Rules and standards discussions/Archive/Archive02

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This archive includes discussions from March - June 2007‎.

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Expanded archive listing


Out or In?

Which way books from Pocket Books where the decisions you make determine which page you go to next in the story. My inclination is Out. rbh 22:15, 6 Mar 2007 (CST)

I'd use the same rules we do for RPGs which is if they are speculative fiction or closely related to a published specfict work or series then we usually include them. Many of the books I have though that are like this, such as the Choose Your Own Adventure series books, are not specfict (well, some of the adventures the young children get involved with are specfict as I know the average parent will not let their pre-teen kid go off on a trip by herself through the jungles of Southeast Asia, etc. with zero adult supervision <g>). Marc Kupper (talk) 03:28, 7 Mar 2007 (CST)

Invasion of the Mutants is definitely specfict, the reader is a member of the Galactic Starsquad. The Policy was fuzzy on this so I thought I would ask. I think this was abandoned to me by one of my kids. Thanks. rbh 06:00, 7 Mar 2007 (CST)

Something like this is counted as in: and I agree with that mostly, if only as a warning NOT to buy the book if you like linear reading. We don't have a suitable classification for it though. "NONGENRE" is slightly inaccurate, and "Book for people that like not knowing what's going to happen next, just like clicking random links on the World Wide Web, or here especially" needs a snappy abbreviation before I can get it introduced. "NOVEL" is right out unless you're William Burroughs. BLongley 16:16, 7 Mar 2007 (CST)

SFBC editions

I'm relatively new to the ISFDB so excuse me if these questions have been answered elsewhere. A site search came up with no results. When entering info for a book published by the SFBC, should the publisher be entered as "SFBC" or the name that is actually on the book. When the SFBC reprinted hardcover editions they almost always used the original publisher's names as the book club edition's publisher. When reprinting a paperback edition, they almost always used the "Nelson Doubleday" imprint. Or at least this was the case during the time when I was in the club (from the mid-70s to around 1990.) The "Nelson Doubleday" imprint was also used for omnibus editions or other first "as thus" editions. Also the prices and dates were never published in the book, though I've retained (anal-retentive only begins to describe my collecting habits) the original flyers which announced the upcoming books. I've noticed in many instances in the ISFDB that these book club editions indicate "SFBC" as the publisher, though that is never the printed publisher's name. And that the SFBC number from the book's dustcover is used as the catalog #. Finally, my question: Is there a standard protocol for the entry of information for SFBC editions? Mhhutchins 15:21, 7 Mar 2007 (CST)

I'm one of those who tends to set Publisher as SFBC, because it helps to quickly identify book club editions, and because they really are the publisher in most cases: they often reset type (hence the variation in page count), they specify the binding and materials, etc. I don't think there's exactly an agreed standard, but I would not mind seeing one. (Scott Latham 16:24, 7 Mar 2007 (CST))
Keep in mind that things have changed in the last 10-15 years. The SFBC logo is now prominently displayed on the dust jacket and on the title page. The copyright page typically explains when/where the novel(s) were originally published and when the SFBC edition was published. To quote the SFBC omnibus that I was about to enter:
"Undead and Unwed", Copyright @ 2004 by MaryJanice Davidson Alongi; Berkley Sensation (tm) paperback edition: March 2004
"Undead and Unemployed" Copyright @ 2004 by MaryJanice Davidson Alongi; Berkley Sensation (tm) paperback edition: August 2004
[2 more titles snipped]
Science Fiction Book club omnibus edition: December 2005
[disclaimers snipped]
Published by arrangements with 
The Berkley Publishing Group
A Division of Penguin Putnam (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014

Visit The SFBC online at www.sfbc.com
Visit the Penguin Group online at www.penguin.com

ISBN 0-7394-6139-7
For older SFBC editions which had no (or misleading) ISBN/publisher information, I find the "Doubleday/SFBC" convention to be useful, but I don't think we have a hard and fast rule yet. Ahasuerus 17:12, 7 Mar 2007 (CST)
Many of the newer SFBC editions cannot be identified as such without the dustcover. They have the same ISBN, cover artist (if listed on the publication data page), page count, quality, weight, and no indication that they are other than a later printing by the original publisher. I enter all SFBC books that do not specifically state SFBC as the "publisher" as "SFBC/Doubleday" so that people without the dustcovers can identify this as the same book. I think that as long as both publishers are listed, we are providing useful identification information rbh 07:27, 8 Mar 2007 (CST)

Question about serials

Something that came up on the User talk:Scott Latham#Date changes thread that was "new" to me is the concept of using the SERIAL title type for stories that were published in a single issue of a magazine and then republished as a standalone novel. Initially I had assumed SERIAL meant a story published in two or more parts that were then combined when the story was then published in book form. Related to this is that you would append "(Complete Novel)" to the stories' title. If you do a title search for "(Complete Novel)" you will see there's a little over 200 records, all of them of type SERIAL except for one INTERIORART where apparently a story was accompanied by artwork in a magazine. Previous to learning this I had been merging the shortfiction and novel publications and usually calling it either a novel or chapbook with the thinking being that a single title record would reference all instances of the story.

My questions are.

  • Is the type SERIAL record reserved for the original publication? In other words, if the story is reprinted in collections, anthologies, or perhaps other magazines would you file this under the SERIAL title or the NOVEL title record? Inspection of the existing “(Complete Novel)” title records finds that all of them contained a link to just one publication except 79907 where a story must have been reprinted. It’s possible this record is the result of a merge as the search results for “(Complete Novel)” shows several candidates where if merged would result in records linked to two or more publications.
Thus I believe the rule is that the SERIAL entry would only show the original publication (almost always a magazine) and that any reprints would get filed under the NOVEL or CHAPBOOK title record but I wanted to confirm this.
At this time you can have multiple serializations of the same novel. For example, see Ray Cummings' Brigands of the Moon. Back in the day, it was entirely possible for a novel to be serialized in the 1920s/1930s, then get re-serialized in one of the reprint pulps of the 1940s/1950s and then get re-re-serialized again in the reprint digests of the 1960s. Since we can't always be sure that a particular serialization is the first appearance of its "parent" novel, it's probably safer (and less confusing) to allow multiple SERIAL records per novel. Ahasuerus 17:14, 8 Mar 2007 (CST)
  • Does one half of a dos-a-dos count as “published in standalone form” when it comes time to deciding if a SHORTFICTION should be change to SERIAL and a separate NOVEL or CHAPBOOK title record created for the reprints including the ½ of the dos-a-dos? Or, in this case do you just leave it as a single SHORTFICTION record and the dos-a-dos would be an omnibus of this shortfiction and whatever is on the other side?
  • Does the first publication have to be a magazine or would you also use SERIAL if a story is first published in a collection or anthology and then later reprinted as a standalone work. When I was looking at the existing "(Complete Novel)" records it seemed like all of them were magazines but as it was a fast scan I may have missed a collection/anthology. Google only finds a single instance of a non-magazine at MLLNLWMN1979 that contains a type SERIAL "(Complete Novel)" and in that case the story was reprinted in a collection implying these should be merged into a shortfiction as it was never reprinted as a standalone work.
ISFDB provides a hint of an answer to this question in that when it displays the serial records it’s with the header “Magazine/Anthology Appearances” but that hint also implies that all of the included-in-larger works such as magazine, anthology, or collection would be under the SERIAL title and all of the standalone reprints would be under the NOVEL or CHAPBOOK title record. Marc Kupper (talk) 19:39, 7 Mar 2007 (CST)
I think of SERIAL as any work published in several sequential parts elsewhere, or a reasonable-length but non-novel work published in its entirety in another publication that for some reason doesn't get classed as an OMNIBUS. I've already seen this stretched to breaking point with one novel published as TWO serials (Stardance and Stardance 2) and ran away from the problem then. I've considered using SERIAL recently for non-magazine first publications ("Spice World" parts 1 and 2) but concluded they're unlikely ever to be published in one volume on their own, or get serialized over multiple magazines (although I left them as two entries in a collection rather than call them a single work). BLongley 15:16, 8 Mar 2007 (CST)
For me, it helps to have a good idea of what the complete work actually is (we can overlap with Fixup Novels and Series if we don't demand "Part X of Y" suggestions on the part-work publications) but it's never certain. I don't know how many novels get published LATER as part-works, but this lot is already involved in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, I wouldn't bet on us not having to deal with a "builds week-by-week into a pile of shiny magazines that you'll never read because of the postal strike in Week 37" with a LATER publication date than the first Novel. And without researching too deeply into whether it's already happened, surely a serial in X parts could be republished as a serial in Y parts? Concentrating on the complete work (even if it's not been published as such) makes it easier to think of multiple part-work editions... BLongley 15:16, 8 Mar 2007 (CST)
OK, I think my actual answer to Marc's questions is "I have no clue." But I would like one. BLongley 15:16, 8 Mar 2007 (CST)
One thing to keep in mind is that we are following an old (and arguably unfortunate) bibliographic convention that demands that we use the date of the first book publication as the first publication date for all book length titles. This is the main reason why we have to display SERIAL appearances on the Summary Biblio pages: otherwise many (perhaps most) ISFDB users who are not familiar with this convention would never check the Title page and assume that the first appearance of Skylark was in 1946 etc. Because of this convention, there is an incentive to treat novel length Titles that later appeared in book form as "complete novel" SERIALS. That way we can show both dates (first book publication and first magazine publication) to our users even though it may mean stretching the meaning of the word "serial" past its breaking point. Ahasuerus 00:28, 9 Mar 2007 (CST)
BLongley, I've already seen works divided into both X and Y parts, particularly with large stories reprinted in paperback form where some publishers will divide it in two paperbacks and others in three. A trend seems to be two-parts for the USA and three for the UK. Granted, those are not strictly serials though we could use the serial mechanism to link the title records for the parts with the story published as a whole. Brigands of the Moon that Ahasuerus brought up is also like this in that it's published in four parts and one part in the magazines while also appearing as one part in book form.
I’m still confused on what I believe is a significant question. When a story is published as both part of a larger publication (magazine, collection, or anthology) and is also published as a standalone novel or chapbook would all of the “part of a larger publication” instances go in the type SERIAL title record(s)? If not, then where do these get filed? Marc Kupper (talk) 04:06, 9 Mar 2007 (CST)
If my understanding is correct, the original intent was to capture magazine publications, not anthology appearances. The reason that the heading was later changed to "magazine/anthology" on the Summary page was to include appearances in anthologies that happen to be borderline magazines, e.g. Quark or Destinies. However, my memory is a little shaky in this area. Al, could you please clarify if you see this? Ahasuerus 01:30, 10 Mar 2007 (CST)
To continue the question – does a stories’ appearance as one half of a dos-a-dos count as “part of a larger work” or is it considered the same as a standalone novel or chapbook? I’m thinking it is a standalone work as the story title on the cover and title page and a thus dos-a-dos is really two standalone works, back to back, that we normally deal with via the omnibus mechanism for lack of a better method.
To continue the question (part 2) – What if the story is published in an omnibus (A real omnibus and not a dos-a-dos). I’m guessing this gets classified as “part of a larger work.”
Finally, the trick question – What if a story is published as part of a larger work (collection, anthology, or omnibus) and the title of that larger work is the same as the story title? I’m guessing we will say that the larger work is “unrelated” to the story. I suspect it needs to be tested but perhaps the code already deals with this in that it will only group SERIAL records with NOVEL or CHAPBOOK records but not COLLECTION, ANTHOLOGY, or OMNIBUS.
I was also confused by Ahasuerus’ comment “Since we can't always be sure that a particular serialization is the first appearance of its "parent" novel, it's probably safer (and less confusing) to allow multiple SERIAL records per novel.” Are you saying that if a story is published in a magazine (complete novel), reprinted in a magazine (complete novel), and later as a book that we would one SERIAL record for each magazine appearance and that you would not merge them? Why can’t you be sure that a particular serialization is the first appearance of its "parent" novel? Marc Kupper (talk) 04:06, 9 Mar 2007 (CST)
Sorry, I wasn't very clear! One example of what I had in mind would be a serialization of a sf/f novel in Famous Fantastic Mysteries, the premier reprint pulp of the 1940s. If there is no publication history included in the issue, how would the contributing editor know whether this is the first serialization of the novel or a reprint from some 1900s-1920s pulp? Ahasuerus 01:30, 10 Mar 2007 (CST)
In my mind it would not matter. You enter the magazine contents using SHORTFICTION and during the merge you will see that NOVEL, CHAPBOOK, SHORTFICTION, and/or SERIAL records exist and you would edit and/or merge records as needed. In other words, you make the best decision possible given the data available. It is this decision process that I'm trying to understand/define. It looks like you are advocating that if a story gets reprinted in a magazine that you would record in a separate SERIAL title record (rather than merging it so that one SERIAL title record covers the magazine appearances). Marc Kupper (talk) 03:22, 14 Mar 2007 (CDT)
Sorry, Marc, I am always late answering long questions on the Community Portal since other moderatorial duties interfere and I don't get to the more time consuming/policy stuff until the wee hours of the morning when I don't feel like I can do them justice. Perhaps when I finally retire...
Anyway, let me see what I can do. You are quite right, I don't think that merging subsequent SERIAL reprints would be useful, if for no other reason then because we could easily lose the "(Part 1 of X)" level of granularity when a "(Complete novel)" is reprinted in two+ installments. Also, I don't think that you will always want to enter a "(Complete novel)" piece as SHORTFICTION and then change the type to SERIAL retroactrively when you discover a separate book publication. There were plenty of novels (both bona fide as well as novellas masquerading as novels) that were published in a single issue of a pulp magazine and advertised as such. It should be easy to enter them as SERIALs from the get to.
As far as the specific questions that you ask below go, they are probably best asked of dedicated collectors whose concern with what is and is not a "true first edition" affects industry standards. Personally, I am inclined not to count collections or anthologies (even those mammoth 1950s reprint anthologies) for these purposes, but to count "dos" books. For short stories later reprinted in CHAP(TER)BOOKs, I would simply use a single SHORTFICTION Title record and the date of the first publication in any form.
I should also point out that given the guidelines that I have just outlined I don't expect too many borderline cases. If a Title was subsequently reprinted in book form and that book had more than 100 pages/40,000 words, I would make sure that the original magazine publication record was set to SERIAL, that the dates of the two Titles were correct and that the lexical match worked. The only catch that we have run into repeatedly are the 1950s/1950s reprints (especially from Ace) with more than 100 pages, but fewer than 40,000 words. I would still count them as novels because that's the way they were seen at the time. Ahasuerus 02:16, 18 Mar 2007 (CDT)
I am still confused on what "published in book form means."
  • Does inclusion in a collection count as "book form?" If not, then do we add a new SERIAL title record for each of these or do we file them under a SHORTFICTION title?
  • Does inclusion in an anthology count as "book form?" If not, then do we add a new SERIAL title record for each of these or do we file them under a SHORTFICTION title?
  • Is one half of a dos-a-dos count as "book form?" If not, then do we add a new SERIAL title record for each of these or do we file them under a SHORTFICTION title?
  • Does a CHAPBOOK publication count as "book form?" If not, then do we add a new SERIAL title record for each of these or do we file them under a SHORTFICTION title? Marc Kupper (talk) 03:22, 14 Mar 2007 (CDT)
ps: Searching Locus and the web for "first book publication" gives me the feeling that if a publisher says "first book publication" in the blurb then that's what'll show up in Locus and other sites. Thus I saw this applied to the appearance of stories in 2-story omnibuses, collections, and anthologies meaning if we were literal about it we'd file all magazine appearances under SERIAL and then would have a separate SHORTFICTION and/or NOVEL records to handle the appearance of the story either in or as books. But, I get the feeling that with ISFDB if a story only appears in magazines, collections, and anthologies that we use a single SHORTFICTION record and don't bother with separating out the magazine appearance into a SERIAL record. Marc Kupper (talk) 04:18, 14 Mar 2007 (CDT)

(unindent) So, based on the discussion above, do we think that are we comfortable with updating the Help pages to state that novels published in a single magazine issue should be entered as Serials with "(Complete Novel)" attached to the title? The question came up a few hours ago in a discussion with an editor and I wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page before making any Help page changes. Ahasuerus 01:30, 13 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Pretty Site that may be of use

Has anyone seen this French site before? I stumbled across it while researching whether "Dissolute Diplomat" is by "Bob Shaw & Walt Willis" or just "Bob Shaw", and their presentation of "Pulps et Magazines Américains" is stunning! I don't read much French though, so some comments on whether they have bibliographically useful material or just great presentation would be welcome. BLongley 19:23, 10 Mar 2007 (CST)

We already have a link to a French biblio site, but this one looks quite useful as well. I have seen a number of links to the images that they host, but didn't realize that they also had fairly extensive biblio data. Their English language coverage seems to be based on Contento, but they also have French translations and originals. The only potential caveat that comes to mind is that I am not sure if the quality of their images could be a problem from the legal angle, but that is likely their problem and not ours. Good find, I have added a link to their main page! Ahasuerus 20:44, 10 Mar 2007 (CST)
I have run into this site from time-to-time googling up stuff and while it was handy each time I found it I never added the site to my list of regular resources as I can't read French that well. Ahasuerus, what do you mean by "I am not sure if the quality of their images could be a problem from the legal angle?" Their images are slow to load for me but otherwise seemed normal. Are there legal/copyright issues with putting up image scans that are much higher or lower than what Amazon uses (400 pixels max in any dimension) for example? I've sometimes put up 150dpi images (1050 pixel height for a pb) if I want people to read something related to the fine print but am unsure as to how this works from a copyright perspective. The artist often owns the copyright to the image itself, the publisher text can't be copyright (you can't copyright story titles), some author names may be trademarks, etc. but I can't recall if I've ever seen someone really address the legal issues of someone making public a photo/or scan of the front cover of a publication. I've assume the cover images fell under "fair use" though that the scan itself be the "property" of whoever did it. Marc Kupper (talk) 19:42, 13 Mar 2007 (CDT)
Fair use is a very complicated area that I don't know enough about to be able to do it justice. The US government site that covers it states that "The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission." and "If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney." Having said that, low resolution images of up to 400-500 pixels are usually considered borderline safe because of various recent (2002-2006) US court decisions, but I wouldn't bet my copy of the April 1926 issue of Amazing Stories on it. I seem to recall that Al did some research in this area a while back, perhaps he will have more insight when he comes back. Ahasuerus 22:24, 13 Mar 2007 (CDT)

I Am Not A Lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet, but I believe Ahasuerus is right in that hosting detailed images would be THEIR problem, not ours. Our deep-linking to images they host MAY be a problem between them and us, so it would be advisable to check on whether they're happy with us doing it beforehand - I'm sure they'll be happy if we direct traffic to their site, but if we're bypassing some revenue-generating pages they may not be so happy paying for bandwidth. (I'm not sure if they HAVE any revenue-generating pages, but as my popup-blocker becomes active there on some pages, there may be.) BLongley 16:41, 15 Mar 2007 (CDT)

I think, generally, recent publications like all the advertising they can get, so the images on our front page are fine. For older publications no longer in print, the artist's rights are more important - people publish entire volumes of well-known covers that you can't buy any other way. So making High-res copies available on the web is a No-No. I've talked to Paul Kidby before about "fair use" - even when he couldn't or wouldn't sell me a T-Shirt with "Death on a Motorbike" on, he really didn't like the idea of me scanning it from a book of his I'd bought to make a one-off T-Shirt. BLongley 16:41, 15 Mar 2007 (CDT)
In short: Reference Site should be no problem: Deep-Linking to noosfere - please check first: Using images for anything else, probably a complete No-No. But if we can find some more artist contact details, we might find some friendly ones: even if all they do is give us a link to their sales sites. BLongley 16:41, 15 Mar 2007 (CDT)
The problem with the artists' sites is they have/sell the original drawings/paintings and not the book covers which have the title, price, etc. that the publisher adds. The cover art is sometimes cropped/reformatted what it's used on a book cover. Something we or someone could do would be to ask for permission to have hi-res scans of book covers available that also link to the artist's site. Somewhat related is I've thought about ways to show artist signatures. I'd like a way to develop a library of high-res scans of just the signatures so that when one comes up that someone can't identify they can check the library. It would need a way to filter by year and publisher so that if you have a year 2000 book from Ace for example you'd get a list of artists who have done Ace covers around that time and could then look at the name/signature images to see if any match up to the one you are trying to decipher. You could also then add the signature you have to the library listing the publisher/title/year with "unknown" for the artist and hopefully some day someone will come along that recognizes the signature. Marc Kupper (talk) 17:16, 15 Mar 2007 (CDT)
I don't see it as a problem - we don't actually have any right to use more than is needed to identify a publication, maybe not even that. I've seen and posted DESCRIPTIONS of covers that should be enough to distinguish publications that have the same publisher, same price, same year, different cover art. (I forget which, one of the "Hugo Winners" titles I think.) Yes, it's far easier to post a link to cover-art - but I find that most of the Amazon links on publications I check are no longer valid. So a link to a site that WANTS us to link is best. If that's an artist's sales site, fine, and even better if they'll give us permission for the smaller links with bibliographic details - but all the rules seem to be that we need Bibliographic details to come from INTERNAL pages, NOT cover or spine. (Although I have convinced a Moderator to allow an Author-merge based on a French Title just because coverart clearly showed "Terry Pratchett".) I'm quite happy with recommending that people look at Paul Kidby's site, or Josh Kirby's, for related art. I've used a hard-cover dust-jacket to help me finish a Discworld jigsaw puzzle, for instance. Get the artists onboard and we'll have no problems. "Steal their art" and we WILL have problems. BLongley 18:10, 15 Mar 2007 (CDT)
From time to time in a book, spec-fict and others, there will be mention of a "descriptive language" where a person or scene transmitted from one person to another with unerring accuracy, and very few words. In fact, the last two books I read employed this, The Morphodite by M. A. Foster and Triple by Ken Follett. Unfortunately, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to visual imagery and so rely on the cover images. Something that could help would be a simple description, "A guy dressed in leather on a metal horse", along with the picture and if the cover image gets lost then a search for a replacement could be done with some confidence though in my case I try to locate, or will scan/upload, images that match my cover exactly so that if a question about a publisher's code or something else that was not documented comes up they can look at the image. I agree that much of the data comes from inside the publication but the first step is to make sure we are both discussing the same publication and that normally starts with the cover. Of course, I own some duplicates because the cover changed... Marc Kupper (talk) 14:29, 27 Mar 2007 (CDT)
It would be very handy to have sites that we can reliably link to (Amazon seeming unreliable in the long term, for instance) but it's a legal nightmare. Otherwise I'd scan all my covers and post them on a website - might be handy for insurance purposes if I ever had a fire here, for instance. I've already resisted linking to a few magazine covers for pubs I discovered over the weekend when I was researching some First Printings we didn't have, as they were in Playboy or Collier's rather than in a Genre magazine (and no, the Playboy ones were quite work-safe!) Some things we might look into - "Image URL" linking to somewhere the artist can try to sell something rather than just stealing their bandwidth, or an alternative/additional option for "Cover Art Description". BLongley 15:49, 27 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Return to a held edit for Tall's "Stardust Voyages"

Marc, I'm finally returning to the subject edit. One of the bits of guidance you gave me in your comments was to (possibly) merge the contents records of the collection with prior records for each of the shorts. Since the page giving the original sources of each of the stories explicitly states that all have been revised to some extent, should the merge be done? It would seem that the collection stories (with their slightly variant titles) should stand alone. What's the general opinion on this one? Sorry to have taken so long on this one. I feel a bit more comfortable with the entire "edit the ISFDB"-thing now... --Dsorgen 19:39, 16 Mar 2007 (CDT)

I'm shifting this one to the community portal to see if there's a better solution or way of dealing with this. An ISFDB title record stands for a particular string of words (the story) with a particular title and author(s). If the author or title changes but not the string of words then you would have a variant title. If the string of words (the story) is revised but the title/author(s) are the same then it’s a new/different title. Sometimes we can distinguish the latter in ISFDB in that the title type is different, a short-fiction and collection could have the same title/author but we “know” the string of words must be different as the title types are SHORTFICTION and COLLECTION. The messy part is when the title type is not changed. It might be a collection that gets reprinted with a slightly different set of stories, a short story or novel, that’s revised, or perhaps a novel with a new introduction.
The general practice in ISFDB has been to document the revision in the title itself using a short note inside parentheses. I’m not sure if we can define a standard for what we put inside the parentheses but the ones that seem most helpful are when it’s with the copyright date as in The Time Masters (1953) and The Time Masters (revised 1971) (1971) by Wilson_Tucker. When someone enters a publication that contains The Time Masters they would need to figure out if it’s the 1953 or 1971 version of the story and would merge the title record with the appropriate ISFDB record.
I would also encourage you to add notes to the title records, publication records, etc. adding as much detail as practical on what was revised. Maybe all you have is a statement on the copyright page saying “All stories were revised for this collection.” And in that case that’s exactly what you would add to all the title/publication notes (also noting what publication and where in it the note was found). The goal being that others looking at ISFDB will understand that these were revised stories.
It gets more complicated if a story title was also revised slightly. I believe the best thing is to still note (revised 19xx) in the title and to make it a variant title of the original. Technically, neither of these things should be done but it will serve to link the stories together and combined with the notes people looking at ISFDB will understand it’s a different story.
I guess we could dream about a speculative, and very fictional, universe where writers, editors, publishers, etc. put date/version and perhaps a unique serial number on each of their stories... Marc Kupper (talk) 16:55, 17 Mar 2007 (CDT)
I agree with most of the above. The main reason that we use parentheses is disambiguation. How else can we distinguish between 20 "Introduction"s written by the same author? We have seen quite a few cases where Title records were merged because our editors didn't realize that identically looking Titles were actually different, e.g. A Robert Silverberg Omnibus (UK 1970) and A Robert Silverberg Omnibus (US 1981) or, to use an extreme example, The Best of Murray Leinster (US) and The Best of Murray Leinster (UK), both published in 1976 (sic!).
Ooh, that's confusing on the Leinster... I've checked out the UK one thoroughly (and found it wanting on its acknowledgements and author info, but I'm sure of the content), can someone look at the US one with the supposed extra 4 pieces and the inaccurate year comment? BLongley 14:40, 27 Mar 2007 (CDT)
The secondary reason to use "supporting data" in parentheses is to make certain that high priority information is immediately visible on the Summary page and not buried in the Note field one+ level deep. For example, The Rebirth of Wonder (collection) immediately indicates to the casual browser that this Title is not an erroneous duplicate of The Rebirth of Wonder the novel, but rather a separate title even though they were both published in 1992. Or, to use another example, it's important to indicate that the 1989 edition of But What of Earth? had its text restored so that any users who were only familiar with the 1976 original would immediately say "Oh, so there is another version of this novel!" Similar considerations apply to "(abridged)", "(expanded)", etc.
Unfortunately, at this point there are relationships in the database that are maintained lexically. Thus, if we had a REVIEW of "The Best of Murray Leinster", it would not appear under either one of the current Title records since the Title strings wouldn't match. It's a most unfortunate choice that we often have to make: leave a Title record ambiguous and potentially confuse our users or clarify its nature using the parenthetical convention and potentially lose Review and Serial information :(
Ideally, we would have a special "Disambiguation" field in the Title record which, unlike the Note field, would only be populated in special cases and used to clarify these things, but until something like that is implemented this is liable to remain a thorny issue. Ahasuerus 00:27, 23 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Page Proofs

I have a book that was sent to the trade to market a new novel (In this case, the Weber/Ringo "March to the Stars"). They are in tp format with "Uncorrected page proofs" clearly indicated on the title page. ISBN, price, publication date, and first printing clearly indicated. Since numerous copies were obviously distributed to booksellers and reviewers, is this something we want listed in the ISFDB? rbh 19:10, 17 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Last time we had this discussion, the results were somewhat inconclusive, but the bias was not to include them as separate record and document anything noteworthy, e.g. changes vis a vis the final text, in the Note field instead. Ahasuerus 21:24, 17 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Attribute Letter Columns to Various?

I noticed that some people are beginning to attribute letter columns to "Various" and I have done so in a couple of issues. The issue of entering all authors of letters is considered "debateable" but using "Various" has the virtue of indicating which issues of magazines have letter columns without having to load the DB with thousands of relatively insigificant authors. Sound like a good idea? Swfritter 21:39, 17 Mar 2007 (CDT)

We definitely want to record the fact that the column was published as per the Help Pages:
Letter column. Letter columns should be included; index them as ESSAYs
As far as attribution goes, well, that can be tricky. Whenever a letter column contains editor responses, we usually attribute it to the editor. If it's just a bunch of letters with no input from anybody associated with the magazine, then I can't think of a better way to record the information than "various" (ugh!) Ahasuerus 23:02, 17 Mar 2007 (CDT)
I ran into a similar thing over the weekend where I had a book where the copyright page credited about 20 people by role/name. It had things like the person who designed the typeface, the cover was a montage of photos that each had a credit, the cover designer, the book designer, etc. It felt like one of those newer movies where the credits scroll for 20 minutes. I ended up entering these as notes rather than interior-art records and someday if ISFDB ever morphs into something more like IMDB which tracks the minor/supporting roles someone can at least copy/paste the data.
I agree with the idea of "various" but would add a publication note explaining it. “On pages 4 and 5 there were letters to the editor from 11 people which got consolidated for this ISFDB listing as Letters to the Editor (publication title) by 'Various'.” Marc Kupper (talk) 16:51, 19 Mar 2007 (CDT)
I agree with "various": maybe if an author already represented here was a letter-writer I'd mention it, but I wouldn't go so far as to count the letter authors like Marc would. BLongley 15:58, 21 Mar 2007 (CDT)
OK, it's happened. I accidentally picked up a magazine I thought was a book, so entered the sordid world of the ISFDB magazine editor again, and encountered a new problem. What do you put when a letter is from an ISFDB author and has actually been given a title? I'm fairly sure it's the same Charles Platt, he's been known to write to magazines before (I'll check with his daughter): but I don't like the way letters are presented in this other example. BLongley 13:45, 23 Jun 2007 (CDT)
Charles Platt was an active interviewer and critic in the 1980s and hung out on Usenet in the mid-1990s, so a letter from him wouldn't be out of order. If the letter has a distinct title, then I see no reason not to list it as a separate Essay in the ISFDB. Ahasuerus 21:36, 23 Jun 2007 (CDT)
Title as given is "Letter (Science Fiction Eye #4)" and all eight letters in the issue are entered, some by authors who appear nowhere else in the ISFDB. Better than putting them in as multiple collaborative authors for the letter column. Better than using only the title of "Letter". But the policy guidelines generally discourage the entry of most letters. This is simialar to the multiple art per story pub issue. If we are going to allow more letters, or if editors are going to enter them on their own, then we need a policy. As I discussed elsewhere recently, I think brackets are better than parenthesis for user modifications to titles but it might be a little late to implement such a policy.--swfritter 12:19, 24 Jun 2007 (CDT) Oh yeah, brackets are used for other things like [series] so I guess parenthesis will have to do.--swfritter 18:19, 24 Jun 2007 (CDT)
Yes, I'd like a policy. That's why I'm posting in "Rules and standards discussions". ;-) I think I'd like:
  1. Letter columns should be entered, but there is no need to assign them to anyone but "various" unless there is definite contribution by an ISFDB-recognised author, in reply or in the original contribution.
  2. Letters are not individually credited unless by an ISFDB author - feel free to add them in pub notes though.
  3. If the letter has a title, use it in the "Essay" entry.
The other bit is how to distinguish between certain types of essay. We cover Introductions and Forewords and Afterwords, etc, we can use "Poem" to cover "Songs" as well (well, I do) - "Letter", if it doesn't get its own category, could at least do with a convention on how to enter them. BLongley 15:40, 24 Jun 2007 (CDT)


I'm actually a bit more worried about situations like those with Marc's weekend book: Robert Rankin has got a "sculpture" credit on at least five book covers, not shown here, and they're a darn sight better than some of the others he DOES get a cover-art credit for. Is there a case for reviewing the Cover Artist rules? I always like to know when there's some great artwork there, or when the author is involved, I'm not so much bothered with photographers, designers, "technical advisers" etc.... BLongley 15:58, 21 Mar 2007 (CDT)

How to handle omnibuses of collections?

What to do when one (or more!) title in an omnibus is a reprint of previously-published colection? Locus1/Contento also list in its content beside individual stories headings for the collection/s, which makes sense especially if the original typesetting is used; but is ISFDB ready for this, and how exactly should it be handled? Just list the COLLECTION title in the contents beside the SHORTFICTION ones?

I personally like how Locus/Contendo handle this but it seems like a bit of re-engineering to get that into ISFDB. Within ISFDB I suspect it would be better to link directly to the individual stories so that we can get the page # for each one. Just make add note that it's an omnibus. You don't want to call it a collection and to link to the other collection titles as then the "reference title" code will get confused as there will be multiple records of type collection. Thus your choices are
  • Make the omnibus of type OMNIBUS (title and pub) and to link to the existing type collection title records. Optionally, you can link to the individual stories.
  • Make the omnibus type COLLECTION (title and pub) and link to the individual stories and to add a note explaining that it's really an omnibus.
This is something I'll be dealing with right now as I have a copy of The Hugo Winners, Volumes One and Two which is an omnibus of two earlier anthologies. One thing I discovered is that records for vol. 1 and vol. 2 are type anthology and ended up in a group called "Anthology Series" on the bibliographic display. I changed the title type of my vol. 1 & 2 omnibus publication from anthology to omnibus and it got sorted up at the top of the bibliographic display under "Fiction Series" and so I changed it back to being an anthology so that it'll sort under "Anthology Series" along with the other books in this series. Your book is a collection and so should not have this particular issue but it does make a case for linking to the individual stories rather than calling it an omnibus and just linking to the collections it contains.

An ugly example: Starlight: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred_Bester, which according to http://contento.best.vwh.net/b4.htm#A56 is omnibus of the 1976 collections The Light Fantastic and Star Light, Star Bright, has TWO publication entries for the "(Jul 1977, Berkley Medallion, 0-425-03451-8, $1.95, 452pp, pb, coll)" edition: STRLGHTTHG1977 and STRLGHTTJM1977 (this one VERIFIED). The latter has Title Reference link to Starlight: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred Bester, but the former to Star Light, Star Bright (and indeed shows as its publication)! How to correct this? Publication Editor shows just SHORTFICTION and ESSAYs in the Content section of both; however when I do Diff Pub of the latter with SGSF1976, that one shows as containing the two partial COLLECTIONs (and thus indeed appears in Publication histories of both), even though Edit This Pub doesn't show it either! --JVjr 10:23, 26 Mar 2007 (CDT)

This was easy enough to fix - from the collection Star Light, Star Bright I did an unmerge-title of Starlight: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred Bester (there were two). That changed the title reference to be Starlight: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred Bester which I then merged with the existing title of that name. Marc Kupper (talk) 21:43, 26 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Star Trek Calendar

Lorenzr just submitted a deletion of a Star Trek calendar. Any comments? I think it should probably go, but I think we have a Discworld cookbook and mappe, so any thoughts about making the rules of acquisition more explicit? Mike Christie (talk) 21:00, 27 Mar 2007 (CDT)

I don't think it matters either way. In other words, I'd approve deleting it and would also approve someone adding it. If we keep it I'd classify it as non-fiction and in the Star Trek series. Marc Kupper (talk) 23:38, 27 Mar 2007 (CDT)
From ISFDB_talk:Policy
Would Calendars be in or out even if the material is speculative fiction related Star Trek Calendar?
How would it relate to art books like Infinite Worlds: The Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art? Lorenzr 19:43, 27 Mar 2007
In thinking about this further and looking at Lorenzr's question I'd say keep then and to classify these as "Works about speculative fiction published in the English language and their foreign language translations." per ISFDB_talk:Policy. Marc Kupper (talk) 00:10, 28 Mar 2007 (CDT)
No harm keeping it or deleting it, I'd say. "Binding: tp" looks a bit suspicious (did Dissembler add it?), there's no notes or authors or any indication from cover picture that there's a known ISFDB artist involved. If a human submitted it I'd probably question the submitter over whether there's actually any fiction in it, any essays that aren't just about the TV show, any interviews with ISFDB authors or artists, any original artwork by ISFDB artists. BLongley 14:36, 28 Mar 2007 (CDT)
Yes I think the "tp" is an conversion issue. I am working though some of the unknowns and many items are "Binding: tp" (floor displays, magazines). Ray 10:37, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)
The Discworld Mappes and Cookbook qualify on ISFDB Artist, Essays, Fiction, but probably not on Interviews until we get clearer guidance on Pseudonyms. If people want it I'll add the full contents of the "Nanny Ogg Cookbook" this weekend - well, maybe not "full", there's only 6 articles listed in contents but I could get over a 100 content titles out of it. Even the Discworld Diaries contain a small Fictional and/or Essay content, although most of the books are blank diary pages with small quotes once per week: I wouldn't create 52 "(excerpt)" titles but I wouldn't ignore the fact that for a completist, here IS genre fiction you can't get in any other publication. But if there was, say, a Discworld "Hogfather Calendar" containing only pictures from the TV show and no literature-relevant words I'd be happy to leave it out... and that Star Trek Calendar might be photographs only from all we can see so far. BLongley 14:36, 28 Mar 2007 (CDT)
After thinking about this for a few days I would say keep them. My primary reason is the "art books". Ray 10:37, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Multi Book Collections

Working on some unknowns. Came across two simlar items and had a question on how to handle "boxed sets" or CD/DVD collections?

Greatest Digital Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Books Amazon's Entry is one example.
Star Trek, 4 Vol. Boxed Set is a book example but not a great exampe. I think this is a boxed set of books.
Other examples. CD included in some David Weber books containing all previous books. Some Heinlein boxed sets sold.

Ray 11:03, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

  • The Greatest Digital Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Books looks like an omnibus.
Spaced this type thanks. Ray 16:51, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)
  • re: The Star Trek box set.
    • My first thought was to delete it as there no way to know which of the Pocket Star Trek books were included but....
    • It has an ISBN and as it's a November-1992 release it's probably a gift box and also is new enough that the box is barcoded. Someone may show up that saved both the box and its books.
    • This is a record from ISFDB version one and on http://www.isfdb.org/pocket.html
    • I was thinking the author name could be changed to either "Star Trek" or "Pocket" but other Star Trek box sets are
      • 30802 Star Trek (Boxed Set) by Silhouette
      • 30803 Star Trek (No. 2/ Boxed Set) by J. M. Dillard
      • 30808 Star Trek 2: The Klingon Gambit/Black Fire/Web of the Romulans/Demons/Boxed Set by Murdock and Aruego
      • 30816 Star Trek Firsts-4 Vol. Boxed Set: The Motion Picture, Encounter at Far Point, ... by Silhouette
      • 30856 Star Trek: The Entropy Effect/the Covenant of the Crown/Yesterday's Son/the Idic Epidemic/Boxed Set by Weinstein and Aruego
      • 30862 Star Trek: The Next Generation, 4 Vol. Boxed Set by unknown
    • It seems that a solution would be to put all of these in a series called "Star Trek Box Sets" and to change the unknown authors to "Star Trek" adding notes that the authors are unknown.

Books by "unknown"

Related to this is that I looked at unknown and am tempted to change the author of the Tom Swift books to Tom Swift, the W.I.T.C.H. books would only be by W.I.T.C.H., etc. and the author records would explain that the the books were written under house names or not credited at all. Marc Kupper (talk) 11:47, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

That puzzled me too about pseudonyms of unknown. I was pondering some of unknown types on my profile page. A solution would introduce complexity to someone not familiar to the setup. But different type of unknowns like. 1. Unknown (Data entry) 2. Unknown (on purpose) house names, corporate reasons. 3. Unknown (recognized never credited or lost) famous works. 4. Unknown (Items that would typically not be credited). Confusing. I might be missing an existing solution too. Getting off topic too. Ray 16:51, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Yeesh! I just looked at unknown too and saw a load of titles that I could put a "correct name" on: not enough to verify them, but it might put some of them back into a position where a verifier would at least SEE them! A quick scan suggests ISBNs starting "999" are suspect, and others even have cover PICTURES that would show the probable author... if they're unverified pubs, can anyone see any reason for me NOT to "correct" the obvious mistakes? BLongley 16:16, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

I started on the unknowns by correcting titles familiar (some Heinlein and Laumer titles) to me. I was wondering why such obivious titles were listed. So I started working on removing the junk before fixing more as a way to familarize myself with the new setup/process. So what are ISBNs "999" typical are? Amazon sometimes finds a record for them. Example. Ray 16:51, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

Many of the unknowns for "obviously recognizable titles" are the result of data imports from sites such as Amazon. I also have thought about proposing various classes of "Unknown" - mainly so that as people go through the main unknown list there don't be duplication of effort as people research what the correct author may be. By all means - if you can figure out the author with a reasonable degree of confidence then go ahead with editing the title and underlying publication. Every so often I look, grab a title from the middle of the list, and figure out who the author should be. There's also an anonymous author list though with that one the distinction is that the publication states "anonymous."
A related project that ideally should be scripted is to change the cover and interior art records from "unknown" to uncredited or to blank it out as that's what Template:PublicationFields:Artist asks for. On the subject of artwork - when entering/verifying publications When the artwork is not credited then besides leaving the cover art field blank I'll add a note that the cover artist is not credited so that people will know I looked but could not find an attribution.
I would like to remove the cover artist of unknowns. But not a high priority to discuss yet. I think the unknown authors were there for a DB requirement. Getting into "uncredited" could be confusing too. Some artist are not credited in the credits while clearly signed on the art work. Old books are guilty of this. Some artist were unknowns due to data entry, some aren't known, and some artist can be guessed at. Cover artist are 2nd hardest to find with (one time) short story anthology author's the hardest. Ray 13:44, 11 Apr 2007 (CDT)
My guess is that 9999 ISBNs are from Powell's bookstore and that Powells assigns them to books that don't have a barcode much like Amazon assigns ASIN codes like B000I1L5EQ. I think it's Powell's as I was browsing their site once and realized a fairly high percentage of the ISBNs were of the 9999 variety and that they did not seem to be data imports from Amazon. Thus I assumed Powell's creates the codes and exports them to Amazon when it acts as a bookseller. Marc Kupper (talk) 22:40, 29 Mar 2007 (CDT)

So should "9999" ISBNs entries that match a valid book title should be kept? I think some could be duplicate titles with only the ISBNs to reference I can't tell. These entires do look like a feed loaded from a major export versus a manual entry. So I leave this for the moderators to discuss a such a wide update should take place, or decide another policy. My thinking was just to update the unkowns to the valid author and let the entires appear under the author for further validation. Ray 13:44, 11 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I am all for deleting "9999" ISBNs wherever I find them, and this seems to be supported by moderators who approved such edits. It is obvious that no actual physically existing and verifiable book will have such an ISBN, so the entries are at best a duplicate of some other edition, that either already is in ISFDB, or will/can appear in the long run from ordinary sources. There's no other data than a year and publisher; I suppose that if these were different enough from those that are so far in ISFDB for the title (however, mostly they aren't), just merging is possible (which I also do for those not quite rare case when a book by unknown has a normal ISBN). --JVjr 09:13, 20 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Regularisation/Regularization

Did this conversation ever result in a consensus? Or was one reached elsewhere?

No that I have noticed. I concur that this is an area that can use more attention. As a general observation, I agree with Mike's comment that he made at the end of the last discussion ("I will generally argue for entering exactly what's on the publication, but I think that some regularization is OK"), but we really need to document what we are copying from the Publications verbatim and what we are "regularizing". Without clear guidelines, we will have no end of confusion.
The good news is that many of these "problem records" can be easily found with one-two SQL queries, and it shouldn't be too hard to automate cleanup tasks at some point. Ahasuerus 18:58, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Agreed: and I think the "clear guidelines" are probably easier to achieve while we're still a comparatively small group of editors. (What is our growth rate?) BLongley 14:00, 4 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Well, beta started around Christmas, so in about 14 weeks we have gone from 5 to 25+ active editors with 100+ edits. About 1.8 new active editors per week? Ahasuerus 18:14, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for the reminder of that link - it seems to be growing fast, and I think we ought to look out for a few of those newcomers on 10 edits or less to make sure we don't lose them. Two are Fannish names I recognise: of course there's no guarantee that the people I know in real life are behind the names here, but I wouldn't want to put them off by holding them up with ID checks. BLongley 19:02, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Er, ID checks? What ID checks? :) Ahasuerus 00:40, 6 Apr 2007 (CDT)
"Ben Aaronovitch", "Pmorwood" and "Marcus Rowland" all looked suspiciously semi-famous to me. I think Marc challenged "Pmorwood" over edits to the relevant author details... no harm really, they can edit MY author entry if I ever get one! (Dammit, I've had reviews published, letters published, songs published, got an award: what do I have to do, write a novel? :-/ ) BLongley 19:22, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)

(I'm a newbie at wiki-searches, although I'm getting more confident with the ISFDB ones.)

As an aside, our Wikisearch capabilities are not all that they could be, probably due to the fact that we are running a very old version of the MediaWiki software. Ahasuerus 18:58, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)

It's just that I regularised the "Ph.D."s last weekend (as it seems we usually DON'T put a space in there), and nobody seems to have complained. This did mean changing the help text to match - although I find today I missed some of the other help texts due to my poor search skills. :-/

Today I looked at the "M.D."s, and although I got side-tracked with "M.D. Broxon" versus "M. D. Broxon" and "Mildred Downey Broxon", I'm happy with those edits: but now I'm unsure about "E. M. Clinton, Jr.", "Ed M. Clinton, Jr." and "Ed. M. Clinton, Jr." (Note the full stop after "Ed" in the last). Is there a rule we're all happy with over shortened but not initialised names?

The obvious (to me) next check was for "Wm." and that leads to people like "Michael Kaluta", "Michael W. Kaluta", "Michael William Kaluta" and "Michael Wm. Kaluta" that need a clean. :-/

I think that going beyond spelling (mostly periods and commas) regularization could be asking for trouble. Ahasuerus 18:58, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)
That's my point: I would not regularize "Ed." to "E." or "Edward", nor "Wm." to "W." or "William". But I'd be tempted with "Ed." to "Ed" and "Wm" to "Wm." And as that means I'm being inconsistent, removing a "." for one case and adding it for the other, I thought I'd bring it up for discussion. I've just noticed another: "Geo" or "Geo."? We have a stray "Geo. W. Proctor". How many examples can we think of - if there's only three we could add them to the help, if there's dozens we need a more general rule (even if it turns out we make variant a lot more.) BLongley 14:00, 4 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Just found a fourth example: "Thos." BLongley 17:43, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I had a script that searched for these bad boys a while back and I think I found a couple dozen occurrences. I'll see if I can find it and post it in the projects area. Ahasuerus 18:14, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Fifth example: "Chas." Doesn't cause any problems here though - yet! BLongley 15:15, 9 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I suspect, but can't prove (as I can't do my usual REGEXP searches here (or can I and just don't know how?))

The easiest way to do SQL queries and regex searches is by downloading the ISDFB backup file, importing it into a MySQL database and going from there. Ahasuerus 18:58, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Yeah, I really must take a break and do that soon. I think I know what I'll be doing over Easter. BLongley 14:00, 4 Apr 2007 (CDT)

that we mostly ARE following a convention about spacing multiple initials, know how to abbreviate most common forenames, etc: but it's also clear we are ending up with multiple unconnected author entries we aren't spotting or fixing. I hope this is just my overlooking the relevant help texts (although if I am, maybe "Regularisation/Regularization" needs to be a separate entry?) but if not we may end up in an edit war, and I wouldn't want that as some of the edits could be HUGE. BLongley 16:18, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)

(Yes, I know it's ironic that I can't even tell which spelling of regulari[s|z]ation we should use...) :-/ BLongley 16:38, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)
We have been able to avoid the messy "British-vs-American spelling" area so far since our emphasis is on recording titles exactly as they appear, so we just create Variant Titles as appropriate. However, there are some areas where spelling regulari(s/z)ation may become an issue, e.g. do we really want to have a tag for humorous sf as well as a tag for "humourous" sf? I see our Help pages as less problematic since the two languages haven't diverged to the point where their differences could significantly affect comprehension of general purpose texts. Ahasuerus 18:58, 3 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Haven't they? ;-) Am I the only person that had to check a dictionary after reading "Do not kern initials"? :-/ BLongley 14:00, 4 Apr 2007 (CDT)
True, there are a few non-technical (i.e. not related to automotive and other technologies where the usage is significantly different) cases that can be confusing, e.g. "tabling an issue", but kerning is a technical term and I am sure there are plenty of Americans who would be confused by it as well. Ahasuerus 18:14, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Ah, good! Although I'm a Techie I realise there are many other classes of Techie, and it's not a US/UK/NZ/Oz/SA/etc "English" problem as such. If "kern" was a common American word I'd be worried about it. I already know the dangers in phrases: e.g. "I could murder an Indian" and "I'm going outside for a fag" are perfectly normal here, but get you some amazing stares from our American visitors at work. :-) BLongley 19:02, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Oh, sure, slang is another area where the two languages have diverged quite a bit. And if you tell an American that you have left a torch in the attic, she could get rather agitated :) But general purpose help files shouldn't be too bad, although if you find anything ambiguous, unclear or grating, please post it here so that we could sort it out and make it Atlantic-neutral. Pacific-neutral too, of course! Ahasuerus 00:40, 6 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Multiple, Strange Published Dates

My Permabook edition of "The Third Galaxy Reader" contains 3 dates and I'm confused as to which one to use. The first is the Doubleday edition date, so obviously that one is out. The second is listed as "Permabook edition published July, 1960", and directly underneath it it has "1st printing.....May, 1960". Should I use the printed date, or the published date, which was 2 months after the printing? CoachPaul 09:29, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)

This isn't covered in Template:PublicationFields:Year so whatever the answer, we need to update that. Without more information I'd use the earlier of the two dates. However, I'd like to know if someone who knows the ins and outs of the publishing industry can explain why a book might have been annotated that way. If nobody here knows, there are editors with blogs who might be able to answer the question. Mike Christie (talk) 09:35, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
This practice is peculiar to Permabooks: they list both the printing date(s) and the original publication date. The publication date is when the books actually went on sale, so that's probably the one we want to use. The printing date (obviously) is always earlier than the publication date. (Scott Latham 10:34, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT))
This was also done by Pennant and Pocket books. My edits have used the printing date and put the publication date in the notes. Since this field is for the printing date i would think it best to be consistent. The book may or maynot have been on sale on the publication date.Kraang 21:58, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Thanks, I think that is what I used, but I'll check and change it if I didn't.CoachPaul 12:15, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
This Permabook quirk may well be worth documenting in the affected Notes field(s) as well as in the Help file so that future editors/verifiers could tell how to deal with this situation. Ahasuerus 15:30, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Rather than adding yet another specific-case note to the help pages how about "If you see something that looks strange in a publication then please document exactly what's shown and where in the ISFDB notes field for this publication. Likewise, if you see an error or misspelling in something like a story title or author name then please also add a comment in the notes fields so that others looking at the ISFDB record will know it's an error in the publication itself and not a data entry error." Marc Kupper (talk) 00:32, 9 Apr 2007 (CDT)

What to do with foreign magazines (etc.)?

I can understand or at least put up with the eventualist aim to include all "foreign language translations of speculative fiction works originally published in English". But ISFDB:Policy#Rules of Acquisition point 2 continues, "Support for ... collections and omnibuses that have no direct analogs in English, etc) may need to be enhanced" and I'm afraid the time has come at least to remove the qualification. I've run across a publication of Polish SF magazine Fantastyka from 2001 (to make things worse, a stray one with no corresponding title, not mentioning several typos in the Polish) containing three translated stories: UKLG's Birthday of the World and Robert J. Sawyer's Just Like Old Times (I have no idea about the third one, the Polish title seems to mean "Touch of Silk"). The Polish titles now appear in their authors' bibliographies as independent stories. Of course, they could at least be made variants of the originals, but that is just a tiny bit less frustrating: why should just these three clutter the top-level view, when obviously it's impossible (and useless for the ordinary Anglophone users of ISFDB) to list in this way every translation of every title? But is there any better solution at this time?

Somewhat similar problem with German translations of David_Drake's Lord of the Islands saga (and much else, probably) where each title is split into two volumes. So far I've solved it by treating German books as a publication of the appropriate English one (which thus has two different German publications [or would, if all German books were in the ISFDB, which is currently the case just of the opening volume, fortunately]) and adding a Note to them explaining the situation.

Which reminds me, this practice of splitting books for paperback is becoming more frequent even in US/UK publishing as books get bloated (say, UK pb of A Storm of Swords and OTOH US of Night's Dawn Trilogy); having some software support for treating this would be nice. Frex Robert_Silverberg's Legends anthology series is currently in a terrible mess (and I see that with Peter_F._Hamilton the one-volume UK originals are treated as "O/2N"; this really doesn't seem sensible to me...) --JVjr 18:53, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)


Note: User:WimLewis submitted MakeVariant of the Sawyer story. I've put it on Hold, as I think that with current state of the system it is better to merge it to the original (the Polish title is mis-spelled anyway) and list the translated title just in the Notes to the magazine publication (which also seems to be the practice at HNSCNCFCTN1982 etc.); however, it will take me some time to research. (I also noticed that Sawyer has as a variant a French translation of his story without any publication, but will leave that for now.) --JVjr 10:45, 11 Apr 2007 (CDT)

The Enigmas of Brian W. Aldiss

I'm not sure if this situation has been brought up before, but here goes. From the early 70s, Brian Aldiss has written quite a number of three-part stories he calls "enigmas". Each story is separately titled and is complete within itself. They share a common theme, but otherwise, each of the three stories could be read on its own. Locus deals with this by designating the overarching title as a group (gp), and proceeds to supply the story titles individually as, usually, short stories (ss) or vignettes (vi). There must be other authors who have done the same but Aldiss seems to be the king of the practice. So the question is, how should it be handled here on ISFDB? In the Aldiss listing, they all appear as shortfiction, sometimes providing the individual story titles, but more often not. Someone searching for a specific title would come up with a blank if the separate story titles are not listed. Any suggestions of how to handle it? I would personally take on the task of providing all the titles, if a standard can be established. Mhhutchins 16:44, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)

My immediate thought is to make them "series", and we can stack multiple series levels if necessary until there's a grand "Aldiss Enigmas" series covering them all: although we have problems if any of them are in other series already. Maybe a Tag would be better in that case. If you have them ready, dump the titles with whatever categorization you've got already and let us take take a look: I've only got a dozen pubs of his but that might be enough to make a start, and there's online biblios too. And someone else here (if not several) will have the entire collection even if we have to poke them into actively looking at them. ;-) BLongley 17:10, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Second thought: are the Polytropical Paramyths I mention in that title a similar example? If so, I may have already have dodged answering the question once, but feel a bit more responsible now. If it's relevant, when there's a consensus I'll fix Farmer and you do Aldiss, OK? BLongley 17:34, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
"Series" was the first thing that came to mind as well since it's as close to "groups" as we can get without making changes to the software. Ahasuerus 18:17, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I didn't think that series would work, until BLongley mentioned the leveling. Here's an example of what I thought would work (all would be listed under shortfiction):
The Aperture Moment: Waiting for the Universe to Begin
The Aperture Moment: But Without Orifices
The Aperture Moment: Aimez-Vous Holman Hunt?
But with the series levels it could go something like this:

Fiction Series

  • Enigmatic Stories
    • The Aperture Moment
      • Waiting for the Universe to Begin
      • But Without Orifices
      • Aimez-Vous Holman Hunt?
    • The Eternal Theme of Exile
      • The Eternal Theme of Exile
      • All Those Enduring Old Charms
      • Nobody Spoke or Waved Goodbye
Of course, titles would have to be created for each story within the group, giving the group name as the series title. Then the group titles would have to be assigned to the "Enigmatic Stories" series. There's going to be a lot of work to do, especially in revising the contents sections of the publications in which the stories appear. I might test out a few to see if this works, unless someone has a better idea. Mhhutchins 21:13, 5 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Two Titles by Jessamyn West

My copy of "The Chilekings" has printed on the data page, "Originally published under the title of Little Men, copyright 1954, by Ballentine Books, Inc." The db lists "Little Men" as a Novella, and shows it to be about 65 pages long in the book "Star Short Novels", edited by Fredrik Pohl. This book is about twice that length, but is an edition for students, with a page entitled "A Note to Teachers and Parents", and is widly spaced, so it is very likely that this is the same story. It seems to me, that "The Chilekings" should be added as a variant title to "Little Men", but should "LM" be changed to a novel, or should "Chilekings" be changed to a shortstory/novella? CoachPaul 09:43, 6 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Our Help pages follow the current Hugo guidelines, which state that a novella is a "work whose length is greater than 17,500 words and less than or equal to 40,000 words. (Roughly 50 to 100 pages in a book.)" It's very likely that this story is a novella according to our definition, so we will want to set the Title type to "SHORTFICTION", the "Storylen" field to "nv" (for "novella", not to be confused with Contento's terminology) and the "Pub Type" of the standalone Publication (edition) to "CHAPTERBOOK". By the way, was the standalone published by Ballantine in 1967 (code U284) and have 123 pages, by chance? Ahasuerus 00:10, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Yes, the standalone information you gave is correct, but it also states on the cover, and nowhere else, that it is a "Ballentine Bal-HI Book Original". Should I add the Bal-Hi to the Publisher information? I have started this process outlined above, but need to go out now. I will finish it later. CoachPaul 08:39, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
We do want to capture this type of information since it can help with distinguishing between different editions and printings down the road, although perhaps not in this particular case. The right place to record it would be in the Notes field, though, since the Publisher field is reserved, as per the Help pages, for "[t]he name of the book's publisher". Ahasuerus 11:06, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I'll get it right eventually. Now that I've got "The Chilekings" listed as the varient title, I need to move the pub to the varient title and then remove the existing bad record. And maybe do something else I haven't thought of yet. CoachPaul 11:11, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I must admit the methods confused me (you could have merged three titles at one point rather than delete one and merge two), but you seem to have got there now. Have a look. BLongley 14:18, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Edward L. Ferman Problem

Under Series title "Best from F&SF", you can tell just from looking at the dates that "25 The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: 25 (1974)", is clearly out of place. When you open it's link, the pub is "The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, 25th Anniversary, (1974 , Edward L. Ferman, Doubleday, hc, anth)", which is already under the Series "F & SF Anniversary Anthologies", and has two editions listed there. Pub # THBSRSY441974, the one that is incorrectly placed, has the most information listed of any of the editions that have been entered into the db. Can this title be removed from the incorrect series listion, and placed in it's proper place? I can't figure out how to do it, and don't want to screw something up. CoachPaul 20:20, 6 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Yes, it was possible to remove this Publication record from the incorrect Title record (using "Unmerge Titles" on the left), which would have created a new Title record for this Publication. You could then merge the newly created Title with the Title in the Anniversary series. However, since there were no other Publications under the "bad" Title record, there was an easier way. Simply merging the two Titles (using the "Titles" option on Ferman's biblio page) resulted in the "good" Publication record with all its Contents data getting moved under the merged Title record. Once I did that, all that remained to do was a little bit of polishing (adding the ISBN from OCLC etc) and things are in synch now. The 1977 paperback contentless paperback reprint looks suspect, but I left it alone for now. Ahasuerus 00:02, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Thank you. I got this cloned to a pb, I'm not sure if the suspect one is good or not, but my copy is wierd. It lists a bunch of dates in the beginning of the book, but none of them are specificaly attributed to any stories, nor is there a date of publishment for the book as a whole. I left the dates as they already were figuring that they were in the hb, and used the last date listed as the date for the pub. Should I change the date on the pub to "unknown"? CoachPaul 08:35, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon with reprint anthologies. OCLC lists this paperback reprint as "1975?", so I have changed the date to 0000-00-00 (displays as "unknown") and added a Note about it. I also created a clone for the British hardcover reprint based on what OCLC has listed. The page count is the same as the first edition's, so I assume that there were no textual differences, but we won't know for sure until somebody verifies it. Ahasuerus 17:53, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)

The 6th Annual of the Year's Best S-F Judith Merril ed.

My copy of the dell edition of this book contains several cartoons, one of which is several pages long, and another of which is a Sunday Strip of Pogo from 1961. Should I add these to the contents or leave them out? CoachPaul 23:37, 7 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Rules for including artwork. If artwork illustrates a particular story, it should be included. If it does not, but is a significant piece of artwork, or is signed by or credited to a well known sf artist, then it should be included. Cartoons are always included; the title should be their caption, if they have one, or "Cartoon" if they don't.
Although I can only think of one pub of mine where I've had to.... I need more "funny books". BLongley 05:38, 8 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Cartoons

Noticed that my Imaginative Tales, May 1955 NewPub entry has not been approved yet. Because of the cartoon entries? Too long? My own feeling is that the title should be something besides the entire caption. Perhaps something like "Cartoon: " followed by the first five words of the caption. This would make it clear that the entry is a cartoon and would preclude a lot of useless verbiage.--Swfritter 11:35, 14 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I put it on hold because of capitalization -- see your Talk page from the other day :) Ahasuerus 11:45, 14 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I think leaving the case the same makes it clearer that it is a caption. It isn't really a title. I'm not even sure that one needs enter anything more than "Cartoon". Most cartoons are trivial filler and if captions are entered users who are doing title searches are going to end up with a lot of unwanted data in the results.--Swfritter 12:37, 14 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Fair point. I should point out that the rules in the help text were made up one evening by me, so are in no sense gospel. That particular rule was composed after a few seconds of head-scratching, without being able to think of a better idea.
Having said that, the reason I did it was because the alternative, "Cartoon", gives a different unpleasant outcome -- a bazillion records returned for a title search on "Cartoon". So I think I would still marginally support the current rule, but I can see both approaches are reasonable.
Re caps: how about if the title becomes: "Cartoon: <quoted caption>" (or "Cartoon: Untitled") as appropriate? The caption (in double quotes) could then use whatever case it uses in the magazine. However, I should also say that I know in the past cartoon captions have used standard cap conventions; so in that case we would "regularize" to lower case? Mike Christie (talk) 13:58, 14 Apr 2007 (CDT)
There are already about thirty entries of just "Cartoon". Took a quick physical check of a couple of them and they acutally should have captions in ISFDB. Like your idea. Think it is really important to have some kind of indicator that they are cartoons.--Swfritter 16:53, 14 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I think there is value to making a distinction between plain "interiorart" and comics. I am not sure if we want a separate type for comics in the long run, but "Cartoon: <quoted caption>" may be a reasonable compromise for now. The only problem with it would be that we would then have to go back and re-verify a bunch of magazines... Ahasuerus 01:56, 15 Apr 2007 (CDT)
FYI, while we are waiting for consensus, I have approved the submission and changed the titles to "Cartoon: ..." just to get it out of the queue. Ahasuerus 23:46, 17 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Ooh, so many strands here... first, thanks for reminding me of this issue: while finding an example I discovered a typo for this chap who seems to be pretty famous as a cartoonist as well as for other SF. (The typo was for this entry if people want an example to discuss.) But that also leads me to William Rostler who appears to be a typo of his co-author? Does anyone here actually know much about the cartoonist? Do they care about variant names for them or other artists? And finally, what DOES count as a consensus now - with so many new Mods and editors, most discussions seem to peter out fairly inconclusively most of the time, is it time we had a Voting system for such topics? BLongley 15:13, 18 Apr 2007 (CDT)

See Imaginative Tales, May 1956 for (perhaps worst case) example of how the entries can look. Seven cartoons, some of them very long captions (although I should have put them in quotations). I'm going to continue doing the remaining Imaginative Tales entries without entering cartoons until we have a final policy that has been entered in the Help screens. Mike Christies's seems to be the default policy for now but I feel that no policy of any kind should be implemented until there is sufficent discussion, resolution, and the Help screens have been updated. And there might be a couple of Very Important People who should have complete veto people. Growing pains, ouch!--Swfritter 13:25, 22 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Online Shop Publisher Mangling

I've seen this a few times in the ISFDB so thought I'd raise it here. Only with UK publishers that I recognise but it may happen elsewhere. Sometimes a book gets associated with a later publisher that did not exist when the book was published.

There are publisher transitions Mayflower -> Granada -> Grafton -> HarperCollins for instance, where electronic catalogues treat the latter as a superset of the former. Where HarperCollins did not even exist when the publication was published. This is the same with Sphere/Warner Books.

So for instance you might wind up with a 1973 HarperCollins edition that has been imported.

I've seen this in the Moorcock bibliography, we've just seen it with Clive Barker and I think it may effect LeGuin as well.

I'd guess these online companies are tying publisher name to ISBN. So if a book has 0-586 in it it becomes HarperCollins. Verification is probably the only real way to fix this, but it's worth knowung so we can keep an eye out for duplicate publications.

--Unapersson 03:02, 15 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I've noticed this too, and recently Chris J's Doctor Who edits made it very clear the importance of, for instance, "Target" Books being Wyndham or Tandem or Universal-Tandem to separate editions. I went back and looked at some Piers Anthony series as well and the Granada/Grafton differences on the spine turned out to be much more severe internally - e.g. some are actually Panther! IF we can improve the guidance on how to enter publisher details then we can use this to provisionally date otherwise undated editions - except we then open the worm-cans of "unknown dates must be entered as 0000-00-00, don't try and guess the date" and there being no support for printing number in the database itself. There's a risk that most UK titles end up with one dated pub, and a mass of 0000-00-00 editions above it, only distinguishable by price (sometimes) or number-lines in notes. :-/ BLongley 08:34, 15 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Editors credited on single-author collections

The rules state that editors for single-author collections should not be credited in the author fields, although I've seen many titles that do. Today I was verifying my J. R. R. Tolkien books and saw how often Christopher Tolkien is credited as the author. His name is not on the cover of any of these books, and only on the title page as editor. Scott Latham asked a question about a Harlan Ellison story in this collection and when I checked to verify the story, I noticed that the book is credited to four authors! According to the rules I can remove those editors as authors. The editors do deserve credit so I will mention them in the notes. Are there any objections to my doing this when I run across any future instances? Mhhutchins 17:44, 16 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I obviously think that's the right approach: I did that very thing in editing and verifying this publication. The companion issue is the "novels" that turn out to be anthologies on closer inspection. I've come to be suspicious of any listing with more than 2 "authors". (Scott Latham 18:30, 16 Apr 2007 (CDT))
Unfortunately, it's a fairly common problem since much of our data comes from Amazon.com and similarly unreliable online sources. There are missing or gratuitously added middle initials, artists and editors defined as co-authors, you name it. Sometimes it feels like playing Whack-a-mole, but one has to do what one has to do, at least until our webbots become smarter than Amazon's employees... Ahasuerus 18:15, 16 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Yeah, I've noticed that quite frequently on Amazon. Introducers often are credited as the coauthor. A couple of times I've notified them and they actually changed the listing! Mhhutchins 20:04, 16 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Heck, I've seen the illustrators and publishers credited as coäuthors on some pubs! I wish there were a better place to stash the editor credit for single-author colls, though, especially for collections put together after the author's death ("Isaac Asimov's Favorite Rudyard Kipling Stories", to name one nonexistent example) --WimLewis 21:03, 16 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I've notified Amazon about stuff too. I told them "Robert Sclierberg" never contributed to "World of a Thousand Colors", "Robert Silverberg" did. They added Silverberg as a co-author. :-( Perhaps I should claim to BE "Robert Sclierberg" and get some money out of them? BLongley 18:35, 7 May 2007 (CDT)

Use and Abuse of "Bio:"

Now that we have the "Bio:" namespace, we probably need to come up with at least some basic guidelines for it. For example, is this text acceptable:

Ralan Conley lives in an alternate universe, inside a cave hidden in the frozen wastes of Scandinavia, where wine and cheese are aged. This, of course, limits his diet considerably and may be the reason for his overactive imagination. He earns his living writing, running his writers' resource, www.Ralan.com, and doing a bit of ice-dragonship piracy. His work has appeared in print and electronic publications too numerous, or obscure, to mention. Some of which, to the consternation of his former writing coaches, have won contests, awards, and reader's polls. Among these, three nominations for the Bram Stoker Award and a finalist for the Sapphire Award. Always a bride's maid...

? Ahasuerus 12:31, 17 Apr 2007 (CDT)

It's fine with me as he's not selling/pushing junk while simultaneously giving readers an idea of what his writing is like. This page made me appreciate his persistence http://www.ralan.com/respond/index.htm Marc Kupper (talk) 00:47, 19 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Use William Morrison as canonical for Joseph Samachson?

Help seems to indicate that this should be the case. All titles are published under Morrison name but some are listed under Samachson as pseudonymous.--Swfritter 12:17, 18 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I concur, he should be under "William Morrison". Ahasuerus 01:25, 19 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Dragon Magazine Issue Numbers

I know that it is standard procedure to use "Magazine Title, June 1961" as the format for magazine titles here. I would like to add "Issue #1", etc. to the titles of all of my entries for The Dragon magazine, and would like approval from the Moderators. My reasoning is, that on the web, almost all pages that index the magazine have issue numbers and not month and year. Everytime therefore, that I look something up on the web, I have to guesstimate what the month and year is, open that entry in the db, and read the notes to see how close I am. I would also like to add issue number ranges to the Editor Title for each year. It would save me a lot of time if when I pulled up the Dragon Magazine Biblio page, I could see the issue numbers for each year, and likewise with the year at a glance bibliography. I do not however wish to create needless extra work for others, so if you would just remove them later, I won't add them now. CoachPaul 18:19, 19 Apr 2007 (CDT)

I have been putting issue numbers in the notes either as "Vol n, No n." or "#n." depending on how the magazines are numbered but I was thinking a good place for this information would be ISBN/Catalog# since magazines have no other obvious use for the data in this field. Would be even better if magazines had a special data entry mask so that values entered could be formatted in a sortable manner. This would only work if this field has not been used for anything else for the magazines already entered.--Swfritter 20:40, 19 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Well, there are magazine-specific ISSNs, which are similar to ISBNs. As far as sorting goes, the current approach that Mike Christie and Bill Longley discussed back in February is to use a somewhat different way of organizing them:
  • That's one that catches everyone the first time; took me a while to understand what was going on there. What happens is that the title records for magazines are of type "EDITOR". These are created automatically by the "New Magazine" version of the newpub form. They have the editor as the owner of the biblio, so if you go to John W. Campbell, Jr.'s biblio, for example, you would see all those records there -- and at one record per issue it was a huge, and rather unreadable, list. So what is done is to merge all the title records for a given year into one title record, and give it a title of the magazine, plus the year, with no month. This gives one record on the biblio but means you can't search for the title of a single issue.
  • To see what's going on, go to Advanced Search and put "Analog" in for title, then tab down to the second field in the Title section and put "1966" in, also for the title. That will return 13 records -- 12 cover art records and the year title record. Then go back to Advanced Search and enter the same things for the publication: "Analog" and "1966" (separately) and you will get 12 records -- the 12 individual issues.
Also see the way I have adjusted Lester del Rey's magazine biblio along similar lines. I will try to update the Help pages with this convention once I get over the bug du jour.
To go back to the original question, there were some magazines that relied on volume/issue numbers as their primary means of distinguishing between issues (and a few obscure ones that didn't bother with numbers or months at all!) Most bibliographers will use the most prominent numbering scheme -- here is a random example. Our preference for months over issue numbers is just a reflection of the fact that most magazines use months/years as the primary mechanism and using both in the Title field would make biblios make harder to read, but I wouldn't be opposed to changing the Help pages to something like "use the more prominently displayed of the month/year or the volume/issue number identification mechanism". Ahasuerus 00:39, 20 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I'm not too worried about varying standards for different magazines, so long as they're consistent for that series as much as possible. Look at Roger E. Moore and the way Dragon Magazine is represented here and try and figure out the standard. Does the number get prefixed "No.", "No", or "#"? Is it the number within the Volume, or both? If you quote the full number and the issue within Volume number, do you need the volume number? Do you need to state that it's an Issue in the title? (Well, if you've misclassified it as a Novel, maybe...) Do you use colons, commas or slashes to divide the title up? How come 193 is 6 YEARS AFTER 199? It's a mess.... :-/
Still, if we have a volunteer to do most of the work given mod approval, you have mine! ;-) There's some general questions you might want to thrash out, e.g. if magazines change from quarterly/bi-monthly/monthly to another schedule, do you still roll them up to Annual level later even if sometimes that means only four issues? For fringe magazines that we only include because of SF content a few times a year, do we try and capture the ones with no SF in for completeness to show we at least CHECKED? Et cetera. I thought about standards recently when Brin1 started changing Interzone formats, but magazines are NOT my speciality at all, so I'm happy to go with whatever the Magazine people say - even if they get all protective over their favourites and demand different standards for each ;-) - so long as I know where to look for the standard for that magazine, my few will get entered eventually. BLongley 13:53, 20 Apr 2007 (CDT)
I'll just talk about Dragon Magazine, since that's what I'm working on, and let you Mods thrash out the rest. Mostly DM was a monthly magazine. But, the first year they were every other month, then they went to eight months a year, but before that year was out, they switched to monthly, not that they kept that schedule every year. One year in the '90's I believe, they took three months in a row off. Yet, I will keep them sorted by year.
As for the newer issues that were entered by I don't know who, yes, they are a real mess. I will fix them when I get to them. I started with #1, am now on #23, and will get there sooner or later, probably sometime in June, as I am giving my Anthology/Collection books first priority, and I'll have another 20 or so to do next week. I will be listing all of the issues in the db. They don't all have spec fic, or book reviews, or pertinant essays in them, but I would say that at least about 85-90% of them do. By puting in the rest, it will show that they were all checkedd. I'm not sure how many of them I can get to go over, but I would say I can get my hands on about 90% of them at least, including all of the first 200.
For the ones I can't get I will make entries based on what I can find on the web, but clearly mark it so in the notes column. This way, if anyone has them, and wants to add the information from them, they will just have to edit, and we won't end up with more DM entries looking like that mess that we have now.
Since I have not seen any objections yet, and if there none by Monday, I will go ahead and start adding Issue numbers to both the years "The Dragon Magazine - 1976 - Issues #1-4", and the individual issues "The Dragon Magazine, June 1976 - Issue #1". CoachPaul 15:13, 20 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Comic Strips

There is a discussion of how we should enter associational comic strips over on [User talk:Brin1#Omni Comix Oct/Nov 1995|Brin1's Talk page]]. I suspect that they should be INTERIORART (if we decide to have them enetered at all) as opposed to the proposed SERIAL titles, but I wonder what other editors think. Ahasuerus 14:58, 21 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Well, it's been a couple of weeks, so I went ahead and approved the submission to free up a slot in the queue. I am still not sure how to categorize these Titles, though, since we have Serial/Interior pairs like "Hell Below Episode 1 • serial by George Caragonne and Tom Thornton"/"Hell Below Episode 1 • interior artwork by Jerry Paris and Dave Elliott and Arthur Suydam", so converting the Serials to Interior Art would be confusing. Ahasuerus 18:53, 7 May 2007 (CDT)
I entered The Collected Works of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century comics the other day. Entered them as pairs of shortfiction and interiorart. Does it look reasonable? Most were written by Nowlan and they are definitely a related work.Dana Carson 02:35, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

John Wyndham Pseudonym Question

Exiles on Asperus (1933) [as by John Beynon Harris ] was republished in 1967 in an anthology as Exiles on Asperus (1933) by John Wyndham. Should the original publishing with the pseudonym be the parent record, or should the latter version be the parent record because it is attributed to the more common name of the author? My inclination would lean towards the original printing, despite the use of the pseudonym. CoachPaul 00:44, 27 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Never mind it looks as though the db will put it under the "Exiles on Asperus (1933) [as by John Beynon Harris ]" line on John Wyndham's page no matter which of the two names is used as the author. CoachPaul 01:06, 27 Apr 2007 (CDT)
Yes, there's a discussion about how these should be displayed: it might be a bug, it might be a feature. See this discussion. The good news is that individual cases can be suppressed if we want them under the canonical name: the bad news is that only Al can do it, and it looks as if it won't work if you DO want a variant to appear that currently isn't. BLongley 13:05, 27 Apr 2007 (CDT)

Vaporware?

While working on the Christopher Priest page, I came upon a strange entry entitled The Cull (vaporware). The note pretty much explains the term "vaporware", a usage I've never heard, though it is similar to what I've always referred to as "Phantom Titles". Should we actually include such things in the ISFDB? It seems to be out-of-place on an author's summary page, and IMHO only complicates unnecessarily. I could just as easily enter dozens of titles of books that changed their names before publication or never existed. Sure, such infamous items as The Last Dangerous Visions are exceptional, but should the line be drawn somewhere? Just asking. Mhhutchins 18:01, 7 May 2007 (CDT)

Well, of course such items should be labeled "Vapourware" for British non-existent pubs... ;-) There's very few titles I'd allow to keep that status for long though. This would be one, but frankly, if a pending title doesn't appear within a few months of its intended date, delete it. If it appeared elsewhere, add notes to THAT title. If people still hope it will appear - OK, keep it and add notes about why the searcher is doomed to failure. "The Cull" might be one of those. BLongley 18:20, 7 May 2007 (CDT)
Unpublished works are a borderline area as our Rules of Acquisition state. The ISFDB software supports a semi-documented convention which states that "If the date field is set to 8888-00-00, the date will be printed as the word "unpublished", with the text in bold, between non-bold parenthesis: (unpublished)". I have changed this title to use 8888-00-00 until we decide whether it is sufficiently well known to justify keeping.
As far as the L. Neil Smith title goes, it's a somewhat different case. The first two novels in the trilogy first appeared as standalones while the third book only appeared as part of the omnibus reprint. Although uncommon, it's not unheard of, e.g. the 6th volume in Tanya_Huff's Victory Nelson, Investigator series has never been published as a standalone, only as part of an omnibus. The likely reason that Concert and Cosmos is labeled as "unknown/unpublished" in the ISFDB is that Smith's publisher originally refused to print it in 1990-1991 (So politically incorrect that Warner Books unilaterally cancelled the third volume!), which made it a minor cause célèbre in the SF/libertarian world. I have adjusted the Notes section to reflect the current state of affairs. Ahasuerus 19:59, 7 May 2007 (CDT)
I use both (vaporware) and 8888-00-00 for publications that seem to pop up often as credited to an author but don't exist. The goal is to reduce frustration for collectors that are trying to chase down all of a person's works so that they understand that a particular title really is a phantom. I recall I solve a huge mystery a few years ago about a particular phantom that would sometimes pop up in that the book had a different title on it's title page. Most people had listed the story by the cover and a couple used the title page but no one had connected the dots. Marc Kupper (talk) 05:35, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Printing Number and the Publisher name field

I had proposed on a couple of editor pages disambiguating printings using the publisher name field. Ahasuerus wrote the following.

Re: the proposed change of the value in the Publisher field from "NAL/Signet" to "NAL/Signet (17th printing)", I have seen this proposed approach mentioned in a recent Wiki discussion, but there are some ramifications here that make me hesitant. The Publisher field is not just a free text in the database; internally, it's a pointer to our list of publishers. The original idea was that we would eventually be able to clean up that list and make it useful by, e.g., enabling lookup on publishers. That way a user could quickly find out what books a particular publisher printed in a given year. If we were to start adding printing information in the Publisher fields, it would make it much more difficult to decouple them later on and make publisher data useful again. I will post about this issue on the Rules and standards discussions page. Thanks! Ahasuerus 22:20, 12 May 2007 (CDT)
While I'm aware of the publisher name table and presumably it'll be visible my thinking was that when the code gets added to deal with the publisher names it'll strip off anything after " (". I've also used "DAW Books (Canada)" to flag the Canadian editions as their printings and prices (including the U.S. prices) are not always the same as the USA editions. What do you want to do for now? Marc Kupper (talk) 00:08, 15 May 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for the reminder, Marc, I meant to post about this issue, but was distracted by another fire.
After thinking some more about this, I suspect that we may need to revisit the "printing number" data element at the database design level. The original thinking back in 1995 was that maintaining two data tiers, one for Titles and one for Publications, was going to be hard enough and adding a third tier for printings would be an overkill. However, it looks like there are enough cases where the sheer number of Publications per Titles makes the current scheme unwieldy.
One of the basic rules of dabatabase design that most people discover when cataloguing their libtraries on 3x5 cards is that whenever you are trying to stuff more than one logical element into the same field, it usually means that you need to add a new data element instead. Therefore I suggest that we wait for Al to come back on May 26 and see what he thinks about adding "Printing number" as a new field in the database. Ahasuerus 00:51, 15 May 2007 (CDT)
I'm in favour of "Printing Number" as an optional but useful field. The number of times I've entered notes about this makes it clear that it's NOT unusual to have printings indistinguishable by date alone - even when they quote the printings to the exact month rather than the year. BLongley 14:43, 22 May 2007 (CDT)
As to the idea of sorting out publishers - I doubt we ever will. :-/ From what I've seen in my time here, that data is vague or incomplete without a lot of background reference data we don't have, even if we could guess at some based on the data we DO have, and can research some of the bigger ones. To tackle it properly needs information about the "imprint", owned by a company who may be a subsidiary of another company, but only for certain periods of time, and the ownerships may move around, and the names of the companies change... :-/ BLongley 14:43, 22 May 2007 (CDT)
I'm not saying it wouldn't be useful, knowing that say, two imprints are owned by the same publisher and a title published under one may continue under another but keep the printing number series going is handy. Knowing that I would put "Piccolo" as a publisher and someone else may have put "Pan" for the same pub helps with merging identical pubs. (Well, updating one and deleting the other, merging the notes beforehand.) Maybe we should try a Publishers/Imprints Wiki and see if we can capture that info - but Wikipedia hasn't managed it yet, judging by their Sphere and Orbit and Panther entries. BLongley 14:43, 22 May 2007 (CDT)
I'd agree that sorting out publishers will be a pain given the constant mergers/acquisitions and that the information is not presently consistently in publications. Just last night I was re-checking two editions of a book I had entered into ISFDB and wondered why I had one was "Avon" and the other was "Avon Books." I took a look at the title pages and sure enough, the 1st printing had "(logo) Avon / Publishers of Bard, Camelot, Discus and Flare Books" while the 3rd printing done less than two years later is "Avon Books (logo) New York." Both are divisions of Hearst at the same street address. Marc Kupper (talk) 15:35, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
I've just deleted some of my own verified publications due to me having different opinions NOW about how they should be recorded... (Yes, the way I want them to appear now IS still in the database.) If I don't have to do it alone, I'm still willing to help create an "Imprint - Publisher - Company" tree we can refer to - there's no way we can yet put "publisher" as a drop-down list to choose from, and I'm not even sure that should be a goal. But I'd like such a reference to be there. BLongley 18:23, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

E-zine Elibility

Please note that there is an ongoing discussion of e-zine elibility for ISFDB inclusion over on ISFDB talk:Policy. Ahasuerus 00:30, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

Jean Duprès or Jean Dupres

This Gordon R. Dickson ss was listed without the accent mark over the e in the db. Contento lists it without the mark. The biblio page Jean Duprès, where it lists the awards, lists it with the mark. Before I added the Nova 1 pb, it was listed without the mark in four publications, two editions of Nova 1, both hc, The 7 Cardinal Virtues of Science Fiction, and The Seven Deadly Sins and Cardinal Virtues of Science Fiction. My pb copy of Nova 1 lists it with the mark. Wikipedia lists it with the mark on it's page of Hugo nominees for 1971. I have not been able to find any web page for Dickson to look for help there. Should the Parent title have the mark and the variant title not have it, or visa versa? CoachPaul 19:45, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Well, to quote our Help pages, when in doubt, pick the title used on the first published version of the story, which in this case is the hardcover edition of Nova 1. I can check what it says on Saturday unless somebody else has a copy lying around. Ahasuerus 23:23, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Checklist of image hosting sites

A recent submission convinced me that we have gotten to the point where we could really use a checklist of sites that allow/disallow direct linking to the images that they host. I propose a simple table with 3 columns:

  • Domain name(s)
  • Status (Yes/no)
  • Source, e.g. an excerpt from a dated e-mail or a link to the page that states the site's policy

That way moderators won't have to scratch their heads every time a link to an obscure site is submitted. We could also use this checklist to scan our database for disallowed links, e.g. deep links to Wikipedia. Ahasuerus 05:53, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Sounds good! I presume this will not just be a table, but something Mods can view without waiting for the backups to get posted? In the long-term such a table should be used to warn people like "Already verified primaries" get. (I won't vote for outright rejection, maybe just that field if it's on the banned list.) Any ideas on suggested entries yet? BLongley 15:25, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Sound good too! BTW - on those backups, are they being done at all these days? I'm just thinking that with the last available backup file being dated 04/22/2007 that there's been a lot of db updates and no backups? Marc Kupper (talk) 19:02, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
The database is backed up daily. To quote Al:
Backups happen nightly. However, that isn't the version that's put online for download. I bring the backup over to the home unit, and remove the wiki tables (need to remove passwords and email addresses). Then a new backup is made from that version and uploaded. Real backups are still around at TAMU and my house.
Ideally, the process would be automated, but...
Sorry, running a bit late today. Will respond later, the zwilniks are getting frisky. Ahasuerus 19:23, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Back in business for a few minutes. When I wrote "table", I meant a quick and dirty Wiki table, but perhaps Bill's idea is better in the long run.
For now, we know that we are not allowed to deep link to Wikipedia images and that we are allowed to link to Amazon and, as of today, to Phil Stephensen-Payne's "Galactic Central". As he wrote in an e-mail to Brin1: "Sure, no problem, as long as there is a note somewhere (not on every image!) and a link to my site". I will leave Al a message asking about the best location for this yet-to-be-written acknowledgment. Perhaps something to add to the existing acknowledgments list for the cover scans used on the main page? Ahasuerus 00:30, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Unindent: I've received permission for two more sites - it's amazing what a compliment or two and a polite request can achieve! See here for details - Yutaka has more than just A. E. van Vogt titles as well, see my post here for a few examples that may be of more general interest. I'm wondering whether to contact the French and Icelandic site owners too, but I don't want to start an edit-war if they all volunteer as editors here as well! 14:12, 5 Jun 2007 (CDT)

Psuedonym Documentation

I just finished entering the psuedonym information from the career bibliograpy in John Jake's The The Best of John Jakes. According to that source he had only one story written under the name Darius John Granger but there are multiple other Granger stories attributed to Jakes in the ISFDB. According to Miller and Contento in the CD release of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Weird Fiction Magazine Index the Granger name was primarily used by Milton Lesser (who later legally changed his name to Stephen Marlowe). I am currently in a quandry as to whether or not to attribute the others to "unknown" or Lesser but there is a much bigger issue. Their is virtually no documentation for the source of psuedonym attributions in the ISFDB listings. For the Jakes entries that had accurate psuedonym information I made an entry in the source fields indicating the Jakes collection as a source. I did the same for the Jakes entries that I changed. Another psuedonym attribution I made was for a Lowndes story. Three different sources indicated that he was the only one to use the pseudonym of Wilfred Owen Morley so I felt justified in attributing the story to him. There is an ISFDB entry indicating that he used it in collaboration with someone else but no there was no documentation in the ISFDB indicating the source. Should there be a requirement that the source of psuedonym attributions be documented? Should we add the notes field to the psuedonym entry screen and force the documentation at the same time?--Swfritter 12:40, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

We already have author bibliographic notes where source information about pseudonyms can be listed. Adding a notes field to make-pseudonym seems like a good idea but I'm not sure where to keep/present this data. Marc Kupper (talk) 15:19, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
I was thinking of using just the regular notes field for the title. I think each title needs to be documented and justified individually in a place where the viewer can readily see it. The bibliographic information is only available by clicking on a link on the author page.--Swfritter 16:04, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
The Title level Notes field sounds like a reasonable place to record this information. Unfortunately, there are way too many "house names" and shared pseudonyms for Author level records to cover all possible permutations usefully -- think "Alexander Blade" or "Victor Appleton". Of course, we can still use the Wiki page for the author to document any peculiarities at the Author level, e.g. this Dominic Green note. My only concern is that "Bibliographic Comments" links may not be something that most of our users would pay much attention to. Perhaps we could use a new (free text) field in the Author record that would be called something like "Bibliographic warnings"? Ahasuerus 16:38, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
There are two title records with note fields associated with a variant title record so it is not the best candidate. Title level "Bibliographic warnings" could be linked to both title records. If "Bibliographic warnings" was a required field when assigning a psuedonym then the user would be forced to enter some kind of justification for the assignment.--Swfritter 10:29, 25 May 2007 (CDT)

Should variant titles contain publications?

I have been entering publications under the variant title but this creates a couple of problems.

  1. When you are on the parent title record you see a list of variant titles but they are not linked. The only ways to get to them are to search for them or to click on a publication that may belong to that variant and then to click on the title reference. Related to this is that notes, etc. in the title record will not be seen unless a person gets to it directly.
  2. This post was triggered because I did a search for Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad and was surprised to see zero publications. I saw that it was a variant, clicked on the parent link and there are publications of The Cyberiad. Before doing the remove-title and then merge-title to fix this I figured I should ask about it as this is not the first time I've seen publications filed under the parent rather than child title records. Marc Kupper (talk) 14:43, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
I strongly consider variant titles SHOULD contain the pubs under that name, the ones that made it worth a variant and their minor variations that fit better there than under the 'canonical' title. (e.g. pubs with an "and other stories" suffix, or "- a novel" added, or with a series name included just because it was on the title page even though it was in a different font that should give you a clue as to what the "title" bit actually is.) Fitting all publications under a canonical title will just lead to HUGE pages where you won't easily find the publications you could actually READ. They're variants for a good reason! BLongley 15:48, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
I did some more checking. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has no publications. Now think what that would look like to someone searching for it here. We give the variant link, sure. So someone clicks it and they see French, Spanish (Portuguese?), Italian, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Lithuanian, Ancient Greek and Latin editions. Presumably they're looking for an American-ish edition, and although they may be perfectly capable of reading a UK edition instead, the US edition was different for a reason. (I'm not sure what reason, and I might not support it even if I did know for sure.) But if we even get anywhere NEAR the "all publications" goal, we will NEED the separation of variant titles. There'll be 37+ British pubs alone on that page! BLongley 16:17, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree that Variant Titles should contain "their" Publications. Whenever I come across a Publication that is associated with the parent Title record instead of the correct VT, I do an Unmerge and then merge the new Title with the appropriateVariant Title. I have been toying with the idea of sorting Publications by their Title in the parent Title's biblio page, but I am not sure how to handle collections.
As far as getting to Variant Titles' Publications goes, you can access them from the Author's Summary page if the VT is displayed separately. If it is not, then you can access the "hidden" VT via the "Titles" option in the navbar. However, although these roundabout ways of accessing the data exist, I agree that all VTs should be hyperlinked from the parent Title's page. I don't see an open feature request for this functionality, perhaps we could create one? Ahasuerus 16:29, 24 May 2007 (CDT)
  • BLongley wrote "Fitting all publications under a canonical title will just lead to HUGE pages" - the parent already shows all of the child publications.
  • Ahasuerus wrote "Whenever I come across a Publication that is associated with the parent Title record instead of the correct VT, I do an Unmerge and then merge the new Title with the appropriateVariant Title." I have been thinking of a feature request to change "Unmerge publications" to be "Unmerge or move publications" which would look the same but have an optional target title # field where if you fill it in the publications are moved rather than new titles getting created for each one.
  • Ahasuerus wrote "I don't see an open feature request for this functionality" - This looks like it - [ISFDB_Feature_List] Feature:90109 Link to child VTs / 18 Jan 2007.
Thank you for the replies - I had suspected pubs should get filed under the variants but wanted to double check this. Marc Kupper (talk) 11:47, 25 May 2007 (CDT)

Non-Latin characters in Titles

I have been thinking about different ways of representing non-Latin characters. The underlying problem, as far as we can tell, is that capturing the original non-Latin spelling in Unicode would make it impossible to search for non-Latin titles unless you can enter Unicode characters. Conversely, if we were to use transliterations, then we would not only lose the original spelling, but also open Pandora's box of competing transliteration scheme.

Using the Principle of least surprise, I came up with "parentheses as the key insight", to paraphrase Vinge. Take a look at the results and see if they address the issues outlined above. (Ignore the fact that we don't know the series numbers for the Russian sequels at this time.) Ahasuerus 01:53, 28 May 2007 (CDT)

Well, I wasn't surprised. I didn't expect it to break my browser, nor to be intelligible to a self-confessed monoglot like me. But just to prove I've at least ATTEMPTED to read it: are the very similar words I've highlighted supposed to be identical? A 'Da' or 'Nyet' will do, I don't intend to learn the language! ;-) (My father tried it once and has refused to leave the UK ever since.)
  1. Звездный Клондайк (Zvezdnyj Klondajk) (1999) by Sergei Sukhinov
  2. Патруль Звездных Волков (Patrul' Zvezdnyh Volkov) (1999) by Sergei Sukhinov
BLongley 16:26, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
"Zvezdnyj" (="Star") modifies singular masculine nouns (and functional equivalents thereof) when the nominative case is used. "Zvezdnyh" modifies plural nouns when either the genitive or the prepositional case is used. Oh, and welcome to "cases", the second biggest headache when trying to learn a Slavic language :) Ahasuerus 16:54, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
That's a "Nyet" then. ;-) Today, I travelled 40 miles to visit a good second-hand book-shop that is having a closing-down sale :-( . I've travelled to another COUNTRY in search of more books at affordable prices, but that was only Wales. (Maybe - Y Gelli is sometimes English, sometimes Welsh.) BLongley 17:20, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
40 miles? For some of us, that would be 20% of our daily commute and/or 4% of a nice relaxing weekend trip :) Ahasuerus 18:32, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
40 miles is 30% more than my daily commuting now, and I'm glad of that! Driving in England is NOT really comparable with most other countries, I'm told. For instance, I used to do a 100-mile each-way daily commute that included this little bit of traffic calming AND this lesser one too. (Some people might say that's an appropriate punishment for working for the known Novel-Mutilators "Reader's Digest". :-( ) Next time I visit my parents I'll have to have a look at the new Colchester "Magic Roundabout" too, but that looks pretty simple in comparison. BLongley 15:40, 3 Jun 2007 (CDT)
And yes, Hay-on-Wye is a book buyer's paradise and a close competitor of some Australian stores in the "I can't believe I found a copy, much less bought one for $3!!" department. Ahasuerus 18:32, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
I'm sure I'll visit again - it's getting a little pricier now though. The first visit is always good - my girlfriend and I came back with about 250 books, having spent £50 on a night's accommodation and £200 on books. My last visit, solo, wasn't so good: cheaper, yes (£30 accomodation and £100 on books) but I only came back with about 50 books. And it seems my private collection is now larger then at least two of the specialist SF bookshops there. :-/ BLongley 15:40, 3 Jun 2007 (CDT)
The likelihood of me actually reading a book in another language when I have so many still to read in my own (or in American, Canadian, Kiwi, Strine, etc) is pretty low. I'm sure they're all very nice languages, but I don't have the time to learn them all. BLongley 17:20, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
English is the best bang for the buck for an SF reader, but it's nice to have other languages in reserve in case the Aldebaranians invade and we need a modern day equivalent of Navajo code talkers! Ahasuerus 18:32, 28 May 2007 (CDT)
I understand Cockney, that should be enough to confuse most aliens! (It confuses most Americans for a start...) ;-) BLongley 15:40, 3 Jun 2007 (CDT)
Came across this in a discussion elsewhere, http://www.unicode.org/Public/3.2-Update/CaseFolding-3.2.0.txt what characters fold into one so that cases and accents don't matter on searches. Dana Carson 22:44, 7 Jun 2007 (CDT)