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This is an archive page for the Help Desk. Please do not edit the contents. To start a new discussion, please click here.
This archive includes discussions from November 2007 - February 2008.

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Expanded archive listing

duelling editorials

Analog, April 1975 has as a "Guest Editorial" a pair of columns. There's a title for the two: "Debate: National Health Insurance". But each also has a title of its own: "And Now, From the People Who Brought You Vietnam and Watergate . . ." (F. Paul Wilson) & "When Somebody Hands You a Lemon . . ." (Alan E. Nourse).
I'm going to enter it as one essay, with the common title, co-authored. My question is whether I should do it the other way, as two individual columns. (Either way a note in the pub.) I'll be happy to change it if there's a consensus for the second approach - or of course anyone else can do so. Thanks. -- Dave davecat 16:00, 23 Nov 2007 (CST)


As I've seen discussions of fanzines, I've been thinking (& occasionally saying) that I don't have any. But it has occurred to me that I have somewhere between 20 & 30 years' worth of something similar. It's Mythprint, which is the bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society [[1]], a fantasy study & discussion society. It doesn't include any fiction or serious scholarship (there are other pubs for that, to which we never subscribed), but generally includes several book reviews (& sometimes movie or music reviews).
I don't see any traces of its existence in the wiki on a quick search. Is this something I should be thinking about entering? Thanks. -- Dave davecat 08:25, 30 Nov 2007 (CST)

Well, as long as the articles are primarily about speculative fiction, we will presumably want to include them at some point. Whether you want to do it before or after the Analogs (or at all) is up to you :) Ahasuerus 14:48, 4 Dec 2007 (CST)
I'm willing & even somewhat interested. My question was badly phrased, I guess; what I should have asked was whether this was the kind of thing that should be included.
I think during the Analogs, most likely; if I postpone either for the other, it will be quite a long time & a lot of things might intervene. I'll need to do some studying to figure out how to add a Wiki page, when I get around to it.
I'll add that I came to the end of my collection of Analog. My original goal of getting page numbers for stories (fiction) in all the issues I've got has, I think, been met; but I'm now trying to work backward from where I started trying to be complete, adding everything, checking, & correcting. I'm still around 2 years from where I started, but my collection goes back several more years. (I'm trying to watch for things someone's verified, but it's a bit hard to form the habit when it's so rare.) Thanks. -- Dave (davecat) 17:24, 4 Dec 2007 (CST)

Star Hunter / Voodoo Planet

I happened on these two, & my first thought was to merge them; but I thought I'd better check & see if I'm missing something obvious. Or should the second be made a variant of the first? or just deleted? I see that an omnibus with the same title as the second but dated 2006 is a variant of the first. The same publication is listed under both of them (along with others, under the first). Can someone enlighten me? Thanks. Star Hunter / Voodoo Planet and Star Hunter & Voodoo Planet -- Dave davecat 10:52, 4 Dec 2007 (CST)

I'd merge the two "Star Hunter & Voodoo Planet" (ampersand) titles as they're identical. Merging them makes the exact duplicate pubs easier to find. The "Star Hunter / Voodoo Planet" (slash) variant may be 1) really as stated on title page, but I think that's unlikely, it's probably a case of 2) we've created a joint title from the contents. Still, with none verified, I'd leave them linked (so we know what to clear up) but wouldn't guess which are RIGHT for now. There's no hurry, is there? BLongley 14:04, 4 Dec 2007 (CST)

D.F.Jones- New author(same name as dead author)

Just discovered this author (D.F.Jones) [2] is using the same name as the author of Colossus[3]. He's just published the 1st book Succubus [4] of a trilogy (Trilogy of Sin) . What's the procedure for identical authors names? Kraang 19:40, 9 Dec 2007 (CST)

"David Alexander" is our standard example. We have 3 of them on file at the moment:
David Alexander 	Alexander, David 	USA 	- 	-
David Alexander (1907-1973) 	Alexander, David 	- 	1907-04-21 	1973-00-00
David Alexander (1950's) 	-
plus "David M. Alexander" whose Analog stories are usually published as by "David Alexander". We also have "Roger Price (UK)" vs. "Roger Price (US)", "Steve Jackson (US)" vs. "Steve Jackson (US)", etc. Following the same algorithm, we probably want to make the new guy "D. F. Jones (US)" since he is apparently from Arizona while the original D. F. Jones was from the UK. Ahasuerus 20:31, 9 Dec 2007 (CST)
It's good when the Country of Origin is known, as it saves us having to send the ISFDB Ninja Assassin Squad out to make sure of a clear Death-Date for one... something Chris Butler is no doubt grateful for. ;-) We could do with some more guidelines on what to do with any titles that can't immediately be classified as by one or the other: I suggest notes to future verifiers, as this seemed to work in the Butler case. (Which reminds me, I have to sort out John Carter at some point still.) BLongley 13:39, 10 Dec 2007 (CST)

Dates of Interzone

(reposted from Ahasuerus' Talk page)

Interzone is still a bimonthly magazine, however Interzone, May/June 2005 seems to be the last issue with bimonthly date N/N+1 printer on the cover. In Greg Egan's index after #198, May/Jun 05 there is #199, Aug 05 and the issues I have (from Oct 06 to Dec 07) also are dated this way. Initially the new dates were printed in small letters next to the barcode, only from April 07 became more visible. As they are published quite late (Interzone Dec 2007 issue was mailed to subscribers on 8th November according to TTA, i.e. later then F&SF Dec 2007), I think we should use the printed month as the publication date, i.e. I will change Sep/Oct 06 to Oct 06 and the date from 2006-09-00 to 2006-10-00 and edit following issues accordingly. Is it OK?

Another question: from Dec 2006 there are 4 unnumbered pages printed on different paper in the middle of Interzone; they contain subscription forms but also ads, info on future issues, readers' polls etc. Should I add them to the page count or mark as 68+4? Roglo 08:14, 14 Dec 2007 (CST)

Good questions! I am in a rush at the moment, so let me repost them on the ISFDB:Help desk board and hopefully somebody will chime in shortly :) Ahasuerus 14:19, 14 Dec 2007 (CST)
I noticed on the Help:Screen:NewPub, that If a bimonthly magazine only quotes a single month in the title, use that month. So this answers the first question.
But in case of Interzone, due to irregularities in dating, issues are often referred to by issue number; between #199, Aug 05 and #208, Feb 07, issue numbers are large and printed at the top of 1st cover, while the month is barely visible and printed at the bottom. In Interzone, previous issues are referred to as e.g. Interzone 211 or issue 211, though there are variants, too. Perhaps it would be better to use titles like Interzone 208, Feb 2007? (See e.g. Dec 2007) Roglo 16:36, 14 Dec 2007 (CST)
I am not sure we have combined the month and the number that way. I think in most "dual numbering" cases if one is included in the title, then the other is mentioned in the Notes field, e.g. Weird Tales, March-April 2004. OTOH, we seem to use the dual designation extensively in the Wiki. Hm... Ahasuerus 00:06, 15 Dec 2007 (CST)

Reviews Linked to Pseudonyms

I recently entered a pub, "The Golden Ape," which was attributed to Adam Chase, a pseudonym of Milton Lesser. After I approved it, two reviews linked to it, but then after making it a pseudonymous pub, the reviews unlinked. How do I fix this?--Rkihara 13:27, 19 Dec 2007 (CST)

They are still linked the the variant title.--swfritter 14:52, 19 Dec 2007 (CST)
Review records are linked to the books that they review dynamically, based on a simple lexical match algorithm. Changing the logic to link reviews and serials statically (preferably to individual editions) has been on the list of things to do for quite some time. Ahasuerus 15:14, 19 Dec 2007 (CST)

title conflict when merging

Occasionally I come across a situation where there is a title conflict when I attempt to merge a title. Usually this is a difference in case of one of the words, in which case I double check and correct one of the entries. Sometimes, however, I can't detect any difference in the two titles. For example: [5] and [6], What I Didn't See by Karen Joy Fowler. The only thing I can think of is that the apostraphes are somehow different. Is it possible to merge titles such as these?Afbrown 21:30, 20 Dec 2007 (CST)afbrown

Your guess was right, the difference between the titles boils down to the apostrophes. There are a couple of internal codes used by our software to represent apostrophes and, although it valiantly tries to use the same code in all cases, it doesn't always succeed. Since both codes represent the same character, there is no harm in merging such records. Thanks for all the edits! :) Ahasuerus 21:50, 20 Dec 2007 (CST)

The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World

Can someone tell me why the Shortfiction is a variant of itself and won the same award twice? BLongley 14:13, 21 Dec 2007 (CST)

Stranger still - the short story does not show up on Ellison's bibliography page.--swfritter 15:03, 21 Dec 2007 (CST)
The title should have been made a variant of "The Beast That Shouted" (as it appeared in Galaxy). Since it was a variant of itself, and the display code suppresses the display of variants until the parent title is displayed, it was never displayed. As for the dup award - haven't tracked that one down yet.
I've repaired the variant correctly, so none of the above described problems are no longer seen (except for the award dup). Alvonruff 16:35, 21 Dec 2007 (CST)

T. O'Conor Sloane

I found a couple of records for T. O_Conor Sloane (yes, with an underscore) that were causing problems, but there's still some funnies here - not just with the two 1929 records I interfered with, but there's a 1939 Editor set I don't understand. Can someone used to dealing with multiple Editor Records have a look please? BLongley 07:53, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)

The November and December 1929 issues of Amazing had two EDITOR records per issue, one for "November-December" and one for the actual month. Of course, they were not visible/editable by default, so I had to change their type to POEM, remove them from the pubs and then merge them with the "November-December" EDITOR record. (Parenthetically, this is exactly what I was referring to over on the Community Portal when I was talking about our software trying to be "nice" and hiding records from editors :-) Ahasuerus 12:02, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)
Ah, that's the trick, thanks! I tried the usual "change the pub to anthology" to make them visible, that didn't work. I didn't think to change the individual records. BLongley 13:20, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)
Yup, EDITOR records are "extra special" in that the software makes triple sure that they can't be edited by accident. Of course, it also means that they can't be edited by somebody who knows what he is doing either :) Ahasuerus 13:36, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)
Amazing 1939 presents a more interesting problem. All January-May issues have two EDITOR records, one for T. O'Connor Sloane and one for Ray Palmer. Could somebody with access to Tuck double check, please, so that we could remove the wrong record? (I think Palmer took over in late 1938, but safety first.) Ahasuerus 12:02, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)
Coincidentally, I've been entering data for Amazing and I've just reached 1939. T. O'Conor Sloane vanished from the masthead starting with the June 1938 issue. My copy of Tuck shows that Ray Palmer took over as editor starting with the June 1938 issue, which matches up with my copy. Another possible error that has turned up is that Hugo Gernsback is credited for several editorials after Sloane took over (1930: 01, 04, 08, 09, 10). I've corrected several of these attributions using my own copies as references, but I have no way of checking the others.--Rkihara 12:48, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)
Thanks! I have fixed the 1938-1939 EDITOR records and set up variant titles for "R. A. Palmer" vs. "Raymond A. Palmer". Ahasuerus 13:36, 23 Dec 2007 (CST)

The Technicolor® Time Machine ??

In entering a review in Analog, April 1968, I see that the word "Technicolor" has the little trademark symbol. (Off hand, I don't know the the unicode value, but I'm sure I can track it down. Um. "®") I did a search by title, & the database entry for this novel doesn't have it in our database. (None of the titles containing the word "Technicolor" does.) Having at more than one point seen the book on the shelf in a bookstore, I'm quite sure it was there on the cover & quite likely on the title page. Is this a case where I should be changing the title, even though someone has very likely verified the thing? Thanks. -- Dave (davecat) 12:23, 24 Dec 2007 (CST)

We have two of the publications, mine here for instance. The discussion about whether we wanted it sort of petered out though. BLongley 12:31, 24 Dec 2007 (CST)
Thanks. I won't go changing the pubs, then, & will leave the review to follow the pubs' form of the title. In the meantime, I'll try to remember to add a note to the magazine when my previous change is approved. (May already be - firefox is hanging.) -- Dave (davecat) 13:00, 24 Dec 2007 (CST)

"Avaram" Davidson?

I happened on this: [7]. It gives "Avaram Davidson" as author (of one half), though the listed pub knows better. The pub is verified. My own inclination would be to just fix it, but I thought I'd better ask. -- Dave (davecat) 14:50, 27 Dec 2007 (CST)

I have a copy and it is a misspelling. Probably best to change it and leave a note on the verifier's page - I don't think he has been active for about the last six months. Don't forget we also have the Verification Page although in this case it is pretty obvious that it is an editor error.--swfritter 15:16, 27 Dec 2007 (CST)
I've been fixing a lot of titles today where the publication author has been regularised/corrected but the title one hasn't, or vice versa: it seems to be a common error to only half-fix things. BLongley 15:29, 27 Dec 2007 (CST)
Thanks. I hadn't realized that there were separate entries for title & pub for an omnibus (still dealing almost entirely with magazines). And thanks for the pointer to the Verification Requests page - I hadn't seen that one before. I've added it to my watch list & bookmarked it. Dave (davecat) 16:11, 27 Dec 2007 (CST)
There's a "pub title" and a "title title" for all books - only the ISFDB "helpfully" hides certain title entries when editing contents, so you have to make two passes for Anthologies and Collections and Omnibuses (I still want to call them "Omnibi" ;-) ) so it's easy to half-correct things at times. There's no real excuse for Novels, but I've seen those mismatched too. I keep having to switch from data-cleanup work to data-entry work just to remind me that there IS some good data here at times - once you get away from the big-name authors there's some real junk in here. :-( BLongley 16:46, 27 Dec 2007 (CST)

Pseudonym for joint authors / Eldershaw's Tomorrow and Tomorrow [and Tomorrow]

M. Barnard Eldershaw is the pseudonym used "by the twentieth century Australian literary collaborators Marjorie Barnard (1897-1987) and Flora Eldershaw (1897-1956)", neither of which are in ISFDB under their own names, nor are they likely to be. If it was 1 person who always wrote under a pseudonym, I'd just put their real name under "legal name". What do I do when it's 2 people (or 19 - I have one of these too! M. H. Zool) --j_clark 07:52, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

All canonical names have to be for individual authors (when known) and not for "teams". Most of the fields in the Author record -- place and date of birth, date of death, etc -- do not make sense for collective pseudonyms. Besides, even the closest teams have been known to split due to disagreement or death and then publish works independently. Take a look at our treatment of "Manning Coles" for an example. BTW, 19 authors (was it a round robin?) may be a problem since I think we are limited (or used to be limited) to 10 authors per Title. Ahasuerus 14:35, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

Also, they wrote their SF book in the 1940s and it was censored. The censored version was published as Tomorrow and Tomorrow. In the 1970s the uncensored version was published as Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. They are not exactly variant titles. How should this be handled? --j_clark 07:52, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

There is a recent Feature:90155 Add an optional "nature of the relationship" field to the Make Variant screen request to add support for "abridged", "restored" and similar designations to variant titles. For now, we can make later versions into variant titles and either clarify the nature of the changes in the Notes field or add something like "(text restored)" to the title. Once the software supports this new field, we will search for "restored", "abridged", etc and make corrections. Ahasuerus 14:35, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

What to do with apostrophes?

I'm completely out of ideas how to match this review with this novel. I have another such case of review here and this novel (ok, here I see the apostrophes are different, but in the first case they look the same!). I'm getting quite desperate :( --Roglo 16:12, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

The Interzone publication record had a Unicode apostrophe in the book's title. I pulled it up in EditPub and changed the apostrophe to a regular one. The main Title record used a different kind of non-standard apostrophe, but it was harder to fix since the software (which helpfully tries to convert apostrophes behind the scenes) didn't acknowledge the newly entered apostrophe as different from the pre-existing one, so it didn't apply my change. I ended up temporarily changing the Title to "School Out Forever", then back to the apostrophized form and now it looks fine. So I guess the lesson is "When in doubt, remove apostrophes from all records and then add them back in manually".
P.S. I will be writing more data cleanup scripts after 2008-01-07 and will look for non-standard apostrophes to straighten out. Ahasuerus 16:26, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)
Thanks. So, we should use the simple apostrophes (') and replace the 'pretty' ones with the simple ones for linking by the title. --Roglo 16:31, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)
Oh yes, we want just one kind of apostrophes, not the five gazillion varieties that Unicode ever so helpfully provides. To quote Al, "Have I mentioned that I hate Unicode?" Ahasuerus 16:42, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)
I've fixed "Zarsthor's Bane" by adjusting the title and review to exclude them, then added them back. I know the pubs will probably have the same issues but at least the links will work. Changing one apostrophe form to another directly does NOT work, due to "helpful" translations on submissions. And in case I haven't mentioned it already, I hate Unicode, UTF-8, UTF-16, ISO-8859, and many others. I'm almost ready to go back to ASCII 7-bit codes if it didn't mean "£" was lost in favour of "#" - at least it would get rid of the bloody "€"! BLongley 16:50, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

Two different authors, the same name

Richard Flanagan, author of a story published 1969, vs Richard Flanagan born 1961, author of a book reviewed here. What to do with 2 Richards Flanagans? --Roglo 17:03, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

This is becoming an FAQ. Suffixes for each, but beware the "Last Name" problems. BLongley 17:11, 30 Dec 2007 (CST)

The Mystery of "CM"

Would anybody happen to remember which artist signs his/her paintings "CM"? I have verified a 1973 printing of Huon of the Horn, but I can't figure out who was responsible for the cover. And the style looks awfully familiar too :( Ahasuerus 00:35, 31 Dec 2007 (CST)

Are you sure it's a C and not a D for Don Maitz? Marc Kupper (talk) 02:16, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Unlikely - Weinberg suggests Don Maitz didn't have anything published until 1974. BLongley 06:36, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Thanks, folks! I guess it will remain a mystery for now. Ahasuerus 13:25, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

I'm pretty sure "CM" stands for Charles Moll. Don Erikson 18:02, 5 Mar 2008 (CST)

Unable to change title to a Chapterbook

I tried to edit the title record - using "Edit Title Data" - of Where the Whales Sing from ANTHOLOGY to CHAPTERBOOK, but CHAPTERBOOK doesn't seem to be in the drop down list. I've changed it to SHORTFICTION, for now. (It's a 62pp illustrated book with chapters, for young adults/teens.) How do I do this? The publ. is already Chapterbook. (My notes with my copy of the book indicate I put it in, as a new Chapterbook. I would have had to do New something-else & changed the type & it's possible I picked "New Anthology"??) --j_clark 21:34, 1 Jan 2008 (CST)

Only Publication records can be Chapterbooks while the Titles that they contain have to be Short Fiction. After all, the same Title may have appeared (or may yet appear) in a collection, a magazine or an anthology, so "Chapterbook" wouldn't work for Titles. There was a bug in the software a couple of years ago that let you create Chapterbook Titles, but it's been fixed for a while and I converted the bad titles manually just a few weeks ago.
As far as "accidental anthologies" go, they are easy to create since that's what the software defaults to if you select "Add Publication to This Title" while viewing a Short Fiction title. Probably something to change at some point, although I am not sure what the default pub type should be when adding to an existing short fiction piece. Chapterbook? Ahasuerus 22:04, 1 Jan 2008 (CST)
Can a Chapterbook be a hardcover? If so than we need to change the help page for new novels.Kraang 22:47, 1 Jan 2008 (CST)
Oh yes, I have some hardcover chapterbooks that are only 1 inch by 1 inch, hardly novels! Ahasuerus 22:49, 1 Jan 2008 (CST)
re Title records for chapterbooks being short fiction: Does this imply that anything shorter than a novel that is published in book form by itself (i.e not in a mag, anthology or collection) should be put as a chapterbook publication? --j_clark 06:36, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)
Well, that's the theory. The problem, unfortunately, is that not all fonts and page layouts are created equal, so a novella (technically a "work whose length is greater than 17,500 words and less than or equal to 40,000 words") may be published in a spaciously laid out 150 page book and a novel (>40,000 words) may be published in a densely printed 90 page books. Alternatively, the same work may appear in an 85 page edition and then in a 115 page edition, making our 100 page threshold less than useful.
Thankfully, we can easily create tools that will let us find mismatches between page counts and publication counts, so we can always revisit these borderline cases later on. The important thing for now is to make sure that we don't enter 20 page stories published as standalone chapbooks (the technically correct term for what we call "chapterbooks") -- that would really mislead our users. Ahasuerus 08:05, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)
Also, on the subject of "what's a chapterbook cf what's a novel" ... There are a lot of kids books shorter than 100 pages in ISFDB as novels. Should they be shortfiction chapterbooks or do we stretch (shrink) the guideline as the target audience gets younger? --j_clark 06:36, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)
That's a very good point! There have been cases when I had to bend our definitions so that a juvenile series of ~88-128 page works would be entered as all novels as opposed to half novels and half novellas. I like the idea of a sliding scale, but I am not sure how to formalize it. Ahasuerus 08:05, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)

Missing ISBN/Catalog #

Since sometime fairly (but not very) recent, I'm seeing bibliographic warnings on all titles in Analogs. Some relate to things like publisher & binding (& I'm working on those as I go along). But I'm consistently seeing one saying (to use an actual example):

  • Missing ISBN/Catalog #: Analog Science Fiction -> Science Fact, April 1967 (1967-04-00)

And, indeed, this does relate to an empty field in the pub's metadata. But is there something I should be filling in? These issues don't have, anywhere I can see on them, an ISBN (& would a mag have a book number? or have had one in the 1960s? I'm ignorant here); is the "catalog #" involved something like a LC catalog number? In any case, is there likely to be one? If so, how do I locate it? Or do I just ignore this & let the warnings pop up constantly? Thank you. -- Dave (davecat) 20:15, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)

Catalog IDs were printed on the covers of most mass market paperbacks in the 1950s-1970s. They usually like "X-3456" or "23461". They were not the same as LC numbers, which were printed on the copyright pages of (some) hardcover books during the same period. Catalog IDs were slowly replaced by first SBNs and then ISBNs in the 1970s, although some publishers (e.g. DAW) used both ISBNs and Catalog IDs in parallel for many years. Some publishers, e.g. Ace, were able to incorporate their Catalog IDs in the new ISBN scheme, going from NNNNN to 0-ZZZ-NNNNN-X, where NNNNN is the (numeric) Catalog ID, ZZZ is the (numeric) publisher code assigned to the publisher by the ISBN gods and X is the checksum digit for this ISBN. Other publishers could not or would not follow suit. At first all English language ISBNs started with a 0, but eventually 1 was added because publishers just couldn't seem to stop printing more books. About a year ago this book printing addiction got so bad that 3 more digits had to be added to ISBNs. The new ISBNs are known as "ISBN-13"s as opposed to the old school "ISBN-10"s.
As far as magazines go, they have their own system of "ISSN"s, which is another way to organize them numerically. Many SF magazines have acquired ISSNs over the years and in rare cases you will see an issue that has both an ISSN and an ISBN. (We like standards so much that we have lots and lots of them!) As per the Help pages, it's OK to enter a valid ISSN in the ISBN field if there is no ISBN present.
To go back to the pre-1970s magazines that you are working on, most of them had neither a Catalog ID (because they weren't mass market paperbacks) nor an ISSN (because ISSNs didn't spread to fiction magazines until later), so it's perfectly fine to keep the field blank. These "bibliographic warnings" for blank fields were added very recently and are still a crude tool, to be massaged and improved as we go along. Ahasuerus 20:54, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)
Sticking Vol ??? No. n in to shut it up would make sense if it annoys you. Dana Carson 21:00, 2 Jan 2008 (CST)
I think it's not just an annoyance when a record indicates a warning that actually doesn't exist. Periodicals don't have catalog numbers or ISBNS. Perhaps Al can exempt them from this warning. Mhhutchins 12:36, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Um. I can live with it. I just thought that if there was something that should go there I'd rather deal with it as I go through them. I've been following examples I'd found & putting vol/# in the pub notes.
Ah, yes, ISSN - I knew there was something like that which I couldn't remember. I should have asked Grace, but yesterday was busy. Thanks. -- Dave (davecat) 10:05, 3 Jan 2008 (CST)
I've seen some editors enter the periodical's ISSN in this field, a practice I don't particularly agree with for one simple reason: it doesn't provide the "unique-ness" to a pub that an ISBN or catalog number provides. An ISSN continues throughout the life of a periodical (or until the title is sold to another publisher.) How does having twenty years of Analog or F&SF with the same number in this field help anyone?
Well, searching by ISSN should allow us to get all of the magazine's issues at once despite however many name changes it went through, however many variations of apostrophe we have, all the changes of editor, etc. Useful for the newer Magazines and some Fanzines possibly. Possibly Not for huge series though. It's a minor matter really though, only advanced users can understand it. BLongley 14:26, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Still, finding a particular magazine is still ridiculously difficult for new users unless you start from the Wiki page for it. We MUST address the issue of what a Simple Search from the home page does at some point, our casual users aren't usually looking for cover-art or essays or reviews and EDITOR records are just going to put people off. This is from actual demonstrations to interested people - they want to enter a Title and/or an Author, and get the related magazines or books back. NOT all of them - they want to then search within the results. BLongley 14:26, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Today's example was one of the better ones - searching for "I Am Legend" only brings back 13 rows. The COVERART entries (5) were of no interest, nor were the REVIEWs (4) - in fact, once it was proven to be a title used by a new major film, the only record of interest was "Richard Matheson's I Am Legend SC" - and then we did have to look at the cover-art (but not a COVERART record) to figure out there might be a connection between the film and the book. And I couldn't explain "SC". :-( BLongley 14:26, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Anyway, think back to another Will Smith film that people hear is SF, and try to read a bit about it here. Try "I, Robot" from the front-page search and see if they get an inviting, helpful, page of results. Or "Bicentennial Man". I keep finding friends that wonder why I like this place getting even MORE confused as Google gets them where they want, faster. :-( But we're not going to get film fans here to try and find books unless we improve things. (Of course, this isn't necessarily the intention - but some book fans are put off too.) BLongley 14:26, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
This brings us back to who the target users are. This database doesn't cover much more ground than a good SF reference library would have in hard copy. The main advantage of this database as I see it is completeness. If you were to meld, Day, Strauss, Tuck, Contento, and Hall with updates, the content would be similar, but harder to use. None of the aforementioned material is meant for, or is useful to the casual user. As for art, places like Visco, and Galactic Central wouldn't exist on the web unless there was strong interest in art. I agree that search and navigation could be made a lot easier. Maybe check boxes could be added to exclude or search exclusively for certain types of data, such as art and essays, or magazines vs books. I would like to browse backwards and forwards through magazines, without having to back up the page listing, and so on.--Rkihara 18:25, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Boy, have I wished for next-issue & previous-issue buttons on the pub listing pages for magazines.
I'll add that I found my way here via links, in wikipedia, directly to the Analog/Astounding wiki pages. It was quite a little while before I found the home page, from which (I think) there's a link to a list of magazines; before that, when I tried searching to discover another magazine, I couldn't find it. I don't know quite what would make things easier, but I think a lot of novices will give up before finding what they're looking for.
Um. One thing that would help: ability to search the database (title/author/etc.) from the wiki as well as from pages showing the data. -- Dave (davecat) 19:58, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)

Locus awards for New Worlds

I have problems with David Garnett's Locus awards for New Worlds.

For reference, awards at Locus index. The ISFDB list is almost correct but:

  1. the 2 titles New Worlds (without numbers, year 1997) show awards incorrectly (they seem to have the same pub, but one has awards 1992 and 1998; the second has none). Can I merge them, or would it complicate the situation?
  2. on the awards list, the first New Worlds award (1992) is for New Worlds, should be for New Worlds 1. All the New Worlds N titles show the awards correctly; i.e. New Worlds 1 has the correct 1992 awards displayed.

How can I fix the awards? Thanks! --Roglo 02:18, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)

Unfortunately, awards are not editable via our regular software at this time. Al made an award editor available in early 2007, but he had to pull it because it was too buggy. Hopefully, now that he has more time, he may be able to finish it in the foreseeable future. Ahasuerus 07:19, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
And the two titles sharing the same pub? Should I merge them or delete the one which is not Title Reference of the pub? (The title reference does not have any info on awards, so maybe we would lose the awards?) --Roglo 07:40, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
One second, let me poke around a bit, there may be some kind of data corruption involved here... Ahasuerus 08:20, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Turns out this Anthology publication record had two separate "New Worlds" Anthology title records. You can't (or at least shouldn't) merge Title records that live in the same publication because it causes all kinds of problems down the line -- that's what that big yellow warning that you get when you try is all about. I had to change the Title Type of one of the title records from Anthology to Poem, then use "Remove Title" on it and finally "Delete Title" to get rid of it. We seem to be in better shape now, but let me leave a note on Al's Talk page to see if he can correct the award data manually. Thanks for catching this mess! :) Ahasuerus 08:39, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)
Yes, it's looking much better now, thanks! --Roglo 10:02, 4 Jan 2008 (CST)

In Search of Wonder

Many publications listings indicate where reviews of a work have been printed, which is often helpful. In Search of Wonder by Damon Knight is of course a book full of reviews, particularly interesting ones in many cases. But there appears to be no information captured listing what works are reviewed in ISoW. I have a copy of the 2nd Ed (expanded) of ISoW. I am willing to enter the data. How should i do this? I am new to ISFDB editing. -DES Talk 15:21, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)

Go to the publication listing and click on "edit this pub" on left under editing tools. Under the heading "Content" click "add title" for as many entries as you need to make.--Rkihara 15:47, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
Thanks. I see that there is a separate section for "Book Reviews Found in this Publication" with a button "Add Book Author" Is that the better mechanism? To clarify i am talking about entering the info for what works by other authors (not included here) are reviewed by Knight in this publication. -DES Talk 15:53, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
Yes, that's the right place to enter reviews -- take a look under Help:Contents -> Help:ScreenList -> New Publication Review section, which should cover all the gory details :) Ahasuerus 16:22, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
Or Publication Editor Review section, for an existing pub. -- Dave (davecat) 16:47, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
Note that both of those speak of "Review columns", so I wasn't sure if reviews in a book of critical content followed the same format. -DES Talk 17:04, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
My approach would be to enter the chapters under the contents, and the reviews under book reviews. If you figure ~30 chapters, and 3-4 reviews per chapter, there could be as many as a 150 separate entries. That would probably be one of the largest records ever entered. You could just do the chapters if the idea of so much data entry is fatiguing.8>)--Rkihara 17:41, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
.... And come back and fill in more data later. ;-) There's no need to enter all the data in one go (those of us that have tried it have eventually encountered a power-cut, a server blip, an ISP or ISFDB downtime, or suchlike, that makes us think "small portions, often" is safer). Leaving a temporary note to the moderator to say "more details later" is fine. BLongley 18:13, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
Entering reviews is good: it confirms the existence of books that may not yet have been verified, or even entered. (If it doesn't seem to exist, hunt around to see if we have it under a variation, e.g. if there's a series name or subtitle, check without those.) BLongley 18:13, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
Keep in mind that there are whole books out there that are dedicated to SF reviews. I have a few volumes that contain well over 500 reviews each and eventually I intend to enter them. (Any century now, I swear!) As Bill points out, reviews are a good thing, but try not to burn out on your first submission :)
P. S. The point about "review columns" is well taken. We probably want to change the Help page to make it more generic. Ahasuerus 18:45, 23 Jan 2008 (CST)
I will do as you suggest above. I had been under the impression that entering chapters in the contents was rarely if ever done. Note that this will mean that entries for the first, second, adn third editions will be significantly different, because significant additional content was added in each edition. I hope to start the entry this weekend. By the way, 3-4 reviews per chapter is probably an underestimate. -DES Talk 11:14, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
Well, it depends on how "chapters" are set up. If they are separate essays that just happen to be published between the same covers -- which is what the Knight book was like IIRC -- then ideally we would like to enter them separately within the overall Non-Fiction publication. If they are chapters of the same narrative (e.g. that Panshin tome), then we wouldn't want to enter the chapters separately. As always, fixups are a painfully gray area that has driven many a genre bibliographer to drink or worse... Ahasuerus 11:45, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
Most, if not all, of the text in In Search of Wonder had been separately published in one or another review column. In some cases the chapters combine reviews pretty clearly written at different times -- multiple reviews of multiple works by a single author are often combined into a single chapter. A given chapter as a whole may not have been published anywhere else. The separate chapters are, however, effectively separate critical essays/reviews, although there is the occasional cross-reference. There is not the kind of continuing development of a critical argument that there is in, for example, Heinlein in Dimension. -DES Talk 14:43, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)

Change and verify?

When I have a copy of a work in front of me, and the publication record is unverified, and I want to add or correct some data, should I wait until the correction is approved by a moderator to mark the entry as verified? Or should I not verify it at all if i entered some of the data? If I enter an entirely new title (or a new publication of an existing title) working directly from a copy of the work, should I mark it as verified, or should that be done only by someone else so as to ensure that a second person has checked the entry? -DES Talk 14:50, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)

That's a good question. It was awhile after I was working on the site that I realized I could verify pub records that I personally created. So, please feel free to verify any pub that you have in hand and from which you are entering information, whether that pub record was previously created or one which you created yourself. But wait until all submissions have been accepted by a mod before verifying the pub. A mod gets a warning message if a submission changes a verified pub and we have to take an extra step to make sure that the person making the changes is the same one who verified it. (I wonder if we can make a feature request that the warning doesn't pop up when the submitter is the verifier? Um, never thought to ask!)
Verification means that all fields are complete...with a few exceptions:
  1. ISBN field for older hardcovers (pre-1970 app.)
  2. Price field if there is no printed price on your copy. If your copy has no dustjacket or is price-clipped, note that in the pub's note field. (I rarely verify a pub of this type, hoping that someone else who has a more intact copy will come along.)
  3. Cover artist, where the artist is not credited within the pub. You can make an educated guess if there is a visible signature, but make a note to that effect in the pub's note field.
If the work is an anthology or collection, you must enter all contents before marking the pub is verified. I don't think this is mentioned in the Help pages, but it has become the de facto standard. Mhhutchins 16:24, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
Thank you, that is quite clear. It might be a good idea if some of this were put on the appropriate help screen. -DES Talk 16:35, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
No doubt it will appear there when we all agree, or someone just gets fed up and makes a change nobody else feels the need to revert. The bar has noticeably risen in the past year: many 2007-elected moderators are going back and correcting past "mistakes" (including me) - often they're not mistakes, just incomplete. Or one of the borderline issues we've never quite agreed on. However, verifying stuff is a pretty good way to be sure you're included in future standards discussions! BLongley 17:19, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
Please DO wait for approval: not just for the moderator's benefit, but for yours - if a moderator rejects a change, or accepts but adjusts an edit, it's YOUR name there on the verification and YOU will get questions. Adding data is usually fine. Correcting data - well, be careful about contents, you're working on every entry for that title we have, NOT just the entry in the work in front of you. We all got caught out with that at least once, and the workaround (Add new title, remove old title, merge new title if necessary) does mean a bit of a wait for approvals at times. BLongley 17:12, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
As to the fields that should be provided before you verify - yes, ISBN is not needed when the pub predates ISBNs. A Catalogue number of some sort is usually available - enter that with a "#" in front to stop the bibliographic warnings. Magazines are a bit different: they should accept an ISSN instead, but again those aren't always available. but we'll have them if they're there! "#" again if it causes problems. Price - usually available on a publication, but Book Club editions for instance usually don't: state that in notes. Cover artist - bit controversial, I only use it for an actual artist, not a "designer" or "photographer". Definitely use it if there is a cover artist, note anything else: e.g. there's "Sculptors" I'd include if we had the chance. I like to find Cover-art image URLs we can use, but they're not necessary prerequisites for verification, I just like them as it makes the pub page prettier. ;-) (But don't provide an incorrect one, someone may spot that the price or ISBN is a little different, even if the ART is identical.) BLongley 17:12, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
As to contents - well, I'd demand all fiction be entered before verification, but sometimes we get too detailed about short fiction that has been massaged into a "fix-up" novel. Again, it's fine if it's noted: look at other verified editions if in doubt. I'll leave it up to the Magazine Mods to explain whether they want you to assign titles to series and enter interiorart before verification - the bar for magazines has risen a bit higher than when I first started. BLongley 17:12, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
I might also add that it is a matter of courtesy to inform the verifier of changes you make to their verified pubs and it is strongly encouraged that you notify them first if the change is particularly significant. Magazines are my my primary area and Rkihara is another Mod who has been working in that area. We recently finished a joint project on Imagination and you may want to take a look through some of those issues to get an idea of the way we have been entering data. The best place to post questions is Help where they will generally get the attention of everyone. I might suggest that you enter a couple of less complex books just to get a feel for the editing process. It is also alright to enter a limited number of entries before saving a pub and getting approval. Once you get approval you can open the pub again for editing.--swfritter 17:40, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)

Entering a publication - reviews and images

Three questions: 1) If a publication has mini-reviews (more promotional comments) from other authors or publications, should these be included in the 'reviews' included in the publication?

E.g. Terry Goodkind - Wizard's First Rule has on the front cover "A phenomenal fantasy, endlessly inventive, that surely marks the commencement of one fo the major careers in the genre." - Piers Anthony, followed by "A wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring epic fantasy debut." - Kirkus Reviews

There is more of the same on the inside page.

I don't call those reviews but "recommendations." We don't record those in ISFDB. However, Fantastic Fiction has been building a recommendations database and when I had more time I'd document recommendations and send them to the web master. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:41, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

2) I've searched for the cover image and cannot find it at Amazon. The image at Fantastic Fiction is correct except it is missing a single comment.

The hardcover version has the same image, but without the reviews and comment. The more I look for comments about images in the help, the more confused I get as to what the 'current' stand is on using external images. I was notified about including a picture earlier with a white border, but if all I enter is URL, I don't know what I'm going to see until you accept my entry.

Can someone point me to an explanation of how to get the URLs from various sources as well as how to edit them. I've tried Copy and Copy shortcut and even gone digging into the source.

I see that people have answered the details of URL stuff below but I'll answer the first part of the question here. If I can't fine an exact match for a cover then I will use the best fit but also add detailed publication notes. For example, recently I had slightly earlier or later edition than what I saw on Amazon and so my note said the cover was identical except for ... where I described exactly what was different. I then try to make time to scan in my cover, upload that to Amazon, and then fix up the ISFDB record. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:41, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

3) Cover design. Does this get put in the Notes, or an artist? Could this be put into the Entry Help?

Cover Design is not officially part of ISFDB. I sometimes enter cover designers into ISFDB and when I do so it's as "interiorart" with the title of the publication followed by "(cover design)"). For example, if the publication title is Interstellar Empire then I'd add a title record for Interstellar Empire (cover design) that credits the designer. However, I'll say it again in that this is not an officially agreed on ISFDB thing. At some point I may delete all of the cover designs I added. I added them to see how it would look in ISFDB and if later anything useful could get mined from the data. FWIW, I ran across a publication that something like 20 credits for editors, designers, proof readers, and even more obscure job titles that are all essential to getting the package to market but normally not credited. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:41, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

P.S. If I am entering from the book itself, waiting for approval before verifying is a nuisance as I am trying to enter the books before getting rid of them. At the rate I'm going though, the pile of entered but unverified books could be left on the desk, and I expect that 'my contributions' will give a fast way of going back to the books for verification. Holmesd 21:16, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)

There's no need to wait for approval. I usually do keep the pile by my desk and do a second pass though to make sure I covered everything. For example, this weekend I'm doing the second pass on a pile I verified last weekend. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:41, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
As to reviews - they should be from legitimate review columns - not blurbs on a book. You might want to think about whether you want to verify the books you enter otherwise you will likely be inundated with communications from people who assume that you still own the books. It is fine to the enter the data without checking the verify flag. Someone else may be able to answer your questions about art.--swfritter 22:01, 24 Jan 2008 (CST)
As to verifying - there is a Primary (Transient) status for verification that is, I believe, intended for cases where I can verify the existing information, but will not have the book for subsequent questions. In my case, because questions may arise due to my inexperience at entry, I will be retaining the books for some weeks. -- Holmesd 11:02, 26 Jan 2008 (CST)
Feel free to Primary Verify, then change it to Primary (Transient) when you no longer have it. I do that quite a bit as I'm constantly trading 'duplicates' (same text) that I've acquired, that are NOT duplicates (different printings, different editions) in ISFDB terms. But until somebody offers me a trade, I sometimes have up to three different copies of a book Primary verified. I guess if somebody else has Primary (Transient) verified in the meantime then a note to them that they might want to take over the publication would be in order, but I've not encountered that yet. BLongley 15:43, 26 Jan 2008 (CST)
Re (2): if you have found the right image, then in Internet Explorer RIGHT-click on the image, select 'Properties', look for 'Address (URL)', highlight the entire entry against that and press CTRL-C to copy the URL ready for ISFDB. Or use Mozilla Firefox, where all you have to do do is right-click and select "Copy Image Location'.
If you HAVEN'T found the right-art, remember there's more than one Amazon. E.g. there's an image similar to the Fantastic Fiction one on Amazon UK. That's got an annoying 'Search Inside' on it though, so the only way to use that is to use the trick mentioned in help and construct the URL from the 10-digit ISBN:

I don't like those for books still in print as the cover can change and Amazon will happily adjust the artwork to match the current value: however, it should be OK in this case as the book has been reprinted under different ISBNs now. If you'd got this edition instead, then you can right-click and get the URL

But better still click 'See Larger Image' to check in more detail, and right-clicking will get you THIS one instead:

Notice that apart from the last bit before the .jpg the URLs are mostly the same: editing that bit between underscores out of either gives you

which is the one we want to use for ISFDB. (We do our own resizing then.) Test it out by pasting it into the address line of another browser window first if you're unsure, you don't have to wait for approval. BLongley 13:30, 25 Jan 2008 (CST)
I've got three Amazons so far. No one has yet mentioned the Canadian one[8] yet. Any chance of getting a utility to search all of them for the same string? -- Holmesd 00:28, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Over on my talk page we started discussing such a utility recently but it won't be easy. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:58, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
If you're working from ISBN, Marc's ISBN linker covers the 3 main English-speaking Amazons. If the pub is already in the database, then the links down the left include 2 more Amazons and 9 other sites. If you're just wanting a quick link to where the image probably is, then there are Bookmarklets from Unapersson and myself that will try and find an image with one click. But if you're wanting to search by anything else - for now I just use Google. BLongley 06:22, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I believe what Holmesd is asking for is that given an author/title/publisher that there would be a system that would scan Amazon (all of their sites) and show a list of images (publisher, bookseller, and customer) along with the URL(s) for that image. The current ISBN to image mappers are only showing the publisher image for a specific ISBN. Marc Kupper (talk) 19:08, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

Re the "Search Inside" ...
Some of these can be got rid of by editing the Image URL obtained by one of the "right click" methods on an Amazon page; e.g.
If the image URL is:,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU02_AA240_SH20_.jpg

it often works to get rid of everything between the 51X27EZNMRL. and the jpg, to give --j_clark 23:16, 8 Feb 2008 (CST)

Typo in author name?

I was entering soem data 9page numbers and additional contents) for Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Fall 1977. I found an entry for "A Many Splendored Thing" credited to "Lynda Isaac" in the existing ISFDB record. But the publication, on the TOC page and on the first page of the story, credited "Linda Isaacs". I did the "add new item/delete existing item" thing, and the publication record is fine. But this leaves a title record with no publications. I thought that I should merge the title records, but the help screen advises against doing this unless the author and title are identical, and of course the author differs here. It suggests an author merge or makign the author record into a Pseudonym, but the author record shows another title, and I have no evidence that that title is not by "Lynda". Advice, please. -DES Talk 11:18, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

The simplest answer is to delete the stray title. Later we can determine if "Lynda" and "Linda" are the same person, recognize one as the canonical name, and the other as a pseudonym. I have that issue of If with the other story by "Lynda" and will later verify if the name is spelled correctly. Thanks. Mhhutchins 11:50, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
The story Transit is correctly credited to "Lynda Isaacs" in the Mar/Apr 1974 edition of If. Until it's determined that they're the same writer, the records will remain separate. Mhhutchins 11:59, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Stray title deleted. -DES Talk 12:18, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

Month of periodical: cover or contents page?

In trying to answer the situation raised above, I decided to go ahead and verify this edition of If. (Why the hell not, after going to the trouble of pulling it out of one of the dozens of containers that fill up half my garage?) Well, it brings up another question. The cover and spine clearly state "April 1974" and the contents page states "March-April 1974". Our pub record gives the latter date. Which do we use? Also, what month do we give for the content entries because we surely can't give both? I know there's some magazine aficionados (swfritter, rkihara) out there who can answer these questions. Thanks. Mhhutchins 12:07, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

Now another question: why are the latter issues (March 1973 - September 1974) on the wiki page for If linked to the British reprints? I know they're identical, but shouldn't there be US editions, and shouldn't these British editions be identified as such? Mhhutchins
I presume it's because Visco only has the covers of the British editions. And they're only (probably and nearly) identical to A U.S. edition, not necessarily one of the same year and month. Someone has to decide if it's worth separating the series - which would leave a load of US editions coverless, or at best heavily noted as to cover differences, and UK editions mostly unverified and recorded in a lot less detail (although enough for my desires). Either way, I doubt we're going to get BOTH sets worked on much, unless Al allows cloning of magazines. BLongley 13:30, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
In any case, I think we should identify these UK editions which include the UK publisher and UK pricing to be identified as such in the pub title. When someone (he winks knowingly) gets around to entering the US editions, he (read I) should relink those issues from the wiki page. Funny thing is, of my personal run of If issues from the early seventies until its expiration in 1974, five of them are the UK editions! I picked them up on remaindered tables here in the US when I was attempting to complete my run of If. Mhhutchins 13:44, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Which reminds me: there's an example submission of what a British Editor would be likely to do to one of those titles on the Submission queue. Apparently that was quite an interesting example to a couple of our Magazine Moderators, although the follow-up Astounding submission (created the HARD way, as cloning isn't allowed) hasn't had such attention. Feel free to have a look, though I would suggest not approving either until you've looked at tips mentioned here and here. BLongley 13:47, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I was in the process of entering the following when someone made another post: Blongley and I compared one of these issues and they seem to be exactly identical except for the price on the cover - I believe all the ads were also American. If we do more comparisons I think we would probably find the same. American should probably be considered the country of origin. Instead of cloning them I think it would make more sense to classify them all as American and give them an American price with the British price in the notes. I would prefer putting both prices in the correct field with a semi-colon but I don't know if that is acceptable or not. I think the opposite case may have occurred in the fifties when New Worlds had an American edition that duplicated the British edition but I am not sure. In that case I would not clone but use the British price. If we are going to clone I would suggest that we wait until those issues have gone through the complete six-step bibliographical verification. Rkihara has done some comprehensive work on earlier issues. I have a complete run of If and I can prioritize completion of the series if it is agreed that the data will come from my American editions. That will make it easier to compare the British editions so we can verify whether or not they are identical.--swfritter 14:10, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
As we've only done one IF comparison so far, I think we should consider more examples before we assume too much. I recommend reading Visco's notes about the FIVE series of IF in the UK - it certainly has put me off editing the American version based on a UK edition. SOME will no doubt only differ in price, and we could probably stretch that field a bit (but it's really only got room for two prices at most though, and I have no idea if we have Canadian editions to deal with as well, for instance - and Ahasuerus has just started a data-cleanup for bad prices...) The Volume/Issue numbering is a bit weird but could probably be dealt with in notes. Pseudonyms are going to be a problem - many people have to add a middle initial to make them unique overseas, or can lose it if their father never became as internationally successful... Publisher might be awkward at times - the example issue we looked at was when the UK publisher was a subsidiary of the US publisher, that wasn't always the case. However, I'm (fairly) happy to let the US owners take over the mostly-One-for-One equivalent magazines, and am happy to advise on some issues with the current British publication data. For instance, a price of "L0.25p" is nonsense - it's as bad as listing it as "USD0.60¢". "£0.25" is preferred over "25p", "$0.60" over "60¢" - I know "1/9" or "2/6" prices confuse a lot of American users but I'm happy to explain those in as much detail as you need. (NO magazine is going to have troubles with Pounds and Guineas though!) BLongley 15:13, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
The other example I posted (Astounding), but have had no comments on, is going to be the trickier one, where publications are not only time-shifted by months but have different contents. (Copyright issues maybe.) Again, I'm happy to leave those to US owners to do the initial work. BLongley 15:13, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I haven't researched US-UK magazine differences in depth, but based on my recollections of Tuck and other biblio sources, it can be a minefield. The same magazine may be reprinted verbatim one year and then unexpectedly change to a mishmash of US issues with no warning. In other words, I agree with Bill that we will want to be very careful and research magazine histories ahead of time before assuming that a particular title always reprinted US originals. If we don't, we can unwittingly lead our UK users to believe that they own certain works of fiction that they are actually missing, always a bad thing. Ahasuerus 16:09, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I seemed to have lost an edit here - or maybe I entered it somewhere else. In any case, I think the issues in question are from about the middle of 1972 when the magazine changed titles to Worlds of If and listed both the American and British publishers. The British edition that Bill has had nothing but American content - including the ads and I suspect, in this case, that the same photoplates were used to print the interior. I think it's only about 18 issues. Keep your magazines handy so we can compare. I think we should give these issues the complete business, including all artwork, so we can compare.

(unindent) Getting back to my original question: Which month should we use? Mhhutchins 17:08, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

The Help pages currently say:
For the title of a magazine, the best source is the information (often below the table of contents) about the publisher, giving the address; this often says something like "IF is published monthly by . . . ." If this is not present, the magazine cover and the heading on the contents page are about equal in priority; again take a good guess. The name on the spine should be used last.
so it's pretty much a toss-up. I seem to recall that other bibliographers use "March-April 1974", so it may be a consideration. Ahasuerus 17:17, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
But that is specifically for the title - when in doubt I usually look how it is done elsewhere.--swfritter 18:04, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
The question was about the date of the issue. I saw that the Help page states that we should use the first month of a bi-monthly magazine. But the cover and the spine both dated April 1974. It just feels strange entering the date as March. Mhhutchins 17:42, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I've always taken that to refer to instances where both months are printed. I would use the April date.--swfritter 18:04, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

(unindent)This from Ashley's Gateways to Forevor: "Starting in May 1972, Tandem printed their own British edition of Galaxy and If. To all intents these were identical in content to the American edition, but the covers ---which were now printed on a thicker, better-quality, glossy card - carried a British cover price (25p) and was renumbered as 'UK No. 1 and so on." We can either start a new wiki page for the British editions or try to do a full comparison of the issues in question - which should probably mean entering all the artwork - not just the first piece of art for a story. Looking at Galactic Central I note that there were sporadic runs of If previously. I don't know if there are any issue by issue checklists.--swfritter 18:55, 28 Jan 2008 (CST)

The more I think about this the less sense it makes to mix foreign editions and original editions. Perhaps the foreign editions should be listed below the original editions in the title Wiki page. Even foreign editions that are exact duplicates are the equivalent of multiple printings of books.--swfritter 18:38, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)
I agree. Eventually, I hope to create new pages for the US editions, retag the UK editions, and then create a new table for them on IF's wiki page. Maybe not soon, but eventually...... Mhhutchins 18:54, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)
Yup, probably the safe thing to do. Ahasuerus 19:19, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)
Does it make sense to make some temporary links for the UK editions below the grid and then put the American editions in the grid. That way maybe Bill can get his foreign edition submissions out of the queue. This is of some importance because this issue is holding up progress on completing data entry for the American editions of If. Even though we can't clone magazines the data can be replicated fairly quickly via copy and paste. We might attract more editors if they have a place to enter their foreign edition information.--swfritter 20:11, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)
Well, you can clone a magazine by changing its type to, say, Anthology, and then changing it back, but watch out for those nasty subterranean Editor records. (I suspect that the latter will have to be redone at some point since they are too hard to herd and keep in sync with the Publication-level editor field, but that's a different story). Ahasuerus 20:17, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)
OK, IF released for Mike to work on. Shall I release Astounding Science Fiction, May 1956 (UK) too, or do people want to have a look at it before approval? BLongley 14:53, 30 Jan 2008 (CST)

Data Loss

I had just entered the complete contents for Takeoff Too! 2-3 hours work, broken up by some pauses, got it all done, hit "submit data", and got the message "Cannot connect to the MySQL database." That is bad enough, but it appears that all the work had simply gone into the bit bucket -- no way to even copy it to a file for later re-entry. Is this at all common? Is there a way to grab my own work before I hit "submit" just in case? I didn't submit in chunks because I didn't want to wait for approval before starting the next chunk. ARRGHH! -DES Talk 15:37, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

If you still have the "Cannot connect to the MySQL database." page up you can either hit <retry> or can hit <back> and <submit> again. When it comes to adding titles to a publication you can submit in chunks and it'll work out fine. Marc Kupper (talk) 15:45, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I'm afraid that the ISFDB cannot save anything you try to submit that doesn't actually get here. :-/ Many of the more experienced editors here use Mozilla Firefox, which is better (but not perfect) at saving your data in case of a server problem. (It's better at "back" and "submit" again than Internet Explorer at least.) BLongley 16:08, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I feel your pain though - I seem to be getting random power-blips at least once a week at the moment, and even though I don't have to wait for approval I get nervous if I've been constructing a submission for 15 minutes. The new Awards page got created messily at first just so I didn't lose it all - that will show up in edit history, but showing my clumsiness at first is secondary to getting the data HERE. Overcome your pride in wanting a perfect submission first time, and save OFTEN. BLongley 16:08, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
I hit <back> and got the "edit publication" screen -- as it was before any of my entry work had been done. Going forward and hitting retry tells me that I must provide an author. I think the work must be re-entered. Ah well. -DES Talk 15:56, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Just a note that the resubmit functionality (you can just hit F5) seems to work much better under Firefox as opposed to under Internet Explorer. Also, the ISFDB database is hosted by a university (TAMU) free of charge, so there are occasional interruptions of service, notably around 6:30pm server time when they back the database up. We get what we pay for, which is why we have periodically discussed moving to a commercially hosted server, especially whenever TAMU's downtimes become more frequent and/or prolonged. Ahasuerus 16:03, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Firefox has saved me countless times when the database has been down. I highly recommend that all editors use it. Mhhutchins 17:06, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)
Firefox has indeed saved me from many lost minutes of edits - not only when access is blocked for a few minutes as a backup is taken, but for longer outages. As I'm (mostly) always online, yesterday's two hour outage for me (might have been up to nine hours, but I slept through anything beyond two hours), it was good to be able to resubmit data when I awoke. I can't say whether IE7 or Opera or Safari (etc) would have worked better, I'm just happy with what Firefox did for me. I know I could write a "better" interface for ISFDB that wouldn't lose the local data in times of connectivity loss, but then you'd have to trust ME instead. And even I don't trust me at times. :-/ BLongley 17:29, 27 Jan 2008 (CST)

L. A. Graf

Wikipedia says it's Julia Ecklar and Karen Rose Cercone. The Editor's note from Invasion! agrees. This site combines Graf's works with Ecklar's. And mentions Melissa Crandall too, for good measure (although on the title "Death Count" alone). Other sites give Melissa credit for "Ice Trap". But we can't create pseudonyms for Authors we haven't already got here. What to do: note it and leave it? Make Graf a pseudonym for Julia and wait for Karen? Fake a Karen publication? BLongley 13:39, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

According to one person I know it stands for Lets All Get Rich And Famous. Dana Carson 14:41, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes, that's been suggested on most of the references I've found too. How many in "All" though? Is Karen actually famous? Can I join? (Only the first is really relevant for current ISFDB purposes, though if it works and I can join, I might get some more spare time to work here.) BLongley 14:54, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
You could put in a dummy entry for the author who is not in the ISFDb;do the pseudonym thing; and then delete the dummy entry.--swfritter 18:56, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

Same title, Different Author

Hobson's Choice by Francis Turner, lists among its publications the serial Hobson's Choice by Robert J. Sawyer. These are not the same work, but I don't see how to fix this. The Unmerge Titles button does not seem to permit me to remove the serial publications. -DES Talk 21:52, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

There is a similar situation with Iron. In both cases the titles were added while cloning a publication that did not have contents, and adding contents in the same operation. In both cases an existing serial's title matched the title of a new entry that was neither a serial nor a novel -- neither the author nor the date matched. Any advice on both how to repair these and how to prevent them would be welcome. -DES Talk 22:02, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
It's our old friend "lexical match" rearing its ugly head again, I am afraid, except that its version used by the display logic on this Web page is particularly poor -- it matches Serials with the book's title and disregards the Author. Yet another reason why are all waiting for Mr. Lexical Match's demise with bated breath... Ahasuerus 23:09, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
So there is nothing to do at this time? -DES Talk 23:31, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
I am afraid not. It's a purely display problem and will go away when the display logic is fixed either as part of the lexical match trucidation or as a standalone fix. Ahasuerus 23:43, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

Duplicate title

I have somehow managed to create Grantville Gazette V and Grantville Gazette V. Merge titles warns me that both titles are present in the same publication, and advises me not to proceed. What is the proper approach here? -DES Talk 22:21, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

I can't check the original submission without downloading the latest backup and examining the XML that was generated when you clicked the "Submit" button, but it's fairly likely that you explicitly specified a "Grantville Gazette V" Title in the Contents section when entering the constituent stories/serials. When your submission was approved, the software automatically created another Anthology Title for this Publication in addition to your explicitly specified Anthology Title, hence the two identical Title records.
This is not uncommon and Al has plans to make our submitting and approving software smarter so that these kinds of issues would get intercepted early in the process. For now, we have scripts that look for duplicate Titles, Title-Publication mismatches and other bad data in the database after the fact. Once found, these duplicates are a pain to fix because you can't use Remove Title to get rid of them. The Remove Title logic was meant to remove stories/essays/poems/etc from publications, but not Anthology/Collection Titles from Anthology/Collection publications, so it won't even display the former. The only way around it is to change the Title type of one of the duplicate Titles to something else, e.g. a Poem, then use Remove Title on it and then, once it is no longer associated with a Publication, delete it. It's hard to do when you can't approve your own submissions, but Moderators are usually happy to do this kind of cleanup upon request. All fixed now :) Ahasuerus 23:41, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
Thank you very much. i did have an included title that matched the anthology title -- I thought I was supposed to do that. I won't do that again. -DES Talk 23:46, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
No worries, that's what we are here for -- to serve man! :)
As long as we are all communicating, it's all good: new editors eventually become experienced editors and most of the latter eventually become moderators unless they burn out first. At one point we had a problem with a couple of editors who seemed to be eager to contribute, but couldn't find the Wiki to save their lives, perhaps because TAMU was having DNS problems at the time :( That was a frustrating experience and they eventually dropped out. Compared to that a few data fixes and a few paragraphs of Wiki discussions is nothing! Ahasuerus 00:00, 2 Feb 2008 (CST)

Author merge of Virginia DeMarce?

Please look at Author:Virginia DeMarce and advise whether an author merge is the way to go. -DES Talk 00:56, 3 Feb 2008 (CST)

Problem with Pseudonymous Reviewer

I've been entering book reviews by Sam Merwin, making them a pseudonymous work by Sam Merwin, Jr. I noticed that they display okay in the publication view, e.g., Far Boundaries • August Derleth • book review by Sam Merwin, Jr. [as by Sam Merwin ], but when I check them under Sam Merwin, Jr., the author of the work is not displayed, only the reviewer, Sam Merwin. I can easily fix this, but wonder if I'm doing something wrong, or if this is a bug.--Rkihara 11:30, 3 Feb 2008 (CST)

If you go the Sam Merwin biblio page and use the "Titles" option to see the original entries they still have the author of the book being reviewed. It is not carried over to the variant Sam Merwin, Jr. records. Depending on input about technical details, the Sam Merwin, Jr. records could be updated manually with reviewed book author. Thankfully we can now edit Review title records.--swfritter 14:45, 3 Feb 2008 (CST)
I've entered the authors on a several of the books and now things look even more confusing. The actual record is correct, but the display under reviews appears as, e.g., The Martian Chronicles (1951) by Ray Bradbury [as by Sam Merwin ]. It should more properly appear as The Martian Chronicles (1951) by Ray Bradbury [reviewed as by Sam Merwin ]. Oh well.--Rkihara 15:27, 3 Feb 2008 (CST)
I guess predictable based upon the display logic but does look a little weird. Fix one thing and who knows how many more issues will appear. Yet another project - fixing all the reviews that are pseudonymous.--swfritter 16:25, 3 Feb 2008 (CST)

Leonard Lockhard

This story ("The Professional Approach") (and a bunch of others) were published under the name Leonard Lockhard, & are entered with that as a pseudonym for Theodore L. Thomas. A couple of items written as by Lockhard are entered as pseudonymous for Theodore L. Thomas and Charles L. Harness, however. Now I happened on this Project Gutenberg ebook version, copied from the same issue of Analog; it gives it as being as by Leonard Lockhard, by Charles Leonard Harness and Theodore Lockhard Thomas. Given the middle names, it seems likely that all the "Leonard Lockhard" things are in fact collaborations, doesn't it?
I can enter the Project Gutenberg edition (haven't done one like this before, but I'm pretty sure I can figure out how). But I'm wondering whether I shouldn't first fix up the parent version of the title as we have it. I should, shouldn't I?
(And anyone who's curious can read the Gutenberg version & see why I'm saying these are shortfiction not essays, BTW. This one, as it happens, already says so, but the others I know of for sure are the same.) Dave (davecat) 12:21, 4 Feb 2008 (CST)

According to Rich Horton, a well known editor, fan and reviewer:
Harness ... wrote some of the "Leonard Lockhard" stories in Astounding (others were by Theodore Thomas, and some may have been collaborations), all of which were about a young patent attorney dealing with the problems of patenting some whacky SFnal inventions. (According to the NESFA Harness collection An Ornament to His Profession, Harness wrote only the first Lockhard story (in 1952) and collaborated with Thomas on the second (in 1954): subsequent Lockhard pieces were by Thomas.)
so it's probably safer to go with NESFA's attributions until we have something more solid. Unfortunately, "house names" and other pseudonyms used by multiple people are fairly common in SF :( Ahasuerus 14:27, 4 Feb 2008 (CST)

entering ebook?

OK, so I happened on this Project Gutenberg ebook, & I thought I'd enter it. And I realized that I haven't a clue as to how to do this. I searched some & didn't find anything. Can someone enlighten me? The novelette which makes up the contents is in the ISFDB. Thanks -- Dave (davecat) 14:22, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)

You must be one of the few people unaware of the edit war going on here! ;-) It's still being thrashed out but some ideas are emerging already. BLongley 14:30, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
(after edit conflict)I have been entering a number of ebooks recently. What I have been doing is entering the binding as "ebook", and leaving the pages field blank, and not entering page numbers. Otherwise i treat it just as if it were a printed book if a shortfiction work included already exists, and you enter the contents, you may need to do a title merge, but this is no different than if you entered a new coll or anth that including existing shortfiction. See Publisher:Project Gutenberg for more on what I have been doing specifically with PG ebooks. (and that isn't an 'edit war, just a lively discussion, IMO). -DES Talk 14:34, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
For various reasons, we don't have the kinds of edit wars that Wikipedia has (and a good thing too :-) so I guess we tend to use the term loosely ;) Ahasuerus 15:17, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Fair enough. I trust that the basic good will of all has remained clear? -DES Talk 15:30, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Once we come to something of a consensus on this, i suggest creating Help:How to enter an ebook. I don't want to create that until we have something closer to an agreement on the way to handle ebooks. -DES Talk 15:33, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes, "Multiple edit conflicts" is more accurate than "edit war", though longer to express. BLongley 15:44, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
I am waiting for swfritter, our resident early e-books adopter, to read this thread and comment based on his experience with Baen's Universe and other e-books. As far as the good will goes, I don't think we have had any problems with that so far except, perhaps, for a few folks who thought that the ISFDB Wiki was a good place to post promotional material. They never seem to stick around for long, though, presumably because they quickly realize that the Wiki (as opposed to the ISFDB proper) is only used by a few dozen hardcore bibliographers, hardly a promising audience :)
We do have occasional long and involved debates because different editors have different backgrounds and it's not always easy to tell where the other person is coming from. Naturally, some editors tend to be inclusionists and others have a more restrictive definition of "speculative fiction", but it hasn't caused too many conflicts so far. Well, we had one in late 2006, but that editor hasn't been active in a long time... Ahasuerus 16:57, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
I certainly have no problems with the basic good will and intentions here. (Except for the Spam-Bots we had - those did give me blood-pressure problems.) There's enough disagreement that some things seem never to get resolved - I think our laid-back approach to decision-making is going to frustrate a lot of people, but overall the social environment here has kept me from quitting in disgust from too many "Over-Ruled!" decisions and made me work a little harder on providing evidence when I want to change something. A plus-point here is that if I don't like it I can take the data and create the "Internet Speculative Fiction ONLY, none of those essays and art and notes about who embroidered the tapestry that was photographed for the cover stuff database". Although that's mainly based on the fact that we don't delete stuff that often, it's too hard. (Pub by pub, title by title.) I don't know if I'm counted as an Inclusionist or not - me liking links to WORK has led to me adding Science Books I'd never add normally, but then got reviewed: but then again I don't tend to add contents that aren't SF unless gently forced to by social pressure. I guess when the Lovejoy series goes I'll have to maintain my own version for my own benefit - so Inclusionist? BLongley 17:25, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)

Galaxy Magazine, November 1973

I have a copy that has a unique cover. It does not match the cover already in the ISFDB but is yellow and has the "Contents for November" in a box on the front. it also says "Cover by Brian Boyle Studio, suggested by THE DREAM MILLENNIUM". The back cover is normal, an ad for the SFBC. Except for the cover, everything seems normal and matches the existing data in the ISFDB. What now coach? Ignore? Thx, rbh (Bob) 20:43, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)

Mine has the same cover as yours.--swfritter 20:56, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Unfortunately, we don't have real support for multiple printings of the same magazine issue. Sometimes we have been able to get around this limitation by reclassifying certain borderline Magazines as Anthologies, e.g. see the way we have the 1980s Destinies entered. However, it would be hard to pretend that Galaxy was an anthology series :) so I guess the only way to handle it at this time is to enter this information in the Notes field. Ahasuerus 21:05, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Will do, Thx rbh (Bob) 21:26, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)

Next Problem, Recent Analog Magazines

June 2007 is the last in the table, I have issues past that point (Jan/Feb 2008). I do not believe I have the necessary permissions (or the knowledge) to fix this. Thx, rbh (Bob) 21:26, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)

It's a Wiki page and you should be able to edit it. I think I could do so before I became a moderator. Give it a try - if it makes sense go ahead and edit it. If not just pop another message back here and list the months that are needed.--swfritter 21:36, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Mark reprotected it so I can't edit. I need Sept & Oct 2007 and Jan/Feb 2008. Thx, rbh (Bob) 21:45, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)
Tags are ANLGSEP2007 for September, ANLGOCT2007 for October, ANLGJANFEB2008 for January/February 2008. Edit Away.--swfritter 22:18, 6 Feb 2008 (CST)

Pub listed twice

in Grantville Gazette II there are two listing for the ebook publication, which seem to lead to the same record. I'm not sure what I did to cause this, nor how it should be corrected. Advice, please. -DES Talk 13:22, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)

A similar situation has occurred with Grantville Gazette III. -DES Talk 13:24, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)

Fixed now, I hope: please check. In both cases there was an extra ANTHOLOGY record in the publication. This normally comes from someone changing a Content record to an Anthology type: it's very rare that we need to edit things this way - the other ANTHOLOGY record gets hidden during editing. BLongley 14:51, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
Thanks, fix appears corect to me. -DES Talk 15:11, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
If you can figure out what was wrong with the pub when you edited it, or remember something you did that was to do with ANTHOLOGY records, please let us know - we might be able to improve the help warnings at least. There's an increasing number of Title/Pub Type mismatches I see and I'm not sure where they're coming from, but they're causing some nasty problems. (As in "I'm not sure HOW I fixed this one, it went through more steps than were probably needed, and I still don't know the CAUSE".) BLongley 15:57, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
I think (but I am not at all sure), when I first created the publication record (with the clone tool, if I recall correctly), the first content element was an "anthology" with no title or author specified, and i probably over-wrote it with the first piece of short fiction, or possibly i filled in the title and author of the overall anthology. I am sure that later I had two nearly identical title records for each of these publications, and I merged them (you can probably find the merge in the submissions log). I suspect ti was the merge that finally lead to the problem, but the duplicate title records shouldn't have existed in the first place. I hope that helps. -DES Talk 16:07, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes, this seems useful. I take it the publication you cloned DIDN'T have contents? I suspect you filled in the details of the Anthology - we shouldn't really offer that as a default choice for first content entry, I'm fairly sure that's what created the duplicate - the already existing one would have been hidden from you. :-( The merge usually has some warnings if you're doing anything wrong there - you didn't ignore a big yellow warning did you? BLongley 16:17, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes, the pub I was cloning did not have the detailed contents filled in, and I suspect that I filled in the title and author on the anthology record, having seen other publications that listed the main title entity as the first element of the contents.
There was, in fact, a yellow warning, and i did proceed in spite of it. I am sorry if this caused a problem. I had encountered it a few days before, and had backed off, I thought I remembered asking about it, and being advised to go ahead, but I can't find that exchange in my wiki edits now, so i may have dreamed it. The situation as described in the warning text did not seem to match what I saw in editing the pubs. What should I have done instead? -DES Talk 16:28, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
1) Don't add details to an ANTHOLOGY entry you're presented with if that's all that's offered - just add all the other contents as new records. We really should stop making that so inviting. :-(
2) Don't ignore the big yellow warning - it's there for a reason. It's often not clear what the reason IS - but generally it means that a moderator is going to have to fix things afterwards in several steps, sometimes by trial and error. It's probably better to state what you WANT to do here (Help Desk) in plain English, giving clear references to the titles and publications if you can. Sometimes there are no simple solutions, but it's usually simpler for a Mod to do it from clearly expressed plans than for a Mod to fix it afterwards. Note that not all Mods WILL know how to fix it simply - we're not omniscient and/or omnipotent, but we mostly know when to leave it alone or call on Al - or like me, we're stubborn enough to keep trying and trying and retrying until we get it right. Even if I have to delete everything and start from scratch - I DON'T want to lose data due to my own lack of expertise. BLongley 16:52, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
Sorry. I swear i remeber asking about this and getting an answer, but I can find no evidence that this is an accurate memory. ARRGH. I will be more careful in future. -DES Talk 17:01, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)
No worries - we're all human (apart from Dissembler). All editors make mistakes, all Moderators do too. Even the Bureaucrats do. Even Al does (or we wouldn't have a list of requested Bug fixes). All we're doing with the review of edits is providing a second pair of eyes, or a sanity check - useful, but not infallible. Reducing the number of mistakes is good, but so is reducing the human effort required - I've been so busy today I haven't finished entering yesterday's book arrivals and haven't even OPENED today's - but if new editors are as willing to learn as you are, then eventually they become moderators (even if only self-approving the things they know about at first) and I can go back to looking at physical books again for a bit till the next set of active editors arrive. Keep up the good work - edit, query, learn - we've long gone beyond the stage that somebody here can review everything, and it's the trusted making sure the next generation of trusted editors is created, then the next... If you'd seen my first big mistake you might not want me moderating your edits now! But I got better, and I'm sure you will too. Just don't try the canonical Asimov/Heinlein Author-Merge and you'll be fine... BLongley 17:42, 7 Feb 2008 (CST)

Error on advanced search

I used the "publication" section of advanced search, and tried to search for items here the publisher was "Project gutenberg". I got the following:

OperationalError Python 2.4.2: /usr/local/bin/python Fri Feb 8 16:02:18 2008

A problem occurred in a Python script. Here is the sequence of function calls leading up to the error, in the order they occurred.

 220         db.select_db(DBASE)

 221         #print query

 222         db.query(query)

 223         result = db.store_result()

 224         num = result.num_rows()

db = <_mysql.connection open to 'localhost' at 820240c>, db.query = <built-in method query of Connection object>, query = "select pubs.* from pubs where pubs.pub_publisher...ect Gutenberg%' order by pubs.pub_title limit 100"

OperationalError: (1054, "Unknown column 'pubs.pub_publisher' in 'where clause'")

     args = (1054, "Unknown column 'pubs.pub_publisher' in 'where clause'") 

Where should I report this? -DES Talk 16:09, 8 Feb 2008 (CST)

You have run into Bug 20002 on the Open Display Bugs list linked from the ISFDB Bug List (linked from the main page). These Wiki-based lists are now deprecated and kept for reference purposes only. As the big (huge, gargantuan, pantagruelian!) banner at the top of that page states, "Please file new Display Bug reports at:". Unfortunately, f you search the old bug list, you will find a lot of errors in the Advanced Search logic :( Ahasuerus 17:00, 8 Feb 2008 (CST)

Novel vs Collection

We currently list Tales of War and Tales of Wonder (both by Lord Dunsany) as novels. But the wikipedia article lists both as collections, and the editions of each in Project Gutenberg (here and here) are story collections. I can, of course, enter the PG editions. But I can't verify the editions we have in the db. What is the best way to deal with such a situation? -DES Talk 17:15, 12 Feb 2008 (CST)

NOVEL is/was the default title type used by Dissembler and its predecessors, so you will often find non-fiction, collections, anthologies, etc labeled "Novel". It's generally safe to change an unverified Novel to a Collection unless there is a reason to suspect that it's a fixup, in which case more digging may be called for. Ahasuerus 19:10, 12 Feb 2008 (CST)

Collection with sub-group

How do we handle a collection in which some of the stories have an overall title, as if they were a mini-collection within a collection?

Specifically, I am referring to Tales of Three Hemispheres which i was about to add as a new collection. The contents look something like this:

  • The Last Dream Of Bwona Khubla
  • How the Office of Postman Fell Vacant In Otford-under-the-Wold
  • The Prayer Of Boob Aheera
  • East And West
  • A Pretty Quarrel
  • How The Gods Avenged Meoul Ki Ning
  • The Gift Of The Gods
  • The Sack Of Emeralds
  • The Old Brown Coat
  • An Archive Of The Older Mysteries
  • A City Of Wonder
  • Beyond the Fields We Know
    • Publisher's Note
    • First Tale: Idle Days on the Yann
    • Second Tale: A Shop In Go-By Street
    • Third Tale: The Avenger Of Perdóndaris

"Beyond the Fields we Know" is the overall title of 4 items. I suppose I could mark these as a series, but at leas tone of them is already included in a larger series (where I'm not sure it really belongs). perhaps a sub-series? But any series indication would not show the grouping on the contents display of the publication, which is where it seems most important to me. Any suggestions?

By the way, I can think of one or two more recent SF works that have a similar grouping, for example Zahn's Distant Friends. -DES Talk 18:47, 12 Feb 2008 (CST)

Each entry can belong to only one series. From my own personal experiences and as a result of the experience of others I have made minimal uses of sub-series. The primary reason is there is no sort control for the super series. I wanted to group some essays by using a year super series but I could not control the order of the year grouping. You cannot include a work in a sub-series and another series. Hopefully some fixes in the future.--swfritter 20:08, 12 Feb 2008 (CST)
I've been doing it with a series (creating the problems already mentioned above) and also adding notes in publications, titles, and wiki. The ideal fix is improved display logic. Marc Kupper (talk) 23:55, 12 Feb 2008 (CST)

Mystery pub, How to proceed?

I have a UK pub titled: "Great Tales of Fantasy and Science Fiction" to add to ISFDB. The problem is that there is NO author or editor credited ANYWHERE. It appears to be a revision/continuation of a series related to F&SF titled: "The Best Fantasy Stories". Suggestions/guidance on how to proceed would be appreciated.

Additional info - printer: Bath Press, ISBN: 1 85152 145 3

Interesting notes: "By Arrangement with The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" and "This revised edition published in 1991 by Chancellor Press..."

Sigh... --Dsorgen 22:26, 14 Feb 2008 (CST)

According to OCLC (record 26306108), this is a revised edition of the 1985 book The Best Fantasy Stories, which is listed in the Locus Index as "The Best Fantasy Stories from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction ed. Edward L. Ferman", an "instant remainder" book. Do you mind comparing the contents of your book with the contents of the 1985 edition as listed by Locus? Since the 1991 edition has only 543 pages vs. 792 pages in the 1985 edition, I assume that it is abridged, but you can never be too careful.
As far as entering the book goes, as our Help pages state, "If the work is not credited at all, use "uncredited", with a lower case "u". This applies to editorship of anthologies that are not credited." Ahasuerus 23:23, 14 Feb 2008 (CST)
After I wrote the question I did compare the contents and found them to be identical up to the last 10 or so titles which were eliminated. --Dsorgen 15:44, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Hm, reminds me of that time when Laumer's Swedish publisher secured his permission to abridge one of his novels. What they didn't tell Laumer was that they "abridged" it by dropping the last two chapters of the novel. Laumer, who knew Swedish, didn't find out about it until much later when he read the translation. He was not amused :) Ahasuerus 16:26, 17 Feb 2008 (CST)
So, should I enter this thing under the Ferman entry (as described above) with truncated contents (annotated properly of course) or start anew? Inquiring minds are still (slightly) confused. --Dsorgen 15:44, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Well, the desired end result is to have two separate Anthology Titles, one for the 1985 original, credited to "Edward L. Ferman" and one for the 1991 reprint. The latter one will be credited to "uncredited" and then turned into a variant title of the 1985 one with the word "(abridged)" in the title. Granted, the "(abridged)" part will break any Review links, but it will be just a stopgap measure until we have support for "relationships" between titles.
There are two ways to do this. The first one is to create a new Anthology record for the 1991 book and enter all of the stories manually. You would then have to merge the new stories with the pre-existing ones. The other, less painful way, is to Clone our current record for the 1985 edition, then use Unmerge to make it into a separate Title, then remove the ~10 stories that are not in the 1991 edition, and finally establish a "variant title" relationship with the 1985 record. Please yell if you need help with these steps :) Ahasuerus 16:26, 17 Feb 2008 (CST)
I won't be attacking this for two weeks, I'll be in Mexico anyway. --Dsorgen 15:44, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Enjoy Mexico and the sunshine! If you are going to Baja, make sure to check out the crime situation ahead of time since in some areas it has significantly deteriorated in the last year. Ahasuerus 16:26, 17 Feb 2008 (CST)

Titles that differ only in capitalization

Should titles like "The Bureau d'Echange de Maux" and "The Bureau D'Echange De Maux" be merged, or made variant titles? They are clearly the same work, and at least one is verified. If the difference in capitalization were primary verified both cases, would it matter? How about "The Watch-Tower" and "The Watch-tower" from the same pair of publications? -DES Talk 10:01, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)

Current help says: Regularized case means that the first word is capitalized, and all later words are also capitalized except for "and", "the", "a", "an", "for", "of", "in", "on", "by", "at", "from", and "to". Hyphenated words have the first letter after the hyphen capitalized. This suggests to me that "The Watch-Tower" is correct and "The Watch-tower" is an error that can be merged. We don't specifically list the foreign words that can be left with a lower case initial, but I'd lean towards "d'" and "de" rather than "D'" and "De" as they both mean "of" (I think - but feel free to ask someone that got MORE than 33% in his last French exam!). I definitely don't think they deserve variant titles: but as usual, it's courteous to ask the verifier if they have a strong opinion. BLongley 14:10, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes, both mean "of". However, d' at the front of a word, particularly a name, is often considered part of the word, and rules for capitalization of such prefixes are not consistent even among native users of French. Still, we could simply impose rules here, for our own use. -DES Talk 14:39, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Different languages use very different capitalization rules -- see for a few examples illustrating various capitalization conventions. I doubt we could come up with set of rules for all languages out there that wouldn't make at least some native speakers gag, but I assume that we could relatively easily create a list of "non-capitalized" articles and conjunctions for half a dozen major European languages. Unfortunately, some languages (e.g. German) have fairly strict capitalization rules and fully capitalized titles can make our German users cringe, but that's (arguably) another issue. Ahasuerus 15:02, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
You can see how consistent we are with "d'" or "D'" for surnames with a simple author search - we're NOT consistent, and "first form entered wins" unless someone updates the author record directly. Similarly "De" or "de" with a title search - but there's a lot more to look through. A quick look suggests "D'" for Names wins, but "de" wins for titles - but as always, it's a starting discussion point rather than evidence of the CORRECT way. (We recently decided " . . ." was more regular than "..." even though it would have been simpler to stick with the more common version we had here.) I'll leave it to the Polyglots to decide if we CAN enforce some capitali[s|z]ation rules. BLongley 15:19, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
(Of course the help does say that titles should be regularized: "unless there is some specific evidence that the author intended certain letters to be in a specific case.") -DES Talk 14:39, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
That's right, the "author intended" exception leaves some room for interpretation, but not a whole lot. Ahasuerus 15:02, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Even when it's clear what the author intended, publishers often ignore it - e.g. MUgwump 4. The text clearly indicates MUgwump is important, but no verified pub yet has it listed with the capitalised "U". BLongley 15:33, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
The versions in the verified pub are as they appear therein, they are not entry errors. -DES Talk 14:39, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)
Oh, I should mention, I am the only verifier in this case. -DES Talk 14:47, 15 Feb 2008 (CST)

Python error trying to edit title data

Trying to edit this item I get the following:

SyntaxError	Python 2.4.2: /usr/local/bin/python
Wed Feb 20 09:18:35 2008

A problem occurred in a Python script. Here is the sequence of function calls leading up to the error, in the order they occurred.
  15 import MySQLdb
  16 from isfdb import *
  17 from isfdblib import *
  19 def SQLTitleAuthors(title_id, db):
isfdblib undefined
  16 import MySQLdb
  17 from isfdb import *
  18 from login import *
  19 from SQLparsing import *
login undefined
  18 from isfdb import *
  19 from Cookie import SimpleCookie
  20 from SQLparsing import *
  22 ####################################################################
SQLparsing undefined

SyntaxError: EOL while scanning single-quoted string (, line 255)
     args = ('EOL while scanning single-quoted string', ('/www/', 255, 149, '\tquery = "select distinct series.* from series,t...series_id and titles.title_id=canonical_author.t\n'))
     filename = '/www/'
     lineno = 255
     msg = 'EOL while scanning single-quoted string'
     offset = 149
     print_file_and_line = None
     text = '\tquery = "select distinct series.* from series,t...series_id and titles.title_id=canonical_author.t\n'

This happens as soon as I click on "Edit Title Data". I don't think I did anything strange. Is the editor broken (or the code calling it)?
I don't know Python, but glancing through this I'm suspicious of this text, which surely looks as though it's missing a double-quote:

'\tquery = "select distinct series.* from series,t...series_id and titles.title_id=canonical_author.t\n'

-- Dave (davecat) 09:33, 20 Feb 2008 (CST)
Accidentally put that in the wrong place in the page, originally. And I now find that trying to delete an orphan title gives a similar error, with a similar-looking string missing closing double quote. -- Dave (davecat) 09:40, 20 Feb 2008 (CST)

Al was hoping to fix some editing bugs yesterday night, but it looks like title editing got broken in the process. I will leave him a note. Thanks! Ahasuerus 09:51, 20 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes, that took care of this & other similar problems. Thank you (& especially Al!). -- Dave (davecat) 09:46, 21 Feb 2008 (CST)