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Echopraxia - Peter Watts - 1st Tor edition cover

I have a problem with the cover scan here. Using Amazon's Look Inside (the 'Print Book' tab) here [1], one can see the different text placement.

The question is, which cover is 'right'? Thanks, Kev. BanjoKev 10:06, 1 January 2020 (EST)

Our record is primary verified by three people. I would assume one of them would have noticed if the record has the wrong cover. The uploaded cover was scanned by one of those verifiers and it looks like a scan of the book itself (there is some distortion on the right that is consistent with curve of a dust jacket). It's possible that there are two different versions of the cover. If you click on the Amazon listing for the tp, you will also see a third location of the text. Basically, I would trust the verified version over the Amazon versions (even with Look Inside, there can be differences between the samples and the real versions). If someone actually has a h/c with another cover, a new record can be created at that time. -- JLaTondre (talk) 10:22, 1 January 2020 (EST)
Thanks. The existing PV'd cover is the same as the OCLC/Worldcat # cover that Bluesman SV'd and that Hauck uploaded 9 days later. So that checks out ok.
This raises the validity of the Amazon version (or any Look Inside data, for that matter). Do you mean that Amazon versions are to be treated as 'not real' as in they may be pre-publication scans/data files they get from the publishers. Please explain. (I do understand that information obtained from Look Inside should be noted as such in publication Notes)
This whole enquiry line started because I have the Head of Zeus 1st printing (which I've started to edit here with only cover scan and OCLC/Worldcat check so far).
In this printing are the following contents, as I would wish them to appear.
  • 13 * The Crown of Thorns: External Layout * (2014-08-00) interior art by Peter Watts [as by uncredited]
  • 15 * Echopraxia * [Blindsight / Firefall * 2] * (2014-08-00) * novel by Peter Watts
  • 358 * Echopraxia Notes and References * (2014-08-00) * essay by Peter Watts
The interior art and essay are referenced in the Notes here - only the once amongst the Echopraxia titles, but not given in the Contents there. The page numbering Wjmvanruth notes for them is exactly as in my printing. The Essay is given in the Contents for all three Firefall titles.
So... at present, we don't have any Contents-listed original publishing dates for either the interior art or essay, despite a version on Look Inside that tells us that Tor did publish them in 'some version' of hc and that, according to my Head Of Zeus 1st edition, HoZ reproduced the whole book with the same page numbering as Tor. Hmmmm. Kev. BanjoKev 15:02, 1 January 2020 (EST)
Quick note: confirming that essays between Echopraxia and firefall pubs are the same (or not) can easily be confirmed by having PVs comparing text (fragments). MagicUnk 17:38, 1 January 2020 (EST)
Regarding your question on Amazon Look Inside: I have seen differences between the Look Inside and the physical book before. I know the Look Insides are provided by the publisher (for physical books; for Kindle versions, I would assume it's a preview of the actual Kindle file). I assume in these cases the publisher provided a softcopy to Amazon, but than made changes before printing. Don't know for sure. In my opinion, if we have a verified publication, I would not create a new publication record based on a small delta like this unless there is something in the Look Inside that indicates it's a new printing / edition. If we didn't have a primary verified pub, I would say update the record to match the Look Inside (with the appropriate pub notes on source) as the vast majority of the time the physical version and the Look Inside are the same. -- JLaTondre (talk) 08:38, 3 January 2020 (EST)

Mechanismo & Wyst: Alastor 1716

Hello Biomassbob, Willem H., Stonecreek. Rather than posting on each individual's talk page, I thought I'd post my question here :). The Glossary for Mechanismo is recorded as SHORTFICTION. However, we generally record glossaries as ESSAYs instead. Could you check your PV'd copies and confirm that indeed it should be recorded as an ESSAY, and adjust the record accordingly (and if it really -is- a short story, add additionally clarify in the title's notes)?
Same for Jack Vance's glossary for Wyst: Alastor 1716 Thanks! MagicUnk 06:23, 2 January 2020 (EST)

I have added notes to each of these glossaries substantiating why they are appropriately considered SHORTFICTION, rather than ESSAYS. Neither is a short story, both are a series of very short stories. The Wyst section establishes the basis for the three books in the Alastor series; the Mechanismo glossary writes very short stories about each artwork in the pub, so far as I know original to this volume. Bob 14:35, 2 January 2020 (EST)
Thanks! I noticed you typed "Glassary" here - I assume that's a typo? :) MagicUnk 06:47, 3 January 2020 (EST)
I agree with Bob. We have a help text here under SHORTFICTION and ESSAY explaining it's the choice of the editor which type to use. If we use SHORTFICTION, no lengte is assigned, to indicate it's not a story. --Willem 14:42, 3 January 2020 (EST)
And so do I. Thanks for clarifying, Bob! Christian Stonecreek 15:03, 3 January 2020 (EST)
Fixed glassary. I'm well known for my many typos (sadly). Bob 21:53, 4 January 2020 (EST)

FR 794 Add a 'printing' field to publication records

As requested at Rules and standards discussions#Date Precedence with '00' Dates by User:Ahasuerus, here is a Community Portal discussion about this feature request.

I personally am of the persuasion that we want such a field and it need not be a numeric field and instead a general text string is probably the best. I also believe we should include some useful Help/advice about how it should be used. I believe we want a "stated" revision/printing/issue type of value that can be used as a supplement to date since in many cases there is no stated date for specific printings.

In the case of assumed printings we might be able to use to same field, however, there should be very good reliable source for such an assertion otherwise it is just noise and would be better in the note if anywhere.

Uzume 17:35, 3 January 2020 (EST)

We could also add some sort of print/issue rank typing field to go with this allowing one to select "via statement", "via number line", "assumed; see pub note for evidence", etc. I recommend the issue rank type field be limited in value much like format and pub type are.

I believe this could be useful for simplifying reprints of magazines as well (instead of creating new editor title records and new series).

Uzume 12:51, 6 January 2020 (EST)

I have reviewed the FR and prior discussions. My take on what is achievable is as follows:
1. The use of a 'printing' field would be the visualization of what printings are already in the database, thus avoiding duplicate pub records by mistake, and a quick way to see which printings are still missing.
2. It is to be used to sort pub records (date, publisher, printing) - note that the 0000-00-00 records must be sorted separately from the dated entries to ensure they are appended at the bottom of the list (ie sort dated records UNION sort unknown date records - if memory serves :). Imo with the available information in the pub records there's no algorithm that can interweave the undated records into the dated records in a way that makes sense, so the UNION is the best we can do.
Some thoughts:
  • To ensure proper sorting, the printing field must be numeric; alphanumeric field would allow for erroneous entries such as a 1st printing pub record having 'A' as printing rank, and a 2nd printing having '2' as printing rank would be sorted '2' first, then 'A' while it should have been the other way around - actually, I can't think of an example where a non-numeric printing would be required?
    • Even if 'as printed' alphanumeric printing rank exists, I suggest to cover a conversion to numeric sequence in the rules
    • Related to that, the printing field cannot hold 'as printed in the book' values, because what to do with number line? Copy it over into the printing field because that's what's on the copyright page? It would make the pub list unreadable very quickly. Better to only copy over the number (ie second printing by number line translates from 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 to simply '2', for example)
  • At least for (recent) UK/US/... publications, this approach would work quite well, as it'd be a simple translation of the number line.
  • Dutch titles are notorious for maintaining printing sequence across editions (even across publishers) - at least for me, having a printing field would make it much easier to manage all these different printings. A numeric printing would work for the Dutch case equally well.
    • What about German, French, other languages? Would a numeric printing field work? (and if not, why not?)
  • If we don't have a copy of the book, or the book doesn't have the printing info, we have to allow for secondary sources: again for the Dutch case, a quite reliable source of printing information is the Dutch Bibliography (PPN) - see Het zwaard van Shannara for an example
  • Not a fan of an additional rank 'type field' - this info is better recorded in the notes imo
  • I believe the above covers what Uzume requires - except perhaps for the 'as stated' and additional 'rank type' field parts.
I for one would love to see a 'printing' field implemented rather sooner than later :) Thoughts? MagicUnk 13:02, 6 January 2020 (EST)
Something else: it -is- possible, and must be allowed, to have the same printing rank multiple times, if that's how it's stated in the publications - see comments in FR 794 for examples. To be clear: I am not advocating to have a printing rank derived by the editor: it should be as stated in the book (numericalized), or if not available, from 'reliable' secondary sources such as National Bibliographies MagicUnk 13:36, 6 January 2020 (EST)
I do not see the value in forcing a "numericalization" of issue/print ranks. What is the numerical print rank in a magazine issue reprint? How does one "numericalize" the print rank of a Japanese or Chinese book with a stated printing of some kanji character which may have no conceivable ordering (e.g. 下 is a common character meaning "down" and is sometimes used for ordering but its numerical value would not be able to be created in a straightforward way as it often just means "last"). String values can be sorted without any problems and forcing editors to come up with numerical values does not seem to add much value beyond attempting to keep people from entering random garbage. This is what submissions and moderation is for. I would advocate moderator warnings on submissions with print ranks we do not expect.
It should not be difficult to add a cleanup report looking for pubs with the same publisher, date, and format, etc.
Uzume 15:43, 6 January 2020 (EST)
First, let's agree on what the print rank is intended for: to be able to sort printings with 'same date-same publisher' (which would include the 0000-00-00 case), AND, to convey (from the title screen) which printings are already in the database. On second thought, doesn't have to be converted to an (integer) number per-se, provided the sorting functionality can still be achieved, preferably in a consistent manner (to be supported by rules on how to obtain/derive/enter the print rank to ensure sorting is not thwarted). And to refine my earlier statement: print rank -can- be derived provided there's no actual printing information in the book itself and if certain criteria are met (see below). Or if available then the 'as-printed' info must be recorded (with allowance for an abbreviated 'numericalized' notation, such as number line --> single-digit print rank).
Are we all agreed that that is what we want to achieve/use them for?
BTW, and to be clear, I still think the 'numericalization' is the least error-prone approach imo as it would guarantee that I can achieve what I want, as illustrated below.
Second, to your examples, can you elaborate please? I am unfamiliar with magazine re-issues to fully understand what you are trying to say. Any actual examples? As far as I can see, there are two possibilities:
1. A. there is a first print run (and gets distributed), and then a couple of days/weeks/months later, there's a second print run of the same issue (and that gets distributed too). Provided there's information somewhere on or in the magazine to discriminate between the two, they would get (a derived) 1st and 2nd printing, respectively.
B. If we can't distinguish at all, the best we can do is add notes to clarify that there are, in fact, two print runs, and record them as 1st print run only (even though they have been printed separately). Or just leave the printing field blank and add a note to clarify, as no useful print rank information can be conveyed anyway - this would have my preference. Or
2. the re-issue is, in fact, a totally different edition (such as e.g. facsimile re-issues of classics many years after the original). For this case I would argue they would be different in more ways than simple print runs - they would likely have different publisher and/or different printing dates and/or different finish (e.g. glossy vs. cheap paper), and so on. These are different publications, each with a (derived) 1st print-run. For this case I wouldn't even bother entering printing number as they'd be clearly distinguishable anyway (but you could if you wanted to).
As to the Japanese/Chinese example; my understanding of what you are saying is that you can have several print runs (presumably potentially with different printing dates?), all with the same print run information (ie. the character 下 in your example). Again, two possibilities I can see:
1. if there's no additional information on or in the book or anywhere else to otherwise discriminate between print runs, then don't bother entering a print rank (indeed, what's the value of recording 'last' multiple times? I don't understand what it means in context of print-runs?) I.e. barring additional information to allow to discriminate, we're stuck. If there are dates, then fine, sorting will sort itself out :). Or,
2. if there -is- additional information on or in the book that allows to distinguish which print-run was first, we'd record the derived print rank (and clarify in the notes, as appropriate).
As I believe that you propose to restrict to only record 'as-printed' printing information, you wouldn't be able to sort nor convey what print runs are already in the database, while deriving a ('numericalized') print rank could. Or am I misunderstanding you? If so, can you detail what your proposal would entail and how it would work, perhaps with some use cases? MagicUnk 05:57, 7 January 2020 (EST)
There is one other wrinkle to the "numeric vs. non-numeric values" debate. I vaguely remembered that many Russian publishers handled printings differently, so I decided to check FantLab. According to this FantLab record, the 2001 edition of this novel had the following "additional printings":
  • 2002 - 10000 copies
  • 2003 - 10000 copies
  • 2004 - 20000 copies — АСТ (ISBN 5-17-008498-6), Люкс (ISBN 5-9660-0229-0)
  • 2005 — 15000 copies — АСТ (ISBN 5-17-008498-6), АСТ Москва (ISBN 5-9713-0621-9), Транзиткнига (ISBN 5-9578-2901-3), Харвест (ISBN 985-13-5169-5)
  • 2006 — 20000 copies — АСТ (ISBN 978-5-17-008498-2), Транзиткнига (ISBN 978-5-9578-2901-0)
These "additional printings" were apparently not numbered. Moreover, some were associated with multiple ISBNs because they were published by different imprints of the same publisher (АСТ). Are they really "printings" as we understand them? If they are, can we assign sequential numbers to them even though they are apparently not numbered by the publisher? If we do, will the four different 2005 ISBNs share the same printing number (5)? Ahasuerus 18:55, 6 January 2020 (EST)
They are printings in the same way as the US numbered ones are. They may have different covers and/or copyright pages to account for the added ISBNs and some of them switch ISBNs completely but they are printings - the Bulgarian books have the same logic. The problem with adding sequential numbers is that as they are not numbered, a missing one may be identified later on if we grab data from an incomplete entry -- thus messing up our numbering. So if we are sure of the data, we can add numbers (and I had added to some books); but if we are not, there is a chance that there is a missing number somewhere in between... And the year is not always enough either see this one which has 3 printings in 2006 alone. Annie 19:19, 6 January 2020 (EST)
Agree that this is a potential source for erroneous data entry if somehow you've missed a printrun in-between. Annoying for sure, but I don't see how we can prevent this from happening. However, I believe it's not such a big an issue since once the missing in-between printrun is discovered, it is easy enough to insert the new one with its (numerical) printing (assuming we go with that), and correct the other printings accordingly. The only non-trivial (corner?) case is where you have the same year (as in Annie's example). Barring additional information (such as perhaps month/day somewhere else? - Annie, is there a way to discriminate the order in which these 2006 runs were printed?) there's no way to disambiguate. Recording these ambiguous cases with the same printing, accompanied with a note explaining the issue, could be a possibility - after all, if recorded this way, sorting would still be correct (ie all 2006 runs are below each other). Not perfect, but it would work for our purposes, no?
And if there would be no date (ie for the 0000-00-00 case) we're stuck, and we'd have to leave the printing field blank. (but hey, no printing information is also information :) Anyway, I wouldn't want this case to prevent us from having a printing field :). MagicUnk 05:57, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Russian (and Bulgarian) printings always have an associated "signed for printing" date with them - I think that most of Eastern European books had that at least last century. Not easy to find without the book at hand sometimes but they always exist. It is not the Depot legale of the French but it is usually enough to separate the printings. So the 3 2006 printings are easily separable based on that (when you do not have a better way - more or new ISBNs, separate printer and so on). And later printing often list the previous ones (often being the imperative word).
I still do not feel comfortable us assigning a number based on an incomplete set of data. If we call something second printing, it means "second printing" and not "second printing we know of but we had not done much of a research". We need to be able to stand behind our data and while changing the numbers is easy, knowingly adding incorrect information just so we can make up some numbers is... bad. If we want to have system generated numbers (printing we know of), we can discuss that but mixing genuine numbered printings with "printings we know of" devalues our data. Which does not mean that we should not have the field - just that it needs to be non-numeric. And once we have it, coming up with standards per language/country for the ones we know do not number is not that hard. Bending some data to conform to another country's publishing practices is a bad idea - just witness how long it is taking us to get untangled from the US focus of this DB - while multiple ISBNs and publishers are almost unheard of in this set (or were...), they are common in Russia/USSR; same with multiple prices in the Western European world.
One option may be to have a radio box: Numbered/unnumbered printing which then either allows only numbers (for properly numbered printings) or free text (for the rest). :) Annie 11:49, 7 January 2020 (EST)

(unindent) Hi Annie, my examples above are just that, examples. While I believe the mechanisms explained to obtain derived printing ranks can be useful in certain cases, they by no means are to be considered given, and in any case must be applied judicially. I would never advocate not to be thorough :) but mistakes are made... It also looks like the discussion is crystallizing out towards a consensus to have a non-numerical printing field, supported by a case-by-case set of rules to apply, probably per language and/or country to be able to accomodate the varied practices out there. This supporting rules' set is then something that we still need to continue to build, as you suggest. In any case, while I remain in favour of a purely numerical field, I have no fundamental problems with using a non-numerical field. On a slight tangent, I haven't seen any examples on how to record the specific cases showcased above. For example, I'd be curious to know how you and Uzume'd envision practically recording the magazine, the Chinese/Japanese, the Russian/Bulgarian, and other practices. Cheers! MagicUnk 13:41, 7 January 2020 (EST)

That will depend a lot on what we decide to do exactly -- how many fields, will we distinguish between derived and stated and how in a separate field and so on. The note above was explaining why a number won't work outside of the numbered practice. And there is another thing to be careful about - where we want to show these. Number only ones will fit almost anywhere (and will be very useful in the pub table under the title for example); the text ones will make that table unmanageable. We may also decide to just ignore the new fields for cases where printing is not well defined. Blocking everything while we find all possible corner cases and agree on all rules had (and would) never worked anyway. I am also just fine not recording the Bulgarian/Russian ones outside of the first in the new fields - if anything, we need the multi-publishers/multi-ISBNs for these a lot more (but that is a different conversation). :) Annie 14:09, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Welll, numbers -will- work outside of the numbered practice provided there's sufficient information available so that a conversion algorithm can be applied and yields unambiguous results. If not, then the numbers will be undetermined and remain blank. We can do that :) There's not really a conflict there and I agree with what you're saying that you can decide not to enter printing information or choose not to (or not required to) apply any conversion. That leads to your suggestion to use an 'as printed' field, next to a derived (numerical) printing field (IIRC this has been suggested in the past too). In that case we would be better off naming the latter 'sorting field' then(?). Ie two fields, which can have the exact same information in case of the numbered practice. That still doesn't answer which of the two (or both?) we'd want to display on what screen(s). So, what about only displaying the 'as printed' field, but with a limited width, say, 10, 15 positions at most, and sorting on the not-displayed sorting field. Would that work for the pub list? Drawbacks? Cases where it wouldn't be workable? (one thing we have to be careful about is that we have to make sure that the solution we end up with remains workeable, ie that data entry does not become too much of a burden to the point of untenable for the editors. Likewise, as you're saying readability is important too ...)
As for sorting in the case of having these two fields, sorting could be done as follows: sort on the 'sorting' field by default, and if for some pubs that field is left blank, use the value from the 'as printed' field. If both are blank, well these records end up at the bottom of the list (not sure if this is clear enough, but it'd be something like SORT(IF sortingField ISBLANK THEN asPrintedField ELSE sortingField) (btw, this approximates your radio-button suggestion :) MagicUnk 15:47, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Any reason not to use a single field that does the same thing the page field currently does (allow any needed text entry with a piped sort). It would keep things consistent. -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:22, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Euh, I'm lost... what do you mean with a piped sort?! Can you explain what you mean by that? Thanks! MagicUnk 11:53, 8 January 2020 (EST)
There are two things here: what we record/show and how that relates to sorting on lists. The sorting can be done via a pipe: so the 3 2006 printings above can have strings such as "2006.1|First 2006 printing" for example. That way you define both how it sorts and what you show at the same time - like we do with pages. Annie 12:07, 8 January 2020 (EST)
See the "Sorting" section of Template:PubContentFields:Page, which discusses the uses of the "pipe" character, for details. Ahasuerus 12:31, 8 January 2020 (EST)
Aaah, yes. Got it :) Fine with me MagicUnk 13:30, 8 January 2020 (EST)
Works for me. Annie 17:34, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Showing how a scheme works for particular examples sounds like a good idea. Can someone explain how you would enter priting/sorting fields for these five printings (of many) for Tarzan of the Apes? 1st (US), 1st (CN), First Special Printing, 13th printing (precedes Special printing), 14th printing follows Special printing. ../Doug H 13:10, 8 January 2020 (EST)
To answer Doug's question: If we assume we sort on date, then publisher, then printing, we wouldn't be able to reorganize the way you requested with the '|' symbol because date sorting takes precedence. In other words, since the dates are all different (except for the first two) the sort order can't be changed - and we even wouldn't want to! (btw, are you sure 13th printing precedes special printing? If so, the current printing dates are in error). So, if you want to sort the first two (wanting the US first), you could enter something like this:
First Printing: July 1963 | 1 (US)
First Printing: July 1963 | 2 (CN)
First Special Printing: January, 1976
Thirteenth Printing: November, 1976
Fourteenth Printing: December 1977
If you would enter something like this
First Printing: July 1963 | 1 (US)
First Printing: July 1963 | 2 (CN)
Thirteenth Printing: November, 1976 | 3
First Special Printing: January, 1976 | 4
Fourteenth Printing: December 1977 | 5
You would still end up with the same ordering displayed for the printing info, like this:
First Printing: July 1963 (US)
First Printing: July 1963 (CN)
First Special Printing: January, 1976
Thirteenth Printing: November, 1976
Fourteenth Printing: December 1977
Again, this is assuming that the piped printing sorting is applied only after sorting on date, then on publisher. Note that this outcome is as expected (date sorting first). Maybe Ahasuerus can chime in with details on alternative implementations of the pipe sorting (as I'm not sure exactly how the current page piping is coded)? MagicUnk 13:09, 13 January 2020 (EST)
One thing to keep in mind about the "pipe sorting" of page numbers is that "pipe" numbers can include decimals. If we decide to use the same algorithm for the proposed "printing" field, we'll be able to use "|1.1" for the first US printing and "|1.2" for the first Canadian printing.
That said, I am still thinking of the best way to capture and display printing numbers. The discussion above suggests that if we continue to sort publications by date, a "printing" field would only change the way we sort publications with the same publication date. In most cases it would be limited to 0000-00-00 publications.
However, sorting issues aside, there is also value to simply displaying the printing number on the Title page. Consider Devon Monk's Magic to the Bone. We have publication records for 4 printings of the mass market paperback edition published by Roc. You have to check all 4 to discover that there have been at least 5 printings and that we are missing the 3rd one. Having the printing numbers displayed on this book's Title page would be very useful, sorting issues aside. Ahasuerus 15:24, 13 January 2020 (EST)
Yes, exactly! :) One thing I've been thinking is that there's no real need for sorting on publisher at all. It should suffice to sort by date, and then by the piped printing (which would, indeed, mostly be relevant for the 0000-00-00 case only). I'd like to have input on:
1. what would be the maximum workable width of the printing field before its contents starts to wrap?, and,
2. in most 'special' cases as discussed above we can go with 'as is printed in the book', but what should we do with the line number in US/UK pubs? Would we be copying it as-is in the printing field (which isn't helping readability), or would we go with 'abbreviating' it to the number only and enter that? We'd need some standard so as not to get an ugly mess of one editor handling line number one way, and another a totally different way for the same title (need to be consistent within a title, not necessarily so across different titles, eventhough that'd be preferred, of course)... MagicUnk 16:52, 13 January 2020 (EST)
I'm happy to see the sorting drop aside. So for the Tarzan examples (pardon my date ordering of the special), I'd go along with (and actually prefer) to make the printings numerical where possible (e.g. 13 vs. Thirteenth). Some considerations for explaining the use of the field should cover a) distinguishing variant printings (e.g. 1 Canadian and 1 US / USA / America / U.S. / U.S.A. / United States / ...) and reuse of printing numbers (e.g. 1 Special / Special 1). ../Doug H 08:33, 15 January 2020 (EST)

Magazines can sometimes be reprinted years later. Since we treat magazines as editor title series (instead of pub series which I believe is a better method; I am not advocating removing editor records or their series), we sometimes see our records in strange organizations like: Amra - 1959 and Amra - 1959 (facsimile). Amra, Vol. 2, No. 2 did not get re-edited from Amra V2n2, March 1959 or even from Amra V2n2, March 1959. The reason someone did that was to help disambiguate between this reprint and the earlier printings (because different editor title records can be in different title series). Using pub series would solve this issue but using a pub record print ranking type of field could also help by allowing a causal viewer to explicitly see in the title record view that certain pub records are tagged with some sort of reprint designation. I believe this field can provide more than just sorting among pub records with the same/indeterminate dates, but it provides a title viewer a better overview of pubs of a specific title. I am not sure it is applicable in all cases but I am not against using a "piped" field type to provide a visual value as well as a sort key value. It also has potential benefits for searching (trying finding a succinct listing of all the first reprintings of the Amra magazine). With such a field, we could at least find such a listing via a search (although switching to pub series for magazines would have the benefit of also having separate issue grid potential). —Uzume 17:01, 15 January 2020 (EST)

URLs associated with "New Record" submissions are now hyperlinked

All URLs associated with "New Record" (New Publication, Clone Publication, New Award Category, etc) submissions are now clickable on submission review pages. Ahasuerus 20:50, 5 January 2020 (EST)

Thank you! -- JLaTondre (talk) 20:35, 6 January 2020 (EST)

Pub record replace titles

I am not sure if this is highly coveted/useful or even how difficult it would be to write/merge/create, however, I often find myself needing to replace titles, meaning both removing and adding (aka import/export content) titles at the same time. Currently the software does not allow this and more than a single submission is necessary to articulate the procedure. I wonder how complex would it be to merge:

  • edit/
  • edit/

This might also affect:

  • edit/
  • edit/

More generally, it might also be possible to add this directly to:

  • edit/
  • edit/
  • edit/

Which might also affect:

  • edit/

I think it might prove useful to unify all the pub title content editing controls into a single place.

So do you think this sounds useful to you and is not too crazy and daunting? I am looking for feedback (including perhaps better ideas) before submitting a software feature request. Thank you. —Uzume 12:07, 6 January 2020 (EST)

So you are looking for a way to combine "Remove Titles" with "Import Titles, Option 2"? What about the rest of the possibilities (the ability to import a complete other collection for example - Option 1 of the import (import all from a pub))? And do you also envision having the ability to manually add more titles (as you can with Import but cannot during a remove)? And what about cloning? Is the idea to be able to clone and replace/remove during the cloning process itself?
While I would love to be able to import, edit and remove from a single screen, unless we are covering all the options (basically bringing these 3 to a single page), I find them more intuitive as separate options. Annie 12:58, 6 January 2020 (EST)
I am not sure it matters. I was considering both options. As it is, both options have the same "clonecontent" backend. I am proposing to merge the backend with "rmtitles" or better yet with "newpub", "editpub", and "clonepub".
For example, we could have a editpub.cgi?ExportFrom=<pubid> or editpub.cgi?ImportTitles1=<titleid>&ImportTitles2=<titleid> in a similar fashion as we now have with clonecontent.cgi. Further the existing titles could have checkboxes next to them to have them removed much like rmtitles.cgi currently does. "newpub", "editpub", and "clonepub" could have form boxes to apply such form parameters to themselves and be reloaded or something similar to avoid the necessity for separate entry forms like "importcontent" (we could still have those if such things were useful and clearer of course).
Uzume 14:14, 6 January 2020 (EST)
Could you please rephrase the idea in functional terms? Much of what you are suggesting describes proposed technical implementation details, which are meaningless to most ISFDB editors. Ahasuerus 18:08, 6 January 2020 (EST)
Well I was proposing it in steps merging backends (because it might very hard to design and make all that work in one go) but the ultimate goal would be a single pub editor that can do what it does today as well as adding and removing titles. This would work for newpub, addpub, clonepub, editpub and effectively including the functionality of removetitle and import/export content. Is that functionally simple enough? —Uzume 19:48, 6 January 2020 (EST)
Implementation difficulties aside, I suspect that moving the "import titles", "remove titles" and "import from a publication" functionality to the Edit/Add/Clone/New Publication page would make the consolidated page hard to navigate. Ahasuerus 16:05, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Perhaps but that could be improved with better UI improvements, but it would also make it *much* easier to navigate if you consider how many times one has to navigate multiple submissions of different types with different interfaces and then hope that a mod approves them in the right order and/or wait for approval before making the next change (and that is if the mod doesn't notice the need and then go about attempting the change it by his/herself...sometimes incorrectly because they did not investigate things the same as the original editor that made the submission did). —Uzume 17:10, 15 January 2020 (EST)

Blocking "Add Publication to This Title" for certain title types?

Why are we blocking for certain title types. For example why is this "not supported":

It seems like most people would want to add pub record issues to magazine editor title records. Why am I required to add a new magazine (including new title) and then subsequently merge the extraneous editor record that results from that?

According to edit/, the currently "supported" title types include only: 'NOVEL', 'COLLECTION', 'OMNIBUS', 'ANTHOLOGY', 'CHAPBOOK' and 'NONFICTION'. Thank you.

For context, I did some searching and this goes back to CVS edit/ 1.20 and FR 446

I am assuming it is somehow related to this outdated Help:Screen:AddPublication that states one cannot change the contents during the add.

Uzume 14:20, 6 January 2020 (EST)

Thanks for the heads-up re: Help:Screen:AddPublication! I have updated the text to reflect the way the software works in 2020.
Re: the main question, there are three deactivated fields on the "Add Publication to This Title" edit form: "Title", "Author(s)", "Pub Type". It works well for book titles, but magazines are a bit different. The Title field would need to be activated because MAGAZINE/FANZINE publication records and EDITOR title records use different naming conventions, e.g. "New Worlds, #3 (October) 1947" vs. "New Worlds - 1947". The "Pub Type" field would also need to be activated because EDITOR titles are used for both MAGAZINE and FANZINE publications.
Other than that, I can't think of any reason why we couldn't make "Add Publication to This Title" work for EDITOR titles. Ahasuerus 17:44, 6 January 2020 (EST)
Cool, then perhaps we can get an FR to reenable all the other missing title types that addpub used to work years ago before FR 446 broke them in late 2015. Or maybe this would be better as a bug since it used to work and was broken. —Uzume 20:06, 6 January 2020 (EST)
I can see how the ability to "Add a Publication" to an EDITOR title could be useful, but we have to be careful with other title types. Early on, the software let you "Add a Publication" to SHORTFICTION titles, which caused problems. Similarly, adding a publication to a POEM, ESSAY, SERIAL, REVIEW, INTERVIEW, COVERART or INTERIORART title wouldn't work too well. Ahasuerus 15:23, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Well, if we can somehow make "Add Publication" on a short story/poem record create a chapbook record, that will be very useful actually - especially with all those never before reprinted story that keep popping up and with more and more authors making their stories available outside of collections. I'd argue that it will used a lot more than adding a publication to an EDITOR. :)Annie 17:39, 7 January 2020 (EST)
I can see how it could be useful, but there is a catch. A regular "Add Publication to NOVEL/COLLECTION/etc" submission creates a new NOVEL/COLLECTION/etc pub record and links it to an existing title record. An "Add Publication to SHORTFICTION/POEM" submission would not only create a new CHAPBOOK pub record and link it to an existing SHORTFICTION/POEM title, but it would also create a new CHAPBOOK title and link the pub to it. That would be a significant change to the option's functionality.
Perhaps it would be better to create a new option, "Create a CHAPBOOK publication for this title", which would only be displayed for SHORTFICTION/POEM titles. It would help address the issue that we had back when "Add Pub" was available for all title types: editors often tried to use it to "add" collections/anthologies/magazines/etc to SHORTFICTION/POEM/ESSAY/etc titles. Ahasuerus 13:29, 8 January 2020 (EST)
Yeah, that works as well and makes sense - as long as we do try to do something. AddPub is easily replace-able with ClonePub when we have at least one publication anyway so I rarely use AddPub (I use it mainly when I am adding the first pub to a pub-less parent for example) but I can see how it can get confusing if we add it back to the Short fiction and poem types (and SERIAL... let's not forget SERIAL) :) Annie 13:45, 8 January 2020 (EST)
It sounds like we need two separate FRs then, one for adding pubs to EDITOR titles and another FR for adding chapbooks to SHORTFICTION/POEM/SERIAL titles. Ahasuerus 19:47, 8 January 2020 (EST)
Yep - probably better to keep them separate. Annie 19:50, 8 January 2020 (EST)

(unindent) FR 1331 and FR 1332 have been created. Ahasuerus 14:27, 13 January 2020 (EST)

I definitely think CHAPBOOK from "non-container" title type option should have different naming than the original "Add Pub". I do not see why we could not allow all other pub types as well, however, as these would essentially just be create new pub with a prefilled title "export" to the new pub in a single edit/submission. I am already advocating for merging new pub/edit pub, etc. with title imports/exports. —Uzume 17:26, 15 January 2020 (EST)

Alphabetical author order -- wrong preposition?

I was looking at something else and noticed that we use a different preposition (and view) in the alphabetical order compared to the Chronological. See the chapbooks here. The ones that say "with Conrad Shepherd" are actually "AS Conrad Shepherd" and why do we show them separately anyway (compare to the chronological view where they are in the usual "only by" format. It is not just the chapbooks - but it is easily visible with them. Am I missing something that we are trying to achieve here? Annie 16:45, 7 January 2020 (EST)

That would be Bug 491 :-) Ahasuerus 18:38, 7 January 2020 (EST)
Any plans on getting it fixed one of those days? Because this is beyond ugly - not to mention that it is the only interface that actually shows the data differently. This one looks even uglier... :) If the Chronological list keeps the variants under their parents, why does the alphabetical one flattens them - I would expect the two lists to be exactly the same, with the order changed... Annie 19:23, 7 January 2020 (EST)
It's the single biggest bug left in the system. Unfortunately, I need to massage the way author pages are built -- without messing up anything else -- in order to fix it. I didn't want to tackle it while I wasn't feeling well, but I may be in good enough shape to try it this month. I'll see what I can do. Ahasuerus 22:25, 7 January 2020 (EST)

Publications with Wiki pages

The cleanup report Publications with Wiki pages has been adjusted to work with the new "Publication Web Pages" multi-field. Once the nightly job runs at 1am server time, I expect the number of flagged publications to go from 236 to 295.

As we discussed 10 days ago, some Wiki-based pages for existing publications (like this one and this one) will need to be folded into regular Note fields. When this report is out of the way, we can re-assess where we are and create additional cleanup reports.Ahasuerus 21:33, 7 January 2020 (EST)

A new cleanup report to find pubs which use the 'Incomplete' template

A new cleanup report to find pubs which use the 'Incomplete' template has been deployed. As per FR 1312, it uses the same grid format as the cleanup reports which find container pubs with no fiction titles. The data for this report will appear once the nightly job runs in about 6 hours. Ahasuerus 19:45, 8 January 2020 (EST)

2020-01-11 - Performance problems

Earlier today the server was mostly unresponsive due to identified technical issues. Everything seems to be back to normal now, but we don't know what the problem was. We are still looking into it. Ahasuerus 14:19, 11 January 2020 (EST)

It's still happening, although sporadically. I have asked to have the whole server rebooted. Ahasuerus 16:19, 11 January 2020 (EST)

L. E. Modesitt, Jr. - Recluce Maps

Hi, i'about to add the german translations of the Recluce series. Book 5 to 13 have maps by Ellisa Mitchell and some of the original pubs have them too. As far as i can see they are all identical - at least in the translations - and a quick Amazon "look inside" check on a few shows this also seems to be the case for the originals. If so, shouldn't one of them be a parent title and the others varianted to it? So before i add the translations and variant the maps to nine different titles i'd like to ask if anyone would be able to check if the maps in the original pubs are indeed all the same? Werner Welo 06:34, 12 January 2020 (EST)

I wondered about how to approach recurring maps, but only got as far as noting a couple of links to check - Using a series title and use of images. I'll be adding this discussion to my set. ../Doug H 10:14, 12 January 2020 (EST)
If they are indeed recurring, it may be better to merge them and set the title to 'Recluce Saga (map)' or something similar. At least they have to be varianted to a parent (likely the first occurrence). Stonecreek 13:00, 12 January 2020 (EST)

Moderator Note is now required when editing PV'd publications

As per FR 1321, a Moderator Note is now required when editing publications that have been primary-verified by users other than the submitting editor. You may need to do a full page reload (Control-F5 under most browsers) to get the new functionality working correctly. If you come across any oddities, please post your findings here. Ahasuerus 17:40, 12 January 2020 (EST)

How does this affect other submission types that affect PVed records like title submissions, etc.? —Uzume 16:12, 15 January 2020 (EST)
At this time only "Edit Publication" is affected. We may want to consider other scenarios, e.g. importing titles into a primary-verified publication. Ahasuerus 17:34, 22 January 2020 (EST)
I can see some situations where requiring our existing "Moderator Note" (however we decide to re-name it) for even all pub edit submissions against PVed pub records, might not be the best approach. For example, if I only want to add/fix external identifiers for a pub record. These normally have little to no bearing on the actual physical publications (we sometimes see LCCNs printed in publications but I have not heard of cases where they contain BNB, JNB, OCLC or other identifiers much) and I do not see why a PVer need be much involved with such a change. I expect a PVer to probably know about the same as others on that front. And normally an external identifier change is highly self-explanatory even for a moderator much less a PVer or any other editor/reviewer (so what do you propose I start putting in these required "Moderator Note"s?). The same could be said for the new web page links that are now allowed on pub records. These too have little bearing on the actual physical publication which is what PV is all about and a web page link is usually pretty self-explanatory. —Uzume 16:12, 15 January 2020 (EST)
I agree that certain fields are less impactful than others. However, I'd rather err on the side of caution. Even some External IDs -- e.g. OCLC/WorldCat -- can get tricky. Ahasuerus 17:34, 22 January 2020 (EST)

They Never Came Back

I don't see a reason why this 'nonfiction' (which actually is a collection) should have its place in the database. Can anyone else? Thanks for thinking about it. Christian Stonecreek 08:27, 17 January 2020 (EST)

Feel free to axe Allen Churchill as far as I am concerned. —Uzume 11:45, 17 January 2020 (EST)
Based on the pub ID, the paperback is from the very early days of the DB (loaded from another DB I would think). But yeah - it is not genre and it is not by someone above threshold so I would support nuking it. Annie 12:14, 17 January 2020 (EST)
Thanks for the input! I deleted the publications & the title. Christian Stonecreek 14:23, 17 January 2020 (EST)

Header template signifying remove author (and other) wiki pages

What was that template again? And where can I find the info? Thanks! MagicUnk 13:36, 17 January 2020 (EST)

over here. However - you are a moderator, you can just delete the page now. :) Annie 13:54, 17 January 2020 (EST)
Right, stupid me. Didn't think of it. Thanks for the location though. Appreciated! MagicUnk 14:47, 17 January 2020 (EST)
Nah. Unless you do it, it is hard to remember that you see new things now. :) Annie 14:55, 17 January 2020 (EST)

2020-01-21 - Performance problems

The performance problems are back. I have submitted a request to have the server bounced. Ahasuerus 11:49, 21 January 2020 (EST)

James Rollins/James Clemens canonical name

Any objections to changing the canonical name? His Rollins name is a lot more visible and recognizable and we have 70 pubs under the current one and 239 under Rollins. Annie 20:15, 29 January 2020 (EST)

That seems like a good candidate. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:25, 29 January 2020 (EST)

Component works as Variant titles

What is our criterion for handling component works as variants, as we do for The Ring Sets Out --the first half of the usual first volume of The Lord of the Rings by JRRT-- and its sibling "novels"? The Ring Sets Out is the first listing in series The Lord of the Rings, which handles the famous novel as a trilogy comprising three novels.

Do we, or should we, sometimes handle "fix-up" novels that way? One for which we do not is The Ship Who Sang (T5537, 1969) by Anne McCaffrey. See series The Ship Who ... where the six stories that constitute the novel, with revisions and perhaps supplement, are not affiliated with the fix-up novel in our database structure, only in the 1969 novel title note. --Pwendt|talk 20:18, 1 February 2020 (EST)

I don't know where/if it is documented, but I believe our practice is that if the work was first published as a single book and then was later published split across multiple volumes but otherwise unchanged -- a practice particularly common in some of the European markets -- we variant the split-into pieces to the original single title. But if some, or all, the pieces were published separately first, or if the later publication-as-pieces included non-trivial changes, then we treat the later publications as derivative works and do not make them variants of the original. --MartyD 10:34, 2 February 2020 (EST)

Likely novella candidates: works by del Rey, Knight and Niven

It appears from the copies I have that del Rey's Badge of Infamy, Knight's The Sun Saboteurs and Niven's The Magic Goes Away are all not novels but novellas. Our note for The Sun Saboteurs does also supposes this. The Niven title appears to be a novel per page count, but is in fact heavily illustrated (half of the space is not text). So, I think it's time to correct our entries. Stonecreek 02:29, 2 February 2020 (EST)

Badge of Infamy is available from Project Gutenberg (transcription of the Ace double version). It is just over 31k characters so definitely a novella. It also shows the Ace version has "A shorter and earlier version of this story appeared in Satellite Science Fiction for June, 1957." so the original was even shorter. -- JLaTondre (talk) 09:20, 2 February 2020 (EST)
Thanks for the input! I wanted to wait for a few days anyways, but it appears that I could begin with 'Badge of Infamy' first (Tuesday or so). Thanks, Stonecreek 10:55, 2 February 2020 (EST)
Estimated wordcount for The Magic Goes Away (from The Best of Larry Niven) is 25.000 to 30.000. The Sun Saboteurs is around 35.000 words, so both well in the novella range. It might be useful to put these numbers in the title notes. --Willem 13:29, 2 February 2020 (EST)
Thanks! Will do so. Christian Stonecreek 13:46, 4 February 2020 (EST)
Del Rey's The Sky Is Falling also seems to be of novella length. Christian Stonecreek 06:29, 6 March 2020 (EST)

Hello? Is this a forum? Seeking help from an author

Hello ISFDB Community,

My name is Dr. Jared Buss. I am a professor of history and the published author of a biography of science writer Willy Ley, who was quite prolific with Galaxy and in general with the Space Race. If you would like to check me out, here is a link to my first book:

If this link doesn't work, the book is called Willy Ley: Prophet of the Space Age.

I come to this place, not only because this site assisted me greatly in my first book research (and I credited it) but also because I am brainstorming my second book. I am looking for experts on the pulps, because the field of SF studies is outside of my scope. So I need some help navigating the history of SF pulps. I am trying to expand my bio of Willy Ley into a broader circle of SF authors, science writers, scientific journalists, etc. The period is from the 1930s through the 1970s, and most of my material so far is Astounding/Analog. I am focused not on the SF of the mags, but the science content, the editorials, and the reader letters.

Astounding/Analog makes the most sense to me at the moment because it had so many different science experts and writers, while Galaxy had Ley and the Asimov stuff had Asimov, unless you all think I need to look at the various writers of IF or other mags.

Basic question: Is there a way that I can ask questions of this educated community?

I would like to seek guidance on my second book project. I am happy to give credit to the community here.

All my best,

Jared Buss

PS Wiki confuses the hell out of me. I'm not sure if anyone will ever see this message.

Hello, Professor Buss! Your note hasn't gone by unnoticed.
I do think that many of the persons active here are willing to help you. If you have general questions it'd be best to post them at our Help Desk. If you do have specific questions about a publication the best way is to consult one of the primary verifiers, which are listed at the bottom of the respective publication's entry. The ones who were last active in 2020 are likely to respond in good time.
I hope that this can open a gate or two for your research.
Thanks for approaching us! Stonecreek 03:38, 3 February 2020 (EST)
If you live near Chicago, I would recommend attending the Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention, April 17-19, 2020, where you can connect with a lot people in the field. There’s more detail on the Con’s Facebook Page.Rkihara 15:21, 3 February 2020 (EST)
Re: "the science content, the editorials, and the reader letters" in mid-20th century SF magazines, that's a very big can of worms. Different magazines had different angles. Sometimes the editorial contents of a magazine changed over time, e.g. Startling Stories was very juvenile in the early 1940s, but became much more serious and polished in the second half of the decade. Astounding went from a fairly straightforward adventure mag under Harry Bates (1930-1934) to a more thoughtful "what if?" place under F. Orlin Tremaine (1933-1937) to the gold standard of American SF during the Golden Age under John W. Campbell, Jr. (1938-1949) to a place where pseudoscience flourished as Campbell began his long decline (1950-1960+). And that's just two magazines! Ahasuerus 12:58, 4 February 2020 (EST)

Who stops Stonecreek?

Again Stonecreek changes my PV data here, here, here and another pubs with his own not verified data and without source. The bad thing is, that he even changes wording, even if the data is correct. Who stops Stonecreek? I wish a statement from an administrator whether this behavior is correct or not! If this behavior is tolerated, I can save myself more time wasting on working here. My advice: clear his moderator flag. Stonecreek behaves like a berserk, destroying and changing a lot of data from PVed pubs (asks Rudam, C1, Willem, Magicunk, Annie). It is terrifying that a moderator is allowed to riot, all under the pretext of troubleshooting. Please don't ask me for further information, everyone knows his behavior and I have no time, to repeat the facts, read the associated threads.--Wolfram.winkler 01:59, 6 February 2020 (EST)

Editors can change primary-verified data for various reasons as long as they notify the primary verifiers. Common reasons include:
In addition, approving moderators commonly change submitted data to bring it in compliance with the ISFDB data entry standards. On your Talk page you write "Since non-compliance with rules is common here, I also take the liberty to use a meaningful definition of the page number" ("Da das Nichtbefolgen von Regeln hier üblich ist, nehme ich mir auch die Freiheit heraus eine sinnvolle Definition der Seitenzahl zu benutzen"), but that's not how the ISFDB operates. If a submission is not in compliance with the current data entry standards, the non-compliant data will be corrected by the approving moderator. Editors are encouraged to learn from these corrections and to adjust their future submissions accordingly.
If you believe that the approving moderator is interpreting one or more standards incorrectly -- which is always possible since no one is perfect -- please post the specifics on the Moderator Noticeboard and other moderators will review the situation. You write "Please don't ask me for further information", but other moderators can't help without knowing what had been submitted, how it was changed by the approving moderator and what you believe the problem with the change was.
If you would like to propose a change to the data entry standards, please post on the Rules and standards discussions page. You wrote on your page that "Discussion is superfluous, since no result is achieved anyway", but discussions do result in changes. For example, just three weeks ago we changed the data entry standards as well as the ISFDB software based on a Rules and Standards discussion -- see the last two entries on the Rules and standards changelog page.
The steps listed immediately above are the standard ISFDB data entry and appeals process. Please follow it in the future. Ahasuerus 10:48, 6 February 2020 (EST)
I do change them as for applying the ISFDB standard: correcting the faulty English to correct use, correcting the erroneous page count and format. You had plenty of time to do this on your own, and were offered help from various moderators. If you were asked about what is stated in a given publication verified by you, you never answered the respective question but kept evading any answer.
Plus: you openly concede that you don't care for ISFDB standards (for example about indexing the correct page count). At the end of this argument you state that you set your own standard of giving the page count. Cleverly, you did this in German, obviously your chosen language of hiding. Stonecreek 02:47, 6 February 2020 (EST)
I don't know what Wolfram's intent was, but it reinforces the point that I made during that discussion:
  • The reason that we use English as the language of all Wiki pages, including Talk pages, is that we want all editors and moderators to be able to understand all Wiki-based discussions. Using other languages would make it difficult or impossible for others to contribute to discussions. It would make it difficult for moderators who do not know the submitting editor's preferred language to work with his or her submissions because they would have no way to review previous discussions. Ahasuerus 10:51, 6 February 2020 (EST)
Every single one of your primary verified publications that I encountered has been faulty: either in language, in page count, or in missing information (since you tried to revert to stub notes in the recent past).
If you keep your personal attacks, you will be blocked for a short time of posting your insults. This time will be prolonged after any further such attempt that is not stating what is wrong with a given publication record (and if so, I am afraid, you might be asked to prove your case). If you think something is missing, please submit it (but you'll have to use a correct form of English; if this seems to be difficult, don't hesitate to ask).
Wolfram, you might want to become a respected editor, but you have to change your attitude by following the ISFDB standard and getting cooperative. Stonecreek 02:47, 6 February 2020 (EST)
Calling other editors "berserk" is close to a personal attack and should be avoided. However, there is also another issue here. If an editor consciously decides not to use the ISFDB data entry standards, it greatly increases the amount of work that the approving moderators have to do in order to bring his submissions in compliance with the standards. It also frustrates both the moderators and the submitting editor as seen above. That way lies burnout.
In order to avoid these types of issues in the future, I ask Wolfram to commit himself to trying to follow the ISFDB data entry policies and procedures. (I say "trying" because, as I wrote earlier, no one is perfect and mistakes will happen.) It's a basic prerequisite for being an ISFDB editor. Ahasuerus 11:44, 6 February 2020 (EST)
Let me add that to correct erroneous phrasings & statements is only logical in the light of the fads & fallacies you, Wolfram, provided: The initial notes (now corrected) for this publication - provided by you - stated something like 'Version: 9th German printing'. There was no note that it was only the ninth printing of this edition, and that as far as we know all the novel's German editions print the same version.
You, Wolfram, also cheated and hoaxed on us. The fact that you tried everything to avoid answering simple questions is also well documented here: you would have needed only to take one simple look on the copyright page of the debated publication to answer Annie's question. This is the same argument where you pretended not to know that the German 'Originalausgabe' means 'first edition', a fact that you knew perfectly well about here. Christian Stonecreek 05:56, 9 February 2020 (EST)
Now I'm here for a short time, to look what is happened: I see, nothing new.
@ Ahasuerus: where are the sources from Stonecreek in my pv pub?. The data shown are not mine. You can talk and talk about new rules, but Stonecreek doesn't stick to them.
That is lying and I am not participating. In future I will only delete my pv status from manipulated pubs, I will no longer be an editor. Fact is, that Stonecreek delete pv data and replace it with his own non pv data. If you don't see that, then I feel sorry for you. Who stops Stonecreek? (Google).--Wolfram.winkler 05:14, 24 February 2020 (EST)
I don't know how many edits have been done on Wolfram's PV'd pub since this discussion started (quite a few I'd say), but someone added the statement The page count may actually be higher: DNB states one of 399 for this edition / ISBN. that wasn't there before. As that statement isn't rephrasing or correcting errors of what was already in the notes (which are allowed afaic), it should at least have been dated (and signed) to make it clear that it did not originate from the original PV-er as per the instructions on how to update a publication (last but one bullet). MagicUnk 12:38, 24 February 2020 (EST)
Also, the way it is phrased is not really neutral as it may give the impression that the PV-er has done a 'bad' job. The phrasing should have preferably been DNB has 399 pages for this edition / ISBN.
@Wolfram: Rephrasing notes to make them clearer or for correcting erroneous English, without changing the contents/meaning, of a PV'd publication IS allowed. If on the contrary someone has made a change that changes the contents or meaning of the notes and is incorrect, then (as has been requested before) please notify the moderators by providing 1) the before and after, and 2) why the correction/addition is wrong. For your example you could confirm that the last numbered page is, indeed, 397 (and not 399). If so, the phrase The page count may actually be higher must be deleted, but only if the last numbered page is 397. MagicUnk 13:17, 24 February 2020 (EST)
I have run a few database queries and created a list of submissions which have affected this publication record since it was originally created. Please note that the list is limited to Publication Update submissions. There may have been other types of submissions, e.g. Import/Export, which I haven't found yet:
  • 2019-12-26: 4523628 - New Publication by Wolfram.winkler which created this record
  • 2019-12-27: 4524877 - Update by Stonecreek to change multiple field values, including Notes
  • 2019-12-27: 4525530 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to change the cover scan back, approved by Stonecreek
  • 2020-01-01: 4534622 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to change the title to "Buch 1", rejected by Rudam -- see this discussion for details
  • 2020-01-05: 4539944 - Update by Dirk P Broer to change the Title record
  • 2020-01-13: 4548378 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to change the publication title and to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-01-20: 4555714 - Update by Stonecreek to change the titles of the pub record, the main title record and the COVERART title record; also edited the Note field
  • 2020-01-22: 4557265 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-01-27: 4561082 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-01-30: 4563592 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-01-31: 4564437 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-02-04: 4568181 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-02-04: 4568181 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
  • 2020-02-06: 4569226 - Update by Wolfram.winkler to delete the notes added by Stonecreek earlier; rejected by Stonecreek
Based on this history, we can tell that this publication record was originally created and then edited in December 2019, i.e. before the current rule re: adding information to primary verified publications was added on January 12. To quote Rules_and_standards_changelog:
  • 2020-01-12: When updating a primary verified publication with data from a secondary source, the editor must specify what information is from that secondary source in the "Pub Note" field
Now that the new rule is in place, we should check with the primary verifier to see what is stated in his verified copy of the book and what comes from secondary sources. We should then update the Notes field accordingly. Ahasuerus 14:00, 24 February 2020 (EST)
Update: I have asked Stonecreek to update the Notes field to indicate where the data that was not submitted by the primary verifier comes from. Ahasuerus 13:05, 25 February 2020 (EST)
P.S. And I really really need to improve the "Edit History" feature which I added a few months ago. Ahasuerus 14:04, 24 February 2020 (EST)
Thank you Ahasuerus. I see that my statement of having to add a date was not warranted as it was added before the update to the rules. (And yes, you really should :)...) -MagicUnk 14:23, 24 February 2020 (EST)
Edit History enhancements are high on my list of things to do, but I have been trying to get Phase 1 of the new Amazon interface implemented. It has turned out to be more of a challenge than I originally expected, so everything else kind of got stuck in the queue. I'll see if I can reshuffle things a bit. Ahasuerus 18:04, 24 February 2020 (EST)
Thanks for all the work that you have put into this Edit History, Ahasuerus!
As requested, I have added additions to the changed notes. Stonecreek 00:04, 26 February 2020 (EST)
@Ahasuerus: I wrote in my notes here: "Version: 6th printing". What is wrong with this note? Stonecreek changes this in: "Stated sixth printing". Is that more understandable? Never. And this is only one example for his senseless changes in many of my PVed submissions.There is nothing wrong with data being corrected or expanded, but changing the wording is a cheek!--Wolfram.winkler 02:01, 26 February 2020 (EST)
Well, it counters the general - and here even the specific - understanding of 'version': what version should it be of, when the copyright states something like '1. Auflage 2017 (2.0)' - meaning version 2.0 - or '4. Auflage 2019 (3.2)' - meaning version 3.2? The use of 'version' means that something in the text was changed (like with a revision): it's unusual for different printings of the same edition to change the text of a novel, but it seems it has happened here. Hope that makes things more clear for you. Stonecreek 02:29, 26 February 2020 (EST)
"Stated" and "assumed" are standard bibliographic terms used by the ISFDB and other bibliographies. "Stated" means that the listed information -- in this case the printing number -- is explicitly mentioned in the publication. "Assumed" means that the information is not explicitly mentioned in the publication, but there is circumstantial evidence that is sufficient to update the record. It's similar to the way OCLC and other catalogs use square brackets. To quote Help:Using Worldcat data:
  • Data listed in brackets such as "[First Ed.]" is by convention inferred rather than stated in the publication.
Sometimes "stated" information can be incorrect or misleading. For example, the third printing of a book may state that it's the second printing because the publisher forgot to update the copyright page. Alternatively, a publication may state that it was published in 1943, but the actual publication date was 1944. Another example would be the US publisher Ace, which reset its printing numbers at some point around 1980, so a "stated fourth printing" may actually be the sixth printing of the Ace edition. When something like that happens, we explain what is "stated" in the publication as well as what the actual situation is.
Re: "printing" vs. "version". "Printing" is another standard bibliographic term and refers to multiple printings of the same "edition". Different printings of an edition may have different publication dates, prices and cover art. It's uncommon for other information to be different between printings of the same edition.
The term "version" is something that I have seen used in POD (print on demand) publications lately. It is occasionally used to indicate the file number of the computer file which was used to print the book. It's usually a string of characters with printing information encoded in some fashion, e.g. "2018.v102". There doesn't appear to be a pattern shared across multiple POD publishers and authors. Ahasuerus 09:16, 26 February 2020 (EST)

ISFDB downtime -- 2020-03-05

The ISFDB server will be down for maintenance between 1:30pm and 1:40pm server (Eastern Standard) time. It will affect both the database and the Wiki. Ahasuerus 13:16, 5 March 2020 (EST)

We are back. Ahasuerus 13:41, 5 March 2020 (EST)

ISFDB downtime -- 2020-03-06 (Friday)

The ISFDB server will be down for maintenance between 12pm and 12:20pm server (Eastern Standard) time. The downtime will affect both the database and the Wiki. Publication Edit History pages will be updated to include "Edit Publication" submissions. Ahasuerus 11:13, 6 March 2020 (EST)

We are back. Sorry about the delay. The main ISFDB server is normally faster than the development server. However, it unexpectedly took a long time to run the database conversion which was needed for the new Edit History functionality to work. Here is an example of what the page looks like now. Ahasuerus 12:38, 6 March 2020 (EST)
"The submission which created this publication is displayed for publications created after 2019-12-01." - I can see things from 2018 as well (at least). Was that supposed to be 2017? Annie 12:39, 6 March 2020 (EST)
Oops! Sorry, the correct date is "2016-10-24". 2019-12-01 is the date of a later patch. Should be fixed now. Ahasuerus 13:20, 6 March 2020 (EST)

Scope of Nonfiction Books

I'm holding four newpubs for nonfiction works:

From my perspective, these are non-genre books by authors below the threshold, but I'd like a second opinion. Especially given as the submitter has other books ([2], [3], [4], [5], [6]) like these recently approved.

We used to allow books like these even if by non-genre authors when they were reviewed in genre magazine. Lately, the move (at least from what I have observed) has been away from that and changing that case to essays. What is the current community opinion on handling of these types of books? -- JLaTondre (talk) 13:42, 6 March 2020 (EST)

The question of "speculative non-fiction" -- UFOs, cryptids, ghosts, etc -- has come up a few times over the years. To the best of my recollection the answer has always been that they are out of scope as per ISFDB:Policy. We treat them the way we treat non-speculative fiction and non-fiction, i.e. we only include them if the author is "above the threshold".
Re: non-genre and non-fiction books reviewed in genre magazines, yes, they used to be included. The policy was changed to enter them as essays a number of years ago. Ahasuerus 13:51, 6 March 2020 (EST)
(After resolving a conflict) I would kick them out if I see them... The acquisition rules have a single line about non-fiction: "Works about speculative fiction." followed by an exclusion "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." - if anything we allow too much non-ficiton related to movies/series in the bigger universes if you ask me but that at least some relation to the books inside as well. These clearly are not SF or about SF. Ergo - out they go. Someone told me when I was newish that ghosts and UFOs and so on books are eligible only if they are fiction OR non-fiction about fiction on the topic. Straight non-fiction on these topics is out - we really do not want all the lunacy cases here. Same for alternate history - fiction is in, non-fiction "What IF" are out. :) Annie 13:54, 6 March 2020 (EST)
We might want to create a new maintenance report then - non-eligible books and/or publications.--Dirk P Broer 15:21, 6 March 2020 (EST)
But how will the algorithm know that a non-fiction book is ineligible? Annie 15:47, 6 March 2020 (EST)
A title is suspect when the author of the non-fiction work hasn't written fiction -in our database. It is up to the moderator that handles the report whether a title is "above the threshold", but we may want to narrow the definition of that threshold a bit.--Dirk P Broer 17:12, 6 March 2020 (EST)
Most of the eligible for inclusion non-fiction is written by authors who are either not in the DB or are only here for NON-FICTION in my experience. It has nothing to do with tresholds and non-fiction about speculative fiction (research, analysis, comparisons and so on) is always eligible.
People writing about fiction are rarely the ones writing fiction as well - while there are some that do, most are either one or the other... This report will flag most of our non-fiction titles. We probably need it to deal with existing records but we also need the approving moderators to look a bit more into eligibility when approving new Pubs. :) Annie 17:34, 6 March 2020 (EST)
We might do something with tags for those cases that are clearly within isfdb because of the content -and using other tags to mark publications that are doubtful.--Dirk P Broer 19:48, 6 March 2020 (EST)
I rejected the additions & removed the other ones. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 16:51, 7 March 2020 (EST)

Publication Edit History - Import/Export submissions added

The Publication Edit History page has been modified to display Import/Export submissions. Ahasuerus 17:34, 7 March 2020 (EST)

The Publication Edit History page has been further modified to include Remove Title submissions. Most of them cannot be displayed correctly because the removed title(s) are no longer associated with the publication record. However, the very fact that one or more titles have been removed from the publication record is good to know when trying to figure out what has happened. In addition, you can view the submission's XML if you want to see the raw data. The format is not pretty, but it's better than nothing. Ahasuerus 18:57, 7 March 2020 (EST)

8 new cleanup reports

The following 8 new cleanup reports have been added to the menagerie:

  • Anthology Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Collection Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Chapbook Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Magazine Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Fanzine Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Nonfiction Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Novel Publications with Invalid Title Types
  • Omnibus Publications with Invalid Title Types

The majority of type mismatches are NONFICTION titles which need to be converted to ESSAYs. Some other mismatches are debatable, e.g. SERIALs in NOVEL pubs. We can discuss what we want to do with them once we process the low-hanging fruit. The data should be available by 1:30am server (US Eastern) time. Ahasuerus 20:17, 10 March 2020 (EDT)

We are not flagging anthologies and collections inside of Magazines (because of the good old Italian practices (among others) - allowing the proper anthologies and collections to be connected when published in their entirety inside of a magazine). Shall we do the same for fanzines (for the same reasons)? We seem to have at least one of those in the report now. Annie 10:59, 11 March 2020 (EDT)
To quote what I wrote on the primary verifier's Talk page:
  • According to this AbeBooks listing, "A special section of verse is a semi-distinct anthology titled Lays Without Tunes and Bardic Runes including Frank Belknap Long, Richard Tierney, Walter Shedlovsky and others." It looks like what they (and the publication?) call an "anthology" is really just a distinct section of this fanzine issue. If so, then I doubt we want to create a separate ANTHOLOGY title record for this grouping of poems.
Ahasuerus 13:09, 11 March 2020 (EDT)
Yeah, we probably do not need an exception for that then (for now...). Thanks for digging this out :) Annie 13:48, 11 March 2020 (EDT)
Dirk P Broer brought to my attention this pub, which I've verified showing up on the Nonfiction Publications with Invalid Title Types report. I intentionally entered it as NONFICTION and included both a NOVEL and a SHORTFICTION item in the contents. The book has a preface and three chapters of nonfiction matter. The fourth chapter is a heavily annotated copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. After the novel, there are three appendices: An excerpt from another Baum novel with commentary, William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech and an essay on the Quantity Theory of Money. I really do feel that this book is nonfiction that contains a novel. Even the title page mentions Baum only in the subtitle and gives the editor the main credit for the book. I can certainly convert this to a novel, if folks disagree. If they don't, maybe we need an ignore feature for that report. Thoughts? --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 12:29, 21 March 2020 (EDT)

A couple awards to add

Can we add these awards:

I'll be happy to populate them. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 12:07, 12 March 2020 (EDT)

I am reading the rules and it looks like the first two are contests rather than awards: "Write a short story of no more than 8,000 words".
The last one is an award, but its scope appears to be limited to "the best story in a book published by this publisher". Here is how the 2016 winner is described: "Fans chose from the table of contents of The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 3".
I am not sure they count as award types or award categories as we use the terms. Perhaps we could enter this information in the Title Note field? Something like "As per <Web page>, this story was selected by readers as the best one in <publication>." Ahasuerus 13:47, 12 March 2020 (EDT)

The Kitschies Award

Sorry to hijack someone else's item, but I was going to raise a similar question: ErsatzCulture 22:38, 13 March 2020 (EDT)

No worries, I have created a separate section for the Kitschies award. Ahasuerus 15:38, 15 March 2020 (EDT)

could we add the British award The Kitschies? This is a panel judged award that's run for a decade - with one year skipped - and has (IMHO) a similar feel to the Clarke, but with three categories: Novel, Debut Novel, and Cover Art. (There were some other categories awarded before 2016, but they appear to have been dropped.) I'd be happy to populate them if this receives the OK. EDIT: although I'm working on other personal projects at the moment, so I might not be able to get around to doing any updates for a few weeks ErsatzCulture 22:38, 13 March 2020 (EDT)

Done. It's a straightforward genre award listed by the Science Fiction Awards Database -- see the results. Ahasuerus 16:16, 15 March 2020 (EDT)
Awesome, thanks. I'll see if I can find time to start populating it this week. ErsatzCulture 20:06, 15 March 2020 (EDT)

"Title Edit History" implemented

A new Web page, "Title Edit History", has been implemented. It's similar to the Publication Edit History page and is currently limited to "Edit Title" submissions. See this page for an example. Ahasuerus 16:23, 12 March 2020 (EDT)

ISFDB on social media

A recent discussion on my Talk page made me compile a list of social media Web pages related to our project. Let's see if we can sort them out:

  • Blogspot. Our official blog used to post notifications when the ISFDB server suddenly becomes unavailable. Last update on 2016-05-05. Luckily, we haven't had many unexpected downtimes since 2016.
  • LiveJournal. Maintained by Bill Longley, one of our moderators, in 2010-2013. Inactive and inaccessible since Bill's death in 2014.
  • Facebook. Maintained by ?. Last update on 2020-02-05.
  • Reddit. Created by user "widermind" ca. 2017. No posts.

Note that is/was the Twitter presence of the apparently defunct "Indian Short Film Database". I am unaware of a Twitter account related to our project.

Are there any other social media sites that we should be aware of? Do we know who maintains the Facebook page? Should we create a Twitter account for downtime announcements (planned and unplanned) to make it easier to notify users? Ahasuerus 13:19, 25 March 2020 (EDT)

See ISFDB:Community Portal/Archive/Archive45#Facebook page -- JLaTondre (talk) 16:25, 25 March 2020 (EDT)
Ah, so the Facebook page is being maintained by User:Nihonjoe. Thanks! Ahasuerus 19:00, 25 March 2020 (EDT)

Difficulty with login

I have been away from isfdb for some time and lost my bookmarks and login info. Unable to remember my password, I attempted to have a new password created, but I am not receiving said password. The only solution open to me was to creat a new account. That said, I found a grave difficulty while trying to contact isfdb. In the help pages there is instruction to post to the community pages if you are having difficulty with logins. Well, you cannot post to the community pages if you are not logged in. There does need to be a way to contact isfdb, but after spending quite some time searching, I found absolutely none whatsoever.

Anyway, right now I would like a password sent to me so that I may continue with my former (real) name of Thomcomstock as opposed to Cantlogin.

I will wait to receive that email.

Thank you. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cantlogin (talkcontribs) .

Sorry to hear that the standard Wiki-based password reset process didn't work for you! The automated email notification may have gotten stuck in some spam filter between our server and your email system.
I have manually reset your account password and sent the new password to the email address associated with the Thomcomstock ISFDB account. Please change it to a password of your choosing once you log in. Also, please keep in mind that you may need to log in using the new password twice: once on the Wiki side and again on the database side. Hope this resolves the problem! Ahasuerus 20:25, 25 March 2020 (EDT)

Literary Lives: two different pub series, or just one?

Earlier today/yesterday, I added an Adam Roberts book on HG Wells, that is part of a "Literary Lives" series published by Palgrave Macmillan, which appears to have a few more titles that are of relevance to ISFDB.

I see that we already have a Literary Lives pub series, with one entry, but that is currently associated with St. Martin's Press (NB: both are Macmillan imprints, I believe).

The Mary Shelley book we do have seems to be credited to both publishers e.g. a Kirkus review (you'll need to scroll down has it as St. Martin's Press, but it's also claimed by Palgrave Macmillan, with the same ISBN (well, one is ISBN-10, the other ISBN-13).

Before I start adding any others in this series, any thoughts on whether the Palgrave Macmillan volumes - which seem to be much better documented online than the St. Martins Press ones - should go under a new pub series, or the existing one? The closest prior example I can think of are the two (or is it three?) SF Masterworks series by Millenium and Gollancz, although those series seem to be split by design more than publisher/imprint. ErsatzCulture 23:50, 25 March 2020 (EDT)

I'd think they do belong to the same pub. series since the publishers are basically the same (or are stituated under a common roof). Stonecreek 07:24, 26 March 2020 (EDT)
Or maybe this should be in fact a title series? This would be the case if the volumes were written for the publisher(s). Stonecreek 11:06, 26 March 2020 (EDT)

Tubb's Cap Kennedy

This appears to be a series of NOVELLAs rather than a series of NOVELs (the respective word counts are estimated to take place in the 28,000 - 34,000 range). A cross-reading of the German novella-length publications comes to the same result, and there were no major abridgments found with them. Are there any other countings? Christian Stonecreek 01:37, 27 March 2020 (EDT)

Looking at all the 1973 DAW books we have, these are decidedly shorter than any other in the year. We seem to have quite a lot of verifiers on most of the DAW editions - some of them still active. Maybe someone can pull one of the books and count a page? At 120-130 pages per book, we need a rather dense text (I’ve 300 words per page on each page) to push it to 40K. Not that it is impossible but it should be obvious when a book is checked. Annie 01:58, 27 March 2020 (EDT)

Are calendars on-topic, and if so, how should they be categorized?

Whilst trawling through a publisher website, I came across this Discworld calendar due to be published later this year. It's from a genre publisher, is created to a writer and artist already in ISFDB, and has an ISBN, but it's debatable if it's a book, so should it, and things like it, get added here?

I did a search for titles containing "calendar", and the only (relevant) result I found was this 2008 Vallejo/Bell calendar, which is categorized as CHAPBOOK. Most artbooks - which strike me to be a close relative of calendars - that I've checked are categorized as NONFICTION.

Note: I'm not planning on submitting loads of calendars; rather, I'm working on vaguely Fixer-like data acquisition, and I'm gauging what I might need to do if I pick this sort of thing up, or how annoyed mods might get if I submit them, etc. ErsatzCulture 09:09, 27 March 2020 (EDT)

If the images were only in the calendar - then no. If they are either reprints of covers or used for covers - sure. :) It should be non-fiction - yes. We talked about calendars a few months ago as well - let me find the old discussion (just so people do not need to type again) :) Annie 09:42, 27 March 2020 (EDT)
Here it is. Apparently noone posted besides me but I am too lazy to type it all again so check it there :) Annie 09:45, 27 March 2020 (EDT)
Thanks for digging that Help Desk item out (which doesn't show up in a Wiki search for "calendar" - sigh...). I think a problem I might have is that any submissions coming from me will be based on stuff I've uncovered online - I won't own the calendars myself, and am unlikely to know if all the artworks are reprints. I vaguely recall reading articles and/or artist tweets that implied that Game of Thrones/ASOIAF calendars are all original/commissioned art, so I guess would not be eligible based on the above comment. ErsatzCulture 10:38, 27 March 2020 (EDT)
Annie's rule of the thumb on those - if it is iffy, skip it especially if it is not fiction or a genre magazine/fanzine. If someone cares enough, they will get added. We are primarily a fiction DB - the rest is just supporting stuff. If you care about it, submit it - if you convince a moderator, it is in (for now...)
PS: Can you please press "Edit" next to the title of the item you are responding to and not at the top of the page when responding? That way people can click on the link in their watch list (or from history and get to the correct item instead of scrolling around like crazy. And when I am working from my phone, it is even crazier. :) Annie 11:23, 27 March 2020 (EDT)
Sorry about that - I *think* it was actually because I edited the summary line, rather than me editing the entire page. I did that, because I had the wiki nag at me when editing some other pages recently, for not providing an edit summary, so I thought I'd pre-empt it complaining at me, guess that was the wrong thing to do :-( ErsatzCulture 11:35, 27 March 2020 (EDT)
No worries :) Yep, if you removed the thing between the stars that is already there, it will do that as well. You can add a summary (and it is a good practice to) but do not remove what is already in the summary line - just add after it. What is there by default is what makes the anchor to get you to the correct part of the page. Always fun with learning how different wikis behave. :) Annie 11:38, 27 March 2020 (EDT)

Punch magazine 1974

It's a long shot I know, but has anyone got any of the 1974 copies of Punch magazine? I'm researching some genre material in one of that year's issues but, so far, haven't been able to establish which issue. Anyone? Thanks, Kev. BanjoKev 23:08, 29 March 2020 (EDT)

If no one here has a copy, I suggest contacting the folks at SFE3 as they are UK-based and may have copies (or know someone who does). ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 02:08, 30 March 2020 (EDT)

Star Ka'at - convert to novellas

These are not novels. Between the number of pages in the originals and the fact that the latest reprint clocks 4 of them together at just over 300 pages (even less in the ebook version...) kinda makes it almost obvious. Anyone disagreeing with converting these to novellas? We have a few active verifiers so I will ping them for a quick count if they do not see this but these really do not look long enough. Annie 17:14, 30 March 2020 (EDT)

Checking my verified copy of the first title in the series, I calculate that each page has at most 250 words. There are 118 numbered pages, but 20 of them are either blank or have full-page illustrations. 250 times 98 is 24.5K words, but the actual count is probably lower. Which makes them novellas, possibly even novelettes. Ahasuerus 19:51, 7 April 2020 (EDT)
And the other 3 look to be either shorter or about the same. Thanks for tracking down that book! I also found a note by Bluesman in one of his verified books of the series that it is too short to be a novel... Novellas it is then -- I will downgrade them all this evening. Annie 19:56, 7 April 2020 (EDT)

Cover Image Data Templates

I have have consolidated the Cover Image Data, Cover Image Data1-2, and Cover Image Data1-3 cover image templates and updated the consolidated version ({{Cover Image Data}}) so it now handles up to five artists (we have a few pubs with more than that, but this seemed a good limit to not overly complicate the template). The two deprecated templates now redirect to the consolidated version and will continue to work. I have also cleaned up the documentation. Hopefully, this makes it a little easier as people don't have to deal with multiple templates based on the number of artists. -- JLaTondre (talk) 20:30, 6 April 2020 (EDT)

Yes, that should be enough, I'd think. Thanks for this work! Stonecreek 04:22, 7 April 2020 (EDT)

Fancyclopedia 3 migrating from Wikidot to its own domain

Fancyclopedia 3 has migrated from to The former location maintains a mirror of all Fancyclopedia articles, but it will be taken down in the near future.

We have 50 author records, 2 publisher records and 5 series records still linking to Calling for volunteers to update the affected records. In most cases we just need to replace "" with ".org", but we also need to confirm that the new URLs are working as expected. Ahasuerus 12:21, 8 April 2020 (EDT)

There are 3 more in notes. I will clear them all today. Annie 13:14, 8 April 2020 (EDT)
PS: And it is a bit more than just replacements if the name has a space - there are missing/added dots and - is replaced by _ ( / for example) :) Annie 13:19, 8 April 2020 (EDT)
All fixed. Annie 14:49, 8 April 2020 (EDT)
Thanks! Ahasuerus 14:52, 8 April 2020 (EDT)

Paper books and ASINs


Just heads up: a lot of the new self-published US books (starting in December/January) are now carrying 979- ISBNs. That means that they do not have a valid ISBN-10 anymore and Amazon assigns them a standard B* ASIN. As these cannot be calculated and Amazon uses these as identifiers, we now have valid new paper books with ISBNs and ASINs. Example: here.

These are not the first 979- books we are seeing but we will get a lot more of them now that the self-published range had moved there so just heads up. Annie 11:20, 9 April 2020 (EDT)

PS: Just a clarification: The Amazon link with the ISBN13 works but sends you to this for my example above and not the exact edition page. It is the ASIN link that always drops you into the exact edition (and as ASIN=ISBN10 before, our ISBN-based link was using that). That is why adding the ASIN for these books makes sense (and why ISBN links for ebooks never works properly to Amazon - their ASIN is never ISBN10). Annie 18:07, 9 April 2020 (EDT)

National Portuguese Library

Hello, everyone! I wonder if it's possible to add an external identifier to the National Portuguese Library? All publications have a unique number in their persistent link, like this: The last number will work as identifier. It can be obtained by clicking in the "Link persistente deste registo", the second right under the publication information. Thanks--Wolland 11:56, 9 April 2020 (EDT)

From what I can find, this indeed seems like a real ID so I support the proposal. Annie 12:13, 9 April 2020 (EDT)
Sounds reasonable. FR 1338 has been created. Ahasuerus 13:42, 9 April 2020 (EDT)
That's great.Thanks!--Wolland 16:33, 9 April 2020 (EDT)

(unindent) PORBASE has been added as an External ID and as a Notes template. Help:Using Templates and HTML in Note Fields has been updated. Ahasuerus 21:02, 10 April 2020 (EDT)

New cleanup report -- VT length mismatches

A new cleanup report, "Variant Title Length Mismatches", has been implemented as per FR 1339. The data will become available in a couple of hours. Ahasuerus 23:21, 10 April 2020 (EDT)

I Completed the first 300 titles. Most are pretty straightforward, but it's not always easy to determine the real length of a story (for example up to 20 variants, evenly divided between short story and novelette for some Edgar Allan Poe titles). Sometimes I can use a Gutenberg copy for a real wordcount, sometimes I use my own copy of a story for an estimated wordcount. So far I encountered only one really interesting case, Riverworld, which has three different versions. The second version of the novella was only "slightly expanded", but the third almost tripled the wordcount. I think it was a mistake to put all of there under one titlerecord, and I will separate the third version from the other two. The PJF international bibliography has a neat indication which version was included in which publication. --Willem 15:54, 23 April 2020 (EDT)
Thanks for working on these! Ahasuerus 18:06, 23 April 2020 (EDT)

Sunni K Brock

The whole point of the "add a period after initials" is so we do not have this kind of pseudonyms. Is there a special reason for this one? If not, I will merge the two author names under the properly formatted one. If there is a reason to have both, we need a note explaining the reason. Annie 15:39, 16 April 2020 (EDT)

I think it relates back to this discussion. One of the authors discussed in that discussion (Steven H Silver) has the same issue (version with a period is entered as alternate name). I'm not sure we ever came to a clean conclusion. Per Ahasuerus' comment at the top, the current rules should be interpreted that if an author doesn't use the period, it should be entered without a period. The rest of the discussion did it's typical meandering. Given that, it would seem that Brock is correctly entered per the current rules (assuming the author does not use a period). -- JLaTondre (talk) 16:54, 16 April 2020 (EDT)
Silver is an exception because H is his full middle name, not because he does not use a dot in his name - which is consistent with the policies because it is not an initial - so the "always add a dot after an initial" does not apply. If we have the same situation here, this needs to be documented (as it was done for Silver). If it is not, then we should be following our own rules and not making up new ones on the fly. Annie 17:18, 16 April 2020 (EDT)
Except the current help states "However, when it is clearly the author's choice to omit the period, or when the author has a single letter name that is not an initial (e.g. "Harry S Truman") the period should be omitted". Preference is sufficient; it does not need to be that it doesn't legally stand for anything. Personally, I would find it easier if we always used periods, but that's not what the rules actually say. -- JLaTondre (talk) 18:17, 16 April 2020 (EDT)
In which case there should be a note on the author page explaining why the . is missing for this author (so the next editors know where this is coming from). Especially for an author who has only short pieces so the editors/publishers have as much a say in that as the author. Otherwise we should just abandon the whole rule and pretend that what is printed is what the author wants and be done. As this stands now there is no indication of preference here, there is nothing I can find online on the topic and it is a clear violation of our own policies. :) Annie 18:19, 16 April 2020 (EDT)
All of the author's shortfiction is available in pubs with Amazon Look Inside. In each case, the ToC shows other authors with initials and periods. That's pretty clear it's not an editor's choice. -- JLaTondre (talk) 18:28, 16 April 2020 (EDT)
The same help page also says "Such non-standard forms should be mentioned in a publication or title note.". I do not see any notes anywhere - either in the publications/titles or on the author page. Or am I missing them somewhere? I have no issues with author wishes but we need to document these somewhere or we look inconsistent (and it makes it almost impossible to actually follow any rules). Annie 21:03, 16 April 2020 (EDT)
Well, the current version of Help was created back when an author consciously using an initial without a period following it was still rare and needed to be documented.
Keep in mind that -- for the longest time -- a missing period was something that hyperactive art editors did on a whim. No one who came across "r a lafferty" on the title page of a story expected the name to appear that way in an SF bibliography. There were exceptions outside of SF, e.g. e e cummings's works were sometimes cataloged as by "e e cummings" as opposed to by "E. E. Cummings", but SF bibliographers generally didn't have to worry about it.
Then, about 10 years ago (?), things began to change. Some authors began consistently using period-less initials. Some began dropping the space between the initials. At this point when an ISFDB user comes across CJ Rutherford, who uses this spelling of his name consistently for all of his books, he or she will expect it to be spelled "CJ Rutherford" and not "C. J. Rutherford". Given this scenario I doubt it would be useful to add a note to every pub/title record associated with this author. Perhaps we could update Help to say that Notes should document any spelling of the author's name which is the same as the spelling of the canonical name except for different punctuation characters, i.e. spaces and periods? (I am not sure it's the best way to address the issue, but nothing else comes to mind at the moment.) Ahasuerus 18:02, 17 April 2020 (EDT)
Considering that our policy is to add dots and spaces, documenting on the author level anyone that does not follow the policy makes more sense to me than anything else (and reduces the clutter in the pubs/titles notes) - making sure that an editor can determine if this is a mistake OR this is how the canonical is supposed to be. Annie 18:47, 17 April 2020 (EDT)
I see. Yes, adding Author level notes is probably a better idea.
Also, after rereading the current Help text ("clearly the author's choice") it occurs to me that it's rather subjective and that it may be possible to make the rule more objective. The main problem with subjective criteria is that it's hard to be sure what the author's choice is/was. For example, according to Lawrence Watt-Evans -- whose legal name is "Lawrence Watt Evans" -- he originally wanted to be credited as "Lawrence Evans". However, the name was already taken and his editor, Lester del Rey, insisted on using a hyphenated version of the full name. It wasn't Lawrence's preference, but he was a young author and didn't have much say in the matter. And then he was stuck with it. For all we know, "CJ Rutherford" would also prefer to be credited differently. Something like "used intentionally" would be a more objective way of saying the same thing. Ahasuerus 12:31, 18 April 2020 (EDT)

(indent) I came across another one: Sammy HK Smith. He also has an entry as Sammy H. K. Smith (printed as Sammy H.K Smith - no space, no period after the 'K'- on the contents page of the publication the story appeared in - which he published himself btw). He is also the creative director of Grimbold Books where he is just known as Sammy Smith ( by Creative Director Sammy Smith and Editorial Director Zoë Harris.). Currently I have submissions on hold that wants to update the editor of the British Fantasy Awards Best Independent Press award for Grimbold Books to Sammy HK Smith, whereas it should just be Sammy Smith if taken from the publisher's website here. So not much evidence of the author's preference to be found, it seems, except his facebook page. So, what should we do in such a case? I'm inclined to normalize, make a note as to the different appearances of his name, and use the variant Sammy Smith as editor to update the award records - until such time we learn of the author/editor's preference. Thoughts? MagicUnk 13:52, 30 April 2020 (EDT)

I would consider an author's personnel Facebook page a pretty strong indication of the author's preference on their name. They choose the page name after all and they could have done it with or without the periods. As for the award entry, untitled awards should be entered with the author's canonical name (see Help:Screen:EditAward) so Sammy Smith would not be correct there even if that is how the award was given (a note on the award entry could be used to document the difference if desired). -- JLaTondre (talk) 19:59, 18 May 2020 (EDT)

2 new cleanup reports -- invalid page counts and invalid page numbers

2 new cleanup reports have been deployed. They look for invalid page counts and invalid page numbers respectively. The data will become available tomorrow morning.

Once we take care of the low-hanging fruit, we will want to re-evaluate whether the selection logic is too strict and/or whether we want to the add the ability to "ignore" records". Ahasuerus 21:56, 16 April 2020 (EDT)

The first cleanup report has been adjusted to allow commas in the page count field. Ahasuerus 16:30, 5 May 2020 (EDT)

Cleaning up ineligible NONFICTION titles which exist due to reviews

(Based on this discussion and this followup discussion.)

Many SF magazines -- going back to the middle of the 20th century -- have a habit of reviewing popular science books. Our original policy was to enter reviews of non-fiction books, non-genre fiction, and other ineligible titles as REVIEWs. We then created title records for reviewed books. The result was the creation of hundreds of NONFICTION titles that wouldn't have been eligible otherwise.

Much later we changed the policy to enter reviews of ineligible works as ESSAYs as opposed to REVIEWs:

  • Reviews of ... books that are not eligible for inclusion in the database (graphic novels, nongenre novels by authors that are below the threshold, nonassociational nonfiction works), should not be entered into the "Reviews" section of the data entry form. A record should be created in the "Regular Titles" section typed as ESSAY.

As I recall, we were going to go back, convert pre-existing REVIEWs to ESSAYs and delete the ineligible title records, but we never did.

We already have a cleanup report that looks for "reviews of CHAPBOOK, COVERART, INTERIORART, INTERVIEW and REVIEW records". I think we need another one for "reviews of NONFICTION". I could easily create one, but please note that we have almost 5,500 reviewed NONFICTION titles and a bit over 9,500 reviews of NONFICTION titles. Reviewing 9,500+ reviews and their associated NONFICTION titles is likely to be time-consuming, so I would like to gauge the interest first. We may also need to limit access to the report to moderators because each change would require multiple steps. Ahasuerus 16:47, 17 April 2020 (EDT)

We need to clean them -- as long as we have an ignore so that we can mark checked ones as "that one is good", having the report is better than not having it -- I would chip in and clean some here and there if we have the report. Annie 17:26, 17 April 2020 (EDT)
Oh sure, "ignore" will be supported. Ahasuerus 18:03, 17 April 2020 (EDT)
I will probably be able to help now and then. --Willem 04:36, 18 April 2020 (EDT)
What is our etiquette going to be for this? Obviously converting the reviews to essays will need to have a moderator note with the explanation. But how will we handle deletions of verified publications? We should notify the verifier, but do we want to give them a chance to reply first to make an argument for inclusion? Notifying them after the fact seems like it could raise some issues. And then how long do we wait for editors that are only semi-active? If we are going to wait, then it would be nice if the report had a hold option that allowed someone to say they are working that review (or maybe simply a remove option that deleted it from the report without ignoring and this report is only generated weekly or whatever period we pick). -- JLaTondre (talk) 08:27, 18 April 2020 (EDT)
That's a very good point. Let's start by defining the scope of the problem. At this point we have 2,034 reviewed NONFICTION titles with primary-verified publications. Spot checking them suggests that the vast majority are either related to SF or written by authors "above the threshold". It probably means that we are looking at a few hundred affected primary verified publications at most.
Next, there are a couple of things that we can do at the software level. First, "Delete Publication" can be modified to require a Moderator Note for primary verified publications. It would be similar to the way we require a Moderator Note when editing a primary verified publication.
Second, we can enable "Edit History" for deleted publications. When trying to access a publication which no longer exists in the database, you would get a message and a link to the standard "Edit History" page with a list of submissions associated with the deleted pub record. Having the ability to view originally submitted data would make it easier to recreate the deleted publication if needed and mitigate the frustration associated with finding your primary verified data deleted. (To clarify, this functionality would be available for all deleted publications going back to 2006.) Ahasuerus 09:28, 18 April 2020 (EDT)
How about listing the delete on "My Changed Primary Verifications" also? -- JLaTondre (talk) 09:46, 18 April 2020 (EDT)
Unfortunately, we can't do it retroactively, but it can be done going forward. I've added it to the To Do list. Thanks. Ahasuerus 11:09, 18 April 2020 (EDT)
Looking at this from a non-moderator-submitter point of view, I'd like to see, before I start work on a NONFICTION submission, an indication whether the title has/has not been through the genre/non-genre culling process. I don't know what is practicable but something like -
  • At title level or author level (or both) a 'designated' place (new field?) with wording to indicate whether or not it has been reviewed. Something like "Genre reviewed N/Y". If a new field is created at title level it could start defaulted to "N". Obviously, it will only be switched (Moderator access only) to "Y" if it has survived. Giving an indication at author level would be trickier as there are two category areas to contend with - "Nonfiction" and "Non-Genre Titles".
  • If there was an N/Y switch/indicator, this would need to be a visible flag to the submission moderator - yet more to evaluate :(
That all sounds a bit detailed, and I don't know what is possible, but you get the general idea I hope. Kev. BanjoKev 16:06, 23 April 2020 (EDT)
A new manually set flag at the title level would be a major departure from the way we handle cleanup reports. I don't think it would be feasible. Ahasuerus 18:13, 23 April 2020 (EDT)

(unindent) FR 1345, "Cleanup report to find NONFICTION not about SF", has been created. I'll wait for this discussion of non-fiction about media SF to be concluded before I start working on it. Ahasuerus 09:10, 29 April 2020 (EDT)

Now that ISFDB:Policy has been updated to limit "published non-fiction works about speculative fiction" to works "which can be plausibly linked to published speculative fiction", I can start working on the proposed cleanup report. Ahasuerus 15:49, 6 May 2020 (EDT)
The new cleanup report has been coded and deployed. The data will become available tomorrow morning. As per the discussion above, only moderators will be able to access it. The ability to "ignore" records is supported; I suspect that it will be used extensively. Ahasuerus 16:52, 6 May 2020 (EDT)

Split novel: Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genon Sverige

Under our rules, split novels need to be varianted under their complete ones. Any idea why these are separate:

and not under Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genon Sverige? If we count this as 2 novels (as initially published), why isn't the combination an omnibus - even if presented as one novel, it does not sound like it is different text? There is a Portuguese translation coming in (done based on the English 2 volume edition) and I am trying to untangle what we have here first without adding more messes.

Any opionions/ideas here? Annie 18:43, 24 April 2020 (EDT)

Looking at the English versions, both volumes are a series of stories. They seem independent. The OCLC record for the Swedish version says it was published in two volumes. I would recommend converting the individual volumes (and their English translations) into collections and 1774223 into an omnibus. -- JLaTondre (talk) 08:38, 25 April 2020 (EDT)

New cleanup report - Cleanup report to find CHAPBOOKs with multiple fiction titles

A new cleanup report, "CHAPBOOKs with Multiple Fiction Titles", has been deployed. The data will become available tomorrow morning. I expect that the report will flag approximately 280 CHAPBOOK publications. At this time it doesn't let you "Ignore" publication records. Once we take care of the low-hanging fruit, I will add the "Ignore" functionality for excerpts. Ahasuerus 09:12, 25 April 2020 (EDT)

I started working this, but ran into a couple of situations that I think require community input:
  • There are several cases where one edition of a chapbook contains a bonus story. That edition will still be entered as a chapbook and merged with single story editions (example). Is that what we want? I would say yes since it groups them together and reduces clutter.
  • There are quite a few cases with German publications that are entered as chapbooks, but contain multiple works (example). Technically, by rule, these are anthologies ("publication containing fiction by more than one author, not written in collaboration"). In these cases, though, there is a main story for which the actual publication was titled and author credit given. The second story could be considered a bonus story also. Not sure how these should be addressed. Leaving them as is might be the best solution.
In addition to excerpts, there are also cases with in universe supplementary material (glossary, synopsis, etc.) that would need to be ignored. -- JLaTondre (talk) 10:12, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
I have completed the first run through the report and corrected the obvious cases. It would be good to have the ignore function so we can remove the majority of the remaining that are valid cases and leave the rest for discussion. Thanks. -- JLaTondre (talk) 11:41, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
I'd also think it'd be best of leaving those cases as CHAPBOOKs. They may appear technically as ANTHOLOGIES or COLLECTIONS, but they seem to be titled and intended as CHAPBOOKs. The bonus material was published only because there was printing space to fill the normed page count of 64 pages (or 68 with cover pages). Stonecreek 13:12, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
Chapbooks are an ISFDB term describing a collection of 1 work of fiction - it is not a chapter book and it is not defined by its length - it is defined by what is inside. If it has 2 stories, it is a collection. A book cannot have been intended as something that is not a standard publishing term. Glossaries, essays, second stories that are essentially non fiction but are fictitious and excerpts are fine but if we are talking about two separate pieces of fiction, these are not chapbooks anymore for me. Annie 14:35, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
We have a rule for novels with an additional story by the same author ('A single story is a judgment call, it is often preferred to class the publication as a novel with a "Bonus story" rather than a 2-item collection or omnibus.') I.m.o. this rule could be extended to chapbooks. If there are pieces of fiction by different authors, it should be an anthology. --Willem 14:48, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
So how do we determine if a collection/anthology of 2 stories is the regular type or a chapbook? Will all novella+story combos become chapbooks? :) Who makes a decision when it is a bonus story and when it is just 2 stories? I am fine with extending the rule but we need to make sure that we do not extend it to effectively mean that 2 stories can always mean a chapbook. PS: In the German examples which started this discussion, most of the second stories are from a different author. Annie 14:57, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
That's the fun of a judgment call. For me, an additional story should be a lot shorter than the main story. Earth would look ridiculous as a collection. --Willem 16:06, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
Agree. But Earth is a novel and I am not arguing converting those to collections or anthologies. I am strictly talking 2 short fiction affairs :) Annie 16:10, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
Just my opinion. A 120 page novella with a 5 page short story would have the same effect. The Stephen King example above (2 novellas) should definitely be a collection. --Willem 16:17, 26 April 2020 (EDT)

(outdent) How are these publications credited for title and author in the actual publication? From the ISFDB entries, I've interpreted that the publication title page has the title of the main story and the author of the main story's name. Is that correct? Anthologies are supposed to be credited to the editor per ISFDB rules. It would seem odd, to me, for the publication to have the story title and the editor's name. That would be rather confusing and user unfriendly (especially from a search point of view). -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:31, 26 April 2020 (EDT)

That’s actually a very good point - and probably exactly what I was looking for in terms of finding the line. Annie 19:38, 26 April 2020 (EDT)
Thanks for bringing up this point! It's a clean and fool-proof rule. JLochhas 01:24, 27 April 2020 (EDT)
Yes, for those German digest publications on the title page (and the cover) there's only a credit for one piece of shortfiction and it's author(s): the long or lead one. Christian Stonecreek 04:15, 27 April 2020 (EDT)

(unindent) Let me see if my understanding of the proposed language is correct:

A publication should be entered as a CHAPBOOK if it contains a single SHORTFICTION, POEM or SERIAL title. For the purposes of this rule, the following types of SHORTFICTION titles are not counted when deciding whether the publication is a CHAPBOOK:

  • Excerpts
  • Synopses, fictionalized essays and other types of supporting material
  • Up to one bonus short story if the publication's title page lists only the title and the author of the main SHORTFICTION title

Is this about right? Ahasuerus 14:29, 28 April 2020 (EDT)

Why restricting to only SHORTFICTION for the third rule? Poems and Serials can also end up in that situation. Annie 14:55, 28 April 2020 (EDT)
That's a good point. I have crossed out the word "SHORTFICTION". Ahasuerus 15:20, 28 April 2020 (EDT)
How about changing "Up to one bonus short story" to " Up to one bonus short story, poem or serial". That allows for the permutations and allows for serials being printed to fill the pages in a novella series for example. Annie 15:29, 28 April 2020 (EDT)
I can see how adding "up to one bonus serial" would work. However, I am not sure about poems. What if a CHAPBOOK publication contained a novella plus two very short poems on the last page? Would the poems be considered "supporting material in a CHAPBOOK" as per the second rule above? Or would it turn the publication into a COLLECTION? Ahasuerus 09:02, 29 April 2020 (EDT)
Looks like what was discussed above. I agree. --Willem 14:54, 28 April 2020 (EDT)

(unindent) OK, I have cleaned up the proposed Help language a bit and posted it on the Rules and Standards page. Ahasuerus 19:39, 1 May 2020 (EDT)

José Rodrigues dos Santos

Is there a Portuguese or Brazilian editor or anyone else that can have a look at the works of José Rodrigues dos Santos, more specifically "O sétimo selo. - Lisboa : Gradiva, 2007", and "A fórmula de Deus. - Lisboa : Gradiva, cop. 2006". From the synopses of the Dutch translations, it looks like these contain spec-fic elements, but I can't be sure, and would like a second pair of eyes. Thanks! MagicUnk 14:08, 25 April 2020 (EDT)

Sorting of unnumbered series?

I sometimes wish it would be possible to use the piping symbol to sort unnumbered entries in a series. For example, this series, per the notes, is displayed in the wrong order. It should be displayed as first Tenderlion then Club Cain then What Lurks Behind Real. However the latter two are actually shown interchanged. Even though it's a minor thing, would it be possible/easy to add a piping sort to the Series num field? Thanks! MagicUnk 18:52, 28 April 2020 (EDT)

Unnumbered series entries are sorted using title dates. In this case the title dates of Club Cain and What Lurks Behind Real are the same (2019-08-06), which is rather unusual. Are they really the same? Ahasuerus 22:43, 28 April 2020 (EDT)
There is probably a missing edition or 3 for these books - I suspect that MLB is still working on the author. However - the ability to sort series without having numbers can come handy for other cases - ordering omnibuses that are published on the same date, ordering subseries and stories where there is order but numbers may be undesired and so on. Annie 23:29, 28 April 2020 (EDT)
OK, I can certainly see how it would be useful when displaying omnibuses published on the same date. Unfortunately, adding support for "pipes" to the series number field is not a trivial proposition. Unlike page numbers, regular series numbers are stored in two separate database fields, one for the whole number and the other for the fractional number. There is a fair amount of complexity associated with it.
In addition, I am a bit worried that using the "pipe" functionality to force a certain title order for unnumbered titles may confuse our users. Perhaps I am overstating the danger.
Re: ordering sub-series within a series, it's a separate field in a separate table, so it's a different can of worms. Ahasuerus 08:50, 29 April 2020 (EDT)
Ah, OK. Nevermind then, if it's not an easy thing to do then it's not worth it. As for the danger, users are (should be) accustomed to using the pipe symbol when sorting page numbers, so I don't think that using it for sorting other records will be confusing to them. MagicUnk 09:53, 29 April 2020 (EDT)
Oh, I wasn't referring to editors. I am sure our editors wouldn't have a problem with pipes. I was referring to ISFDB users who are not editors. When viewing the Contents section of a publication record, a user expects to see the constituent titles appear in the order in which they appear in the book regardless of whether they are explicitly numbered. On the other hand, a series page which lists unnumbered titles in a non-chronological order may be harder to figure out. Ahasuerus 12:16, 29 April 2020 (EDT)
As an aside, it sounds to me a bit overcomplicated, having two fields for a single attribute? I don't know how you've coded it, but my gut feel says series and subseries could be implemented recursively. That would require just one table, and one sorting function, right? Disclaimer: I haven't written code in over 15 years (and I was never particularly good at it), so what I'm saying might just be bollocks :) MagicUnk 09:53, 29 April 2020 (EDT)
Originally, title records had a single integer field for series numbers. What it meant was that while you could enter series numbers like 1, 4 or 87, you couldn't enter "2.5" or "10.7". That design made it impossible to slot shorter works in between novels even when it was clearly the best way to organize a series. At that point my options were to:
  • change the type of the "series number" field from integer to "float", or
  • add a new field for the decimal component
Each approach had its advantages and disadvantages given the technology that we use. In the end I opted for the second approach. Ahasuerus 12:25, 29 April 2020 (EDT)

The Man of (the) Year Million, H. G. Wells

We have this satirical essay by H. G. Wells in the database as both ESSAY 1155512 and SHORTFICTION 98591, with a German translation of each, and a Japanese translation of the latter. Multiple PVerified publications of both.

The submission queue contains TitleUpdate for the ESSAY and PubUpdate for its one English-language publication. The amended title (insert "the") fits both 1893 and 2009 publications. The submitted essay title Notes are pertinent. Here is shortcut to one bibliographical source at --Pwendt|talk 00:33, 29 April 2020 (EDT)

King Kong / Millennium Prize / Harland Award

I'd like to try my hand at entering a Dutch award for spec fic. First awarded in 1976 as King Kong Award, later briefly renamed (in 1996) as Millennium Prize, and is known since 2003 as Paul Harland Award - see here. I have two questions. 1) How would this award be entered in the database to make sure these change of names are correctly reflected, and 2) can this (these) award(s) be created? Thanks! MagicUnk 14:58, 30 April 2020 (EDT)

I am afraid the ISFDB software doesn't support "variant award type names". I can think of three ways to handle this scenario:
  1. Create a single award type record with a "Short Name" like "Paul Harland" and a slash-delimited "Full Name" like "King Kong Award / Millennium Prize / Paul Harland Award". It would be similar to the way we currently have the Ditmar Award entered: the "Short Name" is "Ditmar" while the "Full Name" is "Ditmar Award / Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award".
  2. Create a single award type record with a slash-delimited "Short Name" like "King Kong / Millennium / Paul Harland" and a slash-delimited "Full Name" like "King Kong Award / Millennium Prize / Paul Harland Award".
  3. Create three separate award types: one for "King Kong Award", one for "Millennium Prize" and one for "Paul Harland Award". Document the relationship in the Note field.
Which approach would you say is the best representation of the way the award has evolved? Ahasuerus 21:08, 2 May 2020 (EDT)
I have a preference for 1. The second option would work as well, but the short name is a bit long-winded. Option 3. would not really represent reality afaic. I would therefore have it as: Short Name: "Harland Award", and Full Name: "King Kong Award / Paul Harland Prijs / Millenniumprijs / Harland Award" (there are actually four different names, not three...).
The prize is awarded by a jury to the best Dutch short story out of submissions by authors (it's basically a short story contest) - as a result, there's a 'shortlist' of about 100 stories each year - see here for example (should these all be entered?). Recently (2015), there's also a category for best original Dutch novel too (5 nominated novels).
The short story contest has different categories. Besides best original Dutch story, there's also the 'Feniksprijs' and 'Debuutprijs', for the author who made the most progress since the previous year, and the author that competed for the first time, respectively (there might be other categories during its 40+ year existence, need to do some more digging).
A possible challenge I'm seeing is that all (most?) stories have not been published. How to enter these awards then? MagicUnk 08:29, 4 May 2020 (EDT)
Oh, I see. Sorry, I missed the part about it being a contest as opposed to an after-the-fact award. We don't do it very often, but there is precedent for entering contest results as awards. The James White Award is like that. Its Note field says:
  • An annual short story competition open to non-professional writers with the winner chosen by a panel of judges made up of professional authors and editors. Stories entered into the competition must be original and previously unpublished. ... Many non-winning nominees have not been published, and hence are listed by ISFDB without links.
I guess we could handle the Paul Harland Award the same way. Ahasuerus 11:29, 4 May 2020 (EDT)
Yup, that is perfect copy-paste material :) As far as I know the Harland Awards are the most prestigious/important SF&F awards in the Dutch-speaking parts of the world (primarily The Netherlands & Flanders) - so to me it makes sense to try to add these into the ISFDB. I'm willking to add these, but will need some guidance/advice, as I'm not all that familiar with the DB structure & how to enter Awards into the DB. And as I'm learning more, it's likely I will need more categories and perhaps award levels? Cheers! MagicUnk 13:18, 4 May 2020 (EDT)
OK, the new award type has been created. I set it up as a "poll" in order to let us captures second, third, etc places. Moderators should be able to edit the new record and/or to add new award categories. To add a new category, display the award type and click "Add New Award Category to This Award Type" under "Editing Tools" on the left.
Once this award type has one or more categories associated with it -- is there more than one? -- editors can start entering award records. I recommend reading Help:Screen:AddAward first. It explains the differences between "title-based" awards and awards that are not associated with title records. Awards given to unpublished stories fall into the second category. Ahasuerus 16:11, 4 May 2020 (EDT)
Thanks Ahasuerus! I'll have a go at it. Pray I don't make a mess of it :) MagicUnk 16:29, 4 May 2020 (EDT)

I'm delighted to discover this site. Other sites have a "Help Forum" to aid in recalling authors or titles of works; does ISFDB?

There was a science fiction short story with various plot points about one spaceship crew member from a reptilian species who interacted with and lived with humans to the point of a human woman falling in love with him; he eventually became her Significant Other and really wasn't all that taken with her, but she was with him to the point of bragging about her relationship. He thought he was sort of alone [I think it was a Gilligan's Island sitch?] and cut off from his own species, but when a female of his kind turned up, he ditched the human quick and hard. The whole effect was pitiful ... and comedic. It seems like it was in an anthology. At the time 20-30 years ago, I read quite a bit of Larry Niven and Stephen King, so perhaps either was the author, but I do not recall exactly.

Thanks for any help,


I am afraid we rarely get ID requests since our area of expertise is bibliography, a hippogriff of a different color. There is ISFDB:Help desk, but I would recommend trying forums that specialize in IDs, e.g. What's That Book or Tip of My Tongue. Ahasuerus 14:21, 3 May 2020 (EDT)


FYI: Last tuesday/wednesday night (april 28/29 2020) fire largely destroyd the ground floor of my house. As a result, I will be away from my collection at least until august (the c-19 virus slows everything down unfortunately). Most of the collection can probably be saved, but some parts will be damaged. I will not be able to answer many questions until then, but will remain active from the temporary (recreational) home we moved in on thursday. The good news is, my wife, me and the cats got out of the house unharmed, only shaken. --Willem 16:13, 3 May 2020 (EDT)

Sorry to hear about the fire and congratulations on escaping unharmed! It can be a harrowing experience even if few possessions get damaged. It makes you paranoid about anything remotely suspicious, especially at night -- sounds, smells, flashes of light, etc. In my experience, it does get better with time, but it can take years to relax completely. Hopefully it's less traumatizing for cats :) Ahasuerus 17:26, 3 May 2020 (EDT)

Le Petit Prince

I'd like to enquire if there's any objection to update the Saint-Exupéry's Le petit prince from NOVEL to CHAPBOOK? Thanks!MagicUnk 14:24, 4 May 2020 (EDT)

According to Project Gutenberg Australia, the original French text contains a bit over 14,000 words, so it's a novelette. Ahasuerus 16:20, 4 May 2020 (EDT)
I hope you have time for that - this will be a few hundred edits. Need a hand? :) Annie 02:11, 7 May 2020 (EDT)
I'd like to offer help on the German title / publications (and maybe some other translations). Just say: start. Christian Stonecreek 03:52, 7 May 2020 (EDT)
Start! :D MagicUnk 15:31, 7 May 2020 (EDT)
BTW, I'll be going on backburner again, as Real-Life is interfering again (had a couple days off earlier this week..)MagicUnk 15:32, 7 May 2020 (EDT)
As you started already, I will just finish it later today -- as at the moment the entry is in a really bad shape... Or are you saying you are working on it? And we need to fix that Dutch one you added (but we can discuss that on your page).Annie 16:13, 7 May 2020 (EDT)

I was actually referring to Christian's comment - I am not working on it, so feel free :) MagicUnk 14:33, 8 May 2020 (EDT)

I think I got them all. The reports overnight will highlight anything I may have missed. Just a little over 120 edits so not too bad :) Christian, it was easier to just go straight through than to leave German behind. Annie 15:35, 8 May 2020 (EDT)
Thanks for the transformation! That sure was a load of work to do! Christian Stonecreek 11:19, 9 May 2020 (EDT)

History of deleted publications

The software has been updated to let users access the Edit History page for deleted publications. Here is an example. Ahasuerus 20:13, 7 May 2020 (EDT)

Verifier notification template?

We have templates for many things - would it make sense to have one for basic clear, polite boilerplate used when notifying a primary verifier of changes? Details of the change would have to follow. ../Doug H 12:57, 8 May 2020 (EDT)

Some people have preference on what kind of changes need to be notifier where (by setting up a new page and so on for example). It is not a bad idea to have an example if not a template (will help new editors) - or even a template I guess... Annie 17:59, 8 May 2020 (EDT)

History of deleted titles

The software has been updated to let users access the Edit History page for deleted titles. Ahasuerus 13:17, 8 May 2020 (EDT)

Will that show only manual deletions or will it also show deletions because of a merge? Annie 13:59, 8 May 2020 (EDT)
Manual deletions only for now. We have FR 140, "Redirect deleted titles when merging", which would be non-trivial to implement. I'll think about it once I finish the current crop of FRs. Ahasuerus 17:38, 8 May 2020 (EDT)
P.S. The Title Edit History page has been updated to display Make Variant submissions. Note that it only works for "varianted", i.e. child, title records. Ahasuerus 18:07, 8 May 2020 (EDT)

Argentinian Sci-Fi magazine PROXIMA online

I am told that:

If anyone is interested in entering these issues, now would be a good time to download them. Ahasuerus 17:48, 9 May 2020 (EDT)

Text expansion on our variants pages

At the moment, on every variant page, we have the following text next to the link for the parent:

  • may list more publications, awards, reviews, votes and covers

I propose to change it and add "web sites and notes" to the list of things as well:

  • may list more publications, awards, reviews, votes, covers, web sites and notes

It is obvious for someone who understands the DB but it may not be obvious for a new user that we do not just show the same notes in all places for example. Thoughts? Annie 02:40, 10 May 2020 (EDT)

I don't see why not... MagicUnk 05:55, 10 May 2020 (EDT)
The revision looks good to me.
However, I think that with an ever-present text, such as this, which is non-indicative and which relies on going through the link to check, even seasoned users might miss relevant information by not following through (is that a reasonable assumption?) let alone those new users.
Annie's pointed out elsewhere that "Having a specific indicator that there is something [in the parent record] will either mean a DB update on all parents OR checks in real time (which will kill the server)and are major changes." but it seems to me that there may be a third possibility.
A logic query run on the parent title's Note: field - but only when variant titles are created. To cut to the chase, and please excuse my complete ignorance of how the DB's software works, something along the lines of:
  • If content 'Parent Title Note: field' = true, then content 'Variant Title Note: field = "See notes in parent title.", else coffee and wait for the next one
  • Re DB update on all parents - could the large number of existing parents be run in batches to clear backlog?
  • If the query only runs when varianting occurs - not on existing records - this wouldn't kill the server? Kev. BanjoKev 12:13, 10 May 2020 (EDT)
We can get the text updated in 5 minutes probably; changing the saving process to update the children that they need to show something is a much more complicated change. Plus - most parents will have additional information anyway so I Am not sure if it is is worth all the effort. And it is not only in varianting. It is every time when a new book is added to the parent or one of the variants - because they all show up on the parent. Plus every time the parent is edited. And at the end no one will pay attention if the text is there or not anyway :) Annie 12:39, 10 May 2020 (EDT)

Question marks next to covers

If you look very carefully in the list of covers under a title, every time when the title of the cover has a transliteration, there is a small question mark at the bottom right corner. That works beautifully when you have a very limited number of covers (hover over it here and you will see the transliteration but when you have a lot, it either does not render or renders where I cannot see it: see here - the last one has it but no matter where my mouse is, I cannot see the transliteration). Is it just me? Does anyone see the transliteration when hovering over the question mark on the second link? Annie 04:53, 10 May 2020 (EDT)

Works perfectly fine for me. I'm using W10/Chrome and a large screen (24 inch). Don't think the screen size has anything to do with it (but it may), but rather the OS/browser combination... MagicUnk 05:53, 10 May 2020 (EDT)
Chrome on Chromebook, both Chrome and Firefox on Windows 10 - same problem. But I use smallish screens. Oh well - if it works for everyone, no worries. Annie 06:05, 10 May 2020 (EDT)
I tried the second link using Vivaldi on Linux on a 1280x1024 monitor, and worked OK for me, even when I made the window a lot smaller. A couple of questions:
* Does the transliteration popup appear for you on the other version of that cover on that page (the 12th image)?
* Whereabouts on the page does that final cover appear, near the end of a row, or further left? It feels like it could be something where the popup appears off the right edge of the screen.
About to look at the code to see how this is implemented, maybe that will give some clues... ErsatzCulture 11:34, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
EDIT: something else you could try:
1. Open up the browser dev tools, key combination should be something like Ctrl-Shift-I or Ctrl-Shift-J, but it will vary across operating systems. **NOTE** You should never do this if some random person on the internet tells you to, unless you know what you're doing, as this can easily be abused to leak private info etc. I won't be offended if you consider me too random to be trusted ;-)
2. In the console tab, enter the following:
    document.querySelectorAll('.tooltiptext').forEach((el) => { = "visible"; });
This will make all the tooltips on the page visible, which may be useful info if they are appearing in the wrong place for some reason, as opposed to the hover interactivity not working for some reason.) (The code implies they should appear directly after the the image/question mark, but it's possible some page layout craziness is happening; can't think why that might be off the top of my head.) ErsatzCulture 11:55, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
If everyone else sees them, I am fine. I suspect an edge of screen issue but won't spend time on time -- I just wanted to make sure it is just me. I know how to troubleshoot once I isolate it to just me. :) Annie 13:05, 11 May 2020 (EDT)

Sammy HK Smith vs. Sammy H. K. Smith

Hello fellow editors. Can you have a look at my reply here, and comment on whether we should allow Sammy HK Smith over standardizing to Sammy H. K. Smith? I have a few submissions on hold pending the outcome of your feedback. Thanks! MagicUnk 08:00, 10 May 2020 (EDT) (my comment copied below)
((indent) I came across another one: Sammy HK Smith. He also has an entry as Sammy H. K. Smith (printed as Sammy H.K Smith - no space, no period after the 'K'- on the contents page of the publication the story appeared in - which he published himself btw). He is also the creative director of Grimbold Books where he is just known as Sammy Smith ( by Creative Director Sammy Smith and Editorial Director Zoë Harris.). Currently I have submissions on hold that wants to update the editor of the British Fantasy Awards Best Independent Press award for Grimbold Books to Sammy HK Smith, whereas it should just be Sammy Smith if taken from the publisher's website here. So not much evidence of the author's preference to be found, it seems, except his facebook page. So, what should we do in such a case? I'm inclined to normalize, make a note as to the different appearances of his name, and use the variant Sammy Smith as editor to update the award records - until such time we learn of the author/editor's preference. Thoughts? MagicUnk 13:52, 30 April 2020 (EDT)

MagicUnk 08:00, 10 May 2020 (EDT)

Hello all. This one got a bit lost. Any advice on this one? Thanks! MagicUnk 15:08, 18 May 2020 (EDT)
Gave my feedback over there. -- JLaTondre (talk) 19:59, 18 May 2020 (EDT)

Deletion of Primary-Verified Publications

"Delete Publication" has been modified to require a "Note to Moderator" when attempting to delete a publication which has been primary-verified by another editor. Ahasuerus 17:46, 10 May 2020 (EDT)

Verifying Project Gutenberg

Is it possible/permissible/reasonable/meaningful/kosher/... to do a primary verification of a Project Gutenberg title? Does viewing it suffice or is downloading a copy necessary? And is Project Gutenberg any different than other online sources of 'scanned' books? ../Doug H 22:53, 10 May 2020 (EDT)

A permanent primary verification means that you own a copy of the publication and can check it again if necessary. A transient primary verification means that you have checked the publication, but may not be able to do so again, e.g. if it was a borrowed copy.
Suppose the Project Gutenberg site shuts down tomorrow. If you don't have a copy saved locally, you won't be able to check the data anymore, so it would be safer to do a transient verification. Ahasuerus 11:46, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
You've pointed out that the difference between permanent and transient is having a copy to hand, presumably for future reference. Permanent verifiers may be mistaken in their claim, no longer in possession of said publication, be unable to access said publication, or simply be inactive. None of these circumstances affect the entry itself. All of them prevent the querying person from finding out anything further about the publication. I'm not sure I see the difference to finding a publication online or in my library. ../Doug H 17:00, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Technically, if you do not have access to a publication anymore, you should change your verification to Transient - some editors are better at doing that than others. Delays because of books in storage and so on are fine - as long as you technically can get to the book. In reality, as we know, life happens. That's why we have multiple verifiers - hopefully at least one is still around and can get to the book. Annie 17:16, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
So to Ahasuerus's point, permanent is good until Project Gutenberg goes down, then you change it to transient. ../Doug H 19:30, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Technically? Yes. But people won't check a site all the time or remember to change them here. With online records (webzines and Gutenberg and so on), there is very little difference anyway - if the site is alive, anyone could look and you do not need to find the PV for questions (it serves more to note who worked on the record although now with the edit history, that is easier) so I would use Transient if I do not have a local copy and reserve Permanent for the case where I actually can look it up no matter what happens to the original site. Just my 2 cents. Annie 19:54, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Agreed. If you are going to verify Project Gutenberg, permanent means you kept a copy and transient means you didn't. As for the "is Project Gutenberg any different than other online sources of 'scanned' books?" part, the biggest difference is that a Project Gutenberg version is its own work and not a scanned version. They transcribe the work vs. a site like Internet Archive which hosts an actual scan. Verification based on scans has mixed opinions. I know some editors do it. I will occasionally, especially when I've used a scan to fix a record whose verifiers are no longer active. I believe there is a future request to add scans as a secondary verification source. -- JLaTondre (talk) 16:12, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
And how is transcription different than a scan? What if the Gutenberg edition is scanned using OCR to generate the text instead of Internet Archives generating an image? If the Gutenberg edition is considered a separate publication from the edition it was taken from, why would a scan not be a publication in its own right? If I own a book and scan it, and then get rid of the original, what should happen to my verification? I'm guessing these are not new questions, but I hope they are considered when the future request for scans as a secondary source is addressed. ../Doug H 17:00, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Scans are tricky - you have the text but what if you do not notice if a book is sewn or glued (POD vs first run for some publishers)? Having the book makes it easier to see that; having a scan - not that much. I would not do a permanent verification from a scan (transient is a different story - some editors do, some don't, I don't see why not if it is a full scan -- but I had not had the chance to do one). As long as it is clear what is verified (notes work like a charm), I am fine with a transient for that. Annie 17:16, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
A number of rare books I've marked as transient have been library copies - in some cases rebound. And scanned copies from libraries have records that specify such things. ../Doug H 19:30, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Yes - which was my point :) Annie 19:54, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
My point was that real books don't always have the information you say scans lack, and that catalogue information can tell you what you need to know about a scan. So we agree a real book is best, and anything less requires care? ../Doug H 20:48, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Scanned copies from libraries may have the information we need or they may not (libraries differ) :) Or it may be something we do care about and the library did not record. And not all scans come from libraries. But as I said - yes - we do agree on "real book is best but if it is not there, a scan is useful if properly handled and documented". Annie 21:02, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Project Gutenberg texts usually begin as OCR of a scanned version, but they are manually checked, edited, proofed, etc. and converted to multiple formats (Distributed Proofreaders is a collaborative site that processes many of them if you want to see the amount of work that goes into creating one). They come with their own copyright, publisher statement, etc. They are not the same work as the original. A scan is simply a scan. If I copy a scan and send it to you, do we know have two separate editions we should add? We need to draw the line somewhere. A good place to do that is "was it published?". Taking a scan, slapping a new cover and copyright page on it and selling it on Amazon (which happens to many public domain works) is publishing it. Taking an original scan and sending the file to someone new is not. -- JLaTondre (talk) 18:10, 11 May 2020 (EDT)

I started this when I ran across a primary verification of a Gutenberg publication - 1 out of 40+ Jules Verne publications. No vested interest, just interest. ../Doug H 17:00, 11 May 2020 (EDT)

Different people use the system differently - and had used it through the years - some because they do not know better, some because they believe this is how it should be. So there will always be weirdness out there. And sometimes it may be either a slip of the finger (meant to do transient) or an old record (from when we could have 5 permanent and only 1 transient). Who knows. Looking at it (search link in case someone wonders how I found it) , I would say old standards - I do not even know if Transient was possible back in 2008 :) Annie 17:16, 11 May 2020 (EDT)
Nope, it wasn't. Ahasuerus 20:36, 11 May 2020 (EDT)

"Unreject" functionality added

Moderators can now "unreject" submissions. When displaying rejected submissions, submission tables now display an "Unreject" column if the logged-in user is a moderator. This should make it easier to recover after accidental or erroneous submission rejections. Ahasuerus 17:44, 14 May 2020 (EDT)

Awesome! ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:11, 14 May 2020 (EDT)

Amazon e-books and audiobooks and ASINs

A few conversations in the last few weeks had made me wonder if we have a slight misunderstanding of Amazon's ebook practices from moderators and editors who do not work with Amazon often -- it seems like there is a belief that Amazon never deletes an ASIN and that if an e-book is not there, the ASIN is invalid for it(for example. While ASINs started as Amazon-only identifiers and were irrelevant outside Amazon, in the last years, with Kindle-publishing becoming an easy way to get books out for both authors and small publishers, they had turned into de-facto identifiers for ebooks - they are printed on copyright pages occasionally (more often since ~2105 in my experience but I had seen them as early as 2011) and they are referenced when the book is discussed and cataloged (both LibraryThing and Goodreads have support for ASINs; so does Collectorz for example).

In addition, Amazon is not keeping records for e-books that are not available anymore on the site(s) thus making the ASIN invalid on Amazon (but still valid in a bibliography - so a book should not be rejected, deleted or has its ASIN deleted if Amazon (none of the 16) cannot find it). Goodreads had turned into the best place to find most of those lost ASINs if we do not catch the book while it is live on the site. While there are some not real entries there, ebooks with covers, dates and details are indeed safe-ish (as long as GR is mentioned as a source).

Ahasuerus had an interesting idea up in the thread I linked - add Goodreads to the list of links we now carry for ASINs (we have 16 now, 1 more won't hurt). That way we have a direct connection to a copy of the book even when the Amazon copy disappears.

Any thoughts against the idea? Annie 00:59, 18 May 2020 (EDT)

PS: Same applies to audiobooks (both as practice by Amazon and as an idea for the ASIN link and not the Audible-ASIN link). :)Annie 01:02, 18 May 2020 (EDT)

I've always interpreted the External ID's as being permanent (testimony to that are the permalinks that we are using for the majority of the majority of the external bibliographical sites). Clearly, this isn't the case for Amazon anymore (if it ever was-seems to me the only ones that are not permanent are Amazon's). When sticking to that interpretation, we should move non-functional links to the notes. Now, that might not be the best of options, but we need to consider what to do with temporary External ID's vs. 'permanent' External IDs. I, for one, don't see much added value in ASIN (and Audible-ASIN), so I wouldn't mind to see them disappear ;) However, I suspect this be a minority point of view, and I have to concede they come in handy when wanting to order that particular ebook from Amazon (and providing for part of the hosting of the ISFDB of course). So, that begs the question, what to do with them? I am still in favour of moving inactive 'permanent' External ID's to the notes. A compromise can be to keep the ASIN External ID, and to add a note clarifying the link has become inactive.
Next to that, adding Goodreads to the links could be done additionally.
All this doesn't solve the 'issue' with temporary and permanent External ID's of course... Just my ramblings... MagicUnk 14:29, 18 May 2020 (EDT)
Except if you read above, ASIN is a de-facto permanent ID - even if Amazon loses it. All the external IDs are considered permanent ones - if we do not have permanent ones, we do not create an external ID for it. And no - just because Amazon cannot find something anymore, we do not move the ID out - that is the whole point. We are a bibliography site, not a "what is available now" site.
I "personally" do not see much value in adding PPN - should we disappear that one as well? Or should we maybe try to see other people's perspective and what they use. :) ASIN and Audible-ASIN identify the books uniquely in the same way ISBN does - at least the ebooks and e-audio market. And as explained above, they are not just some ephemeral strings that are valid only on Amazon - ASINs are printed on the copyright pages on e-books (unlike PPN for example). So which is more permanent? The one written in the book or the one that is not? :) Annie 14:41, 18 May 2020 (EDT)
PS: And one more point. The ASIN External ID carries 16 different links. For most books, only a few of them will work (some will have all of them working but that is rare) - this is how Amazon operates. And it won't always be the one you expect - for some Dutch books, the Amazon DE link will work while Amazon NL won't (don't ask me why - Amazon is weird that way). This is expected -- and adding GR in there will make it possible for always having a working link. Which will mean that the ASIN links always connect somewhere. :). Annie 14:53, 18 May 2020 (EDT)
Not that I get the impression that ASINs are in any danger of being deprecated, but one other use-case for ASINs that I personally have, is to uncover pubs that aren't in ISFDB. A few people are aware of this already, but I have a browser extension that highlights all URLs containing an ISBN or ASIN that isn't in ISFDB example, which makes it much easier for me to submit edits for stuff that Fixer has missed; without the ASIN information, finding these gaps would be much harder, and I'd be submitting much less. (Some might think that would be preferable, of course ;-)
If anything, I'd like to see the ASIN functionality extended so that it's more formally tagged when multiple ASINs are used for the same pub across particular branches of Amazon - Titan Books do this a lot, but I've also noticed a few lately from Orbit as well. Currently this can only be indicated by adding some text to the note. NB: I don't expect this to be considered a high priority request by any means. ErsatzCulture 14:51, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
Careful with Orbit - unlike Titan, they are actually separate companies on both sides of the pond (which is why we have Orbit and Orbit (US) in the DB unlike Titan and Angry Robots for example. So things are even murkier with Orbit - especially when they use the same cover on both sides of the pond (when they do separate covers, it is very easy to sort what is what) :)
ASINs at this point are stable (even after Amazon removes them, they are in the books often) -- the point of the question above was "does anyone oppose to adding GR to the list of ASIN links and if so why?". In real ISFDB fashion, the question was ignored and we went onto someone's pet peeve tangent that talks about the same IDs :) I really would love to hear anyone actually answering the question I asked... :) Annie 15:07, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
Sorry, re. linking to the GR search page with an ASIN parameter, I personally don't have any objections, beyond a couple of minor technical observations:
(i) Do GR actively or tacitly approve of external sites linking to their search results page? e.g. could they decide to block anything with a Refer(r)er of, or change the URL, etc. Of course, if they did either of those, it wouldn't really be a big deal, but better to keep on their good side rather than risk antagonizing them unnecessarily? (A slight aside: it might be worth having rel="noreferrer nofollow" on all links to external sites, for what slight difference it might make.)
(ii) I note GR's API has a couple of methods for doing lookups via ISBN, but no similar support for ASIN lookups, which is mildly ironic when you consider who owns them. My guess is that this is an oversight, or something that they don't consider worth the dev/support overhead, but potentially there might be reasons why they don't want to expose them to external entities in the same way? I can't think of any good reason why that might be the case, but corporates have weird thought processes sometimes. ErsatzCulture 15:45, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
I suspect that (ii) is mostly historical - they did not start as an Amazon company and when they started ASIN was just an Amazon thing. Pretty much why we don't have the same level of support for ISBN and ASIN - old sites catch up differently. Who knows :) But yes - it always made me smile considering who owns them now.
It is a good point about the search link but we probably won't generate thousands of requests per day let alone per hour (how often will someone click on the link - they are good to have if needed but outside of verifying or getting to it, I am not sure we have a lot of people clicking) - I usually have a few hundred ASIN, ISBN and titles searches per night (manually) when I am working on an author... We have a few other searches like that in the Other sites and I think in some of the external IDs. Annie 16:08, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
I have been unable to find any information about Goodreads' policies re: deep-linking to their search pages. I note that they add search information to their URLs -- "from_search=true", "from_srp=true", "qid=[value]", "rank=[number]" -- but it appears to be optional. Ahasuerus 16:55, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
Re. Annie's comment about number of requests: I was thinking more about crawlers like Yandex and BingBot, that have been quite abusive on some of the sites I've worked on in day jobs, whilst seemingly never actually sending us any genuine traffic that might actually justify them crawling us.
Ah, yes the dark crawlies of the internet. I forgot about them for a second here. Annie 17:47, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
Re. GR policies, I just did a search on their GR Developers group, but couldn't find anything either - the closest was a question from 2016 asking about search by ASIN in their API, and someone who seemed to be a GR employee replying that they don't have it in their own app, and suggesting the original poster use one of the Amazon APIs, not sure if it's one that Fixer already uses. (TBH, it was surprising an "official" person answered; most of the present-day questions in that group never get any sort of official response.) ErsatzCulture 17:25, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
Yep - I looked at this a few months ago while trying to figure out a better way than my current copy/paste system when working with GR on long lists of old books... Now - there is one crucial difference between 2016 and now though - back on 2016, Amazon was removing ASINs a lot less - they will be inactive but mostly there. That changed in the last years - now as soon as an ebook is not available for sale anymore, it is gone (except for some special cases having to do with other markets availability) - so I wonder if that won't change GR's mind at some point. This is also why we want to be able to link to them via GR :) Who knows. Annie 17:47, 20 May 2020 (EDT)

"Title Dates after Publication Dates" updated

The cleanup report "Title Dates after Publication Dates" has been updated. In the past, it was limited to publications which contained title records whose months of publication were after the month of the publication record. The new version also checks publication/month days. In other words, the old version would have ignored a publication published on 2020-04-05 which contained a 2020-04-20 title, but the new version of the reports will flag the record.

The new data will be available in the morning. There are roughly 2,360 matching title records, but the report is limited to the first 1,000. Ahasuerus 14:24, 20 May 2020 (EDT)

This excludes any 00 dates (so 2020-04-05 and 2020-04-00 will not be listed on the report), right? We never decided what is before what with these so no point trying to sort them out until we do. Annie 14:29, 20 May 2020 (EDT)
That's right. Records with 8888-00-00, 0000-00-00, YYYY-00-00 and YYYY-MM-00 dates are ignored by this cleanup report. Ahasuerus 14:35, 20 May 2020 (EDT)

2020-05-21 performance issues

I am aware of the performance issues that we are currently experiencing. It looks like a runaway robot trying to screen-scrape our data. I am looking into it. Ahasuerus 13:18, 21 May 2020 (EDT)

Re-creating submission requests

If a submission request is incorrect or invalid, there are a number of ways to deal it. If the error is caught immediately, while the submission confirmation screen is available, an editor can use the browser's back function and fix the error and re-submit (remembering to cancel the first submission). This approach fails in two cases, if the confirmation screen is no longer available or if additional entries (e.g. content, authors) were generated, as these will be lost. In these cases, I have sometimes gone back to the request and viewed the raw XML to determine things that are difficult to recall (e.g. precise wording of notes).

Given that the raw XML contains all of the information being submitted, would the system be able to re-create the submission? For the moment, I'll leave aside the desirability and functionality questions. ../Doug H 10:40, 24 May 2020 (EDT)

Harper Voyager (UK) and HarperVoyager

A conversation today made me do some digging. We have 3 separate publishers for the UK side of the operation (the 978-0-00 ISBNs since 2007):

Which is 2 too many :) HarperVoyager (no space) is how the publisher is styled on the title pages Look Inside on Amazon UK, on Wikipedia and anywhere else I can think of (Their site including). The last one is based on our standards but it is too long (and I would rather not have the parent in the full name if I can work around it...) but I can live with it id we decide this is what we want -- it is what is on the books after all. To quote Wiki:

  • HarperVoyager, formerly Voyager, HarperCollins’s worldwide sf & fantasy imprint, combining the UK imprint HarperCollins Science Fiction & Fantasy (which had inherited the sf & fantasy list of Collins’s Grafton Books and its predecessors (Granada, Panther), as well as J. R. R. Tolkien's books from the acquisition of George Allen & Unwin) and the US imprint Eos (from the acquisition of Avon Books, which incorporated the former Harper Prism).

Based on our own notes here, Voyager became Harper Voyager (UK) in 2007 so this is when HarperVoyager also was born technically. Before I go and clean Voyager from its too new books. Any input from anyone? Any reason not to merge these 3? Any preference on the name for the UK side? If we drop the space, we do not need the (UK) :) Annie 15:37, 26 May 2020 (EDT)

Well, whatever you choose I would want to make sure that HarperVoyager is clearly distinct from Harper Voyager, just to ensure that people would not confuse UK books with the US ones. Or you want to rename the latter to Harper Voyager (US) perhaps... And I'm slightly favouring HarperVoyager / HarperCollinsPublishers over HarperVoyager (UK), if only because it's the most correct. As for the cleanup of the Voyager ones, they seem to be a mix of the US & UK ones. And those ebooks are a pain in the back, both 978-1 and 978-0 ISBN's too. No idea how to assign these. MagicUnk 17:08, 26 May 2020 (EDT)
I do cleanup of "ex-publishers" and "split publishers" pretty often - we have records that just escape weirdly during moderation. They can be very annoying indeed. :) I just had not go tot Voyager yet.
I would prefer not to add US/UK anywhere if unneeded - I know why we need it for cases like Orbit but when the names are different, I really dislike it. Although I can see how the missing space may not appear visually different enough. But I can live with either name(s) as long as we get all books from the same publisher to live together - these 3 being separate just make no sense. It is kinda funny how both the US and UK site call it a "global brand" but UK misses a space while US has it... :) Annie 17:26, 26 May 2020 (EDT)
Given that it's well over a month since this item was last updated, can the lack of any objections being raised be taken as an indicator that people are OK with the basic idea of merging these pubs (or at least settling on one to use going forward), and that there don't seem to be any strong opinions on which particular one is chosen?
I know whilst this item has lain dormant, I've been adding loads of new & historical "Harper Voyager (UK)" pubs, whereas new pubs coming from Fixer uses one of the other variants. Whilst I personally prefer the "(UK)" one - mainly on the grounds of it being more visually "obvious", albeit less "correct" - I'll happily go with whatever is decided - *if* something is decided. ErsatzCulture 11:54, 8 July 2020 (EDT)
It is vacation time, most people are not around -- I am letting it stay for the next few weeks (months?) - the numbers won't matter as we will do a merge (so noone will need to update every book) - which will be very hard to reverse though - so better to do it when people have a chance to see it. I am collecting a few like that for a post in early September with proposed names :) Annie 11:59, 8 July 2020 (EDT)

New Member in Series

I just added a new item Pulp Vault Pulp Reprint No. 1. I tried to put it into the series Pulp Vault - 1992, but I apparently created a new series instead. How do I get the two 1992 pubs into the same sub-series? Bob 21:19, 26 May 2020 (EDT)

EDITOR title = Pulp Vault - 1992; Series = Pulp Vault :) You cannot merge series but you can fix the series of your record. However... shouldn't reprints of magazines be added as anthologies? Annie 21:23, 26 May 2020 (EDT)
It's not a reprint of an existing Pulp Vault, but a reprint of a Henry Kuttner story from a pulp. I admit it's kind of strange, and appears to be unique. I suppose it could be a chapbook. Thanks for the help, got it fixed. Bob 14:21, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
Ah, okey then. if it looks like a magazine, it is a magazine. I was working on some reprints the other day so it was just fresh in my mind so had to ask. :) Annie 14:23, 27 May 2020 (EDT)

A very strange book

Not sure of this isthe right forum or not for this but here goes anyway

I was using Yandex reverse mage search to find some info when I came across this book listed on a Russain website here

It's a very strange book published by Melor, 1997. Seemingly by Eric Frank Russell and Desmond Begley titles "The Flaming Universe" but the text then goes on to say that it is infact three novels by Andre Norton - The Burning Universe; The Cage and Last Chance.

None of those "novels" appear under the listing for Norton.

What's going on ??--Mavmaramis 04:37, 27 May 2020 (EDT)

1997 in the ex-Soviet republics? It can be anything. Let me see what I can find out :) Annie 04:57, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
That turned to be much easier than I thought. FantLab to the rescue. Noone knows why these two authors were added on the cover. Not unusual for the times in Eastern Europe (you should have seen some of the editions in my first library...).
In fact it is an omnibus of 3 Norton novels: "Moon of Three Rings", "Iron Cage" and "Yurth Burden" - under somewhat creative Russian names. I will add the book to our DB in the morning now that we mentioned it :)
If you find anything else weird on a site in an Eastern or Central European language, feel free to post on my Talk page (or here) - I can do some digging pretty easily. :) Annie 05:06, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
Thanks (and apologies for sticking it on the wrong thread). --Mavmaramis 09:35, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
No worries - things get displaced sometimes. :) Annie 14:25, 27 May 2020 (EDT)

The page on Banner Art names Alvonruff as a contact for submitting new art. He seems to be incommunicado. Is anyone else able to deal with this? ../Doug H 16:42, 27 May 2020 (EDT)

First we would need to create an image like this one. We currently have 10 of them and they are rotated nightly. I could add a new image to the daily rotation, but someone else will need to create it first. I am colorblind and my art skills are close to non-existent, so I am useless on the art front.
We'll also want to make sure that we don't violate anyone's copyright. Another collage of low-quality images like what the ISFDB is currently using should be fine, but a high-definition photo of a copyrighted image would be problematic. Ahasuerus 17:01, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
Banner has been created, just working on the associated links. It's from the Argosy magazines (20's and 30's). Where to I put it and who do I tell? ../Doug H 18:58, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
Why don't we start by uploading it to this Wiki using the Upload file link on the left? That way other editors will be able to preview it and check that everything looks OK. Oh, and it needs to be a JPG file, hopefully under 140Kb in size. Ahasuerus 20:25, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
Argosy Banner ../Doug H 21:57, 27 May 2020 (EDT)
Banner Art Credit page layout:


Looks good to me! Ahasuerus 00:12, 28 May 2020 (EDT)
If there are no objections, I will add the new banner tomorrow. Ahasuerus 10:09, 31 May 2020 (EDT)
If there are no objections, and anyone can point me to cover images, I'm willing to make some more, now that I have the tools in place. ../Doug H 14:38, 31 May 2020 (EDT)

(unindent) The Argosy banner has been added to the rotation. Thanks for putting it together! Ahasuerus 08:50, 2 June 2020 (EDT)

I'd put the notes above into the Banner Art Credits page, but don't know where the image ended up. ../Doug H 08:55, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
The Argosy image can be found here. Ahasuerus 10:27, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
Credits updated. ../Doug H 11:20, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
That one is a really nice addition to the rotation! Christian Stonecreek 10:11, 2 June 2020 (EDT)


We have another one of those double publishers:

with no rhyme or reason on different usage. Does anyone see a reason not to merge these? From the sheer numbers and PV'd pubs, we should probably merge into the longer name but any opinions are welcome. The only PV'd record under the short name is from a new editor who just added the book earlier this month and was editing today (which is why I looked - I was pretty sure we use the long name for this publisher). Any thoughts? Annie 15:36, 28 May 2020 (EDT)

The series under Mondadori are for the most part exclusive to Mondadori - this may signify that these were (at one time) published under an abbreviated publisher name of Mondadori. Just a thought you may want to check. MagicUnk 13:20, 29 May 2020 (EDT)
We have 1 or 2 books per series only there. I do not think this can be used as an argument for two reasons - we do not have enough books and most we have under the short name are added via secondary sources which are known to abbreviate the publisher names (or pick up weird versions of -- OCLC on international titles is one of them). The rest of the Oscar series are under the long name. The "Chrysalide" is clearly shared...
If you start looking at the books one by one under the short name, you see things like [7] where even the cited source puts it under "Arnoldo Mondadori Editore"... this one is also from NILF and when you find it, there, it also uses the long name. It is really good old Worldcat that uses the short name - and it uses it for a lot of the books we have under the long name. If I go through all the "short name" ones and clear the ones that are foundable via NILF, we will probably be left with a handful.
If we had PVs in the short name, I would buy your argument but without them and with the clear discrepancies, I really cannot see what purpose splitting these serves. Annie 13:42, 29 May 2020 (EDT)
Well, pretty convincing arguments if you ask me :) MagicUnk 15:27, 29 May 2020 (EDT)
Yep, I did not just ask because of the similar names - I looked through all the books :) Just did not type the whole story. I will give it a few more days, clear the ones that are wrongly there (Spanish Mondadori is a different entity) and merge if noone else has something to say :) Annie 17:04, 29 May 2020 (EDT)

A Clockwork Orange - should this have two title/variant entries?

I noticed this title record recently created , which reminded me of something that crossed my mind a few days ago - should A Clockwork Orange have 2 title entries, to reflect the fact the earlier US editions removed the final chapter? I've submitted an edit to the title notes with the relevant text from Wikipedia - - but I don't know if that's enough?

I did have a look around on the Wiki for any guidance on what constitutes enough of a content change to justify a second and/or variant title, but didn't find anything. None of , or address this particular area - although based on The Race example at the start of this comment, maybe the variant functionality isn't how this should be recorded anyway? ErsatzCulture 09:09, 30 May 2020 (EDT)

How did you manage to catch this one in the middle of me trying to figure out the best way to get The Race differences recorded while looking at both books? :)
There's a 10-hour time difference between the various edits on this title/pubs showing on the Recent Edits list page, and I was being nosey about why there was so much activity on a not-particularly-recent book ;-)
Little thing called sleep :) Left it alone last night to finish this morning. Woke up with a new idea so was just tinkering with it again today. As of why now - found my copies of the books. :) Annie 10:34, 30 May 2020 (EDT)
Usually a missing chapter, unless it is a significant part of the novel in volume will not mean a separate title. Variants are not for textual differences - they are for differences in language, author or title. Annie 10:08, 30 May 2020 (EDT)
Is "significant" in terms of the proportion of the overall text affected - 1/21 chapters in this case, so probably not - or meaning/importance, which does seem to be the case here, based on the Wikipedia section I linked. (NB: at the risk of provoking howls of outrage at my ignorance, I confess I haven't actually read this one; it's sat untouched in my TBR for a couple of years. On the plus side, I finally did open it up this morning, and found there's a bunch of supplementary material in my copy that wasn't previously recorded here, so at least some useful edit submissions have ensued from my random musing.) ErsatzCulture
That’s the big question isn’t it. I would say size - I can think of a dozen novels where adding a single sentence can change the and of the story. I would not make separate titles for that missing chapter but it may be a good idea to add notes somewhere so it is clear which edition misses it. Annie 10:34, 30 May 2020 (EDT)
Another (not quite definitive) wiki ruling on this is "Some minor variations are permitted -- for example the addition of an introduction to a novel does not make it a new title. For a more detailed discussion of the variations, see the help page for adding a new book, which describes just how to determine a title." from the definition of Canonical Title. The link doesn't help though. ../Doug H 12:14, 30 May 2020 (EDT)

Tagging CHAPBOOKs vs novellas

I just finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's Walking to Aldebaran, and went to look at adding a few more tags to the ones I'd added to it a couple of days ago. Initially I was a bit nonplussed to find that apparently everything I'd added had been lost. Clicking around on my tag page highlighted the problem - my earlier set of tags had been applied to the CHAPBOOK record , whereas the page I'd opened was the SHORTFICTION/novella record . This isn't too terrible for managing your own personal tags, and if you understand how CHAPBOOKs/novellas have two records in the titles table, but feels a bit bad for discoverability by casual users?

I have a vague recollection of some discussion a few months ago about how/where tags get applied, but I had a look through the most recent set of archived Community Portal discussions, and didn't spot anything. (Was that maybe about titles vs pubs?)

Assuming this hasn't already been discussed to death, any thoughts on how this could be improved? (e.g. Disallow tagging of CHAPBOOKs? Show the tags of the child titles on a CHAPBOOK page, similar to how author pages aggregate the tags of the author's books?) I realize that tagging is perhaps an aspect of ISFDB that is relatively underused, so anything that might involve a s/w change probably isn't going to get prioritized very high. ErsatzCulture 17:52, 30 May 2020 (EDT)

The European Library - link changed

The links to "The European Library" from "Other Links" on a publication cannot work anymore as their site moved with no forwarded for old links. Can we figure out if the search can succeed on the new site and change the link? Thanks! Annie 17:48, 2 June 2020 (EDT)

I have run a number of searches using Europeana and I am not getting almost any hits. For example, a search on "Pierre Barbet" found 0 matches. Anyone having better luck? Ahasuerus 19:01, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
Well, Jules Verne works but that is not very useful. Looking for the word ISBN finds 3,291 results but then it cannot find any of those ISBNs (or I cannot figure out how). So we may want to add that to a list of resources somewhere (full text in multiple languages of multiple old authors can get handy) but it may be toast as ISBN related search... Pierre Barbet returns 15 for me but I cannot see how we can look for those based on ISBN. Annie 19:24, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
I think the 15 Barbet hits are based on Bibliothèque nationale de France's (as opposed to the European Library) data. They also let you view the first 25-30 pages of each book, which can be useful. Ahasuerus 22:29, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
14 are. The 15th is "Bibliothèque de l'INHA" - which again is BNF of course :) The European Library was always supposed to be a gateway to the other European Libraries and not a single library (or such was my understanding) so this is what is expected I think. Except that old interface allowed search by ISBN into the member libraries... I think. Annie 22:35, 2 June 2020 (EDT)
Searching by title ""Option zéro" seems to work but considering what this collects, the titles can be weird and I do not think it is that useful for that either...
PS: I could not work out the ISBN search at all - thus posting without the research details... I was hoping I was just missing something. Annie 19:24, 2 June 2020 (EDT)

Nook ISBN and ebook editions

Hello all. As an excercise, I entered all the different editions I could find of Serial Killer Princess. While doing so, I noticed that (apparently) Nook Edition ebooks have an ISBN starting with 294-..., which I haven't encountered before, and for which I can't find additional information on the internet - Wikipedia mentions 978 and 979 as only valid prefixes. Does anyone have additional insights into what this ISBN is about (it did pass the check without issues)?

These are called Barnes & Noble IDs and this is what the "BN" external ID is for - the 294-pseudo ISBNs of B&N. :) Annie 16:34, 4 June 2020 (EDT)
Aha! That's clear. Didn't know that - corrected. MagicUnk 16:48, 4 June 2020 (EDT)

In addition, this excercise, in conjunction with an earlier observation, makes me wonder if we don't have to take more care in distinguishing between ebook editions - apparently, the Nook, Kindle (and also Smashwords) ebook Editions are often (?) different in one or more aspects. The other day, for example, I noticed that the copyright page of the Smashwords Edition of Inn The Laughing Dragon had an ISBN number, while the Kindle Edition had none (LookInside) (they were otherwise the same as far as I could tell). To me this observation implies they are to be considered different editions. This is also corroborated by this piece of information from the ISBN wikipedia entry : If a book exists in one or more digital (e-book) formats, each of those formats must have its own ISBN. In other words, each of the three separate EPUB, Amazon Kindle, and PDF formats of a particular book will have its own specific ISBN. They should not share the ISBN of the paper version, and there is no generic "eISBN" which encompasses all the e-book formats for a title. See also this earlier discussion. Thoughts? MagicUnk 16:26, 4 June 2020 (EDT)

Yup - eISBNs are... complicated. If they have different ISBNs, they ARE different editions for this DB :) Annie 16:34, 4 June 2020 (EDT)
It's not only if they have different ISBN's I'd say, there's also the format to consider (according to the Wiki article). Or do we limit ourselves to 'publisher' only ? I.e. Amazon/Kindle, B&N/Nook, Smashwords/format x? Should we start a discussion over at R&S? MagicUnk 16:48, 4 June 2020 (EDT)
The format and the publisher are often tied together. Amazon's format is their own (few formats based on the kindle generation), B&N's Nook are ePub basically, Smashwords is a "consolidator" so they often will have different formats - including producing the Kindle and ePub book for the B&N and others see this. So there is a point at which we need to stop and say "do we want 1000 different books" and when do we really split? Thus my comment for the ISBNs. By all means, start a discussion :) Annie 16:54, 4 June 2020 (EDT)
If you are curious, see this one I just added. All 3 services have the same ebook (Look inside, Free Sample and Preview have matching first pages so it is definitely the same book), none have the ISBN inside of them (they have the printed one as they have the printed book copyright page) but the ISBN is in range for the publisher and the book (one off from the print) and appears valid on all ISBN-able ebook platforms (Amazon finds it via the site search only as usual these days for eISBNs). So just because it is not printed in Amazon's copy does not mean it was not assigned to it. Ebooks are complicated... and despite what Wiki says, most publishers don't burn multiple ISBNs for the different ebook formats and go for eISBN instead) :) Have a headache yet? :) Annie 18:20, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
Yup, nice headache allright :) Nicely done by the way. I guess my main issue is that I really haven't figured out a protocol for myself how to deal with ebooks, and when to decide two (or more) records are warranted (different ISBN's is easy )), or not. MagicUnk 06:20, 6 June 2020 (EDT)

Algis Budrys error: Review columns appearing as Poem Series

On Algis Budrys' Summary Bibliography page (, the list of F&SF review columns appears under a sub-heading of 'Poem Series'. On the other hand, the list of Galaxy Bookshelf review columns correctly appears under a sub-heading of 'Essay Series'.

Curiously, the individual columns, as listed, have a '[ES]' suffix, but the Galaxy Bookshelf columns do not have a suffix. --Mjcrossuk 08:44, 5 June 2020 (EDT)

Indeed, that was irritating! I have cautionary removed the title series for the October 1989 column, since it was not a book review but a poem per title note (and that was what caused the mix-up, since only one poem or one fiction title sets the title type for the whole series). Does anyone else have an idea how to deal with this case? I think it's pretty obvious that one title should not set the tone for the whole series if it does completely differ from the other ones, as here. Stonecreek 09:24, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
Thanks for fixing it so quickly! As you say, v strange that one outlier entry in the series has caused the problem, it's not even the first in the series. Mjcrossuk 11:42, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
"Summary" pages display series lists in the following order:
  • "Fiction" series, which include novel, collection, and omnibus titles
  • Magazine/fanzine series, which include EDITOR titles
  • Anthology series
  • Nonfiction series
  • Short fiction series
  • Poem series
  • Essay series
  • Cover art series
  • Interior art series
  • Review series
  • Interview series
If a Summary page contains a series which includes titles of different types, it is classified based on the highest ranked title type. For example, a series with one novel and 10 short fiction titles is a "Fiction Series". A series with two short fiction titles and 40 poems is a "Short Fiction Series". A series with one essay and 50 reviews is an "Review[Edit: Essay] Series". Ahasuerus 12:00, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
Wait. 1 essay and 50 reviews will be an essay series, won’t it? Not a review one as the essay has priority Annie 12:29, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
Oops! Right, it would be an essay series. Fixed. Ahasuerus 12:54, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
With chapbooks showing more and more often, I wonder if we should not discuss a change in order -- send the NONFICTION after SHORT FICTION and POEM. While the original order makes sense (books first, parts of books next), we have a lot of series that are short stories only now and the first NONFICTION sends the series in a weird place. Annie 13:29, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
Sure, we can move nonfiction series two positions down and see how it goes. It would effectively mean adopting a "fiction first" approach. Ahasuerus 14:01, 5 June 2020 (EDT)
Considering the name of our DB, that won't be a very surprising approach :) Annie 14:11, 5 June 2020 (EDT)

Second pair of eyes for these horror anthologies - in or out?

Can you have a look at this and this one (and their James Ward Kirk Publishing brethren)? I'm inclined to include them, but not entirely sure. Thanks! MagicUnk 11:03, 6 June 2020 (EDT)

The ghost stories in the second one are certainly eligible from what I am reading about them. So it will be a non-genre anthology with only the speculative contents added as most of the first part won’t be.
The first - unless you find a story that is eligible, then it is out; otherwise it is the same as above. I do not see anything in the description that hints that there may be any. Annie 15:24, 6 June 2020 (EDT)

"Printing Number" field -- an alternative approach

Over the years, we have had multiple requests to add a "Printing Number" field to publication records. The last one was just a couple of days ago.

Adding a new field wouldn't be hard to do, but we have been unable to agree whether it should be numeric, i.e. allow values like "1", "3" and "27", or whether it should allow arbitrary text like "stated fourth Ace printing but actually at least the 6th printing because Ace reset its printing numbers at some point" -- see the comments area in FR 794. The first, numeric, option could be used for sorting publications on Title pages, in Advanced Search, etc. The second option would be more informative, but arbitrary text would be hard to use for sorting. It would also make displayed tables (like the one on the Title page) unwieldy if the displayed value contained more than a couple of words.

Earlier today it occurred to me that we may be able to "have our cake and eat it too". What if we were to create two fields? The first field would be called "Printing Number" and would be numeric, allowing values like "1", "3", and "27". The second field would be called something like "Printing Number Details" and allow arbitrary text like "stated fourth Ace printing but actually at least the 6th printing because Ace reset its printing numbers at some point" above. We would display the numeric value entered in the "Printing Number" field in a new column in Publication tables and we would display the arbitrary value in the "Printing Number Details" (if entered) as mouse-over text. It would be similar to other values displayed as mouse-over text (transliterations, formats, etc.)

Would this work? Ahasuerus 14:04, 10 June 2020 (EDT)

I think that last time we floated the idea of using pipes for exactly the same reasons just before the discussion died. :)
Two fields work for me. One note though - we need a way to sort same-numbered editions -- if you have 14th Ace printing and 14th Bragelonne one, both of them with 0000-00-00, the order does not matter but the first Ace and the first Bragelonne at the top of the table for example, both with a date of 2010-00-00 probably should have a way to sort the original before the translation even if both carry "1". Annie 14:16, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
How about using optional pipes? Ahasuerus 14:40, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
Works for me -- plus we are used to using them. One request though - make their value visible on the "mouse-over" as well so you do not need to open each edition to find out whatever pattern is used for them for this set of publications. Annie 14:48, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
We could expand the printing number information in the mouse-over bubble. For example, "1|2" would be displayed as "Printing Number: 1. Sort order within this printing number: 2". Ahasuerus 09:17, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
And they should work differently - in a publication, you can do things like 1|3 and 3|1 easily enough (essentially making a non-piped N the same as a N|N number). Here they should come into play ONLY if the number before them matches - or someone will send a 14th printing at #2 by mistake for example. :) Annie 14:48, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
I see. So the number to the right of the "pipe" character would be the sort position within the printing number specified to the left of the "pipe" character. Makes sense. Ahasuerus 09:14, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
This is what I was thinking - thus making sure that you do not need to check every single publication to figure out the sorting order. But that will mean that the sorting of the 0000-00-00 will be printing number first (not grouping per publisher) which may not be desirable - unless this sorting is ignored for 0000-00-00 and we go publisher first, number second there. And we won't be able to reorder differently dated ones. It almost sounds like a need for an in-number sorting and an absolute sorting (which overrides everything). Or maybe just a single checkbox "First Edition" to be used for the absolute first edition for a title - aka "what stays at the top of the table" - because the rest of the table can fall any way it wants really as long as there is a structure... Annie 13:32, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
I like this idea. If the 0000-00-00 (or same dated) editions then can be sorted by publisher / printing number it would make the publication table a lot clearer. --Willem 14:55, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
So if you have two Ace 0000-00-00 (printing 3 and 9) and 2 Barkley (printing 3 and 7), do you want them to be Ace, Ace, Barkley, Barkley or based on the printing number first? Maybe we really need to make a difference between dated and undated editions
  • Dated with the same date get sorted based on printing number with pipes to fix the order where needed . If we go publisher first for these, we will get a lot of cleanup to do as we have a lot of books with the same year or year-month dates only and the wrong ones will come up on top based on the publisher name.
  • 0000-00-00 get sorted based on Publisher, then printing inside of that publisher.
Or am I overthinking it? :) Annie 15:10, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
PS: And if we are talking about reordering the table anyway (inevitable when we talk about showing printing numbers), we may want to look at a way to sort this one correctly - the Serbian is definitely not the one that should lead this table. Pipe only printing number? But then when does it overwrite a date sort? If we want to split the "ordering" from the "show printing order" discussion, I can split that out in a separate thread but I think they are related... Annie 15:19, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
The sorting needs, indeed, some attention. Iirc, during our last discussion there was a proposal to sort on printing number only within the same publisher. On the top of my head I thought the sorting proposal was something like, sort by date, publisher, printing number. That would effectively mean that printing number sorting would only be relevant for same-date, same-publisher publications, in practice, that would only be for the 0000-00-00 dates. This only holds if we want to continue displaying in order of publication date. Not 100% sure, but I guess an optional piping could override default sorting on, say publisher, to get the result Annie illustrated. Sorting could then be something like, first on date, then on optional piping, then publisher, then printing nr. It would not solve the Serbian case though (I think) (disclaimer: didn't think this through very thoroughly yet). As for the proposal of having the rank + optional detail, and only displaying rank, with mouseover detail, that would work. MagicUnk 15:25, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
My preferences: 1) The value to be entered should be based on the publication, not research or authority. (If a listed number doesn't match my copy, I'll either miss it or be back to reading all the publications to find a match. Notes are for research and sources.) 2) The value should be standardized and reduced, not entered exactly as provided in the publication. (To fit on the Title Summary, to my mind the main reason for this. E.g. no number lines or "Thirteenth" - use an integer. Other language scenarios might give something other than an integer, e.g. [4] for Russian implied printings) 3) Controlling the sort using piping is too complicated for the benefits. (piping for pages is easy because it's all done in the same edit, reordering pubs involves multiple edits. If sort order includes publisher any sort on printings helps - even 1, 10, 11, 2 beats not knowing. Besides a mix of dated and undated pubs messes up the order anyway.) 4) Using the piping to provide mouse-over text for the printing number sounds really useful for non-standard cases. (E.g. "CN 1 | 1st Canadian", "1 | 1st US", "Sp 1 | 1st Special Edition") ../Doug H 15:31, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
The challenge with allowing random strings in the "small" field is the length of this field (and enforcing standards). If we keep this strictly numerical (with pipes to assist), we don't have a 3-line line in the pub table to accomodate someone writing something weird or a distorted table. And you do not end up with "1 CN", "1 Russian", "12 Special Ace", "Ace 12" and so on in the same column. That's the point in the double field -- numerical only for the table; add whatever you want for the mouseover. Annie 01:38, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
That's not incompatible with my preferences, just with my example. If 2) "standardized" means numeric, my example could have been "1 | 1st Canadian", "1 | 1st US", "1 | 1st Special Edition". And the Russian implied printing "4 | 4th unnumbered (10,000-20,000)". These can be done with two fields (numeric/text) or using piping with a rule of numeric/text, don't care. I presume mouse-over could be done using either approach. ../Doug H 11:49, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Ah, ok. I misread your previous post to mean that you would like the first/visible number to be free text :) Annie 13:32, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Basically 1) from the pub 2) not verbatim, need a standard interpretation and short representation 3) no sorting control 4) mouse-over = good. ../Doug H 13:53, 11 June 2020 (EDT)

(unindent) Concerning sorting, the one that would be 'mandatory' would be sorting for same date, same publisher. More specifically, having multiple unknown date printings of one book, would have to be sorted to not create a mess if you ask me. That would not even require 'pipe sorting'. MagicUnk 15:02, 11 June 2020 (EDT)

Sorting is a nice extension to displaying the printing number, but hardly mandatory. It's already a mess, this would just show you why. If the design incorporates sorting that usually works, all the better, but don't hold off displaying because you can't sort. ../Doug H 15:10, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
I agree and that is why I mentioned that we may want to split the sorting question from the displaying one - while they are related, just adding the "display" will be already a huge step ahead when dealing with often reprinted books. Although if we split them, we may need to later retrace some of the work to adjust for sorting but still - if we have an agreement on display, I would say to go ahead and plan for it/implement -- and deal with sorting as a separate matter if we cannot agree on it quickly... Annie 15:15, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Agree, that's why 'mandatory' was between quotes :) However, what'd you say if we ask Ahasuerus if sorting on date, then publisher, then rank is doable? That would at least reduce the 0000-00-00 mess. Could we agree on adding this sorting requirement (provided it is easy to do - if not, I'm wholly fine to only have the rank/details field(s)) MagicUnk 15:25, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
It's certainly doable. However, I would be hesitant to add new functionality -- in this case pipe-based sorting -- before we reach consensus re: how exactly it should be used. I am thinking that Annie's idea, i.e. implementing two new fields without "pipe" support, may be our best bet for now. Once the new fields are in place, we'll be in a better position to decide what we want to do about the sorting issue. Ahasuerus 15:43, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Ah, but I'm not talking about pipe sorting. That wouldn't be needed. The desired sorting could be achieved just using the date, publisher, and rank values (blanks could be treated as 'blank' or '0' for example (depending on data type) - or am I missing something here? MagicUnk 15:46, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Oh, I see. Once the proposed two fields have been implemented, we'll need to decide how the software should use them when building the Publication table. Currently the pubs in the Publication table are sorted by date with 0000-00-00 dates displayed last. We could easily change it to "by date, then by publisher name, then by printing number". Ahasuerus 15:59, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
But this will leave the top of the table in a mess (original on 2020-03-00, translations on 2020-00-00 for example). Sending the 00 at the bottom of the pile will cause the (original in 1960-00-00, translation in 1960-12-00) to sort weirdly. Thus the "third" field that marks a "first edition" and which when set overwrites any sorting and parks this at the top of the list. This is what I was trying to do with the pipes mainly - order the top of the table. The flag will keep the whole printing fields thing much cleaner. And it will need to be set ONLY if the order is messed up (although I am not sure how to make sure people do not misuse it...) Then lower in the table, we can go date/publisher/printing easily indeed and not worry about anything else... Annie 16:12, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Switching from "sorting by date" to "sorting by date, publisher, printing number" wouldn't make things worse than they currently are, would it?
Re: adding a "first edition" flag, one thing to keep in mind is that it's not always a straightforward determination. To quote
  • Modern books are often published in different countries around the world for distribution in that country or region. Faber & Faber may get rights to print the first UK edition of a book, and G. P. Putnam may print the first US edition of that same book. Often, both of those books may be released for sale at more or less the exact same moment. Collectors tend to value the edition of the book published in the author's native country, and booksellers may refer to that version as the "True First" to help guide buyers. That is a general rule, but plenty of exceptions exist there.
Ahasuerus 16:35, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
"Show this edition at the top of the list"? I am not proposing for us to try to find the real first edition, just to find a way for the original, when published earlier than the translations, to show up at the top regardless of how the incomplete dates are entered. The problem is only there for the editions in the first year of publication where one or more of the books have incomplete dates - but we get more and more translations in the same year and non-US sources lack dates very often.
This will allow us to have a translation at the top (if it came out first) and the actual original work otherwise. Or we can leave it as is now - although it does look ugly on some pages. Annie 16:55, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Keep in mind that a "first edition" flag would be added to publication records while it's the title page that has the display problem. Getting the two aligned for multi-title publications may not be easy.
I agree that this is a problem, but I am not sure that any of the solutions proposed so far would work too well :-\ We probably need to think about it some more and address it as a separate issue. Ahasuerus 19:37, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
That is a good point - I was concentrating mainly on novels -- with stories, omnibuses and so on, that becomes... complicated. So if we ignore this, then date/publisher/printing Number order of sorting sounds like the best option? It also keeps in simple enough for everyone... Annie 19:47, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
It's probably the best we can do for now. Ahasuerus 19:59, 11 June 2020 (EDT)


FR 794 has been updated to reflect the two-field approach. Thanks to everyone who participated in this lively discussion! Ahasuerus 13:33, 15 June 2020 (EDT)

Super! May I be so bold as to ask when we may expect this feature? MagicUnk 13:55, 15 June 2020 (EDT)
The addition of this functionality -- in one form or another -- has been requested multiple times, which makes it a fairly high priority. Now that we have a workable design, it's just a matter of freeing up enough man-hours. I have been sick the last few days; I will revisit the issue when I am once again functional. Ahasuerus 18:01, 15 June 2020 (EDT)

Variant / Translation Content Listing Formatting

When a canonical title and a variant title are the same (i.e. only the author differs), the publication content will not show the canonical publication date like it does when the variant title differs from the canonical title (see this example which shows no dates for the contents even though they were originally published well before 2013). When I brought this up to Ahasuerus, it turned into a more general discussion of improving the contents display. Ahasuerus' suggestion was to use a two line display (similar to how Tercera Fundacion does it) to separate out the canonical title from the version in the publication. After thinking about this awhile, I believe this is a good idea. Therefore, I'm proposing we adopt it.

To help (hopefully) facilitate the discussion, I installed my own local version of the software and created two fake publications that show examples of how the software currently displays what I believe to be every possible variant. These possibilities are as follows:

Case Language Author Title Title Dates
1 -- canonical canonical canonical
2 -- canonical variant title same as canonical
3 -- canonical variant title different from canonical
4 -- alternate name same as canonical same as canonical
5 -- alternate name same as canonical different from canonical
6 -- alternate name variant title same as canonical
7 -- alternate name variant title different from canonical
8 translation canonical same as canonical same as canonical
9 translation canonical same as canonical different from canonical
10 translation canonical variant title same as canonical
11 translation canonical variant title different from canonical
12 translation alternate name same as canonical same as canonical
13 translation alternate name same as canonical different from canonical
14 translation alternate name variant title same as canonical
15 translation alternate name variant title different from canonical

The following figure shows how these are currently displayed (where the page numbers equate to the cases in the table above):

ISFDB variant examples.jpg

If we adopt the two line display, we have plenty of options how to do it (only do for translations, do for variants as well as translations, do for translations and variants with different titles, etc.). There are also different ways it could be layed out. But assuming we did it for all cases, here is one possible idea (where page numbers correspond to the cases in the table above):

1 • Canonical Title 1 • [Series Name • 1] • short fiction by Canonical Name
2 • Alternate Title 2 • [Series Name • 2] • short fiction by Canonical Name
  • variant of: Canonical Title 2 • short fiction by Canonical Name
3 • Alternate Title 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction by Canonical Name
  • variant of: Canonical Title 3 • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name
4 • Canonical Title 1 • [Series Name • 1] • short fiction as by Alternate Name
  • variant of: Canonical Title 1 • short fiction by Canonical Name
5 • Canonical Title 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction as by Alternate Name
  • variant of: Canonical Title 3 • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name
6 • Alternate Title 2 • [Series Name • 2] • short fiction as by Alternate Name
  • variant of: Canonical Title 2 • short fiction by Canonical Name
7 • Alternate Title 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction as by Alternate Name
  • variant of: Canonical Title 3 • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name
8 • Canonical Title 1 • [Series Name • 1] • short fiction by Canonical Name
  • translation of: Canonical Title 1 • [English] • short fiction by Canonical Name
9 • Canonical Title 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction by Canonical Name
  • translation of: Canonical Title 3 • [English] • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name
10 • Κανονικός τίτλος 1 • [Series Name • 1] • short fiction by Canonical Name
  • translation of: Canonical Title 1 • [English] • short fiction by Canonical Name
11 • Κανονικός τίτλος 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction by Canonical Name
  • translation of: Canonical Title 3 • [English] • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name
12 • Canonical Title 1 • [Series Name • 1] • short fiction as by Κανονικό όνομα
  • translation of: Canonical Title 1 • [English] • short fiction by Canonical Name
13 • Canonical Title 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction as by Κανονικό όνομα
  • translation of: Canonical Title 3 • [English] • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name
14 • Κανονικός τίτλος 1 • [Series Name • 1] • short fiction as by Κανονικό όνομα
  • translation of: Canonical Title 1 • [English] • short fiction by Canonical Name
15 • Κανονικός τίτλος 3 • [Series Name • 3] • short fiction as by Κανονικό όνομα
  • translation of: Canonical Title 3 • [English] • (2000) • short fiction by Canonical Name

One large benefit of the two line approach for translations is that it allows for additional information. Above, I included the original language, but it also leaves room for two feature requests:

  • series at the translation level as well as the canonical titles (i.e. foreign language series names)
  • displaying name(s) of the translator(s)

Does anybody have thoughts on this? Other suggestions? -- JLaTondre (talk) 19:05, 10 June 2020 (EDT)

I like the two lines approach because it makes it easier to read and understand what you are looking at (especially with different alphabets involved). And as you noted, it allows us to add more elements one day that are relevant for that specific title.
Maybe we need an exception for interior art though - the "author name as used" should not be all the way at the end of the line and the date should always be shown on the parent for them as well but maybe keeping them in a single line makes more sense. If we decide it will be cleaner to go to two lines for everything, I can live with that as well.
Coverart can follow a similar idea as the other art - 2 lines up there won't make sense and leaving the cover as the only one showing differently does not make much sense.
How about container titles? Do we want two lines there as well? Annie 19:29, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
I've no problem with the idea. Variants and Translations should be the same type as the Canonical, so repeating it on the second line shouldn't be necessary should it? ../Doug H 22:12, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
Serial / novel, interiorart / coverart are two cases where the types are allowed to be different. In the examples above, I took the easy way out & didn't set a story length. If I had then it should show the lengths, like the software does today. By having both, it makes it easier to see disconnects in the lengths or other places where someone has done something non-standard (or just made a mistake). -- JLaTondre (talk) 07:28, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Why does it have to be two lines? I like JLaTondre's proposal as it conveys more precise information, but keep it on one line. MagicUnk 22:16, 10 June 2020 (EDT)
Much easier to read on two lines (and opens space for pulling different data into the line (localized series names for example) and having the line break in weird places on smaller screens. Annie 01:34, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
On the contrary. It will be more difficult to read, and way too much scrolling to be done. I don't like it. It should be one title, one line. And there's no avoiding line wraps on small screens anyway as that will always happen, no matter what (for lengthy titles, for example). Neither on large screens for that matter. And as for the different data, we don't have it (yet). I say, implement this proposal on one line now. The proposal to put the info on two lines can always be revisited once we have translator, translated series etc. Easy enough to do it then if needed, just not now. MagicUnk 02:23, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
I am already scrolling like crazy anyway - moving to two lines will at least make it more manageable and easier for anyone to make any sense of the line. We will have to agree to disagree on that one. :) Annie 02:29, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
I'm also for the two line approach: like in notes (publications' or titles') it's more pleasing to the eye. Stonecreek 02:51, 11 June 2020 (EDT)
Aaaaaaargh, I'm outnumbered ... :) MagicUnk 15:04, 11 June 2020 (EDT)


FR 1359 has been created. Ahasuerus 14:06, 15 June 2020 (EDT)

Two new Narrator-centric cleanup reports

The following new cleanup reports have been implemented:

  • Suspected Invalid Uses of the Narrator Template. It looks for non-audio publications with the Narrator template in the Note field.
  • Audio Books without the Narrator Template. It's limited to the first 1,000 pubs since we currently have over 8,000 matches on file.

The first report lets moderators "ignore" records. The second one doesn't, at least for now. The data will become available tomorrow morning. Ahasuerus 12:38, 11 June 2020 (EDT)

Piper / Pan or how many of these do we really need?

At the moment we have (the text after the link is extract from the note on the publisher so it is all here in one place):

  • Pan Piper - "Piper is a Children's Imprint of Pan (now Pan MacMillan)".
    • 13 books, 1 PV-ed, 1988-1993, UK prices
  • Piper - "Children's Imprint of Pan (now Pan MacMillan)."
    • 18 books, 1 PV-ed, 1988-1994, UK prices
  • Piper / Pan Macmillan Children's Books
    • 2 books, 2 PV-ed, 1991-1994, UK prices
  • Piper / Pan UK
    • 5 books, 5 PV-ed, 1989-1991, UK prices

Unless we have immediate (or any) plans to allow for publisher variants or something like these, these 4 need to be merged really. There is one more:

Which may or may not need to go with them. That may also be able to release the name Piper from a defunct imprint so the German major publisher Piper can use it (but that is secondary). So... anyone see any reason to keep all 4 (or 5?) as they are? And if we merge, "Piper / Pan" is probably the best name... Annie 19:10, 12 June 2020 (EDT)

I think you can safely merge the first four ones. Since [Pan] became wholly owned by Macmillan in 1987. (see Wikipedia), I would suggest to consolidate under Piper / Pan MacMillan. this to distinguish frm the last one which has to remain Piper / Pan Books —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MagicUnk (talkcontribs) .
Yeah, that's why I left the older one alone. I am not sure I like "Piper / Pan MacMillan" (too long and just "Piper / Pan" won't be confusing but either way works. Annie 15:55, 16 June 2020 (EDT)
My preference is to stick as much as possible to the imprint / publisher rule, and to be as precise as possible (but then again, without proliferating too much). I do know it is allowed by the rules to use well-known 'shortcuts', but still. Using more systematically the imprint / publisher format conveys (at least partial) information around successive ownership of an imprint. Hence my proposal. And yes, the drawback is that it is long(er), but since publishers can be looked-up, I don't think that's not too bad. Just my 2c... MagicUnk 16:17, 16 June 2020 (EDT)
Oh, I agree in principle but the situation here is a double imprint: Piper / Pan / Pan Macmillan or even a triple one Piper / Pan / Pan Macmillan / Macmillan Publishers) technically. I would rather not skip the direct parent and having all of that will be an overkill... I know that the mother company became Pan Macmillan but Pan itself, where Piper nests under, is on the same level as say Picador (see see the publisher site and I do not think of my Pan books with the double name (see this as well. Once I sort out the Pipers, I am sorting out the Pans (here - as we have duplicates there as well, the rest of the imprints and going up to the parent. Always fun with imprints... Annie 17:20, 16 June 2020 (EDT)
I will go talk to some of the PVs and see HOW exactly the credit runs in the real books for Piper... Annie 17:27, 16 June 2020 (EDT)

Play/drama template

As there does not seem to be support for splitting the plays/dramas into their own type (either under Shortfiction or alongside it), can we get a Notes template ({{Play}} for example - Producing "A play" or "This is a play" or whatever) to be used to mark publications and titles which are actually plays.

I had been trying to clean some of the plays we already have before adding some more but it is a hard work finding the ones I do not know to specifically look for. Plus this will get as an idea of how many we actually have - which will help next time we decide to think on the types. Annie 15:51, 16 June 2020 (EDT)

It's certainly doable. Even if we don't do anything with it, it would be harmless. My only concern is the wording. Something like "A play" would work for individual plays but not for collections/anthologies of plays. Unfortunately, I can't think of a better solution. Ahasuerus 13:23, 20 June 2020 (EDT)
Some synonyms are drama, theater, performance, script. Would the template be extended to scripts? ../Doug H 19:44, 20 June 2020 (EDT)
Yes. Scripts and plays are two sides of the same coin and almost indistinguishable in the modern drama publishing. And “this text is in a script format” may be a good way to say that. Annie 20:41, 20 June 2020 (EDT)

Thank you for today

I hadn't logged into ISFDB until a few minutes ago. On doing so, I saved the entire "Authors born or died today" page and sent the doc to an old friend who shares a love of reading.

I've no idea if the site does this daily. If do so on Juneteenth was VERY classy indeed.

Thank you. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Trekkist (talkcontribs) .

Glad you found the lists useful! They are a permanent part of the ISFDB front page. That said, there have been complaints that they are getting too long, so we have been considering moving things around, especially now that we have an SF Calendar page. Ahasuerus 10:30, 20 June 2020 (EDT)

Move a primary verification or not? That's the question...

An editor submitted a deletion of a PV'd record that is a duplicate of another, also PV'd record. Said editor stated: ' Reason for deletion: There's no evidence of a separate US edition, and no current PV. I've got the multi-verified UK edition, and can confirm its copyright page says printed in UK, but also has prices for USA & Canada on its dust jacket. ' Not wanting to lose the data, I put the submission on hold and asked Ahasuerus if he could/would move the PV form the first to the second record, so as to preserve this user's PV (even though he's no longer active) once the duplicate gets deleted. See here for an example.

Below Ahasuerus' response:

It's possible, but I try not to make manual database changes because they can be dangerous. I am also not sure that the primary verifier would be happy to see his verification linked to a pub which may or may not be identical to the one that he originally verified.
We may want to have a Community Portal discussion of different ways to address this issue. Some options that come to mind:
  • Create a bureaucrat-only option which would let bureaucrats move a primary verification to a different publication record as requested above
  • Make a policy decision re: this type of scenarios without changing the software. For example:
    • Add a line to the Note field indicating that the record is a likely a duplicate of another record and link to the latter
    • Delete the likely duplicate record and leave a note on the primary verifier(s)' Talk page, including a copy of what was deleted
Ahasuerus 20:37, 21 June 2020 (EDT)

For me there's yet another option - even though Ahasuerus is not in favor. I wonder if manually moving the PV to the 2nd record could be a valid option, as it would only be needed in very rare occasions anyway? That would preserve the information, as well as result in a clean entry that does not show duplicate records.

So, the question is, which option do we prefer? I myself am not advocating to update the software since this use case is going to be very rarely encountered. For the policy cases, I would not delete the likely duplicate, as that would effectively remove information from the database (as it would be hidden on the talk page of the editor). So, that leaves the 1st policy option to leave the record as-is, and add notes to clarify, or, have the PV manually moved from one record to the other (and add notes). What do you think? Regards, MagicUnk 12:34, 24 June 2020 (EDT)

Where is the submission? Is it the Richard Powers book? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 12:40, 24 June 2020 (EDT)
Also, perhaps contact the publisher and ask them about it (if it's the Powers book)? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 12:44, 24 June 2020 (EDT)
Yep - if the publisher is still around, more research is better than just deleting based on "unlikely". Annie 12:48, 24 June 2020 (EDT)
It is indeed the Powers book. Here's the submission. I've queried the publisher. MagicUnk 14:46, 24 June 2020 (EDT)
Answer from the publisher: ' I have looked at our records, and it appears ‘The Art of Richard Powers’ was distributed in the US, however a co-edition was not published – meaning the only edition printed was the UK C&B edition. '
I keep a record (pub ID) for my verifications in my book catalog and pub ID (unlike title ID) had historically been stable so chances are that these had been linked in a lot of places (kind of why we try not to delete an older publication if an editor tries to add a new one, even when it has more details). If we allow PV to be moved, we are opening a Pandora box of never knowing if this is indeed the book the PV verified. I would rather lose the PV than get it moved to a pub record I had never seen personally - so I am in favor of deleting and adding a note on the PV page (or leave it there and add a note to link them) and letting the PV decide if they want to reverify (and if they are not around anymore, as the other book has other PVs, adding one more does not really give us anything). Maybe I am overthinking it but as one of the very little things an editors can do without approval, changing them needs to be considered seriously before we go that way.
PS: The information removed with a deletion will be a duplicate of the information in the other one anyway; if there is relevant and valid information not in the other record yet, it can be copied there before deleting. So we will not be losing anything besides the note that this editor had seen the book. Annie 12:48, 24 June 2020 (EDT)
The answer from the publisher at least confirms we have duplicate records for the Powers case. Anyone else that wants to chime in with suggestion how we would treat this case? Thanks! MagicUnk 12:54, 26 June 2020 (EDT)
Aaaaaargh... I discovered I still have the delete submission on hold - it's not me, blame SARS-CoV-2 instead!
If there are no objections, I will accept the delete submission within a day or two and leave a note on the PV's talk page to explain what happened. MagicUnk 10:03, 4 August 2020 (EDT)

Jules Verne series

I propose to do a clean-up of the 20 or so title and publication series for Jules Verne. I have set up a wiki page with my proposals and reasoning under Jules Verne Series. It is my hope that this approach will organize the discussion and avoid dangling conversational threads. It is a large undertaking and I could use some help in understanding the problems and refining the proposal before starting. Your input is appreciated. ../Doug H 15:08, 26 June 2020 (EDT)

Do you want people to leave notes directly into the page or into the discussion page for it? I’d think the latter - and then it all can stay so everyone can see how we got to the decision. But up to you. Annie 20:54, 26 June 2020 (EDT)
New territory, it depends on how much and what type of discussion there is. Probably best to use the discussion page and update the page with the results of the discussion. Thanks for asking. ../Doug H 21:54, 26 June 2020 (EDT)