that differ and leave notes in the title record and on the series bibliography page. If there's as many Bantam pubs as Corgi ones though, and only the first six are the same, a whole new series might be appropriate, but you'd still need title notes to warn people off merges. Does anyone know the extent of the Bantam series? Are there just a few "Best Of" summary volumes after the first six? BLongley 18:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Contento lists 7-9 as the only ones that were differing between the Dobson(UK) and Bantam(US) editions. He also lists 9 as the last one published in the US by Bantam. I'll take care of fixing them on Monday when I get a little time, I doubt that with today being Father's Day here in the US that I'll get the time to do it today. Maybe Bill or some other more experienced Mod can check them after I've finished to make sure that they are ok.CoachPaul 04:20, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

E. E. "Doc" Smith

We have at least one title record (this one) which lists the author's name as E. E. "Doc" Smith with double quotes. I think that this is guaranteed to result in an invalid link to the author page, because of the way quotes are handled internally. Is this correct? If so, should we change the author on all these title and associated pub records, possibly leaving a note about what is actually on the published work, assuming that the work really did use double quotes? Or what? advice sought. -DES Talk 22:45, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

I have a number of Pyramid Smith's in my collection that have the Doc with the double quotes. I'll hold off entering them until I know the proper way to do it. Bitdancer 23:28, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
See also Dale "Slade" Henson, EV "Gus" Gustafson, Wilson "Wunan" Tortosa, Robert Michael "Bobb" Cotter, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr., George "Lan" Laskowski, and Dr. Samuel "Uncle Kage" Conway. A workaround might be to replace double quotes with pairs of single quotes, but a software fix would be preferred. BLongley 19:03, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Cobras Two by Zahn

See User talk:Rhschu#Cobras Two by Zahn for background. We have a publication of Cobras Two, which lists it as an anthology. User:Rhschu has submitted a publication (now on hold) of this title as a novel. it is fairly clear that this work contains the contents of the previously published works Cobra and Cobra Strike. However, those titles were changed to "Part One" and "Part Two" with acknowledgment only in a short note on the copyright page and back cover of the earlier separate publications, and no explicit indication in the published volume that "Part One" = Cobra, and "Part Two" = Cobra Strike, although in fact this appears to be the case. Note also the later publication of The Cobra Trilogy, which we also have as an omnibus without contents. Should this be an omnibus, or not. Suggestions? -DES Talk 23:49, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's fairly clear that this is no anthology :) Whether it's a novel or an omnibus is debatable, but since there doesn't appear to be any new material and there is a note about the book's history, omnibus seems to be the preferred way to go. At least Baen puts these notes in a reasonably easy to find place. Some other publishers have been known to collect previously published texts without giving any indication that the book is anything but an original publication. Ahasuerus 05:47, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

"Cyrion" by Tanith Lee

I have another situation similar to "Cobras Two" above. The existing entry for this book shows it as a Collection. No page numbers are given. I have the book in front of me. There are no page #s which I can supply but the Contents is also not complete. There is a "Prologue" followed by 7 "Stories", each separated by an "Interlogue" which are not essays written by the author but rather parts of the storyline in character. Then there is a "Second Prologue" followed by a "Novella" and and "Epilogue". If it is as described, a Collection, how do you deal with the Interlogues. What are they? Rhschu 15:25, 3 June 2008 (UTC)Rhschu

One option, of course, is to simply ignore them. A better choice, in my view, would be to record them as separate works of short fiction, with titles like "Interlogue (first)", "Interlogue (second)", "Interlogue (third)" etc. For a somewhat similar example, see Festival Moon or Fever Season (note the split up title story in each anthology. Since at least some of the stories are recorded as having been published elsewhere (for example "Perfidious Amber"), I think it is pretty clearly a collection, not a novel. -DES Talk 16:25, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
You say that "I have the book in front of me" but "There are no page #s which I can supply". Why not? Is the book unpaginated, or is there something else odd about it? -DES Talk 16:25, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, there should be a coma after "#s". What I meant to say was, there are no page #s in ISFDB entry but I can supply them. Your solution is logical. I will do it that way. Thanks. Rhschu 16:37, 3 June 2008 (UTC)Rhschu
Ah that makes much more sense. Thanks again for your contributions. Glad to be of soem help. -DES Talk 16:54, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Magazine Page for Amazing Stories Missing June 1968

The June 1968 issue is missing from the magazine page for Amazing Stories. Entering the tag "AMAZJUN1968 Jun", makes an entry, but it takes me a blank page with the message "pl.cgi: No such publication tag exists." Can someone who knows how to do this make the entry, or tell me how to do this?--Rkihara 05:12, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I figured it out.--Rkihara 05:28, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Life becomes more complicated. Now that I've created a pub entry for the June 1968 Amazing, I find that there is a nearly identical pub entry for April 1968. It turns out that the cover gives a publication date of June, while the TOC gives it as April. I'm guessing that it was printed for April, but they weren't able to ship the magazine until the June date. I feel that contrary to the rules, I should use the cover publication date for this issue, deleting the April entry on the magazine page. Any suggestions?--Rkihara 16:30, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

The section in help says "If the magazine has an overprinted date, then use the later date." Although there is no 'overprint' here I think it seems to me to be a similar situation and June makes sense for that reason. On the other hand, Contento and Ashley list it as April so it might be better to be consistent. On the next hand (Neptunians have eight) some Abebook entries list June while others have entries like "Amazing Stories April June 1968 Volume 42 Number 1". You might want to consider listing it as "April-June" or perhaps even "April (June)" as an aid to collectors.--swfritter 16:59, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Maybe I can remove the contents from June, which are showing up as duplicates in the database, and leave a comment in the notes pointing to April. That way no one else will think there was a missing issue in the listing as I did. That does create a "phantom" issue, though.--Rkihara 17:17, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Deleted the June 1968 pub, and changed the tag for the June issue on the magazine page to April. Now clicking on either April or June brings up the same magazine entry.--Rkihara 18:02, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Another unidentified signature

I'd guess from the letters and entries here already that this is Jack Schoenherr's sig. Can anyone confirm? The full cover is here if that helps. JackS.jpg BLongley 19:16, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I checked one book that I have handy with art by Schoenherr (Kar Kaballa) but I can't find a sig there at all, neither when looking closely at the actual book, nor on an enlargement of a scan. I understand that Ace sometimes cropped cover art, leading to loss of a sig. I'll see if I have any other physical books with art by him. -DES Talk 21:43, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
In all the Analog covers & illustrations I've looked at (fairly closely) since I started entering things here, I don't think I've seen any credited to Schoenherr which were signed. There might have been one or two, but surely not more; & that signature doesn't look familiar. I've looked at a handful of book covers by him in that time as well, without seeing signatures. So I'm doubtful, but it's certainly not impossible. -- Dave (davecat) 14:42, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Anthologies still not showing up in Fiction Series AKA Problems with Conan Titles

Since it was the EXAMPLE used in the HELP Pages under the heading ANTHOLOGY, I went ahead and changed this pub, "Conan" from a Collection to an Anthology. There are other Conan titles that fall into this category too, Conan of Cimmeria, being the first one I come too. (There may be more, but I stopped looking after finding one.) Should I continue to fix these, therefore pulling them out of place in the Fiction Series and placing them into Anthology Series, and bringing them into line with the rules and example from the Help page? Will Anthologies ever be integrated into Fiction Series', or is it just too much trouble? If I shouldn't change any additional problems with Anthology/Collection on the Conan Series books, should we change the example on the Help Page? I think it will look bad to have the first two books of a Fiction Series, not listed under that series, and only listed under Anthology Series. Any ideas? CoachPaul 21:40, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

None of the other Editors has anything to say about this?CoachPaul 20:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I wrote an answer, but I guess it was lost in a brief site outage as I was posting. The problem with the Conan anthologies is that it is an unusual case. In most cases, anthology series are more publications series, either of themed anthologies (like Pournelle's There Will be War series, or recurring anthologies with the same editor or editors (like the Spectrum series) or recurring "Best of" or award anthologies. In none of these cases do i think we want the series in among the "Fiction Series". Perhaps when and only when a series includes both anthologies and novels or collections should it be displayed with the "Fiction Series"? In any case, I don't think a coding change on this issue currently is t the head of the features list. But I do think that the pubs you refer to are in fact anthologies, and should be listed as such. -DES Talk 21:22, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
But not all Anthology Series are created equally. There is the Thieves' World series that is loaded with Anthologies and Novels. It would be nice to have these listed together, but I agree that there are probably a lot of other projects that need coding first. I will put Conan on my list of things to do, and sometime down the line, if nobody has got to it first, I'll work on it.CoachPaul 22:27, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Cloning vs Editing

I'm confused! As I use the ISFDB I keep finding situations where it appears that the editor that added the publication identified the year but omitted the month of publication. When I look at the book that I have in front of me and the ISFDB entry I'm often not sure whether to clone it and enter my information or to edit the existing information. For example "Fighting Slave of Gor" by John Norman. The existing entry for 1980 is exactly the same as my book except that it doesn't show March as the month of publication, it doesn't show the book as a First printing and, as I recall, it doesn't show the cover artist. On the face of it, I can easily just add that information but I really don't know that what is there isn't a later printing. ISBNs are often carried through many printings as is the DAW Book Collectors No. and publisher's no. Could someone please clarify. I'm starting to avoid the issue and simply not add my additional information. Rhschu 18:41, 11 June 2008 (UTC)Rhschu

Well, data from libraries often doesn't go into quite as much detail as we do. E.g. the OCLC record for your pub doesn't state the month, just the year - but when you look at a more detailed version "Entry: 19800421" suggests to me it was entered soon after publication and March or April could well be right. It was reviewed in May, which puts another later limit on it. I'm not the Daw expert, but I think around that time Daw books gave Year and Month of first publication internally, so any Daw pub of that era here without the month is incomplete and so an EDIT is in order. That said: If in doubt, CLONE. I'd rather we deduplicate data later than overwrite good data. You pick up a feeling for "that's wrong" eventually when you work on a particular area long enough, and although we could (and have started to) record what to look out for when dealing with particular publishers, it's safer to leave existing records alone if unsure. Sometimes a moderator will pick it up immediately and leave an explanation of why an edit would have been more appropriate: but no Moderator knows all the variations yet. The DAW publisher page is one of the better explained ones though, if you care to have a look. BLongley 19:12, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. That does help some. Rhschu 19:55, 11 June 2008 (UTC)Rhschu
I would also say, if the month is entered as "00", and everything else that is entered matches your book in hand, it is safe to overwrite -- "00" in a date means "unknown", it is not useful data that might be overwritten. But I do agree with Bill, "If in doubt, CLONE.".
Note that if a record says or indicates its source, you can possibly check what is shown there. For example if a record was entered from OCLC/Worldcat (which means library) data, you can pull upp the worldcat record used, and see jsut what is recorded there.
Note also that it is somewhat rare, although not at all unheard of, for there to be multiple printings of a book in a single year. if the book was not a quite popular one, multple printings in the same year become less likely.
I hope all this is helpful. -DES Talk 21:12, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Do note that a lot of good ISFDB data was actually entered from quite reliable sources that just don't go into as much detail as we try for now, but no sources are credited yet. Adding to and refining such entries from primary sources is good: e.g. a publication entry here with no Month can probably have the month added safely if it's stated in the physical pub. Overwriting a pub entry is less safe: e.g. an entry here that goes to the DAY level, where the only source that gives that day is Amazon, could probably have the day removed safely if the physical pub has Year and Month only, or even year only: but that's MY judgment call after a couple of years of looking at Amazon data and despairing at much of it. (It was impossible to have a '00' day there until recently, so they had to add dummy days, usually '01'.) I've seen people try to overwrite a date with '0000-00-00' - that's usually wrong, even if the publication really doesn't have a date on it: the date we have is usually justified SOMEWHERE, even if it's not clear where from. BLongley 22:12, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Adding source information is often good, but it doesn't mean that if a source is quoted then it's RIGHT: it just explains why we state what we do a bit better. This is why I'm sometimes reluctant to add sources I've used to create missing pubs if they are trusted enough by me but aren't on the verification list or sources of bibliographic information. If I'm adjusting a pub, then I'll quote the source for the adjustment (OCLC, Tuck, etc): but some of my non-primary additions need as much checking as all the ones that MIGHT have come from Tuck, etc, so I don't want to mislead people into thinking "it must be good, it's here with lots of info". BLongley 22:12, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with pretty much all of the above except that when i create a source from non-primary data I tend to note it, hoping that people will find it an aid to cheking, but will not give excessive trust to data derived from a source that may well be itself in error, even if I entered its data correctly.
One case where I will change a date to "0000-00-00": if the notes mention a latger printing (3rd or later) and/or the price is significantly increased for a 'first printing' record, but the date exactly matches the copyright date or the date of the first printing record. That looks like a case of a clone that failed to altere the date, and if it is not marked as verified, i will consider changing to "0000-00-00", if it is primary verified I will ask the verifier. But this is a judgemetn call, not an automatic response. Changing existing data (not meaningless placeholders like "00" in a date) is almost always a judgement call. -DES Talk 22:24, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Lost Dorsai

I have a 2nd printing of the October 1981 Ace edition of "Lost Dorsai" that isn't in the ISFDB. I would like to add it but something doesn't seem right to me. It is similar in contents to the April 1985 6th printing so I can clone that entry. However, it is shown as a Collection. Both the 6th printing and my 2nd printing include a work (The Plume and the Sword) by Sandra Miesel. Doesn't two authors make it an Anthology? Rhschu 17:55, 12 June 2008 (UTC)Rhschu

Two Fiction authors, yes. But the Sandra Miesel piece is just an Essay isn't it? BLongley 18:15, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
(This was written before Bill responded, but it still stands, so I left it as is. It is a direct reply to the original query.) Normally, yes, but according to the db, The Plume and the Sword, is an essay and not a piece of fiction. According to the New Pub Help Page, Anthology is "Used for anything containing fiction by more than one author." Since the Sandra Miesel piece is an essay and not a work of fiction, Collection is the proper pub type in this case.CoachPaul 18:29, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Confusingly, the Omnibus definition allows for fiction by more than one author too. But that's mostly for NOVEL length works bound together. (And some 'called a novel' works that actually didn't make the grade by our standards, see some Ace Doubles.) BLongley 19:18, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, I tend to define an Omnibus simply as a collection or anthology, where at least two of the items included have previously been published under separate covers, or all of them are of novel length. In response to the original query, we have lots of collections with introductions, afterwords, and/or critical essays by someone other than the author, and they still stay collections. Indeed, even if some works of fiction have co-authors, but the "main" author is an author of each included work, i would still list the pub as a collection rather than an anthology. For example, this pub includes one co-written story, but is still a collection. The same is true for this pub. -DES Talk 20:12, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
True: perhaps we could clarify "two authors" a bit more and insist on there being shortfiction works that do NOT involve the collection author before it becomes an Anthology. BLongley 22:03, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Spelled out number line

I have a book where there is a series of lines of text on the copyright page: "First Printing" / "Second printing" / ... / "Tenth printing". There is no other text on any of thsoe lines, which are right under the copyright notice. Lower down, below the publisher's name and trademark notice, is the line "First printing, April, 1973". Is this a first printing, or a 10th? -DES Talk 02:17, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Would that be a DAW publication by any chance? If so, Marc Kupper talked about that unusual number paragraph in this discussion. I think it's a first printing, the second printing would have the first line removed but retain the "First printing, April, 1973" at the bottom. BLongley 17:36, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
yes it is a DAW pb. I am away from my pile at the moment, but I think it was Zelazny's Eye of Cat. Thanks. -DES Talk 15:52, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

The Eyes of the Overworld : Novel->collection

I would like to change The Eyes of the Overworld from a novel to a collection. The individual stories were published separately, and retained their identities and titles in the combined work. The Vance Integral Edition gives the individual word counts for the separate stories. The new import/export feature will make adding the content to multiple editions much easier and quicker. Would anyone object to this? -DES Talk 18:26, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

The problem with changing things that way is that you end up with loads of missing page numbers. I for one can't put them back for Tales of the Dying Earth, if it was actually separately paginated. It looks as though it was decided to make it a fix-up for good reason, but I can't find any such discussion on the Wiki. (But I'm lousy at searching here and somewhere more Wiki-knowledgeable may find such.) BLongley 19:51, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Invalid Record

I've managed to generate an invalid record (993694) by approving submissions out of order. How do I clear this out of the queue?--Rkihara 15:47, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Al can reject this from this queue. He'll probably see this note, but placing one on his talk page might get his attention more quickly. MHHutchins 16:10, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
There is a somewhat obscure semi-documented way to reject malformed submissions. Ahasuerus 21:12, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks!--Rkihara 02:33, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Two Magazine Pages for Asimov's SF

I noticed that there was a redundant magazine page for Asimov's SF, under the title "Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine." The page is nearly empty, so maybe it should be removed?.--Rkihara 19:29, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, the magazine has appeared under two different titles, so we probably want to move the data from this page to Magazine:Asimov's Science Fiction and create a redirect the way other multi-title magazines are handled. Ahasuerus 21:08, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Argos: Spring 1988, A magazine that I need some help with

The Editorial, listed as such on both the ToC and on it's first page, consists of a paragraph by the Editor, introducing a Letter to the Editor that is then reprinted in the magazine in whole. The letter takes up all of three pages except for the small space taken up by the above mentioned paragraph by the Editor. Then after the Letter, the Editor closes the Editorial with almost a half of a page while praising the letter, and defending his point of view that the letter attacked. The letter is clearly part of the Editorial and not part of a Letters Page. It is not even listed on the ToC, as it is part of the Editorial. My question is, how do I handle this Letter? Do I list it as a Letter in the contents? Do I give the Letter's Author partial credit for the Introduction, seeing how he actually wrote 4/5ths of it? (He was not Credited on the ToC, but then neither was the Editor.) My last choice, and by far the easiest, but in this case IMHO the least favorable one, is to just ignore it. (This is why I tend to leave the Magazines to others.)CoachPaul 19:44, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

IMO, the editorial, as such, ought to be entered, and the editor of the magazine should be credited as its author in the usual way. Had the editor merely quoted a paragraph or two form a latter, i would leave it at that. But quoting the entire letter, and at such length, IMO ought to be acknowledged if possible. I think I would simply enter the letter as an essay with a title of "Letter (Argos: Spring 1988)" unless a different title or subject line appears in the magazine, and I would make a note in the title record for the letter that it is quoted in full (or apparently in full: silent omissions could have been made) in the course of the editorial. Others might have different views, but that is how i would be inclined to handle this if I were entering the magazine. -DES Talk 20:48, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like a reasonable approach to me! Ahasuerus 22:04, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

excerpt dates

When an anthologist publishes an excerpt from a longer work (and we know that it is an excerpt) we normally create a new title record for, say "Long Novel (excerpt)". But what date should this title record have -- assuming that the excerpt has not been published before. Should it have the date of the anthology, on the grounds that it is a newly created work, first published on that date? or should it have the date of the underlying longer work, as that is when the text was first published, albeit in a different form? -DES Talk 15:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Oh, and a related question: if the longer work is part of a series, should the excerpt be listed in the series also? Doing so lists the series on the anthology pub record, and might lead users to the series, which could be useful, but it might confuse the series listing itself.
These questions are all sparked by the Under the Moons of Mars anthology. -DES Talk 16:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Looking at some of the more challenging examples, e.g. Lin Carter's Golden Cities, Far, I would be inclined to use the year when the excerpt -- rather than the original work -- was created, in part because we don't always know when the original work was created whereas the excerpt date is usually easier to find.
As far as the series angle goes, I am all for adding Titles to Series to make things more integrated within the database. Ahasuerus 22:03, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with both dating and series entry - with the caveat that when the title has a variant with the same title but a pseudonymous author, we probably don't need BOTH in the series. WHICH to include is a bit of a puzzle though: e.g. Brian Ball has entries in the "Space 1999" series but Brian N. Ball doesn't. But it looks like there's some dithering over canonical author there. The Ice Mage Series goes for Julia Smith and Mark Smith rather than Julia Gray - a bit misleading if we're only showing one version, as they've only ever appeared under the joint pseudonym. But The Guardian Cycle lists both versions for each title and looks a mess to me. We could probably do with some better series-display programming, but in the meantime I'm open to suggestions on what looks best or is most useful. BLongley 22:44, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Sig help please

Another couple of Signatures I can't decipher:

H-Sig.jpg J-Sig.jpg

Anyone have any ideas? The second is used for Doomed World and Satellite, the first for Escape to Infinity, if that helps. BLongley 12:58, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, the first seems to be H. Fox and needs distinguishing from mere "Fox" as used on this pub:
I could still do with some help on the second sig. BLongley 19:47, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Tomorrow's Magic by Pamela F. Service

My question concerns the book Tomorrow's Magic, ISBN-13 978-0-375-84087-6. The book was originally published as two books, Winter of Magic's Return and Tomorrow's Magic. The confusing thing is that the original book 2 and the collected version have the same title. The collected version has sections called "Book 1" and "Book 2" with the original titles attached to them, but the chapters in "Book 2" have been renumbered to continue from where "Book 1" left off. As I do not have access to the original books, I do not know if any textual changes have been made in the collected version.

I was considering typing in the contents for this book, given that it is a collected version, but given the confusing title conjunction mentioned above, I am unsure how this would be done, or if it should be done. Md5i 06:37, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Create an OMNIBUS called Tomorrow's Magic, containing the NOVELS Winter of Magic's Return and Tomorrow's Magic. We won't worry about the chapter numbers, just indicate the page numbers where each book starts in the Omnibus. BLongley 07:26, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Just be forewarned that it can get much, much worse. For example, the first part of S. Fowler Wright's Amphibians trilogy was first published as "The Amphibians", but later reprinted as "The World Below". The second part was first published as "The World Below" (!), then reprinted as "The Dwellers". Parts 1 and 2 were also reprinted together as "The World Below" (!!) and the third part was never written, which makes it a two volume trilogy... Ahasuerus 00:00, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Making a variant NOT a variant

I was entering books by Eileen Kernaghan where I noticed that JOURNEY TO APRILIOTH (1980)was listed as a variant title of SONGS FROM THE DROWNED LANDS (1983. I have both these books and they are definitely two different books. So I checked the authors web site and it confirms this. Also the date for JOURNEY is 1980. I'd fix this myself but ... Ok I'm a moron & kant figger it out.Don Erikson 18:33, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

To break a variant title relationship, make the variant title a variant of title number 0. However, it looks like the variant here is actually "Journey to Apriloth" (only one 'i') and has no publications, so just delete the erroneous title. BLongley 18:48, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Yet Another Unusual Number Line

I have a copy of the Pocket / Archway edition of Andre Norton's Steel Magic and the copyright page says "First Pocket Books printing August 1978", but then the number line reads "1 2 9 8". Ordinarily, the lowest number present is the printing number regardless of the digits' order, i.e. "3 4 5 6 7 8 9" is the same as "9 8 7 6 5 4 3", but this unusual pattern has me scratching my head. Any ideas? Ahasuerus 02:57, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

P.S. We also have the third printing of this edition on file and it has a higher price and a different ISBN, so I assume that my copy is either the first or the second printing, but I am not sure which one it is. Ahasuerus 03:05, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
I've seen ones with 1 2 3 4 99 98 97 where it's printing on one end and year on the other. Could that be it with single digits for the year? Dana Carson 19:31, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I have added this version as a "maybe". Some publishers, I am telling you... Ahasuerus 23:58, 13 July 2008 (UTC)