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Stine Pseudonyms

User:Jonschaper proposes to make Jean Stine and Hank Stine pseudonyms of Jean Marie Stine. See User talk:Jonschaper#Jean Marie Stine / Jean Stine / Hank Stine for more details. I am unsure about approving this, and would welcome input. -DES Talk 23:51, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I consider Hank Stine vs G. Harry Stine quite distinguishable. To my knowledge, G. Harry Stine (born 1928) has primarily published non-fiction science articles (mainly The Alternate View articles for Analog) as "G. Harry Stine", plus hard sf fiction under the name "Lee Correy" (mostly in Analog). There are rare exceptions (e.g. his first 2 stories for early 50s issues of Astounding were by "Harry Stine", at a time when Hank Stine was about 6 years old). In contrast, Hank Stine (born 1945) edited 2 issues of Galaxy (both with editorials by "Hank Stine") and a small output of fiction under the name "Hank Stine" (see e.g. this interview with Jean Marie Stine referring to her Prisoner books written as Hank Stine Plus Hank wrote media reviews (as opposed to science articles). "Hank Stine's" fiction also tends to be more speculative (vs hard sf) and focuses on gender issues. As Jean Stine her nonfiction output consists of gender issues, writing and empowering oneself with runes.
On the issue of who to make the parent (Hank or Jean Marie), looking at the figures: "Hank Stine" has 2 novels, 2 short stories, plus a handful of reviews and letters, and edited a grand total of 2 issues of Galaxy, and was mostly active in the late 1960s/early 70s (letters aside). "Jean Marie / Jean" has written 8 short SF stories, edited several anthologies (3 SF/fantasy, others from other genres, mostly focusing on gender issues or female writers), plus 1 novel under her current name over the last 15 years. Plus she has reissued one of the two "Hank Stine" novels (the non-Prisoner tie-in) as by "Jean Stine" (in print) and as by "Jean Marie Stine" (a 2008 ebook). In addition, both "Hank" and "Jean" have had careers in editing SF and have been active in writing about gender issues, but I leave weighing how much was done under which name out of my consideration since this work is either less public or (regarding gender issues) has little connection to SF. So I think there is a very strong case to prefer "Jean Marie Stine". Also, having a friend who suffered from gender dysmorphia for years until having a sex change last year, I have prefer to recognise her personal choice of name.
See also the Wikipedia article ( for information. I do welcome debate and alternate views on both issues. Jonschaper 00:45, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
To be clear, I wasn't opposing your choice of canonical name, merely not sure enough to approve it, given how hard they are to undo. Your case above has some strong points, although it is not absolutely clearcut, IMO. With a better known writer the canonical name is usually clear -- it's how "everybody knows" that author -- but with a less well-known author, "everybody" simply doesn't know the author at all. Makes it tricky.
My mention of G. Harry Stine was more because when I first saw "Hank Stein" I wondered if this was the same person -- I suspect many SF fans, at least many older fans, if simply told "Hank Stein" would think "G. Harry" at first, but AFAIK he rarely if ever published as "Hank" and one look at the biblios makes the difference plain. Actually that is perhaps a slight additional reason to favor "Jean Marie".
Of the work done under "Jean" or "Jean Marie" do you know how much was under just "Jean"? -DES Talk 00:56, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I think we have generally considered the author's personal choice to be a secondary consideration compared to the available data. Since there is no totally obvious decision that can be based upon author attributions it would seem that the author's preference seems to take on more significance. Even without that factor, "Jean Marie" would probably be the correct choice.--swfritter 01:19, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
When I first ran into Hank Stine and G. Harry Stine around the same time I also wondered if they were the same person. For "Jean" vs. "Jean Marie" I am not certain which name appears most often. I mostly rely on the ISFDB pages here. I noted the scan for the 2008 Season of the Witch ebook, the Wikipedia entry, the interview linked above, and the "Brain Power" book cover scanned into that interview all consistently use "Jean Marie". Agreed, it is certainly hard to tell which name (Hank vs. Jean/Jean Marie) is more popular when it isn't someone particularly famous. One of the "Hank Stine" shorts is cowritten with Larry Niven, plus the 2 issues of Galaxy and the Prisoner tie-in might mean "Hank" has greater exposure. I'm also not certain when the sex and/or name change took place. But then again how many remember "Hank Stine"? So lacking objective data about which name is subjectively prefered by the greatest numbers, my own subjective reasons aside, I still see some objective basis (namely total SF output and currency of use) for using "Jean Marie". More people with any input? Cheers. PS I took nothing personal from your caution -- backup systems make sense to me. Jonschaper 01:31, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) I guess I would be considered an older fan, and I've never confused Hank Stine with G. Harry Stine. And "Jean Marie Stine" has had almost total invisibility in my limited exposure to current SF. I remember Hank Stine as the author of one reasonably well-known cult novel, a TV tie-in, his short stint as one of the last editors of Galaxy, and the first editor for Donning/Starblaze Books in its prime. I'd hate to see all that subsumed by moving "his" work under her current name. All this is IMHO. If Heinlein had became a female and changed his name to "Joan Eunice Heinlein" after I Will Fear No Evil, would there have been any question of changing his canonical name? (Come to think of it, many people already divide Heinlein's canon into works before and after I Will Fear Evil!) MHHutchins 01:47, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Not to dismiss your other good points, but those aside I don't think the Heinlein scenario is a fair comparison. If you moved the date of RAH's sex change (or alternatively moved the date of his publications) so that the majority of his stories originally came out under the "Joan Eunice Heinlein" handle, and have every novel he owns all the rights to (in other words no TV show tie-ins) come back into print under his new monicker in equal or greater numbers of printings than they appeared under his old name, then that would more strongly reflect the history of Hank/Jean Stine's publication history as author. Under such a scenario, who knows which name would be prefered by the general public (especially with Heinlein himself championing his new name and identity)? Granted, that's still no fair comparison since you can't dismiss Stine's editorial history. But regardless, comparing someone well known to someone not so well known will be apples and oranges. Jonschaper 02:18, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Given the relative obscurity of both names and the author's preferences (which tend to be quite strong after a sex change), I see no harm in going with one of the "Jean". As a side benefit, it will also help disambiguate the two authors. Ahasuerus 03:09, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I am sure the always amiable Jonschaper would appreciate some movement on this one.--swfritter 15:34, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll approve the original submission as per the discussion above. -DES Talk 21:05, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Odd Sort of Serial Variants

Fixed Nomad and the variant titles of the serial do not sort correctly. There might be something else going on here. All three parts needed to be fixed but only one showed up in Serial Cleanup list.--swfritter 14:01, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually all three parts are there; just not grouped which still may or may not have some significance.--swfritter 14:08, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Why are the installments done as variants of the novel in the first place? (Is this something new I've missed?) -- Dave (davecat) 17:55, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes. It replaces the lexical matching of serial to novel. Eventually there will be a mass conversion.--swfritter 20:09, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
The "mass conversion" script has been created and will be tested this week. For now, we are working on ISFDB:Serial Cleanup. Once the cleanup has been completed and the mass conversion script has been run, we will disable the lexical match logic. Ahasuerus 20:59, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
This should look much better now. --MartyD 10:15, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

The Stars in Shroud vs Deeper than the Darkness

Currently, Deeper than the Darkness is the canonical name of this novel. But the magazine publication, and as far as i can see all pubs since, use the variant title The Stars in Shroud. (I noticed this via the Serial Cleanup project.) Should the relationship be switched, and The Stars in Shroud be made the canonical name? There are no relevant title notes -- was The Stars in Shroud an expanded or revised version? That is something Benford has done in other cases. -DES Talk 20:06, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I own both titles, and even at first glance (the first lines) they are not the same. On Benford's website there's a statement from Peter Nicholls about the novel: his first novel was Deeper than the Darkness, published by Ace Books in 1970. It was based on a 1969 story, one of his earliest, and also called "Deeper than the Darkness". When he looked back on the book-length version later on he was dissatisfied, thought it "dreadful"; it was "hastily written". So he expanded and rewrote it into a more sophisticated version, The Stars in Shroud, 1978.. Perhaps they should be treated as two different novels. If not, Deeper than the Darkness is the title it was first published under, so it makes sense that this is the canonical name. Willem H. 21:02, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Well the help says "For stories or novels that appeared under more than one title, the canonical title is usually the first title for that work, but may be a later title if that title is much better known." Help:Glossary. If these are to be treated as separate works, IMO a title-note describing their relation would be a good idea. And if they are kept as variants, a title-note describing the differences would be a good idea, lest someone assume that it is just a re-titling. Anyway, that's my view. -DES Talk 21:13, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree completely. We can be certain Benford would choose The Stars in Shroud over Deeper than the Darkness. By the way, isn't it strange that the each of the three parts of the serial of The Stars in Shroud is also a variant of Deeper than the Darkness? Maybe Michael Hutchins (who verified the Galaxy's it was published in) should say something about this. Willem H. 18:02, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
I just recently made those serials variants of Deeper than the Darkness, as part of ISFDB:Serial Cleanup, because Deeper than the Darkness is currently the canonical title, and we are now supposed to make serials variants of the canonical novel entry, where one exists. It was when i was creating those variants that I thought to open this thread. -DES Talk 18:20, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
So much going on these days. I try not to follow all discussions, as my energy levels are low. This explains a lot, however, and it's one more reason to make The Stars in Shroud the canonical title. Willem H. 19:49, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Looks like nobody is arguing one way or the other. I consider The Stars in Shroud and Deeper than the Darkness as two different novels. Any objections to seperating them (including adding notes and linking the serial to the right title of course)? Willem H. 20:47, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Submitted an unmerge for Deeper than the Darkness. Willem H. 20:43, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Early September

A few things re: the development/operations schedule over the next couple of weeks:

  • I will have another surgery on Friday, 2009-09-04. (I suppose one every three years isn't too bad.)
  • Complications are highly unlikely, but just in case I will upload the latest backup file on Friday morning.
  • I will likely be sporadically available on Thursday and Saturday. If you don't hear from me on Sunday/Monday, please contact Al and ask him to set up a new backup process.
  • I will likely have plenty of free time next week, so with luck I may get to spend some of it on software development.
  • I was hoping to get the Serial Cleanup project completed (and lexical match disabled) prior to the surgery, but it looks like we may not have enough time for that. It's better to postpone the changes than to risk major problems while the only person with access to the live server is not available. Still, we should continue working on cleaning things up so that we will be ready to flip the switch when I come back.

Ahasuerus 19:34, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Hand the surgeon a can of WD-40 and you should be ok. :-) Best wishes for your progress. --Marc Kupper|talk 06:15, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Lubrication! I knew I was missing something!! Ahasuerus 20:01, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Good Luck! We do seem to have a high correlation between ISFDB editing and Hospital visits - is this cause or effect I wonder? Which reminds me, I should book my next visit. :-( BLongley 20:32, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The doctors claim that they put everything back together and that there were no extra parts left on the table. However, they wouldn't give me a warranty for the next 3 years/30,000 miles, which makes me slightly apprehensive. Oh well, back to Serials scripting once the wetware is up to it. Ahasuerus 18:54, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Some interesting observations

There are some interesting observations from a new editor at User talk:ApeMind#A few questions. They might well be worth a brief look. -DES Talk 00:20, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Ten Reasons Why Cataloging Librarians Make Natural Programmers

Ten Reasons Why Cataloging Librarians Make Natural Programmers -- seems mostly spot on :) Ahasuerus 23:37, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Wow! I didn't realize how close I am to being a qualified programmer! (And I couldn't tell an API from an ATM unless money was flying out of one of them.) MHHutchins 23:49, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I found that slightly depressing. Programmers that only think in terms of objects/classes/sub-classes/interfaces etc seem to be fundamentally incapable of dealing with all the decades-worth of software written before the big OO revolution. I'd compare them to Librarians that wouldn't know what to do with a book that didn't have an ISBN. BLongley 23:09, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Bug editing mgazine records

See SF Bug #2850005 Label incorrect for magazine co-editors. 2nd and subsequent co-editors are labeled "Author2" etc. -DES Talk 14:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Transient Verifications

I have a script to find all Verifications for a user, for any of you that wish to revisit your old verifications now that you're more experienced, or if you wish to find your Primary Transients that you only did because Primary was already taken. Or any other use you can think of. It runs off the latest backup rather than the live database, so best to ask me soon after a weekly refresh has been posted. Any one interested? BLongley 18:58, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Can you run the script for me? There should be only a few transients, but they're not easy to find. Thanks Willem H. 20:30, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Done, see talk page. BLongley 22:58, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I know eventually I'll have to go back and clean up my earlier verifications, so a list would be very helpful. Thanks. MHHutchins 21:04, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Examples of transients provided - but as you're the second biggest verifier I think we'd better break them down a little. I await clarification of requirements. BLongley 22:58, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent} Feel free to ask for any type of verification, in any order: I can probably do date ranges too if you're only worried about older ones, for instance. If there hasn't been much chat on your talk page about your verifications I may have to ask for your user number rather than go find it, but the offer is open to everyone. BLongley 22:58, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Have you filed a feature request? There have been times where I wanted to look at my verification list. I don't need it at the moment though. --Marc Kupper|talk 20:19, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I believe there are multiple feature requests for various improvements. Some predate the recent improvements that allowed multiple Primary Verifications, so should probably be revisited. In the meantime, this is a free service I'm offering in the interim. BLongley 21:50, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I think this is pretty well subsumed under FR #2813437 My verifications. -DES Talk 21:52, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Subsuming is not necessarily a good thing. Small improvements, fine. Fixing "Verification" overall is a major task (it really IS a badly-programmed part of the ISFDB), and would not necessarily be welcomed by everyone. When I can see what people really want, I'll work on that (eventually). BLongley 22:07, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
What I'd really love to have is the same feature as "My Movies" on IMDB where I can create my own list, with sorting and filtering allowed. MHHutchins 22:21, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Cliff Burns' bibliography

The other day Cliff Burns contacted me via e-mail and pointed out that he has a Web page with a much more comprehensive version of his bibliography (compared to what we currently have) if anyone wants to adopt it as a side project. Ahasuerus 19:00, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

It's not comprehensive enough to create much from, but I took a few of the pointers and added contents to a couple of collections. Perhaps he'll be willing to fill in the rest now? BLongley 20:09, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll take it as a side project if he's willing to work with me via e-mail. Authors care more about the list of titles than accuracy in the publication details. For example, he has for the story Genuinely Inspired Primitive, "Originally published by a small U.S. press in 1993." I'd be unwilling to just turn him loose unless he can pass the ISFDB editor test. FWIW, we have a publication record and AbeBooks lists three copies. We'd now need to check with him as we have the publisher as "Cliff Burns", he says "small U.S. press", and the AbeBook sellers say "Earth Prime Productions" of Iqaluit, Canada. We have the binding as tp and Abebooks has chapbook with stapled spine. However, I then found this (the title is spelled wrong which is why the first search missed it) which says "Copyright in 1993, the 'about the author' segment is dated January, 1994." which pushes the publication date out to 1994-01 or later. Google found Earth Prime printings of the story that apparently have the publisher address in Parma, Ohio. I'd be unwilling to correct the ISFDB data until I learned how many publications there were. It looks like Earth Prime Productions existed in 1993/1994 and may have published specfict as it also did Weird Family Tales by Ken Wisman. Kim Elizabeth may also have a story published by them per a guestbook comment. The fun never ends. --Marc Kupper|talk 18:35, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
E-mail sent, thanks! Ahasuerus 00:43, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Request to delete J. A. Jance

We have two novels and one work of shortfiction by J. A. Jance in the db. I have read one of the novels (as well as more than half of this author's published work) within the last month. All are detective procedurals/thrillers, with no spec-fic elements of any sort. I haven't read Kiss of the Bees yet, but I'll be very surprised if it has any speculative elements, and i will check this out promptly.

I propose to delete the two novels (assuming that the 2nd one checks out as i expect) and Image:DOTDJAJPBF.gif, a cover image for one of them. The short story is included in a collection that also includes some authors who IMO are over the "threshold", and the story may be SF for all i know, so i won't delete it at this time.

Does anyone object to these deletions? -DES Talk 08:26, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

These two novels were reviewed by Charles de Lint in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October-November 2005, so we probably want to change them to Nongenre rather than delete them outright. Ahasuerus 17:01, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh. Somehow I missed that. Thanks for mentioning it. -DES Talk 17:07, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Converted to NONGENRE, and an appropriate title note added. -DES Talk 00:36, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-20 installed

Patch r2009-20 has been applied to the live server. It converted 1,548 Serial titles into Variant Titles of their associated Novel or Shortfiction titles. Now we just need to disable the "lexical match" logic and make a few minor display changes and we should be all set :) Ahasuerus 22:48, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-21 and the demise of the lexical match

Patch r2009-21 has been installed on the live server. The following changes have been implemented:

  • FR 2823387 Final round of Serial changes.

    "Lexical Match" is now gone

    (and there were wild celebrations in the streets.) There is a known issue with Serial VTs not always appearing in the order of publication, but we hope to address it soon.
  • FR 2807744 You can no longer create duplicate Series names.
  • FR 2807944 You can no longer blank out Series names.
  • Bug 2830311 You can now remove more than 199 Titles from a Publication. You can also remove Titles 200 and above from a publication.
  • Bug 2847465 Advanced Search no longer errors out when you omit the first search parameter.
  • Bug 2847464 Advanced Search no longer errors out when you search on Storylen.

Please post any issues with the patch here. Special thanks to the editors who worked on cleaning up our Serial records! Ahasuerus 22:29, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-22 is live

Patch r2009-22 has been installed on the live server. The following changes have been implemented:

  • Bug 2834551 All VTs, including Serials, are now sorted chronologically. If two (or more) VTs share the same Title date, then they are further sorted alphabetically. This was the last known bug related to Serials (knock on wood).
  • FR 2803812 The main Search box no longer lets you search by Title. But don't panic! It now lets you search "Fiction Titles" or "All Titles", which can drastically reduce the number of displayed matches, e.g. a Fiction Titles search on "Skylark of" returns 18 matches while an "All Titles" search returns 73 matches.
  • FR 2803815 The "Variant" column is now displayed for regular (i.e. not Advanced) "Fiction Titles", "All Titles" and "Year" searches. The Advanced Title Search screens have had this functionality for a while except on the first page, which has now been fixed as follows:
    • Bug 2854724 The first page of the Advanced Title Search now displays the "Variant" column.

As always, please report any problems here. Ahasuerus 04:00, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I like the ability to use basic search to find titles excluding art and reviews. I might have drawn the line to include non-fiction, but this line is reasonable. How hard would it be to add an additional option, "Text Titles" that includes fiction, non-fiction, and essays, but excludes cover art, interior art, and reviews? And do you think such an option would be helpful to enough people to be worth doing? -DES Talk 15:07, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
The reason that I coded this change sooner rather than later was the feedback that I received on rec.arts.sf.written yesterday. We could ask them again, but, although it would be relatively easy to implement, I am somewhat concerned that adding more Title search types may make the search box harder to use for casual users. Ahasuerus 15:16, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I saw the thread. (I also saw a request for a preferences page.) I agree that some version of this was fairly urgent and I'm not complaining, merely commenting. The line between "too few options, i can't do what I want" and "Too many options, I'm confused" is hard to pinpoint. Worse, it is not in the same place for all users. Might be worth asking what RASFW users think, they are probably some of our more regular users who are not (or mostly not) editors. -DES Talk 15:47, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Sure, no harm in asking! Ahasuerus 20:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh and we need a help page somewhere that explains the current "basic" search, I suspect. -DES Talk 15:09, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
And before we forget, we also need to update Serial-specific Help! Ahasuerus 15:16, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Server Problem No. 478 and the Case of the Disappearing Title Record

Last night (app. 2AM EDT) I was working on a particularly difficult submission, taking up most of an hour, fixing the record, commenting to the submitter, etc, and then tried to submit it to the site. The server response kept timing out for more than a half-hour, so I gave up. (It must have lasted for almost an hour. The original submission was accepted at 2009-09-09 00:56:13 and the next one was by Chris J at 2009-09-09 01:55:11) Fortunately, I use Firefox, so I was able to go back and save all my data. Imagine the frustration, especially after all the effort in fixing one submission. Imagine how I would have felt if I'd lost the data, and if I were new to the database. Why would I ever come back? Yeah we can spend tremendous time and effort into developing the software, but it wouldn't matter one whit if the database can't be accessed. Is there anything we can do to solve the problem? If it only happened once a week or so, I could put up with it. But it's happening almost every night!
Now to the real reason for this post: when I was working on the submission of this pub, I saw that the story "Menace of the Metal-Men" was already in the database with an unknown date. It was the only story on A. Prestigiacomo's page. So I knew I'd have to merge it once I was finished with the pub which included a story of the same title (this was before I learned that it had been previously published under another title.) Well, after being unable to submit the work last night, I came back this morning, to start merging the records. And the original record of "Menace of the Metal-Men" had disappeared. I checked the recent integrations but didn't see any changes for the title. The disappearance of this record has me flummoxed (and I swear alcohol wasn't a factor in what I saw last night). I've tried searching with many different spellings of the author and the title, but had no returns. Can anyone explain what may have happened to the original record? It's really bugging me. Thanks. MHHutchins 16:23, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

FWIW, there's no such title in the September 6 back-up (neither title nor publication), and a search through the recent edits between now and then only shows your edits of Zed, Menace, and Fantasy from this morning. Is there any chance some portion/flavor of the submission was present at the time you saw the title? --MartyD 16:46, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
The last bit of your post makes it all clear. It must have been after I'd accepted the original submission in which all of the contents were entered with the 0000-00-00 date (and before the server went haywire) that I saw the record for "Menace". Boy, am I relieved! It wasn't a slip in the time-space continuum. It was only temporary insanity brought on my exposure to that time-consuming metal-man menace (AKA the server). MHHutchins 16:59, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
The server typically becomes unresponsive around 3am Eastern (2am Central/server time) when the backups run. We need to purge old versions of Wiki pages to speed the process up, but it's not a trivial proposition since they are somewhat messed up and the standard "Wiki trim" script fails to run.
I am not sure what caused the server outage at 2am Eastern (1am Central/server time) this morning, but I assume it's one of those semi-irregular server freezes that we have seen. As far as we know, we have fixed the problem with Advanced Searches that was causing some of these freezes and the remaining freezes are due to issues that we have no control over, i.e. provider equipment/software and network issues. However, I will continue checking the server whenever it misbehaves to see if we have any lingering issues with our software that may be contributing to these problems.
BTW, it looks like the resulting magazine record doesn't have an EDITOR Title. They are created automatically at submission time, so I wonder if it may have been dropped while you were juggling various components? (Which reminds me that I need to rerun the scripts that find all Magazines without an Editor Title and all orphan Editors.) Ahasuerus 01:07, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
The original submission had "uncredited" as the editor, and I assumed that changing that to the editor credited by Ashley & Tymn would fix it. So would that mean that any magazine submission which gives "uncredited" as the editor would not generate the automatic editor record? Strange. I'll test that out. MHHutchins 04:39, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
That's not it. A test magazine with "uncredited" as the editor did generate an editor record. Now I'm going to change the editor credit to another name and see what happens. MHHutchins 04:43, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
When I changed the editor credit, the magazine's editor record disappeared and the record became a stray publication on the new editor's summary page. An expected consequence or a bug? MHHutchins 04:45, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
It sounds like a bug and a rather bizarre one at that! I'll see if I can find the problem in the next 24 hours -- thanks for digging! Ahasuerus 05:01, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, I see what's going on. Changing the Publication level editor left the EDITOR Title still assigned to "uncredited", so now we had a mismatch between the Pub and the Editor Title, hence "Stray Publication". We really need to change this software behavior - FR 2855783 - Show all Title Types on Publication edit/remove pages created. Thanks! Ahasuerus 05:17, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
This is the same as changing the editor on titles and pubs for Anthologies isn't it? Those need two separate edits. In fact, I think it's only the Novel type that allows you to do it in one. Although Coverart is a special case too, where the cover artists do get changed automatically despite being on a separate title record... although actual title changes don't propagate to the "COVER: " record... but we're overlapping with the requirement to STOP people mass-changing contents unwittingly. This is dangerous ground, and probably needs a full review of where things need to be changed en masse and where they shouldn't. BLongley 19:25, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Which reminds me, CHAPTERBOOK is still in the middle - hidden when viewing, shown when editing. How are people getting on with them since they were semi-reenabled? BLongley 19:31, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
P.S. The problem record has been fixed. Ahasuerus 05:19, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-23 installed

Patch r2009-23 has been installed on the live server. The only thing that was changed was the "Concise Listing" link on the Publication page aka FR 2855262. It used to be buried in the navigation bar on the left and now, by popular demand, it is prominently displayed at the top of the Contents section. Ahasuerus 04:50, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it's very noticeable. In fact, IMHO, the font is too large. It overpowers everything else on the page. So much so that it appears to be the listing it represents when it's just the opposite. How many people would know that you have to click on it to get the listing that it indicates? Perhaps the CONTENTS should be changed to reflect the current listing with the link to the other listing being smaller, i.e. CONTENTS (over) FULL LISTING (followed by the link) "Click for Fiction and Essays only", and CONTENTS (over) CONCISE LISTING "Click for Full Listing". Just a thought. MHHutchins 05:09, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, r2009-24 created and deployed -- does it look better now? Ahasuerus 05:31, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Much, much better. Never realized how much power I wield. Oprah, beware! MHHutchins 05:46, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Do we need it at all when the content display won't change anyway? E.g here it just looks annoying from either view. BLongley 19:47, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, we could pre-scan the list of Contents titles and only display the "Concise Listing" link when reviews, interior illustrations, etc are present, but it will take a little bit of coding. Are you volunteering? :-) Ahasuerus 20:27, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm volunteering for nothing this month: PCI-DSS audit stuff to go through. Then I get to take some holiday time. Whether time here is enough of a holiday is still debatable... I suspect a week away from the internet, then a week of internet not-related-to-work might be a fair balance. But I'm taking doctor's advice this weekend. BLongley 21:32, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Good luck with the audit and the away-from-the-internet time! FWIW, sea cruises can be quite relaxing although many ships have Internet access these days :) Ahasuerus 21:41, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
And I wish we had a better view of this "popular demand". Can you provide a pointer to the relevant Usenet discussions? BLongley 19:47, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I believe Michael posted about his discovery of the "Concise Listing" link a couple of months ago, which got me wondering how many other, less experienced users were unaware of it as well. I then posted on rec.arts.sf.written and received a bunch of "I didn't know about it!" responses. Ahasuerus 20:27, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I vaguely knew about it, but haven't found it much use and let it fall aside. There's several non-default views we could improve. BLongley 21:32, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Yup, e.g. FR 2855260 - Display "Other Bibliographies" at the top of the Author page. Ahasuerus 21:41, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
(I thought they were all "Google Groups" now.) BLongley 19:47, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Usenet is just a collection of servers using the NNTP protocol to exchange messages. A number of US-based providers have decommissioned their NNTP servers over the last few years -- apparently in part due to legal issues associated with binary (pictures, audio, video, etc) newsgroups -- but there are still providers that provide this service. There is also a variety of Web sites which archive Usenet messages and make them available to outside users, often for a small fee. Google Groups is one of these Web sites, but they also have native "Google Groups" which are not accessible via NNTP. Ahasuerus 20:27, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
My current ISP was pretty bad at Usenet when I joined, so I kept my old ISP account as well: but I haven't really missed it and don't bother downloading News any more. I should cancel that old account and save a tenner a month, I think. BLongley 21:32, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

r2009-25 - Sub-series can now be removed from parent Series

Patch r2009-25 has been installed. You can now remove Sub-series from their parent Series by editing the Sub-series record and blanking the "Parent" field. I have already removed the parent series from all "reuse" sub-series, but we still have a few dozen sub-series labeled "Delete this series - child" linked to "Delete this series - parent". Ahasuerus 01:30, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

You get an error message if you try to rename a series if the name is already in use. Found this when I tried to rename it to "to be reused".Kraang 02:01, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
That's right, duplicate Series names were disallowed a couple of patches ago, although existing duplicates remain for now. It's not a big deal since these names are placeholders anyway, so "to be reused 2", "to be reused 3", etc should work. I hope to enable empty Series deletion in another patch or two, at which point we will be able to delete empty Series outright instead of renaming them. Ahasuerus 02:40, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Finding and renaming extraneous super-series

We also need to create a script to find all super-series which contain a single sub-series and no title records. Ahasuerus 01:30, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Something like this then? BLongley 20:40, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
select s1.series_id, s1.series_title
from series s1
where s1.series_parent IS NULL -- No parent, so Super-Series
and not exists (select 1 from titles t  where t.series_id = s1.series_id) -- No titles
and   1 = (select COUNT(*) from series s2 where s2.series_parent = s1.series_id) -- Just one sub-series
Exactly! Here is what I see in the last backup file:
| series_id | series_title                           |
|      2764 | Robotech Universe                      |
|      3580 | Robots to Foundation                   |
|      6037 | Gom                                    |
|      6139 | Conan Pastiches                        |
|      7381 | Gene Roddenberry's Earth               |
|     12192 | World of Darkness Universe             |
|     12455 | The Old Kingdom Universe               |
|     19325 | Ecolitan Universe                      |
|     20013 | Empire Princess                        |
|     20661 | Dangerous Journeys                     |
|     20665 | Dark Conspiracy                        |
|     20685 | Spelljammer                            |
|     20717 | Deadlands: The Weird West              |
|     21421 | Engineman and Telemass Future History  |
|     22113 | The Unseen Universe                    |
|     22285 | Firebird Universe                      |
|     22761 | Draco Tavern Universe                  |
|     24748 | Fantastica                             |
|     25253 | Kpulliam (RESERVED CATEGORY)           |
|     25570 | Formerly erroneous series to be reused |
I have cleaned up 3 other ones by removing their sub-series and changing their names to "reuse - was [name]", but the ones above still need to be cleaned up. Ahasuerus 22:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
All empty super-series have been deleted. We still have 51 (!) empty "Delete this series - child" series, though. Ahasuerus 19:01, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
"Delete this series - child" are now gone and so are a couple dozen other empty series. I will re-run the script that looks for empty series tomorrow and see if I can create a target list. Empty series, beware! We know where you hide! Ahasuerus 01:41, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

r2009-26 - Series deletion is now enabled

Patch r2009-26 has been installed on the live server. The following changes have been implemented:

  • FR 2809640 A new menu option, "Delete Series" is now available when viewing Series records. You can only delete series which have no Titles and no sub-series. Also, "Series Data" has been changed to "Edit Series", but that was just a cosmetic change.
  • Bug 2857141 ("Tag" not available in some search boxes) and Bug 2827085 (Error when logging in from the Key Maintenance page) have been fixed. In addition, the navigation bar has been streamlined somewhat and the available options should appear in a more consistent order as you move from screen to screen.
  • Bug 2858061 Fixed the display of "view Full Listing" when using Firefox.

Please note that this is our first new menu option since Al became unavailable, so the potential for problems is higher than usual. In addition, the software that displays the navigation bar on the left has been partially rewritten and centralized, which also increases the likelihood of bugs. Please report any issues that you may find right away. TIA! Ahasuerus 14:39, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

r2009-27 - Titles with more than 15 authors now supported

Patch r2009-27 has been installed. The following changes have been implemented:

  • Bug 2849218 Titles with more than 15 authors no longer error out at submission time
  • Bug 2859023 The "Add Author" button now works in the Add Variant screen

Ahasuerus 02:32, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

r2009-28 - Display of Serials on the Publication Display page enhanced

As per recent Rules discussions and Feature Request 2859721, we no longer display related book titles for Serials if the title wasn't changed for book publication. Ahasuerus 03:39, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Wow! That was fast! A few months ago I never would have expected a change to be implemented within a day or so after discussion. Most likely months! Thanks. MHHutchins 04:30, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Changing the "Add New ..." options

At this time we have the following 7 options in the navbar:

  1. Add New Novel
  2. Add New Magazine
  3. Add New Anthology
  4. Add New Collection
  5. Add New Omnibus
  6. Add New Nonfiction
  7. Add New Fanzine

We do not have an option to "Add New Chapterbook", but you can change the "Publication Type" field in the submission form to any other type, which can result in pub/title type mismatches. I think we would be better off adding an "Add New Chapterbook" menu option and disabling the "Publication Type" dropdown list in the "New" data entry form, which should help minimize editor confusion. Does it sound like a reasonable plan? Ahasuerus 03:57, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

That's OK, but it prevents an experienced editor from using the dropdown menu to change the type from ANTHOLOGY to NOVEL and enter contents. If he chooses "Add New Novel" he has to make a later submission to add interior art and essays into a novel record. Before disabling the dropdown menu, perhaps we can change the "Add New Novel" screen so that contents can be added in the same submission. BTW, I don't recall ever seeing a submission adding a new pub that had the wrong type. Or maybe I just didn't notice them. I'm not sure what you mean by "pub/title type mismatches" unless you mean entry errors for the pub type. Not sure how title and pubs can be "mismatched" on submissions of new pubs. Isn't a new title record created that exactly matches the new pub? MHHutchins 04:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
A little experimenting suggests that changing the type in the form doesn't result in a mismatch, so we are in good shape in that respect. As far as allowing Contents items in the "Add New Novel" screen goes, that's clearly a good idea and fairly easy to do. In addition, we could add Series (already requested), Series Number, Synopsis, Wikipedia Entry and perhaps a separate Title level Note (unless having two Note fields may be confusing), but it will take more work. Ahasuerus 18:02, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I for one would like contents fields for novels (for accompanying essays/intros/etc, and for interior art, and for the occasional bonus story), Series name & number, synopsis and Wikipedia entry. I would personally like a field for the title level note, but fear it would confuse some editors. When we have a preferences page I would ideally like the presence of a a title level note on a new pub screen to be a preference, defaulting to OFF. Whether this is worth the development work is another question. I would very much like a "New Chapterbook" option, because currently you have not only to change type, but add both the shortfiction and the chapterbook title records, and one of these should be able to be added automatically. -DES Talk 19:10, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Eh? The chapterbook title IS created automatically. It's only if you want to add shortfiction as well that you need to add some more data? (I wouldn't want to create the SHORTFICTION entry automatically as many chapterbooks have different titles from their contents. But we're overdue a review of how it's working for people so far anyway.) BLongley 20:02, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Using User Preferences for this purpose is an intriguing idea. It's not quite as easy to implement as the other changes, but it shouldn't be too hard to do, although, of course, it will have to wait until we have User Preferences added. Also, how about changing the current navbar layout, i.e.:
Add New Novel
Add New Magazine
Add New Anthology
Add New Collection
Add New Omnibus
Add New Nonfiction
Add New Fanzine
to something like:
Add New:
(note the alphabetization) with proper HTML indentation? Ahasuerus 19:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
It makes the navbar a little neater, but I fear that anything that requires a user, to understand the meaning of a navbar item, to look at another line, may only increase confusion. The order isn't a major issue to me; whether it puts "most important" items first, or is alphabetical, I'll be happy. But if you are going to alphabetize, shouldn't "Novel" come after "Magazine"? If it is to be by "importance" or "Frequency of use" I would put "fanzine" last. -DES Talk 19:52, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I was looking for a compromise between "importance" (novels first) and "alphabetization", but it sounds like these navbar changes are not very high on the list of priorities. They are easy to make and unmake, though, so we could always try them and see how it goes. Ahasuerus 21:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I think I want "User preferences" soon, as already I find the navbar distinctly annoyingly long in some places and too short in others. I often look at an existing pub entry and want to add a new publication - but no "New Anything" options are available at that point. "Other Sites" is annoyingly long and I'd like to switch off many of the sites - I'm never going to use "Barnes & Noble", "", "Blackwell", "Books-A-Million", "", "Powells", "". BLongley 20:09, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this is going to be one of the first things implemented under User Preferences. Also, do you happen to remember where you were when you didn't see the "New" options? There are three versions of the navbar, one for the moderator area, one for the edit ares and one for everything else. The first two do not have "New Anything", but all other screens should have them. Ahasuerus 21:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)Also, we probably need to change "Content" to "Additional Content" in the "New Novel" screen or else new editors may think that they need to re-enter the Novel Title record. Ahasuerus 21:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

It looks like we have 5 feature requests here:
  1. Implement "Add New Chapterbook" - high priority, easy
  2. Add a "Content" section to "Add New Novel" and change the header to "Additional Content" - high priority, easy
  3. Add Series, Series Number, Synopsis and Wikipedia link to all "New" screens - medium priority, moderate
  4. Add a new field for Title level Notes, but only display it when it's checked in User Preferences - low priority, moderate, depends on the implementation of User Preferences
  5. Change the display of the "Add New" option in the navbar - low priority, easy, no consensus on the end state
I will try to implement 1 and 2 quickly and add 3 some time over the next few weeks (if all goes well.) Ahasuerus 22:07, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
1, 2 and (a version of) 5 implemented. FRs created for 3 and 4. Ahasuerus 04:03, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Wiki time-stamping differences

Why is the time stamped on a comment posted on a discussion page different from that shown on the Recent Changes page? For example, I posted a comment that's timed 23:42 on the Recent Changes page, but it's timed 04:42 on the actual discussion page, a five hour difference. MHHutchins 04:49, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

The signature timestamps are in UTC, once known as GMT. Looks like the Recent Changes list's timestamps are in server-local time, which seems to be US Central or the equivalent (UTC -5:00). Thus the signature timestamps are 5 hours "ahead". --MartyD 10:13, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
The timestamps in recentchanges use the time zone set in user's preferences, but default (I think) to server time. The signature timestamps use "site time" which can be configured but is the same for all users. It appears to be currently set to UTC, as MartyD wrote above. (Specifically, I posted the first part of this at 2:56 EDT, which is zone -4:00, and the posting timestamp is 18:56.) See Help:Recent changes and Help:Preferences#Date and time for more details. -DES Talk 18:56, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-26 - "Add Chapterbook" added; EDITOR disallowed in New Pub forms

Patch r2009-26 has been installed. The following changes have been made:

  • FR 2860420 As per the discussion above, you can now add a Chapterbook directly from the navbar
  • FR 2860427 You can no longer select EDITOR in any of the "New Pub" forms, which should hopefully help reduce the number of EDITOR records used for editorials. You can still select EDITOR in Edit Pub.

I also alphabetized the navbar list of "New Pubs" as per the inconclusive discussion above -- let's see if it looks better/worse/the same this way -- and changed the title of the New Pub post-submission screen from "Change Pub" to "New Pub".

In addition, I found the bug that Bill mentioned earlier. There are screens that do not display "New Anything" when they should. I'll create a bug report later. Ahasuerus 04:28, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

FR (arguably a bug) 2860715 created. Ahasuerus 14:29, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


Nemonymous (see Wikipedia:Nemonymous) is either a magazine published in TP format, or a series of anthologies under consistent editorship (to date). User:Sdtullis has entered the data for Nemonymous 8 under the title of Nemonymous 8 (Cone Zero). I suggested on his talk page that this should be either a magazine with a title like "Nemonymous, Issue #8: Cone Zero" or else an anthology with the title "Cone Zero" being number 8 in the anthology series "Nemonymous". I incline to the latter option. Do others have views on the matter? -DES Talk 14:44, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

I incline toward the latter too. Interesting publication - a year before we can assign authors to titles? Is Des Lewis trying to make life deliberately hard for us? Might have to go and interrogate him directly, he seems to live near my parents. BLongley 20:04, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
There has always been a gray area between Magazines and Anthologies. When in doubt, I usually go with Anthologies because they support multiple printings (see Destines for an example where it was the key consideration) and because they are easier to maintain. Ahasuerus 20:11, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a consensus to me. I'll offer to make the change, as conversion from a mag can be a little tricky. -DES Talk 20:25, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster

I want to call attention to Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster. The cover and title page actually say "A Novel by Alan Dean Foster" "Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman". As this is a movie tie-in, i presume that the latter two authors wrote the film script. How much of their detailed work (e.g. dialog) was used by Foster i don't know, probably a fair amount. My question, given this title-page credit, should all three be listed as co-authors in our records? -DES Talk 16:01, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't credit the screenplay-writers, except in notes if it wasn't already well detailed on the Wikipedia link which this now has. It would be a dangerous precedent and could lead to a lot of rework. BLongley 17:59, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
At this time we record the novel(ization) author in the Author field and put the people responsible for the original (screen)play in Notes. This may change later when we implement Roles. Ahasuerus 18:47, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. The only reason i brought the matter up was because of the title page credit under the words "Written by". That sounds a lot more like a co-author credit than the usual "Based on a film by". -DES Talk 20:09, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-30 installed

Patch r2009-30 has been installed. The following changes have been made:

  • FR 2860715 "Add New ..." now appears on the Series, Publisher, Award and Publication pages. The section was also cleaned up a bit on the Author and Main pages, but you probably won't notice the change.
  • FR 2861099 You can now enter Contents in the New Novel data entry form just like you can enter it in other New Pub forms. By default, you get only 3 Title sections, but you can click on "Add Title" as per our SOPs if there are more than 3 Titles to enter. The default number of Reviews and Interviews is set to 1 for New Novels.
  • FR 2861102 COVERART no longer appears in the drop-down list of title types in New Pub (also bug 2860451)
  • FR 2860754 If a Title is currently a Variant Title, accessing the Make Variant screen will now pre-populate the parent title's number in the "Record#" field
  • Bug 2860448 INTERVIEW and REVIEW no longer appear in the drop-down list of title types in the Edit Pub screen. Of course, you can still enter them in the separate Reviews and Interviews sections.

Please report any problems with the patch here. Ahasuerus 03:31, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Add Non-Genre?

Since we are cleaning up the navbar, should we create an "Add New Non-Genre" option to cover the last outstanding case? Ahasuerus 03:48, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

My gut reaction is no. I don't think many editors will understand the restrictions placed on the acceptance of non-genre publications. It might be an open invitation to add any non-genre work, regardless of the threshold test that's suppose to limit them. In the end, it's up to the moderators to maintain the restrictions, but I don't want to spend a lot of time tracking down synopses or plot summaries to see if a work should be included. If I see a submission of an unrecognized title by a well-known spec-fic writer, I accept it without much thought. Still, I wonder how such an option would work if the publication is a collection or anthology. Would there be an additional option to identify the type of publication? I'm fighting off the flu right now, so it's hard for me to wrap my head around how it would work. MHHutchins 05:07, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Anyone who knows the system at all can easily use "new novel" and change to NONGENRE during the submission process. Anyone who doesn't know how to do that should probably not be adding non-genre novels (which is the only thing the NONGENRE type is currently for). -DES Talk 14:39, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
"NONGENRE" is currently not available in the drop-down list when creating a new submission, so you have to wait for the submission to be approved, then edit the Title record. Not a big deal, but one step is generally better than two.
Perhaps we could get rid of the drop-down box altogether -- now that we have "Add New ..." for all major title types -- and have a checkbox for "Nongenre?" (or a "-/NONGENRE" drop-down box defaulted to "-") in the New Novel form? Ahasuerus 16:03, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I would like to keep the existing dropdown -- There are times when one realizes during an edit that one started with the wrong type. NONGENRE is not on the pubedit drop down because it is a title type, of course, as I should have said above. A checkbox on the new novel screen might be OK, but not IMO on the Edit Publication screen for an existing novel. If those two use the same code, then it would IMO be better not to have a checkbox on either. -DES Talk 16:11, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
"New Pub" and "Edit Pub" do not have a conflict in this area, so it shouldn't be a problem. However, if we keep the drop-down list, then adding a checkbox may not be a good idea since it will be possible to change the title type to, say, Collection and still have the checkbox on the screen, which will lead to confusion because we don't support non-genre collections at this time.
How about this approach: Keep the drop-down list and add NONGENRE to it? That way experienced editors will be able to change the title type to NONGENRE, but it won't appear on the navbar. Ahasuerus 19:25, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
That suits me best. BLongley 19:34, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
That works for me if the dropdown list is separate from the list in the editpub form, which i gather it is, or can be. -DES Talk 19:42, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a plan then. It shouldn't take long to code, although I may not be able to get to it tonight. Ahasuerus 19:56, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Implemented in patch r2009-31 - see below. Ahasuerus 02:46, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Pseudonym removal and improving Edit Pub

My two big projects for this weekend are implementing Pseudonym Removal and changing Edit Pub so that it will no longer affect other pubs when you edit Titles in Contents.

Pseudonym Removal is fairly straightforward, so I don't think there is much to discuss there. Changing Edit Pub, however, is a little tricker, so let me explain my current approach and see if it makes sense.

As we all know (entirely too well), at this time Edit Pub lets you change Content Titles directly, which affects all pubs which contain the changed title, which often not what we want to happen. My plan is to change the submission approval software so that when an existing Title is modified, the following steps are performed:

  1. If the affected Title exists in only 1 pub, change the Title as requested.
  2. If the only changed fields in the affected title are the page number, storylen and/or date (?), change the title record as requested.
  3. Otherwise:
    • Create a new Title record using the data in the current Title record
    • Modify the newly created Title record with the values entered in Edit Pub
    • Add the newly created Title to the pub
    • Remove the old Title from the pub

Would this approach work and, if so, is there anything that I need to improve? Does step 2 make sense or should we create a new Title record even if the only fields modified were "storylen" and/or "date"? (I think Title Type shouldn't be eligible since changing NOVEL to SHORTFICTION or COLLECTION to ANTHOLOGY shouldn't affect other Titles.) Ahasuerus 20:30, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

My heart went all aflutter on reading this. I think this "if/then" approach sounds great, but I know so little about programming I couldn't tell if it would "work". I'll leave that to you programmers. Step 2, as you described it, would be basically what we have now and it works well (we do it knowing full well that it will effect every record in the db.) Creating a new title record would only mean making a variant based on length or date (which we DON'T want to start doing.) I'm assuming after the third step it would be up to the editor to create a variant in another submission. Perhaps some kind of warning or advisement, otherwise we'll have all of these titles sitting there waiting for someone else to come along to clean them up (Jonschaper?). MHHutchins 20:51, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) That could make sense, but I think there needs to be a large warning to the moderator in such cases, because we will almost always want to either make the new title a variant of the old, or else merge it back to the old title. I could almost favor automatically creating the variant, but if such a variant already exists, we will want to merge with the existing variant, and i don't trust a script to make the choice accurately at this point. Or do you think a script could reliably choose whether to make a new variant or which variant to merge with (any VT with identical author and title I suppose)?
The moderator needs to follow up to make sure that the merge or variant is done, just as we now follow up when a reprint anthology or collection is added to make sure that contents are merged. This will probably need to be added to the moderator help page.
I don't think a change in storylen or date should create a new title automatically -- IME such changes are usually intended to affect all publications of the title, and are more often than not correct to do so. Title Type is tricky -- when changing from say SHORTFICTION to POEM, or ESSAY to SHORTFICTION (for a fictional essay) or the like, I generally want to affect all publications. I guess I'll just have to learn to click on the title link and make the change as a title update.
A check box controlling whether a new title is created or the existing one is modified might help experienced editors, but would probably be prone to too much confusion of the same sort we get now. -DES Talk 21:01, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Hm, automatic VT creation is tempting, but there are a few issues to consider. First, what if the submitting editor meant to replace the Title with an unrelated one, e.g. "Oh no, in this edition the introduction was written by Dickson rather than by Anderson"? Second, the old Title may have been a VT while the newly entered Title may be a canonical title, in which case we would want to merge it with the pre-existing canonical title instead of creating a VT. It seems like there are just too many possible permutations that require different approaches for automatic VT generation to be feasible :( Ahasuerus 21:32, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I fear you are right. Oh, it would be possible to add a drop down with some of the likely choices (change existing title; make variant of existing title; make new title) but that might well make the interface too complex and confusing. Tempting, but quite possibly a mistake. -DES Talk 21:41, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
As far as giving the approving moderator a warning, we can add it to the yet-to-be-compiled list of warnings that we plan to add to the submission review screen. Ahasuerus 21:32, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Fine, but i strongly urge you NOT to implement this without some sort of moderator warning. This is a completely new issue for both editors and moderators, and without a warning I fear far too much cleanup will be left undone. If you feel than any warning really ought to be coded along with the list of other warnings, than i for one would rather that you delay the entire feature until that list is compiled and implemented. -DES Talk 21:41, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think I will be able to implement a full blown warning system before this change, but I can add a simple warning at the bottom of the screen, right before the verification warnings.
In general, although it's certainly true that this FR will change the way we modify Contents data, I don't think that the post-approval cleanup part will be that different. The current "Add/Remove/Merge-or-VT" approach will be replaced with a "Edit/Merge-or-VT" approach, so the last part of the chain, the one that involves merges and VT'ing, won't change much. We just need to wrap our brains around it :) Ahasuerus 22:40, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I am looking at the code and it's rather involved. I am reasonably sure that I could implemented the changes that we have discussed, but the probability of something going wrong may be non-trivial. I am beginning to think that the safe way to handle this problem is to create a temporary fix: make the Author/Title/Title Type fields uneditable (similar to the way most fields are not editable in Clone Pub) for any Title that exists in more than 1 pub. We can revisit the issue in a few months when I hopefully have a better idea of what I am doing. Ahasuerus 03:25, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-31 installed - NONGENRE available via New Pub

Patch r2009-31 has been installed. "NONGENRE" is now available in the drop-down list of "Pub Types" in all New Pub forms.

The implementation took longer than expected due to unforeseen technical issues, but as a side benefit I found and fixed a bug which resulted in new Chapterbooks having the storylen field set to "sf". We have 92 affected records and they can be found by running an Advanced Title Search on "Title Type = CHAPTERBOOK and Storylen = sf". I am sure we'll fix them at some point, but it's hardly urgent. Ahasuerus 02:46, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

r2009-32 - Pseudonym removal has been enabled

Patch r2009-32 has been installed and we can now remove pseudonyms, e.g. Robert A. Heinlein is no longer a pseudonym used by Frederik Pohl or Judith Merril and Henry Kuttner is no longer his own pseudonym. "Make Pseudonym" has been changed to "Add/Remove a Pseudonym" and we will need to update Help to reflect the new functionality.

Please note that if a pseudonym is set up two or more times, removing it will only remove the latest association. Bill has a script that looks for these abnormalities and I will play with it tomorrow. I have also found a number of other pre-existing issues with "Create Pseudonym", which I plan to fix over the next few days. Ahasuerus 03:19, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

This is so cool. You have definitely been shaking the rust off. --Marc Kupper|talk 04:10, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I try! :) It's a bit of a balancing act right now: I am trying to do as much development as I can during this period of high availability without burning out. If everything goes according to the plan and I retire in 2011, I should have a lot more time for development and data entry. Ahasuerus 15:54, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Does this mean we can fix authors who have two identical pseudonyms, e.g. Robert Heinlein and Brian Aldiss? MHHutchins 06:05, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh yes, very much so! Just access "Add/Remove a Pseudonym" for Robert Heinlein and remove one of the links to Robert A. Heinlein. Ahasuerus 15:54, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, Joy! Oh, Rapture! It works! There were several other double linked pseudonyms, but I can't think of them now. I'll come upon them eventually. Thanks millions. MHHutchins 17:49, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Great! You can also use this option to flip flop between canonical names and pseudonyms, e.g. A. R. Long would look much better if the canonical name was Amelia Reynolds Long. Of course, you still have to change all the VTs manually until we implement the ability to "Change Canonical Name", which may not happen for another 6 months or so.
BTW, Bill's script that I mentioned above does exactly what you wanted to do -- it looks for double linked pseudonyms and fixes them. There are less than 30 left in the database, so I may do them manually tonight. I still need to clean up the "Add Pseudonym" code to prevent this and similar issues from occurring in the future. Also, author auto-deletion and author merges do not clean up pseudonyms, so that needs to be fixed too. And I also need to fix the Remove Pseudonym approval code to reject "out of order" submissions, which are harmless but ugly at the moment. No rest for the wicked... Ahasuerus 18:37, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, vindicated at last! Still, with that few I don't mind if they're done manually. BLongley 19:13, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Looking good, but Ellery Queen pseudonym for Avram Davidson pseudonym for Ellery Queen looks a bit risky... BLongley 20:11, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Ellery Queen has finally admitted that he has never published stories as Avram Davidson. Better late than never! Ahasuerus 20:54, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
All "double linked" pseudonyms have been removed. The pseudonym table is getting dirty because it's not cleaned up when Author records are deleted or merged, but there is little impact on system behavior, so it will have to wait until we get a chance to fix the Author delete/merge logic. Ahasuerus 01:01, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Display of multi-author credits in variants

I'm looking at the summary page for Ward Moore, and wondering why the serials have to display [as by...] when the variant records have exactly the same author credits as the parent title records. MHHutchins 21:04, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Order maybe? -DES Talk 21:26, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't think so. If order made a difference then half Joyleg wouldn't show the [as by...]. In the past, order of authorship didn't make a difference in how it was displayed. Here the repetition is totally unnecessary. I've always assumed that it will show [as by...] only if the author credit of the variant differs. In both cases here, the author credit is the same. Funny. MHHutchins 21:30, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, we'll have to wait until someone checks the code. It maybe an error or overlooked code path in one of the recent display changes. -DES Talk 21:33, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
This behavior was reported as a bug a few years ago. It has been since fixed in most places, most recently in Publication Display, but apparently there is still a problem with Serial/Novel VTs. I will ask Marty to look into it since this is "his" code. Thanks! Ahasuerus 22:12, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
He will look.... --MartyD 23:34, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
He looked and discovered it is a bug and will log and fix it. --MartyD 23:49, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Logged as Bug 2863904 and fixed. Coming soon to an ISFDB server near you --MartyD 00:06, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Great, thanks! Ahasuerus 00:42, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
(I hear gratuities sent Ahasuerus' way can greatly enhance both chances of issues being addressed and speed with with those resolutions get deployed, but that may just be a vicious rumor). --MartyD 00:06, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
It depends. Got a spare copy of Miracle Science and Fantasy #2, by any chance? Ahasuerus 00:42, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)Bug 2863904 Fixed in patch r2009-33. Also fixed Bug 2863943, "Defunct pseudonyms not checked by the Remove Pseudonym approval screens". (I don't think we need to create separate sections for minor patches, do we?) Ahasuerus 02:14, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Wonderful. Mere hours for what used to take months. Much thanks to all those working behind the scenes. MHHutchins 03:25, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Permission to link to Mondourania images

Ernesto Vegetti has obtained permission from the maintainer of the Mondourania website for us to deep-link to his cover images for Urania. Would someone please create the "courtesy" link and do what else it takes once permission has been created? Sorry to be a dunce about how this works. Also is it possible that a program be created that changes the images from Fantascienza to Mondurania without having to change each of the 200+ records manually? Ernesto gives the "formula" for the new links in the permission posting. Thanks. MHHutchins 17:31, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

I will update the software to credit Mondurania whenever we link to them. I am sure we could change all Fantascienza links to Mondurania, but I don't think I quite understand the "formula". Ahasuerus 17:44, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Issue XXX's cover is located at - where YYY and ZZZ are ranges of 20 numbers that include that issue, e.g. "". For lower numbers, there are no leading zeroes, e.g. "" for issue #61, or "" for issue #1. If we have the Catalog ID entered correctly, then it's a simple matter of taking the Catalog ID, remove the hash sign, and plugging it into the URL, deriving the appropriate range of 20. Not proven yet, but some early tests suggest this will work. BLongley 18:10, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
See. I knew someone brighter than me could figure it out. Thanks. MHHutchins 18:44, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, looks good: URLs can be constructed like this:
select p.pub_title
,CONCAT('' ,
SUBSTR(p.pub_isbn,2) DIV 20 * 20 + 1 ,
'-' ,
SUBSTR(p.pub_isbn,2) DIV 20 * 20 + 20,
'/u' ,
SUBSTR(p.pub_isbn,2) ,
from pubs p
where p.pub_title like '%Urania %'
I've just whacked their site with a preview of ALL their covers of issues that we currently have, so it might be wise to test in smaller chunks than this. BLongley 18:47, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Ok, the rules seem to have changed again. I see issue 14 in the queue should go to this whereas the formula says that. I'm confused now. BLongley 19:16, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
There were two magazines series that began publishing in the 1950s in Italy. Urania (which is known as Urania Rivista (magazine in Italian) only published 14 issues in 1952-1953. It had a sister magazine called I Romanzi di Urania that focused on full-length novels (Romanzi) with occasional pieces to fill out the digest magazine. It kept this title for 152 issues, until May 1957, at which point it became simply Urania. Those URLs with "rivista" as a subfolder are for the first magazine called Urania (1952-1953). All magazines called either I Romanzi di Urania (1952-1957) and then Urania (1957-present) (2000 issues later) are in the subfolder as /urania/. Hope this helps. MHHutchins 01:15, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
BTW, all 14 issues of Urania Rivista have had their cover images manually linked to Mondourania, so we don't have to worry about them. MHHutchins 06:58, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, we can exclude those on pub_year and pub_title grounds. Hopefully Ahasuerus has enough info to script it now. BLongley 17:32, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll take a look at it tonight. Ahasuerus 19:01, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Patch r2009-34 has been installed and Mondourania is now properly credited. Ahasuerus 02:41, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I think I will wait until Saturday when the new backup should become available and I should have some free time to work on this issue. I want to do it using remote submissions so that approving moderators could see the new images before approving the changes. Ahasuerus 17:43, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
A big Fixer run then? BLongley
Hopefully, it won't be too bad. Granted, it will generate about 200 submissions, but they should be quite straightforward: if the cover matches the title, then approve it, otherwise reject it. Ahasuerus 19:04, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Less than that I hope, unless there were a lot more entries entered before we got permission? Still, I'm glad I enabled "Before and After" Image previews for Mods now. (There's still a few more shortcuts for mods I'd like to see, but I only get to notice those when I stop developing and go back to moderating.) BLongley 19:15, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
There were only ~20 URLs left to change based on the Saturday morning backup. All fixed now. Ahasuerus 17:48, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Suggest deleting novel "Transition"

I have noticed that Ian Banks new novel Transition has been added to the database. From all the data I have gathered this book appears to be a spy thriller with no spec-fic elements. I believe that this should be removed from the database or at least made NONGENRE. I have not read the book, but if anyone has and would like to mention any spec-fic elements, please do. There are also publication records for later editions here and here.--JosHil 23:27, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Banks, like many other SF authors, has published both genre and non-genre books and it's important to distinguish between them, so if there is good reason to believe that this novel is not SF, please go ahead and change it to Non-genre. As to which Non-genre books are included, ISFDB:Policy currently states:
  1. In - Works (both fiction and non-fiction) which are not related to speculative fiction, but were produced by authors who have otherwise published works either of or about speculative fiction over a certain threshold (see below). This includes any non-genre works published as standalone books as well as non-genre short fiction, but exclude non-fiction which was not published as a standalone book. Thus, Poul Anderson's mysteries and his non-fiction book about thermonuclear weapons will be included, but Gregory Benford's and Robert L. Forward's professionally published scientific articles will be excluded.
  2. Out - Works that are not related to speculative fiction by authors who have not published works either of or about speculative fiction over a certain threshold. This "certain threshold" is hard to define, but we need to draw the line in a way that would exclude Winston Churchill, who published at least one work of borderline speculative fiction. The goal here is to avoid cataloging everything ever published by James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson, Honore de Balzac and other popular authors. Instead, we want to catalog their speculative fiction works only.
Banks is clearly over this sometimes elusive "certain threshold", so we include his non-genre novels. Ahasuerus 00:25, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I've read some of the comments on Amazon UK and it would appear the book has some spec-fic elements. Some of the confusion about the book is the name, in the UK its published as "Iain Banks" but in North America it appears as "Iain M. Banks" his spec-fic handle.Kraang 00:56, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
I have read the review you mention and it is probable that this is spec-fic, I may have to go to my library which is just getting copies and skim it to be sure though.--JosHil 23:46, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Image upload semi-automated

Patch r2009-35 is now live. Feature Request 2836579 has been implemented and there is a new link on the Publication Listing screen right under "Bibliographic Comments". It reads "Upload cover scan" for publications without a cover scan and "Upload new cover scan" for publications which already have a cover scan associated with them. When you click on the link, it opens a new browser window, points it to our Wiki's Upload page and pre-populates the Summary area with the following information:

  • Template: CID1 for a single cover artist, CID1-2 for 2 artists, CID1-3 for 3 or more artists
  • Title: Publication's title
  • Edition: A concatenation of the publisher, year and binding fields ("Unknown" is used for missing fields)
  • Pub: Tag (from the URL at the top of the page)
  • Publisher: Publisher
  • Artist: Cover artist, "Unknown" if not specified
  • Source: Scanned by [[User:Your_username]]

For pubs with 2 cover artists, "Artist1" and "Artist2" are displayed. For pubs with 3+ cover artists, "Artist1", "Artist2" and "Artist3" are displayed and pre-populated. (We don't have separate templates for 4 or more artists.) If anything in the Summary area is incorrect (or incomplete), feel free to change, but please post it here so that I could adjust the software accordingly.

You will only see this link if you are logged in. Also, you need to be logged in both in the ISFDB proper and in the ISFDB Wiki, but most of us are always logged in on both sides anyway.

Please note that the changes required to implement this feature were fairly extensive and I also re-did the way we do cover art credits at the same time, so there is a fair chance that there may be bugs in the new code. Please post reports of any problems here and I will address them immediately. Thanks! Ahasuerus 02:26, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Note that if there is an existing cover image, this does a re-upload. When a re-upload is done, the Upload Summary is not copied into the permanent file description automatically, as it is for a new upload. So it may be that in this case (which the software treats differently already, because of the different link title) pre-populating the template may be a mistake, as it might fool users into thinking this tag will be stored with the image, which it won't. Moreover, if one is merely uploading a better quality version of the same image, the tag may well not need to be changed anyway. -DES Talk 00:48, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh and if anyone thinks covers with 4 or more artists will be common enough to bother with, I can easily create CID1-4, CID1-5, and however high is wanted. -DES Talk 00:50, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Note also that if the image is not scanned, but was copied from some other source, the uploader should edit the "Source" parameter and indicate the source, preferably with a URL. -DES Talk 00:52, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I can certainly change the software not to pre-populate all (some?) of the fields when the current image is hosted by the ISFDB. Would it help to change the value of the "Destination file name" field? Perhaps add "-1" or something like that at the end of the file name? Ahasuerus 01:38, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Changing the destination file name would work, although it would then be advisable for someone to manually delete the old image to save space, if no other pub is using it. It won't auto-update any other pubs that may be using the same image, of course.
If the destination file name is not changed there is really no point in pre-populating at all, because the Upload summery just becomes a recent change comment, it is simply not copied to the permanent File Description, if I understand correctly.
The real question is what we expect will be happening most often on an "upload new version" case. If the user is simply uploading a better version (better scan, tweaked brightness, better resolution, scanned from a copy in better shape, etc) of the same image, then the file name can and probably should stay the same, and the license tag need not be changed unless it was incorrect or incomplete before, and no pre-population is needed or wanted. If, on the other hand, we expect that this will be a truly different image, with a possibly different artist or other metadata (for example after a clone operation where the cloned pub has a different cover) then pre-population would be very good, and AFAIK the only way to make it work effectively is to use a modified destination file name. (actually after a clone the pub tag will have changed, so the file name need not, but if the previous image was wrong for any other reason, a new file name would be needed. ) I suppose we could have two links for these two cases, but that may risk user confusion. Which case we want to support is a design question, but a link designed for one case will support the other only poorly, IMO, unless there is a method I haven't thought of. -DES Talk 03:16, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the clone case could be checked for by seeing if the existing file name, if any, matches the current pub tag? -DES Talk 03:20, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I am still thinking about it, but for now I have installed patch r2009-36, which changed the upload process so that individual components of the template text (title, edition, tag, etc) appear on separate lines. Ahasuerus 02:21, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
That will be good, in any case. Please do think it over, no need to rush. It occurs to me that if the object is simply to upload a batter version of an existing image, a user can simply click on the "Hosted by ISFDB" link, then on the "Upload new version" link which the image page always provides, and there one is. So perhaps a "new image" link should create a new filename on the wiki, and pre-populate. -DES Talk 04:03, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) This is looking like a success -- at least I am seeing rather more image uploads since this went live, many of them in the format used by the this feature, which makes me pretty sure it is being used. Thank you for implementing it.

Any thoughts on the re-upload (existing image) case yet? -DES Talk 21:26, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm very happy with this new feature. It finally pushed me over the threshold, and I started uploading the (by now 2500+) scans I made so far. About the re-upload (existing image) case: I only use it (now) to add better scans, so the "Hosted by ISFDB" and "Upload new version" links are a good alternative for me. By the way, thanks for making this easier for me. Willem H. 21:47, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Glad to hear it's working out! Now we just need to get more disk space to store all the extra images :) (Well, not quite; the image library will need to grow another order of magnitude before we are forced to add disk space.) Ahasuerus 21:55, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

OCLC and FirstSearch

OCLC has two main access points for books, WorldCat and FirstSearch. WorldCat has a snazzier interface with more graphics, menus, dynamic content and whatnot. FirstSearch i splainer, but provides additional functionality, e.g. it lets you search certain useful fields like "Publisher". In theory, FirstSearch is limited to OCLC's paying customers (libraries, universities, research organizations, large hospitals, etc), but some of them make their FirstSearch gateways available on the Web and then anyone can access it. For a few years, we had access to both interfaces, but now it looks like the last Web site that allowed you to access FirstSearch for free has shut down. If you happen to know of another publicly available access point, please post it here. Ahasuerus 17:29, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

(reposting from Bluesman't Talk page) [As an aside,] OCLC's data ultimately comes from libraries (although they massage it in various ways) and we could fill a lot of holes by interrogating library catalogs -- which are, in many cases, available on-line -- directly. Unfortunately, it's not easy to get to that data even though it's freely available. Our choices are:

  • pay for programs like BookWhere ($100/year for their "lite" version or a few thousand dollars for a full featured one), or
  • use somewhat unstable and slow free Web search engines like Sigla, or
  • write own own software

It so happens that I have been working on a system that talks to library catalogs, downloads their SF data and creates ISFDB submissions from it (in my plentiful spare time). At the moment this effort is on hold since I am busy trying to improve our core software while other developers are mostly unavailable. Once more developers become available and/or the core ISFDB software is more stable, I will re-start my work on LIAM (Library Information Acquisition Module). Ahasuerus 17:29, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

New project - empty series cleanup

Now that we can delete empty series, we have a new project, ISFDB:Empty Series cleanup. There are 270 empty series which have neither sub-series nor titles associated with them. It's possible to find and delete them via a script, but I have found a few "reserved" series of various kinds, so it would be better to have them reviewed by a human before we blow them away. The project is not urgent, since empty series are perfectly harmless. Ahasuerus 01:54, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Emsh, EMSH, or Ed Emshwiller

Now that is possible to remove pseudonym attributions at the author level it is probably time to address this issue. I think the following process probably occurred. Most of the initial data for this artist was cover art entered from secondary sources. Those secondary sources generally credited Ed Emshwiller and at some point in time someone used that data as the basis for assigning Emsh as a pseudonym for Ed Emshwiller. As data has been entered from original sources it has become more evident that the vast majority of artwork for the artist was signed "EMSH". Even more importantly the vast majority of the editorial credits are "EMSH" or "Emsh". A more thorough analysis of the artwork still assigned to Ed Emshwiller would probably indicate that much of it is was either signed and/or editorially credited to "EMSH" or "Emsh".--swfritter 13:23, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

It sounds like the canonical name should be either "Emsh" or "EMSH". Since our software doesn't fully support two Author names which are identical except for the case, we'll need to pick one form of the name, probably "Emsh". We can then set up "Ed Emshwiller", "Edmund Emshwiller", "Ed Emsh" (and "Edward Emshwiller" ??) as pseudonyms. Ahasuerus 17:55, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Serial dates: The Titan by P. Schuyler Miller

I lost track of the recent changes, so can someone look at The Titan and tell me if if the novella should have the date of the first (incomplete) serial or the first book publication date? BLongley 18:36, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

From PERILOUS PLANETS. Credit page gives the copyright 1952. 54 pages at about 410 words per page. A rough count.Don Erikson 00:59, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
When it comes down to it, the main reason we give novels the date of first book publication is that everybody else does it that way. Short fiction serials are not as common so I don't know that there is a standard. Giving it the 1952 date would be consistent with the way we do novels. It might be noted that the 1952 and later versions are substantially revised from the serial, especially the text for the last part. The manuscript was lost and Miller had to rewrite the last part from memory.--swfritter 02:30, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm leaning towards 1952 myself, especially as the serial was incomplete. BLongley 19:27, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-37 live

Patch r2009-37 has been installed on the live server. I have been feeling marginal the last couple of days and couldn't tackle any big ticket items, so the patch fixes half a dozen minor errors. The list is at the bottom of the Development/Recent Patches page if anyone is interested. Ahasuerus 02:36, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Serial Dates - Redesign

The Titan discussion reminded me of something that I have been thinking about ever since we killed lexical match (RIP). Here is what I have arrived at so far: (some parts originally posted on Marty's Talk page):

One of the underlying issues with the way we handle serialized texts is that they have two important dates associated with them:

  • "date of first serialization", and
  • "date of first book appearance"

The fist date is important for obvious reasons and the second one is important to book collectors and bibliographers. You can't adequately handle both dates with a single field the way we currently do it with "Title Date". Any attempt to do so is liable to be a band-aid. Ideally, the Summary bibliography page should display something like:

Golden Blood (1933, book pub. 1964), also appeared as:
   Magazine appearances:
     Golden Blood (Part 1 of 6) (1933)
     Golden Blood (Part 2 of 6) (1933)
     Golden Blood (Complete Novel) (1943)

for serialized novels, which is similar to how Clute/Nicholls and others record these cases.

In order to make this happen issue, we can add another field to the Title record and call it First Book Publication Date. We would then have two date fields to work with, which will address the underlying issue.

The First Book Publication Date will only need to be entered if it's different from the Title Date. It will only appear on the Edit Title page and will have an appropriate label. Once we do this, we can also change our policy to allow the creation of "placeholder" Novel records for Serials that have never been reprinted so that they could be made into VTs of these placeholder Novel records. I believe it should be OK because, after the last few round of changes, the Summary page clearly states "only appeared as:" when there was no subsequent book publication. This means that we will no longer have a separate "Serial" section on the Summary page, which seems like a good thing.

If we go this route, we will need to create two conversion scripts. The first one will find all Serials that do not have a Novel parent and create one. This is somewhat problematic since there exist short serials which are nowhere near novel length and that have never reprinted. We will need to figure out what to do about them.

The second script will find all Serial/Novel VT pairs, change the Novel's Title Date to the date of the first serial (if it precedes the Novel date) and populate the First Book Publication Date with what used to be the Title Date.

In addition, there are a few relatively minor design decisions that will need to be made. First, what should we do about partial serializations similar to Titan above and Anderson's The Brain Wave? Second, if the original serialization spanned 2 years (e.g. November 1941 - February 1942), what should we enter as the Title Date?

From the software standpoint, the catch is that we haven't added new fields to our records without Al's support and there are quite a few things that will need to be done, but I think it should be doable. The rest of the software changes are fairly easy to make.

So, what do you think? Ahasuerus 03:08, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes. Serials are definitely of more significance in the s-f genre; a great deal of unpublishable material was published in serial format in the early magazines. The question in my mind is whether there should be two entries per title. The serial version with all the serial information listed as above and sorted by serial date and the book listing sorted by the book publication date but without the serial information perhaps as "Golden Blood (1964, Serial pub. 1933)". My own preference is for the date of the last part. We will also have to make allowances for titles like Titan which are short fiction.--swfritter 13:04, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd hold off on this for now. Because Serials and other types are different title records, I think we could (mostly) derive the desired display without database changes (although performance may suffer). (The "mostly" is because if the desired serial date is of the last part, we have to cope with missing last parts.) If we want to try a core database change, then make it a small one first: for instance, "translator" is already present in the database but not used, as is "Back Cover Artist". I'm not sure if they'd be much use but they're safer options for the first experiment. A slightly more useful one would be "Editor" support for collections. Angus Wells is exiled to notes for a lot of "Best of..." collections for instance. BLongley 19:40, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I would think of the desired date for the serial as the date of the first installment, myself. I think the proposed design above is pretty good, but Bill may well be correct on starting more slowly. And if we are going to be messing with the date support, can we consider date ranges at the same time? Maybe not implement them at the same time, but at least keep them in mind so that a future implementation is not made harder by any changes now. -DES Talk 20:45, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps this discussion should move to ISFDB:Proposed Design Changes‎? -DES Talk 20:45, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)Many good points above, I'll try to answer them one by one.

  • Can we accomplish the same result without database changes? There are a couple of ways to get to the "(1933, book pub. 1964)" end point. First, we could change the Summary Page logic to find the earliest known Novel publication and display it as the "book pub." date. Unfortunately, it would kill performance for Authors like Silverberg and Asimov since we will be checking both Title records and Publication records. Alternatively, we could get around one part of the problem by making the "Title Date" uneditable by humans. Instead, we would automatically update Title Date with the earliest known Publication whenever Publication level data changes. However, there are times when we don't have a Novel Publication record on file, but we do know the date of the first book publication because it is listed in a secondary source. As long as our Publication coverage remains incomplete, we can't rely on it to accurately derive Title Dates :(
  • Timing. I am not suggesting that we use Serials as the test case for database changes. I think we will be better off using User Preferences, a completely new table, as our guinea pig since that way there will be no risk of breaking anything else. I just want to start a discussion of the overall approach so that we would know where we are going with Serials and add then to our road map.
  • First installment vs. last installment. As DES reminded us, at some point we will want to add date ranges to Title records so that the example above will change to something like:
Golden Blood (1933-1934, book pub. 1964), also appeared as:
   Magazine appearances:
     Golden Blood (Part 1 of 6) (1933)
     Golden Blood (Part 2 of 6) (1934)
     Golden Blood (Complete Novel) (1943)

The easiest way to handle date ranges (that I can think of) will be to add a new field to the Title record and call it something like "End Date", which I think this is an argument in favor of using the date of the first installment for now. Also, there are a few cases when serializations were interrupted and not resumed until some years later, which I think is another argument in favor of using the "first installment date".

  • Two entries per title. I believe there is much to be said for keeping all "instances" of the same text under the same Title, in this case by means of the VT mechanism which we currently use for Serials. Having said that, as long as the data is stored the way we want it to be stored, we can always tweak the way it is displayed and see what works best. Heck, we could even make it one of the User Preferences once we have them implemented!
  • Move to ISFDB:Proposed Design Changes‎? Once we have agreed on the direction we want to take, we will probably want to move this discussion there and it will serve as a "list of requirements" to be consulted by the people who will end up implementing the new approach. Ahasuerus 00:24, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
When considering date ranges, note that two very common forms will be "Sometime before X", and "Sometime after X" where only one end of the range is notes with any precision. Granted we will usually be able to find some value for the other end -- at worst the authors birth date for a start, and the date of data entry for an end. But the before X and After X forms may be common enough for a special display and special coding to be used. this might influence design choices. I was thinking of date ranges mostly for cases where a dat isn't know with precision, but something is known. For example an undated 4th printing, known to be after the dated 2nd, and before the dated 6th. -DES Talk 00:36, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
For the reasons you mention, i think deriving First Book date from publications would be a mistake, and it would be better to wait until we are ready to do this as a database change. -DES Talk 00:36, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, that! Yes, that's a whole different can of worms. Fuzzy dates will be non-trivial to implement in a way that will support display and searches seamlessly :( Ahasuerus 15:34, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think deriving dates dynamically is practical, both for reasons of performance and incompleteness of data. Propagating information from an edit is not so bad, although the issue of how to cope with a previous value (if present) is a sticky one. --MartyD 16:52, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea of capturing two dates. Perhaps "first serial publication" and "first complete publication"? If it were more like first magazine vs. first book, and we wanted to display both dates, we could use one order and label for "large" (say Novel, Non-Genre, and we'd let any oddball Collection or Omnibus fall into this category) works and another order and label for "small" (Short Fiction, Essay, Poem) works -- i.e., novels could be listed book-publication-date first, short fiction could be listed magazine-publication-date first. --MartyD 16:52, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, this is an outlier, but I had a Poe play that was (a) never completed and (b) only partially serialized, where the "serialization" consisted of printing of some of the scenes in one issue, some scenes in the next issue. Later collections published those previously serialized scenes plus some additional ones. The "end" date wouldn't have worked out so well. --MartyD 16:52, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
As Marty was speaking. I think this can be done without adding any data fields. Novels and Serials would have separate master records. Make the Serial master title a variant of the Novel master title. That way you can make a db connection. At run time use that connection to collect the novel date from the serial so it can be noted in the serial entry. Vice-versa for the serial entry. Do a virtual disconnect of the variant connection and treat the the novel and serial entries as primary entries. Date ranges: overheated programmer minds at work. Use the first or last date of the earliest serial publication.--swfritter 16:55, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
The reason for date ranges is not for serials that extend over a year break, i agree that serials should use either the first or last installment date as the overall serial date (I favor the first installment, but IMO it doesn't matter that much, as long as there is a rule). The need for date ranges is for a quite separate problem, publications where we don't have exact dates, but can set upper or lower bounds on the date, or both. The only reason that I mentioned date ranges in this discussion is to ensure that if date storage or display is redesigned, it should be in a way that does not make the eventual implemtation of date ranges for such pubs harder. -DES Talk 17:27, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
IMO the attempt to suggest methods to determine the title date or dates (book vs serial) dynamically at display time from publication dates is fundamentally misguided. There are too many cases where we have good secondary sources to set a first title date earlier than any publication we have recorded. In all of these we would be reducing the accuracy of our info, or have to enter excessively incomplete stub publications. That is not even counting the possible performance problems. What is the rush? Lets wait until we are able to implement the database changes needed to capture separate serial and book publication dates (or whatever we eventually call them) at the title level. -DES Talk 17:27, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I am trying to visualize what Swfritter describes above and I am not sure I understand the following two sentences:

Novels and Serials would have separate master records. Make the Serial master title a variant of the Novel master title.

If all related Serials have a separate master record -- presumably also a Serial Title -- then how can that master Serial Title be a variant of the Novel master Title? That would mean that the real Serial Titles would be "grandchildren" of the Novel Title and our software doesn't support grandchildren. Am I missing something? Ahasuerus 22:14, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

But not for display purposes. The link would be broken for display purposes - after mutual data collection between serial and novel titles. Novel and serial titles would have discrete display entries. The serial grandchildren would actually display as serial children of the serial title and should be accessible from the biblio screen. Need a chalkboard. I would really like to see separate novel and serial entries sorted by date and this is one possible way to do it without doing it on the fly.--swfritter 23:17, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I am afraid I am still confused :( We can certainly do all kinds of things at display time -- although even the current display logic makes Marty's head hurt -- but what is the proposed underlying relationship between different Title records? Anyone got a spare chalkboard?.. Ahasuerus 17:10, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

The Omnibus of Crime

While searching OCLC for another title, i happened upon The Omnibus of Crime ed by Dorothy L Sayers, OCLC #1006196.

Many classic ghost and horror stories, as well as many that aren't SF in any sense. I'm not sure whether this is worth entering.


The history of Bel -- The history of Susanna -- The story of Hercules and Cacus -- The story of Rhampsinitus -- The ebony box / Mrs. Henry Wood -- The ace of trouble / Hedley Barker -- The mystery of Marie Rogêt / Edgar Allan Poe -- The adventure of the priory school / Conan Doyle -- The ghost at Massingham Mansions / Ernest Bramah -- The secret of the singular cipher / F.A.M. Webster -- The English filter / Bechhofer Roberts -- The clever cockatoo / E.C. Bentley -- Prince Charlie's dirk / Eden Phillpotts -- The absent-minded coterie / Robert Barr -- The face in the dark / L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace -- Mr. Belton's immunity / Edgar Jepson and Robert Eustace -- The Cyprian bees / Anthony Wynne -- Diamond cut diamond / F. Britten Austin -- A happy solution / Raymund Allen -- The adventure of the fallen angels / Percival Wilde -- Sir Gilbert Murrell's picture / Victor Whitechurch -- The Hammer of God / C.K. Chesterton -- The long barrow / H.C. Bailey -- The Hanover Court murder / Sir Basil Thomson -- The Gioconda smile / Aldous Huxley -- Her last adventure / Mrs. Belloc Lowndes -- The wrong house / E.W. Hornung -- The open door / Mrs. Oliphant -- Story of the bagman's uncle / Charles Dickens -- The trial for murder / Charles Collins and Charles Dickens -- Martin's Close / M.R. James -- How love came to Professor Guildea / Robert Hichens -- The open window / Saki -- The novel of the black seal / Arthur Machen -- Tchériapin / Sax Rohmer -- The monkey's paw / W.W. Jacobs -- The hair / A.J. Alan -- Mrs. Amworth / E.F. Benson -- Moxon's master / Ambrose Bierce -- The dancing partner / Jerome K. Jerome -- Thrawn Janet / R.L. Stevenson -- The avenging of Ann Leete / Marjorie Bowen -- August heat / W.F. Harvey -- The anticipator / Morley Roberts -- The brute / Joseph Conrad -- Where their fire is not quenched / May Sinclair -- Green tea / J.S. Le Fanu -- The misanthrope / J.D. Beresford -- The bad lands / John Metcalfe -- Nobody's house / A.M. Burrage -- The seventh man / A.C. Quiller-Couch -- Proof / N. Royde-Smith -- Seaton's aunt / Walter de la Mare -- Lukundoo / Edward Lucas White -- The gentleman from America / Michael Arlen -- The narrow way / R. Ellis Roberts -- Sawney Bean -- The squaw / Bram Stoker -- The Corsican sisters / Violet Hunt -- The end of a show / Barry Pain -- The cone / H.G. Wells -- The separate room / Ethel Colburn Mayne.

Any views? -DES Talk 22:33, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I would enter it the way we enter other non-genre books, i.e. "known SF items only", and document the rest in Notes. Ahasuerus 23:50, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. If we ever implement a non-genre shortfiction type, we will need to consider which authors are "over the threshold" in such cases, but not yet. -DES Talk 00:08, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Adding support for "non-genre short fiction" will likely be a part of moving the NONGENRE flag from the Title Type field to a separate field, which is a fairly major project. Once implemented, we will be able to separate genre and non-genre anthologies, genre and non-genre collections, genre and non-genre short fiction, etc. Ahasuerus 00:27, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. I expect this eventually, but not soon. But when we have it, such mixed anthologies may become easier to handle, but we will want to consider which stories are out, and which in as non-genre. -DES Talk 00:39, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I've dealt with Dorothy L. Sayers before, here. That was a nice simple "This half is out, this half is probably in" though. Rather than reading the whole thing though, I did make some assumptions. BLongley 21:08, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, that appears to be a direct sequel, as The Omnibus of Crime appears to have been reprinted, with almost the same contents (two stories seem to be omitted in the reprint), as Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror, Volume 1 according to Google books. Odd though, as some stories are in common between the two. -DES Talk 21:38, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Background color for Edit Pub

As I wrote on the 21st:

I am beginning to think that the safe way to handle this problem [i.e. preventing editors from changing Content Titles in Edit Pub if the Title exists in more than one pub] is to create a temporary fix: make the Author/Title/Title Type fields uneditable (similar to the way most fields are not editable in Clone Pub) for any Title that exists in more than 1 pub. We can revisit the issue in a few months when I hopefully have a better idea of what I am doing.

I am currently in the process of implementing the change and it's going reasonably well, but we need to decide how to indicate that certain fields are not editable. The easiest way to do so would be to change the background color of uneditable fields, but I am color-blind and unlikely to pick a color that the color-enable community will be happy with (what's wrong with orange anyway?). Please indicate your preference based on the choices in this table. We can always change it later, but it will be a start. Ahasuerus 03:50, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I didn't realize you were seriously pursuing that suggestion, I think I would have argued against it. I could wish that between "I am beginning to think..." and "I am writing code to implement..." there was a little further discussion.
I think I would rather keep the current function unchanged until we are ready to make the larger, more complex change discussed above. -DES Talk 15:07, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
The change that I am currently implementing will simply enforce "The Method" outlined in Help:How to change a story in a collection and prevent our editors from corrupting the data. What are the arguments against the change? Ahasuerus 15:32, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Well there are cases where I am sure enough that a change is appropriate to want to change all publications. Of course i can still do this by directly editing the title record. In particular I have sometimes found a "fictional essay" recorded as an essay, and changed it in bulk to shortfiction. So I think that there are a number of cases where such changes are proper and useful. I admit, however, that many are errors. Partly I suppose that I liked your larger plan of automatically creating cloned title records, (with proper moderator warnings) and feared that this "temporary" fix would tend to become more permanent if implemented. -DES Talk 17:02, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I find it extraordinary that a moderator is arguing against the implementation of a feature that would almost by itself eliminate the single largest cause of data destruction in the database. I'm willing to forgo "bulk changes" while editing a pub record, when there is an easy, more direct, and less "backdoor" way of editing title records. As a moderator, I would find it easier to examine changes in title records than it is to catch them in pub records. I hate to think of all the changes that may have been made in title record contents because I may not have been as diligent as I should have. And as Ahasuerus points out, you would still have the ability to change title records that only exist in the pub you're editing. I say go for it. Any shade of gray would be fine with me. MHHutchins 19:31, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
While I dread having to fix the next wanted but incorrectly entered NONFICTION that has 20-30 essays all entered as NONFICTION contents, I think we have to do this. I'm always tempted to add the "exception for Mods", but as all of us have approved dangerous edits at times, and there's no sign of "double approval needed in some cases", this is probably the best short term fix. Long term, I want the ability to fix things en masse when each individual correction is not threatening. BLongley 21:00, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Keep in mind that as long as these incorrectly entered Titles exist in 1 and only 1 pub, we will still be able to edit them via Pub Edit. Ahasuerus 21:03, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
And I am happy with grey, preferably a medium shade, so long as I don't have to spell it "gray". ;-) BLongley
To quote Voltaire, "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" or "The perfect is the enemy of the good" :-)
I see your point, and won't argue further. -DES Talk 20:31, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
My primary goal at the moment is to plug in major holes in the system quickly and without breaking anything. That way if I become unavailable (temporarily or permanently) and if there is no one else to continue with the development effort, the project will still be able to continue indefinitely with minimal support.
We faced the same choice in early 2007 and decided to go after big ticket items instead of tightening up the existing software first. Then, as Al's availability plummeted, we ended up with some of the projects (like the award editor) up in the air and with numerous outstanding problems with the existing software, which we had no way of fixing. Much pain and suffering ensued. That's why I am trying to structure this iteration of software changes differently.
The good news is that I can think of only 3-4 major issues that are still outstanding and need to be fixed quickly. Once they are out of the way, we can work on User Preferences, which will let us experiment with database changes in a low risk environment. Ahasuerus 18:17, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
As to color, the classic way to show that a field is disabled is to use a grey (or gray?) background. (Indeed this is common enough that "grey out" is a synonym for "disable".) The current Clone Pub form shows a grey background for me is some browsers, but not in others, I don't know why. The degree of greyness is something that you should be able to judge even with a color vision impairment, I would think. -DES Talk 15:07, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I can pick a color that I think is gray, but don't blame me if it turns out to be some shade of green :) Ahasuerus 15:32, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
If, as I suppose, the color is specified in the usual way with hex codes for the red, green, and blue components, it is a perfect grey if all three values are equal. The colors 010101, 101010, A0A0A0, and F9F9F9 are all shades of grey, with no hint of color. No need even to display the color, the code is enough to prove that it is or is not a pure grey. -DES Talk 17:02, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Of the colors in the table: DarkGray (#A9A9A9), DimGray (#696969), Gray (#808080), LightGrey (#D3D3D3), Silver (#C0C0C0), and WhiteSmoke (#F5F5F5) are all pure greys. I would go with something between LightGrey and WhiteSmoke, perhaps #E4E4E4 or so. Linen (#FAF0E6) is not a pure grey, but is close to one, and if you want a color from the table, might do. -DES Talk 17:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, will do! Ahasuerus 18:19, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Patch r2009-38: Publication Editor changed

Patch r2009-38 has been installed. As per the discussion above, the Publication Editor screen has been changed. Titles that appear in multiple Pubs are no longer directly editable via Publication Editor; they have to be changed either via Edit Title (if you want your edits to apply to all pubs) or via the standard Add/Remove/Merge method. I also found and fixed a display bug which affected Reviews and Interviews with multiple Reviewers/Intervieerws.

Since the changes were fairly major, please be on the lookout for newly introduced bugs. Exterminators are standing by! Ahasuerus 03:27, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I like it. It would be nice if the entries in the Contents section of Clone Publication had the same treatment. (More code sharing!) --MartyD 10:54, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Sure, if there are no reported problems over the next day or two, I'll change the color scheme in Clone Publication as well. Also, I left "Story Length" editable as per the feedback (somewhere) above. Does the field look OK as implemented or should we make it read-only too? Ahasuerus 15:13, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
It looks ok to me. That said, I also would not have any objection to requiring all title-specific info to be edited through the title record (including the length). --MartyD 17:14, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
With the installation of patch r2009-39, ineditable fields in Clone Publication look just like their cousins in Edit Publication. Ahasuerus 02:58, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

LotR Appendicies

I am holding a submisison by User:Phileas editing this pub of The Lord of the Rings (one volume edition) by Tolkien. In addition to other changes this edit adds content records for the appendiceies as follows.

The significant part of the submitted edit is:

Title Authors Date Page Type Length
The Lord of the Rings Appendix (Annals of the Kings and Rulers) J. R. R. Tolkien 1955-00-00 1070 SHORTFICTION sf
The Lord of the Rings Appendix (The Tale of Years) J. R. R. Tolkien 1955-00-00 1119 SHORTFICTION sf
The Lord of the Rings Appendix (Family Trees) J. R. R. Tolkien 1955-00-00 1135 SHORTFICTION sf
The Lord of the Rings Appendix (Calendars) J. R. R. Tolkien 1955-00-00 1140 SHORTFICTION sf
The Lord of the Rings Appendix (Writing and Spelling) J. R. R. Tolkien 1955-00-00 1147 SHORTFICTION sf
The Lord of the Rings Appendix (Languages) J. R. R. Tolkien 1955-00-00 1161 SHORTFICTION sf

I have several possible issues with this.

  • First, none of our previous entries (several verified) of The Lord of the Rings or of The Return of the King specified the appendices as separate entries, although they are included in all editions that I know of.
  • Secondly, in all editions that I know, the appendices to LotR are identified primarily by letter ("Appendix A", "Appendix B" etc), but those letters are not included here. Should they be? (The appendices are almost always identified by letter in fan and critical discussion.)
  • Thirdly, the title "The Lord of the Rings Appendix" does not appear in any edition I know of.
  • Fourthly, if we are going to specify the individual appendices, should the appendix sections be listed also? Appendix A I. Appendix A III, and Appendix A III are each larger than Appendix E or F.

Mind you, I am not necessarily opposed to creating such records. But this is a sufficiently well-known work that before changing the way it has been entered and verified in the past I wanted to seek a wider range of views. -DES Talk 21:16, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I also note that most of the single volume editions of LotR are entered and OMNIBUS types, but at least one is entered as a NOVEL. I know that at least one edition (boxed set) divides LotR into the 6 "books" plus the aftermatter (appendices and indices) and does not retain the volume titles at all. Given that the author is on record as deploring the separation and the separate titles (he wanted merely The Lord of the Rings Vol 1, Vol 2, and Vol 3 in at least one letter to his publishers), should we consider changing some or all of these omnibus records to novel records, in line with our rule on novels split into parts for republication? Granted this isn't exactly the same case, but the principles are similar. Again, I merely raise the issue, and this issue need not be settled to pass on the above edit. -DES Talk 21:16, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I'll have to double check, but I believe that the Ace edition of The Return of the King does not include the appendices or at least not all of them.--Rtrace 21:29, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I was wrong, they are there. I was remembering the note which stated a further appendix was to have been included: "We regret that it has not been possible to include as an appendix to this edition the index of names announced in the Preface of The Fellowship of the Ring"--Rtrace 02:17, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
IIRC, the indices were not present in any of the printings of the First Edition, and were only added with the Revised Edition created in response to the Ace edition. -DES Talk 14:49, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad you brought this here. I was quite unsure, when I entered the stuff. The reason for dealing with separate entries is that I heard some editions do not include all of them. So I assumed it would be best to have it that way. Next thing is... I plainly forgot to add the capital letters in the whole copy'n'paste process. Appendix A, Appendix B and so forth would be correct. --Phileas 06:59, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I called it The Lord of the Rings Appendix because I don't know whether the author wrote appendices to some other books. Like we make annotations to forewords and label it like Foreword (Fahrenheit 451) instead of just Foreword as is appears in the actual book. However I wasn't unsure how to deal with it, because there are two annotations now: First the appendix title Appendix A, then the prose title Annals of the Kings and Rulers and then the work it belongs to. After another thought Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers or Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers (The Lord of the Rings) would be much more appropriate. --Phileas 06:59, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
If we are to enter it I would favor "Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers (The Lord of the Rings)" myself. -DES Talk 14:49, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Are there any news on this subject yet? --Phileas 07:29, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
Apparently not. I put this out for initial discussion, and it seems to have met with a resounding lack of response. So, if there are no objections, i intend to approve the edit, and change the names to the form Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers (The Lord of the Rings). If anyone thinks this is a mistake, or has a better idea, please say so before tomorrow. -DES Talk 16:05, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
Submission finally approved, edits made. The result is here, If anyone thinks this should be handled differently, say so. Also, now that we have titles for the appendices in the system, those who have verified copies of single volume editions, or who have copies of The Return of the King might want to consider entering the appendices in their copies, and doing merges. -DES Talk 22:06, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Weird Tales on YouTube

Just when you thought s-f bibliography couldn't get any weirder. See vol 1 issue 1 of One-Minute Weird Tales on YouTube. Also available at the Weird Tales website. Issue based but I am not sure that it is downloadable. Anyone for a pre-PC cutoff date?--swfritter 22:40, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

What next? High def 3-D podcasts using IPv20 over telepathy to broadcast Ralph 124C 41+? Ahasuerus 03:02, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Nah, we were doing Science Fiction for Telepaths back in 1997. "Science Fiction for Time-Travellers" isn't quite so easy to date. ;-) BLongley 20:18, 1 October 2009 (UTC)