ISFDB:Moderator noticeboard/Archive 10

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This archive includes discussions from September 2010 - April 2011.

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M. K. Wren: Nothing's Certain but Death

This books is listed twice in the bibliography for M. K. Wren, once as a novel and once as a nongenre work. Seems like someone should decide which way it fits. Chavey

Thanks for the signal. It certainly looks nongenre, so I removed the novel entry (see here). The next question is, should the title be in the database (is M.K.Wren above "a certain threshold") If so, the other titles in the Conan Flagg series should probably be in too. --Willem H. 20:38, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Split novel help

Would an experienced someone take a look at and please? I'm wondering if this would be better set up as a 2-part serialization, rather than as the proposed two novels. For future reference, let me know how things like this should be handled. Thanks! --MartyD 11:43, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Our general rule is that "split novels" are still novels, and are handled much like the above. But in all the example cases, and all the cases I can think of, the split sections have separate titles. This fels akward, but I dislike the idea of a SERIAL with no magazine or other continuing publication in which to serialize. Although that would link the two and clarify the situation. -DES Talk 14:36, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
We're not consistent - for instance, have a search on Cyteen by the same author. The split book is entered as a series. However, The Wordsmiths and the Warguild has had the two halves set up as variant titles. And if you look at Jane Gaskell, "The Serpent" shows a way of dealing with a book where one of the split novel publications has the same overall title. I can't think of an example with it split only in translation though - although I'm sure that there is an example of some tome split for the German market alone. But I'd prefer a Series solution to a SERIAL solution. BLongley 19:13, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Can't remember which German split novel is already in the database. Probably one of the Andre Norton titles. There will eventually be a lot of these though. Fortunately most of these were published as "heftroman", which can be entered as serialized in magazines. There will be lots of split novels if ever a Portugese editor finds the way to ISFDB. The Portugese had a general disliking of books with more than 150 pages, so they split the longer novels in two or three parts. It would be nice to have a standard for this. I'm not too fond of the "Cyteen" solution, since the connection between the novel and the separately published parts is mostly lost. I would prefer the way "The Serpent" is handled. --Willem H. 19:36, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, found the German example. See the "Night's Dawn Trilogy (German Split)" sub-series. I think that's my fault, but I speak no German and did that with Google translations alone. Feel free to fix. BLongley 20:05, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't really like any of these. But the sub-series is probably less bad than the SERIAL solution. This is another situation that full implementation of "Based on" would IMO handle well. -DES Talk 21:00, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Bug report, author link

I just approved Submission 1440391 - PubUpdate by Hauck for Le Tery, which changed the author of this pub from "F. Paul Wilson" to "Paul Wilson". I was going to create a variant, but I noticed that the author link on the pub record page goes to Paul Wilson, but that page has no listing for Le Tery. Shouldn't such links always be symmetrical? I can sort of see what happened hare, because the author was changed on the pub but not the title, there is no title to display on the Paul Wilson page. Still is this a bug, or just how the ISFDB works? Certainly the link to Paul Wilson is, as it stands, confusing for a user. -DES Talk 16:42, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

It's how ISFDB works. If you're not going to change both the pub author and the title author then the publication should be unmerged so that you can change both, then make or merge the variants as required. Changing one alone just leaves the publications under the wrong title. BLongley 17:42, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

I am not creating the variant just now, to leave this situatuion unchanged for others to view.

By the way, if F. Paul Wilson has indeed been published without his initial, should we mark Paul Wilson as a pesud, in addition to its other uses? -DES Talk 16:42, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

I wouldn't - there is a separate Paul Wilson. No need to create a pseudonymous author for one variant title. BLongley 17:54, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Foreign language CHAPTERBOOKs

Seeing some DES questions to Hauck, I figured I should post something here. Hauck has run into situations where short fiction not known to be published standalone in English is published that way in French. I suggested he make a CHAPTERBOOK using the French title, with the English-titled short fiction as content. If my understanding of how we want to handle non-English titles for now is correct, if we someday find an earlier English standalone publication, we could simply update that title to be in English, leaving us the English title with both English and French publications. If we find a later English standalone publication, we could make a variant of the original French chapterbook title (or not -- we could still change the existing title to English). It's not elegant, but it seems to fit the current rules and practices and comes close to matching what we're doing with novels. If that's not an approach we can all agree on, we should probably hash it out somewhere appropriate, rather than giving him conflicting direction. Thanks. --MartyD 21:50, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

I believe the title record should be in English. The CHAPTERBOOK title record doesn't necessarily have to match the title of the pub record, just as a NOVEL title record doesn't have to match that of the pub record. The CHAPTERBOOK title record is just that: a title, not a publication. If Joan Vinge's story was published in a standalone publication which we've determined qualifies as a CHAPTERBOOK, regardless of the language in which it appeared, the story's original title should be used. I'd argue the same for a work which originally appeared in a language other than English, so I'm not being Anglo-centric. Mhhutchins 03:43, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I do understand the pub and container titles don't have to match. But if the CHAPTERBOOK was never published in English, why would we record it as an English (chapterbook) title? Or are you saying the CHAPTERBOOK title and the SHORTFICTION title should always be identical? Sorry, I'm sure I'm missing something very basic.... --MartyD 03:57, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Scenario One (the French title is used): A db user goes to Joan D. Vinge's summary page, wondering whether her novella "Legacy" has ever been published in a standalone form (as a chapterbook). He goes to the list of chapterbooks and finds the French title "L'Héritage des Etoiles". His response: "Uhmmmm, guess not." Scenario Two (the English title is used): The same user goes to the list of chapterbooks and finds "Legacy", he clicks on it and discovers, yes, it has been published, but only in French (mumbles to himself and says "I should have kept up those French lessons...")
The answer to your question "If the CHAPTERBOOK was never published in English, why would we record it as an English (chapterbook) title?" Title records are not publications. Clicking on a title leads you to the publications in which that title (story, novel, etc.) appears. Nothing you see on an author's summary page is a publication. They're all titles. Most db users, I admit, would not be able to understand the subtle difference. That's the way the db was designed (nothing I had a hand in, BTW). Titles are intangible, publications are real. You can't hold the title in your hand. The chapterbook title is not the book. The title is "Legacy" (a creation of Ms. Vinge's brain), the book is titled "L'Héritage des Etoiles" (a physical artifact manufactured by Presses de la Cité). Mhhutchins 05:16, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
(after EC, not read latest post) I agree with Mhhutchins, and I have been inclined to hold submissions on this point. My reasoning is that:
  1. IMO the CHAPTERBOOK title record should usually match the shortfiction title. In those rare cases where there is an actual substantive title for the publication (and I have run into some cases in English. For example One Past Midnight: The Langoliers is a CHAPTERBOOK containing the shortfiction "The Langoliers") I would make the chapterbook title different from the shortfiction title. But where the title is merely a translation of the English-language title, i would use the shortfictio title.
  2. It is at least possible that these stories will be separately published in English. As ebooks become more popular, it is perhaps even likely. And when and if such publications occur, they should be merged into these chapterbook titles, which will be far more likely if the English language title is used.
  3. The point of the CHAPTERBOOK title record is that it is what appears on the authors biblio page in the Chapterbooks section. Most users will, i think, find an English-language title there more useful. This may change with fuller language support.
  4. For Novels, Collections, and Anthologies, our current practice, as I understand it, is not to create title records for translations, only publication records. It seems to me that the same rule would apply to Chapterbooks -- no translated title records, only publications.
IMO, this is NOT the case of a translated title. Yes, it happens to be the same title as the translation of the contained work's title, but it did not have to be. There is no CHAPTERBOOK of that title in English, so I see it as an original, French title. --MartyD 10:30, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I think I support Marty and Hauck's reasoning. If DES had not insisted on there being shortfiction contents of Chapterbooks even when they have the same title, I might have leant the other way. But the BOOK is French, the contents are a French translation of an English work. BLongley 23:51, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
It is for these reasons that i have held submission 1440445. -DES Talk 05:21, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I also agree, having now read it, with Mhhutchins latest point and his scenarios. That is more or less what i meant by my point #3 above. -DES Talk 05:23, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
I think that the main point here is as said above "subtle difference" and a problem of international audience. Let's say that I'm a "basic" (not very subtle) french SF reader. I want to look up in what is beginning to became a standard reference this book that I have which is titled "L'héritage des étoiles", alas there's seem to be strictly no trace of this (remember I'm not very bright and doesn't understand a thing about container titles, Publication versus Title and so on...) even using the advanced search (I've just tried this). Although, when I search for another original french collection (let's say "Alpha et Oméga" as I'm bright enough to know that it's this type of book) I find it. My first thought will probably be that the database is a very good thing for the english domain but not useful for me. My days of designing databases are now very much of the past (about 15 years) so this is just an observation (I'm not able to give any solution) but I found the idea of the chapterbook a bit too much complicated for this use (record a solo publication). I'm just a provider of data not a policy maker, but I think that, if ISFDB wants to expand into foreign languages (I repeat that I don't know if it's the case or even desirable), this kind of aspect must be adressed (there is also the case of the transtated titles for short stories as already indicated elsewhere). Hervé Hauck 08:57, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Also, as said by Mhhutchins "Titles are intangible, publications are real.", the proposition of entering "L'Héritage des Etoiles" inder the Chapbook title "Legacy" can be quite strange as, altough I can understand the unsubstantial (is it an english term ?) nature of a "Novel" or a "Novella", a "Chapterbook" is for me a very real object which has a name. As I said, the artificial obliteration of such an object or the modification of its intrinsic characteritics, is not very satisfying for people which are first book collectors before being bibliographers. Hervé Hauck 09:14, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I was not trying to quarrel with the status quo (which I don't like, either) for treatment of non-English titles. So here I am trying to make the case that even under the current guidelines the CHAPTERBOOK should be given a French title. My point of view is that a CHAPTERBOOK is a one-work collection and should be treated the same way. Suppose we come across a French publication, Le Monde de Foobar, with three stories originally published in English, "Foobar Holiday", "Foobar Siege", and "Foobar Liberation" by an English-speaking/writing author. Would we not enter a COLLECTION with both pub title and container title Le Monde de Foobar? Yes, if the same collection were published first in English as "Fight for Planet Foobar", we would make our French collection have the pub title of Le Monde de Foobar and share the (English) Fight for Planet Foobar COLLECTION title record according to current rules/practices. Why wouldn't we do exactly the same with CHAPTERBOOKs? --MartyD 10:30, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
It's rather simplistic to call the CHAPTERBOOK type a "one-item collection" when comparing it to a COLLECTION type. Yes, both are "container" types but it could just as easily be compared to the NOVEL type (both automatically create a separate title record that matches the pub's title when a new publication submission is accepted.) The CHAPTERBOOK type was created as an entity separate from the other types. If it were merely a one-item collection, we could have easily used the COLLECTION type instead of creating a separate one. I would argue with anyone who'd want to change the type of this poetry collection (with fifteen items) to anything other than CHAPTERBOOK.
In the particular instance we're talking about here, almost every argument in favor of changing the CHAPTERBOOK title record to French ends with the statement "when/if an English standalone publication appears we can change the title record into English". How does that substantiate keeping it in French from the start? The story was written by a writer of English. The original title is in English. If it were written originally in French I would see no argument to the title record being in French, regardless of it ever having been published as a standalone book in French. If a story titled "Cri de Coeur" were written in French, published in a French anthology, and then translated into English and published as a standalone book titled "Cry from the Heart", the title of the CHAPTERBOOK record should be "Cri de Coeur". The title of the publication record would be "Cry from the Heart". A title record on Vinge's author summary page for "L'héritage des étoiles" would lead the average db user to believe that she wrote a story titled "L'héritage des étoiles", and she didn't. Mhhutchins 21:41, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
I disagree - a CHAPTERBOOK entry for "L'héritage des étoiles" is fine, so long as the same doesn't appear in SHORTFICTION. Which, with different titles for container and contents, is what we'd have. But overall I think this is a strong suggestion that we should enable more language support so that we can have variants without cluttering author pages for those that don't want to read foreign titles. BLongley 22:27, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
I've had my say and will comment no further. I'll go along with whatever consensus may arise. Mhhutchins 21:41, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
While I still agree with Mhhutchins here, IMO the ISFDB would not fall apoart if we went with the procedure of MartyD and BLongley. I absolutely agree that better language support would help a lot in either case. I also will abide by the consensus. I don't see a need to say more at the moment, i hope my views and reasons are clear above, but we should come to some sort of decision. -DES Talk 02:55, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) If I understand the scenario correctly, we are dealing with a translated container title with no English language analog. This is similar to translated Collections and Omnibuses with no English analogs, which are currently not included. The reason is that many major authors' Summary pages would become unmanageable otherwise -- there are a LOT of these critters (I have dozens and dozens in my Latvian list alone) and we really need to wait for better software support before we can open the floodgates in this area. I suppose one could argue that there are fewer CHAPTERBOOKs in this category, but we may want to set them aside for now just for consistency's sake.

Again, sorry that I have been mostly MIA lately, but my availability may improve as early as this week and then we can resume development. Unless we have other volunteers, of course! :) Ahasuerus 04:59, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

You understand the scenario correctly. I didn't realize excluding them was an option or current practice! Ah well. As a practical matter, how would we know if the container title does have an English analog, and an editor has merely come across a non-English one first? Anyway, it does not look like there is a consensus. It seems perhaps the Viceroy should arbitrate (and we should update the RoA or at least put in a note about this scenario and how we want it to be handled for now). It's most important that we decide SOMETHING and all of us treat Hervé's and Benario's submissions the same way, give them the same feedback, and avoid having them waste their time. --MartyD 10:36, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I quite agree with MartyD on his last point -- we need to make a definite decision and not leave people hanging, and be as consistent as we can thereafter. While I have stated my views above i am willing to go along with whatever the rest can agree on. -DES Talk 15:05, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
As to how we tell if we have an English analog, given the title from which a work has been translated, we can check our current listings, and the usual outside sources such as Locus, OCLC, and Amazon, and ebook specialists such as fictionwise. The author's website is often worth checking, too. If there is an analogue, those should turn it up in most cases. -DES Talk 15:05, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

SFBC entries

User:Plufkin has been entering some updates to SFBC pubs which I suspect may be using info about the trade editions that has been left on the SFBC ed cpyrt pg. But i'm not sure enough about this to accept or reject them. I hope a mod with more SFBC experience will look at these. -DES Talk 03:32, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

I've handled the submissions and left the editor a note with a link to the help page on entering SFBC editions. Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:52, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Fixer - November 2009

Fixer is done with November 2009. Ahasuerus 06:00, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Requesting author merge

Terry Lamsley and Terry E. Lamsley are the same person; the latter name exists only to indicate an award nomination for the collection "Dark Matters." It was suggested at the Help Desk that an author merge would be appropriate. BrendanMoody 17:44, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 20:47, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

November 2010 submitted

November 2010 has been submitted. A few suspected vaporware titles (Angry Robot again) and possible US/UK mix-ups, but not too bad overall. Ahasuerus 05:48, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Requesting Author Merge: Linda E. Bushyager

There are two entries for this author: Linda Bushyager and Linda E. Bushyager. I submitted the pseudonym, and it was included, but the entries haven't been merged. So instead of "Linda" being linked to "Linda E.", and all 6 items being listed there, there are 4 items listed under "Linda E." and 2 items under "Linda". As I understand it, this is beyond my authority to correct, and I need to request that a moderator make the correction. Chavey 23:15, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

All that is needed is to make the two items now listed under the pesud Linda Bushyager variants of new items under the canonical name. You can do this, and a mod must approve them as with other edits. Simply click "Make This Title a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work" on a publication display. On the "Make Variant Title" screen, go to the lower section. Edit the Author field, and click 'Create new parent title". Wait for mod approval. That is the entire process. -DES Talk 23:35, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Both of the Linda "no E" Bushayger titles are in my verified pubs, so I'll make the variants. But DES is right, you only have to make the non-canonical titles into variants of a canonical title. You shouldn't merge the authors, as those two titles were actually published as credited. Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:51, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Requesting Author Merge: C.G. Herbertson

C.G. Herbertson is Craig Herbertson —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Billbunter (talkcontribs) .

Authors records can not be merged unless they're identical. If a story was published as by C. G. Herbertson, it can be made into a variant record by Craig Herbertson. What is the source for your information? Once it's positive that C. G. is the same person as Craig, you can make C. G. into a pseudonym of Craig by using the "Make/Remove a Pseudonym" tool. Then we can make a variant of The Glowing Goblins using the "Make This Title a Variant Title" tool. Mhhutchins 01:28, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Bug report, title deletion

In Amazing Stories, November 1968 there is, now, a duplicate record for the essay "Science of Man: War is Peace" by Leon E. Stover. I attempted to use "Remove Titles" to remove one of the records. I got the following error message:

Select items to remove from: Amazing Stories, November 1968

--> -->

<type 'exceptions.IndexError'> Python 2.5: /usr/bin/python Sun Oct 3 18:49:50 2010

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

/var/www/cgi-bin/edit/rmtitles.cgi in ()
 110                 title_id = content_item[PUB_CONTENTS_TITLE]
 111                 title = SQLloadTitle(title_id)
 112                 if (title[TITLE_TTYPE] == 'COVERART'):
 113                         continue
 114                 #If this title is the "reference" title for the pub, show it as a Container title

title = [], TITLE_TTYPE = 9

<type 'exceptions.IndexError'>: list index out of range

Can one of the developers look at this, please. -DES Talk 23:51, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

I'll take a look. It doesn't have anything to do with whatever you just did -- the pub in my relatively ancient local back-up copy is in the same state. --MartyD 23:57, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
What I just did was convert the erroneous hidden EDITOR record to an ESSAY record -- see the discussion on the help desk. -DES Talk 00:14, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
It's a bad database record. Title 507511 is in the pub's contents but does not exist. Ahasuerus will have to delete the content record from the database. --MartyD 10:17, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up! I will review the record tomorrow and zap the offender. Ahasuerus 05:28, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
No such luck, hopefully tomorrow... Ahasuerus 05:49, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
I have run a few scripts and the problem appears to be more serious that I realized. The database table which contains all "table of contents" data for all ISFDB pubs lists 152 non-existing Title records which are associated with 312 pubs. If you try to remove a title form any one of these 312 pubs, you will run into the same error. We also have a single entry in this meta "table of contents" for a non-existent pub.
I will write more scripts tomorrow to see if I can find the root cause of the problem. I don't want to delete the offenders until we find what is causing the creation of these orphan entries in the first place. Ahasuerus 04:33, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I haven't been able to find the problem so far, but it's something that has existed for some time and doesn't happen very often. The last backup has the same number of problem records as what we had in early October. I have also restored the 2010-06-26 backup and I see that it has 147 non-existing Titles in 307 pubs, so it took us over 4 months to add 5 problems. I will next compare the data in the 2010-06-26 backup and in the current backup and see what has been added. Perhaps it will jolt someone's memory and we'll be able to figure out how it happened. Ahasuerus 03:02, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Author entry deletion request

The authors Dr Adder and Dr. Adder are for the same pseudonym. The former has no entries attached to it, and should be deleted in favor of the latter. Chavey 20:35, 4 October 2010 (UTC) The "author" et al. should probably be deleted as well. Chavey 21:06, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Dr Adder occurred because a review of Alligator Alley used the form without the period. i have corrected this.
et al. is listed because of this review of Ghor, Kin-Slayer. The actual anthology does not list the contents or the multiple authors involved.
In general an author with no titles is often present due to reviews. You can Use advanced search to find such reviews. in the title section enter the name of the "phantom" author in the edit box, adn select "Reviewed Author" as the type in the pull-down. This finds all reviews whose "author" field contains the string you type in. -DES Talk 22:14, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Marghanita Laski; My bad

I seemed to have messed up an attempt to add a chapterbook. The short story "The Tower" by Marghanita Laski was in the system. That story was also released as a 12 page pamphlet, which I tried to add to the system. I thought I had added it so that it would link to the existing short story, but apparently I failed. So now there are two listings for "The Tower" as a short story, in addition to the Chapterbook. If someone better than me could fix that error, I'd appreciate it. Chavey 03:02, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

It is effectively impossible to add a new chapterbook containing an existing story without having to do a merge afterwards, just as it is nearly impossible to enter a new collection or anthology containing existing stories without needing to do merge (Oh it could be done via import and remove but that is more trouble than the merge). You can do this. simply go to the Marghanita Laski page and click "Check for Duplicate Titles". On the resulting page select the check boxes for the two title records to be merged, and click "Merge selected records". See Help: How to merge titles for more details and other ways of doing the same thing. -DES Talk 15:06, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks much for the help! That makes perfect sense, and now I understand what that "Check Duplicates" is all about. Chavey 16:40, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Fixer fixed

Fixer had a small flaw in his logic, so he was missing a few books here and there. The flaw has been corrected and two authors, Kailin Gow and Linda Joy Singleton, were chosen to test the new logic, which explains the recent activity. Ahasuerus 02:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

The "Queen B Superheroine" series looks almost entirely vapourware to me. Has anyone found any evidence that more than the 1st was ever released? BLongley 17:42, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
It sure looks like abandonware. I guess volume 1 didn't do all that well. Ahasuerus 18:04, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
So put the next 13 down as 8888 titles? We seem to know what they would have been. BLongley 00:44, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable, especially given that they all have ISBNs. I tend to think of unpublished books with ISBNs as prime candidates for 8888 titles since users may be searching on ISBNs (either directly or via Google.) Ahasuerus 04:24, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
OK, done. In hindsight, I should probably have done that with the Angry Robot ISBNs that will now never be used by them. BLongley 15:53, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Author entry deletion request

The author Linda Bushayger is a misspelling of the correct author's name, i.e. Linda Bushyager. The title previously listed under "Bushayger" was already listed under "Bushyager", and has been deleted. The record for the non-existent Linda Bushayger should then be deleted. Chavey 01:56, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

I approved your deletion of the title. Once the last reference is gone (as is now the case here), the author record is deleted automatically. So it's gone. --MartyD 02:15, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Interzones linked to a non-permission site

I've noticed several pub records for issues of Interzone that have cover images linked to the TTA website. It doesn't appear that we have permission to do this, so I've been changing them to the images on Galactic Central, who has given us explicit permission. Will all moderators make sure that we have permission to a website before accepting submissions linking to an outside server? Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:22, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I think I've fixed all the remaining TTA links now, but there may of course have been some added since the last backup. It might be worth asking for permission from Andy Cox as we are lacking covers for other things like "Black Static". BLongley 01:49, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
We have apparently got a page to help us. Probably due a refresh after moved all their images. BLongley 00:41, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Some repairs/improvements done. Next: can anyone shed any light on why we have Richard S. Tuttle covers linked to his website? Did someone get permission or just assume it? BLongley 01:27, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
No idea, could be someone just assumed an author would allow his own covers to be linked to -- plausible, but not sure. -DES Talk 02:50, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

More on Fixer

I posted on User talk:Fixer questioning whether all the advance (forthcomming) entries are a good idea. No response from anyone yet. Please consider the subject. -DES Talk 16:50, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I missed the original post. My ISFDB time is still limited to a few minutes per day, usually after midnight, so I miss much of what's going on.
It's a valid point and something that I played with about a year ago by creating a list of "major SF publishers". The results were mixed since a fair amount of SF, especially juvenile/YA AF, is published by mainstream publishers like Random House. These books were missed when I limited the search to "major SF publishers". I guess I could add "major non-genre publishers" to the list and see where it gets us, but there are a lot of them. Ahasuerus 04:24, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I am suggesting not that books not on a "Major publishers" list be excluded but that they be auto-deferred to some time after their stated pub date, when more through info might be available, and they could be accepted or rejected rather than manually deferred. -DES Talk 23:56, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Sure, understood. However, Fixer still needs to be able to distinguish between "major publishers whose pre-publication data is generally reliable/complete" and "minor publishers whose pre-publication data is anything but reliable/complete". Since many non-genre publishers fall into the first category, I will need to update Fixer's list accordingly, which will take some time because I also need to reorganize certain related data structures. Always something :-) Ahasuerus 00:16, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. However, part of my argument is that non-genre publishers, particularly non-genre publishers that don't do a lot of SF can be safely deferred no matter how reliable they tend to be, because the interest in their pre-publication contents isn't that great. But having raised the issue, I defer to your judgment. -DES Talk 00:29, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Amazon changes and Fixer

Over the last few weeks, Amazon has implemented a number of changes that affect Fixer. I have addressed all of them except one -- Fixer no longer gets a list of subjects back from Amazon, so he can't add subjects to submissions. There is a way around it and I will work on it over the next day or two, but until then Fixer submissions will contain "Browse Nodes", but not "Subjects". Ahasuerus 02:05, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Authors : Catherine Wells

There's two authors with the same name. This Catherine Wells from USA and this Catherine Wells, the wife of H. G. Wells. I have coded this last with the dates in canonical name. Is that correct ? ChanurBe 21:40, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

I approved your edits, as they were correct. The help text is here. --Willem H. 21:50, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. ChanurBe 22:30, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Delete Title approval screen enhanced

As per FR 3038294, "Check for reviews on delete", I have made some changes to the moderator review screen for Delete Title. It now gives the reviewing moderator a warning if the about-to-be-deleted Title has one or more reviews linked to it. The warning appears in a yellow box and links all affected reviews. It's not as fancy as the Review list on the main Title display page because the supporting software is not available to moderator screens and making it available would be time consuming.

(Note that Titles that have awards linked to them can't be deleted at this time, so there is no reason to code an additional warning.)

I also considered enhancing "Delete Pub" to give the moderator a warning if the about-to-be-deleted pub contains reviewed Titles. However, it may be an overkill since moderators would be seeing a lot of warnings for Pub Delete submissions that affect popular titles. We'll have to think about it. Ahasuerus 00:19, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Merging of titles (?)

After battling during a long time (and lots of mistakes and false starts) with variant (in english) of texts initially in french, I'm left with these two items this one and that one which are the same text (both are variants of a third), how can I "re-merge" them ? Thanks. Hauck 17:57, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Go to Gérard Klein's page, and use "Show All titles". The two "Jonah"s will appear next to each other and can be merged - "Show Duplicate titles" doesn't give you that option for variants. BLongley 18:10, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Many thanks. Hauck 18:28, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Possible author merge

At first glance, Margaret Baillif Simon appeared to be one of the many slightly different pseudonyms of Marge Simon. But all the "Baillif" entries come from a single magazine, Tales of the Unanticipated. Both the online index for that magazine and the available sample pages from a few recent issues list her name as "Margaret Baliff Simon," without the "i" in the middle name. Google searches on "Margaret Baillif Simon" produce no results except ISFDB and what looks like an out-of-date version of the magazine's online index. If I had to guess, I'd say that the online index originally included the misspelling, and the data was added to ISFDB from there before it was corrected. As far as I can tell, the actual magazine never used "Baillif," and therefore that spelling shouldn't be recorded here. So a merge with Margaret Ballif Simon, a pseudonym that already exists, might be in order. BrendanMoody 23:38, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I think WXRock entered most of TOTU, you could ask him to check. BLongley 14:27, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I've sent him an e-mail. BrendanMoody 16:28, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
WXRock has confirmed by e-mail that it should be "Ballif" in all cases, so an author merge will solve the problem easily. BrendanMoody 17:07, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
OK, done. Unfortunately there's no mass "Make Variant" so the titles will have to be done one by one. BLongley 18:02, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Brendan - I think we've resolved that one for now. Fancy doing "Gerard Daniel Houarner" and "Gerard Houarner" next? BLongley 03:58, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Cosmos: The Science of Everything editor credits

I approved User:Chavey's submissions removing the Editors of Cosmos credits from the publications in as those just made the pub credits match the title credits. But now I'm having approver's remorse... It looks to me like this is a non-genre magazine, and the credits on the title records are in fact missing the Editors of Cosmos they should have. There's no entry for this magazine in either Wiki page. Can anyone shed light on the removal of the Editors credits from the title records? Thanks. --MartyD 13:05, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

If I remember correctly the "Editors of X" format was created because it was not always possible to identify the Editors of some non-genre magazines: but if the editors can be identified, then I see no reason to add "Editors of X" as well. We don't have "Editors of Omni" for instance. And although we have "Editors of Playboy", we also have some named Editors, e.g. this edition. BLongley 16:55, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, the Help:Entering_non-genre_magazines explicitly states one should always use "Editor of X" and optionally enter any identified editors as co-editors (near the end of the help is also a mention of doing pseudonyms). I don't understand the reasons for (or benefits of) doing it that way for non-genre while not doing it for genre. But that's grist for yet another R&S discussion. I'm mostly trying to figure out whether accepting the removal of the "Editors of" credit from the Cosmos titles was intentional or accidental. I don't want to blindly undo something someone else is trying to do. --MartyD 17:12, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I think Help_talk:Entering_non-genre_magazines#Editor_names was the last relevant discussion. But since we've started putting Magazine EDITOR records in series, my opinion is now "any of them will do, bar option 4" - the pseudonyms would still be a pain. BLongley 19:47, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Checking Help, I see that it says, in part:
If the actual name of the editor (or editors) of a non-genre magazine is entered
(instead of using the "Editors of Magazine Name" format), it may be desirable to
make such a name a pseudonym of "Editors of Magazine Name". (see Help:How to record
a pseudonym for the procedure.) However, this cannot currently be undone, and if
it later proves that the person involved ought to have an ISFDB record in his or
her own right, an unfortunate and unfixable situation would occur. So it is probably
best not to create such pseudonyms without first discussing the matter, probably at
the Community Portal.
Alternatively the actual editor may be listed as a second editor (co-editor) along
with "Editors of Magazine Name"
This doesn't look right. First, we can now undo pseudonyms, so that whole section needs to be removed. Second, the pseudonymous approach looks unnecessarily complicated and is currently not used. The main reason behind using "Editors of ..." for non-genre magazines was to avoid creating a lot of "uncredited" records and Author records for people who had nothing to do with SF, e.g. various folks who edited The Saturday Evening Post, Rogue, etc. So if the editor is a known SF personality, we enter him/her explicitly; otherwise we use the "Editors of ..." convention.
I suggest we copy this discussion to R&S and clean up Help. Ahasuerus 20:10, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
P.S. For now, I have removed the comments about pseudonyms being unremovable so that we can concentrate on the applicable stuff. Ahasuerus 20:14, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Fixer: Subjects fixed

Fixer has been adjusted to retrieve subjects directly from and There are a few hundred items in Fixer's internal queue for September-December and I will be submitting them, a few dozen at a time, over the next couple of weeks. Once 2010 has been cleaned up, Fixer will start working on January 2011. Ahasuerus 22:53, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Can you shed any light on why we missed this and that? We got a nice plug on Livejournal (although Fantastic Fiction is apparently better) but it seems we aren't always picking up some of the LJers titles. BLongley 19:23, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Apparently, Amazon didn't have them listed (or didn't have them classified as SF books) when Fixer ran his scans in August-September, but the last scan (earlier this month) found them. They are now sitting in Fixer's queue and will be submitted along with other late arrivals. As you may recall, Fixer checks with the live ISFDB server before creating a submission, so as long as these ISBNs are in ISFDB, no new submissions will be created. Ahasuerus 04:18, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Need help with omnibus vs. novel submission

I have a couple of submissions on hold that want to change To the Sun!/Off on a Comet from Omnibus to Novel and then make this a variant of an original French title. As best I can tell, this was published (in English) as two books, about 6 months apart. I'm not sure about the original French publication status. For something like this, where the books existed separately, even though it's one complete story, do we ignore the separte publications (making both instances pubs of the one title), or do we want to treat it as an omnibus? Thanks. --MartyD 12:45, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Hector Servadac, voyages et aventures à travers le monde solaire was first translated into English as Hector Servadac, or The Career of a Comet and published in one volume by Sampson Low (London, 1878) and Scribner (NY, 1878). Later that same year a different translation was published in two volumes (as To the Sun? and Off on a Comet) by Claxton, Remsen and Haffelfinger (Philadelphia). David McKay reprinted these two volumes later in the century (c. 1895). In 1911, Vincent Parke (NY) published a volume titled Off on a Comet: The Underground City which may have been the complete book, but I could find nothing to confirm this. Ace Double-Size published Off on a Comet in 1957 as D-245 (the ISFDB record) which is "newly abridged and modernized". This is surely not the complete novel Hector Servadac, but may not be the same as the second volume originally published with the same title. In 1962, Dover published Space Novels by Jules Verne: To the Sun? / Off on a Planet!, (the ISFDB record). It is the same translation (by Edward Roth) as the Claxton two-volume set. It's an omnibus only because it reprints the original two volume version. I'm thinking we need to change it to a novel type, because it's original source was a single novel. As a precedence (which was published much later but for which we have ISFDB records) see how we handled Peter Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, each volume of which was split for paperback publication. Perhaps we should handle Hector Servadac and its English translations using the same series method? (All data from OCLC records.) Mhhutchins 18:04, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia, the 1911 Vincent Parke edition was cut, but reprinted the Frewer translation published by Sampson Low. Mhhutchins 18:04, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
The history of Hector Servadac English translations is complicated even for a Jules Verne novel -- see Norman Wolcott's introduction in the 2008 Choptank Press edition -- and we'll probably have to summarize it in Title notes rather than do at the Pub level. For example, all three original translations were based on the serialized version rather than on the corrected book version of the text, which had somewhat watered down the original's antisemitism.
In any event, Michael's suggestion seems reasonable. We don't have a good way of handling books that were later reprinted in multiple volumes, so it's probably the best we can do.
And while we are the subject of Jules Verne, now that we have "publication series", we need to move "Voyages Extraordinaires" to a pub series and create "real" series for From the Earth to the Moon/Around the Moon, the Robur novels, the Nemo/Captain Grant novels, etc. Ahasuerus 04:44, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
This really makes my brain hurt. It may not matter, but it looks to me like the Claxton two-volume version came first, then the Low/Scribner 1878 single volumes. I find an announcement of To the Sun in June 9, 1877 Publishers Weekly, followed by a real listing for $2.00 in December 15, 1877 Publishers Weekly. Then Off on a Comet is listed for $1.50 in May 25, 1878 Publishers Weekly. Be that as it may, we have the original French novel title, and a corresponding single-work publication in English. So to make sure I'm clear on what you're suggesting:
  • Make a series, say "Hector Servadac" and put the original French title into that.
  • Make the separate To the Sun! and Off on a Comet into top-level titles in their own right (rather than as variants of Hector Servadac, ... solaire) and place them into the series as well.
  • Allow the conversion of the title cited above from Omnibus to Novel and have it be a variant of the original French title -- i.e., treat it as a translation of the original, rather than as a compendium of the two separate publications?
And of course add copious notes everywhere. Thanks. --MartyD 11:53, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to add my 2cents (as I initiated this mess with my edits:). I think that since the original work in French apppeared as one title (though serialized first) it should be treated as one title. The fact that some publishers later split it into parts doesn't make them separate titles and books containing them omnibuses. Also, in case of Arco, they always subtitle the split works as part 1 of blah-blah and part 2 of blah-blah.
The good news is that existing Omnibus publication has no contents recorded, so I am going to accept the change of the title to Novel, and I will fix up the pub to match. I will also accept the variant. I will leave any attempts to do something clever with the varied publications to someone who's more versed than I. --MartyD 12:35, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Could you also please help with few more things (while on subject of JV:)
1. Golden Volcano is the only Verne novel listed as NONGENRE. Which is somewhat true, but why this specific one singled out? A dozen novels within Voyages are probably could classified as NONGENRE. Should be some consistency - either to use NONGENRE label for all Verne NONGENRE novels or don't use it at all. What do you think?
2. This review is incorrectly listed under title The Brothers Kip. The review is for the title The Kip Brothers. But when I try to edit, it shows the correct title. I don't knoe how to fix it.
3. Another thing with the same title. What yer should title recieve when it's a translation? Currently, The Kip Brothers has year 1902, which is the year of the original. But, of course, this variant title has only appeared in 2007, when it was first published in English. The variant title should has the year when the variant title appeared not the year of the original, right?
4. I plan on adding books from Fitzroy edition of Verne's works (I have quite a few), so there will be new questions:)
Thanks! P-Brane 23:50, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
1. Yes there should be consistency. All non-speculative fiction titles by Verne should be changed to the NONGENRE type.
2. Link is no longer valid, but it's easy to change which title a review refers to. Go to the review title record, click on "Link Review to Title" in the left menu, change the title record number to the correct one, then submit. (Title record numbers are those found after "/title.cgi?" in the record's URL.)
3. The year of first translation should also be the date of the variant title record. This applies to each new title, not each new translation. So if it is published with a new title, another variant record is created giving the new date. So the title you're referring to should be dated 2007.
4. Looking forward to your contributions.
Mhhutchins 02:49, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

From the Parchments of Pnom

We have two different listings for this item in the database. It is listed, misspelled as Parchment, as SHORTFICTION. It is listed at Parchments as an ESSAY. Inside the sole publication record we have for this piece (we're missing three other appearances of this item), the authors of that book say "While not strictly speaking a story, From the Parchments of Pnom is nonetheless an important piece of fiction in the Tsathoggua cycle." This would seem to imply corrections need to be made to both of the title records listed at the beginning, at least the first of which would seem to require a moderator. Chavey 06:30, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

The first just needs a title deletion, as it doesn't appear in any publications. (It probably used to, then someone did a Remove Titles and replaced it with the ESSAY instead without deleting the useless stray.) The second is arguable-over - there have been rules and standards discussions in the past about fictional essays, I don't know this title well enough to comment. But an alternative to deleting the first, if it really should be SHORTFICTION, would be to merge the two records and keep it as SHORTFICTION. Or merge them and keep the ESSAY instead, if that is more correct. As someone seems to have leant towards ESSAY already I'd probably go with that if forced into an opinion. BLongley 18:28, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't sure about the deletion, since sometimes these things look like there's nothing there, but it's some sort of review that doesn't come up unless you know how to look for it. In the second case, I'm not sure that the original data entry made an informed decision, since it's not a verified publication. And the description above, from someone who had read the item, seems to imply that it's fiction. From another source, it sounded like this item was a discussion of the ancestry and gods of this speculative reality, which I guess fits under "Fictional Essay". Chavey 23:27, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

New User to watch out for

I don't normally point them out, but if it's the real one then Robert Reginald definitely deserves some special attention. BLongley 18:19, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Robert Reginald stopped by a few years ago (2005 or 2006?) and commented on certain vaporware and missing records in ISFDB. So it would make sense if he stopped by again to clean up some vaporware titles. Ahasuerus 00:36, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
I think there's a little bit of self-promotion involved too, e.g. for this which is why I'm fairly sure it's the real one. I'm just a little bit awed that I am trying to teach such a respected bibliographer in how to do bibliography OUR way. BLongley 02:45, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
Is the unique way of recording the page numbers in the linked Omnibus his doing or yours? I quite like it, saves trying to remember Latin!! --~ Bill, Bluesman 04:59, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I did that, not knowing if it would work, but it seems to be sorting better than other methods that I've seen. Mhhutchins 07:34, 5 December 2010 (UTC)


An editor has created this pub here that I corrected and verified. But the title is not "rattached" to the other Interzones, I suppose it is because of the content of the container zone (which should perhaps read "Interzone - 2010"). How can I change this zone ? Thanks. Hauck 18:57, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

This is actually quite easy. The container title for magazines is the editor title. To attach this to the other 2010 Interzones, you go to the editor's summary bibliography (in this case Andy Cox), choose "show all titles" under editing tools, and merge the 2010 editor titles (make sure to keep the one called "Interzone - 2010"). See here and here for more info/help. --Willem H. 20:26, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, noted. Hauck 21:17, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
Looking at the grid, one thing that does stick out is the number in the title of that issue. It might be better to just call it "Interzone, November-December 2010". BLongley 11:15, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
Ouch ! I'm in the process (I'm at #15) of verifying (and so adding the numbers) the whole run of Interzone. I included the numbers as it was done for the first issues (it seems to me a good idea as IZs are clearly numbered, not like ASFs or Analogs, and have a somewhat erratic publication schedule). Do you think that it'll be better for me to stop and revert ? Hauck 13:42, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's a stated policy, but numbers are normally only used in the pub's title if there is no monthly or seasonal dating. Whole numbers are usually placed in the note field if they're stated in the pub. (Many magazines do numbers, usually on their contents page. Asimov's gives whole numbers to every issue. Perhaps one of the moderators with more magazine experience can join the discussion.) If the number appears on the cover, I could live with it being in the title, but there must be some uniformity in how it's recorded in the title. There's "Interzone, No1 Spring 1982" (comma after name, none after number, no volume), "Interzone Vol1, No3, Autumn 1982" (commas after volume and numbers), and "Interzone Vol1, No4, Spring 1983" (No comma after name, and commas after volume and number, according to the image there is no numbering on the cover). I particularly don't like that there's no space and/or period (or both) after "No". Starting with issue 9, the covers give the title as "Interzone/#", which I would prefer to "Interzone No#". My collection of Interzone runs from Issue 81 through 163, (with a few scattered later issues). I'll be able to assist you or do a second verification for those issues, time permitting. Mhhutchins 15:31, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
There are lots of variants for the numbering presentation : Vol X, NoY (the first three), no number on cover (#4, 6), No X (5,7,8), /X (9 to 99, with //X on 19, in black for 44), X (100 to 138), number X (139 to 193, except 151 where it's No X), Issue XXXXX (in letters) from 194 to 196, Issue X (in digits) from 197 to 219 (hidden by illustration on 217), #X (220), Issue X (221), X (222 & 223), #X or recently Issue #X, etc. For the sake of lisibility of the grid (as I said the publication was quite erratic in certain years like 2006), I'll try to harmonize this with "No X" everywhere. Hauck 16:02, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
Then why choose a form that's only used in three of the 200+ issues? Mhhutchins 19:12, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Personaly, I'd rather have used "Interzone #X" everywhere but the format "Interzone No X" was already used (by Brin1, I suppose), so I've sticked to it (as a quite long-time amateur bibliographer, I usually respect the format that is already used even if it's not entirely to my taste or my practice). If this standardization is annoying, feel free to reverse it or put your own in place, I'd just ask to be informed so that I can use my ISFDB time to other projects. Note that even with "Interzone #X" there will surely be another round of objections ("Why not "Interzone # X" ?") Hauck 06:27, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
The Grid Display is a comparatively new feature, so you could ask for software improvements. Not sure how to design such though... BLongley 17:45, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm happy with either issue number OR date/season - but they don't mix well at present. When a series is clearly numbered I'd go for that, e.g. Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. This is particularly helpful for quarterly publications, where we do not know whether Winter is at the end of one year or the beginning of the next - or in the middle of the year as far as us Northern-Hemisphere-Centric mods might consider such Australian works. And don't get me started on "Fall" versus "Autumn"... ;-) BLongley 17:45, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree for the unpracticity of the seasonal numbering, that's why I'll stick with the dual scheme (No & Date) for now. Hauck 17:59, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
The numbering will certainly help. For instance, yesterday I found a story initially published in "Interzone 203" and I couldn't find it easily without knowing the date. (In the end I discovered we're missing that issue completely anyway. I'll fill in a few gaps from Locus today. ) BLongley 14:00, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

[unindent] I won't argue that adding the issue number to the pub record's title field isn't correct. My argument is with the form being using. In most English speaking countries, including England, the word "No" is rarely automatically recognized as a abbreviation of "number". "No.", yes. "#", yes. Why not just avoid this entirely and enter them as "Interzone 100, October 1995"? This gives both the numbering and the date, making a search for either as easy as "Interzone No 100, October 1995". That's just ugly to the eye of this English-speaker. BTW, Bill, I just did a search for "Interzone 203" and it still doesn't show up. You'd have to either put in the number sign to get a result, or search for "interzone" and "203". Try searching for "Interzone 134" (which is an issue that I verified, and just now updated to the title form that I suggested) and it pops right up. Mhhutchins 19:12, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

I would indeed search for "Interzone" and "203", and know I could only do that in Advanced search, not a simple search for "Interzone 203" (which will never work as long as people keep combining editor records by year even when unnecessary - "Interzone 134" won't work in simple search either). There's an awful lot of issues to fix if we want to re-standardise - but adding the number along with the date helps advanced searchers. I'm not especially worried about "No" versus "No." or "#" as we're all over the place anyway on magazine standard names - I have to remember that we might have a 3-letter month rather than a full one, and dual-month issues might have a hyphen or a slash. I do like the numbers being added to the title, for those of us that want to search that way. BLongley 22:51, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
My concern was not about standardising all magazine titles, only this one. I think being consistent within each title is somewhat important, and the format that Hauck has chosen doesn't represent the title's 30 year history. This only became apparent once the grid system was implemented. I think the magazine grid is one of the ISFDB's best features, especially for magazine users. It's an extraordinary tool to search for individual issues, so it supplements even the Advanced Search's limited ability to find issues. Mhhutchins 23:28, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
Just about this part : "In most English speaking countries, including England, the word "No" is rarely automatically recognized as a abbreviation of "number".", you're the anglo-saxon and so the expert, but (as you've probabably already done) please have a look at this cover, you'll see the source (or so I suppose) of the idea of this specific notation. Hauck 16:24, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
I suppose someone at Interzone came to their senses because the form was only used three times in 200+ issues (according to the calculations you made above.) The "...including England..." line was a softly-pointed poke at Bill Longley, one of the few English-speaking editors here. The majority of us speak American :-) I wish more editors would step in with an opinion. As it is, I have mine, you have yours, and no one else cares. Since you're going to the effort of changing the records, that makes your opinion trump mine. Please proceed. Mhhutchins 18:53, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
We do seem to have lost a lot of prolific English Editors over the last year or two. I wonder why? BLongley 17:50, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I have seen the period dropped after the "No" here and there. Typically, it seems to be an affectation or perhaps a clever trick meant to catch the casual browser's eye ("wait, there is something wrong with this cover, let me take a closer look..."). I wouldn't use it as my first choice, but I don't think it will cause issues either way. Ahasuerus 00:34, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Since Hauck is willing to do the work I would suggest that it is a good idea to basically start from scratch and not be concerned about the way others have entered the previous data. Contento lists the first four issues like "v1 #4, #4, Spring" and the rest like "#119, May" which seems to be close to Hauck's original inclination. Help, if anybody still cares, states the a hyphen should be used for multi-month issues. Strictly up to Hauck how to designate the numbering system (as long as there are no technical issues).--swfritter 15:21, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Let's go for #X. Hauck 16:59, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Fine by me. Although it looks more American, in this field I think the English understand the American conventions fairly well. Although I have had to explain "#" for "number" to my Mum before, Dad understood it. And Dad can explain why "No." is actually more correct than "No", as it comes from the Latin "numero". So long as we don't start putting the numbers in Roman Numerals they never actually used, searchability improves. The rest is cosmetic, as far as I can see. BLongley 17:50, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Missing EDITOR records

ISFDB:Missing Editors is down to 163 pubs. Another push and they will be all gone, at which point we will be finally able to eliminate EDITOR from the drop-down list in the "additional Contents" section of the Edit Pub page. Do we have volunteers? :-) Ahasuerus 05:38, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

I'll work on some today. BLongley 15:47, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Same here. I'll start from the bottom. Mhhutchins 17:48, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I got side-tracked: Pirate Writings was in an awful state. I'll resume tomorrow. BLongley 22:04, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Looks done now. Did I miss any? BLongley 17:36, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Looks good, thanks, folks! I will remove the EDITOR option from the drop down list in the next day or two. If we need to add an EDITOR record manually in the future, it will have to be a two step process -- enter a new record as an ESSAY (or similar) and then convert it to EDITOR. Ahasuerus 18:04, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Great! Next related mini-project could be to deal with unwanted EDITOR records like in this? BLongley 23:15, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Sure, can do. I also have a somewhat more ambitious project on the back burner: create a new moderator-accessible menu that will generate lists of wobbly records on demand. We won't ask it to do anything too intensive for fear of bringing the server to its knees, but it can do simple things like identifying EDITOR records not in a series, VTs that are part of a series, etc. Ahasuerus 02:17, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good! I've developed scripts for several oddities that I like fixing that can't easily be searched for via the UI, but it would be better if they can be done on the live database. Of course, there's some searches that will be as wobbly as the results - I've sometimes searched for Anthologies with few or no contents, but such are actually acceptable if there's only one Genre content entry, or the book only exists because the author is over a certain threshold. But I'm sure there's plenty of things that can be added, like searching a particular magazine title for issues missing book reviews that are likely to be there, or for a particular column that hasn't been entered. Or for Columns that haven't been disambiguated. Is there a feature request for specific problems? BLongley 14:16, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Nope, no FR yet. Ahasuerus 04:06, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
FR 3136359 has been created. Also, "EDITOR" no longer appears in the drop-down lists when editing pubs. Sorry it took so long, but the code is fairly complex and it also had a related bug that I found and fixed while working on this FR. Ahasuerus 06:06, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Grantville Gazette

I have removed the holds from the first 19 Grantville Gazette submissions. Based on the discussion on the submitting editor's Talk page (see User talk:Dtardon), DES was going to approve them and then convert the lot from Magazines to Anthologies, but it looks like he didn't get a chance to do anything about them before he went on hiatus.

If you are going to work on them, please note that the editor was using the Pub. Series field to enter regular series data, so the pubs will need to be cleaned up manually after the approval. Also, the editor's comment in the last PubDelete submission reads:

"Grantville Gazette V, as published by Baen, is not the same as Grantville Gazette 5, the 5th issue of the electronic magazine. Instead, it's a selection of stories from issues 5 to 11"

so we may need to create two separate series, perhaps "Grantville Gazette (books)" and ""Grantville Gazette (electronic)". The fun never ends... Ahasuerus 06:04, 7 December 2010 (UTC) linking permission

We've been granted linking permission for --MartyD 11:45, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Interview of non-SF personality

I suggested to an editor that ESSAY be used instead of INTERVIEW for an interview of a non-SF personality (a la using ESSAY instead of REVIEW). If there are objections to that recommendation, I'm happy to withdraw it and to start an R&S discussion. --MartyD 12:50, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

This is a good idea which never occurred to me. Why create author records for someone who is not really an author, just the subject of an interview? Unfortunately, I've created quite a few of these over the years and wouldn't know where to begin in an attempt to change them to essays. If we decide to make this policy (count me in favor), can someone write a script that will find interviewees that have no author records? Thanks. Mhhutchins 18:27, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I guess we can do that, but we'd have to agree on how non-SF they have to be before changing. Film Directors and actors for instance, say David Lynch, Burgess Meredith and Harrison Ford. I'd be tempted to keep those in with enough bibliographical data or Wikipedia links to explain their slightly-more-tangential SFnal attributes. BLongley 20:25, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually, here's the full(ish) list if people want to review them. There's not a lot compared with the number of overall "authors" we have. Joel Haertling, Dick Lucas, Julie Doucet, Scott Glenn, Burgess Meredith, Harrison Ford, Cathie Shirriff, Michael Pare, Richard Fleischer, Phil DeGuere, Annie Potts, Carolyn Seymour, Elliott Gould, Robert Klein, Tanya Roberts, Charles Martin Smith, John Hurt, Kenneth McMillan, David Lynch, Helen Slater, Alan Williams, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Wade Davis, Chris Lacher, Trace Beaulieu, Loren Acton, Stephen Kent, Tiamat, Hogarth, Helen Gurley Brown, Dennis Murphy, Ron Moser, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, John Huston, Abbie Hoffman, Stuart Hamm, Thinking Plague (band), Sun Ra, Michael Keating, Peter Tuddenham, Vere Lorrimer, RU Sirius, Dr. Samuel 'Uncle Kage' Conway, Brian Eno, James M. Beggs, Anton Szandor LaVey, Buster Crabbe, Sigourney Weaver, Mariko Ohara, David Naughton, Camden Toy, Nicholas Negroponte, Stephen Francis, Ed Neumeier, Tamsin Southwell, Shaun Michael Jooste, Ivan Kirov, Helen Ginger, Eva Mendez, Jolene Blalock, Robert Skotak, Gillian Anderson, Richard S. Prather, John Nanovic, Jonathan W. Latimer, Larry Roberts, Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza, bolexbrothers, Jean Auel, Clayton Bailey, David Cronenberg, Founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Dave Farland, Selwa Anthony, Owen Lock, Larry Kirshbaum, Nansey Neiman, Mirando Otto, Prof. Michael Fellows, Lilith Stabs, Louise Thurtell, Ralph Barnaby, Richard Feynman, David Peace, Frank Press, John D. Isaacs, C. A. Milson, Darren Randle, Steve Matthews, Christopher R. Bales, Michael H. Hinson, Molly Friedrich, Neal Pollack, David Cronenberg, Dr. Sidney Coleman, Dr. Gregory Benford, Weston Oches, Elisabeth Pinto, Paul Little, Alan Robert, Jon Hodges, Doyle Eldon Wilmoth, Jr., Nicholas Dishington, Kathy Gale, Joel Hardy, H. B. Gregory, Matthew J. Armstrong, Eric Peter-Kaiser, Brian Patrick O'Toole, Darren Douglas, Lee Hammock, Jennifer Bedell, Zachary Boyd, C. S. Marks, Virginia McMorrow, The Lisps, J. J. 'Buddy' Connors, III, M.D., John S. Townsend, Kathy Gale, Devin Poore, Charlie Jane Anders, Anton Marks, Janet Thompson Crews, Frank Cho, Scott Kurtz, Brad Meltzer, Steve Robinson, Dr. Mark Brake, Alexander Popov, David Whitney, Paul Taylor, Gary Kurtz, Roger Baum, Voltaire (b. 1967), Del Armstrong, Leslie Gage, Stanton Baum, Janet Donaldson, Christin G. Baum, Juliet Ulman, Richard D. Robbins, Sarah Zama, True Stories, Darlene Decker, Wayne Decker. There's publishing people in there too, and possibly some pseudonyms we need to fix. BLongley 22:10, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Can't the interviewee also be considered the co-author of an interview? which is basically a special type of essay? Seems like a bit of hair-splitting. Possibly a display issue; perhaps there should be an Interviewee section in the body of the bibliography instead of listing interviews in the header - wouldn't look so odd.--swfritter 22:37, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
This is not as much of a major issue for me as stray authors created by reviews - in this case we can see clearly why they exist. I think I'd just check them for missing pseudonyms and add biblio details, and fix errors like True Stories. BLongley 23:09, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
That was my error. Put the title of the interview into the interviewee field. I've corrected it. Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:27, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Submission queue changes

The list of outstanding submissions has been tweaked. Our old friend "NewPub" has been made more granular. The new submission types are "ClonePub", "AddPub" and "ImportExport". If you see anything unexpected, please report it here. Ahasuerus 05:11, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

February 2011 submitted

February 2011 has been submitted. Once the queue has been cleaned up and we are once again ahead of the game, I will go back and submit all the "additional late 2010 stuff" that has accumulated in the meantime. It's mostly minor, but it also includes some recently added Golden Age reprints and various small press editions. Ahasuerus 22:27, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Borgo Press

Robertreginald has posted this comment about a mixing-up of Borgo Press of 1976-1998 with Wildside Press' Borgo Press imprint. It seems like we should probably act on that and his offer to provide more information, but I don't really know where to start, nor do I really have enough dedicated time. --MartyD 11:57, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

It's not uncommon for a publisher to become an imprint owned by a different publisher, e.g. Atheneum Books is now a Scribner imprint. We typically handle them by specifying the publisher and the imprint at the same time, e.g. "Roc / Penguin" indicates that the book was published by Penguin and the imprint was "Roc". It can get more complicated (Bill has stories to tell :-) but in this case we just need to distinguish between "Borgo Press" and "Borgo Press / Wildside Press", which we are already doing to some extent. We just need to go back and move all other "Borgo Press" books from 2005-2010 to "Borgo Press / Wildside Press". Ahasuerus 17:12, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Not a major difficulty for a Mod, just a slow process. I'm concentrating on SF&FBR at the moment - if I enter the issues I own then we definitely have an able double-checker. BLongley 00:15, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I changed a dozen or so pubs post 2002 from "Borgo Press" to "Borgo Press / Wildside Press" earlier today. I left this one untouched so that the author would know it's up to the submitter to make sure to disambiguate publishers when situations like this arise. There were also three titles from 2007 that were verified. Please feel free to change them as I don't think we'll have much trouble from the verifier. Mhhutchins 00:26, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

How is this possible?

Look at the Modified Content section.

Possible bug.jpg

I've asked the submitter how was he able to do this. Mhhutchins 16:00, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

There's a bug on titles with double-quotation marks - probably the same problem as with bindings like 8"x10.5". BLongley 18:16, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm aware of the bug, but that's not the bigger issue here. How can someone change a title record that's included in more pubs than the one that's being edited? I thought we had safequards to prevent this. Now all publications of this story are titled The Cruise of. Mhhutchins 18:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
"Someone" isn't doing it - the software is. BLongley 20:34, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
By the way, the Title Update isn't affected the same way so you can use that to put it back to The Cruise of "The Jolly Roger". BLongley 20:43, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I didn't want to change it back until someone else had a chance to look at it. Mhhutchins 22:05, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Understandable - "if unsure, pause and ask for help" is universally good advice. Still, we've identified how to reproduce the problem so someone may want to fix it, break it again, and learn something in the process. BLongley 23:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I tried to duplicate the bug by editing another story with double quotes which appear in more than one pub. Try editing Martin's story "...For a Single Yesterday" in this pub. You can't. It's grayed out... and it's BLANK! Mhhutchins 19:01, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
It's blank because it's being truncated at the first double-quote - so if you edit the publication and make NO changes, the bug blanks the title out and you fall into the "*** ERROR: Entry must have a title. Page=245" trap, which saves us in that case. Another example I found today is here - just edit the pub, make no changes, and it will still try and truncate An Hour with Isaac Asimov: "Building a Firm Foundation". BLongley 20:34, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
So that means Stonecreek probably didn't make an attempt to change that particular content record, that any change in the pub would have the same result. I don't recall this happening in the past with the "quotation mark" bug, but I may just be mis-remembering the effects it had on a pub edit. In fact, I thought the bug had been fixed. Guess it's time to try and fix it...again. Thanks. Mhhutchins 22:05, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I believe Stonecreek is innocent. BLongley 23:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Ouch! Looking into it... Ahasuerus 23:31, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
It was an unintended side effect of my fixing the way Unicode characters are handled in Notes. Sorry about that, patch incoming shortly... Ahasuerus 23:45, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
A new patch has been installed and the problem should be fixed now. Sorry about that, I didn't notice how the change to the way Notes and Synopses are handled spread to regular title fields. Ahasuerus 00:24, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Chapterbook Bugs Report

I saw the lengthy discussions of Chapterbooks in the Rules and Standards archives, and I realize that the focus then was on how to get the Summary Bibliography to look right. That seems to work well now, except for the bug discussed below. Bug 1: But the other Bibliographies do not handle Chapterbooks properly -- i.e. they don't show them at all. I guess one could argue that this is a feature when the Chapterbook also exists as a Shortfiction title, but that doesn't always happen. For example, if you go to the Summary Bibliography for William De Mille, you find two Chapterbooks. But if you go to either his Alphabetical Bibliography or his Chronological Bibliography, you get a listing that shows no publication records at all. This happens uniformly with, AFAIK, all chapterbook listings with these other two bibliographies. This would appear to be a bug.

Thanks, I'll take a closer look tomorrow. The current implementation of CHAPTERBOOKs was added relatively late in the game and I suspect that we simply forgot about the other two biblio pages. Ahasuerus 07:36, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
Problem confirmed, Bug Report created. Thanks! Ahasuerus 16:48, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Bug #2: I also ran across a situation where the Summary Bibliography does not display Chapterbooks. There are several different Chapterbook versions of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Two of these are recent versions co-authored by Pauline Francis and by Stephen Krensky. If you click those links, you'll see that those are both publications which have "Type: CHAPTERBOOK". But if you click on Pauline Francis' link in that title record, you'll see that she has no Chapterbook credited to her, although "A Christmas Carol" is credited as a Shortfiction. And if you click Stephen Krensky's link, you'll find that he has no record of "A Christmas Carol" at all! The difference between these two behavior's is probably because Francis' publication has a content item containing a Shortfiction version of the story credited to both Dickens and Francis, while Krensky's publication is lacking such a content item. But in either case, the lack of a chapterbook showing up in their Summary Bibliographies at all appears to be a bug. (Possibly deriving from the multiple authorship?) Chavey 07:02, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

This one is different and not related to CHAPTERBOOKs. The records in question are unusual Variant Titles in that the master title is attributed to one person, but the VT is attributed to two people. Typically, this would indicate some kind of ghost-writing scenario, but in this case it was an attempt to record an adaptation. VTs are probably not the best vehicle for adaptations since they are only displayed under their parent titles. Since in this case the parent record doesn't appear on the second writer's page, the VT doesn't appear at all. Ahasuerus 07:36, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Anthology -> Magazine submission

I have this submission on hold, that wants to change this anthology to a magazine. The change is probably valid, but the pub is part of the "Heyne Science Fiction" publication series. Does anyone know what the consequences of such a change would be (apart from the need to change the title to type magazine of course)? --Willem H. 20:02, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

The title record will need to be changed from ANTHOLOGY to EDITOR as well, and that can't be done in a publication edit now, just as a title edit. BLongley 16:46, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Of course. If there's no harm in having a magazine as part of a publication series, I'll approve the submission, change the title records and see what happens. Thanks, --Willem H. 19:26, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Template talk:PubSeriesHeader#Broken!

Further discussion on the talk page but I do wonder why these are protected when they affect so few pages. Uzume 23:18, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Really not sure. The guy who wrote the page has been AWOL for the past several months, so we can't ask him. I've removed the protection from "Sysops Only" to "Block Unregistered Users". Hopefully you can now correct any errors. Mhhutchins 00:56, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
It worked. Thanks for fixing the template. Mhhutchins 02:03, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Programmer question on £ (Bug? Feature request?)

The English "pound" symbol doesn't seem to be displayed consistently. For example, if you look at the title record for After Silence, the first two editions are both English publications. The first one has a price displayed with the "£", but the second one has it displayed with an "L". But if you click on those publication records, each of the publication records displays the price with a "£"! If you go a bit further and try to edit those two publication records, you will find that the first one does have a "£" in that field, but the second one has an "L". So it looks like what happened was:

  • At some earlier stage, the system couldn't display "£" at all, and data was entered using an "L" price.
  • Then the capability was added, but it was too much work to correct the 5,500 publication records that have an "L" price in them.
  • So special code was added so that the "Publication Listing" shows an "L" at the beginning of the price field as an "£".
  • But that code was never put into "Bibliography:" display pages, so those pages sometimes show English prices as "L", and sometimes as "£".

If this is a reasonable inference as to what the status is, then I'd like to suggest as a (not very high priority) feature that the "Publication Listing" display code for "£" be added to the "Bibliography" display code. Chavey 05:46, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

You're spot-on in your explanation of the £/L problem. Not being a programmer I can't explain why it was corrected for pub records and not for title record listings. I change it when I'm updating a pub, but I've not gone out of my way to search and correct them, thinking somewhere down the road someone could do a global change. Programmers, any reason why this can't be done? Mhhutchins 17:22, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
No real reason apart from a fear of what mass-update scripts might do. BLongley 17:31, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Darrah, I believe you're right, and there are a lot of pubs entered with an "L" rather than a "£", which are corrected by the software on some displays. I do change "L" to "£" when editing for other reasons, but 5,500 cosmetic edits do not appeal. There's also "₤" for Italian Lira which might confuse - but we have far fewer Italian works and I've not worried about those too much. BLongley 17:31, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Display anomaly

Display anomaly.jpg

This one caught my eye. (Look how and where the "HOLD" link is displayed.) Was it caused by a recent software change? Mhhutchins 17:27, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

The full Note read "Duplicate of another entry <a href=" -bin/pl.cgi?HNTNGWMN1988>Here</a>, which has more detail." Due to the missing closing quote in the HTML, the display was messed up.
I am currently working on fixing some HTML issues on the editing side. Once that is done, it should be possible to propagate the fixes to the moderator side, although it's a rather laborious process because it requires a lot of testing. Ahasuerus 19:07, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Another reason to discourage the use of HTML in fields...unless you're so damned good that you'd never make a mistake. I'm good, but not that good. Mhhutchins 19:50, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
By the way, if something looks funky and you suspect that it's caused by misparsed HTML in Notes, you can pull up "Page Source" in your browser, search for the text that looks wrong and see what the underlying HTML looks like. Ahasuerus 20:37, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
My apologies on the missing close quote. I wanted to link to the pub, and I assume that the {{ ... }} and [ ... ] formats don't work in those submission fields. And yes, I admit that I'm not "that damned good" :-) Chavey 22:50, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Email problems

Apparently have lost my domain name while still charging me for e-mail and web-diversion. :-(
If you've sent me anything via isfdb in the last few months, it's not me being rude and not replying, it's their fault. Please try again. BLongley 18:18, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Server/Submission warning

I just had a new submission approval half-processed by the server at about 7:15 US Eastern time (UTC-5). The submission remains new in the queue, and I got only some of the data (primary problem being a pub with no title). I sent Ahasuerus mail, but I figured I'd warn you all. --MartyD 12:33, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Ouch! I'll check database integrity later tonight, thanks... Ahasuerus 16:10, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Fixed now. Ahasuerus 16:47, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Submission fixed, or bug fixed? "half-processed" implies we have some problems with completing SQL transactions. Which was one of the original problems with MySQL, of course. BLongley 19:31, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
All I did was clean up the affected records (Pub series, cover art, "canonical_author", etc) manually. To fix the underlying bug we first need to find it, which, unfortunately, is not trivial. Ultimately, the solution to this type of problems is to enable "transaction processing" so that each submission would be processed as a single unit, but that's not trivial either. Ahasuerus 23:18, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I should add that the "underlying bug" is apparently with the server, not with out software. There have been times when it took me 2+ minutes to get a directory listing when signed on directly onto the server, so I suspect that the problem is with the virtual machine that we are running on. Ahasuerus 20:09, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Author data in pseudonyms

Is there a stated policy about providing author data in pseudonyms? It seems to be a policy that only the canonical author's data is entered. I've got several submissions on hold from an editor who's attempting to update pseudonym author records with birth dates. Mhhutchins 19:46, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it's a good idea because it will result in duplication of data. Any time the same data element is entered in two separate places, it means that updates will have a 90%+ chance of missing one of the two. Besides, adding birth dates to pseudonyms will result in two records appearing on the ISFDB front page on that person's birthday. Ahasuerus 20:06, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Thanks for supplying the rationale for rejecting the submissions, even if it's not stated policy. Mhhutchins 21:11, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Fixer January-March 2011

January-March have been submitted. There were a few oddballs, e.g. Amazon's internal engine apparently thinks that since Joanne Harris has published a few borderline SF books, the rest of her output must be SF as well. I zapped most of them early in the process, but a few made it to the submission queue and had to be rejected manually.

Anyway, Fixer has a few hundred "late arrivals" for September-December 2010 sitting in the queue. I will be submitting them over the next week or so as time permits. They are not terribly exciting -- as you would expect when dealing with "late arrivals" -- but there are some interesting small press editions and Golden Age reprints. Ahasuerus 01:45, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

What's funny is that we've finally got the queue down to the point where there was a possibility of it being completely empty, a state that's happened maybe once in the years I've been here. That's why I've pitched in my efforts to work on Fixer submissions. But there's a couple of submissions, by moderators nonetheless, which could easily be approved and removed. Well, maybe someday I'll open up the moderator page and find an empty queue... Mhhutchins 03:23, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, as Rob Reginald pointed out a few weeks ago, genre bibliography is a never-ending story (no pun intended.)
For what it's worth, I have just finished downloading complete catalogs from half a dozen major libraries, over 10,000,000 records overall. Only a small fraction are SF, of course, although Fixer has another million or so of SF-specific records from other libraries. I will be writing a parser for this data in late February when I expect to be away from the development servers and limited to a laptop. The fun never ends! :-) Ahasuerus 05:30, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

(unindent)September-December 2010 cleaned up on the US side, another 100+ UK pubs sitting in the queue. Ahasuerus 16:23, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Empty submission queue

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I accepted Marc's December submission. I wasn't going to let slip the opportunity of seeing an empty submission queue at least once in my lifetime! Mhhutchins 18:27, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

I've seen one once before, in June 2009 I think. If I recall correctly, in those days, we didn't get a nice message like "No submissions present", we got an error message as if such a thing was a problem. BLongley 19:04, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought of posting a screen shot of the new message, but decided it's better to let Moderators work to see one for themselves. When there are hundreds of Moderators around, I'll want an "And I've seen an empty submission queue!" on my T-Shirt. ;-) BLongley 19:15, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
I am sure it can be fixed! Fixer 21:28, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Duplicate records: Editors of The Black Cat

There appear to be two different Editor records for the "Editors of the Black Cat", with different ID numbers, but with the same name and contents. It seems like one should be deleted, but I would certainly rather have someone who knows what they're doing look at. The two pages are: #123768 and #123770. Chavey 22:04, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

The software once upon a time used to rely on names for some of its display manipulation and consolidation. That these appear to be the same is probably a lingering bit of that old behavior. #123770 is the problematic entry. It can be renamed, and then it will have an empty bibliography (no longer showing the Black Cat titles, because the name no longer matches their editor record). I don't off hand see why it exists, though -- I couldn't find anything referring to it, but there must be something out there somewhere.... --MartyD 02:14, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
There was a rogue record in canonical_author:
mysql> select * from canonical_author where author_id = 123770;
| ca_id   | title_id | author_id | ca_status |
| 1186945 |  1002523 |    123770 |         1 |
which existed even though there is no Title record 1002523. I deleted it manually, renamed one of the "Editor of The Black Cat" records to "Editor of The Black Cat1", entered a dummy novel for it, then deleted the pub and the title, which auto-deleted the dummy record. We seem to be back in business now.
We have seen other out-of-date records in canonical_author, so it looks like these records don't always get cleaned up. My guess is that there is something wrong with the Title merge logic since EDITOR records are commonly merged. Ahasuerus 02:43, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Running a simple check against canonical_author:
mysql> select * from canonical_author where not exists (select * from titles where canonical_author.title_id = titles.title_id);
we find 1586 records for non-existent titles. They are generally harmless except when there are no other title records for their associated author. When that happens, they prevent the author record from being auto-deleted, thus the reported problem. Now to find the bug in the software. Bug 3159084 created. Ahasuerus 02:56, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Comparing the rogue records on the live server and what we have in the last backup, I see 4 new records. All of them are for duplicate COVERART titles that have been merged on the live server. That narrows it down quite a bit! Ahasuerus 09:15, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
...and as soon as I wrote the paragraph above I saw another problem record: a Cover Art title erroneously attributed to Mervyn Peak and subsequently deleted. So it looks like Cover Art records are definitely responsible, we just need to figure out what the sequence of events is in the software. Ahasuerus 09:19, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

2010 - cleanup finished

Fixer is very happy to report that he has finished submitting all UK/US titles from late 2010. The last batch was mostly dregs, but that's to be expected. I am also concerned about a few PS Publishing submissions -- it looks like a number of their projected titles may have been canceled during 2010.

Once all submissions have been sorted out, I will do another pass for all of 2010 and we should be caught up. Until the next adventure, of course :-) Ahasuerus 07:00, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Feature request: Title Series Wikipedia link

I have noticed recently that many of our "Title Series" have associated Wikipedia articles. (A quick analysis showed about 600 such articles.) I think it could be useful to have a field in the Title Series record that allows us to record a link to such Wikipedia articles. And while it's probably not as important, if you did this you might as well add a field in the Title Series record for "Webpage", assuming that at least some such series will have more-or-less official webpages associated with them. Chavey 19:44, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

That would be Feature request 2824361 :-) We also have FR 2800720 "Series records to have external URL fields", FR 2800713 "Allow sub-series ordering" and FR 2827430 Add a free text Note field to Series records. Ahasuerus 21:20, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Some Omni related edits

It seems some moderators are lettings some of my edits idle as they do not have enough information, so I am going to provide some here. First a few easier ones:

Cover: Twenty Houses of the Zodiac and Cover: Omni should be merged, as one can clearly see from the provided cover art on the pubs Twenty Houses of the Zodiac and Omni, Apr 1987 (sorry, I could not find a better image of the cover of Twenty Houses of the Zodiac). I further have information that this cover art by Tim White is entitled The Colors of Darkness. I submitted title updates both the cover art names to such and also a title merge but order might matter and one of those (the set of updates or the merge) and resubmitted later to complete the logical edit. I plan to further put a comment in the notes the remaining merged cover art title detailing this but I did not yet because I was not sure how notes get merged and if it would get lost.

Finally, I have some rejected and some pending edits related to wanting to clean up the Omni series by renaming magazine group titles to be the same and making them variants in cases where the editorial staff changed within the same year. I believe it is accepted practice to name the magazine group titles by year to group the pubs under them and also to allow variant titles in cases where the titles are the same but just the authors/editors/contributors are different. Am I wrong on this? Thanks. Uzume 01:51, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Also, once I make a submission, it seems there is no good way to view the contents of it (unless one is a moderator). When I have several backed up (after make a like pile of submissions) I have a hard time judging what is in each in case I might want to cancel one. Is there a feature request to allow read-only access to moderator content for one's own submissions? If not I would like to submit one. Uzume 02:00, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

There is a somewhat similar FR to add the Ability to 'Edit' Proposed submission. Ahasuerus 02:19, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Editing a proposed submission sounds dangerous unless one can self moderate their own submission in all regards except accepting a submission (so I can for example: see, hold, and moderate/edit, my own submissions but just not accept them into the DB). Before I went to editing a submission (even my own) I would want to put it on hold so others could not accept, reject, or edit it while I was. Uzume 02:26, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
It would probably have to be something along the lines of "Cancel the current submission and load its data into the edit form appropriate for the submission type", otherwise a moderator could approve a submission while it was being edited. Ahasuerus 02:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

After edit conflict:

There's two separate issues here:
  1. Cover art titles: Title records for cover art are automatically generated when a pub is created or when an entry is made into the cover artist field on a pub update. The system titles the title record "Cover:" plus whatever is entered into the record's title field. Regardless of what the artist has titled the work itself, it's been a practice to allow the system name the title records. There have been many issues of magazines, probably hundreds, in which the cover art is given a title. I just updated the records for Aboriginal Science Fiction. Every issue that had art that was unrelated to a work of fiction gave a name to the cover art in the issue's table of contents. I recorded the name in the pub record's note field and let the system to name the cover art title record. I can't attest to the ISFDB creator's intentions for doing it this way, but I see the benefits. You can look at an artist's summary page and see that the works are on covers and what books they appeared on. If we retitled the records based on the artist's name of the work, they is no way to search for a specific book's cover art records. Another hitch in renaming the works, many classic works of art have been used for book and magazine covers, and it just wouldn't work to rename all the cover records to match the artists. Off the top of my head, I have books that have cover art by Bosch, Klee, Magritte, etc. and I'd rather see a list of books on which their art appeared than the titles of works which would then require me to search each title for pub listings.
  2. Consolidating and Varianting Editor Title Records: New users of the database are often confused by the Magazine Series structure. Each record under a Magazine Series is actually Editor Records that have been sorted and combined based on the year in which the issues were published (for the most part). So we don't combine the Editor Records of issues for a year in which the magazine had two (or more) editors. See Amazing Stories for example. In these years the editorship turned over: 1929, 1938, 1958, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969 (the Cohen years!), 1979, 1982, and 1986. There are at least two Editor Records for each of those years. The only time we variant title records is when an editor uses a pseudonym as in 1979-1980.
Hope this helps. Mhhutchins 02:30, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Forgot the other issue: You can make an art record into a variant if they're identical, as in the case of Cover: Twenty Houses of the Zodiac and Cover: Omni. If a work of art is used as the cover on two (or more) books they can all be connected using the variant relationship. They shouldn't be merged into a single title. Mhhutchins 02:34, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
OK—fair enough:
We want to have one "cover art" title for every logical book cover and not every piece of art on book covers. That relationship can be met with variant titles as you mentioned (though it seems arbitrary as to which is a variant of which but I suppose that is often the case; I shall tend to lean towards the title I know to come first as the more "canonical" title). Perhaps it is late to change things now but it should be possible to have cover art (and perhaps interior art too; I haven't thought that through and somehow doubt that makes sense) titles sort and display by main title they are a cover for (just have to follow the pub link and from there the main title link, which BTW is another point of contention in this current paradigm as when a main title name changes that does not propagate to cover art, etc.) Anyway—those were just brainstorm thoughts and certainly are not well "cooked". Uzume 04:21, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
The current Cover Art implementation is admittedly not the greatest and has been repeatedly patched. It sort of works most of the time, but it's fragile and there are apparently at least two bugs associated with it. Ahasuerus 07:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I do not see the issue with naming two titles the same and making one a variant of the other when the author/editorialship changes. The point of having multiple records under a magazine series is to record editorialship (and years) but making them variants does not break that—it only combines the years for when there were multiple editors to make finding the pub one is interested in easier and straightforward (they sort right by publication date instead of a mixed year and editorialship ordering). One can still find the editorialship title groupings under the "canonical" (aka non-variant main) title. Uzume 04:21, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
The current system was discussed and set up when we discovered we could use the series function to combine magazine issues using the Editor Records. I don't think at this point it would be worth the efforts to change it. It works well, and as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It would be nice to hear other editors' and moderators' opinion about this. This seems like I'm the one who's making unilateral decisions, and the software and database structure were pretty much in place by the time I came along. I would think some of the magazine editors would speak up, because any change would affect them far greater than me. Mhhutchins 05:35, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure I am grasping the implications of Uzume's proposal. Perhaps an example of how the new approach would work and improve the display may help? Ahasuerus 07:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I ran into this on Pantechnicon and dealt with it by making a variant title of the consolidated one-year title to record the presence of an alternate combination of editors and editor names. I picked one as the canonical one for that year, then made the other(s) variants. It seems to work pretty well. Whether that's "right" or not, I can't say, but it seems to work pretty well for display and searching. --MartyD 19:19, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
But look at how the EDITOR record for that year is displayed. Frankham had nothing to do with Issue 5, yet he's listed in the EDITOR title record for that magazine issue. He's also miscredited for the first two issues of the year. And the variant record is also incorrect. Variants in EDITOR title records should be used to record pseudonymous editors not changes in editorship. I think this approach confuses EDITOR title records with MAGAZINE title records, which, as we all know, don't exist. I didn't create the db structure which didn't give title records to magazines, but that's how it was done, and that's how we've been dealing with it. Anybody want to change that now? Mhhutchins 19:32, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes. It is very misleading to merge issues with multiple different editors. It makes it appear as though they were co-editors throughout the entire span even if they weren't. Totally inconsistent with the manner in which it done in the vast majority of cases.--swfritter 23:46, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Very well, I will change them. --MartyD 00:48, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. The variant Editors look totally wrong to me. We only use the Editor merges to reduce the length of a prolific Editor's page - it is NOT that we always merge by year. BLongley 01:09, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Done. Leave me a note on my talk page if I should do something different with 2007 and the Frankham-Allen vs. Frankham name change. --MartyD 01:36, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

(unindent)Incidentally, I have noticed the variant title system is sometimes used for "derived works" (e.g., But What of Earth?) and other times just for pseudonymous names. Now you are telling me to use it to link cover art that has the same art content (and I suppose that would apply if a piece of art was used on a cover and inside on another pub, etc.). Methinks the rules on when and how to use variants is not well defined. I know currently we do not subscribe to using such for translations (a form of derived work since there is another contributor—the translator) nor for audio books (again a form of derived work since there is another contributor—the reader), etc. (though I tend to think perhaps we should as there are different translations and audio book renditions and we are not capturing such contributors and thus cannot distinguish between nor credit such individuals; I cannot for example look up all works translated or read by a certain person). Uzume 04:21, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

The purpose of the variant function is to present variations in either title or author credit. It should not be used to present variations in text or content, although you can find hundreds of examples in the database in which the function has been misused to do so. There are plans to create a new function, unnamed at the moment, to present relationships between titles: expanded, based on, revised, abridged, fixed-up... I can't tell you about the progress as I'm not a software person and I'm not sure if the development of that function has a high priority. The example you cite (But What of Earth?) can truly be called a variant because of the variant author credit, not because of the different text. Mhhutchins 05:35, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I have been looking into how the Library of Congress handles some of these issues in my plentiful spare time, but it's not at the top of the list of priorities. Right now bug fixing comes first, then the promised new data elements and then improved foreign language support. Ahasuerus 07:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I have restructured by OMNI cover art title submissions. On another topic, shouldn't OMNI be all caps on all those series, titles, and pubs? I am not looking forward to doing that but am interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thanks again. Uzume 04:21, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

The entry of Omni has been neglected/delayed/forgotten/______ (fill in the blank). There's almost two years for which there are no records (1983-1984). It looks like User:Bluesman had started to work on it (although he's not using one of the standards that was established for magazine entry, i.e. spelling out the full name of the month). If you'd like to help him, I'm sure he wouldn't turn down the assistance. Together, you can work out title-specific standards, such as columns. And if you decide to go with OMNI, that can be done as you're updating or entering each issue. Mhhutchins 05:35, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Title dates

I recently had a submission to update a title's date rejected and I wanted to know what is the policy on title dates as I was trying to change the date to one inline with the date provided by the online catalog of the U.S. Copyright office. See here for more details: User talk:Uzume#Dream a Little Dream Thanks. Uzume 20:55, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

The submission was to change the title's date from 1999 to 1998. I rejected this (after discussion) because there is a primary source (the paperback edition) that dates the first edition on January 1999. --Willem H. 21:08, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
It should be noted that is only the paperback 1st edition and not the hardcover 1st edition which was published earlier. Uzume 21:13, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
It should be kept in mind that a book published in January might be registered, copyrighted, printed, distributed or even sold in the previous year. Nevertheless, we use the stated publication date. And if that pub is the first edition, January would also be the date of the title record. Mhhutchins 21:51, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, if you have a copy of the 1st ed. hardcover please elucidate for us. Usually 1st ed. stated dates are the same as the copyright date and short of having a primary for verification I thought the U.S. Copyright Office would be a good alternate source (for original works first printed in the US by major publishers anyway) since they are based on submitted copies to the Library of Congress (i.e., it had to have been at least printed by that date for them to submit a copyright record). I can understanding using stated dates for publications but I thought title dates correlated to something else besides first publication dates (since we already have publications dates for any publication including first publications). It seems to me to make the most sense to have this correlate with the copyright date as this can give a baseline for when a title exits copyright status which is based on the work and not on a publication. Thanks. Uzume 22:03, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Usually 1st ed. stated dates are the same as the copyright date... That's so wrong. I can give you 100 books without much searching that were copyrighted the year before they were published. Mhhutchins 23:30, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, copyright dates are, as Michael said, not a reliable indicator and we don't rely on them. Way back, in 1995, we thought that "copyright date = date of first publication", so the "title date" field in the database was called "title_copyright". We have learned better since :-) Ahasuerus 23:44, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Locus1 supports the Jan '99 publication date for the hardcover, also noting receiving it in Dec '98. --MartyD 00:12, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Mhhutchins: My point was that this was usually the case not always; I am sure there are many cases where that is not the case. Thank you MartyD. Now we at least have a verification for the hardcover 1st. ed.

My question still remains though. What is the real usefulness of having the title date be a copy of the earliest pub record date which we already have? Do we really want that? Why is it a manual procedure to copy it from the earliest pub then? Shouldn't the title date go away or only be an automated cached value? Or does it merit another use such as a copyright date or something else?. Thanks again everyone. Uzume 10:28, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

So this whole discussion was pointless. If you wanted to know the policy on title dates, you should have brought it up on the Rules and standards discussions, not make a submission you knew would be challenged, and let someone waste his time trying to find out what you mean. --Willem H. 14:17, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
One reason that I see for having the title date be a manual process is that there are several examples of books where we know, for one reason or another, what an early/earliest publication date is, but we don't have enough information about that publication to enter it as a record. For example, the earliest edition of Orlanda, by Virginia Woolf, that is in the system is from 1946, and yet we know that it was first published in 1928 (or possibly 1929). The earliest edition of Monkey, by Wu Ch'êng-ên, in the system is from 1942, and yet a hand-written copy was first "published" about 1590. If the system automatically generated the date for that field from the other records, it would give inappropriate dates for the ages of those books. In both cases, we can record the best information we currently have about the first editions of those books. Eventually, someone will find enough information about that first edition of "Orlando" that we can enter that publication record. But that will never happen with "Monkey", because there is no existant copy of the first edition.
And with respect to copyright date, note that this isn't really unique, especially before about 1976. Someone who published a book in the US and England might have two different copyright dates. And what about books, such as "Robinson Crusoe", which was never copyrighted in the U.S.? If that field represented the copyright date, what do we do then? It seems to me that the current policy is a good one, which avoids many potential problems with the alternatives that you suggest. Chavey 15:19, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Willem H.: I don't know about this discussion being pointless. What you suggest is a catch-22. I cannot ask a question about something if I believe it to be one way and find out it is another. I brought the discussion here because I was getting moderated for something and wanted to bring it to the attention of other moderators. I believe that is what this page is for—bringing things to the attention of the moderators. The question only arose later. I no hint my initial submission would be challenged until it was rejected. Uzume 16:56, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Chavey: You make some good points but I disagree. There are plenty of unverified or lightly verified pubs in the system. If we know something was published initially on a certain date that pub can be entered even if that date ends up being erroneous and edited later. This is no different than any other date. You and I do not know if further information on the publication of Monkey will appear. Some very ancient documents may yet be found and come to light that mention something about such things. I don't see why we cannot have a pub in the system what represents the currently best known data and have that be edited later—whether that is a first edition or not. Uzume 16:56, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
We can, and often do, have such publications. But we don't have them for all titles so we cannot automatically derive the title date. Such stub publications do tend to be a bit annoying in that without full details they trigger "Bibliographic Warnings". BLongley 17:53, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
For novels, collections, anthologies, etc it's possible to create dummy publication records when all we know is the title date. However, it's not particularly useful and in certain cases can be misleading, e.g if we later find out that the first appearance of a Novel title was in a Collection publication. For short fiction entries, it's often impossible to create a dummy pub if we do not know whether it first appeared in a magazine, anthology or collection.
In general, the separation between Title dates and Pub dates is fundamental to the current database design. Changing it would be very time consuming and will not happen unless we find a major reason to redirect our limited development resources in that direction. Ahasuerus 22:28, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
That is fair enough—I was not suggesting any sort of speedy change just that it seemed like an extraneous and confusing item unless it actually had another purpose. Uzume 02:49, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Title dates are used in a variety of places in the ISFDB application, e.g. when creating Summary pages. They are also used by many other bibliographies, which perhaps explains why our users generally do not have a problem with them. Ahasuerus 03:50, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
I believe pub types can be converted (though not without some effort) and I don't see how what you called a "dummy publication" would be a dummy—it would just be the best information we have at the time it was created. The pub type like the date and every other aspect of a publication is subject to change with better information—in fact, it is possible the known first pub could be deposed by a later found earlier pub and thereby changing the title date.
On the limited development resource front (which seem to mostly be just you when you have time right now), I agree ISFDB could use some help in that department. Uzume 02:49, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Al was our one and only developer between 1995 and 2008. When his availability took a nosedive in 2008-2009, we set up the current system of distributed development. A number of developers contributed in mid-2009, but most of them haven't been available since then for various reasons. Ahasuerus 03:50, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Series edit guidance needed.

See Chavey's proposed edits I have on hold, my posed question and the reference to the unanswered topic on the Community Portal. My gut tells me this isn't right, but I don't know what to suggest instead. Thanks. --MartyD 11:34, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

See 17974 and 729237 for a method of dealing with overlapping series - create a variant title that can be placed in the second series. It's not perfect, and how to decide which publications go under which title could be awkward. BLongley 18:08, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Using promotional blurbs in synopsis

Unless opinion has changed, isn't this frowned upon?--swfritter 15:20, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I am not a moderator but I agree. Unless that is printed in or on the book itself. And even if it is, it has no business being in the title record (I can maybe see something of that possibly being in the pub record if the pub contained such but then again, why? unless it is also somehow bibliographic as well of course). Uzume 17:04, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
That's not a synopsis, IMO. And there doesn't seem to be any bibliographic information in it worth keeping even as a note. BLongley 17:57, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Must have sneaked in somehow. Ahasuerus 22:12, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Sneaked it out of there.--swfritter 14:28, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Feist's Magician

A recent Usenet discussion of this Title's publication history included the following exchange:

From: (William December Starr)
Mad Hamish <> said:
[ re the variant editions of Raymond E. Feist's MAGICIAN ]
The first printing was going to be a trade paperback until late in the process where they converted a small number to be hardbacks (either 500 or 2000 iirc, I don't it was apparently 2500 with a second printing of 2000)
Some markets split the mass market paperback into 2 books Magician Apprentice and Magician Master
I don't believe there were any changes (there may have been a couple of errors that were fixed in later printings) until the Author's Preferred Edition came out which was largely because lots of people wanted hardcovers of Magician but couldn't get one.
Ray's publisher would publish a hardcover edition but only if it contained changes from the original so Ray added back some material that had been cut, a bit modified and a bit added. He rates the changes between it and the original as 80% cutts added back in, 10% rewrite and 10% new material.
I think everything printed since then is the Author's preferred edition.
Okay, so we have the original hardcover edition of MAGICIAN, that's labeled:
  Doubleday & Company, Inc.
  Garden City, New York
  Copyright (c) 1982 by Raymond Elias Feist
  First Edition
and has this cover:


...and we have the initial printings of MAGICIAN: APPRENTICE and MAGICIAN: MASTER, paperbacks which contain, in two pieces, the same text as that hardcover.
Then in 1992 we get the revised "Author's Preferred Edition" published in hardcover by Doubleday[1]. This was reprinted in hardcover in 2003 by by Barnes & Noble[2]. I also see that in 1994 Bantam Books printed a paperback titled MAGICIAN: MASTER THE PREFERRED AUTHOR'S EDITION[3]; I infer that Bantam more or less simultaneously published a corresponding revised paperback edition of MAGICIAN: APPRENTICE, though I don't see it listed at
I guess the only infallible way to determine whether a book contains the original or revised text is to look at its copyright date(s).

I won't have the time to sort it out for a few days (travel Monday-Wednesday), so if anyone wants to give it a shot, please feel free. Ahasuerus 22:54, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Most of us would probably only have one edition of the title, unless there's a Feist completist among us. Otherwise it would be hard to compare texts. I have a copy of the 1982 hardcover first edition. We also have records for the 1992 revised hardcover (unverified), and the 2003 B&N hardcover reprint (verified by an inactive editor). Both the 1986 and 2004 Bantam split paperback printings have also been verified by active moderators. I would assume that all publications from 1992 and after would be the revised version. Then again, the database isn't set up to handle text variants, so all printings of the same title would be under the same title record, regardless of any textual changes. Mhhutchins 06:45, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Fixer - April 2011

I will be on the road (with limited internet access) for the next 60 hours, so I am submitting the first part of Fixer's catch for the month of April. Ahasuerus 16:38, 31 January 2011 (UTC) has been submitted with Amazon UK to follow once the last load has been processed. Ahasuerus 06:13, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Amazon UK has been submitted. Approve away! Ahasuerus 07:02, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

In? - Women's Studies Encyclopedia

I wonder if this is appropriate to include. I have just submitted an entry for the "Women's Studies Encyclopedia" (1999), which has 5 (short) essays on ISFDB topics: Science Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Dystopias, and 2 essays on Utopias. Of course I only listed those 5 essays in the contents, with a note that there were hundreds of other articles. My questions about this submission are:

(1) Does this belong in the database? I doubt we would to enter every edition of "Collier's Encyclopedia" that had an article on Science Fiction. And all of these articles are short -- at most 2 pages, except for the 2 1/2 page article on "Science Fiction". But this is an unusual encyclopedia, and 2 of the 4 authors are in our database already for other non-fiction work.
(2) I entered the pages in the form "1273-1275" to indicate the length, which in more complete collections you get for free from knowing where the next item starts. Was that appropriate?

I'll emphasize that I won't take it personally if you decide the answer to either of these questions is "No." Chavey 02:55, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I can see no problem with adding this publication to the database. Well, perhaps one: the slippery slope. But when we're adding hundreds of science books, with no connection to the literature, simply because they were reviewed in an sf magazine, I don't see why we can't add a work that actually discusses the literature of science fiction. I'm going to accept the submission. Mhhutchins 05:55, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, seems quite innocuous. Ahasuerus 06:35, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
You may have noticed that the size limit of the page field for contents didn't allow the last page to display correctly. I suggest placing the page counts of each essay in the note field instead. Thanks. Mhhutchins 06:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Linking to uploaded cover images

This seems to be a common problem with new editors, and I see a lot of Mods explaining it again and again. Perhaps this matter deserves to be part of the Welcome template? BLongley 17:59, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. There has to be another way to get the message to them, and I'm not sure that the welcome message can fully solve the problem. Some of them never even find their user talk page, despite the bright link to "My Messages" on every page that they're editing! I see one editor (Kbows) loaded bunches of images and has yet to link them to the pubs. He's also apparently not found his wiki user/talk page as well. I've even sent an email but still no response. Mhhutchins 17:22, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I've updated the Welcome message with a link to the upload help page and the note: "Image uploading isn't entirely automated. You're uploading the files to the wiki which will then have to be linked to the database by editing the publication record." Anyone have suggestions for changes or additions? Mhhutchins 17:51, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Fixer experiment

Since development is still on hold while Sourceforge is restoring its services, I have been experimenting with Fixer, mostly teaching him how to find potentially important ISBNs at Amazon. You can see the results in the submissions queue and they are somewhat mixed. I suspect that a number of Borgo Press and Meisha Merlin books are vaporware and need to be 8888'd, so we need to be particularly careful when processing them. Ahasuerus 08:11, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

I have finished submitting the results of Fixer's experiment. It ended up containing a lot of Lovecrafiana, which was a little unexpected, but, upon reflection, is not a bad thing since we have significant gaps in that area. Fixer also found a number of 1980s/1990s ISBNs, many of them library bindings, which look a little iffy, so caution is advised. Worldcat may be a good place to check when processing them. Ahasuerus 07:44, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Joseph Conrad & "The Inheritors"

I've submitted some updates to the contents of the Liverpool edition of The Inheritors, by Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, and I don't know if I've handled the reviews correctly. Locus1 describes the contents of this reprint of the book, which also includes publishing contemporaneous reviews of the book by "miscellaneous" reviewers. One particular review is by The New York Times (the only one whose author is included in Locus1), which occasioned a letter to the editor from Joseph Conrad. Because the nature of these reviews is so different from the "reviews" we see in magazines, I did not enter them using the "Reviews" input fields, but rather as regular content listings. I hope this was the correct decision. Chavey 16:47, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

One of the problems with this approach is that the reviews are not linked to the title record. I'm assuming your info is from secondary sources that do not list the individual reviews and their authors. Until those can be entered, the current state of the record is fine. Mhhutchins 19:53, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, they're all reviews of "The Inheritors", but except for the one from the New York Times, we won't know who wrote the reviews until someone can do a verification of the title. But I could add a general "Review of The Inheritors" by "various", and that would link the title to the reviews. Chavey 04:15, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Merging problem I can't solve

I made some sort of error while merging some files. Now Podcastle 2009 is a variant title of a story "Sweet Savage Sorcerer" I am not entirely sure how I managed that... I tried unmerging, but that didn't seem to work. Tpi 18:57, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I think the right way to do this is to go to the "Make This Title a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work" screen again (here), and put a 0 in the parent#. That should undo the variant. --Willem H. 19:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Since this has sat around for a couple of days, I went ahead and fixed it. I was afraid it would be forgotten and lost before the mistake had been repaired. Willem is correct. It's very easy to break a variant relationship. Just put a zero in the Parent # field. Thanks. Mhhutchins 01:40, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
This took more time that I thought it would. Somehow the story became a content of every 2009 issue of PodCastle. I had to remove it from all 17 issues (except for the one in which it actually appeared) and then merge all of the stray title records into one record. I'm thinking that making a story record into a variant of an editor record caused this, but I don't want to take the time to duplicate it. In any case, it's back in good shape now. Mhhutchins 02:06, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. It would have not been forgotten. I would have tried to correct that, but it might have been beyond my capabilities. I must be be more careful with variant from now on. Tpi 20:25, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Magazine pub format / binding

I have this submission on hold, as it would specify a Pub Format of "8½ in x 10¾ in", which does not conform to the values called for in the existing help. Whether the rules should change aside, I found many more already accepted with that non-standard value. I'd feel a little dumb telling User:Stonecreek that's an inappropriate value when someone's clearly been letting it through, and on more than one occasion. What's up? Did I miss a discussion somewhere? Thanks. --MartyD 21:50, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

I brought this to Stonecreek's attention last week. It appears that the dimension thing came from Locus1 (seehere.) I personally don't think dimensions=format, but I've chosen to remain out of the discussion and let the primary verifiers come to a decision. In the past others have remained neutral in my usage of "quarto" as a format based on Locus1, even though it's not on the list of options, and I respected their decision. I guess the time has come to bring magazine formating to a conclusive discussion on the Rules & Standards page. There can't be more than ten different formats and standardizing the names of each shouldn't be too difficult. Mhhutchins 22:11, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Merging interior art work from Uzume

The standards say interior art should not be merged. Has there been physical verification that the pieces being merged are in fact identical?--swfritter 03:19, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

I have been accepting the submissions of Astounding interiorart merges based on this discusson: User_talk:Uzume#Merging_interior_art_records, on the basis the UK editions are reproductions of the US editions. I have been double-checking that the number of pieces of artwork correspond and haven't yet found any discrepancies. --MartyD 03:32, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
And when other people see merged interior artwork they will do so when it is inappropriate. Are these exceptions being documented at the pub and title level so that doesn't happen?--swfritter 14:20, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
If any inappropriate merges are made, it's up to the moderator to inform the editor of the policy. In this case, both Marty and I agree that these should be merged. I don't see why any documentation would be necessary. Mhhutchins 17:45, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Merging serials

Now I have a question about Uzume's merges of my own.... What about merging serials in the case where a magazine issue is known to be a reproduction of another magazine issue? Help:Use_of_the_SERIAL_type#Date seems to say "no", but following the same sort of logic as for the interiorart, allowing these to be merged (and keeping the earlier publication dates) seems to make sense. Any strong opinions one way or the other? --MartyD 03:36, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

In the case of the UK Astounding reprints, I believe it's safe enough to merge them. If they were being reprinted years later, or had a different number of parts, I wouldn't. I think the Help Page rule you link to needs to be qualified for cases like this. Mhhutchins 04:10, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
As above, exceptions to the rules should be documented at both the pub and title level.--swfritter 14:21, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
The exceptions to the rules should be documented in the Help section. Why place notes in every title record that contradicts a standard when all you have to do is state the acceptable exceptions in the Help documents? Mhhutchins 17:47, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
If the user doesn't know that Help section (been known to happen) they are not going to know that the entry is an exception.--swfritter 18:33, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
At the very least the first in the series of interior art title records should have a note. The practice which most people have settled on for this issue is to append subsequent pieces of (hopefully) identical artwork with "(reprint)" appended. I might note that at certain some editors have headed down some dangerous paths when merging interior art. We have multiple standards for entering artwork with some editors entering all pieces and others making only a single entry; some editors enter very minor pieces (like thumbnails) while others don't. As I have said before the optimum solution is one interior art title per story with an indication of how many pieces of art there are for the story. If there are multiple artists doing individual pieces there would be one entry per artist.--swfritter 21:41, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
There shouldn't be as many serial entries as there are interior art records so I don't see it as a particularly onerous to document parts that are likely to be exact reprints.--swfritter 21:45, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
The UK versions of the pubs are explained, but the information is not presented at the title level (although I did not do an exhaustive check) -- neither for interiorart, nor for serials. I think what I'm going to do is accept the held serial merges and start a discussion over on R&S. I think it would be easy enough to add an "reproduction/facsimile" clause to the existing help, and I'll propose something (maybe not until this weekend -- work's been tough recently). And others can chime in on what level of documentation in the data records is necessary or desired. Thanks both of you for the feedback. --MartyD 11:40, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The UK versions are obvious reprints. Data for the Ultimate anthology-type reprints is a little trickier because not all of the artwork was reproduced or was modified; this was especially true in the case where pulp artwork was adjusted for use in the digest format. Data is more often viewed at the title level. Verifiers of involved pubs should be informed before the merges are made.--swfritter 14:26, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Merging columns...don't

It's taken me several days and more than a few hours to straighten out David Langford's "Ansible Link" columns in Interzone. Can we all agree that it's not a good idea to merge columns into one record? Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:28, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

If you mean merging by year like Editor records, agreed. It'd be OK to merge Essays reprinted in a hypothetical "Best of Ansible link" collection though. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have bothered undoing "Ansible Link" though, I see nobody rushing to enter details of what was in each column, whereas people seem to want to add data to other columns in the same magazine like "Mutant Popcorn". BLongley 20:47, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Maybe someone didn't know about the title series technique for grouping things like this? --MartyD 11:42, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I've done this unmerging for one year of IZ, I confirm that's not a good idea to do it in the first place. Hauck 18:29, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
I unmerged about 8 years of columns, and believe me, it wasn't fun. Mhhutchins 19:15, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
<agree> 19:11, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Frank Chimesleep Short, "The Dweller in the Pot"

For whichever moderator sees the submissions changing this author (aka "Frank Belknap Long") and the title of this story in the anthology it's in, please see my talk page for details, if necessary.

I've got it. --MartyD 13:44, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Planet Stories/Startling Stories Adventure House facsimiles

I am working on getting these into the system with data from Adventure House/ If Fixer grabs them you can leave them in the queue and I will deal with them. Thanks.--swfritter 14:47, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Template protections

Could I get someone to change the protections on Template:Series so I can edit it? I want to work on fixing how the various linking templates escape URLs into the database and upon studying up on the topic it seems all the templates misuse anchorencode (when they should be using urlencode; the database Python code also needs some fixes in this regard to handle things correctly but changing the templates now should cause things to be no worse than they are now). I am not sure why several things seems to protected to sysop like that. A similar thing was done before when I was trying to fix another templating issue (see Template talk:PubSeriesHeader#Broken!). Thanks. Uzume 15:55, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

The protection was removed, so that you can fix any errors. Thanks. Mhhutchins 18:02, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, but I realized several bugs from several different angles are actually making this very difficult at best. MediaWiki seems to have bugs in it too (I already submitted a bug to have the MediaWiki code updated but I cannot do that) that make it so there is not way to actually make this work with our current code (though I intend to remedy the code side). I thought a certain change would make things no worse but due to the way MediaWiki has implemented urlencode that is not true (it uses + for spaces instead of %20 and our code depends on the non-portable CGI argv which splits on + among other bad things). Anyway, this change will have to wait until the code side of things is fixed first (despite things actually be wrong on the wiki side of things too). The closest things the ISFDB's current version of MediaWiki can do right is using {{PAGENAMEE}} but that does not work for arbitrary link names (but is perhaps useful for the header templates). I have noticed other bugs in protected templates too (e.g., Template:PubHeader minor, Template:AuthorHeader wrong but works sort of). I suppose one thing at a time. Thanks. Uzume 19:07, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Deletion problem

Just entered a new non-fiction pub, here. The submission was somehow flawed but the DB accepted it anyway and now I can't get rid of it. Several attempts have failed. Re-entered the data and have a correct record, but the flawed one just won't go. Any ideas? --~ Bill, Bluesman 01:14, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

I entered some submissions to help clean it up. The client it not completely rendering the HTML. I am guessing the cause is related to the link you put in the note where you opened the href with a single quote and closed it with a double quote. Uzume 02:23, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
It was quite easy, first delete the pub record, then the title record. I had no problems with this.
I tried both of those and never got a screen that gave me the option to accept the deletes. Also tried to fix the quotation mark problem and again couldn't get a screen that allowed the changes to be accepted. Think I ended up with over a dozen hard rejects before giving up. --~ Bill, Bluesman 20:26, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Strange things are happening. Maybe the extreme slowness of the site this morning (night for you?) had something to do with it. --Willem H. 20:51, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. Twice I did a hard reject and the submission was still in the queue afterwards. Weirdness abounds.... ! I've also been experiencing an odd 'freezing' of the site when submitting changes to Title records [no other kinds] and have had to hit 'Submit' up to a half-dozen times to get the submission to 'take'. But only sporadically, maybe once in 25-30 edits. Only in the last couple of weeks, though. --~ Bill, Bluesman 01:29, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Uzume: I had to reject your edits, merging the cover- and pubrecords as you did, would have resulted in dropping the records for Bluesman's pub, keeping the faulty one and making the cleanup harder. --Willem H. 11:53, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually the title merges should have just put the errant pub into the same titles as the good one but it is a moot point as the pub and the titles are gone now anyway. The point was to fix things and that has been done. Uzume 12:56, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

January - April 2011 submitted

The second pass for January - April 2011 has been completed. Second passes are always wobbly, but such is life. Fixer is currently processing May 2011 and hopes to be ready to start creating submissions by the time the last batch has been incorporated. Ahasuerus 06:30, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Fantasy Magazine: Looks like I can retire

After entering this issue from the ebook version I noticed this entry. Couple of problems - it was not added to the Fantasy Magazine series which was why I did not realize it had been added. Fantasy Magazine went first from print to web and now ebook. Also, the cover image is linked. Do we have permission?--swfritter 14:33, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

The first record was submitted a couple of nights ago by the (assumed) editor of the magazine. I accepted the submission and left a message on his talk page, about the image link along with several other questions. I'm waiting for him to respond. Placing a record into a series is the last thing on my mind when I'm working with a new editor, and when the record is not in the best shape. Failure to place a record into a series should not be considered a problem. A search on the magazine editor's summary page would have found a record of the issue. I've discovered several times that someone has beaten me to creating a record for a recently published book or magazine issue. Maybe I'll retire as well. Mhhutchins 15:30, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
It would seem that the editor would be able to give us the right to link to the cover. Adding magazines to series and creating wiki pages for them is a very high priority for me. I recently found four (recently entered?) issues of Bull Spec which had no wiki page and no series data. But I agree, smoothing the way for a new editor is a much more important task. I need to run some reports to find other mags that aren't in series.--swfritter 17:09, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
BTW, there is a Feature Request to "Create a menu of data cleanup scripts for moderators", including a report that would "find all EDITOR records not in a series". Ahasuerus 17:48, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Which I've started on, but I've got a little carried away with it. BLongley 23:29, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

How far ahead...?

Have been noticing a number of submissions, mostly from Dgeiser, entering publications or updating dates for same that with one currently in the queue have extended a publication date to May 2013. As far as I can see, the robotic submissions usually only go about three months ahead [maybe just due to volume]. Do we have any general guidelines on such far-future dates of as yet unpublished books? With the sole source being Amazon, the data is likely flawed/inaccurate. Just curious.... --~ Bill, Bluesman 19:21, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree. We need to create a guideline that sets a date limit. So much of this data may change before actual publication: price, page count, ISBN, even title! I would suggest no more than 12 months in advance, and would even limit it to 6 months if enough editors agree. Mhhutchins 19:58, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Six months would be fine; some of the edits were updating future dates by as much as a year. There's no guarantee the book[s] will even be published. --~ Bill, Bluesman 20:21, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Although six months typically gives you a decent level of assurance (say 90%+) that the book will appear, the data may be still shaky. Notably, cover art will be either unavailable or not final. And once a pub is in, it may not be revisited until months, sometimes years, later. That's why I typically don't ask Fixer to travel too far into the future.
BTW, if you go to the Forthcoming Book page, you will be able to access the next 12 months worth of data by selecting links at the top of the page, e.g. December 2011. Ahasuerus 21:24, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd be happy if the automated submissions stay 3 months or less ahead, but am happy to let through advance notifications of titles when there's a bit more supporting info - e.g. the author has confirmed a multiple-book contract for the next few in a series. I've certainly seen confirmed titles as far ahead as 2013. Even with 3 months on the automated it can be difficult to determine tp or pb so I spend a lot more time on author-sites than I'd really like. And the Angry Robot takeover for instance caused a lot of rework. BLongley 16:45, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Kathy Reichs/Temperance Brennan books

In or Out? This discussion pertains. Even the ones on the DB would seem Out. --~ Bill, Bluesman 22:08, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Never read any of the series, but I can find nothing speculative about them. And the submitter doesn't even argue that they're speculative fiction. I find it somewhat amusing that someone would consider a database that includes Stephen Baxter, Stephen King, Steven Brust and Steven Millhauser to be narrow-minded. Not to mention Edgar Pangborn, Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Rice Burroughs and William S. Burroughs. (I could play this game all night!) Mhhutchins 23:47, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
The science on the "Bones" TV series certainly does strain one's credulity. The scientific techniques they use are actually possible but only if your lab has a trillion dollar budget. Still not good enough and the books probably aren't as outlandish as the TV series. A slightly comparable author in our DB is Arthur Conan Doyle; his non-Speculative Fiction works are in primarily because he had a significant number of Speculative Fiction works.--swfritter 17:21, 16 March 2011 (UTC)


See Worlds Without End: The Mission. If Createspace is an Amazon company, is linking to images hosted there permitted under ISFDB's arrangement with Amazon? --MartyD 11:51, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

No idea, I am afraid. The only person who would know is Al. Ahasuerus 05:35, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Al thinks not. The pub has now shown up on Amazon, with a cover image in the area we normally link to. I'm going to switch the entry to that. --MartyD 01:37, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Fixer - May 2011

For the last few days I have been releasing Fixer's catch for the month of May a few dozen submissions at a time. However, I will be effectively unavailable Sunday through Wednesday (travel), so I plan to do a major run on Saturday night. No need to panic :-) Ahasuerus 03:58, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Done. And I also told Fixer to use "Tor" instead of "Tor Books" as requested earlier. Ahasuerus 02:29, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this first set of "Tor" books are an imprint of Pan Macmillan UK, so I'm trying to change as many as I can catch so that there's no confusion with the US publisher. But the change to "Tor" will help once the US submissions are in the queue. Mhhutchins 05:40, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
US done. 60% of the UK catch submitted. Ahasuerus 05:18, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
And of course, now we have the opposite problem - a load of £4.32 Puffin books from Amazon UK that should actually be $6.99 US books. (And they retitled every single one for the US market, much varianting required.) BLongley 14:02, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
The rest of May has been submitted. (UK-originated submissions tend to be easier to moderate since they include fewer self-published books.) I have also told Fixer not to assume that all Tor books are published in the US and all Puffin books are published in the UK. Ahasuerus 20:57, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Data Cleanup Scripts - Any Requests?

I've started working on FR 3136359 and have submitted a couple of examples for testing - "EDITOR Records not in Series" and "Variant Editor Records that are". I've got a few others in the pipeline: "Find Interviews of Pseudonyms", "Find Authors with invalid Last Names", and "Find reviews that create stray Authors". But I'm happy to take requests. BLongley 20:43, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I'd change "Variant Editor Records that are in a series" to "Any Variant Titles that are in a series". Ahasuerus 20:56, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I did consider that, and to make my change do such would be trivial. Give it a go if you like, but I found the performance degraded significantly and it might be better to have scripts for each type of Title. Also, consider this and this, apparently deliberately created to work around our "titles can only be in one series" limitation: it might be desirable to create variants to put in different series? BLongley 21:40, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
At the moment, VTs that belong to series behave inconsistently: they appear as VTs on the main biblio page, but they appear separately on the Series page. Even when this problem is fixed, I doubt we could use VTs to put titles in multiple series, but we'd have to think about it. Ahasuerus 02:33, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
More cleanup candidates: "Find authors with leading, trailing and duplicate spaces" and "Find authors without spaces between initials". Ahasuerus 02:33, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, added. I didn't think we could create ones with leading and trailing spaces but we do have one of each. There may be a problem with trimming co-authors. BLongley 15:24, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Can you rerun the script for missing editors just to make sure it's entirely cleaned-up? Also rerun the disallowed image cover URLs. It's also been awhile since most of the Data Consistency scripts have been run. Mhhutchins 03:20, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
I'll give it a shot when I return on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Ahasuerus 09:44, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
There's a few missing EDITORs: Perry Rhodan, #512: Der Flug der GATOS BAY, Science Fiction Weekly, 16 Jun 1997 Grantville Gazette 20. Not sure how those are occurring. I'll add a search for such to the cleanup scripts. BLongley 15:24, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

(Unindent) I got a bit carried away today and added a load more scripts. (Preview here). Note the extra menu item on the bottom left to get to this screen, and hopefully at least one of the big grey buttons looks of interest to you. BLongley 18:50, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

The screen the link goes to is not an "active" one. Nothing I tried to click on would open. Suggestions? Another way to reach the page? --~ Bill, Bluesman 19:03, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
It's just a picture I uploaded to Image:DataClean.jpg BLongley 19:15, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay, but how does one get to the 'real' page?? --~ Bill, Bluesman 19:30, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, you come to Luton and I demonstrate it, or you install a local ISFDB copy and try it on your own computer, or you wait for Ahasuerus to install the final version. BLongley 19:53, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Ah! I thought this was already available. Luton? --~ Bill, Bluesman 20:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
No, it's just a preview so that fellow moderators can (hopefully) salivate over the goodies forthcoming and suggest priorities for testing - Ahasuerus hasn't yet gone insane enough to allow me to put these things live on my own. If any appeal, suggest them for prioritisation - e.g. I think swfritter would like number 8, Mhhutchins number 4. I'd like a 72 with extra fried rice, but that's just me. BLongley 23:48, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
And Luton is a town 35 miles north of London, England that wants to become a city. Hopefully my residency here won't persuade the Queen to disapprove of such. BLongley 23:48, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I thought the only criterion for city status was having a Cathedral, whether active or in ruins. Tiny St. David's comes to mind [an impressive structure!] or St. Andrews with not much besides gravestones [and golf], yet both are 'cities'. Perhaps Luton merely needs to change the name? Append "St." to the beginning? --~ Bill, Bluesman 00:14, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
The link to Cathedrals was removed last century. BLongley 15:01, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Who's afraid of the big bad Fixer?

We've been left with a large queue of Fixer submissions, and for once I'm going to leave them to other moderators. They're good for practice, and should lead to better help pages. And better Fixer submissions - e.g. have a look at this and try and figure out why it's matched with this rather than that. I'm on a coding jag at the moment. BLongley 23:24, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

I'm having too much fun fighting the spambots. And sorry, Ahasuerus... when I look at all of those Fixer-submitted children books in the queue, I want to run as far away as I can. Bony Willy the Naked Viking? Is that kiddie porn?? Published by UKUnpublished??? Fixer is both sorely lacking in taste and very indiscriminate lately. Mhhutchins 00:10, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
"Lately"? The "kiddie-porn" just prepares the little beggars for the onslaught of Werewolf/Vampire/Zombie/Faerie/Demon/etc. -shaggers to come, all pretty much soft-porn with a twist. And there's just such a high percentage of it in every batch. I never look forward to seeing what the [insert epithet] robot has dredged up. --~ Bill, Bluesman 18:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I've found mindless Editor-Series fixing to be more palatable today than dealing with "Attack of the Vampire Weenies". BLongley 19:21, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I've tried to do a few, I hope that my work is correct, BTW, do we "do" children books ?.Hauck 06:22, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, I normally remove the "MODERATOR NOTES: Detailed information available here" as the side-panel Amazon links will work anyway. And I normally try and find Author Details if we haven't got them already. And Yes, we do "do" children's books - the cut-off point is pretty low, pre-school talking animal books are out for instance. BLongley 14:57, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, I gave in and fixed most of the rest. Someone else can massage the last few "Transformers" titles and let us see an empty submission queue again. But would the Fixer-adverse Moderators please let Fixer or Ahasuerus know why they don't work on such? I've made the mistake of staying logged-in on Amazon while reviewing submissions and apparently have now been labeled as a customer well into multi-partner/species porn. :-( BLongley 20:39, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) Folks, keep in mind that Fixer's submissions merely reflect the state of the field. If readers can't get enough of what the likes of Samhain Publishing or even Ellora’s Cave give them, what can the poor robot do?

I try to weed out comics, manga, books for small children (8-32 pages plus lots of illustrations) and the occasional non-genre item before I let Fixer create submissions, but at the end of the day I can't change the fact that J. K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer have sold millions and millions of copies, so now we have thousands of juvenile/YA fantasies and vampire shaggers cluttering up the place. Hopefully, the wave will recede in the foreseeable future -- remember the explosion of SF pornography after 1968 when the US Supreme Court made it almost impossible to prosecute hardcore pornography cases? Ahasuerus 04:58, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

No. I'll have to take your word on that. ;-) Mhhutchins 14:42, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Which for some reason reminds me that we'll (eventually) need to enter Silverberg's non-genre/non-fiction titles. We are probably missing at least a couple hundred books. Ahasuerus 01:23, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
What next? Adding "The Joy of Sex" because it was illustrated by Chris Foss? BLongley 14:49, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't exactly following the field when I was 3 years old. ;-) BLongley 17:30, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
You didn't miss much. There were early attempts to capitalize on the new found openness to create "highbrow porn", but it didn't work out either commercially or artistically. The only notable works that came out of that era were Farmer's A Feast Unknown and The Image of the Beast published by Essex House. Ahasuerus 01:17, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Not that I am now, either, but some of the stuff Fixer finds takes me places I wouldn't want my parents to know about even now. BLongley 17:30, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh, it's not that bad. I don't think Fixer has submitted anything tentacles-enabled yet... Ahasuerus 01:17, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I sure hope this is the first of a series. Can't wait for the sequel.--swfritter 13:59, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Internal Consistency Pass?

I was adding the author header template to pages in the Author namespace (so that the Wiki bibliography page can be linked to the database's author page) and noticed the phrase "internal consistency pass" mentioned on several of them (including this one). What does this mean? Mhhutchins 22:31, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I think that's purely down to Ahasuerus checking authors before we opened the flood-gates to the rest of us editors. I suspect (but check with him) that if an Author wiki page contains ONLY that, then it's redundant and can be deleted. BLongley 20:43, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly it. The chronology is as follows: Al finished converting ISFDB 1.0 to 2.0 in April 2006. I started testing on May 1, 2006. By September, the major bugs were gone, so I began splitting my time between training the first generation of moderators and updating/cleaning up author biblios. By the way, I was using Amazon's lists of recent and forthcoming books for various SF-flavored genres to find popular authors, which eventually lead to Fixer's birth in November 2008.
Anyway, as Bill said, the fact that I did a preliminary pass in 2006 is of very limited value in 2011, so it's safe to delete any Author pages that contain no other data. Ahasuerus 03:18, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Then I'll delete any pages that only consist of that data. Thanks. Mhhutchins 14:43, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
There's also this page that seems to have recorded progress at the time, and might be a good jumping off point to find such. BLongley 17:22, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Fixer experiments - Part 2

Now that Fixer is done with May, he is playing with some other sources to see what he can find. There will be short bursts of activity over the next few days as I tweak certain search criteria. Ahasuerus 06:51, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Help !

I'm in the process of primary verifying the magazine "Science Fiction Monthly". For the first year, the editor listed was Aune Butt then Julie Davis. This data is incorrect as this persons are only listed as "Editorial Assistants", the real editor being Patricia Hornsey. So I changed the name of the editor and started to unmerge the publications. But it made the individual issues disappear from the magazine listing by creating stray publications under Hornsey. How can I put everything under Hornsey as editor for the first year ? Thanks. Hauck 21:10, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Unmerging does look very confusing at times. The thing to remember is that the Container title's author (in this case, the EDITOR record) should in the end match with each Publication's author. With magazines, the merging of Editor records makes it look even more confusing and I wish people didn't do so automatically - it's only to keep SOME editor's pages manageable. Here, you can find all the publications under Aune Butt, or Julie Davis. Edit each title to give the true Editor and then consider whether to remerge them by year. BLongley 21:35, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll try this tomorrow when my mind will be clearer. Hauck 21:53, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Feel free to call for help again - I'm not sure even I understand the advice I gave above! ;-) I think I can fix this if you can't, but obviously it's better to teach other people rather than do all the work for them. BLongley 00:04, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you unmerged when all you had to do was update the editor records with the correct editor's name. The reason why the magazines disappeared from the "magazine listing" is because this listing is based on the editor title being part of a series. Once you unmerged it from the series, all series data was dropped, thus deleting it from the "magazine listing" (which as I explained is actually a series listing). This series listing provides the basis for the magazine grids also. If a magazine issue's editor record has not been placed into a series, that issue will not appear on the magazine grid.
Following along with what Bill says, when a magazine issue's pub record is created, a simultaneous editor record is automatically created. If you've made a mistake in entering the editor's name, you have to update BOTH the pub record and the editor record. Doing only one of them won't complete the job. Also remember, a magazine is not really placed into a series, because magazine's don't have title records. You're actually placing the editor record into a series. Mhhutchins 01:43, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Furthermore, to follow up another point Bill brings up, the purpose behind merging editor records has been lost. It was agreed that this will a quick, easy way to disencumber some editors' summary pages, so we started the practice. (Imagine John W. Campbell's page if it contained 400 editor records for Astounding/Analog alone). It has evolved to the point now that many editor records are unnecessarily merged into annual groups. The magazine grids would function just the same regardless of how many editor title records are involved. This practice also makes it impossible to link reviews of individual issues to their records because they're all merged into annual groups. Mhhutchins 01:54, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I think I may have discovered the worst possible misuse here. Apparently ten year's worth of titles but actually only one issue! BLongley 22:01, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
There is a list of issues at and issue #24 is online. Ahasuerus 04:35, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
There was also a kind of "rebirth" of this fanzine in the 80's, I've got some issues dated from this period like this one. Hauck 08:43, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I have a question. What's the thought behind adding the volume and number in the title field of the pub record? This is not standard ISFDB practice. Volume numbering is usually placed in the note field. An exception was made for Interzone and like magazines because the issue number is prominently displayed on the cover and the issues are identified by their whole number, sometimes even more so than their monthly dating. Adding the volume number to the title field of Science Fiction Monthly adds nothing of value to the record and really bloats the magazine grid. Thanks. Mhhutchins 02:00, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
For your remark "I'm not sure why you unmerged when all you had to do was update the editor records with the correct editor's name." it's because there was (is) two merged groups for 1974, one for Bunt the other for Davies and I was tempting to made only one group with Hornsey. For "What's the thought behind adding the volume and number in the title field of the pub record?" it's in fact a leftover of French bibliographic usage where every magazine has a continous numbering (a bit like british ones) and where it's an automatic gesture to speak about e. g. "Galaxie 42" and not about "Galaxie Mai 1968". I'll correct this now. Hauck 05:47, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
For the merging by year, I also think this a strange practice except for very huge series as you said above but, as you know, my motto is "As in Rome do as the Romans". Hauck 05:50, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
I assumed that when you said "for the first year..." and "this persons" that you were referring to both "Aune Butt then Julie Davis" and that the entire first year was really edited by one person, Patricia Hornsey. Without knowing the status of the editor records before you started working on them, I can't be certain, but it's possible that the changes could have been made without unmerging any records. Mhhutchins 14:21, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
It's the case (the entire first year was really edited by one person, Patricia Hornsey) but the year was divided in two "segments" (one by Butt the other by Davies). It's very likely that there is an simpler way to do this than the way I've chosen but I'm not that efficient :-(. Hauck 16:14, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
You could have updated both incorrect editor title records to show that Patricia Hornsey was the editor, and then merged them into one title record. This would have retained the series data, leaving both the series listing and the magazine grid intact. (There weren't two segments, there were two title records, but that's semantics.) Mhhutchins 16:52, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
As you go through them, please fix the price: 25p should be entered as £0.25 for instance. BLongley 19:08, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

False award link.

On this award page the link for Best Fantasy Novel, Place No. 5 (The Merman's Children) leads to the novella from 1973, not to the novel with the same title from 1979. I don't know how to change that, so could somebody fix it? Stonecreek 17:21, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Fixed, although only Al should really be able to do that. The workaround for us mere mortals would be to unmerge all the shortfiction records, which would leave the Award hanging attached to nothing: then you can remerge the award with the novel, and remerge all the shortfiction titles without the award. Note that although we recently fixed a bug that lost page numbers and story-lengths when unmerging shortfiction, you may still have to reenter wikipedia links or series information afterwards. BLongley 14:42, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I see we have FR 3136354 to reenable award editing. Do we want that open to all or just moderators? BLongley 17:16, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
When the question last came up, Al mentioned that award editing was pretty much stable, but the user interface was still clunky. It may be best to test it locally first to see if any serious issues remain. Ahasuerus 05:50, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I did, before risking using the tools on the live database. :-) It is still clunky - manually typing in the award category is risky, but there's 374 different types so a drop-down is going to be too long unless we do something funky with linked drop-down lists. "Remove Award Information from This Title" is broken, but as you can delete the award via edit award that's probably just a typo in the script that uses "rmaward" rather than "delaward". And like many scripts in the more obscure moderating areas, we probably want to add follow-up links to ensure we've done the right thing or can go immediately to the next thing to be worked on. I can fix some of them but linked drop-down lists are currently out of my league. BLongley 17:51, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't want to go into too much detail, as if it IS decided that we want it restricted to moderators then we should close the backdoor off. But it does still need to go through the submission/approval process so maybe that isn't needed. BLongley 17:51, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
374 award types in a drop down list may not be as bad as it sounds. I'll experiment with the current implementation a bit and see if we can make it available to moderators as a first step. Ahasuerus 17:39, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
You are right, 374 isn't too bad if there's only one drop down list. And we needn't make it available to all moderators as a first step, we could restrict it to a few more individual users than the current one. We have Moderators that I still wouldn't trust to sort out a variant title mess, and non-Moderator Editors that can code for Python and MySQL far better than I currently can. Maybe we should let us both do some testing and see how it works out? If any other editor figures out how to enable it for themselves in their local copy, then they're probably worthy of being considered a potential "official" developer. BLongley 22:27, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Not sure where this is at, but here's another: Spondulix, novelette 1995 linked to 2005 Locus Poll Award, Best SF Novel; should link here instead. Albinoflea 04:31, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Fixed. BLongley 12:30, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Fantasy Magazine webzine issues

Found this issue in the database. Entered by somebody other than me but I updated the notes to indicate why I am leaving the issue in. Fantasy Magazine issues 7-47 were webzine only and the contents are not currently available online. This underscores the reason why we need screenshots of webzine ToC's if webzine data is being entered. The magazine is now being published in ebook format.--swfritter 14:00, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

I'd bet money it was the author of the single piece of fiction that's indexed. They tend to do that if a moderator let's them get away with it. I've rejected more than a few submissions from authors of stories that have appeared on webzines. Mhhutchins 14:46, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I think it was actually the current editor of the magazine. Although the editor record had the correct names of the editors at that time, the current editor's name was entered as the editor in the pub. The pros have very legitimate reasons for wanting there work to be indexed here. And we have our own legitimate bibliographic concerns.--swfritter 16:46, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the follow-up link

I've just noticed there's a link back to the review record, once a moderator has approved the linking of the review record to the title record. Thanks to the person who suggested the feature and those who implemented it. I had thought how nice it would be to go back to the review record, but just never got around to asking for it! Is there a list somewhere that let's us know what new features have been added? Mhhutchins 15:06, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Development/Recent_Patches shows what has just gone live - look at the bottom and you'll see this was a Feature added a couple of days ago. Ahasuerus normally makes a separate announcement if it's anything major. BLongley 16:13, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Bill has added similar links to the Publisher Merge page, but, of course, we don't use it as often. Ahasuerus 05:56, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Or maybe people have held off using it because of the lack of such? OK, that's unlikely. But I do know that despite fixing the loss of page-numbers and title-length when unmerging contents, there's still a bit of reluctance to use it. (Even from me, when considering whether to do such to correct a Novel award given to a component novella, see above.) BLongley 18:17, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
It's nice to be thanked when we did something right, but it would be even nicer to get more people involved in suggesting features, reporting bugs, getting involved in design change discussions or just plain testing. When development opened up we got a lot of support for early "low-hanging fruit" improvements - should I go back to supporting my desired changes with screenshots? Some of them would be time-consuming to recreate, e.g. I've submitted a quick and dirty solution to the lack of "My Verifications" but as we remove User-info from the downloadable backups I can't easily demonstrate how it would look for our most prolific verifiers as they have no User-info in the backup. (OK, I did develop some fix-scripts to recreate dummy users that could be adapted, but haven't done so yet.) BLongley 18:17, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Or should I just explain things more? The example of "My Verifications" is limited to each user's PRIMARY Verifications and sorts them in verification date order, assuming that it's the earliest ones that are most cringe-worthy. I don't know if that is worth putting live as is, or if it needs improvements - I just threw it into the pot as better than nothing. BLongley 18:17, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
To distinguish the real FR from the April Fool's posts, I offer you this: look at the bottom left for the new link that will display such. PrimVer.jpg
That's me confessing to all my earliest verifications, in order - which is probably the priority for those of us now embarrassed about our early mistakes. (And No, I can't embarrass the Moderators that let each mistake through - the data is not available for testing such.) The addition is meant for each editor to review their early edits at leisure. It's easy to add details about when you did it, if that's important: other features like sorting by Author are more complex. I suspect that Ahasuerus or another programmer might want to break it down into the usual chunks of 100 titles at a time, to allow us biggest offenders to review without bringing the server to its knees. BLongley 23:59, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I look forward to this going live, for the reason you give Bill (checking early verifications) and to see which ones I simply failed to verify after entering all of the info. Knowing I have BOOK X and not seeing it on the list lets me know that the verification was missed in the creation process. How soon can we expect to see this? (And reassure me again that this is not an April Fool's joke.) Mhhutchins 00:08, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
It's real, not an April Fool. It's clumsy, as are most of my totally new additions to ISFDB software. I'm getting fairly confident with small fixes and improvements, but the bigger the change the more wary we (well, Ahasuerus mostly) have to be before putting it live. A recent small change for post-approval links caused Ahasuerus more stress than should have been necessary, so caution is understood. BLongley 00:47, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm thinking of a new FR: when we "Verify Publication" it stamps a date on it, if we come back to it later with improvements, there should be a QUICK link to RE-Verify it as of current date. BLongley 01:04, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I got some feedback from Ahasuerus, so the latest version looks like this. Pub Type and Date Verified have been added, and there's one entry per pub rather than per pub author:


There's still the issue of a similar display by Author - how do we deal with multiple Authors? Would people still prefer one record per pub, and if so under which author - the first alphabetically? Or have one entry per pub/author so that it will appear in the place you filed it on your book-shelf (if you're like me and file books by author)? BLongley 18:59, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

[unindent] I shelf novels and single-author collections alphabetically by author and separately from anthologies which are shelved alphabetically by title. If multiple authors, then the first author named on the cover. Will we be able to sort by type, title, or author? Mhhutchins 19:34, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

As ISFDB doesn't guarantee the order of authors, we have a problem. Either we enforce an order so a publication appears only once, or we put an entry in the list for each author, or most awkward of all, enter it with all authors at every point in the author ordered list that applies. That could make a single verification of Atlanta Nights very long! We can order by all sorts of things - if somebody catalogues books by ISBN within publisher we could cope with that. I'm tempted to ask Ahasuerus to put the above version live, if I've addressed his concerns, and see what improvements people ask for. It's possible that our most prolific verifiers will cause problems for the script anyway, before we add any more complexity. BLongley 21:23, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
Looks much better, lots of useful improvements! I hope to be able to review/test it on Friday. Ahasuerus 05:00, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Fixer - 2009 revisited

As some of you must have realized by now, Fixer has been revisiting 2009 recently. The algorithm has been changed to pick higher visibility targets first, so hopefully the quality of submissions is somewhat higher. There is another 170ish 2009 ISBNs sitting in Fixer's queue and then I will do the same thing with 2008. Ahasuerus 06:16, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

I still didn't really rate many of the submissions highly - too many juveniles still. And reworking old titles did mean some "Add Pub" needed title edits afterward. (But it's good that we are warned about such now.) It might be worth teaching Fixer about Canadian Imports. BLongley 18:22, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Can I point out that seeing any "X, the Y Fairy" submissions does make most moderators run away? Let's lose all the Rainbow Magic entries from automatic submissions please. BLongley 22:24, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Most moderators are ignoring Fixer submissions anyway, regardless of the titles. I wonder what we can do to at least make them take a chance with a few of them. I've found that once I get on a roll, they become less onerous. It's only later that I feel guilty that I've set aside my own projects to work on the submissions. Maybe that's the reason moderators tend to stay away from them. Mhhutchins 23:13, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
The biggest drawback to doing Fixer is it's a hole that never stays full. I've spent up to a couple of hours slogging through the dreck, get the last one done and in three minutes there's another 70-80 in the queue. And it's the same dreck. Then aversion takes over for quite some time. I don't even open any submissions that are obviously kids' 'stuff' any more. I've no hair left to pull out, but the scalp gets a good buffeting! ;-) --~ Bill, Bluesman 02:03, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
For any given month, Fixer is run at least twice and usually 3-4 times. The first pass takes place 4-8 weeks before the month starts and is reasonably clean since, for the most part, only major publishers have their wares advertised on Amazon at that point. The second and subsequent passes are "cleanup" passes and tend to be less interesting, but they also catch books published by respected small presses that we may not be able to find otherwise.
It would be easy to limit Fixer to one pass per month, but would it be desirable? Ahasuerus 05:00, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure which is most off-putting - the quantity or quality. Smaller numbers might persuade more moderators to try for "No Submissions present". (Perhaps we should put in a new feature that scores moderators a point each time they clear the queue?) And smaller batches could mean that there will be more "Add Pub"s rather than "New Pub"s as simultaneous hc and tp releases are less likely to be submitted in the same batch, so less merging is needed? BLongley 15:54, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Just what I need..."points". Still, smaller batches are less daunting. When I see a queue with 50 Fixer submissions, I keep my head down and creep in. Each time I come back to the queue I hope to see it getting smaller, but it's painfully slow at the start. Once it gets down to less than 20, it seems that the remainder are a breeze. It's psychological of course, but I like the idea of smaller batches. Now if more moderators participated, that would be even better. :) Mhhutchins 16:38, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
YOU don't need the points - you are Top Moderator and Top Contributor, and are likely to remain so unless I outlive you. (I'm not sure I trust "Top Verifiers" - must check the code for that.) Something to encourage other moderators might be good though. BLongley 22:43, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
OK, let's try smaller bacthes and see how it goes. Ahasuerus 17:05, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Embarrassingly, there was a major bug in the "find the good stuff" algorithm that I used for 2009. I have recalibrated Fixer and he submitted 20 books which seems to be of better quality. Ahasuerus 21:20, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
The new algorithm used by Fixer did OK for a while, but the last 50ish submissions were mostly self-published stuff. I should have cut them off earlier, sorry. In any event, all "US-2009" books have been submitted and there are only 73 "UK-2009" ISBNs in Fixer's queue.
As far as the indefatigable "Daisy Meadows" crew goes, I do feel a little guilty about letting their stuff in, so I try to process them myself. They are all gone now. Ahasuerus 23:19, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, "UK-2009" has been submitted. Re: Canada, yes, I have plans to query as well, but first I need to re-do Fixer's basic table structure. At this time, and Amazon UK are two separate and unrelated "sources", which make things rather painful. If I were to add more sources without changing the table structure, it would be a complete and utter mess. Once I clean everything up, it will be easy to add other sources like, Australian bookstores, library catalogs, etc. Ahasuerus 01:30, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
The good news is that they're cleared again. The bad news is that somebody should go back and find the earlier "Fairy Blossoms", "Glitterwings Academy" and "Kernowland" series books at least. (No, I'm not volunteering.) BLongley 16:07, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

[unindent] It appears that those submissions without publisher with ISBN 97814395 should be Paw Prints. Should I update the pubs that were accepted with a blank publisher field? Mhhutchins 03:55, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

It looks like all of these publisher-free pubs are "library bindings", which is Paw Prints's specialty, so I think we can safely update the records as long as we indicate the source of publisher info. Ahasuerus 04:01, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
And what is IndyPublish? $88 for a 48-page paperback? When you can read it for free? Mhhutchins 04:07, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
It's a print on demand company, which, according to their Web page, "is dedicated to leveraging on advanced technologies to help independent authors" (sic). They are not listed by Preditors & Editors, but if you ignore the hype, they appear to be reasonably honest about what they offer and what they do not offer, e.g. they state that "Promotion of the book is the responsibility of the author". At one point I considered adding them to Fixer's "auto-suspend" list, but they seem to reprint a fair number of classic stories. Ahasuerus 04:25, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
The indypublish classics are mostly overpriced editions of out-of-copyright Google Books which are available free as ebooks from Google Books and apparently some Project Gutenberg titles. I might note that those scanned Google Books are not proofread like Project Gutenberg pubs and often are an annoying adventure to attempt to read. There are usually disclaimers about the quality of indypublish pubs. As direct reprints of the scanned Google Books pages they are probably easier to read than the ebook versions which have to go through the OCR process.--swfritter 13:20, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Promotion by the author? I think all of the authors are dead and the books are supposed to be public domain. The Poul Anderson story is a possible exception as it may still be under copyright. Project Gutenberg may have misread the copyright laws.--swfritter 13:33, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Indypublish claim that their goal is to provide self-publishing services to aspiring authors (in addition to reprinting out of copyright texts), but they seem to have a moratorium on new manuscripts in place at the moment. Ahasuerus 17:00, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
And this verifies something that I suspected. Free Google books have been disappearing when they become available in way over-priced POD editions. And sold through the Google Books portal. All those volunteers who scanned the books for free must feel a little used and abused.--swfritter 22:45, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Support for multiple web links at title level - maybe a bit dangerous?

I've submitted software additions to help with Support for multiple web links at title level, but I'm wondering if I should also have provided a fix-script to populate Librivox and Gutenberg webpages from notes. Maybe also "Strange Horizons" and other things like "" that people have considered note-worthy. The more I think about it, the more I think this will open up several cans of worms. Please tell me that you're happy to deal with the worms. Or tell me which cans you'd like me to find. BLongley 23:13, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

The Project Gutenberg web links are now implemented with an Other Sites link although almost nobody is going to realize the purpose of the link. Indeed, editors could use this feature to link to all kinds of references to a title other than just the to an online or downloadable version. The law of unintended consequences. Without the aliasing the content of the linked page will not be immediately apparent. If the editor could enter brackets around the web address and the alias the way we do on a wiki page that would be nice. It does not appear that there is a lot of interest in PG and Librivox web pages.--swfritter 13:55, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, somebody's entered over a thousand Librivox title note links, which is why I thought of a script - I wouldn't want to do them manually! With PG we have far less as people enter separate publications and use pub notes for the link instead - and we haven't got publication level webpages (yet?). BLongley 16:04, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Call me Mr. Librivox. Also Mr. Google and and Mr. Barnes & Noble / Google. Unfortunately, Librivox does not have pub identifiers and therefore no way to generate a web address built from that identifier. The Librivox title note links are entered consistently so it is possible to parse them very accurately. The Google Books and Barnes & Noble / Google id's can also be used to built links although the pubs themselves may be a little vaporish.--swfritter 21:45, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Populating the Project Gutenberg web addresses would be a relatively simple task and would, for the most part, not duplicate any links found in the notes. I think there are a minority of Project Gutenberg titles that have wiki links in the notes at the title level. Since the notes for Librivox, etc. would have to be updated anyway that would project would require removing the link from the note and updating the link field.--swfritter 13:23, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

New Submission type

I'm not sure when (or even if) this will be implemented, but I've noticed that there are stray Publication Tags around. So Version 3 of the Data Cleanup scripts for moderators will help find them:


As you can see, there's been a lot of typos but they are not cleaned up automatically when corrected. So I've also modified the tags screen to include a Delete option:


However, deleting a Tag that is still used would be a bit dangerous, so I've made it go through the usual Submission/Moderation process, which is where you lot come in. I've made it so that you can see if it's still used, and if so who and what use it: and hopefully the deleter will explain why:


This has been a useful experiment for me, as I've learned how to create entirely new submission types, so if people hate the idea I won't mind if this is rejected. It may be that we only ever want to allow stray Tag deletion and ensure even Moderators cannot delete Tags that are used until they're made unused. Comments please? BLongley 18:57, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Thinking aloud, again - maybe we should only allow mass Tag Deletion from the owner of such Tags? (Moderators excepted - I still can't see why we have a tag of "novel".) BLongley 23:34, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
There appears to be a terminological problem here: "Publication Tags" are tags associated with Publication records, e.g. "MTTRFTMTXJ2011", and we expect to retire them later this year. The tags listed above are associated with Title records.
Oops! Yes, I got the title wrong. BLongley 13:09, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
As far as moderator oversight of Title tags goes, it's been a controversial issue in the Web 2.0 world for some time. Al consciously designed Tags and votes as a separate (and inherently subjective) part of the system with no moderator oversight. It was an experiment to see what users will do with them and the results have been interesting, e.g. who knew that some users will use tags to create reading lists?
Having said that, one thing that Web 2.0 developers have learned over the last few years is that "crowd-sourcing" becomes really useful once you have 40+ users contributing information about an item. We are unlikely to get that level of participation, but what we currently have is still useful.
Based on the above, I don't think we want to allow moderators to change users' tags. The only exception that I can think of is deleting tags that are no longer associated with titles, but that should be a one time deal now that the software has been corrected to delete tags when their titles are deleted. We just need to write a script to get rid of the stragglers. Ahasuerus 04:27, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
OK, I'll use the SQL that I intended for the Moderator screen to create a one-off fix script instead. BLongley 13:09, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Thinking further - we haven't quite finished fixing tag deletion - we now tidy up tag_mappings at title deletion, but we don't then check for unused tags. So it wouldn't be a one-off fix script just yet. BLongley 13:41, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Right, we will need to enhance the pub deletion script to delete unused tags. We will need to update submittags.cgi to delete unused tags. Ahasuerus 23:22, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

((Unindent)) The proposed new submission type has been withdrawn. It has been replaced with several new potential headaches for Ahasuerus though, so go easy on him for now. ;-) BLongley 00:24, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Jaida n'ha Sandra

I submitted an author update to this author, changing her "last name" field from "Sandra" to "n'ha Sandra", and thought I should explain why. This is the way her name is listed on her Master's Degree. The "n'ha" term translates as "daughter of", and acts like a "von" in, say "von Humboldt". Chavey 02:38, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Mary Austin's "The Readjustment"

I have a change to make that requires multiple steps. Since that will require waiting on multiple moderator approvals and will probably raise questions, I figured I'd list it here with the hopes that a moderator will make the changes.

Mary Austin is currently listed as a pseudonym for Jane Rice. However, the story The Readjustment is actually by a "real" Mary Austin. Therefore, I am recommending the following changes:

  1. The variant relationship between 101020 and 192779 needs to be broken
  2. The 192779 title record should be edited to
    • change the author to "Mary Austin (1868-1934)"
    • change the year to "1908-04-00"
    • add a note of "First published in Harper's April 1908"
  3. The new author record should be edited to
    • set the legal name to "Austin, Mary Hunter"
    • set the birth date to "1868-09-09"
    • set the death date to "1934-08-13"
    • set the Wikipedia link to ""
  4. The 101020 and 1253952 title records should be deleted

This leads to a feature request: It would be nice to have an optional "Reason for Change" or "Note to Moderator" field added to various edit screens. This would allow editors to add an explanation for changes that are not necessarily self-evident. The explanation would be displayed to the moderator and would not need to kept after moderator approval / rejection.

Thanks. --JLaTondre 16:30, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Your intentions are clear. Please feel free to make the submissions. And I agree that the feature you outline is a good idea. It might even already be on the requested features list. Anyone remember? Mhhutchins 21:04, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
That sounds like FR 2811812. I think I've now learned enough about the software to implement such, but there's a lot of screens involved. Would anybody care to suggest which we should work on first? BLongley 21:40, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I'll just knock up an example from the first step above. Editor gets this:


and moderator sees this:


We can allow for more text in the reason, or reposition or highlight differently. But is this a good start? BLongley 22:43, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
It's also an opportunity to clarify that this is used to break relationships as well as make them - I see I did a bit of that on the first screen, forgot to do it on the second. But I haven't thrown it into Ahasuerus' ever-increasing testing workload, so there's still time to fix that. BLongley 23:15, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Good idea -- Fixer absolutely loves it! BTW, if we are messing with the submission table anyway, we may want to add a new field for "new pub ID", which will let us link New Pubs from the "Recent Submissions" pages. Ahasuerus 04:30, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Ooh, if Fixer's willing to use it then we should be able to reduce the number of times a follow-up pub edit is required. When Amazon does get everything right, it's a shame to still have to edit the pub to remove the Moderator notes. BLongley 13:48, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
OK, here's how it would look if Fixer used Mod Notes - any good? BLongley 15:42, 11 April 2011 (UTC)


Looks great to me. I'm assuming the Amazon source will still be entered into the Note field? Mhhutchins 15:50, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I would hope so - I don't expect Fixer to change what's in the submission, just to split it between desirable permanent notes and transient Moderator notes. (Even the transient notes won't totally disappear, we'll still be able to see them in the submissions table, although just via mod\dumpxml.cgi at first - I'll look into making investigation of past submissions a bit easier.) BLongley 15:58, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I've tossed AddPub and NewPub improvements like this into the development queue for Ahasuerus to look at. He may want to implement just the bits that Fixer can use at first, before letting humans have a go too (Sorry, JLaTondre!) - but unless I've overlooked something major it shouldn't be too difficult to roll out to other submission types. BLongley 02:15, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Self-Published books on

The amazon record indicates the publisher is the same as the author for this submission. does have a self-publishing option. Since the book does have an isbn I presume it is in?--swfritter 13:20, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

The only difference in this case is that the author named himself as the publisher. There are thousands of books on Amazon (and many of which are in this db) which are self-published with the publisher names created by the author. I would say the book is in. Mhhutchins 13:55, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I figured as much. It is kind of nostalgic to remember a time when one could read every speculative fiction publication printed during a given year.--swfritter 14:02, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Never again... Mhhutchins 15:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I notice it doesn't yet have an "Amazon Bestsellers Rank" - is that because it hasn't sold any yet? If so, as it's Print-on-Demand, has it really been published yet? BLongley 15:52, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
There's at least one, the authors copy.Kraang 00:55, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Data cleanup scripts are now available

Moderators can now access a new option, "Cleanup Scripts", which appears as a "Moderator Only Link" in the navigation bar.

Please note that some of these scripts can take a fair amount of time to come back with the data. It's best not to run them too often, in part because it can slow the system down for everyone else. Once you have run one of the scripts, e.g. "Find Empty Series" or "Find HTML Problems in Publication Notes", you will have up to 100 records to work with, which should keep you busy for some time. Also, keep in mind that if two or more moderators are working on the same script at the same time, a collision is possible, especially if you are working on something non-trivial like fixing Notes. Ahasuerus 02:44, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Ahasuerus! I appreciate that testing these was not trivial. Hopefully some of these scripts will become redundant once we get to zero results, and have fixed the underlying causes. BLongley 02:50, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
I think Kraang has spotted the "Find Empty Series" already. :-) BLongley 03:15, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for these scripts, Mhhutchins found that my use of => was generating errors ("HTML problems"), he (and me for the last one) corrected this. Hauck 15:34, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Cleanup Script for Empty Series

I deleted all of the empty series but one which is obviously not empty. What's up? Mhhutchins 06:54, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. It looks like there are two series called "Starshore", #27949 and #27950, both with the same contents. --Willem H. 08:20, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
There are safeguards in place to prevent two different series from having the same name, but apparently they failed in this case. The result was that although only 27949 had contents and 27950 didn't, both series seemed to contain the same titles. Ahasuerus 15:51, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like there is a duplicate prevention failure problem, and maybe a display problem. I hoped to retire the script after FR 3127756 "Enable series auto-deletion" is fixed, but if there are still ways to mess up series that may be premature. :-( BLongley 20:56, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
We can easily implement automatic series deletion in 95%+ of all cases, but nested series will be trickier. Consider series A which contains nothing but series B. Series B, in turn, contains only one title, C. When title C is deleted, we can check the series that it belongs to (i.e. B), determine that it's now empty and delete it. However, by deleting series B, we have made series A eligible for automatic deletion as well, so the logic will have to be recursive. Ahasuerus 03:29, 14 April 2011 (UTC)
The way to fix series and authors with identical names is to change the name to something else. In this case I changed "Starshore" to "Starshore1", which only affected 27950. At that point the two series were separated and I deleted Starshore1. Ahasuerus 15:51, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Fixer - June 2011

Fixer finished processing 2009 and late 2008 about 24 hours ago and switched to June 2011. The first couple of dozen submissions have been created. Ahasuerus 06:06, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

All major publishers have been submitted. There are another 150ish books by minor publishers in Fixer's queue. They will be massaged and submitted over the next few days -- most likely they will be more problematic than what we have seen over the last 4 days. Ahasuerus 04:57, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
June was completed this morning -- thanks to everyone who chimed in! I'll ask Fixer to look for late 2008 books overnight. Ahasuerus 04:08, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Any Mod fed up with multiple submissions putting titles in a series?

If so, is this: ISFDB:Community_Portal#Who_wants_this_feature_-_move_multiple_titles_into_a_series.3F a good solution? I don't know if it will decrease Mod Workloads with fewer submissions, or increase it with more checking needed. BLongley 23:10, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Here's the sort of problem I expect you're all fed up with: Image posted as I'm sure someone else will have cleared it up shortly while I sleep.

Laser Fodder.jpg

Or maybe not - I reiterate, I'm happy with other Moderators moderating my submissions. BLongley 00:50, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
You're welcome. Mhhutchins 02:07, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Ta muchly! It seems swfritter is happy to take requests for mass series entry, so I've put the FR on the back burner for now and concentrated on more data cleanup scripts. BLongley 18:58, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Data Cleanup Scripts - the Next Generation

I've removed the controversial one (unused Publication Tags) and overloaded Ahasuerus with a few more. If they all get by, the menu will change like this: NewCleanupScripts.jpg

and the new scripts will generate results like this, MultipleEditors.jpg

this, StrayPubAuthors.jpg

this, StrayInterviewsandReviews.jpg

this, VTsofVTs.jpg

this, VariantsofMissingTitles.jpg

and this: SeriesofVariants.jpg

Those results are all from a backup of the live database (albeit a bit of an old one) so even those of you without personal testing versions of the software should be able to check whether I've made a major cock-up in any of them. BLongley 18:56, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Call for Help

Bill Longley has written a script to find reviews which are linked to shortfiction title records (listed here), and another one to find malformed chapterbook records (listed here). Working on the first list is pretty straight-forward. I've found that many of them were mistakenly auto-linked to shortfiction records which were identical (in author and title) to book title records. The easiest way to correct the link is to click on the review record, go the author's summary page, search for a book title (usually a collection, chapterbook or novel) which has the same or similar name. Click on that title, copy the record number, go back to the review, click on "Link Review to Title" and paste the correct record number into the field. (My personal basis for linking is determined by the proximity in time from the review to any publication of the title, from a few months before to a year after.) You may very well find that the review was ACTUALLY a review of a shortfiction piece. Occasionally, you may have to ask the verifier of the review record, if there is one, which type is being reviewed.

Keep in mind that many of them were linked to shortfiction records because the chapterbooks didn't contain title records. That will have to be corrected as well, which brought about the second script which found malformed chapterbooks. Working on this list is going to be tougher, because there's a variety of reasons why the pub records are malformed. Some are missing a chapterbook title record, some are missing a content record, some are even missing both. And some contain novel title records which will have to be removed, and replaced by a chapterbook title record and a shortfiction content record. You must be well versed in how the db handles chapterbooks. If you wish to volunteer to clear the lists, don't hesitate to approach either Bill or me with any questions or concerns. Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:08, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

We've mostly cleared up the first list, and learned enough to propose software improvements. However, the chapterbook problems list still looks a bit daunting. Please consider doing a few and then telling me how it could be made easier - I'd rather code a fix than work on hundreds of titles. Or even write a better set of help-pages on chapterbooks. (If I'm volunteering to do documentation, you know there must be something wrong!) BLongley 23:29, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I've worked with these before and there fairly easy to fix once you get the hang of it. I added a link under "Bibliographic Projects in Progress" off the Main Page to make it easy to find.Kraang 01:44, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, I've starting working on the chapterbooks list and it's not as bad as I first thought. Every record I've worked on is simply missing a chapterbook title record, which is pretty easy to add. All editors should be able to work on this; it doesn't even take a knowledge of how the db handles chapterbooks. It does bring up another matter... someone will have to write a script that finds chapterbooks with missing shortfiction records. Bill??? Mhhutchins 04:20, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Some Guidance on the Cleanup Scripts

I'll probably get thrown out of the Geeks club for this, but I actually wrote some documentation here: Help:Screen:Moderator#Cleanup_Scripts. If it's misleading, feel free to correct it. If it could be improved, do so. If it's great, tell me. If you don't comment - well, I'll probably not bother explaining the next batch that go live as you're all obviously clued up enough that you don't NEED documentation. ;-) BLongley 00:28, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

No documentation was necessary because they were so well written. (Send payment in unmarked bills to that Swiss bank account I told you about.) Mhhutchins 00:38, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the review, I'll send you your 10% when I start making some money from this. ;-) I see "Data Cleanup Scripts - the Next Generation" above hasn't got any comments yet, so there may be a bit of a delay. Perhaps I should write "ISFDB Usage for Dummies", "ISFDB Editing for Dummies" and "ISFDB Moderating for Dummies" and release them on Amazon in Kindle format? BLongley 00:53, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Some little things to make your life easier



I added a link to the publication that someone wanted to update. But here:


we don't have such a link. Yet. These are easy to add though, so which Mod screens would you like extra links on? BLongley 01:28, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

No comments? Is the Moderating life really such an easy one? I've found four (so far) that I'd like to improve, but if nobody else wants them it'll be difficult to persuade Ahasuerus to put them live. BLongley 23:22, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I would like a link back on every submission that either updates a pub, adds a pub to a title, updates a title, creates a new variant (back to the original record), or makes one record a variant of another (links to both records). In other words, any submission that affects an existing record. Mhhutchins 23:41, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
A little vague, but I get your drift. How about REMOVING links though? e.g. this to add one:


and this to remove one? ( A link to title ID Zero would be pointless.)


BLongley 00:23, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I can already see that the second big header ought to be clearer about the fact that we're removing a title link. Still, I'd like to get some feedback before overworking our testers. BLongley 00:58, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
We seem to have slipped several of these changes live without comment: FR 3298137 "Improve link to pub from Edit Pub approval screen", FR 3298138 "Link series from the Edit Series approval screen", FR 3298140 "Link publisher from the Merge Publisher approval screen", FR 3298141 "Link existing title from the Make Variant approval screen", and FR 3298145 "Add links to Publisher/Series/Author changes/merges". I presume that these haven't caused any problems or there would be a complaint by now, but are people finding these helpful? And if so, what other submissions do we want this sort of thing on? BLongley 14:42, 15 May 2011 (UTC)