Rules and standards discussions/Archive/Archive09

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This archive includes discussions from January 2011 - March 2012.

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Foreign only author

The author C. H. Badet appears in the ISFDB with only a single publication, which was published only in French, Italian, and (not documented in ISFDB) in Portuguese. This seems to have been included only because someone was entering all of the contents of I Romanzi di Urania #78. I was under the impression that if we were entering the contents of a non-English journal that contained some translations of English-author stories, that we would include only those English-language authors as content items, and that other stories would be listed in the "Notes" field only. If so, this issue of Urania (and probably various others) needs to be corrected. Am I understanding the rules on foreign journals & anthologies correctly? Chavey 19:12, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

No, I'm afraid you're misunderstanding the rules. I'm not sure where the impression that only English language stories should be entered. If one is entering a non-English anthology or periodical, the titles should be entered as they were first published. If a story was originally published in English, the record should be in English. The same if it originally appeared in French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc. Take the Italian magazine as an example. Stories that were first published in Italian (like "Il sangue verde") are entered in Italian. Those that were first published in English (like "The Seventh Order") are entered in English. The Badet novel was originally written in French, and then translated into Italian. So the title record is in French, the novel's canonical title. Because the ISFDB began and continues to be, for the most part, an English-language database, exceptions are made for English-language publication of stories that first appeared in another language. If Voyage au centre de la Terre appears in an English language omnibus as A Journey to the Center of the Earth it is entered as an English language title record. We then make it a variant of the original French title. Unfortunately for non-English stories, if the situation is reversed, we do not make the non-English title into a variant record. At least, not yet. That's somewhere down the road. When, I can't say. Mhhutchins 20:02, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
The "Rules of Acquisition" say, with respect to what to include "Debatable - Works of speculative fiction published in a foreign language which haven't been translated into English and whose author's other works have not been translated into English. Arguments for exclusion: avoid duplicating the efforts of foreign language bibliographers in a field where we can't realistically compete with them." So should I assume that this debate is ongoing, but that for the time being I should go ahead and enter non-English works even by people who have never had something published in English? Chavey 20:52, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I think the debate is mostly over, due to the increasing number of editors willing to work in their own languages. Sadly, Ernestoveg won't be entering any more. BLongley 17:11, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Noting Sources

This tells editors that they don't have to note their source if they've done a secondary verification of the pub. Which is all well, unless the book has been primary verified too. How would a user know that some data is stated and some data is from the primary source? Some verifiers don't write extended notes explaining their sources (which should be required as being a primary verifier, but that's another matter.) What brought this up was a submission changing the date of this pub record from 1992-00-00 to 1992-10-00. I asked the submitter to note the source, and he brought up the guideline I link to above, stating that because he's indicated a Locus1 verification, it's not necessary to show his source in the note field. Wouldn't the person who comes along and does a primary verification rightfully wonder why his pub doesn't have an October 1992 printing date? Would he then properly create another record? A change was also submitted for this pub record, changing the date from 1992-11-00 to 1992-10-00. It's been primary verified. Another user comes along, looks at the record and believes the date must actually be stated in the pub because it's primary verified. Another reason that the guideline doesn't make sense: if three or four secondary sources have been verified, how would a user know which fields apply to which source? I created this table but how many people even know it's there, much less actually consult it? Mhhutchins 04:26, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Makes sense. I think we were so giddy when we got secondary verifications that we didn't think through all possible permutations. Ahasuerus 04:56, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
It might even be nice to link to the table from the verification source of the pubs so that those of us with short term memory loss can have their memories jogged. Although I can vividly remember my first day of school and buying my first SF mag, this table (like the chronological bibliography that I now remember having at one time been aware of) will quickly fade from memory.--swfritter 15:30, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
That help section, by the way, contradicts the fourth bullet in this one, which although wishy-washy about WHERE to record the information about the source of the date, does explicitly say it should be recorded. I think our treatment should be All information is as stated/presented in the publication unless otherwise noted. And we should require a note documenting the source of any data not taken from the pub itself. That avoids requiring a primary verifier to add any notes, but it does require editors to add notes when supplying data taken from other sources or based on assumption/derivation from what is seen in the pub. Basically, a form of footnotes. Verifiers can, of course, add all the notes they want. --MartyD 17:20, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
I can't see much of a problem if there is only a secondary verification, or all the secondary sources verified against agree. But Mike's right in that a Primary verifier needs to know why we generally, for instance, accept a Locus month and year date over a mere year date in a pub, and should note that at Primary Verification time at latest. (I do that so often I'm tempted to write a bookmarklet for exactly that text.) I don't really see any problem with no notes until there's some discrepancy though. But the help could definitely be improved to show that as soon as there is any possible confusion, notes are required. BLongley 19:12, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
It would also be possible to do a mass-update of pubs with no notes and only one secondary verification source to add a note "Data from <secondary source>" if people consider such necessary or desirable. BLongley 19:12, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
If a non-moderator can contribute, I often find myself in the position of being the primary verifier for a pub that has data in it which I cannot verify -- primarily the month of publication or the cover artist. In these cases I usually feel an obligation to make a note of the form "Month of publication not from the book". But it would be nice to know where that extra data came from. Chavey 20:20, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
A lot of data was "pounded in via keyboard", which is why I suggested that when Al (and other's) work has been secondarily verified we might note that. I don't want to devalue the data that has no source in notes. BLongley 00:31, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Non-moderators are encouraged to participate in any and all discussions on the wiki. Some of us have been around so long that we've lost the perspective of a relative newcomer and recent user of the database. You bring up another valid point about why the "no note of source required for secondary verifications" statement should be modified. Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:29, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, please participate, Darrah! I'm another one that has been around so long I forget perspectives. BLongley 00:31, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) And on that note (pun intended), I thought I would bring up the point of the extremely small edit box for the entry of notes that makes entering longer notes very cumbersome. Also some guidelines on how to structure notes would be helpful instead of just a box that dumps raw data into the middle of an HTML page (that can cause the page to be malformed and not render correctly on some browsers, etc.). Which by the way I have seen a number of notes with rather creative HTML contents. Currently the note data is stuffed raw into a <li> HTML list element. I have seen notes that close the list element and open others to effectively create more bullets withing the same list (vs. some that create an unnumbered <ul> sub-list). I really feel allowing raw HTML in the note is a dangerous thing. If one ever wants to change the format of the various record displays that have raw note data it will either break or one will be required to continue to support it being in a unnumbered list. And there is no promise that even then it will be right as XHTML requires lower case entities and attributes and well-formed closing tags, etc. This means it will be very hard to even keep up with future changing HTML standards as we will be locked into the current one (or have to update all the records affected by such a change each time). Something akin to BBS or wiki markup would probably be safer and better. That said, I realize changing now it significant work. One option would be to do away with the current note system and link into the current wiki as is done for author bios and bibliographic notes. I realize that means more clicking to see the note or some way to include the wiki page into the DB page (e.g., with a frame, etc.). Just my two cents. Uzume 01:55, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

BBS/Wiki style markups would be nice to have, but, as you said, it would be a fair amount of work to implement. I don't think we want to move notes to the Wiki in the meantime because the Wiki is not tightly integrated with the rest of database. (Nor is it a part of the public backups.) If anything, we are trying to move more data from the Wiki to the database, e.g. see the recent addition of Pub series and the plan addition of Series Notes.
By the way, if you check the code, you'll see that we do XML/database escape all notes before we file them even though it may look like we don't always do it -- what's displayed on the screen and what's filed in the database is not always the same :-) Ahasuerus 07:19, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I have noted my discomfort with the use of HTML in notes more than once. Along with the technical issues there is the major issue that their use discourages non-HTML fluent editors from modifying the notes. Only an absolute minimum number of basic HTML should be use. The only thing way I use HTML in the notes is to do paragraph breaks.--swfritter 14:39, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
This discussion concerns the noting of sources. The use of HTML in notes is not related to this discussion, being tangential at most. Personal feelings about whether an editor should or should not be using HTML has nothing to do with whether sources should be noted. An editor need not link to the source. They can just simply write it in plain text. Mhhutchins 17:20, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
My only point in bringing up HTML in notes was that it made note entry non-trivial and improvement could be made in terms of standardization and help on the right ways to do such. The technical side of moving to another system is great but definitely another topic. Uzume 17:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
No one has ever argued that note entry was non-trivial regardless of the form used, whether plain text or HTML. I would argue that standardization is not necessary in a field that was designed as a catch-all field. Otherwise we'd have specialized fields for sources, printings, LCCNs, editors, designers, translators, narrators, or any number of fields for non-trivial information. Mhhutchins 18:24, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I think you've just listed half-a-dozen feature requests there! I believe Printing Number support is underway, a second Catalog Number field for LCCNs or suchlike is requested, Editors of things other than Anthologies and Non-Fiction is wanted, Translators was sort of designed-in but programmed-out (there's a "title_translator" field in the titles table, but it's not used and should probably be at publication or "edition" level anyway) and I'd like Cover Designers, Photographers and Image Libraries separated from Artists, and feel Narrators should get some credit. Whenever we discuss standards for notes, I keep feeling we're missing a feature in the database or the web-site. I can search for "Jim Dale" as a Narrator in Pub Notes - offline - but if people want to do such online, we're failing them. (A General "Search Notes" request will probably not get by - it's rather heavy on the DB.) BLongley 16:58, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Artist canonical name

It would certainly appear that is time to update Help concerning artist canonical names in order to be consistent with current data entry conventions. The current convention seems to be to use the artist's real name rather than the name most commonly credited. It also seems that signatures (like EMSH) are being used to determine the identity of the canonical artist but are not entered as the artist's name. I'll have to admit it does not make a lot of sense to me that such titles are not credited to Emsh since that was also his most common editorial credit. But then again I never expected Edgar Rice Burroughs name to become transmogrified as Edgar Rice Burrows.--swfritter 14:41, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Good thing we don't create pseudonyms based on erroneous spellings in secondary sources! About artists' name: just like authors, some choices for canonical name will be more obvious than others, and others will have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. I personally feel that "Emsh" should be a pseudonym for Ed Emshwiller, and "Freas" should be a pseudonym for Frank Kelly Freas. Both are currently that way in the database, but most of the records of the pseudonyms haven't been varianted. Are there any more that need to be discussed? Darrel Sweet = Darrel K. Sweet, and David Mattingly = David B. Mattingly (those are the first two that come to mind.) Both of these have a relationship established but again most of the records of the pseudonyms haven't been varianted. Mhhutchins 17:29, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps specific standards for individual artists should be formulated on the biblio page for the artist; and Help updated to indicate that is the place to look if there seem to be any discrepancies. Even if the canonical name that is chosen doesn't always seem right to everyone it isn't too big a deal since the canonical and variant credits are well tied together. It's more important that things be consistent. If it's decided that a work signed "EMSH" is to credited as Ed Emshwiller then that is fine by me. Most of the people who have verified pubs in this way have also indicated in the notes that the Ed Emshwiller credit is based upon the "EMSH" signature. I will probably not get involved in those discussions. If anyone is still around who made the decisions to assign canonical names to certain artists then perhaps they can lead the discussions for those artists.--swfritter 18:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I treat artists' signatures like ideograms and use the most complete version of the artist's name cited within the issue. If no name is cited, then if I recognize the signature/chop I use what I believe to be the canonical name. For example, an illustration might be signed EMSH, the credit underneath might be Ed Emsh, while the table of contents identifies him as Ed Emshwiller. In that case I assign the full name, otherwise the artist could entered under three different names in the same pub.
I don't know how databases are structured, but I assume all authors have a unique identifier, and that making a pseudonym ties it to that identifier. If that's so, then maybe the database could merge all such records and rank them by frequency, automatically assigning the canonical name and the pseudonymous relationships. If this could be done, the canonical name would move around as more records are entered and would free the editors of the burden of determining canonical names. House names might require special treatment. I imagine this is easier said than done.--Rkihara 05:05, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think I'd trust an automatic system, due to house names like John Cleve and Erin Hunter. I think we can develop scripts to reverse a pseudonym pair fairly easily, when it's a One-to-One mapping - maybe when it's a Many-to-One mapping as well. But Many-to-Many I think will always have to be done by a Human. BLongley 17:58, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
This Feature Request to "Enable mass variant title creation for Authors" may help. Ahasuerus 00:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


After this discussion I would like to change the text of this template to:

  • Interviewee - The name of the person being interviewed. This should always be the the interviewee's canonical name, in order to show the interview on the interviewee's bibliography. If the interview uses a non-canonical name which is already recorded in the ISFDB as a pseudonym or alternate name of the canonical name for this person, enter the version of the interviewee's name in the interview title. If the interview uses a version of the interviewee's name which differs from any of the versions of this interviewee's name known to the ISFDB, but which still serves to unambiguously identify the book (e.g. if the interview has a misprint, or abbreviates the interviewee's name), also make a note in the notes field for the publication that the interviewee's name was spelled incorrectly, and give the form of the name actually used in the interview.

Any problems with this (or other suggestions)? Thanks, --Willem H. 15:29, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Sounds OK, but a bit complicated. A suggestion:
  • Interviewee - The name of the person being interviewed. This should always be the interviewee's canonical name, so that the interview is displayed on the interviewee's summary bibliography page. If the title of the interview uses a non-canonical name, whether or not it is already recorded in the ISFDB as a pseudonym for this person, enter the title exactly as it appears in the publication. If the interviewee is referenced in the body of the interview with a non-canonical form of his/her name (whether it is a misspelling, an abbreviation, or a pseudonym), that name should be recorded in the record's note field.
Mhhutchins 17:18, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I prefer Mike's, but I'd stress even more that it is the title that should be entered exactly if it uses a non-canonical name, and that it's only if a non-canonical interviewee name is taken from the body of the interview that a note is needed. BLongley 18:18, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Further suggestion, echoing Bill's points:
  • Interviewee - The canonical name of the person being interviewed, whether or not it matches the form(s) of the name used in the interview. This is done so that the interview is displayed on the interviewee's summary bibliography page. The interview's title, however, should be entered exactly as it appears in the publication, even if it contains a non-canonical form of the the interviewee's name. If no name is used in the title, and the interviewee is referred to in the body of the interview by a non-canonical form of his/her name (whether a misspelling, abbreviation, or pseudonym), that name should be recorded in the record's note field.
Put the most important instruction first, lest the reader stop after the first sentence.... The second, explanatory sentence could be dropped to make the whole thing shorter. --MartyD 00:54, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I think Marty's is the best yet. The problem with English being only my second language is that I tend to explain too much (which is why we have this page of course). --Willem H. 14:37, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Yep, Marty's is the best yet IMO. BLongley 16:29, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Let's go with Marty's. You get the honor to make the correction, Marty. Mhhutchins 18:56, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, guys. I'm looking forward to all those page view royalties.... :-) --MartyD 00:20, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Foreign currency and punctuation

We had this discussion over the last few days. It deals with the variations in how German Marks are entered into the database. I think this calls for a more general discussion on how to deal with non-English currency. The help text (under Price) has a good set of rules for English language books, but for other countries only For books priced in other currencies, use an appropriate symbol, and to put the symbol before the price. Nothing about the use of periods, commas or spaces. There is not much control over this, leading to different approaches for different countries. Our Italian friend Ernesto managed to place the currency symbol (Lit) after the price without ever being challenged (Roglo did the same with Polish Zloty's). I think the most important questions are:

  • Should some rules be the same for all entries, or do we want a separate set of rules for each country.
  • Is the use of a space allowed (or encouraged) between symbol and price. At least Polish, Italian, Hungarian and a lot of German pubs have this.
  • Is the use of a comma allowed (or encouraged) in the price when that's common standard in a country.

Opinions? --Willem H. 15:20, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Some thoughts:
  • It is unlikely editors or moderators will be familiar with a wide range of countries. I think it would be best to try to have a standard that can be applied without knowing the particulars of any specific country.
  • I find prices difficult to read when there is no space between letters and numbers. So I prefer "DM 10". My eyes do not have the same difficulty when non-letter glyphs are involved. Perhaps that's just a cultural bias. I don't really care all that much either way.
  • I think we should standardize the numeric format, again rather than requiring the editor and/or moderator to know which decimal separator is in use in a particular country. I have no objection to one separator or another: "DM 10.50" and "DM 10,50" are both quite clear to me, but I don't want to be in a position of having to figure out that a submission using "XY 10.50" should be corrected to "XY 10,50". If we have a rule, "use period as the decimal separator", it's easy to be consistent and to learn/understand, much as the standardized date formatting is easy enough to follow.
That said, I like consistency, so I'm in favor of your trying to come up with some tighter guidelines. --MartyD 15:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I may be the only person that's tried to use the price field in queries - see the "Price Cribsheet" section on my page - and from what I remember it took a fair bit of work to exclude non-standard prices. The US prices may well have been contaminated by other incorrectly-entered Dollar prices as well. (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc). So standardisation would help if we really want to use the data programatically. But I don't think many people use it for more than disambiguating printings. Has anyone actually used the "Price" option in Advanced Publication Search? I suspect not, or we'd have a Bug Report for such things as "L3.99" works but "£3.99" doesn't. BLongley 16:27, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I ran into this problem many moons ago and the consensus seemed to be that we had numerous other problems with searching for non-ASCII characters, so it was a low priority. Still, a formal bug would be nice to have. That said, I agree that it's rare to search for prices -- I think I used it once or twice last year. Ahasuerus 10:17, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if it'd be a major problem in this context to program with different formats, but I do know that I had this exact problem with different currency formats in an analysis. It was at least possible to overcome this problem, but it had cost me in the end around two or three days of work. To avoid this I would argue in favor for one standard, and since this is an English written database it should be XX0.00 or XX 0.00. If there would be another problem with the blank, I can't say. Stonecreek 18:37, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
As German-speakers, are you all saying that this there is NO standard of printing currency in Germany? Periods, commas, spaces or not, there HAS to be a national standard. I would not feel comfortable making such a decision simply because the ISFDB is "an English written database". If that were true, I don't think so many of you would be entering German-language publications, and there wouldn't be an effort into using a uniform set of characters for entering non-English titles. I'm not going to feel good about moderating hundreds of records that want to change the way the currency is entered (which has already started happening). That decision must be made before too many records are in the database. If not, we shouldn't have to deal with submissions to change them months down the line. Sorry, if it sounds like I'm pissed off, but someone has to stop straddling the fence and make a decision. Mhhutchins 19:33, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Although we risk the Price template becoming over-long, I'd be happy to let the German-Publication-Owning Editors decide. For what it's worth, my analysis says all but 9 of the 547 entries (from the last backup I loaded) have a space after "DM". The relevant pubs are Qualta weckt Tote, Der Sucher, Juggernaut, Der Zauberer Von Oz, Der Zauberer Von Oz, Herovits Welt, Die unendliche Geschichte, Heyne Science Fiction Magazin 5, Isaac Asimov über Science Fiction. BLongley 21:52, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, there's only 12 "DM" prices that use a "," separator rather than a ".". As I think I entered all of those myself during a blitz on "Space 1999" titles (or "Mondstation 1999" in German) I'm happy if those are changed. BLongley 22:00, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
There is a standard of printing currency in Germany (DM X,XX or € X,XX). ISFDB allowed to add foreign-language publications. It begins to be a internationl SFDB. The respective national standard should be apply for the entries of the currency. Even if it contradicts my own desire for consistency. Sorry for the short answer but i'm just moving with my over 10.000 books and magazines. Rudam 22:14, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Even if, as MartyD said, a price without space hurts my old eyes, a standardization on the lines of [currency]8.88 seems appropriate to me. The sole problem being the value of [currency] as in France we had "Ancient Francs" and later "Nouveaux Francs". Hauck 18:52, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't see that as a problem. In this case, we're talking about "DM" for books published in [West] Germany in the past 70 years. According to Wikipedia, the Deutsche Mark was the official currency from 1948 until March 2002. We're not concerned about ancient currency or the DDM (used in East Germany). It should be simple to determine how currency was presented in Germany during those years. I can't imagine one day someone started using a comma instead of period (or vice versa) and that it swept the country. Mhhutchins 19:09, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
It's probably no bigger a problem than dual-priced books published around the time of a change-over from one currency to another. UK Books from 1968-1971 had Shilling and Pence prices and/or Decimal prices - I suspect the Euro-Changeover has had similar problems for those countries that have adopted it. And Australia and New Zealand decimalized at different times to the UK... "Price" is a difficult field to use here. Which is why I spend so much effort on notes, for that reason alone. Whatever you decide for consistency will help those querying currencies for a country, but it's never going to be a totally clean DB field. BLongley 20:55, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I argue for the standard CURRX.XX (CURR for Currency) in representing the price. It is true that German prices are printed with a comma, but so are Dutch, French etc. prices. The argument for the comma is that it is in reality printed as such. But: the majority of continental prices seems to me given in the ISFDB as X.XX (See, for example, this pub), presumably because the rule for prices implies that (although other currencys than the American/British are not explicitly mentioned). One unified standard would make any analysis so much easier, and the format X.XX is quite understandable for anyone, I think, and not too much reality bending is involved. Stonecreek 18:19, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

I think we should have some form of standardisation. I like Marty's suggestion (use period as the decimal separator and add a space when the currency symbol consists of letters. There's another reason to have a standard. The Euro is now used in 22 countries and this page shows the (I count eight) possible uses of the sign. If we let each country use it's own standard, all of them will be used eventually. --Willem H. 20:48, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
This suggestion would mean £1.85, €1.85 and DM 1.85, am I right? Either way, I can live with it. Stonecreek 10:24, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
I always prefer consistency. Therefore I agree as well with Marty's suggestion. Rudam 21:30, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Pulp Magazines/Reprints

I started organizing my book collection last year using Book Collector software, and as a result made ISFDB a regular daily stop. I got to the pulp reprint portion of my collection, and realized that none of the Hero Pulps are in here (The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Avenger, G-8 and his Battle Aces, etc.) Reading here, it seems that people keep referring to some future time when they will be entered.

Now, all I own is the reprints. Should I not enter the books at all, waiting for somebody with the original magazines to start the process? Or may I start with the reprint volumes?--AlHazred 20:15, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

The larger question is should this titles be considered speculative fiction? Tymn and Ashley have articles on all but The Avenger, but flat-out state that The Shadow and G-8 are not science fiction. They flip-flop on Doc Savage, and I see the paperback reprints of the pulp novels are already in the database. Miller and Contento indexes three of them (The Avenger, G-8 and Doc Savage) but states that "The lead novels are usually SF in nature, but the back up stories almost never are." They don't list The Shadow at all. If you've read them, you may be able to determine if they're speculative or merely adventure stories.
To answer your question, if it's determined that the titles are spec-fic, you may enter your reprints without the original magazines being in the database, but be sure to date the contents to that of their original publication. Mhhutchins 21:00, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I can't speak to all of the Pulp reprints, as I haven't read them all. For certain some of them are not spec fiction: Westerns, Espionage, Romance, and the like. However, there is a segment of this group that definitely belongs here.
For instance, in the third reprint book of the Avenger series, we read about a bunch of villains who use several new technologies to hold a city hostage: a sound generating weapon which renders structural steel as brittle and weak as Styrofoam, an airplane made of transparent components to render it invisible to sight, etc. Most of the Avenger stories reference these kinds of things, as the character was designed to appeal to the Doc Savage crowd; in Doc Savage, every single story is about Lost Civilizations, the Hollow Earth, Weird Pulp Superscience, and the like. Similarly, G-8 is an Air Ace character like Bucky Barnes, but whereas Bucky Barnes flies against normal planes, G-8 is just as likely to confront Nazis riding giant bats. The Shadow is the only questionable one, as many of his stories deal with gangsters and white-collar criminals; however, he himself uses mystical powers and hypnosis in every story to fight these crimes, bringing these stories, too, into the Weird Pulp genre.
To my mind, it is a clear distinction -- if a plot uses supernatural or rubber science methods, it is a speculative fiction piece. Remo Williams (the Destroyer series) uses ridiculous martial arts techniques to perform feats that are frankly impossible; this distinguishes him from his contemporary the Executioner, who just uses guns. Their feats are equally impossible, but the Destroyer uses his secret martial art and outrageous training methods to accomplish his ends (clearly outside the reach of the readers) whereas the Executioner's methods are supposedly plausible to the same reader base.
So, I would vote Doc Savage, the Shadow, the Avenger, G-8, and the Destroyer should be in (along with other Weird Science Pulp characters, like Click Rush) whereas Bucky Barnes, Jenny Dare, and the Executioner should not.--AlHazred 14:32, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Because you've actually read them, we'll leave it up to you to decide what to include. Have you read the "filler" stories, the ones that Miller/Contento say are not spec-fic? (Also, be sure to sign your posts using the four tildes. Thanks.) Mhhutchins 18:09, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Sadly, the "filler" stories are (as far as I know) mostly only available in the original pulps and the reprint pulps. I own several of the paperback series that became popular in the 60s and 70s. I know a few filler stories would also qualify as spec fiction -- Click Rush, for instance, appeared in 18 stories in Crime Busters magazine filling out Doc Savage stories and the like, but fought crime with pulp super-science gadgets.
Anyway, I'll get started on this this week.--AlHazred 18:57, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I have essentially all of the first 50 books in "The Destroyer" series (and in my younger years, I actually read them all). I never thought of them as speculative fiction before, but I guess maybe they count. Remo and Chiun are "super-Ninjas", who certainly do things well beyond the ability of known Physics. (E.g., hold your hands out and use your "aura" to pull things towards you; use a revolver at a quarter mile to shoot the pin off that's holding the helicopter blade to the axle, etc.). Movies that do similar "extreme martial arts" (e.g. "House of Flying Daggers") are often grouped with "Spec Fic" movies, whereas Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies are not. So, should I enter The Destroyer series? Chavey 06:11, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
See, Remo Williams sits firmly in the grey area. The Destroyer is clearly an impossible character (as is his mentor, Chiun). Their missions are right out of Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, but the methods they use to succeed are outrageous. It's an uncomfortable gray area between "speculative fiction" and "adventure fiction." I'd say go for it, except it's aggravating to work on adding entries only to have them deleted because they were not speculative enough.--AlHazred 15:33, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Having read a number of Destroyer books, they often had super science villians, including a continuing villian that was, I believe, a sentient nano-virus. Later novels had Remo fighting things like zombies, mad kilted British invaders (who conquered New Jersey), and there was even a short series in which Remo fought the Great Lord Cthulhu himself. If that isn't fantasy then I don't what is. In fact, Cthulhu and flying saucers have cropped up in the Mac Bolan books, which would make these books, or issues of this book series, fantasy. The Destroyer was definitely a fantasy series, until Murphy got a bee in his bonnet about how the series was being handled and canceled the series, while only certain books of series like The Destroyer, were. MLB 06:48, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Greene SF?

I have found tons of books by Graham Greene in our db, but since he ain't remembered as particularly prolific sf or fantasy author (no entries in the respective encyclopedias by Nicholls and/or Clute), shouldn't his work be deleted? I haven't seen through the major part of them, but those I looked at weren't verified. Plus: There are more than quite a few collections listed as Novels. One exception: One item was tagged Merril09, that is naturally for keeping. Stonecreek 10:56, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Tuck lists only the stories in "Nineteen Stories" which in our case does not have any stories entered. Only six of them are fantasies. People have been known to get paranoid when there are mass deletions which is the reason I did not do a massive reduction of the Greene titles. As far as I am concerned we should just document the SpecFic stories that Tuck lists.--swfritter 13:42, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I have entered the fantasy stories in this pub. You will want to wait for input from others but my opinion is that you should nuke everything else although it would be nice to claim what was probably the best writer of the 20th century as a SpecFic author.--swfritter 13:51, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I have to admit that I can't remember to have read anything by him (shame on me!), but naturally I own a copy of 'Third Man', but do know only the movie and that it's definitely not SpecFic. I think it'd be safe for me to begin with deleting the Non-Genre (that are listed as such) titles. I wouldn't start before 22 February.
Any more opinions on the matter? Stonecreek 09:36, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I think all Greene's novels can safely be deleted. I would be a bit more careful with his short fiction, some are definitely horror stories. At least The End of the Party and A Drive in the Country should be added to Nineteen Stories, no matter what Tuck sais. --Willem H. 10:45, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Those non-genre and non-fiction titles are defined as such because I took the time to research them. Most of the other novels are obvious candidates for deletion. The longer works are there because they were added by ISFDB robots. The shorter works were probably added by humans and should be kept until they can be researched.--swfritter 14:29, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Better put this on my reading list.--swfritter 14:38, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree that all of the novels should be deleted (and the non-genre should definitely be deleted). The collections should remain until someone can determine which of the spec-fic stories might be in each of his collections. Care should be taken in some cases for the novel titles though. Many are not novels but collections. Mhhutchins 15:23, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Careful deletion is fine by me. We'll need to do G. K. Chesterton and Robert Louis Stevenson at some point too - but as swfritter says, "people have been known to get paranoid when there are mass deletions". BLongley 00:04, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
I only wish we had the power to delete titles and all pubs associated with them in one submission. The torturous tediousness otherwise drives me away from cleaning up a lot of non-genre records that have slipped into the db. Mhhutchins 01:12, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
This was requested a while back and Al didn't like it because you could accidentally delete a lot of pubs that contain the problem Title, especially if the Title is a work of short fiction contained in numerous collections and anthologies. Ahasuerus 04:43, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Most of the offending stuff is gone from Robert Louis Stevenson, what is left are the poems & shortstories. I don't know good from bad. If another editor can identify the genre from the non-genre and put this into "notes" I'll remove it. Thanks!Kraang 03:34, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I will start by deleting the non-genre titles, the novels and then the non-fiction by Greene (in that order) and will do it slowly, i.e. 3 to 5 titles in one session (probably not every day). I'll leave the collections intact but with a note about unknown contents. Stonecreek 10:28, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I've found that somebody alreadsy started the task, thank you. Stonecreek 10:37, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it took several hours to remove all of the novels. I merged all of the non-genre pubs under one title, and will delete them as time permits. Anyone else, please feel free to do the same. I'll start working on the collections when I get some free time. Mhhutchins 17:06, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Started to do the same thing but held off. Would have been interesting if duplicate processing had been done at the same tiem.--swfritter 19:02, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Good group effort. this pub looks like it can be deleted. With Look Inside it appears that the Greene piece is an essay. If I don't hear from anyone I will remove in a couple of days. I am now reading Greene's (not so) "Complete Stories" and will be verifying SpecFic stories. There are two stories that are not in "Complete Stories" but one is available in a cheap used anthology which has some other good stuff while the other is available from a book available at a branch of my county library.--swfritter 14:47, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Magazine format/binding

See this discussion, this set of pubs, and -- if you're a moderator -- this held edit.

We have a magazine, Interzone, whose physical size does not correspond to anything currently listed for magazine formats, and for some reason dimensions have been accepted previously as a format. That is contrary to current ISFDB standard. We need to decide what values should go in this field for magazines, and the fact that the existing list mixes binding/format with physical size seems at least a little bit problematic.

I am no magazine expert, so I am not the best person to start this off, but perhaps someone who knows about magazines could propose a treatment and a list of values? --MartyD 11:43, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm happy to accept "8½ in x 10¾ in" - it was good enough for Locus. (Note that it should not be entered as 8½" x 10¾" as there are problems with double-quotes in that field.) I would also change the help that says "Small variations don't need to be noted; e.g. Interzone is generally a quarter-inch or sometimes more away from the standard bedsheet size, but can just be listed as bedsheet." - as the word "bedsheet" doesn't exist in English English and therefore would never be applied to Interzone. BLongley 13:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
If it'd be an option to leave the field blank (as we have no fitting format for those IZ issues, they really seem to be quite special in this regard): It would be okay for me. I'd add a note about the exact size (8½ in x 10¾ in) and if we ever find a consensus I would be happy to enter it then. Bedsheet doesn't seem for me to be the right term for Interzone from 1999 up to spring 2004, because it was downsized from the nearly A4 format, and because of the English English. But I still have the feeling that it's at last all about dimensions when it comes to magazines, because - apart from the editorial policy - that's the thing that has major implications on the 'feel' of it. Stonecreek 10:52, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I concur with Stonecreek on the fact that the precise dimensions are important data for a magazine as any of us who has tried to shelve a complete collection can attest (even for US titles). Hauck 17:14, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
As I said, I'm not an expert. I don't even have a strong preference. But it does seem to me there's "binding" -- are the pages single-sheet, glued at one edge? are the pages half-a-sheet, stapled in the middle? is the cover different in weight or material from the inner pages? etc., and then there's "size" -- the dimensions. The same applies to books. I don't know the history, but for whatever reason we've decided to ignore the details of book dimensions, using a couple of very broad categories to group both binding type and relative size. Why wouldn't we treat magazines exactly the same way? The actual, precise measurement of books matters just as much as the actual, precise measurement of magazines, no? Recording dimensions presents its own slippery detail slope. E.g., what measurement system? which dimension first? thickness, too? IMO, if we want to capture precise dimensions, we should have that in one or more separate fields. But to use dimensions as a format loses other information; perhaps we don't care to capture that, I don't know. --MartyD 12:21, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Totally agree with Marty here. This field used to be called "binding" instead of "format" which for better or worse was used to entered thousands of issues. Looking at the current formats, what's the difference between "bedsheet" and "A4"? The dimensions are almost identical. Country of original shouldn't determine what we call it. As a speaker of American English, both terms are nonsense to me. I've been using "quarto" because that's what Locus calls any magazine that's close to the standard American sheet of paper: 8.5 x 11 inches. Anything an inch or more either way shouldn't cause a name change. And binding is important as well: saddle stapled, side stapled, glued and folded (like newspapers and tabloids) are the four major bindings. We next determine dimensions: 4.5 x 7, 6.5 x 9, 8.5 x 11, and 11 x 17 (again mainly newspapers and tabloids). That means upwards to 16 different combinations of binding and dimensions. We then assign a name to each of those combinations, which should cover 99% of all magazines. I seriously doubt there's going to be more then 8 different formats, and most of the current records would not have to be changed to conform. Hopefully, paper quality should not come into the equation. Some magazines combine slick pages with pulp pages. Are any of the magazines currently entered as "pulp" determined solely by paper quality? I don't think so. When the pulp magazines downsized in the 50s to digests, they were still printed on pulp paper, as are most current digests. I don't think cover quality should make a difference. They're either soft or hard (as having boards, so it would be entered as "hc" anyway regardless of the dimensions). And whether the edges are trimmed shouldn't come into play either!
Regardless of whether or not we come up with names for all of the combinations as I described above, it all boils down to what do we call any magazine that's roughly 8.5 x 11 inches, which would include most Interzone issues. Because it's British, why not just continue to call them all "A4"? Most of them are already entered that way. It shouldn't be too difficult to change those issues with dimensions in the format field, which I don't feel comfortable with, regardless of how Locus entered them. I will continue to use the term "quarto" to enter fanzines and magazines that are roughly American sheet size, even those issues of Locus itself, and regardless of whether it's on the list of current formats. Anyone who feels that is wrong, please proceed to change Locus's 600 records, plus the hundred or more other fanzines. Mhhutchins 16:36, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I frequently do leave binding/format blank as I have no idea how to translate them from the source I'm using e.g. what the heck is "large e/b", used for early issue of Midnight Zoo? But I don't see a problem with recording the actual size. There is an important difference between magazines and books in that people occasionally buy binders for magazines - probably not the ones in tp or pb format, but for many folded side-stapled magazines. I see Stonecreek has started leaving format blank and relying on notes to record exact dimensions, but moving data to notes rather than having it vaguely searchable in Database format just seems wrong. (OK, I know Advanced search for binding is partly broken but I'd rather help fix that than lose data. Or implement "size" to go with "binding" but that would lead to massive rework.) BLongley 17:45, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Strangely, those editors who would be most affected by any changes in the magazine entry standards have not said a word on the subject. Their input is sorely needed. 90% of my magazine collection is post 1970, and I wouldn't know a pulp from a bedsheet if it came up and bit me in the ass. Mhhutchins 18:36, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The Help as it currently stands is pretty useless. Why quote "British Science Fiction Monthly" as an example when we don't have a single issue here? I'd happily add quarto as an option, but I'd like to remove Interzone as an example as I don't think anyone wants to convert them all to "bedsheet". And I'm still not sure what the benefit of restricting the options is, unless we're moving towards having it as a drop-down list rather than a free-format field. The audiobook and ebook "formats" already make it unwieldy and even the book formats are a bit of a nuisance for me - I like "pb" books aka "A-Format" but sometimes have to settle for a "B-Format". "C-Format" are right out but both B and C are "tp" here. I can't see us changing that anytime soon though, unless we get a bot to do it. BLongley 19:04, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Excuse me if I'm wrong, but didn't you create records for that title? Mhhutchins 20:14, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Ah, yes I think I did. That's "Science Fiction Monthly" not "British Science Fiction Monthly" though. ;-) I notice I used "large tabloid" format as it is NOT "tabloid" size in British terms - nearer "broadsheet", a newspaper size. BLongley 22:29, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
It's probably referring to this pub, which is too large to be scanable (I think that I have a complete run of it). Hauck 19:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Please do double-check and verify when you have the time. I don't think I own any - I'm sure I've seen them but it was a bit too expensive for me in those days and I wanted words rather than art. (Great art though it was). BLongley 22:50, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
At my present rate, I'll do this probably around 2020 ;-) (note that there's even a sort of French version of this mag : _Science-Fiction Magazine_). Hauck 16:40, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps a field "Binding" and a field "Dimensions" would be a partial solution. Hauck 19:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
It's perfectly possible. Do people really care enough to populate such if we add it? We could have a stab at automatically populating it from "bindings" that look more like "dimensions" - but I think we've demonstrated that our current "bindings" field (actually just called "pub_ptype" behind the scenes) doesn't really reflect binding anyway. BLongley 22:50, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I vote against "Tabloid" too. We've only got 8 of those. BLongley 19:17, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Seven of which I entered. They're not bound or stapled in any way. They're just like the tabloids you pick up on the newsstand. What would you call them? I can't think of any better name. Mhhutchins 20:10, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
"Tabloid" does have connotations of size and quality - yes, "Binding" should actually mean binding, but for ISFDB magazines we just don't have that and it would take a lot of rework or some major assumptions to get it that way. BLongley 22:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
(And what the hell is an issue of OC Weekly doing in the database? Just because it interviewed a very minor sf writer?) Mhhutchins 20:10, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I think User:Cdaar must have added it himself. BLongley 22:41, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
For the most part this discussion does not pertain to most mags before 1970. The difference between pulp and digest had significance beyond size in that it was also a reflection of the contents of the magazines. Readers expected pulp fiction in pulp magazines and a more contemporary style in the digests. Bedsheet's are mostly a Hugo Gernsback thing and probably should apply mostly to earlier large pulp magazines. They might not bite you but if one fell on you it might be heavy enough to hurt. The philosophy of the ISFDB creators was to use the most generic terms possible and in this case I think they were right.--swfritter 19:21, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Marty, please accept the submission and let Stonecreek move the dimensions into the note field, as he stated above. Once (if ever) we decide what to call these issues, they can be updated. Mhhutchins 21:48, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
There are more precise definitions for magazine formats. Shiela Williams in an Editorial said that the old Asimov's, 1998-2008, was an "F-trim" (I measured 5-1/4" x 8-3/8"), while the present size is an "L-trim" (measured 5-7/8" x 8-9/16"). This implies a precise industry standard for magazine sizes. This may be parsing it too fine, but maybe we could enter sizes as, e.g., Digest(L-trim). I'll look through the ANSI standards, and around the web and get back on that.--Rkihara 07:52, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Good idea. There should be a limited number of primary bindings for search purposes and some very generous standards for secondary information in parenthesis.--swfritter 23:14, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I accepted the submission. I do think having a concrete proposal for a set of values would help, I just don't have enough expertise or experience to propose something. --MartyD 12:59, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Rules Exception Requested

The book Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Her Progress Toward Utopia with Selected Writings consists of 116 pages of non-fiction biography and critical analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, followed by 172 pages of short stories and book extracts of fiction by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. So although the publisher, WorldCat, and my local University library all list this book as non-fiction, our rules say that since it is "predominantly" fiction, we should catalog it as a collection, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Furthermore, since our rules say that we don't mention the editor of a collection (outside of the "Notes" field), that Carol Farley Kessler should not be listed as an author, but only Charlotte Perkins Gilman should be so listed. And that's true even though the publisher, WorldCat, and my University library all list Carol Farley Kessler as the only author of this book. (Amazon lists both Kessler and Gilman as co-authors.) IMHO this is just wrong. I request permission to list both Kessler and Gilman as co-authors of this book. Chavey 06:36, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Addendum: I should have linked to a previous discussion that Mike Hutchins and I had on the subject. Chavey 13:47, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I'd be happy to make an exception in this case - 114 pages is far more than the typical Editor's Foreword. But we really should get round to implementing Editors of Collections. BLongley 17:27, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree. The editor makes a huge contribution. I don't mind occasional exceptions as long as they are documented at both title and pub level. Another case that might be considered is this pub which has commentary that makes the work substantially more valuable. All of the Poe works are available free on the internet but the reader is at a loss to understand the scientific references current at the time the stories were written without the copious footnotes.--swfritter 19:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I would actually go so far as to say that even if we had a collection editor field I would still give the the editor/essay writer of the the Gilman collection a co-author credit. Works with significant amounts of critical material need to stand out.--swfritter 22:31, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Eliminate the requirement that ebooks have an ISBN?

Current standards and practices allow a typed and bound manuscript to be considered a valid publication. Given that low threshold, why should an ebook be required to have an ISBN?--swfritter 13:26, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

The original rationale for excluding e-books without ISBNs was to make our task more manageable -- we were trying to avoid having to catalog every PDF file uploaded by "aspiring authors" to their personal Web site. However, as I wrote in December, "Going forward, we can expect a significant number of e-books to drop ISBNs since they cost money." This is already happening with short fiction from mid-list authors as you can see by browsing the Kindle store at Amazon. The fact that we currently can't create complete author/series bibliographies without breaking the rules appears to be a major issue with the current setup.
Having said that, I am not quite ready to open the floodgates and let every PDF file floating around the net in, but I am thinking that we can change the requirement from "must have an ISBN" to "must have an ID assigned by a third party", e.g. Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It's a pretty low threshold these days, but I expect that it will keep things at least someone organized. The immediate impact is that it will let us catalog ISBN-less Kindle books (which have ASINs) and Nook books (which apparently have non-978 EANs). It's a compromise solution, but at least it will address the immediate need. Ahasuerus 05:29, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Based on practical experience, and I am almost the only one here that has it, that still won't work. There needs to be legitimate valid data that can be used to populate the required fields, the most important one being publisher. And there must be information stored within the body of the downloadable ebook which identifies it as a unique publication.--swfritter 13:54, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
Apparently the Sony and Apple stores require ISBNs and people publishing via Smashwords get ISBNs assigned automatically. BLongley 16:21, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
There are many outlets that still have ISBNs for everything, but many places no longer do. Amanda Hocking has sold hundreds of thousands of Kindle e-books for $0.99 and her books originally didn't have ISBNs. Of course, now that she is famous, some of her books are also available in paperback, but some still aren't -- I had to break the rules to enter one of her recent ISBN-less novels. Ahasuerus 00:16, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
There are many legitimate small press and other disributors that don't require ISBN's or any other sort of catalog number. Google ebooks does not seem to require ISBN's. Quite often the ISBN found in an ebook is actually the one from the print edition which does not make it a valid identifier. I would suggest the wording should be that the ebooks should be available from a legitimate third party distributor.--swfritter 17:24, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
My proposed entry: "Ebooks available in a downloadable format from a stable publisher or distributor are in." I would set a much higher standard for Fixer if it ever bulk processes ebooks.--swfritter 21:27, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd much prefer Ahasuerus' suggestion that ebooks have unique identifiers. Do you know of any ebook publication by any noted writer that doesn't have some kind of ID? (By "noted" I'm not suggesting quality of work, merely that the author has books that were print publications.) In your definition, would distribution through a Yahoo or Google mail account be considered "stable"? Mhhutchins 22:18, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
See the examples I linked to above for books by notable writers. As far as mail delivery: it depends on the stability of the publisher who is delivering them that way and rather or not the works are totally transient. This is an uncommon delivery option for ebooks but is sometimes used for ezines.--swfritter 23:42, 18 March 2011 (UTC) --swfritter 23:42, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) It sounds like at the very least we are mostly in agreement that e-books with unique non-ISBN identifiers (ASINs, EANs, etc) should be allowed. That's progress.

The next step is to decide what to do with e-books that do not have unique identifiers. I am looking at this collection of short pieces by Bruce Boston, a fairly well known author, available from Fictionwise. It has cover art, a price and a release date, but no ISBN or any other identifier. It does look like something that we would want to include, though, would you agree? Ahasuerus 00:16, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I would agree that it should be part of the db. And who knows, once ordered and verified, it may actually have a stated ID number. Mhhutchins 00:21, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
No unique identifier. Remember we have two lines of defense against a flurry of iffy pubs: our cumbersome data entry interface and our moderators. We could also add the proviso that amateur publications are excluded.--swfritter 14:51, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Maybe this will do it: "In: ebooks with a unique identifier such as an ISBN, ASIN, EAN, or catalog number. Ebooks without a unique identifier must contain material which also is available in a printed publication." That should keep out the riffraff.--swfritter 16:29, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Works for me, unless Fixer is going to go find all the missing ASINs for us. We might want to check software support for non-ISBN catalogue IDs though - it might be unhelpful if we break linking to B&N and Amazon for their own formats. BLongley 17:41, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Fixer is a different matter. ISBN's for it. I suspect ebook data is going to require a great deal of manual entry for the foreseeable future. In many ways the ebook picture has gotten clearer but with Amazon, B&N, Sony, etc. trying to create monopolies it may take awhile until the identifier issue is settled.--swfritter 18:36, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
The comment about Fixer is mainly due to the fact that I often feel myself as the only moderator that is actually tackling Fixer submissions, even the simple "Add Pub" that usually doesn't require merges. "New Pub" often includes new publishers that I'll research, or new authors that I'll research, both of which can be frustrating if it's not a publication, publisher, or author I'd ever come across myself as they aren't in my favourite genres. I would appreciate more help in dealing with such so I can get back to other improvements. Not that I always get feedback on my work on those other areas anyway - we seem to have gone beyond the software improvements that induce a "Wow!" factor. BLongley 23:08, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) Based on the discussion above, I have changed the Policy page to allow "e-books with a unique identifier such as an ISBN, ASIN, EAN, or catalog number" for now.

As far as the issue of e-books without unique identifiers goes, it looks like we generally agree that at least some of them are desirable, e.g. the Bruce Boston example, but there are different ways to define the rules. The leading contenders seem to be "must contain material which also is available in a printed publication" and "available from a stable publisher or distributor". The problem with the first one is that it's not always easy to tell whether a printed version has appeared (and what happens when only a few stories in a collection have appeared in a paper version?) The problem with the second one is defining "stable" in a way that everyone can agree on. Hm... Ahasuerus 06:03, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

The nice thing about the "in" list is it's a cumulative set of tests, not a single definition, so having something about how the works have been treated elswhere and something about the nature of the publisher and/or distributor do not have to be mutually exclusive. I like the idea that electronic publications (not just ebooks, but ezines, too) are "in" if they contain original publication of works that have been published (for sale?) in print. They don't have to meet that criterion, but if they do, we are interested in capturing them. That's different than saying they're "out" if they don't pass that test. --MartyD 11:19, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
For periodic, magazine-style publications, we could have an extended condition that if parts of past issues have appeared subsequently (for sale?) in print, all issues are "in", subject to the additional magazine acquisition rules. If that's felt to be too broad, we could be more specific (i.e., limiting the granting of "in" to cases where instances of the publication itself have appeared in print, either in whole or in part (e.g., an anthology of selections)). --MartyD 11:19, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
As for the nature of the publisher/distributor, we have a similar problem with "above a certain threshold", and we seem to muddle along with that ok most of the time. How about treating this the same way? Have the RoA explain the spirit of avoiding capturing every self-published electronic file and works whose availability is totally transient. Electronic publications from stable ("established"?) publishers/distributors are "in", with stable assessed using an inclusionary (or exclusionary, doesn't matter to me) bias. That would give leeway for debating any particular source. --MartyD 11:19, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
There are a huge spectrum of unquantifiable factors. One that really hasn't been discussed much is whether or not the authors have a presence in the database. The more titles an author has and whether or not they appear in "conventional" publication is a very significant factor. Another factor: is it likely that someone will have a copy of the "pub" ten or twenty years from now.--swfritter 13:58, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more permutations I find. For example, back in the early 1990s, Daniel Keys Moran planned to publish Players: The A.I. War, volume 4 in his "Tales of the Continuing Time" series. Due to various problems, it didn't pan out and over the years the title has become something of a joke in certain circles, almost Last Dangerous Visions-light. To everyone's surprise the author announced the other day that The A.I. War has morphed into a trilogy and that book one, The Big Boost, is now available as an e-book. The problem -- as far as ISFDB is concerned -- is that it can only be purchased from a Web site which apparently serves as a mini-bookstore for books written by Moran, Steve Perry and Matthew Woodring Stover. Since they are so small, they don't use ISBNs, identifiers or catalog IDs.
Granted, we could probably draw the line between "in" and "out" that would let The A.I. War in yet keep most other self-published e-books without identifiers out. However, there will be other cases with even more twists and turns and I fear that eventually our "line" will look more like a pretzel. Perhaps the "certain threshold" approach is the best "non-standard standard" for e-books without identifiers that we can stipulate.
As Swfritter noted earlier, we are not exactly besieged by self-published authors clamoring to get their books listed, which was our original concern. Perhaps a little ambiguity won't hurt us as much as we had feared. Ahasuerus 03:02, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Another example, and there are many more, of a small digital publisher with some very fine works by quality authors. The big-time publishers along with the major distributors are looking for blockbusters the same as the movie studios. Which means THEY are deciding what we should like. If we restrict the entry of works from independent digital publishers we are giving and the other big distributors an unfair monopolistic advantage. And eventually we will end up having nothing to read but "Teen Vampires in a Hormonal Rage, Book 37".--swfritter 13:50, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Cover Title Series: Yes or No?

I'd appreciate a cover title series for the German Perry Rhodan series (and for some other artists apart from that). See this discussion. But there remain the questions: a) Is it possible? b) Is it desirable? c) Would it be programmable, once we reach the goal of entering all of the issues? Stonecreek 17:32, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

(a,c) The titles can be put into a series, but the author bibliography display doesn't know about coverart series and so won't show the series or organize the titles in any different way. So a software change would have to be made. (b) I don't know about Perry Rhodan, but I can see difficulties for long-running series reissued several times with different cover art and different artists. For example, consider how well or poorly coverart series might work for Tarzan. I think we would have to embed some sort of publisher/publication series/year information into the coverart series, which would probably result in quite a mess. --MartyD 10:43, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
At this moment, I don't think anyone wants to include the later German printings (that used the original art), and if so, that would include a lot of editor's work: manipulating the titles. And as far as I know, the American and English editions used other cover art. What's up in this regard with the Dutch edition, Willem? But it'd be nice to find out about the artists on one page and - on the other side - to find out about other art outside of Perry Rhodan by one particular artist, which tends to drown in the series work. Stonecreek 13:35, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I would be willing to work on this, if it shows on the artist's bibliography page. Maybe it would be nice to have coverart series for other magazines as well. One thing I would like to see is a page like the issue grid, but with cover images (a bit like this. Later printings and translations (I believe the Dutch edition of PR mostly uses the original cover illustrations) don't have to pose a problem, as we can work with parent- and child series (like Astounding/Analog, where each child can generate it's own issue grid) --Willem H. 16:06, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Tested it out, and it doesn't display on the artist's summary page. Even if the software were changed so that it would display, I can't see the results reflecting the effort it will require to undertake such a project. But I'll let others decide that for themselves. Mhhutchins 17:35, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
The effort would incorporate only a simple (I hope so) programming task in the vein of: If you are a pub in 'Perry Rhodan (1. Auflage)' (i.e. 1st printing) put the cover into the title series 'Perry Rhodan Cover Art (1. Auflage)'. Remember: This would be no task for now, but only when the series edit reaches completion. Stonecreek 08:50, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

And another question for a series

For some authors (or all?), I think it would be nice to join their letters in a title series. In general it would be nice to differentiate the letters from other essays (at least in my opinion). What is your opinion on the matter? Stonecreek 17:40, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

It wouldn't hurt to test the letter series on one author. Choose one, make the submissions, and we'll see how it displays, then determine if it's worth the effort. Make sure to create a unique series name. Mhhutchins 13:51, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
So, what do you think of the edits for Philip K. Dick? Stonecreek 15:22, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Looks good. It's nothing I would spend time on, but feel free to continue. It doesn't appear that other editors either object or have any opinion about. Mhhutchins 16:31, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I think it looks good too, although not finished yet. I thought there was a Feature Request to make LETTER a separate Content Type from ESSAY, but I can't find such - the nearest seems to be FR 2909643, "Indent Interior Art and Letter Titles in Pub display". If we did introduce such, then we could separate out Letters from Essays automatically with another Software improvement and a mass update on ESSAYs starting "Letter". BLongley 16:36, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I believe I've seen a number of magazine columns handled as a series. Philip K. Dick and specifically, the Letters by Philip K. Dick looks fine to me. I believe it would be a good idea to add a series comment at Series:Letters by Philip K. Dick explaining how these letters are related as they come from unrelated publications. I get the impression someone just picked out all of the essays with "letter" in the title but then looked and see three titles with "letter" that were not in this series. There are two publications, The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick 1974 and The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick 1980-82, though neither is verified nor has contents. The Link+ system has copies[1][2] though their descriptions did not say which editions the libraries hold. --Marc Kupper|talk 23:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Just "looked and saw 'three titles with "letter" that were not in this series'" looks as if it was aimed at me. I did check,, and think they do fit, although I appreciate that it might lead to a LOT more detail in the NONFICTION works about Dick (if people choose to go to that level.) BLongley 23:26, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think Stonecreek intentionally chose not to include those letters. I believe he was testing to see how the ones he added to the series were being displayed before going on to add other records. Mhhutchins 00:12, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, and my comment wasn't intended to be at Stonecreek, but at Marc. With my Programmer Hat on, I think we could do something positive with Letters. If desired. BLongley 01:50, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
My comment had not been "aimed" at anyone but rather observing that when it's immediately apparent as to why a set of titles is collected in a series to explain it using the series comment. Here's one for Bill. :-) Adding a LETTER title type seems easy enough. Ideally it's done in such a way as to make it easier to later add a moderator editable list of title types. Specifically, while doing the copy/paste to add support for LETTER to be looking at the code to locate and document exceptions to the rules. For example, at present plus maps from the the various title types into the various series sections using rather fixed/hard-coded chunks of code. A baby step towards making the title-types table would be to make a couple of hard coded tables with
SERIES_TYPE_NC Fiction Series
SERIES_TYPE_EDIT Magazine Editor Series
SERIES_TYPE_ANTH Anthology Series
SERIES_TYPE_NONFIC Nonfiction Series
SERIES_TYPE_NG Nongenre Series
SERIES_TYPE_SF Short Fiction Series
Get rid of all those hard coded print*Series functions and instead make a new one based on printShortSeries() which seems to be the only one with a try/except and that uses the tables. Right off, we have identified two tables that'll eventually need to be added to the moderator interface that can be edited while preserving the existing display behavior. Later we can figure out how to control the order of the series display sections. --Marc Kupper|talk 03:29, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Crediting corporations

I approved a submission updating this pub by a primary verifier, giving Grolier Incorporated as one of the authors. Is there a standard about whether we should credit corporations as authors? Mhhutchins 17:43, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't, and would rather nobody but human beings appeared as authors. I know we make exceptions for "Editors of ...." and some collaborations like The Brothers Hildebrandt but things like Scholastic should be strictly temporary until real authors are identified. BLongley 18:13, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
In general, I don't think companies should be credited at all, except when explicitly mentioned as author in a publication. In this case (yes, I own a copy of the CD-rom), the text is credited to Clute and Nicholls, so they should be the authors (read editors). By the way, the text of the 1995 edition is used. I.m.o. this edition should be a variant of the original. --Willem H. 19:04, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree that in this case Clute and Nicholls are the authors, but at some point we will have to deal with the question of "institutional authors". For example, "Proceedings of Science Fiction Research Association Conference" may not have a human author/editor. It's not something that we have to tackle right away, though. Ahasuerus 19:49, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Really? We seem to have no problems with 1219251 - and in fact, "Academic" works are more likely to be referenced on a CV than hack-works done under house-names. I think the main difference affecting us is that we, as the isFdb, don't work on related Non-Fiction as often as we do on Fiction. BLongley 20:18, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
We didn't have a problem because the book states that it was "edited by Milton T. Wolf and Daryl F. Mallett". However, there are cases when conference proceedings do not specify the names of the editors, in which case we'll have to decide whether to use "uncredited" or the name of the institution.
Librarians have been dealing with this issue for a long time, so they have a separate field for "corporate names" -- see, e.g., how the Library of Congress displays the same record. I don't think we'll need to go that far, but it's something to keep in mind when the issue comes up. Ahasuerus 21:04, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the consensus and will advise the verifier of the decision. Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:07, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Handling a Graphic Novel insert

The book Ultimate Cyberpunk, by Pat Cadigan, includes a 16 page color insert (between pages 210 and 211) titled "William Gibson's Neuromancer: The Lost Graphic Novel adaptation". The inside commentary says "In 1989, Berkley Books ... released the first of a projected three-volume authorized adaptation of ... Neuromancer. [After volume 1 was published] work was begun on Volume 2 ... Unfortunately, Volume 2 went unpublished. ... Here, now, published for the first time anywhere, are twelve pages of that "lost" adaptation."

This insert acts like an advertisement for another book, like those extracts at the back of novels that (generally) we don't include. Plus it's a graphic novel, which we generally don't include. And it's not listed in the ToC, hence it didn't get into the contents listing we have. Those factors argue against by adding it to the contents. But so far as I can tell, the 2nd volume is still unpublished, and probably never will be, so this remains the only appearance of a somewhat important work, and it is inside a regular SF book. Those factors argue for its inclusion. Should this be included in the books contents? Chavey 13:22, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I would only note its existence in the note field, and would not create a content record for it. If it were in the book's ToC, I might have different feelings. Mhhutchins 13:51, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Omnibus author credit

A recent discussion with another editor brought this strange documented rule to my attention:

"If the book is a single-author collection or omnibus, but has an editor, as occasionally occurs, the editor does not appear in this field, the author does. An omnibus should show the names of the the authors of all included fiction." Stated here, under Author.

That second sentence floored me. This hasn't been the working standard since I started here. The editor of an omnibus has always been the author of record when it comes to omnibus publications. Has this ever been the standard? I propose that all references to omnibus publications be stricken from this section of the help documentation. Mhhutchins 20:59, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

As the other editor in the recent discussion, I totally agree. It's confusing to have rules that contradict working standards. --Willem H. 06:26, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
That second sentence gets my vote for removal. I wouldn't strike "omnibus" entirely -- isn't the first sentence accurate with regard to our current practice? --MartyD 09:55, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
No. We credit editors of multi-author (more than two) omnibuses, both authors in a double-work omnibus, and the one author in a single-author omnibus. Mhhutchins 16:08, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't own many, and haven't really worked on many. It seems that the first sentence applies for ones like Science Fiction Specials and the second doesn't. I'm not really too bothered about which way this goes, but I may have to adjust the "Stray Authors" script. BLongley 14:18, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
If we go with the working standard (see my comment directly above yours), the script will have to check pub author against title author and determine the following:
  1. Do all of the authors of the novel content records match the title record author? If yes, it passes. If no, continue to the next step.
  2. Are there only two novel content records? If no, it passes (no need to check for strays). If yes, continue to the next step.
  3. Do the authors of each of the two novel content record match the two authors of the title record? If yes, it passes. If no, it fails. Mhhutchins 16:20, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Right, I'm agreeing with you. A single-author omnibus is credited to the author, not to the editor. That's how I read the first sentence. Sounds like it should be expanded to clarify that joint authorship is like a single author for purposes of determining how/whether to credit the editor. And the second sentence continues to be outright wrong. :-) --MartyD 13:03, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Synopsis: shortfiction or essay?

There doesn't seem to be much standardization in the way that synopses are handled. I am speaking of the summary write-ups in the front of a latter book in a series that describe what happened in preceding books. These sometimes are entered as shortfiction and sometimes as an essay. It seems like these should be handled consistently. Has this been addressed before? --JLaTondre 14:10, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

It's never came up or I may have overlooked (or forgotten) any discussion. I have relatively few series novels in my collection so I've never had to deal with this. I'm not sure that a separate content record is necessary for such work. (Synopses that may be in the books which I have verified were not included in the record.) But if I had to choose, I'd go with fiction. How could someone justify them as an essay? Mhhutchins 03:12, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I have seen some "What Has Gone Before" entries done as Essay, and it did not occur to me to change them. I guess I thought of them as sort of like a review (sans qualitative analysis) or introduction. Versus, say, a prologue or even an excerpt. "Factual" stage-setting of the work to follow, even though the "facts" are fictional. --MartyD 12:01, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
My preference would be not to enter them as I consider them part of the novel. However, as some editors want to include them and they have been accepted, I wasn't going to argue that. I would assume the rationale for marking them an essay would be that they are not really a story; they are a plot summary similar to the plot synopsis field of the title record. The flip side is that they are written by the author (assumedly, there's another can of worms in that they are usually not credited and it's possible the publisher added it) specifically for the book. I don't care which is picked but I want to avoid this and this where the exact same content has been entered and verified both ways. --JLaTondre 12:16, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Distributors in the "Publisher" field

There are currrently quite a few pubs in which distributors are sneaked into publisher field in different forms. Take this "publisher" for example. Trafalgar is NOT a publisher but only a distributor and their name is not actually stated in the books themselves. At most, maybe they placed stickers over the UK prices. More examples of such "publishers" are: this, this, and this. The last lot is especially outrageous because it doesnt mention actual publisher at all.

It looks like these records came from Locus1 that records them as new books, when they're actually the British printing being distributed in the US by different companies (Sterling Publishing or Trafalgar Square).

Seems to me that there are several possible ways to deal with such pubs:

1. Eliminating all such records entirely and moving the data about US distribution to the records of the original UK editions, noting USD price and whether they're stickered.
2. Having a clone of original UK edition (with correct publisher) and USD price in price field with note about US distributor.
3. [silly one!] Creating a whole bunch of publishers of type "Publisher / Distributor".

What do you think? Cheers, P-Brane 01:42, 11 May 2011 (UTC).

P.S. For what it worth, I'm in favour of the first solution, of course:) P-Brane 01:42, 11 May 2011 (UTC).
As am I, that is, in favor of the first choice. :) Mhhutchins 02:38, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
I favour 1 too. BLongley 12:52, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
#1 works for me as well. Ahasuerus 17:45, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
But do you favor it or favour it? :) Mhhutchins 18:16, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Hey, what's an extra letter between friends? :) Besides, in this day and age it's just a question of configuring your spell check and auto-correct settings... Ahasuerus 23:28, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
For ISFDB, it's probably best to just switch auto-correct off - on the wiki side we can josh with each other, for the database it's considered more important to preserve accuracy. BLongley 01:28, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't use auto-correct in Firefox, but I find the spellchecker to come in handy when entering/editing notes. Ahasuerus 00:35, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I leave the spell-checker on, but that's mostly for the Wiki side. And I did have to get used to a LOT of red wavey underlines on most posts, including this one. BLongley 02:51, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I dread to think how many "U"s we'd have to export to get your lot back in step with ENGLISH English! ;-) BLongley 01:28, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I find at least one UK convention superior to its US counterpart -- see this article about "logical punctuation." Or perhaps "logical punctuation". ;-) Ahasuerus 00:35, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Definitely the latter. Although the article does show up another problem with single apostrophes used to indicate missing letters, within single apostrophes used for quoted elements, within double-quotes for quoted phrases. Still, I used to be able to fix PL/SQL that would create the PL/SQL that handled the SQL that generated the HTML (including the Javascript options) to display the XML that the XSL stylesheets would turn into XSL-FO and then into a PDF. (Is that the most confusing sentence ever written here?) BLongley 02:51, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Editor given, but not stated on cover or title page

See this discussion on this pub. To emphasize the problem: Sarah Lefanu is neither stated as editor on the cover (but there she is mentioned as author of the introduction) nor on the title page, but only on the copyright page. I think it's wrong to credit the authors Cadigan, Fowler and Murphy with the editing task in this case. The help page states for anthologies: 'If it is an anthology, use the name of the editor.' And that would lead to Lefanu in my opinion. What do you think? Stonecreek 09:23, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

It was pretty standard in the early days to just give the pub as "uncredited" in the editor field, but ever since paranormal romance hit the scene, it's become ubiquitous for anthologies to be published without author credit. Only the authors, usually three or four are credited on the title page. So that's who we've started crediting. I doubt that an anthology would appear that would list every author on the title page if there were more than five, but I guess it could happen. In that case, I'd go with "uncredited". But when there's three or four, I give them all credit. So does OCLC. In this case, if we're positive that LeFanu was the editor, and we decide to go with "uncredited" we could make it into a variant of a parent record that credits her. Still, I'd rather go with the three authors and note the copyright in the pub record. The issue of copyright has come up before and we came to the conclusion that it can be used for corroboration, but can't be the primary reason for changing the credits of a book. Timescape is copyrighted by Benford and his sister-in-law, so should we credit her as well?
Anybody else have an opinion? I'm the one holding the submission to change the credit to LeFanu so I'm rather biased on the subject. Mhhutchins 23:45, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
My understanding is that if an editor is uncredited, but we know who it is, then the original book is listed as by "uncredited", and we "Make this title a variant title or pseudonym" of the actual editor. This happens, for example, with the Binary Star series of books edited by James R. Frenkel. Those books don't officially list the editor anywhere, but some volumes have introductions written by Jim that tell us he was the editor. This policy allows us to preserve the "official" uncredited status, but still get the item listed in the true editor's bibliography. There is still the question of whether LeFanu was the editor. She has written introductions to books of which she was not the editor. If you want, I'll be seeing Cadigan, Fowler and Murphy in a couple of weeks, and I can ask them. Chavey 00:24, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, please ask. But if you read my comments again, you'll see "if we're positive that LeFanu was the editor, and we decide to go with "uncredited" we could make it into a variant of a parent record that credits her." Mhhutchins 01:08, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I think an explicit credit as editor on the copyright page (as stated in the initial question here) should be sufficient to credit the person as editor, even though the credit does not appear on the title page. Since it's possible, or even likely, that contributing authors would be given more prominent mention than an editor, I think we should allow some leeway in where the credit appears within the publication. I'd go so far as to argue that a "signature" on an introduction/preface that includes the title "Editor" should be enough in-publication documentation for the credit. --MartyD 01:46, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
I didn't read the initial comment to say that she's credited as the editor on the copyright page. Maybe I misread it. Can you clear that up, Stonecreek? In our discussion on your page you said nothing about her being credited as the editor on the copyright page, only a statement of thanks. If her editor credit is anywhere other than the title page, then I would accept the creation of a variant. Even if there's no internal evidence, if we can get hard evidence that she was the editor, we can create a variant. Isn't that what I've been saying all along? Mhhutchins 02:59, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

I think it should be in the notes of the title change edit that is in question. Anyway, Sarah Lefanu has the copyright in the anthology and gives thanks for support, both on the copyright pages. Stonecreek 10:09, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

For those editors who can't access the submission queue, the note that the submission wants to add to the record: "The anthology is copyrighted to Sarah Lefanu on p. vi of the Women's Press edition of 1991." In other words: she's not credited as the editor anywhere in the book, or the submission would have stated that. Mhhutchins 13:21, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

As I wrote in our discussion: nobody is credited as editor, but the indications point in favor of Lefanu. It is still possible, though, that Cadigan, Fowler and Murphy selected their stories for 'their departments', but even in this case (which could possibly be cleared by you, Chavey?) Lefanu should be co-editor, because of her copyright and initiation of the anthology. That is, if we do want to avoid an uncredited anthology. Stonecreek 13:53, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

My comment pertains specifically to the use of assigning the editor name as a pseudonym for an uncredited attribution and applies strictly to magazines. In most cases the isfdb editors have entered the actual name of the editor even if it is uncredited. The source of the editor attribution is given in the notes. There is probably more special case ambiguity in books but the editorship credits of magazines are generally common knowledge and are usually documented in multiple sources.--swfritter 13:37, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Cover art later used for other works

It's now fairly often that I stumbled over re-used cover art that appears under the original title it was commisioned for and a later on a completely different work (with a new tile for the art). But shouldn't it - at least in theory - remain under the same name? Stonecreek 09:31, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

The times I've seen this happen, I just leave a note in the publication field about the cover re-use. It's tempting to try to merge the cover records, but then (AFAIK) the 2nd use of the cover loses the connection to that 2nd book, which would be bad. Chavey 22:59, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Don't think about merging the records. You'll lose one of the titles and it would be impossible to search for the one that's taken over. I've made variants when I'm positive it's the same work and it seems to work pretty well. You just have to be careful that it's not a rip-off: some low-paid artist who almost but not exactly copies the art from another book so that the publisher doesn't have to pay the original artist for his work. This happened a lot in the middle of the 20th century, but I'm not sure if it doesn't happen with many pirated printings from Eastern Europe or other countries that don't enforce copyright. Mhhutchins 23:36, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Certainly don't merge. Variants maybe, but I'd only do that for, say, a "Collected SF and Fantasy Covers of X" that credited the original publication. I think DragoonDelight did some of those, and we have INTERIORART variants of COVERART records. That's OK, but anyone that has spent some time with Visco (a great source of magazine covers) knows that "in the style of" does not necessarily mean it's the same art. BLongley 01:20, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
Don't you love the euphemism: "in the style of" = "stealing". Mhhutchins 03:01, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Thank you all, you brought a lot arguments that I didn't think of, so I won't pursue this idea further. Stonecreek 10:00, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Book Club Associates

There seems to be no standard on how to treat BCA printings (at least i failed to locate one:). Currently, the publisher field is filled in in three ways:

BCA or BCA - Book Club Associates, w/o reference to publisher name
BCA by arrangement with [Publisher Name]
[Publisher Name] / BCA.

IMHO, it would be good to adopt the third way as the standard because it's exactly the way another book club, SFBC, pubs are treated. What do you think?

The second issue is the way the catalogue number is recorded. Again, there are quite a few ways:

#[actual number]
#CN[actual number]
CN[actual number]
#CN[space][actual number]

as a result, it's impossible to sort the records by cat#. Can some kind of standard be adopted here as well. Seems to be no reason to include hash and/or "CN" as it's only messes up sorting. Thanks! P-Brane 02:46, 18 May 2011 (UTC).

I agree there should be some consistency in their entry. Unfortunately, in my case, this is a British book club, and I've never seen a printing of one of their selections, so I know very little about their practice and their ways of crediting publishers and indicating catalog numbers. The reason why we chose the "Publisher / SFBC" method here is because when a book is reprinted by the US book club the original publisher credit is almost always kept. Do BCA books do the same? Are the original publisher's credited on the books' title pages? About the catalog number: Is there always a "CN" before the number? Is there always, never or sometimes spaces between the letters and the number? In any case there should always be a number sign (#) before the catalog number, regardless of what that number is. Unless there's someone who can answer these questions, and presumably primary verifiers should be able to, there's nothing much the rest of us can do. It was through the efforts of a few people that the ISFDB records for the American book club printings gained some semblance of consistency. Hopefully, those who have BCA printings can do the same. Mhhutchins 03:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the original publisher credit is almost always kept by BCA. I'll check how cat number is written. Thanks. P-Brane 03:41, 18 May 2011 (UTC).
In the ones I have cat number is in the format CN[space][actual number]. Thanks. P-Brane 11:13, 19 May 2011 (UTC).
I agree #CN[space][actual number] is correct. Crediting original publisher might be slightly trickier, as the "by arrangement with" line often credits a Division like "Transworld" rather than the imprint we have the original editions under (e.g. "Bantam" and "Corgi" in this case.) I'm not a big fan of the " / SFBC" convention as it means we have 282 "Publisher" records for the SFBC rather than 1, but it's not something I'm particularly worried about either - book club editions are held in very low esteem in the UK. BLongley 13:37, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
When the SFBC is the actual publisher there's only one publisher. None of the remaining titles were published by the SFBC. Anyone who looks down his nose at book club editions (they're just as many on this side of the pond) is missing some great publications that are not available elsewhere. Take a look at the SFBC wiki listings and you'll find hundreds of books that are first editions and exclusive hardcover editions. I can't say BCA does the same, but if they do any original publications it would be worth the effort to find out. Mhhutchins 19:21, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm someone that freely admits he does "look down his nose at book club editions". (Our SFBC seems weaker than your SFBC.) I have a few, but only because they were cheaper than a paperback version. I don't recall BCA ever publishing anything original, and I'm not a collector that wants first editions or "exclusive" editions - I just read the words and see if I like them. I think I'm somewhere between you and swfritter - he is happy with ebooks, I like paper editions, you like collectable/notable editions. Between us, we might carry on with making ISFDB such a good place - so long as Ahasuerus stops Fixer submitting all those "Fairy" books!" ;-) BLongley 23:12, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Verifications Using Facsimiles

I recently acquired a number of photocopies of old issues of Weird Tales]. Should facsimiles be used for a primary verification? If not, should they be used as a transient primary? Should it be noted in the notes? Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 02:53, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

If the copies are 100% intact, I see no reason not to count it as a primary verification. I did verifications on the first 200 issues of Locus based on the facsimile reprint by Gregg Press. It was on interlibrary loan, so I made them transient verifications. If I had purchased a copy, I would have made them primary verifications. Mhhutchins 03:47, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Hm. I wonder if we should create a new secondary source, "Facsimile reprint"? Ahasuerus 04:56, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
Along the same lines, I was thinking a verification source of "Scan" or some such might be useful to cover Amazon Look Inside, Google Books, Internet Archive, and other similar situations. Those sources are potentially better than, say, a secondary source where someone has hand-entered information, although they also might not correspond to the actual paper publication. --MartyD 10:27, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Reviews of short fiction vs. container titles

(copied from the Community Portal and slightly trimmed)

Reviews are no longer auto-linked to POEMs or ESSAYs. The submission approval logic first tries to find a novel, collection, anthology, non-fiction, omnibus, non-genre or chapterbook that match the entered title and author(s). If nothing is found, then it looks for matching shortfiction. (I suspect that we will want to remove chapterbooks from the auto-link list since it's uncommon for a review to be linked to a chapterbook.) Ahasuerus 03:44, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

You say "it's uncommon for a review to be linked to a chapterbook"...well, I may be wrong, but most of the reviews of chapterbooks that I enter, I make sure to link to the chapterbook title record and not the shortfiction record. 9 times in 10, the reviewer reviews the specifics of a particular publication: its design, packaging, features, etc. I couldn't say what other editors are doing, but I suppose they allow the system do the automatic linking and check no further. Mhhutchins 04:01, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I see. This may be another "evolving de facto standard" case, but if we link to chapterbook titles, then the review doesn't appear on the shortfiction title's page, which seems to be undesirable. Hm. Ahasuerus 22:32, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Is it? I've never seen this as a problem with reviews of Anthologies or Collections. BLongley 23:25, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I suppose we treat chapterbooks like collections in many ways. When entering a review of a collection, we link to the collection title, but if the reviewer also reviews individual stories in the collection, then we also enter reviews of individual shortfiction titles. If we use the same logic when entering chapterbook reviews, then we could enter one review record for the chapterbook and another for the shortfiction title. It would address the immediate problem, but it would also be somewhat counter-intuitive, especially if the titles are the same. Ahasuerus 22:32, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Do we? I can't recall ever seeing reviews of shortfiction if there is a review of the container title. BLongley 23:25, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Help:Screen:NewPub says "A review for a work of short fiction should be entered only if the reviewer specifically comments on that specific story. If several stories from the same collection or anthology are discussed, each briefly, recording this as a review of the collection or anthology may be preferable." My interpretation was that when a reviewer reviews both the container title and the (say) 3 individual stories therein, then we should enter one review record for the container review and 3 review records for the story reviews.
However, checking a frequently reviewed anthology, Sometime, Never, I see that the 8 magazine records which contain reviews of this anthology do not include reviews of the constituent novellas. It's hard to imagine that none of the six reviewers reviewed the latter, which suggests that my interpretation may not match de facto practices. So, before we proceed any further, how do people enter reviews of container titles? Ahasuerus 04:05, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
It would never occur to me to record reviews of contained items as additional content. From a practical point of view, where would you draw the line between a review's "reviewing" the contained works versus merely citing them? Many such reviews list some of the contained works; a few list all of them. That's not a review, is it? How about a review with several descriptive words (one sentence or less) dedicated to some of the contained works? E.g., "Fred's 'Sliced and Diced' chills, while Barney's 'Chopped to Bits' falls flat." --MartyD 10:46, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Help provides some guidance in this area: "Note that you should only include books that are actually commented upon. If a reviewer mentions that a publisher has re-issued a work, but does not comment on the quality of the book, don't include it. Even a brief comment, such as "recommended", is enough to qualify, but without any comment the review should not be listed." By extension, if a story is simply mentioned, I wouldn't create a separate review record for it. But if an anthology contains three novellas and the reviewer dedicates a couple of paragraphs to each one, I would think we would want to create 4 review records: one for the anthology and then one per novella. That way when a user looks at the title records for the constituent novellas, he will see their reviews. Ahasuerus 02:46, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
From the cases I've seen of that treatment, it's usually not so much a review of the contained works as illustration of some point about the content choices. Does it matter if only some of the contained works are mentioned? There's a lot of inconsistency from review to review. That said, what is the ISFDB's purpose for having reviews recorded? --MartyD 10:46, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, the overarching goal of this project is to inter-link all meta-data about written SF (publications, series, awards, etc), so I have always seen reviews as one part of this goal. Parenthetically, another aspect of this interlinked approach is the requested ability to link titles directly to Authors so that you could display books and essays about authors on their Summary pages. Ahasuerus 02:46, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
I find review entries helpful in finding missing titles. I'm beginning to find the same with Award entries too, but we have a fair bit of work still to do on those. I may be able to provide some mini-projects for such, beyond the ISFDB:Award Titles with No Pubs already created. BLongley 02:15, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Alternatively, we could change the software so that when it's displaying reviews for a shortfiction title, it will also display any reviews of the chapterbooks that contain it. What do you think? Ahasuerus 22:32, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, it took a lot of time to get Chapterbooks (re)enabled anyway, I don't think there's too much hurry. But I really don't recognise the examples or problems you've just raised. BLongley 23:25, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

(Unindent) It might be worth moving this to a Rules discussion, as my Award editing has led me to linking some Awards to SHORTFICTION in CHAPTERBOOK titles, whereas I normally link a REVIEW to the CHAPTERBOOK. No hurry - it seems only 5 of us have tried out award-editing so far and we have few precedents yet. BLongley 00:21, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Awards are given to the fiction, not the package (for the most part), so I see no problem with linking to the SHORTFICTION title record. That's what I've been doing. BUT, I still believe reviews should be linked to the CHAPTERBOOK record. That being said, I'd hate to add a second review record just to link it to the SHORTFICTION record. And to follow-up other points in this thread, I rarely link reviews to SHORTFICTION when a review is of its container, either a collection or anthology. I occasionally link to reviewed short fiction when the review is of a magazine, simply because we don't have the ability to link to a magazine's pub record. Mhhutchins 00:13, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
If we hadn't started merging EDITOR records by year then we'd still be able to link reviews of magazines and fanzines fairly easily. It's a shame that the workaround to reduce the length of some Editor's pages took place before we could consider a software solution for long pages. :-( BLongley 02:03, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Almost every issue of every major magazine has been reviewed in Locus for the past twenty years, and I can't even create a record for them. Starting with Mark R. Kelly's column, and continuing with Rich Horton's and for the past couple of years joined by perhaps the most knowledgeable and influential person in the field when it comes to short fiction: Gardner Dozois. Guess it's too late to put those cats back in the bag! Mhhutchins 02:14, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
No. If we solve the underlying "long page" problem - e.g. "If there's more than 100 titles to show, just show the Category Headers and let people click on each for full details", or something like that, we can still undo the merges and let people do the reworking of reviews. The workaround hasn't helped with people like Asimov, has it? BLongley 02:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Two Publishers, Two ISBNs, One Book

I've started adding the Andrew Joron edited poetry anthology Terminal Velocities, only to find that is has two publishers and two ISBNs listed.

The way the title page lists them is as follows:

Published by Pantograph Press (ISBN 1-880766-03-5) with Ocean View Books (ISBN 0-938075-26-8).

I've seen some discussion on the R&S for dual ISBNs but not for a dual publisher/dual ISBN, although it wouldn't surprise me to find there were others out there. I'm guessing one pair goes in the field and the other in the notes...? Albinoflea 03:37, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

I had a variation on this once, with two magazines in one physical publication. I ended up entering each as a separate publication, with a note explaining the conjoining. I'd think entering two publications -- one for each publisher and ISBN -- with a note cross-reference to the other ISBN/publisher and otherwise duplicated notes and shared contents would work out pretty well. It would be the most usable result, in my opinion. It puts a little extra burden on future editors (having to maintain both entries), but nothing too onerous. If you try to put both ISBNs in the ISBN/Catalog# field, searching and displays will be awkward. If you use only one of the ISBNs and relegate the other to the notes, a search by the relegated ISBN will produce no results. --MartyD 10:23, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
There is a Search by Notes option under Advanced Search, and it does produce a result. I am personally against two records for one pub, but would agree that there would be rare circumstances that it might be desirable. (Just don't use it for Tor and Baen paperbacks that have two ISBNs, one each for USA and Canada.) Mhhutchins 12:06, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
OK, I've gone ahead and cloned the original submission so there are two entries; I'll also go and add a new note to the original pub and to the title record. I don't feel great about that but better just to get it in and move on... this is just one of those odd items that doesn't quite fit the current schema. (In music this happens all the time, with an item being put out as a partnership between two labels, and both assigning their own catalog number to it.)
I remember reading something in the archives about adding a second field for ISBNs and identifiers; it seems that would be the ideal solution to the situation, but I imagine the coding involved would be a pain since ISBNs probably touch a lot of stuff. Albinoflea 15:29, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
You're right - it's possible, but a huge amount of work. And Dual-ISBNs wouldn't solve the Dual Publisher problem. But it might be worth the pain, when Ahasuerus gets time to look at such a big change - people want a second Pub identifier field anyway (and maybe a third) for things like DAW "Order #" and "Collector's Number". And people want a second Publisher/Imprint field so they can clarify "imprint" versus "publisher" when necessary. I suspect an "Alternative ISBN" Feature that just allows people to look up either ISBN and get to the ONE publication might be best. "Search by Notes" is not as good as our ISBN searches - I know, I added the Notes search! But ISBN is supposed to be such a standard that we really ought to be able to search for such without wondering if it's a primary or secondary one. BLongley 19:19, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Late last year I was going to add a new field for alternative ISBNs and another field for catalog IDs, but I got sick and then sidetracked. I still have plans to add them, but we need to get a bunch of other changes out the door first. Unfortunately, everything I am doing with ISFDB at the moment is on top of 80 hour weeks, so every hour of development/testing is precious. Ahasuerus 03:04, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Do different states get separate publications?

I recently acquired a copy of this collection published by Fantasy Press. I'm pretty sure sure I've got the F state per Currey (6 mm type on spine seems closer to the 18 point F state, rather than the 24 point A state). The publisher, Lloyd Eshbach, in his memoir, explains that he bound the first printing in batches. Additionally, after Fantasy Press folded, he sold all remaining unbound sheets to Donald M. Grant, who continued to bind the remaining sheets from time to time. Grant still has a couple of Fantasy Press titles available on their website, which they clearly indicate as Fantasy Press publications. Eshbach states that he considered these Grant bindings to be second state or variant bindings of the first editions. My F state of the Weinbaum is one of these later Grant bindings.

My question is whether these different states deserve a separate publication record. There is nothing physically in the book to denote the later binding and if not for Currey's points, it appears identical to the first state. Fantasy Press is the only publisher listed. The copyright page states "First Edition". There is one instance where we have handled the later printing as a separate pub, listing both FP and Grant as the publisher and the later binding date (I've no clue as to the source of the date). My own feeling is that a separate pub record is warranted, but I would leave the publisher as simply Fantasy Press and the original date, with the binding date and Grant, as binder, listed in the notes. Do people have a different idea of what our definition of publication is in terms of edition/printing/state? --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 12:17, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

This has pretty much been left up to each editor, as there is no current standard. You'll find some editors will create new records for deluxe editions of a title which only differ because of a tipped-in signature sheet and perhaps an additional slipcase. I personally don't do this unless these kinds of editions have a separate ISBN (many do not). When the ISBNs are identical I only note the second state in the Note Field. In your case, I originally felt that another record would not be necessary, but then wondered what would happen if different verifiers had different states. Then remembered it's like those of us who have verified SFBC editions which have different gutter codes. We indicate which gutter code that we're verifying.
I also thought these could be handled as different records if you consider each state as a different printing, and that won't be settled until we have a separate field for printing (which I hear is in progress.) So, if I were in your position, I'd probably create a new record and explain in detail how this book differs from that of the current record for this edition. Mhhutchins 13:05, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I'll always do a separate publication record and add notes that explain how to detect the differences. Usually the only difference would be the number line. In this case it's the font size on on the spine. This allows people to mark that specific edition as verified without also needing to update the notes.
You said "6 mm type on spine..." but did not say what you were measuring. A title like "The Red Peri" does not contain any descenders and so I'll assume that 6mm is the height of the upper case letters. Usually the upper case letters are about 70% of the font size meaning a upper case T would be ~4.5mm high for an 18 point font and ~5.9mm for a 24pt font. Assuming that 6mm is the size of the upper case letters then I'd say you have a 24pt font for the title on the spine meaning yours is the "A" state. Thus your publication notes should explain exactly what you are measuring.
Even if you have a Donald M. Grant binding I'd consider the publications to be be "published" by Fantasy Press much like those publishers that contract out the manufacturing of their books to an outside printing and/or binding firm. Older presses needed a lot of setup labor meaning it was a standard practice to warehouse printed sheets and to do small manufacturing runs as needed. --Marc Kupper|talk 04:52, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it's safer to create two separate pub records so that verifiers could mark them separately. There are many cases when a particular limited edition is advertised but fails to appear. Ahasuerus 07:33, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Marc - Thanks for the primer on type metrics. The title on the spine is entirely in caps, and they are all the same height, which is what I was measuring. The height may be a little shy of 6mm, but it is definitely over 5. My ruler is only accurate to the mm and I'd have a hard time reading anything finer even with the help of reading glasses.
I'll contact the current verifier of the already listed pub and discover if we have the same or different states and proceed accordingly. Thanks to all. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 12:30, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Long ago someone gave me a desk mounted magnifier lamp like this one. It's proven very useful and is something I use nearly every day. Some people use illuminated head magnifiers. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:08, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Ha! I wear eyeglasses with progressive lens (both close and far vision), but there are many times during the day that I have to use my hand-held magnifying glass that's always kept within arm's reach. Mhhutchins 20:42, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I also have to use eyeglasses all the time, and have a magnifier for coverart identification. I've mostly covered all my physical books so I only need to use it for re-checking. Finishing off the Magazines is another matter... :-( BLongley 22:50, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Artbook with short fiction: nonfiction or chapterbook?

I added this pub to the database. It is primarily a collection of Iain McCaig's art, but there's a piece of fiction (wordcount sais novella, barely) woven between the paintings. I entered this as nonfiction (200 pages of art, 40 text), but since we are a text-oriented database it could just as well be a chapterbook. Any opinions (or rules I haven't found yet)? --Willem H. 19:25, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I'd stick with NONFICTION. Chapterbooks were only re-enabled to stop the Lengthists killing the Bookists, or vice versa - and Art Books weren't under consideration at that time. Since then, Art Books have become very valuable in Cover Art credits. BLongley 20:13, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Double and fictional bylines

I'm about to enter some issues of Ghost Stories magazine using Miller/Contento as my source. They discuss how in order to add verisimilitude to their stories, many were presented with a double byline "by X as told to Y," where X was the fictional narrator of the story and Y was the actual author. M/C reflects both the fictional narrator and author in their story listings. My question is whether we want to do the same. I could see adding a pseudonym of the actual author for the fictional narrator and listing them both (as co-authors) on the variant title with a parent of the actual author alone. Alternatively, one could make a pseudonym in the form of "X as told to Y", though personally, I like that less. The other alternative is to only list the actual author's name and list the double byline in notes. M/C does make the point that reprints of these stories sometimes appear only under the fictional X byline. Thoughts? Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 12:38, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

There's no established policy that I'm aware of, but I personally feel that if the actual printed credit is "X as told to Y" (and X is a character within the story), only Y should be credited. If it's later reprinted as by X only, then create a pseudonym and variant for that printing. Otherwise, in the first case, record the X credit in the note field. Mhhutchins 14:55, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Lost Worlds of 2001

This discussion needs some input. A most unusual case. Thanks! --~ Bill, Bluesman 02:57, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

"A writing as B"

There seems to an understandable disagreement about how such books should be credited. Although the help page would seem to indicate that A should be credited as the author, it seems not to have considered what is actually meant by "A writing as B", at least to me. A previous discussion went off into tangents and ended with no definite conclusion.

My stand: When a publisher uses "A writing as B", it is usually capitalizing on an author's later reputation and a previously published pseudonymous novel. They could just as well publish it under the author's true name without even mentioning the pseudonym, but probably fear any backlash from unsuspecting readers who might buy both books without realizing they're the same. So the publisher makes it clear this is a "Paul French" book, or a "J. D. Robb" or "A. N. Roquelaure" book, and if the true author now doesn't mind we're going to publicize that fact. In other words, "this remains a pseudonymous novel, we're just letting you know who the true author is."

How do librarians handle it? OCLC records give the responsibility exactly as stated "A writing as B". That credit would be too unwieldy for ISFDB purposes.

Now to be truthful and perhaps self-serving, I never knew that the help section said these books should be credited as "A" and have been crediting them to "B". I'd be willing (but not happy) to go back and correct as many of these as I can find, if the group decides to keep the standard. I believe there are more pubs in the database entered this way than there are the standard way, but that shouldn't be a factor in the decision that the current standard should remain or be changed. Mhhutchins 16:33, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

I've been working with the rules as stated in help, i.e. crediting them to A, but noting the "A writing as B" in publication notes - e.g. here - so it'd be fairly easy to find mine if the rules change. I believe DES broke the rule too, e.g. here but he doesn't seem to have noted such so clearly. There seems to be a bit of wiggle-room in the submissions currently on hold as a) title page doesn't list any authors and b) both 'authors' are actually pseudonyms. BLongley 17:37, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I strongly believe the credit should be "B". "Writing as" says to me that's the author credit and the publisher is simply identifying the person behind that credit. To me, the easy test is 1st printing is by "B", and 2nd printing by same publisher, same everything else, is labeled "A writing as B". I think the authorship credit is the same, and the "A" is extra information. --MartyD 02:29, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't have a strong opinion about it, and the help only says the "only exception is when a reprint shows both the original and subsequent names". You could certainly make an argument for recording B if that's only ever been credited as "A writing as B", or we might not have B recorded as a pseudonym at all. I'm still a bit wary of people using cover credits over title-page credits (see my Wyndham example above), and when A and B are actually both pseudonyms of C, Help is inadequate. I'm not going to kill anyone over this argumentdiscussion, but I'm probably not going to rework my own pubs either. They all get on the same page in the end. In the meantime, please DO add notes to the controversial publications. Searching for such is another one of my software improvements that I think is under-appreciated. :-/ BLongley 02:53, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
At no point in this discussion did anyone suggest that we use cover credit. Cover credit shouldn't even be brought into the equation. This is strictly based on how the books are credited on the title page, which is an ISFDB policy without any contention. The point of the discussion is whether or not to change the help pages. Therefore the help page itself should not be used as evidence to support or oppose the position. In fact, the help page doesn't really give a practical reason for its position. I simply wish someone would provide a reasonably thought-out rationale for keeping the status quo other than "That's how it's done because the help pages say so." I'm open-minded enough to listen to any rational point-of-view. I'd even entertain "A writing as B" being recorded as a pseudonym on its own, given a good argument for it. I do agree that in the meantime the note field should be used to record the "writing as" credit (as shown on the title page). Mhhutchins 03:25, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not advocating the use of cover credit, I'm just afraid that people will consider it. I'm pretty sure a lot of our Dissembler/Fixer submissions have been approved/moved on cover basis as that's often all we have to work with. (And a lot of our "Middle Initial" problems derive from the same.) BLongley 18:16, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
And I too could happily live with ""A writing as B" as a pseudonym of its own. BLongley 18:16, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) I move the question. All those OPPOSED to changing the Pseudonyms section of the help from reading:

[...]The only exception is when a reprint shows both the original and subsequent names. For example, Isaac Asimov's "Lucky Starr" books were originally published under the pseudonym of Paul French, but were later reprinted with the cover giving both names: "by Isaac Asimov, writing as Paul French". In these cases you can simply give "Isaac Asimov" as the author.


[...]If the title page shows both an original and a subsequent name, use the original name. For example, Isaac Asimov's "Lucky Starr" books were originally published under the pseudonym of Paul French, but later reprints were given both names: "by Isaac Asimov, writing as Paul French". In these cases you should still enter Paul French as the author and record the dual credit in the notes. If the cover shows both names but the title page shows only one name, use the name from the title page -- no matter which it is -- and record the discrepancy with the cover credit in the notes.

please indicate by saying "Nay". --MartyD 10:41, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Wait a sec... so we are voting 'OPPOSED'?... a Nay vote means you support the change, and a Yeah vote means you oppose the change. Then I vote "NAY". Kevin 15:14, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Could be the other way around, nay meaning you oppose the change. Then I vote "YEA". --Willem H. 15:48, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Forget that "YEA" and "NAY" stuff, I support the change; however that means I should vote :-) Chavey 16:49, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I support the change that "A writing as B" should be credited to "B" if that's the way it's credited on the title page. (Don't know if that's Yea or Nay!) Mhhutchins 23:48, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
It wasn't the most clearly worded poll was it? :-/ I'm still going to sit on the fence and say either is OK by me, but I'm not going to rework my own verifications if the rule changes. Which is probably tentative support for "why change?", but I'm happy if someone changes the few concerned pubs on my behalf. BLongley 03:46, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
It seems we DO need to reiterate the "title page trumps cover or spine" rule and remove all reference to cover credits. Yes, there are still gaps in the rules when the title page credits no author at all. But that's another matter (although I have seen some Anthology Editor credits challenged today). BLongley 03:46, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah well, I was trying to be clever. I meant "if I hear no objections, I'm changing the text". As opposed to waiting on the agreement that never seems to come.... :-) --MartyD 16:15, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) I have updated the help using the text above. --MartyD 23:00, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Merging Artwork

Recently Ron verified that two pieces of interior artwork, appearing 30+ years apart, in separate format (TP vs magazine) were the same single page piece of art, see Ron's talk page. However, currently Help:How to merge titles simply states "Artwork should not be merged." This is both correct (we do not support merging artwork across different book titles for cover art) and incorrect (we do support merging cover art for same title use as cover art, and merging interior art in later printing of the same publication (maps, etc).

I would like to propose that we change "Artwork should not be merged" to

  • Cover art used on different publications should not be merged. If a painting is used for 'Giant Robots', and is also used on the cover of 'Alien Metal Men', then the records should not be merged. The ISFDB is not set up to document this exact relationship at this time. Please record this information in the title and artwork notes or as a variant relationship.
  • Cover art used on the same title, in different publications should be merged. If the same artwork is used on the 1st printing of the HC and the 1st and 2nd printings of the paperback of a title, then the cover art records should be merged. Note that foreign publications of magazines and similar items often subtly changed or re-worked cover art for various reasons. Extra care should be taken when merging cover art of publications where the country is not the same, and a direct 'in hand' comparison is recommended.
  • Interior artwork in like publications may be merged. If the interior artwork is known or expected to be the same, such as interior artwork maps in a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd printings of a paperback of the same title, then the artwork may be merged. Some care should be exercised to ensure that interior artwork hasn't changed between hardcover and paperback publications of the same title, but most modern HC releases followed by paperback releases are expected to duplicate the interior artwork and may be merged, barring some information indicating that the artwork changed. (Often if there is change from the HC interior artwork, the copyright for the new artwork will match the paperback publication, and not the HC publication year.
  • Interior artwork in different publications should only be merged upon a direct comparison. Sometimes a book may reprint artwork from a pulp magazine several decades past. The new book may correctly credit the original artist and the source, but the modern book may omit panels or even entire pages. You should only merge interior artwork that has been subject to re-editing after directly comparing both the subject and scope of the two pieces of art, and you can confirm that they are indeed the same complete work of art.

Thoughts? Alternate suggestions? - Thanks Kevin 04:59, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Just an addition : I also think that cover art should not be merged but vted instead. IMHO it's a interesting information to follow the diverse uses of a given picture, like this one.
Well thought out. Comment on the first bullet, for magazine covers that should also include the foreign issues of the same pub. In many cases the artwork was altered to satisfy regional sensibilities, or in the case of the British Astounding/Analog, a repainted replica was substituted for the original. The difference is easily seen in a side-by-side comparison, but not so easy to distinguish when comparing low-res scans.--Rkihara 06:43, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I like it. --MartyD 10:44, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I have added some text to the above proposal with underlines to indicate new material. I think this addresses the two issues brought up so far. Kevin 19:15, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Works for me, especially after adding the option to variant works that have been used on the covers of different publications, and stressing that interior art records should only be merged by direct comparison. Good job. Mhhutchins 23:42, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree - the varianting additions are good. I've had a lot of fun with "Cover Pelmanism"! and wouldn't want to lose that :-) BLongley 03:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Unindent

Bumping discussion for final comment. Thanks Kevin 15:48, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

No one seems to have objected to the change, but I would like to have heard from the magazine editors. A discussion about the changes in the interiorart section would benefit from their input. Some of them have gone so far as to title records as "XYZ (reprint)" for later printings of the same work which I find unnecessary. I would like to hear their rationale for doing so. Mhhutchins 17:09, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
We do seem to have agreed COVERART. I like the INTERIORART warnings too, but have no strong opinion on that. I rarely enter every individual piece of artwork. (If I do, it's probably because there was only one.) BLongley 18:02, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
I also think we also need to generate some help to describe what to do when cover art is later re-used as interior art. I think that will always be a variant relationship. Thoughts? See Space Wars this coffee table book I'm working on at the moment. It has LOTS of reused art, and I think it adds huge value to the listing to variant the cover art. Kevin 20:44, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree, there should always be a variant relationship. Dragoondelight once did a great job on pubs like this. --Willem H. 20:48, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
In which he followed my guidance and from the examples I gave in Frank Kelly Freas: The Art of Science Fiction and A Separate Star. There are very few art collections in the database which include the contents, so I don't know if a standard has been set. Mhhutchins 17:56, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I've got a couple of related questions/suggestions related more to reprinted cover art:
  1. I would suggest that cover art that is reprinted multiple times as interior art be merged (e.g. here) unless titled differently.
  2. If the original cover painting is reprinted as opposed to the cover (e.g. here), I would suggest that we still make a variant relationship.
Thoughts? --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 12:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd go for both, but in the case of #1 only if the interiorart is a reproduction of the magazine's cover and not just the artwork. In the case of #2, I suppose the reason you've differentiated "(cover)" with "(cover painting)" in this collection is that one is the original artwork while the other reproduces the cover? I don't believe I did that in the two Kelly Freas collections that I mention above. It's something to consider, because most of the work reprinted in his collections are the original paintings, not the actual magazine covers. We might have to come up with better wordage to explain the difference, because "(cover painting)" can be misunderstood if not clearly explained. Mhhutchins 17:56, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly what I was trying to do with "(cover painting)". The captioning in the Paul collection tends to state "original painting for the cover to...". I was trying to keep the disambiguation short, but I could go with "(original cover painting)" or "(original cover artwork)". I'm only about 1/3 through the Paul collection and can try "(original cover painting)" to see how that looks (I'll standardize them after we decide). I agree with you about not merging covers with artwork, and I hadn't meant to suggest that. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 01:52, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
One additional thought: Quite often coloured covers are reproduced as interior art, but in b/w. Should this also be made into a variant (or a variant of a variant)? Stonecreek 19:41, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Any change like that would require a variant. (And don't forget, Variant's are not chain linked.. all variants link directly back to the parent title). Kevin 19:58, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


I am going ahead and making these changes. Topic has been open for discussion for 30 days, and has been quiet without objection for over a week. Further suggestion should open a new topic. Thanks Kevin 03:16, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Short Stories as Standalone eBooks

I'm ending up with more and more examples of this on my Nook. Authors are starting to put out large numbers of eBooks that are actually short fiction (usually short stories), not novels. Per the new eBook policy, these are real works and deserve an entry. But they're not novels. Nor are they anthologies (unless it's an anthology of one title). Several well-established authors are doing this (I've seen examples by Elizabeth Bear and Mercedes Lackey) along with a significant number of emerging authors (Patty Jansen, Annie Bellet, etc.). Should we be excluding these? If not, how should we enter them? --BigJim 21:16, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Enter them under CHAPTERBOOK type. Choose "Add New Chapterbook" from the editing menu. Make sure to add a content record for the story (the CHAPTERBOOK is a container type) and any peripheral contents: introductions, interior art, etc. Also be sure that these are downloadable ebooks and not just stories posted on a website. Mhhutchins 21:23, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah, yes. That makes sense. Thanks!--BigJim 22:44, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Short Fiction Titles - From Title Pages or Contents Pages or Choose to Mix and Match?

I just worked a submission where a newer editor recently verified a book with contents from the contents page, not from the title page of each short story. I directed them towards the help, but then I noticed that our help says this is "This distinction is not too important...". Looking at the edit history, this language stretches back to the first draft of this help page several years ago. I recommend that we radically update the later portion of this help section.... unless I've misunderstood what our intent was all this time.

  • Current

Short fiction, essays and poems. For short stories, essays and poems, take the title from the heading on the page where the work begins, rather than from the table of contents, if there is one. This distinction is not too important, and if you know that one form of the title is the usual one (e.g. the contents page has "Night Fall" but the story heading is "Nightfall") then use the one you know is standard. You can also choose to use the table of contents version where the story heading gives a non-standard presentation of the title form--e.g. if the table of contents says "Bell, Book and Candle" and the story header says "Bell, Book & Candle", you can use the former. If both the table of contents and the story title agree, though, the form given should be used, even if it is different from the standard.

  • Proposed

Short fiction, essays and poems. For short stories, essays and poems, take the title from the heading on the page where the work begins. The title shown in/on the table of contents, running page headers, index, front cover of the publication, secondary bibliography, or a promotional website listing is secondary. Any differences may be noted in the publication notes, but is not required.

Thanks Kevin 16:04, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree the help page should be updated to conform with the de facto standard: title page trumps all. Mhhutchins 17:01, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. I also take Author credits from content title pages too, but that's probably a separate discussion. There's also the slight issue of books where the title (and maybe author) are actually stated on a page earlier than the start of the fiction - some books are padded out so that they put a title page on the right even if the previous content finished on the right, and then they leave a blank page before the fiction starts. I know those have led to minor disagreements over which 'start' page to record. BLongley 17:54, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm also happy to include the source of Author credit in this discussion.. (As above, Title page trumps).. but starting page is a separate discussion.... that involves many cans of worms. Kevin 16:32, 1 October 2011 (UTC)


Bump for final comments. I'll update the help in a day or so unless someone objects. - Thanks Kevin 03:27, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Might I suggest "For short stories, essays and poems, if possible take the title from the heading" (Bold face not suggested for the final page.) There are many cases where we can get access to a contents page ("Look Inside", ToC scan on a website/eBay ad, Contento1 or Locus, which seem to rely on the ToC, etc.). In these cases, it's better to have the contents then to imply (even slightly) that they should skip that if they don't have access to the title pages. On the other hand, for any verification, the editor should look at the title pages. Chavey 17:05, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think the qualification ("if possible") should be used in the first sentence. I would suggest "When working from a primary source, always take the title ..." And then a second sentence: "If titles are being entered from a secondary source, please record the source in the note field." That way we know there's a possibility that the secondary source may have titles taken from the contents page rather than the work's title page. (I know Contento does this, but that may be his standard.) All of this is probably moot, because the help page assumes from the start that the editor is working from the primary source, doesn't it? Mhhutchins 17:24, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it's a mostly moot point. The instructions are for 'book in hand' data entry in general. Everything else is secondary data entry and you can almost put in whatever you think is correct if you accept that it may change when someone has a 'book in hand' at a later date. Kevin 23:20, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Did I miss something? The help page originally linked to was the generic "EditPub" help page, which I have certainly used many times without having a 'book in hand', and I can't see anything in that particular section that appears to claim that it's limited to advice about 'book in hand' edits. In particular, the word "primary" never appears in the section on "Title", so I don't see how a reader would expect it to be limited to primary verifications. But I do like Mhhutchins suggestion, which would make the difference between a primary and secondary verification explicit here. Chavey 04:22, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
While the database can and does accept submissions based on secondary information, the first sentence in the help sates "The title should appear exactly as published...". That mythical day when 100% of the database is primary verified should remove all doubt about what appears in the published book. Kevin 17:19, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Instructions for 'Primary Verification' and 'Secondary Verifications' should appear elsewhere however. Those would belong on Help:Screen:Verify and Help:How_to_verify_data. Kevin 17:19, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
The update does introduce the word "secondary" but I still think it's an improvement. Working from secondary sources deserves a separate discussion where I'm sure I will be on the "should" side and some will be on the "must" side, so that can definitely wait. BLongley 01:44, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
By the way, why haven't we got the help translated into multiple languages yet? ;-) BLongley 01:44, 21 October 2011 (UTC)


Help changed to incorporate suggestions and edited for clarity to read:

    • Short fiction, essays and poems. For short stories, essays and poems, when working from a primary source, always take the title from the heading on the page where the work begins. The title shown in/on the table of contents, running page headers, index, front cover of the publication, secondary bibliography, or a promotional website listing is secondary. Any differences between locations in the publication may be noted in the publication notes, but is not required. If titles are being entered solely from a secondary source, please record the source in the note field.

Additional changes should begin a new topic - Kevin 03:29, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Corrected to:
  • Short fiction, essays and poems. For short stories, essays and poems, when working from a primary source, always take the title from the heading on the page where the work begins. The title shown in/on the table of contents, running page headers, index, front cover of the publication, secondary bibliography, or a promotional website listing is secondary. Any differences between titles in the publication may be noted in the publication notes, but this is not required. If titles are being entered solely from a secondary source, please record the source in the note field.
Mhhutchins 16:42, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't know about corrected, the sentence read fine to me... but I see what you wanted to clarify. How about adjusting it a bit more to... Kevin 22:50, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Short fiction, essays and poems. For short stories, essays and poems, when working from a primary source, always take the title from the heading on the page where the work begins. The title shown in/on the table of contents, running page headers, index, front cover of the publication, secondary bibliography, or a promotional website listing is secondary. Any differences between titles in different locations in the same publication may be noted in the publication notes, but this is not required. If titles are being entered solely from a secondary source, please record the source in the note field. Kevin 22:50, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
Guess it was the editor in me coming out, but "Any differences in locations" makes no sense at all, at least to me. But your latest change makes it clear what you meant; it's just not what you said. :) Mhhutchins 23:07, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Disambiguating generic titles

I have changed the help section for this standard to follow the actual practice from this:

  • "Standard" titles. Often the title of a short non-fiction piece will be "Introduction", "Editorial", "About the Author", "Foreword", or one of several other similar titles. If an author has written many "Introduction"s over their career, their bibliography will show several identical titles, with no way to distinguish them except to click on each one and find out the publication history. For this reason, most editors enter such titles with " (<title>)" appended. For example, one might enter Susan Wood's introduction to the Le Guin collection "The Language of the Night" as "Introduction (The Language of the Night)". This is not currently settled policy, as not every editor does this. However, please be consistent within a given author; that is, if you enter "Introduction" without any qualifier for one of their introductions, do so for all of them.

to this:

  • "Standard" titles. The title of a non-fiction piece of the ESSAY type may have a standard, or generic, title, such as "Introduction", "Editorial", "About the Author", "Foreword", or several other similar titles. If an author has written many "Introduction"s over their career, their bibliography will show several identical titles, with the only way to distinguish them is clicking on each one to find out its publication history. For this reason, you should parenthetically append the container title (title of the novel, collection, anthology, etc) to the title of the essay, i.e. "<generic essay title> (<container title>)" in order to create a unique title. For example, Susan Wood's introduction to the Le Guin collection The Language of the Night was entered as Introduction (The Language of the Night).

I propose that we also change the title of this subsection from "Standard" titles to "Generic" titles. Discuss, please. Mhhutchins 17:20, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I like it, but am not sure if we're getting across the distinction between NONFICTION and ESSAY types - I keep seeing the former entered when it should be the latter. And I'm not sure that "container title" is explained clearly anywhere - I think I invented the term, but don't recall ever adjusting any help pages. BLongley 18:08, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
That's why I give the names of various container types as examples. Feel free to further expound, or link it to a better definition that may or may not be in the help. Or reword it to explain that the title of the book should be in the title of the content record. Mhhutchins 19:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, there's not too long a list so maybe this is the place to list them all? ANTHOLOGY, COLLECTION, NOVEL, NONFICTION, NONGENRE, OMNIBUS, CHAPTERBOOK. Of course "EDITOR" versus "MAGAZINE" or "FANZINE" is a bit confusing. BLongley 20:04, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Minor quibbles - I'd change "with the only way to distinguish them is clicking on each one" to "with the only way to distinguish them being to click on each one" and I think your "i.e." should be an "e.g." BLongley 18:08, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm fine with the rewording of the phrase, because I found the original wording awkward as well. But I think my use of i.e. is correct: "i.e." (id est, "that is") shows in other words how it should be done, while "e.g." (exempli gratia, "for example") shows an example (as the Susan Wood introduction that follows). I think I used the term correctly, at least in the way I was taught to use it. I may be wrong. Mhhutchins 19:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
So may I - but I tend to use "i.e." only when I've fully explained what should be done. So if we listed all the container types rather than just give some examples, "i.e." is fine with me too. BLongley 20:04, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
As a professor who obsesses over "i.e." vs. "e.g.", I believe you've used the term correctly. While you haven't listed each possible example as separate examples, you've "parameterized" the example so as to include all of the cases. Chavey 22:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Last thought - I've been seeing a lot of "untitled" poems recently, do we want to address that problem here too? It would be nice to include the first line for disambiguation purposes, I think. BLongley 18:08, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree: untitled poems should be given the first line, as that is the academic standard. Mhhutchins 19:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
We do seem to have done that for about half our entries so far. BLongley 20:04, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I think this would be an excellent standardization. Chavey 22:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
I've done a little more work on SF poetry recently - mainly for the "Dwarf Stars" awards - and have come across the problem of clashing secondary sources: e.g. Locus says "untitled", the SFPA page gives a fragment of the text. When it's Haiku, I can understand the lack of a title that may be longer than the actual poetry. Should we try and merge such on secondary evidence or should we encourage more editors to work from primary sources of such? Apart from Mike Allen for Mythic Delirium, I don't think we really have many editors of such. BLongley 01:57, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
What about the addition of the parenthetical title to 'titled introductions' as opposed to generic ones. These are 'standard' in that titles like this appear in many books.. but they are not generic... When the title essay has some vague and possibly misunderstood title. I've done this on Afterword: Accidentally and by the Back Door (The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 1) and then I did it on a similar instance.. two variants of the same essay Afterword: We Happy Few (The Tank Lords) which was later reprinted as Foreword: We Happy Few (The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 2) - Is this acceptable (am I out of bounds)? and Do we want to document something like this in the help somewhere? Kevin 03:16, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
That's off subject, but since you brought it up: I personally oppose disambiguating titled introductions. What's the point? They're already unique as it is. Another reason for disambiguating a generic title is to avoid the possibility of false merges, not just so we can see which book it was included in. (And as usual, a rules and standards discussion veers away from its original purpose. Does anyone ever wonder why the "help" never gets changed, and new editors keep complaining about how unhelpful it is?) Mhhutchins 03:42, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I thought my example of a standard but not generic title to be entirely on topic... since that was your proposed change.... To change standard to generic. Sorry to distract... Kevin 00:46, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

(Unindent, and back to the original topic...) I like your idea. How about using "title of the publication or associated work" instead of "container title"? My thinking is twofold: I agree with the sentiment that "container title" isn't likely to be meaningful to the new/casual editor, and there are also cases in anthologies, omnibuses (omnibi?), and perhaps 'zines where the disambiguation should use the title of the nearby work, not the container's. As for "generic" vs. "standard", I think that's an improvement, but perhaps doesn't go far enough. Again thinking about the new/casual editor: if one is sort of skimming the help looking for help (vs. reading the help thoroughly), "Standard" almost certainly won't ring any bells; "Generic" probably has a slightly better chance. How about using "Essay"? And while you're at it, move the section to either be part of "Short fiction, essays, and poems" or appear right after it (with a forward reference)? My two cents. --MartyD 10:35, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

I think we need "container title" explained somewhere, but maybe this isn't the place. I think the big lack is the word "column" - Editorials often have a specific title: Letters pages, Film, Magazine, Fanzine and Book review pages often get the same title. As does "About the Authors". BLongley 02:12, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Excerpt Titles

This help page says the following on the naming of excerpts: Sometimes an excerpt from a forthcoming book will be printed at the back of a book. This should be treated as short fiction. If the excerpt has a title that makes it clear that it is only an excerpt, use that title. Otherwise, use the title given, but add " (excerpt)" to the end; e.g. "A Feast for Crows (excerpt)". Apparently this refers to previews at the end of a book. But what about excerpts that appear as part of a collection or anthology, e.g. Century Syndrome? Should " (excerpt)" be added here also?

Please see this discussion, in which Mhhutchins explains his view. Partially I agree with him. I think self-contained excerpts should not be marked, since they can be seen as a stand-alone work. However I haven't read Century Syndrome and do not know if it's self-contained. If it's not then I would prefer the tag in the title. On the summary bibliography pages, excerpts are listed among the short stories, so unmarked excerpts could be confused with short stories. I see short stories as original works while excerpts are derivative works. The tag would show the difference at first glance.

In any case the help pages should be updated and made clearer, I think. Darkday 22:06, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the discussion is about, so in an effort to bring clarity, I'll offer up the three examples I have thought of in a couple minutes brainstorming.
  1. Most Common - Advertising: At the end of a book, a few pages some portion of an upcoming work on them. These are usually prefaced with a page or header that says "Enjoy a brief glimpse into Famous Authors Upcoming book Best Seller 2012"
    • In this case I enter a short fiction title "Best Seller 2012 (excerpt)"
  2. Next - Critical Segment: An author has written Great Big Work. In an effort to get paid twice, the author pulls one storyline out of Great Big Work.. perhaps it previously appeared as a couple or three flashbacks or perhaps it's in 3 chapters all together. The author then re-titles this smaller plot as Small Story and sells it to an anthology. The Anthology introduction explains... Famous Author has provided us with the heart wrenching tale, contained in his Great Big Work.
    • In this case I enter a short fiction title "Small Story" and I put a Title Note (And Publication Note) that this is an extracted or excerpted storyline from Great Big Work.
  3. Last - Joining the story in progress: Again using Great Big Work, a literature discussion anthology has selected a death scene from chapter 145 where our great hero sacrifices himself to save the heroine. The anthology introduces it usually with an introduction paragraph that explains what has happened to the main character so far in the Great Big Story. The Anthology in this case usually titles the excerpt 'literally' as "From Great Big Work" or simply "Great Big Work: Chapter 145"
    • In this case I create a title record for ""From Great Big Work" or "Great Big Work: Chapter 145". The title alone in this case describes that this is an excerpt in some fashion. If more detail is required, I would put it in the title notes.
In the above 3 cases, I only use adding " (excerpt)" once. Does the situation at hand meet one of the above cases, or is it another case I haven't thought of? Thanks Kevin 23:59, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Example 2 is the kind of excerpt that brought up Darkday's question. If the title of the novel is "X" and the excerpt's title is "Y", I follow the same guidelines as Kevin: I don't add the extended title, but I will update the title record's note field to say "Y is an excerpt from X". This is the case with The Century Syndrome. Darkday's original submission wanted to change the title of the piece to "The Century Syndrome (excerpt from The Ghost from the Grand Banks)". Mhhutchins 02:54, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
The 1st case is documented in the help (use the title given, but add " (excerpt)" to the end), and the 3rd case as well (If the excerpt has a title that makes it clear that it is only an excerpt, use that title). I suggest to describe the 2nd case in the help as well. Thanks. Darkday 22:11, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Note to Moderator

The help page for data entry includes a short section on a recent addition to the pub record entry form: the Note to Moderator. I believe the information it provides is insufficient and does not explain the field's purpose. Almost every new editor either misuses or misunderstands the reason for this field. I propose the following change to the template for this section from:

A field where you can enter additional notes that will be viewed by the approving moderator. These notes will not become a part of the permanent database record once the submission has been approved.


Use this field to record additional information that will help the moderator in determining the acceptance of the submission. Any data in this field is visible only to the accepting moderator and does not become a permanent part of the database record. You should not enter data about the publication in this field (that would go in the Note field). This field should be used for information about the submission. Do not pose questions to the moderator in this field. Any questions should be asked at the Help Desk before making the submission.

Any concerns or suggestions for improvements in the statement are welcome. Mhhutchins 15:26, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

That looks like a very helpful improvement. Chavey 15:59, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Why not also a modification on the page itself, with for example "Note to moderator only : Anything written here will be lost" at the top of the entering box ? Hauck 16:06, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Because, with such a warning, the editor will not enter anything into the field. Mhhutchins 16:41, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
If you're sure, do as you please, I'll stop here. Hauck 17:02, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that some warning at the time of entry would be helpful, but I feel that particular one wouldn't work so well. Sorry if my tone seemed too sharp. Mhhutchins 18:49, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Changing the label from "Note..." to "Comment..." (or "Remark...") might also help avoid confusion with "notes" that are stored. --MartyD 18:16, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that might help as well. Have any of you other moderators had the same problem with this field? Or is it because I handle so many new editors that I'm seeing more problems than others might? Mhhutchins 18:49, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
I've seen it, and not just with new editors. The problem with adjusting help is that people only tend to read it once, so I can understand the desire to make it clearer on the submission screens. I think I even considered such when developing "Notes to Moderator" and am not sure all the different types of edit are consistent anyway. Or even if they should be - I can imagine people needing different advice for different types of edit. E.g. for "New Pub", "Clone Pub" and "Add Pub" Michael would like the source to be mentioned, for a "Make Pseudonym" I think we could do with a reminder that it's helpful to add the evidence for such on the Author's Wiki page(s). BLongley 21:50, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm happy to change the software to make things clearer at entry time, I just need to know how to present it best, and changing such takes even longer than to change help, given our long backlog of software improvements. Another problem I see regularly is misuse of "Publication Series". BLongley 21:50, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
I've seen it with both new and veteran editors, although with the veterans it tends to be more the occasional editor. I do agree that people most likely will read the help for that field at most once, so while having the help be clearer is definitely good, giving a better visual cue could cut down on mistakes even more. What if we changed "Note:" to "Notes:" and changed "Note to Moderator:" to "Submission Comments:" or "Submission Remarks:"? That won't cut down on questions, but might at least prompt folks to put appropriate information into the record notes instead of in the moderator notes. --MartyD 11:29, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I like it. Mhhutchins 14:32, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Changing Help for non-English translations

The last round of software changes appears to be stable, so I propose that we change the official policy re: entering non-English translations. They should be entered the way they appear in the publication and set up as VTs, which is how we currently handle English translations. Ahasuerus 06:57, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I say yes! I have been adding Dutch translations this way for a month now, without major problems. To make one thing clear, I never expected translations to be handled otherwise. Maybe we should call them VR's (variant records) now. --Willem H. 13:23, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Exactly the same here. Hauck 11:06, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I think we can cope with the increase in titles for now. We're still only working in four main languages so most titles won't become too unwieldy yet. I still wouldn't recommend reworking existing titles, just because the current method is more work than necessary, but if mods are happy to do it or mentor another editor doing it then I'd let them get on with it. BLongley 17:52, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't think we should amend the policy. My reasons are discussed below, but I want to reiterate: a translation is not a variant title no matter how much a person wants to change the policy. It's a related work, but in no way can it be considered a variant title. Many European editors are pushing this change because I believe they think it helps to level the playing field when it comes to displaying non-English works. It really doesn't. That's a display issue and not a design issue. If we start unmerging and varianting translated titles, I think it's going to be a long time before we get a function that relates one title to another. And when that function appears, if ever, it will be much harder to revert all of the changes that people are jumping in head first to make. Mhhutchins 01:24, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I may be stating the obvious, but English language translations have always been entered as variants. It worked reasonably well and was one of the main reasons why VTs were proposed as the mechanism for recording all other translations in 2009.
On a more elevated level, what you are proposing is adding support for "related works", which is undoubtedly very desirable and has been a "requested feature" for some time. (Think of all the relationships that we are currently capturing in notes, e.g. "expanded version", "adaptation", "abridgement", etc!) Unfortunately, it's also a very big deal from the software perspective :-(
The good news, however, is that if and when we add support for "related works" and decide that translations are best handled as "related works", then turning translated VTs into "related works" should be easy. Ahasuerus 01:45, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
(After Edit conflict with Ahasuerus and with my Junior Designer hat on.) Relating one title to another is currently used for variant titles (I think we all agree on those), variant authors (which seems a bit of a fudge when it's a trivial typo or a missing or present initial), and variant languages when the canonical title isn't English. The latest changes in software don't change the last use, just make the displays (hopefully) manageable so we can cope with translations the other way round, or for multiple languages. I cannot see this change needing any reversion in future - if and when we get a full "this work relates to that work in X Way", for any value of X, these three types of relationship are easy to mass-convert. (Is the title different? Is the author different? Is the language different?) The other types of relationship I can foresee don't fit into that - maybe we could post a project for "excerpts" or "Abridged" versus "Unabridged" audio works, but those are the ones that will need mass manual checking whereas this one won't. BLongley 01:50, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
My proposed new function would be used for English translations as well. I don't suggest that those would be handled differently than would a non-English translation. The way English translations are handled and displayed now is equally wrong. There's no English-bias intended. I strongly feel that varianting and displaying translated works as "variant titles", regardless of their language, is not the way to go about this. Mhhutchins 02:06, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
See my compromise suggestion in section below. It's far easier to "fix" the way English translations are handled and displayed now than it is to get to the final function. And I've just thought of another current (mis?)use of Variant Titles - Serials. (Those are long-term easily convertible, I think, but I'd have to think some more to be sure, they're not really my area.) Don't get too hung up on "Variant Titles", that's just a bit of terminology that's been over-stretched for years, what goes on behind the scenes in the software doesn't have to match what is displayed on the screen. (Behind the scenes we talk about "title_parent", the rest of it really is down to display issues!) BLongley 02:19, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) The discussion appears to have run its course. I plan to change the Help pages late tonight (server time) or early tomorrow if there are no further objections. Ahasuerus 02:21, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

A quick decision, but maybe necessary. I don't think this has any technical problems left, and the few display issues are not show-stoppers and are already under discussion. (See section below for instance.) I do have a bias to declare - the more variant foreign language titles we have in our downloads, the easier it is to test future changes like a "Translations" section. Which may be some way off still, but is still within the realms of "possible" rather than "when one of us wins the lottery and decides to spend the free time on ISFDB coding". BLongley 02:44, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Help:How to enter foreign language editions has been changed. The wording may be a little rough, but hopefully the intent is reasonably clear. I also seem to recall that some other Help page(s) mentioned language issues, but I can't find them at the moment. Ahasuerus 17:57, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

I for one am glad to seem the ability to enter related works as a VTs even though they are not the same and will end up with some issues in the future (e.g., work A has two translated editions B and C but C has two variant titles X and Y). Uzume 16:43, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Policy Change: Should we make translated titles into variant titles?

With the implementation of language support, many editors have assumed this means that we can now make the title records of translated pubs into variants of the canonical title. I've been told this is not the case, and the policy still remains to be discussed. I believe we should continue the current policy of keeping translated pubs under the canonical title until a future software change (theoretical, I admit) allows the creation of a relationship between title records. Not only would translated titles be "connected" (not varianted) to a canonical title, but the change would allow the addition of several other relationships between titles, including adaptations, revisions, rewrites, fix-ups, expansions and abridgments. I propose that this new function have a drop-down menu that provides a list of these common relationships allowing an editor to connect one title to another, but with each retaining their own status: title, author, type. A hypothetical example: "The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde" a novella-length adaptation by John Q. Smith of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would have entirely different titles, authors and pub types, YET would be connected to each other using this new function. This could just as easily be used to connect a translated work to its original title record. Winterplanet could be connected to The Left Hand of Darkness, but not actually considered a variant title, because it's actually a variant work. The variant title function should not be overburdened by using it to relate a translated work to the title record of the original work. The variant title function has its own purpose and performs it very well. Mhhutchins 01:12, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, I just noticed that a discussion about the change had already begun just before this. Mhhutchins 01:16, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
No problem, I understand your frustration. If we separated the "Variant Titles" section into genuinely different titles in the same language, from a new "'Translations" section, which contains only the equivalent works in another language, would that suffice for now? BLongley 02:03, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I'd have to see an example of how that would be displayed, but could imagine the possibility of that working. Would other editors go along with this "segregation" of translated titles into their own section? Mhhutchins 02:10, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll see if I can dummy up something. (They say a picture is worth a thousand words, this could save several thousand!) It's past 2AM here and I'm busy Saturday Afternoon and Evening so I can't be sure of getting an example up till Sunday - but if anybody else wants to dummy up a design in the meantime feel free. (I tend to do such by coding the proposed change and throwing it away if nobody likes it, but anyone with a little bit of Paintshop or Photoshop or GIMP skills can help out with a suggestion. I won't laugh at your artist skills as I have none myself.) BLongley 02:29, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
I think what Bill is saying is that we could take something like Wilson Tucker's Time Bomb, which is currently listed as follows:
2 Time Bomb (1955) also appeared as:
   Variant Title: Tomorrow Plus X (1957)
   Variant Title: Zeit-Bombe (1975) 
  Magazine Appearances:
   Time Bomb (Complete Novel) (1956)
and change it to:
2 Time Bomb (1955) also appeared as:
   Variant Title: Tomorrow Plus X (1957)
  Magazine Appearances:
   Time Bomb (Complete Novel) (1956)
   Zeit-Bombe (1975)
(Ditto for the Title page.) If so, then yes, it is doable, although it may take more work than Bill realizes since that the section of the code is particularly headache-inducing. Definitely doable, though. Ahasuerus 04:23, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's almost exactly what I had in mind. Although I would like the Translations sections to include the language: "Zeit-Bombe [German] (1975)". Not for ME to code, that's "Here be Dragons!" territory still. BLongley 05:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) In my opinion, making them variants is ok. I think the fundamental issue is that there are works, and then there are titles under which those works are published (and, of course, there are publications of those titles), but the ISFDB has no concept of work. Instead, title does double duty. How many times have we seen Do NOT merge with this other same title by the same author [in the same language] where there is no "title" variation at all? Introducing a separate work concept and allowing relationships between two works would really be the right way to handle translations, adaptations, revisions, expansions, and anything else where the text of the work is not the same. --MartyD 12:49, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

This is a good point, but keep in mind that you can have a translated title that is simultaneously an abridgement/adaptation. At one point I was working on Verne and found a "complete works" edition of his novels published in Russia in 1905-1906. The catch was that each "novel" was only 40-50 pages long. (My guess is that the publisher wanted to take advantage of the near-collapse of censorship during the first Russian revolution and either tried to be the "first to market" or figured that the relaxation might not last long.) So in this case we are dealing with 50+ novels that were both translated and abridged, which means that we need to have two separate fields to capture the data. Ahasuerus 04:44, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Or we stretch "Variant Titles" even more. I'm glad that we're introducing software changes in small steps as it means they get discussed (when people notice them) before we piss off too many people. We've bent the rules on variant titles to allow for variant authors and serialisations, and want to bend it further for variant languages. Without people commenting we might even have got to "variant translators" before a complaint. Comments are good, and ARE listened too, honest! BLongley 03:02, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
It also occurs to me that the vast majority of these inter-title relationships could be handled by adding a new field to the Title record and displaying its value on the Summary and Title pages. A drop-down list of values like "abridgement", "expansion", "revision", "rewrite", and "adaptation" would let us use VTs to group related titles together. It may not help with fixups or excerpts (which we probably don't want to display under the original titles), but it may help solve the thorny problem of multi-volume reprints. We'll just need to add "multi-volume reprint part 1", "multi-volume reprint part 2", etc to the drop-down list. Of course, we'll also need to change the term "variant title" to something like "related title" and decide how we want to display regular VTs. Ahasuerus 04:44, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

But we don't have works, and they can't be completely divorced from titles anyway: How would you identify a work without using its title? (Just a rhetorical question -- I don't mean to start a work-identification tangent). If we think of our title as really a composite of a work and title, then having a "variant" that represents a related-but-different work is not all that different from having a "variant" that represents a related-but-different title for an otherwise identical work. All we'd need is for the link between the two things to tell us what the variation is. In fact, we probably don't realize it, but we already have this need/problem in the traditional title variants: Is the variation due to the work labeling (truly, the "title"), or is it due to the author identification? Here, the software makes some assumptions to infer the nature of the variation and alter its display behavior, hiding the need/problem from us. It seems a natural extension to have it do something similar for language-of-the-work variations.

In the absence of introducing a separate work, I think ultimately we'd need three things in the existing structure:

  • Explicit variant types instead of having the nature of the variation be implied. Right now, the system can make some inferences, but the inference model breaks down as more types of derivation relationships are desired.
  • Modification/augmentation of the "Canonical" concept. I think we'd need an additional "Original" designation, but I haven't really thought that through. I.e., one work-title is the original, a.k.a. "parent", and there might then be multiple "canonical" work-titles related to it, depending on the nature of the variation.
  • Variants of variants to handle: B is a translation of A, C is a different labeling of B.

I'm not necessarily right, and I don't mean to start a design discussion here. It's just an example. But if I think about a possible solution along those lines and consider what would happen if we started doing VTs for translations today, I don't see us setting ourselves up for any huge conversion problem. If the software can infer the nature of a variation, that same inference could be used to convert the representation to something explicit. So then the remaining downside is that the impetus to do further modifications required to handle additional types of work relationships is reduced because the more widespread pain of language variations has been mitigated. --MartyD 12:49, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Oversize pbs

I recently entered data for this edition of Full Dark, No Stars. It uses the taller "Reading format" that has been common in some non-SF PBs for some time now, but has mostly not been seen in SF (at least not by me). By the strict letter of the help, this should be a TP -- Help:Screen:EditPub#Pub Format (Binding) says "...any book that is at least 7.25 in (or 19 cm) tall, or at least 4.5 in (11.5 cm) wide/deep, and is not a hardback, is a tp." This book is just under 7.5 in tall. However, it is priced and bound exactly like a pb otherwise, and it is distributed like a pb (supermarket and drugstore racks). I have entered it as a pb, but will change it to a TP if the consensus is to do so. Or perhaps we need a new code for this format, which will probably become more common, perhaps lpb for "large paperback"? I await comment. -DES Talk 20:33, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

There was a big discussion of these "overgrown pbs" a while back. Unless my memory is playing tricks with me, the majority opinion was that they are technically tps and should be entered as such until we decide to create a new binding code for them.
P.S. And welcome back! Ahasuerus 03:10, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't really like it, because all the other things that went with TP -- different distribution channels, often different production quality, different pricing scale, don't go with this type of book. I think if we won't list them as pbs, we should create a new binding code, but I am not about to do that unilaterally, so i will change this to TP, but leave my note on the format. -DES Talk 03:25, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
As far as pricing goes, these "lpbs" are usually a dollar or two higher than regular pbs but less expensive than regular tps. Quality is a separate issue since some pbs are not strippable and are printed on higher quality paper (e.g. some TSR pbs) while some tps are printed on low grade paper. Early in the cycle, we discussed whether we wanted to use industry standards to determine what is a "mass market paperback" and what is a "trade paperback" and concluded that size was more important for biblio purposes. We also suspected that we would have a hard time determining whether certain pbs were returnable vs. strippable and that it would confuse most of our users who are not familiar with the way the bookselling business works. Ahasuerus 03:41, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
And the "different distribution channels" is not true worldwide: e.g. you're more likely to find trade-sized paperbacks in UK supermarkets than you are to find mass-market size ones. The current standards work well for US and UK comparisons - mmpb is the same as UK A-Format. Although at times I have wished that UK B and C formats were separated rather than both being "tp" - the general release schedule of hardcover, trade paperback, and eventually a mass-market paperback is more and more often becoming hardcover, C-format tp and then B-format tp with no A-format ever appearing. BLongley 17:09, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
However, i hereby propose a new code of LPB (for large paperback). I thought of TPB for Tall Paperback, but that is too easily confused with TP in my view, although i could live with it. What do people think of such a new binding code? No software change would be needed. -DES Talk 03:25, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
PS My life has been rather a rollercoaster for the last 18 months -- I've been unemployed, then reemployed at a job that had very little spare time, and am now unemployed again. But I hope to spend some time here on an ongoing basis. -DES Talk 03:25, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry to hear that. This recession has been quite brutal... Ahasuerus 04:49, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I've been unemployed the last 18 months too - still, my loss has been ISFDB's gain. BLongley 04:18, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
It's going to be hard to explain the difference between a large paperback and a trade paperback to most editors, even harder to the ordinary user of the db. We've never used distribution and paper quality as criteria for this field. 19.2 cm makes it a "tp" under our current standards. I don't feel it's necessary to create a new category. Mhhutchins 03:54, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I think the objective standard of width would do it. The "Large PBs" are exactly the same width as classic MMPBs, 10.5 cm, while TPs are usually more like 14-15 cm wide, or more. Anything that is distributed in the none-bookstore rack system is going to be no wider than 10.5 cm, because otherwise it won't fit the existing racks. I admit that the other issues woulf be harder to explain, particularly to a new editor, but width can be measured, and I think will correlate very well with the other attributes. -DES Talk 04:04, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
It may be workable, but what percentage of pubs are we looking at here? I guess we can run Advanced Search for pbs whose price is $8.99 and $9.99 and find out... Ahasuerus 04:48, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I saw these go from rare to about 1/3 of the new books sold via grocery/drug stores in some other genres. They are now, IME rare in SF, but I suspect that the same sort of growth may be coming. Finding an author as well-known as Stephan King published in this format may be a forcast of things to come.-DES Talk 04:59, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Advanced search on pubs says there are NO tps or pbs with prices of 8.99 or 9.99 (four different searches). Since 358035 is such a pub, advanced search seems to be buggy for this combination of fields, unless I am using it wrongly. -DES Talk 04:59, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
In fact advanced search says there is exactly ONE pub with a price of 9.99 with no other field being checked, and i don't believe that. -DES Talk 05:02, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Try it with a dollar sign. I came up with more than 100 pubs that are "pb" and "$9.99". Mhhutchins 05:09, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, Advanced Pub Search expects exact values, so it will have to be "$8.99" and "$9.99" rather than "8.99" and "9.99". If you select "Binding=pb" AND "price=$8.99" OR "price=$9.99", you will get a few hundred matches.
The next challenge will be determining what each book's dimensions are. Luckily, Amazon and B&N provide this information. Ahasuerus 05:11, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Already found a couple of them: Changes and Blaze, both horror genre. I changed them to "tp" and gave notes about their dimensions with the sources. Mhhutchins 05:22, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Found my first SF title: The Winds of Dune. Almost all the ones I'm checking were mistakenly entered as "pb" and are true trade paperbacks (more than 7.5 inches tall and 5 inches wide). I've corrected those records. Mhhutchins 05:37, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
After thinking it over, I've decided to change these back to "pb" so that they can be more easily found, in case we decide to create a new category (even though at this time, I personally oppose it.) Mhhutchins 05:48, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks that makes the search work. 331023 is an example: Amazon says 7.4 x 4.2 in, and this is recent enough that a true TP would probably be priced higher. May of the true TPs in the search seem to be older pubs when TP prices were more likely to be $9.99. Again this is a work by a popular author. I suspect that this "Tall" format will be biased to works by popular authors or series. -DES Talk 06:23, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
If people are going to use the price-search, I must look into fixing it. It currently doesn't work for "£" prices. :-( BLongley 04:18, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's a known problem which I think is documented on SourceForge. All Unicode characters run into this issue. Ahasuerus 04:24, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Tsk tsk! You should know that the phrase is "Bloody Unicode"! ;-) BLongley 04:37, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Web Page Entries

There is a disconnect between the help and practice with the respect to the web page entry for author records. The help specifies that it is for the author's official site or "If the author is deceased and has no official or authorized sites then alternate web sites with significant bibliographical and biographical data may be entered." However, in practice it is used for all sorts of links regardless of whether there is an official site or not: additional Wikipedia links, links to other encyclopedias, publisher sites, Goodreads, biographical data whether or not the author is deceased. It seems like we should either revise the help to reflect practice or we should tighten up practice to match the help.

There are some possible software changes that could be made to assist in either case:

  • Add a new "Official Web Site" field that would be just used for official site(s) when they exist. This would require a bunch of clean-up for existing entries, but it would make it clear to people what the author's webpage actual is when there are multiple.
  • Change the "Wikipedia" field to support multiple links (like the "Web Page" field does now). As we move further towards multiple language support, I think this would be very good. We could add links to multiple Wikipedia language sites vs. the current practice of putting one the "Wikipedia" field and additional ones in the Web Page" field.

There are probably other alternatives as well (like ignore the whole thing). -- JLaTondre (talk) 15:00, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

I've seen many authors with multiple "official" websites: e.g. one per pseudonym, or with less formal blogs on Blogger, Livejournal, Facebook, Myspace, etc. The current ability to add an indefinite number of other web-sites is helpful but I agree it would be nice to separate them into categories like "official", "blog", "fan site", "publisher site's author page", "unofficial biography", etc. And I think the one Wikipedia link limitation needs addressing, it seems obvious that as we improve language support then the desirability of linking to non-English Wikipedias increases. I'm not a big fan of adding more fields and would actually prefer to consolidate the Wikipedia and IMDB links into "Websites" once we can label the type of website it actually is. BLongley 16:18, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Novel or Chapterbook

We list "Rip Van Winkle" as short fiction, including a chapterbook containing that story. There was a 1905 illustrated edition (51 pp. of plates), where it seems clear from the photo (linked above) that the book itself is clearly "Novel" sized. Should this book be entered as a Novel or as a Chapterbook? (Or as an early graphic novel ;-). Chavey 16:41, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

It's a chapterbook. We don't determine this designation by the physical size or binding of the book or the number of pages (though the latter is the most efficient way of doing so.) It should be determined by the word count of the fiction within. If a work is shortfiction (less than 40,000 words), it would be a chapterbook if published as a stand-alone book. There are exceptions to this (e.g. halves of many Ace Doubles were closer to novella length than novel, but they were published as "novels" so we make an exception.) "Rip van Winkle" has always been shortfiction and regardless of how it's published will never be a novel (unless an author comes along and expands it or adapts it into a novel.) Mhhutchins 16:55, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Policy changes for non-English works

Now that Help has been changed to allow entering translations as variant titles, I think it's time to change the "Rules of Acquisition" on the ISFDB:Policy page. I believe we can remove all references to "English" and zap sections 3 through 7, which cover various language permutations. Ahasuerus 22:14, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

If there are no objections, I will change the Policy page tomorrow. Ahasuerus 00:23, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Done. Ahasuerus 23:25, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Rules of Acquisition: Art books

The current Rules of Acquisition appear to be silent on the question on the inclusion of speculative fiction art books. Originally, I suspect, as a "fiction" database, these were not considered as a substantive issue. With the exclusion of graphic novels, I suspect that one could infer that "art books" would, normally, be "OUT". But I can see two natural sub-categories for inclusion (here, I use "SF" for "speculative fiction"):

  1. Books that collect artwork by a common SF contributor, which includes several examples of their SF artwork. A standard example might be The Art of Rowena Morrill.
  2. Collections of art closely related to a particular well-known title or series within SF. An example here might be one of the Tolkien Calendars (which have not yet been included, but probably will be eventually).

Since some such books would surely be "IN" and others "OUT", it seems that there would be value in trying to determine the approximate location of the boundary between those categories, and including such a policy in our Rules of Acquisition. Such a policy might wish to also consider the inclusion of certain types of "picture books", some of which have some fiction text, but often too little to justify independent inclusion. Chavey 15:26, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Whether it's a stated policy or not, books that collect fantastic art (not a value judgement) have been included since I started here. I don't think the profile of the artist is a factor in determining its inclusion; it's the contents. And any "picture book" whose story contains any speculative element (whether it be for children or not, and whether it's art is by a well-known artist or not) has been IN. I even think there may be non-speculative fiction picture books with art by well-known artists of the fantastic that have been included in the db for various reasons. For example, I'm not sure if this title is spec-fic, but it was reviewed in Locus based on the art by the Dillons. In other words, it goes back, like much of what we decide to include, to a personal judgement. We usually lean toward inclusion in borderline cases. Mhhutchins 19:41, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
So would this book be in? A review of it says:
Fierce guardian, loyal companion, safe haven, shamanic healer -- such attributes have been ascribed to the bear in various cultures around the world throughout time. For Susan Seddon Boulet, the spirit of the bear was present in her life in all these manifestations. She relied on it for comfort, healing, and inspiration in her inner journeys, vision quests, and healing work. In her paintings -- from her earliest sketches to the last works she completed before her death in April 1997 -- the bear is a recurring figure, sometimes the central theme of a piece, sometimes a small but essential element.Michael Babcock, a close friend of the artist for more than fifteen years, explores in depth the significance of the bear in Boulet's art and life in The Power of the Bear. Complete with over forty reproductions of her bear paintings and sketches, this book presents a fascinating overview of the bear's function in mythology and many traditions of story-telling while providing an intimate portrait ofan artist internationally beloved and now acutely missed.
This book includes mythological interpretations of bears, including them transforming into other things (including people, I believe). Does that put it IN? Any book with lots of pictures of dragons? I've got a bunch of books with lots of pictures of horror creatures in them -- e.g. my "Tales of the Crypt" comic books. Wouldn't this open us up not only to graphic novels, but to all super-hero comic books (etc.)? Chavey 20:30, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I would have accepted the Bear book into the database as it's a single artist showcase, an artist that has painted the covers of several spec-fic titles. (Look at the books of Vallejo's paintings of flowers and women, neither of which have any connection to spec-fic.)
No, Tales of the Crypt is obviously not IN, just as 99.99% of comic books and graphic novels are not IN. These are not borderline cases, and I'm sure you bring them up just to show the extremes to which someone would define an "art book". Just like Damon Knight in trying to define SF, I may not be able to clearly define what art books should be included, but I can look at individual cases and determine if they should be IN or OUT. And in cases where it's not clear, I'd include it. Allowing it in is not as slippery a slope as one might think. (Allowing Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore's graphic novels into the database haven't opened the floodgate.) Mhhutchins 21:04, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
So, there isn't a line that we can quantify, or approximately describe, between IN and OUT for art books. It's up to individual editors. Right? Chavey 21:29, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
There's a line, but one that's quite blurry. There are books that are definitely IN and others that are definitely OUT. It's the ones closer to the line that give moderators the headaches. But then, isn't that why we get paid the big bucks? :) Mhhutchins 22:18, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Announced Books and Publication Series.

There are two Arkham House books ([3] [4]), published in 1945, that state they are part of the Library of Arkham House Novels of Fantasy and Terror. In both books, the statement also mentions books "in preparation" for the series, 3 of which AH eventually published in 1960, 1962 and 1963, as well as one title that was never published by AH. None of the three later publications are marked as part of the series in the book and my original feeling is that their publication records should not be so marked. As for the Leiber, I was wondering if a publication should be entered with the 8888-00-00 date (with AH as the publisher). If it should for that, should it for the others that were eventually published by AH in the 1960s? This also raises the question of announced books in general. Both Sheldon Jaffery's The Arkham House Companion and S. T. Joshi's Sixty Years of Arkham House contain sections on announced but unpublished (or published elsewhere) books. I always understood the 8888 date to be used for "famously" unpublished works (e.g. Last Dangerous Visions). However, the help section seems a little looser now, and since these other bibliographers have taken note, should we? --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 13:45, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree that the rules of using 8888 have been loosened, and I personally see a value in that. The records clearly show that the books weren't published, and this prevents future editors from creating (false) records based on secondary sources (such as the Arkham House "in preparation" list.) I see no problem in there being a record for an AH edition of Leiber's Conjure Wife. Mhhutchins 15:45, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Forgot to mention: I don't see any value in creating 8888 records for the three that were eventually published, as the records of their AH publication already exist. You could mention in their note fields that their publication was scheduled years before but delayed. You could also mention that they were planned to be part of the series, though, like you, I don't think their publication records should be actually placed into the series. Mhhutchins 15:49, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization: Non-English titles

The current guidelines make no distinction as far as what language the title is in. Are we using the same criteria for non-English titles? I've been entering a number of German titles from various sources and doing the same 'regularization' as for English titles. I know it makes no difference for searches but with the high recent volume of non-English titles it might be a good thing to get straight now as there's no way to do mass fixes later. --~ Bill, Bluesman 21:55, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've been using this same English 'regularization' for the titles I've been entering. I think this is substantially easier than trying to decide what the rules should be in all of the many languages we support. Since we are requiring all titles to be transliterated into Western script, it's possible to make such an overall policy (some languages don't have "capitals" in their scripts). Chavey 04:15, 12 January 2012 (UTC)~
For the French titles that I'm entering, I'm using the French usage (first word and "proper" nouns with a capital) Hauck 06:23, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I use the English regularization for anything I enter. For the submissions I moderate in other languages than English, I have to trust the editor. --Willem H. 20:05, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I rarely dare to mess with non-English titles, so usually leave them the same way as the source I'm getting the data from. (Unless it's ALL CAPS when I have a guess.) I don't mind if different languages have different rules, so long as the expert people do the cosmetic fix-work for me - and if they'd rather I didn't work on such at all, that's fine. I'd prefer to have the data with "incorrect" capitalisation than not have it at all though. BLongley 20:36, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Language of birthplace

I'm unsure which language we use for the birthplace (place, state, country)? Is it standard to use english respectively the english translation of place, state and country? I get here Author data no clear answer. Rudam 06:31, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

As I understand it, we use the English name but only if there is one (and I use wikipedia as reference in this regard). It'd be Cologne instead of Köln, but I doubt there is an English name for Ruppichteroth (and how would that be translated?), for example. Stonecreek 18:33, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

James Tiptree jr.

Have our rules about creating pseudonyms really got to the point of interpretation that names like this one are accepted? I recall several times when Ernesto Vegetti was entering Italian magazines' strangely convoluted forms of English names that we decided that such obvious errors not be made into pseudonyms but recorded in the pub record's note field. Mhhutchins 17:38, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

I'd regularise that to a ", Jr." suffix, I certainly don't think it deserves a pseudonym. BLongley 18:14, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I always thought the "comma and space" between name and Jr. was mandatory. --Willem H. 18:22, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, at least one moderator must have disagreed. The submission by Zoltar creating a pseudonym was accepted into the database on 2012-01-26 03:33:32. Mhhutchins 18:39, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
If no one objects, or no one has anything further to add, I'll delete the pseudonym on 02/06/2012. Mhhutchins 03:20, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I have no objection of changing it. I accepted it, I think, but did so under the impression that it had been printed in the entered publication as submitted, so it would have been the right of the submitter to state this. But I had changed a similar spelling of this author in a German publication to the standard, so both versions are OK for me. Stonecreek 04:42, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I was going to revert the pseudonym and make a note in the pub record, when I made another discovery. Someone has made a pseudonym of James Tiptree Jr (no comma, no period). So we really need to have a deeper discussion about what criteria should be used in order to create pseudonyms. Mhhutchins 21:15, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
This someone is surely me. I've deliberately and painstakely created this pseudonym for the simple reason that other "someones" have pestered me to make PS just for minute variations like this one (on the lines of "NAMES SHOULD BE ENTERED AS ON PUBLICATIONS AND PSEUDONYMS SHOULD BE CREATED"). Hauck 21:30, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I've started a new topic below. Please feel free to add your voice to the discussion. Mhhutchins 21:43, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Already done so. Hauck 21:53, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Author Request to Remove Information

Discussion moved from, Moderator Noticeboard. What do we do when an author wants to remove biographical information? Do we allow this, and if so, are there limits?--Rkihara 00:35, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

I believe we should honor such requests for birth date and birth place (and perhaps legal name in some cases) of living authors. For birth date, we could maintain the year only if it was deemed necessary to disambiguate authors with the same name. While I think this author is fighting a loosing battle (once released it's extremely hard to put the cork back in the bottle), I don't see a compelling reason for us not to comply with her wishes. The information is not critical to a bibliography. We also stand far more to gain from being perceived as author friendly (i.e. the willingness of authors and publishers to answer questions) than we do from including such information. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:16, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Good points. If no one disagrees I'll pass the edit tomorrow.--Rkihara 02:02, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I hate seeing good data become unavailable, but, unfortunately, knowing your date of birth can facilitate identity theft, which is a major pain and overrides bibliographic concerns in my book. We may want to make some kind of Policy statement about it since it's the third time the issue has come up in the last year. There may not be an easy way to prove that the request is coming from the author, but on the other hand, it's unlikely that anyone else would bother. Ahasuerus 03:17, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
What was decided in the previous two cases?--Rkihara 07:28, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I think we explained to the submitter that our data had come from publicly available sources and she (I seem to recall that it was a she in both cases) didn't insist. Or perhaps she never found her Talk page... Ahasuerus 21:58, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Edit passed.--Rkihara 20:14, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I believe this is overreaction. We should at least keep the year of birth. Sometimes it's the only way to separate one author from another. There's no way that having that in the database could compromise an individual's identity. We would not be endangering any author or their family by retaining that single piece of information, and any author who thinks that is wrong or just vain. Maybe they should stop writing books in order to stay out of the public limelight. Or take a cue from Salman Rushdie and buck up. Mhhutchins 18:40, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed that the edit meant to remove the year of birth, not just the date of birth. We definitely want to retain the year (1971). Ahasuerus 21:16, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

(unindent) I was thinking that we should be inclined to follow the author's wishes. On the other hand, moderators cannot be responsible for knowing or remembering what publicly available information the author wishes to hide, so when the next diligent soul like Dirk comes along and does the research and fills out the info, I don't want to see anyone in the position of being asked to, or expected to, reject that edit. Seems like a losing battle to me. That aside, the individual who triggered this discussion has doomed herself. On the "about" page on her own website she cites her home town and her city of residence. One trip to gets me her age and middle name. I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone that naive about information security. --MartyD 23:13, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Almanachs = Magazines?

In Europe it was quite common (and it is still to some extent) to publish almanachs on a certain theme or genre. Up until now I have begun to enter one series (see this example). I have done them as anthologies but I wonder if it wouldn't better to enter them as magazines published once a year. Is there an existing rule for them or any commentary? Stonecreek 20:48, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

There's no existing rule that I can recall. One thing that does come to mind is that books often get reprinted, and magazines generally don't. Those that do have been classified as Anthologies to allow for this, e.g. Destinies. So I'd lean toward ANTHOLOGY with a title series entry. BLongley 21:15, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your commentary, Bill! In this case and all of the other almanachs I know of the titles don't get a reprint, maybe because of a certain sticking to the time of publication (you wouldn't buy a pub. titled Science Fiction Almanach 1981) ten years later or nowadays, would you?). Plus: there is only a small audience interested in this kind of publication, I think. Stonecreek 21:35, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I certainly wouldn't expect it to be reprinted years later, but we have seen some reprinted after a month or so. I think these are comparable to "Best SF of the Year" type books, but of course, I've never read a German "almanach". BLongley 21:43, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, point taken, though they haven't the concept of publishing the best. Regrettably, it's not made too clear in the mentioned example, but usually they are neither fish nor flesh (to adapt a German saying). That is that they usually publish fiction and essays on one theme in equal amounts, so it isn't easy to categorize them as anthologies or non-fiction. And - like a magazine - they do appear on a regular basis, once a year. Stonecreek 09:16, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
As long as we can be sure that there are no reprints, we can enter them as magazines. We already have some annually published magazines on file, e.g. Science Fiction Yearbook. By the way, Christian, "neither fish nor flesh" is used in English as well although "neither fish nor fowl" is more popular. According to this article, it's also found in many other languages including Finnish, Estonian, Russian, Polish, etc. Ahasuerus 10:00, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, didn't know about the extent of using this expression. Stonecreek 10:06, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I've always classified almanachs (almanacs) as yearbooks and in my opinion yearbooks are an anthology series. If we classify this series as a magazine, then for example we have to sort this series and this series equally as magazines. You stated this Analog as an anthology. Here I would prefer magazine. But this is only my opinion. Rudam 20:43, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I would agree that annuals, yearbooks, almanacs, etc. are very much akin to the many "Best of" title series that we now have, and that it would be better to maintain that consistency. I.e., I vote for series, not magazine. I was recently looking at "Unwin's Annual", which ran for two years (1886-1887). I certainly wouldn't want to list something like that as a "magazine", but as a series that didn't last long, it's not inappropriate. And just because some of these series seem to go on forever (26 of Wollheim, 28 of Dozois, 21 of Datlow) doesn't make them magazines. Chavey 03:59, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Sorry but I have to disagree on the topic of almanacs. See this entry on wikipedia where they are defined as follows: An almanac (also spelled almanack and almanach) is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, tide tables, and tabular information in a particular field or fields (...) and various statistics are also found in almanacs. In my opinion that puts them into a different category as the above mentioned yearbooks etc. who can be viewed as (possibly commented) selections of best sf, and thus as anthologies.

Now, if the almanacs in question - dealing with speculative fiction, that is - were of the kind described, they were easily to be dealt with as non-fiction, I'd say. The (more or less soft) predicament is that they usually contain too much fiction for that categorization (Das Science Fiction Jahr, see Rudam's example, being a possible exception; it's the most almanacy publication I have found so far in the field). That is: too much non-fiction for an anthology, too much fiction for non-fiction. Stonecreek 15:48, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

When to make a pseudonym (and when not to)

As I've recently discovered in the course of this discussion there doesn't seem to be hard-fast rules about what criteria are to be followed when creating pseudonyms. Does the use of a period or comma, or a change in capitalization constitute one? I wouldn't think so, but others feel differently as in the case of James Tiptree jr and James Tiptree Jr. Both of these appear to have arisen from foreign language publications, but I don't think that's always the case. We should come to a decision before the database becomes full of misspellings of author credits, because we've been so intransigent when it comes to recording credits "as is". We don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but we have to become more flexible. Sometimes a little common sense can go a long way. Mhhutchins 21:27, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Either everything is entered as printed including mispellings, local usage (e. g. no comma before Jr in french) or even typos or there are no rules and only the moderator's personal interpretation prevails. As the first option seems to be "out" in practice : some vt that I've done based on the title page (which I naively thought was the absolute rule) have been reverted to the "canonical" title on the grounds that it was a typo or that the text had a different spelling (see here), there is only the second option left. In this case, I'm afraid that the discussion is futile as (IMHO) all cases cannot be accurately predicted and taken care of. Hauck 21:51, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I thought the help was fairly clear on "Case", "Initials", and "Ranks, Suffixes, Prefixes", but I guess they are open to question again. I'm usually a fan of "exactly as recorded" but that could double or triple our author directory so I can see the need to standardise, and indeed already do that myself. (Aside - is "Sir" supposed to be part of a canonical name?) BLongley 00:11, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Based on the current rules "James Tiptree Jr" and "James Tiptree jr" should not have been made into variants. They should have been corrected and noted. The "moderator's personal interpretation" had nothing to do with it. If that were the case all discussion would be futile. If there's one thing I've learned hanging around here is that many discussions have turned out to be futile. Mhhutchins 03:50, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I also think the help is clear, and this doesn't lead to "no rules". The help says: "Case should be regularized. ... Initials should normally be entered followed by a period and a space ... Suffixes such as "Jr" should follow a comma and space, and be followed by a period if they are abbreviations. This should be regularized if they are not presented this way in the publication." That's very specific and precise rules about when we DON'T make a VT. These types of rules are also accompanied by the statement "Such non-standard forms should be mentioned in a publication or title note.". Those variations go in notes, not in pseudonyms. I wouldn't mind re-opening the question of José vs. Jose (and Stanislaw vs. Stanisław Lem), but I think those other small variations should be viewed as a closed decision. Chavey 04:11, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Speaking of Stanislaw vs. Stanisław, has that changed recently? I thought we'd settled on the former but see titles under the latter now. BLongley 00:23, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I was discussing this issue with Zoltar the other day and I suggested to him that it may be time to start changing Lem's Polish titles to the "Stanisław" form of his name. Over the last couple of days he has changed a few dozen titles and I approved his changes. Apologies, I had forgotten about the original discussion re: "Stanisław" vs. "Stanislaw" and the decision to use the "l" form of the word. If I had remembered it, I would have raised the issue on this page first.
That said, I think the main reason why we originally decided again using "Stanisław" was that our author URLs still used author names, e.g. Lem, at the time and URLs with embedded non-Latin characters had all kinds of problems. Now that these URLs use record numbers, it's no longer an issue, so I think it should be safe to start using "Stanisław". This change shouldn't affect searches since the "Stanislaw" form of the name will still exist as a pseudonym. Ahasuerus 04:10, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Except that the help is here (logically) perhaps a bit too much english-centered for a "foreigner" as is, to stay on Tiptree, the obligation of inserting a comma where there is none. This said, anybody can correct my mistakes but I think that our internationalization should lead to incorporate some "local" (non-english) usages (see here). Hauck 06:25, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
No one has called anyone a foreigner. Votre Coeur Haploïde is a foreign-language publication. But so is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. There's no need to call out the PC Police for using the word "foreign". This passive-aggressive behavior is becoming quite tedious. Mhhutchins 17:26, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
As is this rigidity and this anglo-centrism. What you see as an regularization is a simple alteration of the data (even for noble purposes). That's all. Hauck 21:08, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Rigidity and regularization are required of a database. As for "anglo-centrism" that was built-in way before most of us starting working on the database. The latest improvements in the handling of non-English-language publications should be enough evidence that we're conscious of this and trying to correct it. It's not going to make it easier to accommodate the special needs of other languages by insisting each should have their own rules. If so, it would be easier to create a separate database for each language. Mhhutchins 21:42, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
"Separate databases" would destroy one of our greatest assets - we're one of the few resources that is beginning to cover multiple languages beyond "original" and "site" languages. I think we're getting to the point where we have to let some standards change - and there are several areas where letting each language have its own rules would not affect anyone else editing. (Moderating is another matter, but I don't think any of us claim to be able to moderate every kind of submission now.) There are common areas, like this, where a change in practices would affect everybody - I don't know how many people use the Author Directory or Author Searches, but an unnecessary proliferation of variant names can only mean more work. BLongley 23:31, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I can support more internationalization for "foreign" users but am reluctant to see changes that make things worse for other users. Relaxing our name standardisation leads to more author entries and more pseudonyms for all of us, whereas relaxing capitalisation rules for foreign titles doesn't affect people working on other languages. However, we do need to agree when rules can differ based on language - and some things will not be possible until alphabet software support is improved. BLongley 19:41, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I, too, think the rules are clear. Regulari[sz]ing case and punctuation to a specific standard is fine. If an editor does not know to do it, a moderator is likely to catch it. IMO, titles and "suffix" appearance / placement is different. If a book were credited to "James Jr. Triptree", for example, I think we should record it as such and make that a pseudonym, just as we would more naturally record "Sir Arthur C. Clarke" and have it be a pseudonym of "Arthur C. Clarke". --MartyD 09:41, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I have some headaches with it (and am guilty of some mish-mash) but I'd say to stick with the rules with the 'Juniors'. This seems a case quite analogue to the European prices as, for example, €10,00 (which is mostly the price as stated) but which should be entered as €10.00. I think again that it is not too mind-bending to have a unifying rule. Maybe there should be an addition to the notes that the name is stated otherwise. Stonecreek 09:16, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Prices are one of the less important areas - it wouldn't hurt to allow the mainland Europeans to use "," and "." in the opposite way to the English and North Americans. Database-wise it's an almost useless field for sorting and is really only useful for disambiguation of editions or spotting date errors. So that's one area we could allow differences without hurting anybody. BLongley 23:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

One book, two ISBNs

Is there a 'standard' way of dealing with pubs (like this one, for example) that have two ISBNs? The book 9n question was published by Dedalus / Hippocrene and has UK ISBN and US ISBN; as well as UK and US prices. Should one mention US ISBN in notes only, or should one create the second record with US ISBN? The second way is good because it allows to find the book by US ISBN using search, but it's also a bit misleading because it's the same book: UK and US printings are exactly identical. Cheers, P-Brane 05:11, 10 February 2012 (UTC).

I'm not sure if there's any hard rules about this. Personally I would create a record for the US edition, with the US ISBN and the US price, but note that this is a false entry and that there is only one printing for both territories. I'm not sure what the actual standards, if there are any, might say on the subject. In any case, you should be covered if you fully document all aspects of the publication, even if there's only one record. Mhhutchins 05:40, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll go for one record with notes for now. But there is already one pub that got 2 records: UK and us. Cheers, P-Brane 06:02, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I've entered one such double-ISBN book, and I also used the single record+notes approach. Chavey 07:43, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Binding Designation for Small Collections

It bothers me that the standard designation for softcover pubs that are stapled or saddle-stitched is "pamphlet". As I understand it, "trade paperback" is reserved for perfect bound publications. Most of the world calls stapled publications "chapbooks", but in the isfdb "chapterbook" is reserved for another purpose. Pamphlet has bad connotations for me; it sounds like a cheap advertisement. I would like to suggest a new standard designation, "sc, stapled" or perhaps "sc, saddle-stitched". Bob 21:18, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

"Binding" is a misnomer - it's mostly used for hard or soft cover differences, with the soft covers divided into smaller and larger sizes. ("Trade paperback" doesn't have the same meaning in England as it does in the US, it's just a size difference.) It's been extended for Audio and Electronic publications, and magazines seem to have gone for even more variations. I'm not sure we'll ever come to agreement on what is allowable. :-( BLongley 23:54, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
The problem with this field, and I've pointed this out before, is that the words "format" and "binding" are so different that it doesn't make sense that the db is treating them as synonyms. The pub record labels it as "binding" (look at how the field is displayed in any pub record). But, when you edit that pub the field changes name to "pub format".
Back to the question: there should be a simple decision tree to determine what should go into the field: Is the cover soft or hard? Hard, then it's entered as "hc". Soft, then how is it bound? If glued, then what is its dimensions? Is it taller then 18cm (7"), then enter it as "tp", otherwise, enter it as "pb". If it's stapled, then enter it as "ph". If it's sewn, then enter is as "z", or whatever designation we decide..."sc" sounds good to me (but further description should go into the note field). But any stapled book should be entered as "ph" in my opinion.
The word "chapbook" can't be brought into the conversation, because we've subsumed it's use by calling one of our publication types CHAPTERBOOK, a usage every editor of the database abhors. (Or at least, I've never heard anyone defend it.) There are always going to be publications that are so different, so esoteric that it won't fit into any of our definitions for "format". Just leave the field blank and describe the book in the note field. That's better than adding another abbreviation that the average user will have no idea what it means, without searching through the help pages. I would hope that the average user (as opposed to the average editor) would never see the need to access the wiki help pages (God help them if they try to search there!) Mhhutchins 04:59, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems to me that the problem stems from the avoidance of the term "mass-market paperback" or mmpb for what we currently term pb. I don't think any casual user would misunderstand mmpb. Then pb could be reserved for any multipage soft cover pub that was neither tp or mmpb, that is, non-glued soft covers. Some pamphlets have no binding, but are merely folded sheets of paper; in my opinion, the ph designation should be reserved for such pubs only. Bob 21:50, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I would hope that the casual user would know what "mmpb" meant, but I don't think I'd lose any money betting that the majority of them would not. We can't overestimate the knowledge of the casual user when compared with that of the collector that most of us are. But if you don't like the "ph" designation, feel free to leave the field blank and give a description of the book in the note field. There's nothing in the rules that say you have to fill every field of a record. Mhhutchins 22:08, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure that many non-North-American casual users would be confused by "mmpb". But they'd probably also be confused by "A", "B" or "C" format definitions. I'm fairly happy with "pb=A" and "tp=B or C" but it seems people are already breaking the rules and making B-format "pb". If that continues, I'll never be sure of whether a book is worth buying - all but one of my bookcases are designed for "pb" and nothing taller. BLongley 00:58, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
But to refer to your first question, Bob, the format for booklet type of such publications is 'Digest', see this example. And larger publications are most often magazines, aren't they? Stonecreek 09:33, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Archived Messages

I've archived all messages on this page from August 2009 through December 2010 here, assuming that any discussion that hasn't been touched for more than a year is probably no longer a point of issue. Mhhutchins 07:15, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

I've spent an interesting half-hour revisiting them, and can't agree they're all no longer an issue - we're still discussing some of them to this very day: e.g. "étoile" instead of "Etoile" was a known problem in advanced search over a year ago and we're still no closer to fixing that. But I agree that they needed archiving, too many current arguments become strength-sapping. BLongley 02:21, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
No doubt the issues remain. It was the discussions that had died. None of the topics I removed had been touched in 14 months. That doesn't prevent anyone from bringing the issue back to the front burner.
As for that accented e, all but COVERART records are returned in an advanced search. So it's not just the accent. It's something to do with the type of records. Mhhutchins 03:05, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Earlier tonight I ran a few Advanced Searches (title, author, pub) using "José Farmer" and didn't find any matches because the software was actually searching on "Jos\xe9 Farmer". The only record that came up was a COVERART record which had been entered with an "xe9" rather than an "é", since corrected. We have another half dozen cover art records with "xe9", all of them from the 1990s, and I suspect it may be an artifact of the ISFDB-1-to-ISFDB-2 conversion in 2005.
Would you happen to remember how you ran the Advanced Search that returned accented e's? Ahasuerus 04:55, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I used Bill's example: "étoile". But, I didn't use the advanced search, as I mistakenly said above. It was under the normal search under titles, and it returned 174 matches, some had accents, some didn't. I was also mistaken about the COVERART records not appearing because on the second search I must have selected "Fiction Titles" instead of "All Titles". Sorry for the misleading information. So the problem with Advanced Search remains if you use the accent, but the normal search works fine. But in either search, if you enter just plain "e" you get all records returned, both with and without accents. Mhhutchins 05:53, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Yes, the regular search logic will find both "e"s and "é"s because the latter is a part of the "Latin-1" character set and MySQL uses the Swedish collation sequence. However, it doesn't work with non-Latin-1 characters like "ł" and "č".
The really unfortunate thing here is that the desired behavior of the search logic is not consistent across languages: if you type the Latin letter "c", you do not want to find the Czech "č", but if you type the Cyrillic letter "е", you probably also want to see the Russian "ё". Oh well, a headache for another day... Ahasuerus 06:10, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Just the other night I spent an hour straightening up this author's page. Someone had made "Andre Caroff" into a pseudonym "André Caroff" and had made the titles entered as "Andre" into variants of "André", even though all of the pubs actually spelled the name with the accent. And name searches work regardless of how you enter the "e". I would have thought that most moderators were aware of that fact. Should we expect sometime down the line for someone to make "Philip Jose Farmer" into a pseudonym of "Philip José Farmer"? Mhhutchins 03:05, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I processed these pubs a few weeks ago when Fixer's submissions stayed in the queue for a while. As far as I could tell, their covers showed "Andre" with no accent. Did you find their title pages that showed "André"? Ahasuerus 05:33, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I didn't look at the cover art. None of them had cover images that I can remember. These were the English adaptations published by Hollywood Comics. I used the OCLC records which all gave the accented name. There are two French publications which I didn't touch. One has the accent on the cover, the other doesn't. The OCLC records for both give the accented name. So I think it's fair to say we should use the accented name. And even if a book is published without the accent, we shouldn't create a variant and a pseudonym. We don't for Farmer. Mhhutchins 05:53, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
The covers both at Amazon and the publisher website show the unaccented name. But there's other issues: these are not Hollywood Comics but Black Coat Press, the translator has been given co-author status, the UK prices are missing, and cover illustrators like J.-M. Ponzio and editors like J.-M. Lofficier could be considered to be breaking our Initials standardisation guidelines. BLongley 14:13, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I only changed the varianting. The publisher and co-authors are as stated in the original record. (Now I know why I don't handle Fixer submissions anymore.) And the situation about initials is another issue entirely. All of this is a perfect example of why so many discussions about standards just peter out. This topic, about archiving older posts, has morphed so much that it's back to the original issue: the reason discussions here never accomplish much. Mhhutchins 17:15, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Someone else must have changed the attributions then because the last backup shows all but two attributed to Caroff alone. Which brings up the question of attributing "adapters", e.g. E. Nesbit abridged and adapted a number of William Shakespeare's plays into juvenile stories and we currently credit her.
As far as Hollywood Comics vs. Black Coat Press goes, I know that the publisher's Web site lists all of these books under the Black Coat Press imprint. However, I have never seen a physical copy of these books, so I don't know what's stated on the title page(s). Checking online records, I see that Texas A&M lists "The Terror of Madame Atomos" as a Black Coat Press publication, though.
Re: the use of hyphens between initials, that's quite common in France (J.-H. Rosny aîné, G.-J. Arnaud, etc) and we need to account for it or else French users won't be able to find something like 20% of the French authors.
Finally, re: Fixer, I have noticed that Fixer's submissions have been staying in the queue longer as of late. That's unfortunate because I have to process them myself, which leaves me with no time for development and testing, but there is not much I can do about that. We have to have the current releases by major publishers on file or else the usefulness of the database as a go-to resource will decline significantly. (Once I am done with all "high value" pubs for the month, I switch to submitting older ISBNs, but I don't process them myself until they get really stale.) Ahasuerus 03:49, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
As far as the larger question goes, it's a complex one. There are three types of characters that we have to handle:
  1. The 26 characters of the English alphabet. Easy enough.
  2. Western European characters that are part of the "Latin-1" character set. Their behavior is occasionally unexpected, e.g. a search on "æ" will also find all "ä"'s, but generally they don't cause too many problems.
  3. All other characters like the Central European "ł" and "č", not to mention languages that use non-Latin alphabets. We can enter these characters and they are displayed correctly, but there are still some obscure bugs associated with them. Advanced Search is one problem area, but there are also a couple of moderator approval pages that don't handle these characters quite right, although the end result is still valid. Also, these characters take up more space in the database than English characters, so certain fields that are limited to 64 characters, e.g. Publisher and Series, have problems with them. It's all fixable, but will require some TLC.
The only thing that I don't think we can fix until we migrate the database from Latin-1 to Unicode (a whole different headache) is the fact that searching on numbers like "42" will also find unrelated titles like Патруль Звездных Волков (Patrul' Zvezdnyh Volkov) because the database stores the Russian character "В" as "1042". Ahasuerus 05:33, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Transliteration of Russian

Do we have any rules for transliteration of Russian? For example, there are some errors with transliteration on this page. BarDenis 21:29, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Unfortunately, there is no universally agreed upon transliteration standard :-( Language scholars use the ALA-LOC Romanization tables, but pretty much no one else does, at least not in their entirety. They require the use of obscure characters like "t͡s" and "ĭ", which few laymen would know how to interpret.
Typically, a book about Russian history starts with a disclaimer similar to the one that Stephen Cohen had at the beginning of his once famous "Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution":
  • There is no entirely happy solution to the problem of transiterating Russian names and words into English. I have followed the familiar Library of Congress system, but with two exceptions. [...]"
And, since different people (in and out of academia) use different systems and then add exceptions of their own, we end up with the mess that we have.
Having said that, if you see something that is obviously wrong, e.g. a "t" instead of a "p", please submit a correction.
P.S. In addition, we should probably look into recording the original Cyrillic titles, but that's a different can of worms. Ahasuerus 22:26, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I think you'll have to beef-up Alphabet support before it's wise to do that. I've already started running into broken searches for titles that are in such innocuous languages as French and Portuguese. I guess it's too late to go back to plain ASCII... BLongley 00:48, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
We seem to have a bug in Advanced Title Search, e.g. our regular search finds 6 titles matching "Tudományos-fantasztikus", but Advanced Search finds 0. Ahasuerus 01:30, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
I'll have a look, but can't promise anything - I may have worked in several languages here now (Italian is my latest specialty, reworking Ernesto's Complete Novels) but as soon as we get into "funny characters" I'm tempted to go hide under the bed-clothes and ignore the problem. And I really should be upgrading my computer language skills first - I've been out of work so long that there are new, major, releases of all the tools I used for Data Thief. And (no offence intended) coding changes here are so back-logged that I'm not going to try and submit any more Python changes till you say you can cope with them. BLongley 01:41, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the bug: it seems to affect most (or all) 'funny characters', the German 'Umlaute' ä, ö etc. are certainly in. Stonecreek 18:22, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem with Russian transliteration is at this state of concern for English, I'd say. You wouldn't begin to handle the different transliterations into other languages simultaneously, or would you? But for the first problem I'd say we should put up a table we can live with - noting that there is no perfect solution for some problems. Stonecreek 18:22, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
As a native speaker of the language-in-question, I am happy to offer my opinions on transliterations of any specific title (if needed). Generally speaking, this transliteration scheme seems to be quite popular nowadays, but as you can see some Russian letters have multiple equivalents. P-Brane 09:54, 5 March 2012 (UTC).
Unfortunately, their system seems to be based on the 1978 Russian standard, which uses "shh" for "щ" and is unlike anything else out there. BTW, one of the challenges that we face in this area is that although Russian is our most common non-Latin-based language, we also have titles in Bulgarian and other Cyrillic languages, which are handled differently by different transliteration systems. Here is a summary of the most popular systems from an academic site:
  • 1885 — The American Library Association [ALA] creates a system for representing Cyrillic characters. No diacritics are used. (e.g. zh, kh, tch, sh, shtch, ye [for jat], yu, ya) Reverse transliteration is not considered.
  • 1898 — The Prussian Instructions (Preussische Instruktionen [PI]) are created, which use a system of transliteration based on the Croatian model (with diacritics).
  • 1909 — The ALA and British Library Association [BLA] allow for two systems, the ALA system and one based on Croatian.
  • 1905 — Library of Congress creates their system, which is virtually identical to what is used today.
  • 1917 — The British Academy creates its own system. Like many other systems. It does not take into account reverse transliteration.
  • 1930s — Central European and Scandinavian countries adopt the Prussian Instructions [PI]. This system was based on the Croatian model. Exceptions were made for German speaking countries, where "ch" was used instead of "h" for Cyrillic "x"
  • In France the Bibliotheque Nationale adopts a purely phonetic rendering following French spelling conventions (transcription rather than transliteration).
  • 1953 — The British Royal Society [BRS] creates another system, covering Russian, Serbian & Bulgarian (but not Ukrainian, Macedonian or Belorusian). It uses only two diacritical marks — for "?" and "?". It is closer to the LC system (minus many of the diacritics), but with "ya" and "yu" for "?" and "?"
  • 1954 — The International Organization for Standardization [ISO] creates IS0/R9. Based on Croatian, this transliteration system is very close to the PI system.
  • 1959 — The British Standards Institution [BS/BSI] rejects ISO/R9 (because of its reliance on multiple diacritics) and comes up with its own system: BS 2979. Very close to the British Royal Society system. (This system is used by Chemical Abstracts).
  • 1976 — The American National Standards Institute [ANSI] publishes their system, nearly identical to the BSI system.
  • 1968 — ISO/R9:1968 is relaxed to allow for the ANSI and BS 2979 systems (in certain countries).
  • 1995 — ISO/R9:1995 reverts to to its initial standards, doing away with allowing "ch" or "kh" for Cyrillic "x."
And that's not even counting another dozen+ systems used by individual libraries, countries and international organizations!
This is one of the reasons why I am thinking that it would be advantageous to record the original Cyrillic (Japanese, Hebrew, etc) title and then add the (or rather a) transliterated form in parentheses. The other reason is that using the original form of the title will enable our users (and anyone using Google) to find our data, e.g. this title, regardless of whether they use the original or the transliterated form of the title. Ahasuerus 21:41, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
In doing the Arabian Nights Entertainment series, with books in 80 languages, I took the easy way out and systematically used WorldCat's transliteration; and when there were multiple transliterations, I simply chose the entry that was used by the most libraries. In several cases of non-Western alphabets, WorldCat included the original characters, and copying and pasting them into the Notes preserved those characters so that, at least on my machine, they all come up in their original scripts. This applies to the versions in Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Ladino, and Chinese. Of course being in the notes makes these versions of the title unsearchable, except by using a Google search of the form "天方夜譚" (which finds the Chinese Arabian Nights book). Chavey 03:10, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
It's more searchable than you think - Advanced Search here has had a notes search in titles or publications for some time. It even works (slowly) with those funny characters:
QUERY: select pubs.* from pubs,notes where ((notes.note_note like '%天方夜譚%')) and pubs.note_id = notes.note_id order by pub_title limit 100
Record 	Title 	 	 	Authors Year 	Pages 	Tag 		Binding 	Type 	ISBN 	Price 	Publisher 		Pub. Series
365490 	Tian Fang Ye Tan 	Ruo Xi 	1933 	293+277 TNFNGTNNWL1933 	? 		NOVEL 	? 	? 	Shang wu yin shu guan 	
I don't think we publicised that new(ish) feature very well, but it's often the only way to find a translation, translator, narrator, or Collection Editor. BLongley 16:06, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Recently I've been dealing with some Shift JIS data. People that deal with Unicode data have it easy! Why are we transliterating author names or titles? I had thought the titles stated on the publications were the "gold standard." ISFDB publications records would use Cyrillic or hiragana titles if that's what the publication uses. If a publication states a transliterated title then that's what we use on ISFDB. Title record titles are usually the same as the underlying publication records. Thus, if there's a mistake in a title on Boris Strugatsky's bio page then query people that have verified the title or use (and document) secondary sources to determine what the title is. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:47, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Chapterbooks or novels?

We have both types of publications for texts of the same length, see here and here for two examples. I'd say the standard should be CHAPTERBOOK, because both have the same page count and the same letter size & interior design as the German 'Perry Rhodan' booklets, here is an example. Even when the texts are stated as novels, they are abridged to novella length. This is an issue in most German booklet publications, especially from publisher (Pabel-)Moewig, with the exception of 'Terra Sonderband' and 'Utopia Grossband' which have a higher page count.(There are also collections and anthologies in these pub. series which are not an issue in this discussion). Stonecreek 09:44, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I pass on this subject as it seems that this is an old debate predating my contributions to the ISFDB. If really pressed I'd say that this CHAPTERBOOK buisness is quite uselessly complicated in mixing the questions of length (novel-novella) and of physical format (one text in one book). I fall into the trap every time. Hauck 09:57, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
CHAPTERBOOKs were a compromise and, like many compromises, it's messy and complicated. The main reason to add this title type was to show standalone appearances of short fiction titles on the Summary page. However, with the proliferation of electronic reprints of short fiction (Kindle, Gutenberg, etc), I expect that many, if not most, short fiction titles will soon become available as standalones and make it a moot point.
As far as the Dickson goes, the original English title was published as part of an Ace Double, which we list as "novels" even though in many cases the word count is under 40,000. It's certainly possible to change the title type of the translated record to Shortfiction and create a Chapterbook record for it, but then the latter will appear on Dickson's Summary page, which seems undesirable. Ahasuerus 03:56, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I didn't know about the Dickson title. The thing is, if all or the majority can live with inconsistencies this'd be OK for me. But some more opinions would be welcome! Stonecreek 11:00, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I can live with the CHAPTERBOOK type, although I hate its name. There are going to be exceptions made when a title comes close to the 40,000 word count or the book is around the 100 page count, and those can be handled on a case-by-case basis. It's just one of those areas that will have inconsistencies because the definitions are so loose. I think most of us can live with it and deal with exceptions when they arise. Mhhutchins 19:23, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
The term chapterbook is such a strange theoretical construct and I still have my difficulties to admit german booklets as chapterbooks like here. I'd prefer to distinguish between original or translated novellas and abridged novels. The booklets who contain original or translated novellas would be chapterbooks, although I dislike this term but abridged novels should remain as novels because the source of this artificial "novellas" are pure novels. Rudam 20:41, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
(Re)enabling CHAPTERBOOK support saved the Bookists and Lengthists from warring against each other - it would still be nice to formalise the pact. The truce seems to have let Juvenile "NOVEL" pubs stay as novels despite being too short (we have lots of those) and maybe allow some pre-award-rules Short Novels to stay as NOVEL. I tend to avoid the area in a spirit of peace and harmony. BLongley 01:36, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I think there is substantial value in having a distinction between "full-length book" and "small-length book", in some form. I think this will become even more important as the popularity of ebooks, and hence ebooklets, rises. Since most books don't come with a word count, there will always be some difficulty in implementing this. (For example, if we enter an item as a book, then verification later shows it to be a mini-book, our current system makes it very tempting not to bother re-assigning it to be a "Chapterbook", because that's not a simple process.) I'm not sure that the terminology of "Chapterbook" captures the idea, though, since what we have is often not a "chapter" of anything. The industry often uses "Chapbook" for this concept, such as at Wikipedia and at Heritage Auctions. Wikipedia describes the origin of this term as not being a contraction of "Chapterbook". Other possible words for this concept might include "booklet" or "mini-book". I'm not confident of what term we should use for such a "petite book", but I do think that we need to have such a concept within the system. Chavey 02:12, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to all of you for your input! I think, we can leave it as it is - all other options would lead to a tremendous load of effort. Stonecreek 10:15, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Rules of Acquisition

One more question. There is the art book by Tim White Mouches. This is a series of black and white cartoon drawings. And, I think, it have SF motives (the annihilation of an entire planet). So would this book be IN? And, if yes, what the pub's type would it be? BarDenis 13:22, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Art books are generally "in" if they cover SF material. Their type is NONFICTION. Ahasuerus 03:28, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Page Count

Hi, all! Do publisher ads at the end of the book contribute towards total page count or not (help page is not crystal clear about it, imho)? As an example, a book with 300 pages of text and 4 (unnumbered) pages of ads should be entered as: (a) 304; (b) 300; (c) 300+[4]? Cheers, P-Brane 03:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC).

You should not count the ads on unnumbered pages as part of the page count. As a general rule, give the last numbered page in the book. If there is additional text (not advertising) on unnumbered pages, you enter the page count as 300+[4]. Mhhutchins 06:37, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I thought so, but it would be helpful if it was also clearly stated in help. So, the answer to my question is (b), right? Cheers, P-Brane 08:58, 14 March 2012 (UTC).
Sorry, if you feel the help isn't clear, but the statement "For books, the general convention is to use the last printed page number" seems to have answered your question, since you say the advertising pages aren't numbered. Do you have any suggestions to make it more clear? Mhhutchins 16:57, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
The statement only tells me that I shouldn't put 304, to use my example above. But it doesn't tell me whether I should use 300 or 300+[4]. My suggestion would be to amend help to something like this: "Likewise, you may record the count of unnumbered pages at the end of a publication, excluding publisher's advertisments." Cheers, P-Brane 01:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC).
Here is somewhat better suggestion: "When counting pages in hardcover and some trade paperback publications do not count the endpapers. Do not count publisher's advertisments for any type of publication". Cheers, P-Brane 01:23, 15 March 2012 (UTC).

Jungle Tales of Tarzan, Novel or Collection?

Please see this discussion. I have proposed changing the title type of Jungle Tales of Tarzan from a NOVEL to a COLLECTION. Of the editors with verified editions, one feels strongly that this should not be done. We would welcome other opinions. Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:55, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Added map entry instructions

I could find nothing on the record entry instructions help page concerning how to enter maps into a record's content section. So I added them to the Contents Entry Type template describing the de facto standard. As always, changes for clarification and suggestions for improvement are welcomed. Mhhutchins 00:12, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

That looks clear and concise to me. I did a bit of a search, and corrected a few errors. Can I ask you to look at the contents of The Years of Rice and Salt and see how you think those maps should be listed? There are also 18 maps that come up if you do an advanced search on the title "Map:" (with the colon) that I'm not sure how to interpret. I can't tell which of those maps actually have names attached to the map, so I'm not sure how to correct those listings. Chavey 19:23, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Chavey that new guidelines seem clear and reasonable. I've also just submitted a PubEdit to bring the maps in The Years of Rice and Salt example into agreement with the new standard. Albinoflea 05:02, 31 July 2012 (UTC)