User talk:Ahasuerus/Archive/2015

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Fixer publisher change suggestion

Ecco Press was purchased by HarperCollins in 1999, and the name became simply "Ecco" with an additional line appearing on all title pages as "An imprint of HarperCollins". We have a publisher named Ecco / HarperCollins under which most of their books have been entered, but it appears that Fixer is changing the publisher (credited as "Ecco" in Amazon listings), to "Ecco Press", the defunct publisher name. Is it possible to correct any future submissions to give credit to "Ecco / HarperCollins"? Thanks. Mhhutchins 06:50, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Once you've seen the listings under "Ecco Press", I'll correct the the post 1999 publications to the stated publisher credit. Mhhutchins 06:52, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 06:56, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Much appreciation. Now it's time to go read a work by a Mr. Duncan. Mhhutchins 07:10, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Title dates after Publication dates

What are the criteria for appearing on this list? I assume there's a certain difference in the time period between dates, but wondered if it's possible to make it shorter now that no titles have appeared on it for awhile. Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:18, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

There are two criteria at this time:
  • The publication date is not 0000-00-00, and
  • The title year (i.e. the YYYY component of the date value) is at least 2 years after the publication year
Thus a 2012-01 title in a 2010-12 publication will be listed, but a 2011-12 title in the same publication will not be.
We could tighten it up to include titles:
  • whose title year is greater than the publication title, or
  • whose title year is the same as the publication year and the title month is after the publication month
Checking the database, I see that we have 1,265 titles whose title year is greater than the publication year. Would you like me to make the change? Ahasuerus 03:24, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, please. One year seems like a good cut-off for now with just over a thousand titles. Once that's done, we can incrementally work it down to closer dates. Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:21, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
I suppose that the year difference would also apply to, for example, a work published on 2014-12-31 with a title record of 2015-00-00? Would that mean the difference is not necessarily a full year? Mhhutchins 17:21, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's part of the challenge. There are numerous December/January cases like Orbit - 1954, which includes Orbit, No. 2, currently listed as a 1953-12 publication (although note the comment in the Note field.) I could fine-tune the selection logic to ignore title-pub pairs where the difference between the two dates is less than N months, but I am not sure it's desirable. Ahasuerus 17:43, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
I have deployed the change. It will take effect at 1am server (Central) time when the nightly job runs. Ahasuerus 22:56, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Moderator view page - change request

Is it possible to give the same set of links to "Additional sources" on the "ClonePub" pages as a moderator sees on an "AddPub" page? I often have to open a new tab and enter the secondary source's URL (from my Favorites) in order to research "ClonePub" submissions which isn't necessary on the "AddPub" pages. After all, cloning a pub is adding a pub as well. Thanks for considering the request. Mhhutchins 00:34, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

That's a good point, thanks for the reminder. Originally I was going to add these links to Clone Pub in a later patch, but then other things happened and I forgot. Fix applied. Ahasuerus 05:20, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Amazingly fast. Thanks! Mhhutchins 06:37, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

E. Catherine Toble

We have two author entries with the exact same name:

Two odd things about this:

  • On the 211436 page, the author record is listed as 211435 even though the URL says 211436.
  • They each have one story, but it's the exact same story. As when I say, exact same story, I don't mean the same title. I mean the title ID is exactly the same (1810660). However, that title only has one author.

The story is actually by E. Catherine Tobler (with a "r") per the Apex website. So the fix would be to change the author credit which should delete the two bogus entries. However, I thought I'd call it out to you in case this was something that you wanted to look into how it happened. If instead, there's a known editing sequence or bug that can cause this, I can go ahead and make the change. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:14, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, let me take a look... Ahasuerus 17:20, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
It looks like it was caused by a bug or a partial database update. Unfortunately, I was unable to determine the exact sequence of events. I have fixed the data and we are back to normal, but I will need to dig deeper to see if I can find the underlying issue. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Ahasuerus 18:12, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Question about a cover artist

Hi, just came across this pub 44954 stating Mike Embden as the cover artist. I have seen the same picture credited to Thomas Kidd here: 56993. The latter makes more sense as his signature is visible in the picture. Cheers, John JLochhas 12:42, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, I will take a look later today. Ahasuerus 17:33, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, it took me longer than expected, but now I have the book and see what's going on. It's a "dos-a-dos" books, so there are two covers, one by Kidd and the other one by Embden. The catch is that the Kidd cover is attributed to Embden and vice versa. Let me see if I can correct the publication... Ahasuerus 02:27, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I have updated the record and things look better now, although our support for multiple cover records per pub is still limited. Thanks for bringing this problem to my attention! Ahasuerus 02:50, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Non-editable publication series record

I'm unable to edit this record, getting a Python error regardless of what I change in the record. The problem may be caused by bad HTML, but even when I try to remove the entire note, I get the same Python error. Can you look at it? Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:46, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Oops! That was a new bug, introduced during the last round of Unicode cleanup. Should be fixed now -- sorry about that. Ahasuerus 01:55, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I also fixed the HTML in Notes. Ahasuerus 02:01, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Reviews not linked to titles

Now that I've cleared this report, is it possible to re-run it and add back all of those there were "ignored"? I just wanted to see if I may have marked some to ignore by mistake. Mhhutchins 23:35, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the reminder! I was going to add the ability to view all 'ignored' records found by a cleanup report, but I didn't document it as an FR and then it slipped my mind. I have created FR 768 so this time I won't forget :) Ahasuerus 00:03, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I think I also may have marked some of this records as "ignorable" that could be reconsidered, so this would be a good thing to check. Chavey 02:08, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I've come to the conclusion that we shouldn't "ignore" any of them. If the titles are not eligible for the database, the REVIEWs should be deleted and replaced with ESSAYs. If the titles are eligible, we should create publication records to link to them. Mhhutchins 03:53, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh, I see. Let me check...
There are only 4 records that are currently marked as "ignored", so I don't think it should be an issue. I will change the software and clear the "ignored" flag tomorrow. Ahasuerus 05:33, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Done. The menu says "13", but there are only 3 unlinked Title records left. The rest have been deleted. Everything should be back in sync after the next nightly run. Ahasuerus 22:34, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Fixer oversight

I'm wondering how Fixer could have missed this publication, by a major writer from one of the genre's major publishers. Could it have been miscategorized by Amazon? Mhhutchins 16:12, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Let me check Fixer's archives... OK, here is what happened with this ISBN. It was first announced as a 2013-04-01 release, then it was pushed back to "2014-07-00" (date not specified). Based on this information I assigned it to "queue 0" where all dubious and delayed ISBNs go until I get a chance to re-run Fixer for them. I haven't touched "queue 0" in many months because I have been busy with other things, and in the meantime the book actually got published. How dare they publish delayed books without notifying us first! :-)
The way Fixer currently works, there isn't a whole lot I can do about it except try to remember to check "queue 0" more often. I am running it right now and there are quite a few ISBNs that need to be submitted. I will also have to think of ways to improve Fixer's logic to make it a smoother process. Thanks! Ahasuerus 19:58, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I knew there was a logical explanation. Mhhutchins 22:28, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Forgotten World

I'm currently entering content for Virgil Finlay art books and bugging those who verified pulps containing his art to match these contents with the original appearances. You verified Fantastic Story Magazine, Fall 1954 which contains the story "Forgotten World", with two Finlay illustrations. Could you please tell me which one shows a woman with a ray gun, and a scientist with a glowing coil around the corner? Bob 17:49, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

My pulp collection is somewhat messed up at the moment, but, luckily, this issue was in an easy to find place. The illo in question is mostly on page 11, but there is also a segment at the top of page 12. I wonder how the reprint handled that. Does your version show a third person looking over his shoulder at the scientist operating the glowing coil?
Also, FYI, the illustration on page 21 shows small spaceships against the background of a grimacing man -- all we can see is his huge face. It looks awfully familiar, but I can't quite place it. A black-and-white version of some cover, perhaps? Ahasuerus 18:19, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for looking this up. Neither book shows the second page. The books sometimes show both pages of two-pagers, and use a variety of ways to do this. They might be on a single page (sideways), or they might use two pages in the art book, sometimes labelled as a single illustration, sometimes labelled as two separate illustrations. There is even one that separated the two halves of a two-pager by 50 pages or more. I would say about half the time (maybe a bit more often), the books are likely to leave out the partial page. It doesn't seem to matter how interesting the partial page is, either. Given that the magazine seems to reprint stories (like this one), maybe they do indeed reprint illustrations as well. I cannot recall the one you describe on p. 21, but I'll keep an eye out. I still have a dozen Finlay art pubs to enter yet, a number in foreign languages, but they are generally in B&W. Bob 20:51, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Moderator submission display bug

Please take a moment to read this discussion when you get a chance. I believe the moderator's submission screen should not be displaying the publications in which variants appeared, but only those in which the title being updated was published. It may not be a bug, but it seems to be a flaw in the software. Thanks for looking. Mhhutchins 06:00, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

The Big Jump

In Space Stories, February 1953, Finlay illustrated the story "The Big Jump". If you can find this issue, can you please tell me which illustrations show (a) a big rocket ship and a naked man and woman hiding in the bushes, and (b) a spacesuited man dropping a ray gun with the image of a woman behind him? Bob 20:42, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Whew, finally found it! Your (a) is a full page illustration on page 15, which I have added to the publication record. Your (b) is an oversize illustration which starts on page 10 and covers most of page 11 as well. Your description matches the part that appears on page 11, so I suspect that the publisher dropped the left hand side. The latter shows a crouching spacesuit-clad man with a rifle and a few vaguely drawn human figures in the background. Ahasuerus 03:07, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Fantastic! Thank you. I'm finishing up on the third of six art books! Bob 04:23, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Novel Publications with Fewer Than 40 Pages

Would you be able to add publications to this clean-up report where the page count as entered has been bracketed? I've cleaned about a hundred and I've not seen one that is entered with brackets which indicate it's unpaginated. Thanks for considering it. Mhhutchins 18:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

The report as it currently exists is rather bare bones, e.g. it doesn't recognize "[3]+34" or "vii+23" as potential problems. My plan was to let the low hanging fruit get taken care of first and then make the report try to account for these permutations. First, however, we will need to add the ability to "ignore" records so that false positives wouldn't stay on the report indefinitely.
I am about to start the next (and hopefully final) round of cleanup report improvements, so I'll add it to my list. Thanks for taking the time to work on these "novels"! Ahasuerus 21:15, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
And thank you for creating and continuing to improve these reports. BTW, I'm not sure if there would actually be any false positives. I can't imagine any circumstances where a book of 40 pages or less would be considered a novel. Would there be a need to ever "ignore" a publication record that shows up on this report? Mhhutchins 21:47, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, the original plan was to set the cut-off number to 40 and then, once the low hanging fruit has been taken care of, slowly raise it to 50, 60, etc. That's when the ability to ignore records will become useful. Also, I plan to tweak the software to identify complicated cases like [viii]+[6]+[32], but there are some many possible permutations that false positives will be hard to avoid. Ahasuerus 21:57, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Fixer's standardizing of publisher names

Ran across one just now that might be worth building in. Publisher was listed as "World Pubns". Presumably, that's "World Publications", although the Look Inside feature wasn't available for that book. It doesn't appear to be any of the other "World" publishers we have on file. Chavey 04:51, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, I'll take a look... Ahasuerus 07:15, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
"UPNE" should be converted to "University Press of New England". Chavey 07:09, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
And "WLC" is "World Library Classics". Chavey 07:34, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Done, thanks! Ahasuerus 00:52, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
"Aurum Press Ltd" should auto convert to "Aurum Press". (IMHO, anything with "Ltd" or "Ltd." at the end should have that truncated, but that's not policy yet.) Chavey 23:51, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Done. And I need to look into updating the "Similar Publisher names" cleanup report to find these "Ltd" variations. Ahasuerus 01:00, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Sherlock Holmes stories

When you changed these to non-genre, the variants were left dangling as genre, so they showed up on the mismatch clean-up report. I've changed the variants to non-genre, too. Thanks. Mhhutchins 07:26, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks! Ahasuerus 07:52, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

BTW, some of these are showing up in horror anthologies. Are you certain they're not spec-fic? Mhhutchins 07:32, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

In a number of stories, most famously The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire and The Hound of the Baskervilles, the case is at first presented as apparently supernatural. However, Holmes, incurable rationalist that he is, always finds a mundane/criminal explanation. Much later, certain writers like Wellman and Saberhagen got Holmes involved with Martians, Dracula and so forth, but that's a whole 'nother story :) Ahasuerus 07:52, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Ah-ha! The origin of the Scooby-Doo story! Mhhutchins 05:52, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Best approach for abrdigments

When you get a moment, could you take a look at this discussion. I'd value your thoughts on the old feature request mentioned and the best way to prepare for it with the current abilities of the software. Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 03:20, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Bug in a clean-up report

In the report that finds CHAPTERBOOKs without contents, I encountered a bug for the first time today. The original list showed four pubs all with the same title ("Anthem"). When I clicked on the first one and cleaned it, I went back to the refreshed list and found three pubs with the same title ("Kath"). I clicked on the link to the first one, fixed it, and came back to see a list of two pubs titled "Mekan'stan", which I cleaned. Then back to the refreshed list to see one pub titled "The Metamorphosis". I've never encountered this problem before, so it had to have been from a software change in the last day or so. Mhhutchins 19:23, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, I'll take a look. Ahasuerus 19:31, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Fixed! Ahasuerus 21:13, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Cleanup reports and Bibliographic Projects

I was looking at the Bibliographic Projects in Progress, and noted that several of them had been subsumed by cleanup reports (Good!!). I found it awkward to look through them to see what was still open, so I separated out those that were marked as having been subsumed. The Chapterbook Cleanup wasn't marked that way, but has clearly been subsumed. It seems to me that a few others fit that category as well; I suspect #7, #10, and #16 at least. But not knowing the cleanup reports particularly well, I'm not sure of that. Could you look at this list and consider updating it? Thanks, Chavey 09:11, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, I'll take a look. Ahasuerus 21:24, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Graphic Flag

Why is the graphic flag available on cover and interior art records? By definition, these are graphic materials. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 14:04, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Jumping in here with my 2 cents: I suppose for the same reason that the nongenre flag is also available for all types including art records. But I agree that it does seem strange. Mhhutchins 16:25, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
The non-genre & graphic flags are both not available on review & interview records. -- JLaTondre (talk) 16:37, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, REVIEW and INTERVIEW records are handled differently because they have additional fields (reviewed/interviewed authors) which need to be accounted for. I agree that the availability of the graphic flag for COVERART and INTERIORART records can lead to problems -- let me create an FR. Thanks! Ahasuerus 16:45, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Title Update approval screen request

I like all of the improvements you've been making. The fact that you're doing them emboldens me to ask: For the Title Update approval screen, it would be helpful if the table at the bottom listed the primary verifier. Unless it only says "Primary" if the submitter the verifier, in which case, "Never mind!". :-) --MartyD 13:38, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Sure, let me take a look... Ahasuerus 18:47, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 19:55, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Wow, sorta like magic! Thanks much! --MartyD 11:48, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Or at least sufficiently advanced technology :) Ahasuerus 00:36, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Cleanup report question

In working on contents for "The Complete Stories of Kafka, I noticed an issue that should probably be being checked by a Cleanup report (if it isn't yet). As I merged various contents, I checked with Wikipedia to determine which stories were (apparently, at least) non-genre, and marked them as such. (Process still in progress.) Checking his bibliography, none of those stories showed up as non-genre. Surprised me, but I quickly realized that's because they were variants of the original German titles that were not listed as either genre or non-genre. Presumably, a cleanup report should compare genre flags (and, presumably, graphic flags) between titles and variants and warn us when they disagree. (Of course, if you're already doing that, then nevermind.) I fixed one of those short stories, but am leaving the other ones "broken" for testing purposes. Chavey 18:20, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Cleanup report #63 finds genre/nongenre mismatches between parent and variant titles. Mhhutchins 18:32, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Mike. I'm going to leave those Kafka titles as "broken" until that report is re-run tonight, at least so I can see what the report looks like. Then I'll fix them. Chavey 19:08, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I usually work on the list when it's posted, but will leave it alone until you get a chance to look at it. Mhhutchins 19:17, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
I can confirm that cleanup report #63 does find these types of mismatches. Just to be on the safe side, I recreated the scenario and re-ran the report on the development server 5 minutes ago. Ahasuerus 19:28, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Adjusting the parameters for cleanup report #79

When you get a chance, could you please update this script to find NOVEL records of less than 80 pages? That change also might require the option to "ignore" titles. Thanks. Mhhutchins 18:36, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Done -- please see the announcement on the Moderator Noticeboard. For now I chose to increase the threshold to 60 since 80 would have yielded 1,600+ pubs. Ahasuerus 21:26, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

INTERIORART records with a storylength

I just handled a submission to change a content record which had been incorrectly entered as SHORTFICTION to INTERIORART. The submission was a pub edit, and even though the length was removed from the field, it remained in the record as an INTERIORART work with a "shortfiction" length. I did a title record edit to remove the length, but thought this had to have happened before. And it has. More than 400 times. Is there a way to fix these records without manually editing each one? Mhhutchins 05:11, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Let me see... Yes, it's a bug in EditPub and a recreatable one at that. Changing the value of the "Length" field to "-" doesn't work under certain circumstances. I will dig deeper tomorrow morning. Good find! Ahasuerus

Non-moderating editors' ability to edit the publisher pages.

When you get a chance, can you take a look at this discussion? As long as it's moderated, I don't see why all editors shouldn't be able to add links or notes to publisher pages. Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:10, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Unusual submission

Can you look at this submission when you get a chance? Am I seeing things or does the submitter want to change the pub type from NOVEL to NIEUWE? Wahh??? Thanks. Mhhutchins 21:34, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Interesting. Since our regular NewPub/EditPub/etc data entry forms limit you to what's in the standard drop-down list of title types, I take it that this editor is using the Web API. I suppose he could also be manually crafting EditPub/NewPub pages, although it seems pointless.
Either way, it exposes a weakness in our data entry processes: we don't fully validate Web API submissions and the regular submission process relies on our data entry forms to submit valid entries in drop-down lists. It's not a major risk because an attempt to approve this submission would result in an error and nothing bad would be filed into the database, but it's still a nuisance. I will create a bug report and add it to my ever-growing list of things to fix/change. Thanks! Ahasuerus 23:22, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
I'll accept it just to see what happens. Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:23, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
The publication doesn't have a title reference anymore. And look at the empty brackets in the "Variant Titles" listing of the title record. Strange. Can you leave a message on his talk page to explain not to do what he did, since I have not idea what he did? (I've emailed him to ask him to respond to questions on his talk page. Hopefully, he'll comply). Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:27, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
I thought that trying to approve the submission would cause an error, but I forgot that our database has relatively permissive settings. Which, as can be seen in this case, is not necessarily a good idea.
Oh well. I have edited the VT to change the title type from "nothing" to "NOVEL" and everything seems to be back to normal. I'll leave a note on the editor's page. Ahasuerus 23:36, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Invalid SFE3 cover image links

I'm not sure why this report shows that the "Day Eight" link is invalid. It's in the Clute subdirectory. Mhhutchins 04:09, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

This URL violates the second requirement listed at the top of the page: "In addition, the associated Gallery Web page must be entered in the Image field after a '|'." If you click the image, it will take you to the raw image, , rather than to their image gallery with all the additional information that SFE3 provides (and the ads that pay for the site.) Ahasuerus 04:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
It was linked by Chavey. I'll leave it for him to correct so that he'll know the correct procedure. (I've not linked any of their images to the ISFDB either so I didn't know the correct procedure as well.) I'll link him to this discussion. Thanks for the clarification. Mhhutchins 04:23, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, I updated Help:Screen:NewPub and posted a summary on the Community Portal when I added the software checks and the cleanup report, but there have been so many changes in the last year or two that it's hard to keep track. I guess it's the downside of the faster development cycle. I am just trying to get as much done as I can while my brain is still semi-functional :) Ahasuerus 04:32, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know -- there are two Clute images I've added lately, the other being The Grand Jubilee. I'll fix those up. Chavey 05:41, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Both corrected. Chavey 14:06, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Invalid URLs

Going through this report, I'm finding that many of them are valid URLs, but are entered without quotation marks after the <a href= and before the last >. They link OK nevertheless. Should these actually be considered invalid? Or am I missing some other reason why they're appearing on this report? Thanks. Mhhutchins

URLs without quotes around them are technically invalid, but most browsers identify and display them correctly because they try to be nice to poor fallible humans :-) As I wrote on the Moderator Noticeboard when I deployed this report, it finds:
  • Malformed URLs that most browsers can display, but that need to be fixed because you never know what any given browser or browser version may do with them. This includes missing quotes around HTML elements, extra spaces, etc.
Ahasuerus 19:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Also, some of them use capital letters such as <A HREF=. Mhhutchins 19:11, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Capitalized "A", "HREF", etc are valid (although, IMHO, ugly) HTML and should be ignored by this report. I suspect that these records have been reported because they have other HTML problems. Ahasuerus 19:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

And some are using the pub record tag (after cgi?) instead of the pub record number. Does that make a difference? They link either way. Mhhutchins 19:11, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

And some link to authors using their name instead of their author record number. This one for example links to "" instead of "". Since they link OK, is there any reason to consider these invalid URLs? Mhhutchins 19:16, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Publication tags and author names sort of work when embedded in URLs, but they are not fully supported due to various technical problems. For example, we still get occasional duplicate publication tags and Unicode characters can mess up author URLs with embedded author names. As I wrote on the Moderator Noticeboard, this reports finds:
  • URLs that still work, but are no longer fully supported, e.g. "ay.cgi?An1952" instead of the currently standard "ay.cgi?1+1952" or "ea.cgi?Ray Bradbury" instead of "ea.cgi?194".
Ahasuerus 19:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Can we make an announcement on the Community Portal to make it clear to editors what formats of URLs are "valid" regardless of their linkability? I'm afraid that if we don't, they'll continue to use the same forms that they have been, and I honestly don't want to waste time cleaning up behind them. In many cases, the malformed URLs are from major contributors and moderators. (I try to avoid linking in Notes as much as possible.) Thanks. Mhhutchins 19:43, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Sure, will do! Ahasuerus 19:59, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the post. Another thing: if I think I have resolved a bad URL, but didn't do it completely (because of multiple issues in the Note field), will the record appear again when the report is ran the following night? (I hope so!) Mhhutchins 22:16, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Absolutely! :) Ahasuerus 22:53, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

(unindent) I've been correcting all of those errors that Mike was asking about as I run across them (I did 100 or so today). However, I'm seeing an awful lot of URL's that are "malformed" according to these criteria, yet do not show up in that report. In particular, the Perry Rhodan series is linked, in the notes, from issue to issue, all using the "pl.cgi?PR1DE0950" format. As a result, we should be getting about 1600 complaints from them; and yet we're only getting a few dozen. So it appears that the script you're using is either cutting off at some limit, or is simply not finding all of the "malformed" URLs. Chavey 23:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

On a related note: Although I know the suggestion was made that this kind of issue linkage is less necessary now, because of the issue grids, I'm reluctant to discard them because of all the work Stonecreek put into them, and because there is still value to them. While working on the Perry Rhodan series today, I developed a macro that allows me to update one such issue with a single keystroke (and then wait 45 seconds, while reading the next few paragraphs of a book :-). So If I throw that into a loop, I'll be able to update the entire series over a weekend. However, the series has lots of holes in it. So, for example, issue #987 links to #988, which doesn't exist, so clicking that link currently gives an error. However, it appears that it's set up so that if someone were to add that issue, it would automatically link to the new addition. That's something we can't do using the numeric format. So how should we update that link? I see a few different options, each of which has annoyances:

  1. Leave it as is, so that if that issue is added, it will link to it. But then these links will get reported every day in this cleanup report;
  2. Have the "next" link from #987 go to #992, which is the next issue we have entered (that's easiest for my macro, but unsatisfying for other reasons);
  3. Have the "next" link from #987 to to the full issue grid, e.g. so a user can see if we have the next issue added yet, and a knowledgeable editor could add that link then;
  4. Add stubs for all 1,109 missing issues. (Yucck);
  5. Delete the "next" link altogether, until such time as that issue is entered (but then editors would have to remember to do that).

Thoughts on what to do about that? (I'll ask Stonecreek to join this conversation.) Chavey 23:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

I dropped the invalid PR1DEXXXX tags when they became unavailable as tags, so that may explain why there are only a few dozen complaints (or are those the ones that are dangling, i.e. the ones linking to an yet unentered issue?). But to paraphrase a certain song: I didn't start the fire, meaning that I only continued the work Willem had begun. So there's definitely the option to drop the URL links from issue to issue: it has a certain charm, but if it does lead to time-consuming projects I'd be okay with dropping them altogether. Stonecreek 05:00, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, folks, I have been sidetracked by another mini-project which is taking longer than expected.
To answer the question about URLs with embedded publication tags, I forgot to mention that the report as it exists right now doesn't identify them as long as they point to valid pub records. I figured we would want to take care of the low-hanging fruit first. Ahasuerus 05:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Ok, that explains why there were so few complaints for so many "Malformed URLs". But I still have no input on what to do with those links, since they don't actually have any books to link to. Chavey 06:41, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I've verified or corrected the Perry Rhodan issue links for issues #1-836. #837 is followed by the first hole in the series. Chavey 10:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
When I started this, I always added the numeric link once the next issue was entered, so the first 800 or so can't have been a big problem. Since we have the issue grid now, going back and forth between issues is a lot easier. As far as I'm concerned, the links can all be deleted. --Willem 13:08, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Problem with a cleanup report

For a second day this report has shown up on the Cleanup Reports List as having 10 records, but there aren't any records listed on the report itself. Mhhutchins 16:12, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, I'll take a look. Ahasuerus 16:56, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
I suspect that the items it thinks it's showing are the Perry Rhodan titles just before and after blanks in the verified issues. I believe I had marked them as "fixed" (meaning ignore them for today), and they sort of came back, but without actually showing them to us. Chavey 21:42, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I actually (and truly) "fixed" dozens of those publications by removing the links entirely (based on the response given above by the verifying editors.) Mhhutchins 21:46, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
I think I know what's going on. As per Bug 271, "When merging 2+ titles, dropped synopses and notes are not deleted from the Notes table". Checking the database, I see that there are 10 notes with invalid URLs that are no longer associated with any records. They are identified by the nightly task, but the cleanup report can't display them since there are no records to link them to. I'll reshuffle the development priorities to fix this (otherwise minor) bug sooner rather than later. Thanks for identifying the problem! Ahasuerus 23:22, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Aha! Thanks for that debugging. Chavey 18:27, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Just a reminder. This is still appearing nightly, but no one is able to access the "records" to fix them. Mhhutchins 19:10, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
It's almost at the top of my list (right after some cleanup work related to the Transliterated Legal Name field), but, unfortunately, it's not a straightforward fix and will require a moderate amount of work. Ahasuerus 19:13, 17 April 2015 (UTC)


Fixer's publisher decoding algorithm should include converting "DBA Antellus" to "Antellus". I've now run across three such Fixer submissions, for which I did a manual conversion. Chavey 20:37, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 20:42, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Python error upon submission acceptance

I accepted this submission and got a python error that appeared after the following lines:

insert into titles(title_title, title_copyright, title_ttype) values('Phaid the Gambler', '1987-04-00', 'REVIEW');

update titles set title_language = '17' where title_id = '1832549'

insert into authors(author_canonical) values(); --> --

When I went back to the queue, the submission was still there. (I've placed it on hold). And there is a new, but partial, publication record created by my acceptance of the original submission. I notice on the "new" submission (the one that's being held), there is an odd character before the author's entry in the third review. That possibly caused the python error.

I'm afraid to accept the submission again, thinking it will probably duplicate everything up through that third review. But then I don't want to have to ask the submitter to add all of those missing reviews! What do you think? Mhhutchins 02:31, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, the error was caused by the third review. It also caused minor database corruption, which is not visible to the naked eye and which I will need to fix via a separate script. I will also prioritize this software bug and try to recreate/fix it quickly.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to make this submission approvable. It will have to be hard rejected and recreated :-( Ahasuerus 02:46, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I'll let the submitter know. Thanks. Mhhutchins 03:05, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Assigning language to art records

When you get a chance can you join this discussion and give some background about the topic? An editor is filling up the queue with submissions that add a language to INTERIORART records and I believe this effort will be unnecessary if we plan on dropping language from art records. And even if we don't drop language from art, won't the project to assign language to authors/artists eventually result in converting automatically all of their "unlanguaged" records to the assigned language? Thanks. Mhhutchins 19:54, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Done. I limited my comment to a simple concurrence because there are different angles to consider and it will be best to have this discussion on one of the major pages when the time is ripe. Right now I am deep in the bowels of the NewPub/EditPub code trying to fix the problem that Vornoff ran into the other day... Ahasuerus 22:14, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Escape from Loki

Hi. This is probably not a great time for you since you're pretty busy on that problem, but I thought I'd drop this in before I forget. I was having this discussion with Willem about page number changes to his 2nd printing of the above. He says since you are the pv for the first printing you might want to check it out to keep the printings in sync. No hurry, though - when you get the chance. Thanks, Doug / Vornoff 00:50, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

No worries, that bug was fixed a couple of days ago. Thanks for the heads up, I will see if I can get to my copy tonight... Ahasuerus 02:16, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Changes made, the other primary verifier notified. Thanks! Ahasuerus 02:33, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

The Best of Destinies

The image used on The Best of Destinies can be found on the Internet in multiple places (here's one). If you look just to the right of the wheel and just above the shuttle you'll find Vincent Di Fate's signature.SFJuggler 22:48, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Nicely done, updated! :) Ahasuerus 23:54, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Cover art credit for Destinies, Feb-Mar 1980 found

Please see the message on my talk page about the cover art credit for this publication. I have updated the record to add the cover art credit. Thanks. Mhhutchins 02:16, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Looks good, thanks! Ahasuerus 16:15, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Novel Publications with Fewer Than 80 Pages?

Can you bump up the minimum number of pages for this report when you get a chance? Thanks. Mhhutchins 05:13, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Will do! Ahasuerus 05:41, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

The Ends of Time

Hi, the cover art for your verified Award edition is the same as the cover art for Brad Steiger - Strangers from the Skies (Tandem) on this page at Chris Achilleos' site. Thus, cover art by Chris Achilleos. Thanks. Horzel 22:20, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Updated, thanks! Ahasuerus 22:43, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Another bug in cleanup report

The same problem that happened with here has shown up in a similar report. This is for Omnibuses without contents (as the other had been "Chapbooks without contents"). Three identical titles showed up on the list. When I cleaned one, two new titles popped up. I can't clean that one until I get a response from the PV editor. I assume when I do, then the third new (unknown) title will appear. Mhhutchins 00:28, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Fixed! Ahasuerus 00:59, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Possible feature request

Can you comment on this discussion? I think it contains a feature request, something like adding a section "works about" to author's bibliographies. It's something I would really like to see, but there's probably a load of programming to do to make it possible. Thanks, --Willem 19:01, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Like Willem, I think it would be very interesting to have, at author's level a possibility to link him/her to various kinds of books about him/her (biographies, bibliographies and single-author studies). Hauck 16:13, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
Hm, I wonder if it would be beneficial to support different types of "books about X", e.g. biographies vs. bibliographies, in the software. Some of the lines may be hard to draw though. Ahasuerus 16:59, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps in a second stage? With the lot of us being a bunch of classifying people, this will probably resurface later ^_^. Hauck 17:23, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Possible cleanup report

I don't know if this is worth the effort, but I'll mention it. Over the last couple of days, I've been working on Birthplace names in the British Isles, and I believe I now have the Kingdoms of Ireland, Scotland, and England, Great Britain, Ireland, and "UK" in all the date-appropriate birthplaces. Along the way, I corrected 53 authors who we claimed were born in the UK before it existed. But of course this current status will fairly soon drift away from the standard, and a Cleanup Report might (possibly) be worth watching over this. While it would be possible to add lots of rules, it seems that 99% of the errors would be caught by the following rules: (1) A birthplace containing "England" must end in one of "Kingdom of England", "England, Great Britain", or "England, UK"; (2) A birthplace containing "Scotland" must end in one of "Kingdom of Scotland", "Scotland, Great Britain", or "Scotland, UK"; (3) That ending should not contain "UK" unless the year ≥ 1801 (4) The phrase "United Kingdom" should not occur (we standardize on "UK"). And either we need to be able to "ignore" Benjamin Franklin or add a special rule for him. (Actually, I think we have his birthplace listed wrong. The Province of Massachusetts Bay was at that point a colony of the Kingdom of England. But I'm reluctant to change how that's listed, because I don't know the source of referring to it as "England and Scotland".) Although it would be even more tedious, a similar check on US birthplaces might be useful. For a cleanup report there, you'd want to look at all place names containing one of the 49 state names (you don't have to do "West Virginia" if you're doing "Virginia"), and make sure they all end in ", USA". Here it's particularly important to have an "Ignore this record" button, because of places like Baja California, Kingdom of Hawaii, and "Georgia, USSR". Someone else went through all of the U.S. authors and made sure their birth places all ended with "USA", but that also is a moving target. When I checked again this morning, there were 31 authors who now had incomplete birthplaces. Again, enough that it might be worth a cleanup report, but not so many that it's obviously worth the work. Chavey 17:46, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Good points all, I'll take a look. Ahasuerus 18:23, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
FR created. Ahasuerus 22:46, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Chavey 02:14, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
One more rule: If the birthplace contains "Wales", it must end in either "Wales, Great Britain", "Wales, UK" or "Wales, Australia" (for New South Wales). We don't have, and are unlikely to get, any author born in "Wales, Kingdom of England", although that would be a legitimate place name. Chavey 00:24, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
The article of wikipedia you cite has a paragraph 'Since the act of Union in 1707' starting with "On 1 May 1707, the united Kingdom of Great Britain came into being"...--Dirk P Broer 07:20, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
The 1801 merger was with the Kingdom of Ireland, the entity 'United Kingdom' thereafter being called in full United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland--Dirk P Broer 07:23, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Reply at Dirk's page. Chavey 15:54, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Linking to series in pub notes

I'm not sure why the link in the pub notes of this record shows up on the Invalid URL clean-up report. Is it because it's linked to a series grid? Maybe it should be linked to the series instead? Because this issue takes up the numbering of another periodical, I wanted to show the numbering, so that's why I linked to the grid. Mhhutchins 02:51, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Currently this cleanup report doesn't recognize links to series grids. There is no reason it shouldn't, though. I'll see if I can change the code tomorrow. Thanks for reporting it! Ahasuerus 03:05, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 02:22, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Galactic Diplomat

Can you confirm the cover art credit for this publication? We have other credits for a cover artist named Ellen Raskin. Thanks for checking. Mhhutchins 19:19, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

I am afraid my copy misplaced its dust jacket decades ago and the cover artist is not credited in the book itself. Presumably, "Ellen Baskin" was added by another editor after my verification. Since Biomassbob is Primary2, we may want to ask him to check his copy and update the Note field. Also, I expect that it is a typo since the catalog of the Merril Collection says "Cover art: Ellen Raskin". Ahasuerus 01:01, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Biomassbob has confirmed that it should be "Raskin" and he updated the record. Thanks. Mhhutchins 03:37, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Great! Ahasuerus 04:45, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

For your amusement (?)

Please look at this submission sitting in the queue when you get a chance. Maybe you can be more diplomatic about the rejection. I wouldn't touch it with a ten-thousand light-year pole. Thanks. Mhhutchins 21:41, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Also if his "submission about Uncanny Tales seems to remain valid" it's only because I rejected it and created a whole new record. See the messages I left on his talk page. Mhhutchins 21:44, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 00:30, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Diacritical Marks

Could you take a look at this conversation when you have a moment. I have a question about how the software treats diacritical marks in author names. Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 00:15, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Knopf Books for Young Readers

I've come to the conclusion that this publisher doesn't exist. Not one of the dozens of records has been primary verified, and after randomly checking publications from throughout its history, none of them are credited as such on their title pages (according to the Amazon Look Inside] or in the OCLC records. Every book I checked was credited to "Alfred A. Knopf". I believe "Knopf Books for Young Readers" is a marketing division and neither an actual publisher nor an imprint of Random House. Can you have Fixer correct any future submissions to just "Alfred A. Knopf"? Thanks for the consideration. Mhhutchins 23:27, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 00:27, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. Mhhutchins 01:27, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Moderator warning for links to images on a non-permitting website

The submission adding this publication didn't have a warning. Wordpress is not a permitting site, as far as the I can see, so shouldn't there have been a warning? Mhhutchins 16:58, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Also, that record doesn't show up on the cleanup report that finds records linked to non-permitting websites. Mhhutchins 17:03, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Checking the code, I see that we have what appears to be a design flaw. The software maintains a list of a few dozen domains that it "recognizes". For example, if the domain portion of a URL is "", the software will display it as "1632, Inc." and link to The problem with this approach is that it doesn't distinguish between author links to non-permitting sites like WordPress and Wikipedia (which are OK) and image links, which should not be allowed. I need to add an "OK to link to images" flag to the list of "recognized" domains and have the software check the flag instead of simply confirming that it is a "recognized" domain. Thanks for finding the bug! Ahasuerus 18:01, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Fixed. The cleanup report should pick up the two bad URLs when it runs overnight. Ahasuerus 03:11, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Another publisher fix for Fixer

Can you ask Fixer to convert Arrow (Young) to "Young Arrow"? Even though the latter publisher doesn't currently exist in the database, every book I checked entered under the former name was given as "Young Arrow" on OCLC and the Amazon "Look Inside". Thanks. Mhhutchins 22:58, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 23:10, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

"Suspected Duplicate Authors"

I cleared this report yesterday afternoon, but after tonight's run it's saying there are 21 names, but none are visible on the report. Maybe a bug? Mhhutchins 07:52, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

This report takes a very long time (4+ hours) to compile, so it's currently scheduled to run monthly. Now that everything has been cleaned up, I plan to add the next letter to the list. I hope to rerun the report tonight, at which point everything should go back to normal. Excellent job squashing them critters! :-) Ahasuerus 16:40, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, it's been more than 10 hours and the report list still shows that there are 21 items in the report. So I'm assuming that it won't be cleared until the report runs a second time at 1AM tonight? (Unless you add the next letter to the list today?) Mhhutchins 18:15, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I have already added the next letter ("L") to the code and I am currently running the monthly report on the development server to make sure nothing got broken. I expect it to finish around 5pm server (US Central) time, at which point I will deploy the software on the main server and reschedule the monthly report to run at 6pm. Once it's done, everything should go back to normal.
BTW, the reason that these 21 author pairs present a problem is that one of the two author records (per pair) has been deleted from the database. It will take another run to clear everything up. Ahasuerus 19:33, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Removing CHAPBOOK Series Data

How do you remove series data from a CHAPBOOK title record? I converted this record from a NOVEL to a CHAPBOOK and now I cannot remove the series information (which I have already duplicated on the new shortfiction record). If I edit the title, it won't let me remove it (fields are uneditable). I tried just submitting hoping it would automatically be removed but that just produced an error message. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 22:48, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

I fixed it by temporarily changing the title type to NOVEL, removing the series information and then changing the type back to CHAPBOOK. I guess we could change the software so that it would remove series data automatically whenever a title record is converted to a CHAPBOOK. However, that could be dangerous as well if the editor doesn't realize the implications of what he is doing. Hm, there is got to be a better way... Ahasuerus 22:58, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
You get a warning which won't allow you to change the type when editing the title record with series data. That's why an editor must be careful about changing the type of the title record in a publication edit (that's most likely what J did) where they will not receive a warning. Maybe giving the warning in a publication edit might work? Mhhutchins 23:08, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Yup. A warning would be good. Or perhaps prohibiting the title type being changed in a publication when there is series information (similar to how you cannot change some types)? I suggest not automatically removing series information as that would make it easy to overlook and have it lost. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 23:36, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree. That automatic removal sounds scary to me. Mhhutchins 23:51, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback! I will have to examine the code and see what can be done. Ahasuerus 00:38, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Problem with links to "979" ISBNs

Please take a look at this submission when you get a chance. None of the source links return a record. But if I go the source itself and input the ISBN, the records are there. It appears the links are searching for a derived ISBN-10 and not the stated ISBN-13. Could this be due to its "979" prefix? The only ones that searches for the complete ISBN-13 are Angus & Robertson, Booktopia, and Smashwords, all relatively recent additions to the source list. Perhaps the stated ISBN should be searched in all of the links? Thanks. Mhhutchins 14:09, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

That's right, the problem is with the 979 prefix, which some publishers are beginning to use. At the time this functionality was implemented, many sites didn't let you deep-link using the full 13-digit ISBN, which is why our links mostly use the 10-digit version. Recently added links -- like links to Amazon e-books and to the 3 sites that you listed -- use the 13-digit version because that's what these sites currently support/require. I need to go back and check the rest of the sites to see if they have changed their deep-linking protocols in order to support 979 ISBNs. Bug 573 has been created. Thanks! Ahasuerus 15:43, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Incidental tweak of Fixer's ebook submissions

I don't know why it took me so long to notice this, but the Fixer submissions for ebooks state "Amazon Kindle's page count", when it's actually Amazon's "print length". I'm afraid the difference is important and would otherwise be confusing to users if it's left as is. They might ask, "If you have the page count why not enter it into the page count field of the pub record?" Thanks. Mhhutchins 18:41, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

I see what you mean, but I am not sure that "Amazon's print length" will help a casual user understand what this is in reference to. The full description provided by Amazon (e.g. click on "Length: 166" here) reads:
  • The estimated length is calculated using the number of page turns on a Kindle, using settings to closely represent a physical book.
but there is got to be a more concise way to put it. Ahasuerus 22:32, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Regardless of the definition found only through a link, the actual words displayed in Amazon's listing is "print length". It's saying that this is the length of the book if the "pages" in this file were converted to a printed book. Mhhutchins 22:48, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
The way I read it, your definition and the Amazon definition quoted above are very close. A text as displayed by a Kindle device may not have page numbers as such. For example, I am looking at my Kindle right now and all it's showing is "Loc[ation] 6088" and "20%" at the bottom of the screen. I can change the "Loc" value to the number of minutes I have spent reading the current chapter or the number of hours/minutes left until I finish the book. I can also change the font, the margins, etc.
The numbers shown on Amazon Web pages represent the number of e-pages that the text would occupy if I used the font, the margins and all the other settings that you normally find in paper books. That's very close to your "[if] this file were converted to a printed book" definition above. Ahasuerus 23:34, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
I believe that "Print length: 256 pages" would mean more to the casual user of the ISFDB than "Kindle's page count 256", but since my experience with ebooks is practically nil, I'll drop the suggestion. Thanks. Mhhutchins 22:48, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
I think you have a point. "Amazon Kindle's page count" is ambiguous because the number of e-pages can vary depending on the font chosen by the user. However, "Amazon's print length" can also be ambiguous -- the first thing that comes to mind when I see it is "the number of pages in another, paper-based, edition", which, of course, is totally off the mark.
There is got to be a better way to convey what we are trying to say here, but I can't think of it right now. Ahasuerus 23:34, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
How about "Approximate number of Amazon Kindle's pages if printed"? Ahasuerus 02:35, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

New cleanup report?

When adding a new publication, the pub format (binding) default is "unknown". In several cases I forgot to change this, which I noticed while moderating my submissions, or in follow-up submissions. I don't think I'm the only one, see this pub. Would a cleanup report for publications that have a primary verification and unknown binding be possible/wanted? --Willem 18:40, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Sure, can do! Ahasuerus 19:38, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Canonical names for non-Latin using authors

Please determine what policies apply in how we establish the canonical name for authors who primarily use a non-Latin alphabet. Compare how this author and his Latinized name are handled to this Japanese author and this Polish author, both having a Latin canonical name. I personally believe the latter approach would be the best for a database that uses the Latin alphabet as its primary alphabet, but I don't want to get into another fray with the same editors who accuse me of being anglocentric and then be tarred as a Latin-centric as well. Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:53, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

At this time we have to use transliterated forms of author names because of certain software limitations. The recent addition of support for transliterated legal names was the first step on the road to enhancing the software so that both the original and the transliterated form of each major record (publisher, pub series, title, author) would be (eventually) entered and displayed. WorldCat, the Library of Congress and others have been struggling with the same issues recently as the world becomes more and more intertwined, so we are in good company :-)
Earlier this year I was hoping to get all of the required software changed completed within a few months, but then I was sidetracked due to a few unexpected things happening: I had to rewrite the backup software and there were some non-ISFDB issues that limited my availability. My ISFDB time is still somewhat limited, but I am in the process of catching up on Fixer's submissions and hope to restart development in early June. Ahasuerus 18:13, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Until the software changes have been made, I've made the pub records credit the transliterated form of the author's name. Mhhutchins
I know that Wikipedia had to deal with this back in the day until they converted everything to use UTF-8. Nihonjoe 01:02, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Cummings' Around the Universe

I was adding the earlier serialization of Ray Cummings "Around the Universe" and I noticed that there is a single serialization (i.e. complete novel) in your verified December 1941 issue of Future. Since the parent title is a novella (which is also how Miller/Contento has it), shouldn't the title in Future also be a novella instead of a serial? Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:46, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Sure, sounds reasonable. Ahasuerus 05:26, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Lyrical Press

As was discussed here, Lyrical Press became an imprint of Kensington in 2014. It appears that Fixer is entering all books as "Lyrical Press / Kensington Publishing Corp." when only those from 2014 forward should be entered that way. I'll make manual changes in the dozen or so records pre-2014, if you can teach Fixer the difference for any future submissions. Thanks. Mhhutchins 05:06, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Oh yes, I remember it now. Sorry about that! I think I decided not to change Fixer's logic because I figured that all pre-2014 ISBNs had been submitted. However, earlier this year I enhanced Fixer's data retrieval logic and he found a bunch of additional ISBNs from 2008-2013. I'll change the logic shortly. Ahasuerus 07:59, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

MySQL problems

Hi, I am trying to create a query that will give me a table of titles with the seriesID if present, I do not know why but for some titles the SeriesID that I get is "\N" although these titles do belong to series. Here is my query:

a.author_id, a.author_canonical, a.author_views,
t.title_id, t.title_title, t.title_ttype, DATE_FORMAT(t.title_copyright,'%Y'), t.title_views,
s.series_title, t.title_seriesnum, s.series_id
FROM canonical_author ca, authors a, titles t 
 LEFT JOIN series s
	ON t.series_id = s.series_id
WHERE ca.title_id = t.title_id
AND a.author_id = ca.author_id
AND DATE_FORMAT(t.title_copyright,'%Y') != "8888" #Unpublished
AND DATE_FORMAT(t.title_copyright,'%Y') != "9999" #Forthcoming

For example for these title IDs I get "/N": 86, 7713, 53529.

For example for these Titles I do get Series ID filled: 1016857, 168136, 181449.

Can you help me understand why, please? I am using the latest ISFDB dump. Thanks, Qshadow 10:41, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

The three titles that you list above (86, 7713, 53529) are not actually part of a series, but their parent titles are. Does this help? Ahasuerus 15:39, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it definitely helps, thanks! Can you help me with how can i still get the seriesId even if only the parent title has it? Qshadow 16:21, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, you could add another column to the list of retrieved columns and then add a subquery to get the parent's series ID. Alternatively, you could experiment with MySQL's CASE/IF functions, but I haven't done much with them, so I am not sure how well it may work. Ahasuerus 03:26, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, will try the first suggestion. Qshadow 10:11, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Which leads to another question: is it possible that parent title is not in the series but only one of its variants? I guess this is illegal, but still may happen, I would like to catch all such errors and report/fix. Qshadow 16:21, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
It should never happen, but in case it does any exceptions will appear on this cleanup report. Cleanup reports are "moderator-only", so you won't be able to access them on the live server, but you should be able to make yourself a moderator on your development server -- see ISFDB:Personal Linux Website for details. Ahasuerus 03:26, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
You mean such errors are automatically caught by some script? this is great! Qshadow 10:11, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
That's right, there is a background job that regenerates over 80 cleanup reports overnight -- see this discussion for details. Ahasuerus 14:50, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

Variant titles of variant titles

How did this happen? I thought there were measures in place to prevent a record from being made into a variant of a variant record. Or can the warnings be bypassed by the editor or the moderator (in this case Hauck)? Mhhutchins 18:31, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, there are safeguards in place to prevent this from happening, but apparently someone managed to get around them. My first guess would be that a batch of submissions was approved out of order, but I'll have to review submission history to be sure. Ahasuerus 18:40, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
There was a lot of Wayne Barlowe/Wayne Douglas Barlowe merges mostly INTERIORART with different titles, generic (type X alien) vs. specific (named characters) but I don't remember any warning. Hauck 20:14, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
If your investigation is over, can I go ahead and fix these? I'm sure the original editor wouldn't have a clue on how to even start. Mhhutchins 15:01, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Done (or so I hope). Hauck 15:16, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Much appreciated. Mhhutchins 15:19, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Preventing the changing of author credit when cloning

Can you look at this discussion when you get a chance? It would be one less thing to worry about if the author field was uneditable in the cloning process. I'd take it even further by making the title field uneditable as well, but sometimes editors want to add subtitles, series data, and other such trivial title data. Thanks. Mhhutchins 14:57, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Regarding a few recent submissions you approved

Please see ISFDB:Community Portal#Two series with the same title. Thanks. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:20, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

I have one more question at this same topic (ISFDB:Community Portal#Two series with the same title). Thanks for your time. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:37, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Answered. Ahasuerus 21:12, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Douglas Lindasy - Blue Moon

Cover art for this book is Josh Kirby from the list on this webpage. Record amended accordingly. --Mavmaramis 19:55, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Done, thanks! Ahasuerus 21:00, 5 June 2015 (UTC)


Hi Ahasuerus, I would like to talk to you about something that could make your work easier, is it possible to send a private msg here? If not, please send me an email to

qshadow at

Qshadow 12:05, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Possible new cleanup report

Hello, after passing some time deleting a bunch of romance (and thrillers and historical novels) titles, I was wondering if there was a possibility of having a cleanup report listing the NONGENRE titles and, to narrow the search, particularly those without any verification (primary and secondary). Thanks. Hauck 16:40, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

Well, it's certainly possible, but it will generate a lot of data. I'll need to check to see how many records it will find. Also, if a book is marked "non-genre", it usually indicates that someone has already made a conscious decision to keep it in the database even though he knew that it was non-genre. Typically, the problem is with the works that are not marked "non-genre" but should be.
BTW, it looks like you have deleted a number of Nora Roberts titles. As I recall, we had a big discussion re: whether she was "above the threshold" at one point. Some editors felt strongly that her non-genre works should be kept in the database, so the issue of deleting them was dropped. I suspect that they serve a useful purpose: they inform our users that yes, we are aware of this title, and no, it's not SF. Ahasuerus 17:01, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer. To be frank I can't see how she could in any way be "over the threshold", in addition to this most of the titles had numerous publications that seemed to have accrued (is it an english term?) Hauck 17:11, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it is, although it's mostly used by accountants and bankers :) Ahasuerus 17:32, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
over the years by automatic adding (via fixer?). Hauck 17:11, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
There was an early and mostly unsuccessful attempt to create a data acquisition robot back in the early 2000s. I believe it was that now-defunct robot which was responsible for the original import. Later on a couple of our editors spent a significant amount of time cleaning up her data. It would be unfortunate if all that work was lost. Ahasuerus 17:32, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Most (95%) of what I deleted didn't show any trace of human intervention (there was only one PV1 title and less than a half a dozen OCLCed). Hauck 17:39, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm perhaps (surely) a kind of integrist but all these titles don't belong here. Hauck 17:11, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, we were never able to come up with a universally agreed upon definition of "the threshold", but she is one of the top-selling fiction authors of all time with dozens and dozens of SF books to her name. That's more than can be said about 99%+ of the authors in the database. Ahasuerus 17:32, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

Special request

Hello, can you manually delete this author that I've created. I was trying to remember by experimenting how to correct the case of multiple cover artists like here but fail miserably (and still can't remember how to proceed). Thanks. Hauck 13:17, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Curiously, entering a new novel for "test2" and then deleting it didn't get rid of the author record. Once I finish the weekly backups, I will recreate this scenario on the development server to see what's causing it. Ahasuerus 19:08, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
An author that was credited with a cover art record doesn't disappear when the cover art record is deleted. This is a known bug. I usually get rid of them by merging them with an existing author. Mhhutchins 19:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Oh, yes, it's Bug 200. Sorry, I was confused for a bit. Ahasuerus 20:50, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Alas, another one here, sorry. How do you proceed (perhaps it will avoid you some work)? (Hauck 08:40, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
In the first field of the Author Search Form of the Advanced Search enter "Rowena Mor". It will pull up several authors. Be sure to check only two authors to merge: the titleless author and a true author. In this case, check 213073, the author without titles you want to get rid of, and 21339, the canonical author. (You could actually choose any one of the other authors since there are actually no records to merge.) Then click on "Merge Selected Records". The next page is the most critical step so you must be very careful to make the correct choices when reconciling the two authors. Be sure to retain all which apply to the canonical author. Then click "Complete Merge" and accept the submission. If I recall correctly, the merging of authors is restricted to moderators because of the potential risk of accidental merging and the dire consequences it may cause. Mhhutchins 13:42, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Super (I've taken some notes). Thanks. Hauck 14:02, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Hervé, if a single cover art is credited to multiple artists, the best thing is to credit only one of them when the publication is first created, then go back and edit the cover art record to add the other artist(s). To fix one that's already in the database, edit the publication, removing all but one of the artist credits. Once that submission is accepted, go back and update the cover art title record to add the other artist(s). This is the only procedure which I'm aware of to correct the problem of the creation of multiple cover art credits for a single work of art. Mhhutchins 19:32, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Great, many thanks. Hauck 20:23, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Revolt on Alpha C

Cover artist for this book is Bob Layzell same cover as for this title. Record amended accordingly. --Mavmaramis 19:17, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks! Ahasuerus 20:21, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Submission 2752799

Hi Ahasuerus! Can you look at submission #2752799 "De Macht van het Zwaard" by User:Wjmvanruth, something is wrong with it. No approval or hold or anything after the basic data. Thanks!Kraang 01:28, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

The Note field contains HTML, which makes the rest of the Note data invisible and the submission unapprovable. I will hard-reject it and the submitter will have to re-submit the data. Here is the body of the submission:
Title 	De Macht van het Zwaard 	 
Authors 	Joe Abercrombie 	 
Language 	Dutch 
Year 	2008-10-00 	 
PubType 	NOVEL 	 
Publisher 	Mynx 	 
Pages 	511
Binding 	hc
Isbn 	9789089680044 
Image jpg
Note     Translated by Lia Belt
   First print, October 2008
   Data from <a href="">De Boekenplank</a> as of 2015-07-02.

Fixer's status

Would you like me to make a template for this that you can just update whenever you need to? That way it's not part of the regular messages so it won't get archived accidentally. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:10, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Well, it hasn't been much of a problem, so I think we are fine for now.
As a general observation, our experience with Wiki templates has been mixed. They can help eliminate or at least reduce data duplication, but OTOH some editors do not understand and actively dislike them. Kind of a double-edge sword... Ahasuerus 17:37, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
True. They can take some getting used to, but they can be extremely nice when used properly. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:20, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
This reminds me of something I've been meaning to ask but kept forgetting. A while back you changed the data that's given in the status report, and I'm not certain if I know what is meant by "First" and "Second Pass". What is it? Mhhutchins 02:56, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Fixer's logic was improved in early 2015, which resulted in him finding a lot more (10,000+ -- I don't remember the exact number) ISBNs. It took me a while to prioritize everything, but it's pretty much done now. I am currently in the process of submitting all newly identified "high priority" ISBNs. Once the dates in the "Second Pass" column are synced with the dates in the "First Pass" column, we can go back to having just one column. Ahasuerus 06:13, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. Mhhutchins 14:53, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Fixer publisher request

Any books given as published by "HMH Books for Young Readers" in the Amazon listing should be credited to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (This credit is given on their title pages as seen in the Amazon "Look Inside".) They are currently being changed to Houghton Mifflin which no longer exists except as an imprint of HMH. Thanks. Mhhutchins 18:48, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 19:30, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Novel Publications with Fewer Than 70 Pages

About this clean-up report: If I choose to ignore all of the German-language titles (because no other moderator is willing to work on the clean-up report), would you be able to later regenerate the list if someone chooses to take on the task of fixing them? I want to get on with further cleaning of publications that are up to 80 pages in length. But that's not going to happen if I have to wade through the current list of almost 500 publications which I'm unable to determine should be cleaned. Mhhutchins 16:37, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

There is a Feature Request to "Add the ability to view 'ignored' records found by a cleanup report." It should be fairly easy to implement once our software repository has been restored (see the recent Community Portal discussion.) Ahasuerus 19:57, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
One further request: can you remove the titles currently listed in this report? A discussion with the verifiying editor failed to resolve the issue, and the continuing appearance of these titles have become irritating. Could you amend the report to allow a moderator to remove or "ignore" titles? It would be greatly appreciated if you could. Thanks. Mhhutchins 16:43, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Good idea, I've also tried the same thing but to no avail. Hauck 19:15, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Sure, can do. Ahasuerus 19:57, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Adjusting a couple of clean-up reports

When you get a chance, could you add the next letter ("D") to the Suspected Duplicate Authors report and bump up the page count to 75 for this report. Thanks. Mhhutchins 04:14, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Our software repository is back up, so I expect that I should be able to start working on it tomorrow. Adding the letter "D" may take a day or so because the report takes a very long time to run on the development server. Ahasuerus 07:01, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

The Mutant Weapon vs. Med Service

Please see ISFDB:Community Portal#The Mutant Weapon vs. Med_Service as a primary verifier of The Med Series. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 23:45, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Parragon Books

I have merged three publishing companies: Parragon, Parragon Books, and Parragon Book Service Ltd, into "Parragon". They were easily seen to all be the same company, and both their website and their Wikipedia page (which was almost certainly written by them) refers to them just as "Parragon". Neither of those pages refers to a historical name being anything different. The only verified books under any of those names were some by "Parragon". The reason I mention this to you is because it may be helpful if Fixer knows that these publishers are all the same. Chavey 23:37, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for letting me know! Fixer was blissfully unaware of Parragon and its incarnations, so we are good :-) Ahasuerus 23:38, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Born to Exile

Bob has asked me to add individual titles for the Fabian artwork in our mutually verified publication, Eisenstein's Born to Exile. Do you have any objections if I do so? Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 01:31, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Highly suspect price

Re this record: is it possible we've gone back far enough on these Fixer submissions to determine if the prices may be no longer reliable? Mhhutchins 23:35, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Well, says that it is the "list price", which typically means the price when the book was published. Similarly, Abebooks states that the list price is $21.99. Checking their sellers' descriptions, I see that many of them mention that this is the "print on demand" version of the book, which may explain the higher price. I didn't realize that St. Martin's Griffin was in the POD business in 2010, but perhaps they were beginning to experiment with POD around that time? Ahasuerus 23:51, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
That's possible but I've personally never seen a POD mass-market-sized paperback. Also Abebooks, being a subsidiary of Amazon, uses the same database, so it shouldn't be considered a corroborating source. Mhhutchins 23:55, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
That's a good point. Hm, let's see if anyone else has it. Indigo's site says that the list price is "$24.99" (presumably in Canadian dollars) and that it's a trade paperback even though the stated dimensions are 7 × 5. Two of Alibis-affiliated bookstores claim that the original list price was $21.99 and confirm that it's a "trade paperback". Ahasuerus 00:14, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Novel Publications with Fewer Than 75 Pages

Please raise the pages for this clean-up report to 80 when you have a chance. Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:30, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Will do! Ahasuerus 19:35, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
Done. The change will take effect when the nightly task runs. Ahasuerus 03:54, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the fast response. Mhhutchins 05:19, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Probable change needed for a clean-up report

This publication doesn't show up on the clean-up report which finds NOVEL-typed record of less than 80 pages. Perhaps the roman numerals throws off the search for it? Mhhutchins 19:29, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

This report was coded to ignore page counts with plus signs. The reason for this behavior was that I couldn't think of a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
However, after playing with different permutations over the last 30 minutes, I see that there is an algorithm that I could use. All I need to do is find NOVEL pubs whose page count field contains a plus sign but does not contain three consecutive Arabic digits. There are only 92 pubs like that and about a dozen of them are obvious CHAPBOOK candidates. I'll make the change later today and we should see the results tomorrow morning. Thanks for prodding me! :-) Ahasuerus 21:19, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Fixer's latest round of submissions

It appears that this latest round of Fixer submissions (now into 2008) is picking up mostly large print and library reprints, and POD editions of classic (read: out-of-copyright) titles. How far back do you plan to go in this round of submissions? Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:04, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Let me take a look... OK, apparently I didn't realize that Dodo Press was a POD/public domain factory. I'll adjust Fixer to skip their ISBNs. Thanks! Ahasuerus 21:02, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
It's not so much a question about the quality of the publisher, although that is a factor, but the reliability of the data and its source. Just how many years do you think we need to go back until we reach diminishing returns with regard to the time, effort and resources its taking to add these records? Mhhutchins 23:15, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
As I recall, we had this discussion back when the first round of e-AddPub submissions reached early 2007. At the time the approving moderators noticed that the quality of Fixer's submissions was going down, so I was thinking about switching from AddPubs to NewPubs (select publishers/authors only, of course.) However, it never happened because my improvements to Fixer's logic resulted in additional 2007-2015 AddPubs, aka "round 2". I expect that the issue will come up again once Fixer's paper-based AddPubs reach early 2007. Ahasuerus 00:06, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the update. It's good to know there's light at the end of the tunnel. How many 2007-2008 AddPubs are left in Fixer's queue? Mhhutchins 00:10, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
For 2007-2008 months, there are approximately 310 ISBNs/month that could generate an AddPub submission. However, keep in mind that I review each ISBN prior to submission. My guess is that on average 50%+ of eligible ISBNs get moved to Fixer's "Queue 2" instead of being submitted to ISFDB. The exact number depends on the month -- some POD publishers add a whole bunch of titles to their catalogs all at once, so the number of punted ISBNs can jump to 75%+. Ahasuerus 00:21, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

The Space Swimmers

A number of the Fabian illustrations in The Space Swimmers by Gordon R. Dickson (which you have verified) appear in the contents of Fabian artbooks I'm entering in the database. Since there are so many illustrations in the pub, I propose to add those illustrations I would like to variant to the art books to the contents of The Space Swimmers, and list the page numbers of the rest of the illustrations in the notes for that pub. Is that acceptable to you? Bob 20:34, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

No objection here! Ahasuerus 22:39, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Thank you! Bob 21:37, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Suspected Duplicate Authors report

Did this report get ran last night? I usually clear a few each day, and the last time I did there were about 200 items. Now the list is all but cleared. Maybe another moderator worked on it and cleared it? Mhhutchins 17:31, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

This reports runs monthly and, as it happens, it kicked off an hour and a half ago. It's up to "D" now :-) Ahasuerus 17:33, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
That explains why the number doesn't go down nightly when I work on them. Thanks for the explanation. Mhhutchins 18:21, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

San Val

Is it possible to have Fixer automatically give the binding as "hc" for the publications of this publisher and add the note "Library binding" to each submission? Thanks for considering it. Mhhutchins 04:11, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Good point, I will take a look tomorrow morning! Ahasuerus 04:19, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 21:43, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Mhhutchins 03:44, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Fixer pricing

Just accepted a Fixer submission priced at "$.99" and corrected it to "$0.99". I know it's rare to have a price that low these days (it was for an ebook of a public domain title), but hopefully it's not too hard to program Fixer to add a zero in the price. Thanks. 01:27, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Sure, I'll take a look. Ahasuerus 01:32, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
OK, I think I got it. We'll see how well it works when the next batch is submitted. Ahasuerus 01:39, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
It looks like it's working now. Ahasuerus 01:46, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Fixer submission for a 1994 ebook

Can you look at this submission and see whether we can fine tune Fixer to reject such listings or perhaps submit with an unknown date field? Thanks for checking. Mhhutchins 02:02, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

I see that B&N shows the same publication date. I wonder if the publisher forgot to change publication date when the e-book was being put together? If so, then there isn't much that Fixer can do since he can't read minds (yet!) Ahasuerus 02:24, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
But we humans can tell him that it's not likely that an ebook edition of this was published in 1994, can't we? That's what I meant by rejecting such listings or submitting without a publication date. Or do I have my timeline wrong in thinking the first commercially available ebooks were published in the late 90s? Mhhutchins 02:43, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
Well, there were some borderline e-books like the "lost" Ken Bulmer novels published on floppies (!), but I don't think they were sold by Amazon. So yes, we could tell Fixer to ignore pre-2000 e-books. However, that would mean that we would be basically sweeping publisher mistakes under the rug instead of letting human moderators review the data and (hopefully) find the correct publication date. Perhaps we should add a moderator warning along the lines of "Hey, a pre-2000 publication date on an e-books usually indicates a data entry error"? Ahasuerus 02:57, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
It's better than nothing. Now, just to get the word out to moderators to actually pay attention to those warnings! Thanks. Mhhutchins 03:35, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
I am afraid I am still working on my top-secret Human Upgrade project. Any year now! Ahasuerus 04:28, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 01:48, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

Title-Reference Title Mismatches

Can there be an "Ignore" option for the records found by this report? All but one I've worked on has only a minor difference (space, period) or has a subtitle. Mhhutchins|talk 06:41, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Well, as I wrote in my original comments re: this report, "We can think of them as guinea pigs which will hopefully help us fine-tune the report". Also, although many differences are minor, there is a whole spectrum of variations, from "The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish" vs. "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" to "Blood in the Library" vs. "Zombie in the Library".
Now, it's true that the original intent was to identify "significant" differences first and leave the rest for later. However, coming up with an algorithm that would distinguish between "significant" and "insignificant" differences proved challenging. After playing with a number of different options and failing, I checked just how many mismatches we would be dealing with. Here is what I found:
  • 495 | ANTHOLOGY |
  • 419 | COLLECTION |
  • 242 | NONFICTION |
  • 1294 | NOVEL |
  • 330 | OMNIBUS |
  • 92 | CHAPBOOK |
I suspect that our editors (note that non-moderators have access to this reports as well) will chip away at the mismatches and whittle them down in due course of time. If I am wrong, we can always add the ability to ignore records. Ahasuerus 20:29, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

(The ISFDB standards allows such a difference between the publication title and the title reference.) Mhhutchins|talk 06:41, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

If the only difference is the presence of a subtitle, the report is supposed to ignore the affected pub. Typically it's some other spelling difference that triggers exception processing. Ahasuerus 20:29, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

I thought the purpose of this report was to find major differences. In this case, it's a case difference of one letter. Or in this case, it's a colon. I don't believe such differences warrant the time and effort to clean, especially considering that the report, now limited to CHAPBOOKs found 97 records. I can't imagine how many NOVEL records would show up on it unless the parameters are changed. Mhhutchins|talk 06:41, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

How do we reconcile this record? It's verified as having the parenthetical subtitle, so we shouldn't remove it. We don't know if the other publications have it, so we can't change the title reference. And we can't remove it from the clean-up report without doing one or the other. Mhhutchins|talk 07:04, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
Parenthetical (and other) subtitles should not cause this report to flag publication records. The selection logic ignores pub records if:
  • the pub title is "fully contained" within the title title, OR
  • the title title is "fully contained" within the pub title
The reason that this record was flagged was that the "title title" has a comma after "The Swoop!" while the "pub title" doesn't have it. Checking Project Gutenberg and other online places, it would appear that the comma is just a data entry convention used by the catalogs/sources that we used to create these records.
That said, I agree that hunting down these punctuation issues should be low priority. I will experiment with the logic to see if I can make it ignore any punctuation-based discrepancies. Thanks! Ahasuerus 13:40, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
And do we really want to take the time to make sure that the capitalization of 3000 publication records match their title reference? I also believe you're being somewhat optimistic to assume that there will be editors eager to clean this list. It's been there a couple of days and not even the moderators are doing anything about it. Mhhutchins|talk 07:08, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
The addition of OMNIBUS titles to the report has convinced me that this just isn't working. If you recall when we first discussed it, that we wanted a report that could find differences between publication and title reference titles that was as at least 50%. If that can't be easily done, then we should have the option to ignore certain publications. There are cases where the primary verified title is only slightly different (e.g. the use of "&" or a slash instead of "and" or the subtitle or series name comes before the parent title), and I don't feel we should be creating variant titles just so we can clear items from this list. The differences are so minor and if forced to create variants for them, we'll have author summary pages cluttered with thousands of variant titles. If you believe that the report can't be fine tuned to ignore these minor differences or if you're unable to add an ignore option, I'll have to bow out from working on this report. With that in mind, I hope that anyone who does work on it won't change my verified publications in order to conform with the parent title record. Forgive me for being frank here, but in this case I think the old saying "be careful what you wish for" is all too true. Mhhutchins|talk 21:47, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for working on this report! It sounds like there are two separate issues here.
The first issue is whether title differences like "&" vs. "and" should result in the creation of a VT. Personally I think that any discrepancy that affects searching should be recorded as a VT, but that's a topic for the Rules and Standards page. I also note that in many cases all of our pubs have the same title, but the Title record is slightly different. For example, consider The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 2 vs. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci: Volume II, which should be an easy fix since there is no evidence that the "Volume 2" version exists outside of our title record.
The second issue is prioritizing these discrepancies. I can't think of a way to (easily) tweak the report to ignore minor discrepancies, so I am going to add the ability to ignore records. We can always go back and revisit the ignored items once we have clarified our data entry standards. Thanks again! Ahasuerus 02:27, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 03:50, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Dragon Knights

There are two separate series under this name. So I disambiguated the one by Castle. (This came up on a clean-up report.) Mhhutchins|talk 07:13, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

Looks good, thanks! Ahasuerus 14:22, 4 October 2015 (UTC)


It may be worth having Yoruba, a Nigerian language, as a selectable language on the drop-down list. Have just added this rather important work of African speculative fiction. PeteYoung 23:44, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

Sure, will do! Ahasuerus 23:48, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Language added; title/author records corrected. Ahasuerus 23:59, 4 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! PeteYoung 00:54, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

"The Other Sky / The House in November", Tor Double

Your verified publication says, in the notes, that it's "A dos-dos book with two covers", but the binding is not listed as "dos". Is that intentional? It also looks as if it belongs in the "Tor Double" publication series, but isn't. Just checking. Chavey 14:03, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

It is indeed a "dos" book, so I have changed the binding code. As to whether it's a part of the Tor Double pub series, well, it depends on how you look at it. It says "Tor Double" on the cover, but there is no series number and Wikipedia claims that it wasn't an official Tor Double. I have added it to the series and updated the Note field -- thanks! Ahasuerus 15:26, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

Astorita or Astarita

Can you confirm your two PV'd credits for Astorita? There are more credits for Astarita. Thanks for checking. Mhhutchins|talk 00:32, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Not easily, I am afraid :-( My pulp collection, never flawless, was seriously messed up a couple of months ago and needs to be re-cataloged. I'll see if I can find the right box tomorrow, but I expect that I will need to get everything organized before I can find it. Ahasuerus 04:34, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
No such luck. Oh well, I'll ask the other primary verifiers. Ahasuerus 00:55, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Review Variants & Linking

I'm confused how review linking works when the review record is varianted. For example, see this review of this book:

  • If only the parent review is linked, then the variant review shows up on the "Reviews not Linked to Titles" report.
  • If only the variant review is linked, then the publication does not show all review records (when the review has been reprinted under the parent record).
  • If both the parent and variant records are linked, then the publication lists both the records which duplicates the reviews.

I would think we would link the parent review (since it "auto links" the variant review - in the sense that the variant review will now be a link to the publication even without manually linking it - and since it displays all the reviews under publication title record). Is this a bug in the clean-up report? Or am I missing something here. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 15:59, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

I enhanced the display code and updated the associated cleanup report a few weeks ago. I will have to take a closer look to see if I messed anything up in the process. Thanks for reporting it! Ahasuerus 20:19, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Two unlinked reviews of works by Katherine Kurtz

I'm trying to find the original publication of two works by KK which are reviewed in this publication, but without much luck. There was a suggestion that perhaps they appear in the nonfiction work Deryni Magic: A Grimoire. Can you look through your copy of that book to see any mention of "First Session" or "The Examen"? Thanks. Mhhutchins|talk 15:44, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Yes, indeed! Deryni Magic is a compendium of non-fiction notes about the Deryni universe, but it also includes excerpts from the novels to illustrate various points. Most of them are short, but a few are a couple of pages long. "First Session" and "The Examen" are the only fiction texts that are full stories. Unlike the excerpts, there is no indication that these two stories had appeared elsewhere.
"First Session" (pp. 202-210) appears in the middle of "Chapter Sixteen: The Training of Healers I" (pp. 194-212.) "The Examen" is the only text in "Chapter Seventeen: The Training of Healers II" (pp. 213-224); there is no other content in the chapter. If the other primary verifiers agree, we could add these two stories to the pub record. Ahasuerus 16:34, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like the way to go here, leaving the publication as NONFICTION, since the majority rules rule applies. Thanks for looking and finding these "odd" pieces. Mhhutchins|talk 18:00, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
OK, the other verifiers have been notified. Ahasuerus 18:21, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
I have no problems with the proposed changes. Thanks. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 23:13, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Ron. The two stories have been added to the pub/series and the associated reviews have been linked. Ahasuerus 02:38, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Coming in late, but logging my concurrence. - Thanks Kevin 15:55, 25 October 2015 (UTC)


You're not the only one.... I can read and write (and speak, in a very rudimentary fashion) Russian. --MartyD 11:49, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

I think we have 4 moderators who have been exposed to Russian/Cyrillic. For some values of "exposed" :-) Ahasuerus 13:46, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

There's an excellent all-Cyrillic submission in the queue. Are we taking pure Cyrillic names and titles? I wasn't sure, so I left it for the experts.... --MartyD 11:49, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

Non-Latin (which includes Cyrillic, Japaneses, Chinese, etc) titles/publishers/pub series are currently OK, but authors are still problematic. The good news is that the implementation of "Transliterated Legal Name(s)" was a success, so I plan to add support for transliterated canonical names, titles, publisher names, etc in the near future. We'll also need to figure out what to do with the Author Directory, which will be tricky until we convert the database to UTF-8.
In any event, COVERART issues are a higher priority, but as soon as I wrap them up, I plan to go back to internationalization. For now, the data entry standard for author names is to use transliterated/romanized values for non-Latin alphabets/scripts. I usually advise new editors to limit the amount of time they spend on non-Latin submissions because we'll need to go back and convert what they entered later on. And we all know how much fun that is :-) Ahasuerus 13:46, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

Publishers with Similar Names clean-up report

Re this report: the links are to authors and not to the corresponding publishers. Mhhutchins|talk 18:39, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Sorry about that! It should be working correctly now. Ahasuerus 20:16, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Python exception. Do you need a bug report?

Hi. When I get a Python exception, should I bother to create a bug report for it? Or do you see the exception anyway in your logs and don't need a bug report? Jens Hitspacebar 22:29, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Please go ahead and create a Bug report. I have been making a lot of behind-the-scenes changes lately and it's entirely possible that I messed something up! And no, we don't have an error log aside from this list of submissions that errored out during the approval process. Ahasuerus 22:47, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Ok. Bug report created at SF. Jens Hitspacebar 23:08, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Got it, thanks! Ahasuerus 23:40, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Fixed. Ahasuerus 23:50, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Editor field mismatches

This discussion brought to my attention that the editor field of a magazine-typed record can mismatch the editor field of the editor record, yet not show up on a clean-up report. This report finds mismatches between the author field of a publication record and the author field of the title record. Is there a specific reason why an exception was made for periodicals? Mhhutchins|talk 04:41, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

Let me see... The report, which was originally developed a number of years ago, is currently limited to the following publication/title types:
As near as I can tell, the omission of FANZINEs/MAGAZINEs was an oversight. I'll add them tomorrow -- thanks for reporting it! Ahasuerus 04:55, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Please read this discussion pertinent to this topic when you have time. Thanks. Mhhutchins|talk 07:04, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I have talked about 'unnecessary layers of complexity' in the mentioned disussion. What I meant is that - for magazines - the title record by design doesn't fit with the connected publications: there are twelve different issues with different publication titles (and different contents) for a magazine published monthly. If that is so, there's no explicit reason why the title author field should match the ones for the publications (and I understood the omission of mentioning magazines on the help pages in regard of that field to sustain that opinion). So, a clean-up report is useful in finding missing or false credits, but shouldn't be an end it itself for magazines.
The issues connected with Perry Rhodan have the occasional additional 'quality' that some single issues do have a credit, see here for an example (issue #211), and there'll pop up more, if more issues are to be verified. Stonecreek 08:36, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Operation: Outer Space

This pub has the reused cover created by Robert E. Schulz. --Zapp 18:22, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the update! Ahasuerus 18:50, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Isaac Asimov's Magical Worlds of Fantasy #8: Devils

image URL found for this pub at Amazon. --Zapp 17:41, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Looks good, thanks! Ahasuerus 18:50, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Fixer subs

Do you have a plan on how far back you'll be going for Fixer submissions? I'm afraid at a certain point, Amazon's data is going to become more and more suspect, especially when it comes to publisher credit and prices. We already know that Amazon retrofits publisher credits to their current designation. Is there a way to confirm that the prices and publisher credit that Fixer is getting is for 2006 listings and not the current prices and publishers? Wouldn't the effort in working Fixer submissions have more value for 2012 NewPub submissions than 2006 AddPubs? Or even re-starting NewPub ebook submissions? Thanks. Mhhutchins|talk 18:32, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

I concur. I'm updating lots of dates at title level because it seems that, for amazon, the ebook publication date is before the paper one. It's possible but strange that in 2006 there was a "bonus" in term of anticipated avaliability given to the ebook. Hauck 18:42, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, the original plan was to stop when we reached 2006, but Fixer found so few 2006-12 e-AddPubs that I decided to submit them to see what kinds of issues they may have.
In all honesty, I am kind of torn here. On the one hand, I agree that the quality of Amazon's data deteriorates when you go that far back. On the other hand, if we don't process Amazon's records for early e-books, the data can become lost within the next few years and, unlike paper books, there may not be an alternative source.
In any event, Fixer can certainly switch to NewPubs for now while we mull things over. However, we'll have to be extra careful with NewPubs because they often require additional tweaking (merging, series, publisher, publication series, etc) which has been a problem in the past. Ahasuerus 20:18, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Fixer price discrepancy

Please check the two ebook records under this title. The first I entered last month, and the second is from a Fixer submission which I accepted just now. I was going to reconcile the two records (there's only a single ASIN for this edition), but noticed the price difference. Checking on Amazon, I see the price is $5.99. Where did Fixer get the $4.99 price? Mhhutchins|talk 19:45, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

Checking Fixer's history, I see that he first captured this ISBN on 2015-04-15. My guess is that the original pre-publication price was $4.99 and that it was subsequently raised to $5.99. When dealing with paper books, this isn't a problem because Fixer re-confirms all values prior to creating a submission. E-book prices, however, cannot be re-confirmed the same way. A few days ago I improved Fixer's e-book algorithm to reduce the likelihood of these types of issues occurring in the future, but there is still a slim chance of it happening. Ahasuerus 20:10, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I'll move the ISBN over to the record I primary verified. BTW, is there a simple way for a non-nonhuman to get the ISBN from Amazon's ebook editions? Mhhutchins|talk 21:35, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
Not that I know of :-( Ahasuerus 22:07, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

Held submission

Any word yet from the SFE team about the birth year of David Sale? It's been more than a month that the submission's been sitting in the queue. Mhhutchins|talk 02:58, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

I am afraid not. The SFE3 crew received the same request at approximately the same time and John Clute has been looking into it. I will ping Dave to see how things are progressing. Ahasuerus 03:39, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Inconsistency in display

I noticed something the other day that I'd never noticed before in this record. The first work's type is capitalized (which I really like) while the second one isn't. Is it possible to make other container types displayed the same? This would be quite helpful in OMNIBUS records, such as this one where it would be easy to see where one of the collections ended and the other began. Mhhutchins|talk 18:44, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

The way it currently works is as follows:
  • The database stores all title types in all-uppercase, e.g. "COLLECTION", "NOVEL" or "NONFICTION".
  • The publication display page converts most title types to lowercase, hence "collection", "novel", etc.
  • The publication display page doesn't convert NONFICTION, probably because we originally thought that a NONFICTION publication would typically contain only one NONFICTION title.
It would be very easy to change the display logic not to change the case of container titles. I assume we are talking about COLLECTION, ANTHOLOGY, and OMNIBUS, right? Ahasuerus 19:34, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but I would include NOVEL when it appears in a COLLECTION, ANTHOLOGY, or OMNIBUS, like in this publication. I'm not sure how it would look in a NOVEL publication which contains other content records when the title reference record is normally displayed. Can an exception be made if a NOVEL appears in a container publication? Also, since an OMNIBUS can't contain an OMNIBUS, I don't think it would need to be changed (unless it's easier to rewrite the display of all in a single change.) Mhhutchins|talk 20:08, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
I can see how it would be useful to distinguish between book-length titles and shorter titles in the Contents section, but I am not entirely sure that displaying title types in uppercase would be the best way to accomplish it. Whenever I see a title type appear in uppercase, my first reaction is that there is some kind of publication-title mismatch. Granted, it may be just a personal quirk, but have you considered other alternatives like making title types appear "bolded"? Ahasuerus 22:28, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
I see your point, so maybe capitalization isn't the way to go here. Still, it would be nice to see consistency as well as distinction in displaying book-length titles in the contents section. Perhaps we should open this discussion up to the group to get more ideas? Mhhutchins|talk 22:54, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea! Ahasuerus 22:55, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

[unindent] Discussion copied to the ISFDB:Community Portal. Mhhutchins|talk 00:22, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

Mixing magazine and anthology series

Can you take a moment when you get a chance to respond to this post? I was wondering if there's a way to suppress the creation of a magazine grid when there's a mix of magazine and anthology records. Thanks. Mhhutchins|talk 18:38, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Today's Backup

Today's backup gives an "Access Denied" error when downloading. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 00:58, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

Oops! Sorry, please try again. Ahasuerus 01:10, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
Working. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:33, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

Transliterated legal name field

Do we follow the same standard for this field as the legal name field using the format "LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME"? For example, should the transliterated first name field of Akira Fujishiro be "Fujishiro, Akira"? Mhhutchins|talk 22:26, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

As far as I know, the data entry standards that we use for the Legal Name field also apply to the Transliterated Legal Name field. However, it's a Rules and Standards issue rather than a software issue, so it's just my personal opinion. The software will happily process anything you feed it :-) Ahasuerus 23:07, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
Just took a look at the mouseover help button for this field (which I'd disabled in my preferences) and it gives the same format as I described above. So I guess it's settle law. Mhhutchins|talk 01:16, 15 December 2015 (UTC)