Publisher:Project Gutenberg

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This page is for noting Bibliographic and other issues with works published by Project Gutenberg.

Please use the talk page to discuss procedures, while this page documents currently accepted or recommended procedures.

Project Gutenberg's Wikipedia article.

Listing as publisher

When we enter as a publication of a work an etext from Project Gutenberg, we list the publisher as "Project Gutenberg", considering that such an etext forms a new and separate edition of the work.

Etext number

All Project Gutenberg works are identified by an "etext number" which is a persistent identifier. Moreover, given the etext number, a canonical URL can be automatically generated (for etext nnnnn it is ""). Please enter this in the "Catalog ID" field. Enter a work with etext number 12345 as "#12345" (just an example) without including the label "etext".

Separate publication

In many cases, particularly for SF, Project Gutenberg publishes an individual work of short fiction as a separate etext, often scanned from the original magazine version. Please enter these publications as chapbooks.

Date Field

Use Gutenberg Release Date, Not Original Publication Date

Since a Project Gutenberg edition is a new publication, the date for the publication should be entered as found on the details page for the ebook or in the beginning of the ebook, and not the original publication date of the work.

Example: Burrough's The Princess of Mars was originally published in 1912. (It was also originally published as a magazine serial under a different name, but that is not part of this example). The Project Gutenberg edition of The Princess of Mars was first released in 1993. If you look at the details page for this ebook at Project Gutenberg, you can easily seen when this edition was first released. For this example, you would input '1993-04-01' in the Date Field.

Price field

Please enter 0 for the price. There is discussion on going as to whether to use a currency symbol (as "$0.00" or "L0.00") or not, see the talk page for the discussion.

Title and Author fields

Places for Possibly Wrong Information

On the root (metadata) page, where PG lists the available formats for a work, the author's name may be given as whatever PG sees as a canonical name for the author; don't use this. The title may also be regularized; don't use this. Similarly, at the top of a PG ebook, there may be a title line giving the author and title as part of the PG header text; don't use this. (It may be appropriate to put something about any of these in the pub notes, particularly in the case of information actually in the ebook. Information on the root (metadata) page is more likely to change than information in the ebook itself, so notes about that may sometimes go out of date very quickly.)

Places to Get the Correct Information

  1. The forms of the author's name and of the title on the transcribed title page take precedence over all the above examples, just as the forms on the title page of a printed book take precedence over the dust jacket, cover, spine, or copyright page. This is merely the application to PG ebooks of the ISFDB's standard rule that the title page is the definitive source for the author's name and the book's title.
  2. If the HTML or other edition includes a scan of the originally published title page, that is also an acceptable source of the author's name and the title of the work. If there is a discrepency between the transcribed title page, and the title page image, then use whichever you feel is more correct, but please place a note in the database about the discrepancy.


As discussed in Tags for Gutenberg titles, User:Swfritter, User:DESiegel60 and some others have been adding user tags to titles which exist in Project Gutenberg editions. This effort is using only 26 distinct tags: all PG pubs by authors whose last name begins with A get the tag "pga", all PG pubs by authors whose last name begins with B get the tag "pgb", and so on. This is in effect a hack to provide a search by publisher/author for PG titles only.

Pages fields

In most cases, the page number fields and all fields for page count of the work are left blank for Project Gutenberg publications. or "unpaginated" may be entered for the page count.


It has been suggested that for an ebook collection or anthology "placeholder" page numbers of 1, 2, 3... be entered to preserve the order of the contents, but there is not yet any consensus on this. Other users have suggested using "10, 20, 30..." instead, to allow for possible later insertions. Some users are now entering such "placeholders", when, and only when, it seems to them that the order of the items in a work is significant to the overall effect of the work.

Discussion on whether, and if so how, to make this a common practice is in progress.

Actual page numbers

In some cases, the HTML version of a project Gutenberg text includes indications of page numbers, normally matching those in the source text fairly closely. (The practice seems to be becoming more common in recent PG editions.) In such cases, please treat these just as if they were physical page numbers in a printed volume.

Binding field

Please enter the binding as "ebook".


Project Gutenberg etexts are always made available in a pure ASCII format. Frequently other formats, such as HTML, Plucker, and the like are also available for a given text. Please include an entry in the notes field documenting the formats available for a given etext. For example: "This ebook is available in ASCII and HTML formats".


Please include a link to the actual Project Gutenberg edition in the notes field. For example:

This ebook edition is available in HTML, ASCII, and other formats as <a href="">Ebook #99999</a>.

The link should, as in the example, go to the root page for the etext, rather than to any of the actual texts. The root page is always at an address like "", where "nnnn" is the etext number. The root page lists and links to the available formats and compression methods, and gives metadata for the text.

Data for other editions

The more recent Project Gutenberg editions of texts, particularly in the HTML formats, often include the copyright page of the source edition (the edition from which the text was transcribed). (This is more often the case when the source text was a book and not an excerpt from a magazine. It is also more common in more recent PG editions.) Also, in some cases, advertisements for other works by the same publisher are reproduced. Both of these sources may be drawn on to enter publications from the time of the source text. Such texts are often old enough that comparatively few ISFDB editors have copies. Library records, such as Worldcat/OCLC, rarely give original price information for long out-of-print volumes, while advertisements almost always do provide price data.

Project Gutenberg Speculative Fiction

Publisher:Project Gutenberg/List of Speculative Fiction by Author holds a list of PG titles currently indexed in the ISFDB, based on the pg? tags which have been applied to many (but not all) such titles. Note that this may include titles with a PG edition, where that edition has not been indexed in the ISFDB. See also the list by published year, which includes all of, and only those, publications where a PG edition has been indexed.