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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 2013 - July 2014.

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Archives of old discussions from the Help desk.

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Expanded archive listing

Extensions to a Title

I would like to enter a record for an audiobook version of Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris" 1176. The audiobook is formally titled "Solaris: The Definitive Edition". Using the example of Neil Gaiman's "America Gods: Tenth Anniversary Edition" 20971, do I "Add Publication" as "Solaris" and then go back and add the extension or use the "Add a Variant Title" option (though it is recommended to avoid this option)? Thanks Andrewk 09:47, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

That would not be considered a variant title (just as the Gaiman book is not). You'll have to use the "Add Publication to This Title" function, wait for the submission to be accepted, then go back and update the title field. (Because you can't change the title field when using the "Add Publication..." function.) Mhhutchins 06:06, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Neil Gaiman's 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane" - Different publication?

The publisher Subterranean Press have released a special edition of the William Morrow edition 417824 of this book ( ). The book is identical as per the statement "This edition matches the Morrow Limited exactly, with the exception that the signature page mentions it was done specifically for SubPress". Should this be treated as a new publication or is it more appropriate to simply add a note to the existing publication? Thanks Andrewk 10:18, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

If the signature page is bound into the book, and not just laid in, it's considered a variant of the Morrow edition, and a separate pub record is called for. Do not give Subterranean as the publisher unless it is so credited on the book's title page. Be sure to include the data provided on the signature page in the record's Note field, but record all of the other fields as they appear in the book: publisher, ISBN, printed price (if any), etc. If you don't have a copy of the book, just add a note to the record of the Morrow limited edition, stating that the variant exists. Mhhutchins 06:03, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Suitability of entry of 'S' by Doug Dorst and J.J Abrams

This is a publication consisting basically of a 'fake' old library book filled with handwritten notes in the margins by the two protagonists. Could somebody please advise if it is suitable for entry into the database? A link to Amazon is here: Doug Dorst has a novel in the database but this is an odd one. Thanks Andrewk 07:29, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

The description of the plot, as given on Amazon, certainly does not make it sound like it's speculative fiction. Would appear to be a mystery / adventure book, hence not eligible. Chavey 05:54, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Strange. I read the same description on Amazon, and came away with the exact opposite opinion. A "chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand" sounds like an eligible work to me. Oh well, where's Damon Knight when you need a clear definition of sf? Mhhutchins 06:50, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I guess it depends on what the "forces they don't understand" are. I read through all 27 reviews, and some other online discussion of the book, but the plot structure is still a little confusing to me. There are three interlaced stories: (1) The Straka novel itself, "Ship of Theseus", is about "an amnesiac wanderer" who is "shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey." (2) The notes back and forth between Jennifer and Eric. (3) Apparently a mystery about some bad guys who are trying to catch Jennifer and Eric, possibly because they're getting too close to figuring out the mystery of who Straka really is. (A book about tracking down a pseudonym! Love it.) The main Straka novel itself isn't genre. So far as I can tell, there isn't anything "magical" about the appearance of the notes. Jennifer "picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger." I can't tell if the book is being left behind at a bookstore, library, or whatever, but it certainly doesn't sound like any kind of "magical communication". Now the guys chasing Jennifer and Eric, a plot line very lightly mentioned in the reviews, seem to be associated with some cultish group of followers of Straka, or some sort of "Da Vinci Code" conspiracy group. That part might be genre, but I can't tell much about what their role is, and whether there really is anything "speculative" about them. It seems unlikely to have the same sort of "alternate history" that gets "The Da Vinci Code" into the database. Many of the reviewers said the book was "an adventure" or "a mystery". One of the reviewers said the book would be of interest to an "admirer of the arcane", but that strikes me as insufficient to justify its inclusion. Chavey 16:24, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I might be cutting my own throat here as it would be a complicated entry, but as one of the authors, Doug Dorst, already has an entry in the database, would it not at least go into the nongenre section?
Also, the 'fake' novel is full of loose inserts such as postcards, newspaper clippings, letters, photographs etc. I would assume these would be classified as 'interior art' but would you itemise them individually (credits for who created individual items is very spotty)? Thanks Andrewk 14:39, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't believe Dorst would be considered above the threshold in order to include his non-genre novels...if this turns out to be non-genre. Also, if either of those cases turn out to be reason to include it in the database, and if you considered all of those as interior art, then you'd only need to create a content record for each individual artist, not for each piece. Unless you turn out to be a masochist, and want to create separate records for each piece. :) Mhhutchins 17:15, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Odd "boxed" publication.

Can someone tell me how to go about recording this?

I have a Black Library limited edition publication consisting of a slip case containing a hardcover novella (would be a chapterbook) and another short stapled chapterbook contain a single short story by the same author. The novella is a first publication and has an ISBN etc, but the smaller work has no ISBN and states it was originally an e-story and that this is the first physical publication. Do I record these separately? They formed a single physical publication, so I'm unsure? Thanks, prof Prof beard 15:44, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Record them as two different publications in two distinct records. (Who knows that copies will remain paired in the future? One may wind up in a used bookstore or internet dealer listing without the other.) Just be sure to note that they were originally available as a pair. Mhhutchins 16:12, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
thanks !Prof beard 17:14, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Paul Lehr experts wanted

I have the suspicion that this cover art is by Paul Lehr, but can't find the original.


This signature could be deciphered as 'Lehr' but it deviates from other known signatures. Has anybody seen this variant signature or does know the original art? Stonecreek 17:56, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

I believe this Is Lehr. It looks like his earlier works when he was working with Stanley Meltzoff. The cover originally appeared on Robert Conquest's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Ballantine U2213 June 1964.
Here's a hint about how I found this out. If you open Google Image page in a different tab or window, you drag the image into where you would type and Google will search for all copies on the net. It even will find an image with different type or cropped differently. One of my favorite tools ever.Don Erikson 22:50, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Fantastic! Thank you very much, Don! I didn't know about the possibility to use Google Image in that way. I'd say it is pretty safe to assume that this cover art for A World of Difference is by Lehr, wouldn't you agree? Would it be okay for you that I add the artist to your verified pub. ? I'd also add notes and inform the other verifiers (that is one, the first verifier isn't active anymore. Thanks again for your effort! Christian, Stonecreek 17:59, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and add the artist. Stonecreek 16:24, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Cover upload problem

Sometimes when I attempt to replace an incorrect or low quality cover image, it isn't accepted but the original bad image takes the place of my upload. This only happens when it is an ISFDB hosted image (but not always). Is there a way around this problem?Don Erikson 22:33, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

I've had this problem in the past and I found 9 times out of 10 it's usually a cache issue with the computer. Because the new file is given the same name as the old file, your computer is simply displaying the image with that file name that it already has stored in its cache. I found emptying the cache usually works and allows it to be updated with the new file. PeteYoung 00:03, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
You don't have to empty your cache. Just refresh the page in your browser. (Effectively the same thing.) Press "F5" in most browsers. Mhhutchins 00:30, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
The exact behavior depends on the browser that you use, but generally "Ctrl-F5" does a "cleaner" reload than "F5". It tells the browser to ignore everything that's in its cache and send a request to the server for the latest version of the text, images and so on. Except in some version of Opera where F5 does the same thing. Ahasuerus 01:04, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
It worked. I use Firefox and I can control how much cache to clear. Thanx all.Don Erikson 01:26, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Extra artist listing on "Hild"

I somehow have ended up with an extra cover artist listing on Hild - right now it shows "Anna Balbusso and Elena Balbusso , Elena Balbusso". I need to get rid of that second "Elena Balbusso." Should I edit the publication? Do I remove Artist2 or Artist3? Thanks for any help you can give. BungalowBarbara 01:04, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Fixed. There are some inconsistencies in the way the software behaves when dealing with multi-artist cover art records, so here is what I did:
  • edited the pub and removed both occurrences of "Elena Balbusso" from it
  • edited the COVERART record to make Elena Balbusso a co-author
Ahasuerus 03:09, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Thank you! BungalowBarbara 03:18, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Help - SeriesHeader template generating non-working link

I have been working on the Series:Rachel_Morgan_/_The_Hollows page and have noticed a problem. The SeriesHeader template that is automatically put at the beginning is generating a non-working link back to the series page on ISFDB. The link that is generated is which does not work. A working link would be . Can this be fixed? Thanks. BungalowBarbara 07:01, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Fixing these kinds of bugs often take quite a while, because the scripts to generate these links have to be re-tested with quite a variety of other bug fixes of this type that have been added over the years. You can submit a Feature Request to repair this. Until then, though, you pretty much have three alternatives:
  1. Wait until the Request is processed, expecting this to be a while;
  2. Change the title of the series to use a less error-prone character, e.g. "Rachel Morgan: The Hollows" (which follows our "line break" protocol, and generated a correctly formed link back). If you have logged in before filing the Feature Request, then you will be informed by email when the Request is completed, and could come back and change the series title then if you wished.
  3. Add as the first line of the Series comment the sentence: "The link above does not, unfortunately, take you back to the series. Click HERE to return.", and add a link to the word "HERE". I've done this for similar cases myself.
Chavey 13:54, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
There are a few issues here:
  • This is indeed a known bug -- see Bug 232. Let me see if I can fix it by passing the series number along with the series name to the Wiki side. As our Template Help says, "As series names can change it is strongly recommended that you always link to an ISFDB series record by its record ID number." (I don't know much about the Wiki side, so I am not sure how successful I will be.) BTW, we also have an FR for adding support for fractional series numbers like "4.5", which, once implemented, will alleviate the need for Wiki-based lists.
  • For now, you can use Template:Series, which takes the series ID as well as the series name, e.g.: Familias Regnant
  • The use of Wiki templates is a temporary workaround. They are unstable because they can be easily unlinked from their associated ISFDB records when the latter are reorganized. The plan is to move all template-based data to the database, hopefully in early-mid 2014. Ahasuerus 16:28, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
OK, I think I remember it now -- there is no way to pass parameters like series IDs to a Wiki template. However, it may be possible to modify the template itself so warn the editor that s/he needs to add the ID manually. I will have to play with it and see what I can do. It's not a high priority, though, and I am currently swamped processing almost a thousand ISBNs that are to be unleashed on us. Ahasuerus 19:24, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you for your time! I will go with Chavey's suggestion #3 and use the series number. BungalowBarbara 20:39, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

New Terry Pratchett Publication Series

Gollancz have started a new hardcover release of a number the disc world novels called the 'The Discworld Collector’s Library'. Within this collection they have grouped the various books into 'sub' collections. For example the first four books (Reaper Man, Mort, Hogfather and Soul Music) are in 'The Death Collection', with 'The Cultures of Discworld Collection', 'The Unseen University Collection' and so on being published in the future. On the books themselves, for example, the term 'Discworld: The Death Collection' appears on the spine and back cover only (not within the book, definitely not on the copyright page or title page).

While the books live in the 'Discwold' title series and 'The Discworld Collector’s Library' publication series, I am not sure what to do with the sub collections like 'Discworld: The Death Collection'? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks Andrewk 06:36, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

A publication can only be entered into one publication series, and as far as I know, the software isn't design to nest publication series like title series. In this case, I would suggest using "The Discworld Collector's Library" as the publication series. Those subseries can be noted in the pub record's Note field. But, if there is a textual reason (not a publishing reason) why those subseries were created, i.e. the first four books actually do form a subseries of Discworld (the title series), then you should create a subseries in the title series and place those four titles into it. Mhhutchins 22:28, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
There is a Feature Request to "Allow nested publication series", but it's not a high priority. For now, I would go with Michael's suggestion. Ahasuerus 23:30, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
If your familiar with the discworld series you understand why Gollancz grouped the books as they did, but in my mind Pratchett doesn't really write discworld books as subseries, just books with the same same characters. So as this grouping is really done by Gollancz, I'll go with the pub notes option. Thanks for the advice! Andrewk 09:57, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Publication series omnibus

I added an 1878-84 chapterbook publication series, called Aunt Kate's Series. It has what I suspect is an uncommon omnibus: The first 4 books in the series were combined into one publication, even though this isn't a title series. (Also odd is that the omnibus collection came out first, and was then split into 4 chapterbooks the next year). We have methods for title series to say "this book contains books 1-4", but I don't think we have any way to do that with publication series (at least I couldn't find one). My solution (see link above) was just to list the number for the omnibus as "1,2,3&4". Did I miss a better solution? Chavey 03:12, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Well, the "Publication Series Number" field was originally meant to record the publisher's designation, so the software allows non-numeric values like "D-13" for the first Ace Double.
I can't think of a better way to record this information about "Aunt Kate's Series", but do we know if the books were numbered by the publisher? Or are the numbers based on publication order? If the latter is the case, you may want to state it in the Notes field. Ahasuerus 00:09, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
The series numbers were not recorded on the books per se, but are based here on the catalog number. I find it useful to include them so that it can easily be seen how the "omnibus" collection collects some, but not all, of the series titles. I'll add a note to that effect in the pub records. Chavey 19:06, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Stray pub problem

I have a Stray Publication problem I don't understand. I have a title rec for Metamorphoses that I listed as co-authored by Apuleius and "Coluccio Salutati" (the notes explain the contributions by Salutati). The title rec and the publication rec both list each of the authors, and both list it as a "Novel". And yet if I go to Salutati's Author Rec, the book appears as a Stray Publication. What did I do wrong? Chavey 21:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

In this case Coluccio Salutati has only one title associated with him and that title is a VT. The Summary page logic hides all VTs, so there is nothing to display. However, it then finds a publication for Salutati and -- presto! -- a "stray pub" is born.
This is also the reason why the software doesn't display "adapted" titles on their adapters' Summary pages, a known issue. For example, you won't find the four stories included in Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers (adapted by E. Nesbit) on Nesbit's summary page because they are currently set up as VTs.
For this reason I generally recommend either:
  • creating a separate canonical record for "adapted" titles if the adapter made significant changes to the text, or
  • simply making a note in the main canonical title about the changes if they were minor
Ahasuerus 23:52, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Duplicate issues in Destinies

This two entries are about the same issue:

is it intentionaly?

also on the grid page it looks strange:

Qshadow 12:53, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

The first title is a reprint of the second. It's the problem with such publications whose status (magazine or anthology) is sometimes dubious. IMHO the existence of a reprint, pushes the publication in the "anthology" category. Hauck 13:32, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
It is an anthology series (every record is typed as ANTHOLOGY). I could find nothing that would create a "magazine" grid for this series. Mhhutchins 16:04, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree, at least it definitely should not be on the grid twice. Qshadow 13:37, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
There shouldn't even be a magazine grid for this anthology series. There must be some underlying cause for it to be created and displayed like a magazine. Every publication record is entered as ANTHOLOGY, so there is no reason why a magazine grid was generated. Mhhutchins 15:40, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Where did you find a link to display this "magazine" grid? I was able to force the creation of a grid for another anthology series, but only by entering its series number into the URL: "". Otherwise there's no link from the database itself. You can see from the grid I forced the creation of that all editions are listed, not just the first. Mhhutchins 15:46, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Magazines missing from the Magazines page

I have found several magazines that are missing from the wiki list of all Magazines, for example Far Point. there is also Science Fiction Monthly Is it just lost, or there is some reason for this?

Qshadow 13:44, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

IMHO, this remark have already been made. In the case of SFM (where I'm probably the main culprit), I didn't take the time to enter the magazine in the wiki side (I'm not really convinced of its interest and durability compared to the database proper). Hauck 14:30, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I gave up on the wiki once the magazine grid was integrated into the database itself. Some editors have continued to maintain the wiki magazine list, but there is nothing that requires that. I believe the plan was to eventually migrate all of the data to the actual database and leave the wiki just for the help pages and for editor communication. Of course, that doesn't mean an editor can't continue to use the wiki for other purposes. Mhhutchins 15:11, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
That's right, the plan is to move all of our bibliographic data to the database as we improve the ISFDB software. The only reason we originally entered some of it in the Wiki was because the database couldn't support certain features (like publication series) while the Wiki software is very flexible. Of course, once you have your data split between two different applications, keeping everything in sync becomes a big headache. Ahasuerus 15:56, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
I continue to use the Fanzine wikis (much like the Magazine wikis) because it's easy to incorporate certain additional descriptive data. See Degler! as an example of the template I've been using, with data fields for known issues & years of publication (even when the issues are missing from the database), description of the purpose/genre of the journal, awards won, and external links. Eventually we should be able to incorporate this information into the database itself, but not yet. So for now it's useful to store this information somewhere. Eventually, though, I expect these fields will be incorporated into a Magazine description, all of this data from the wiki will be absorbed, and the wiki pages will mostly go away. Some partial progress has been made in this direction. For example, several fanzines (and probably some magazines) maintain issues lists as done with The Acolyte. This list contains more issue date than its issue grid, because we have not made stubs for the "missing issues". As we make progress on incorporating issues, or at least stubs of issues, these wiki lists of issues should be being replaced with links to series grids (as done with Degler! above). Chavey 16:39, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Standard template for magazine names in the grid?

I am now going over many magazines checking here and there, and I found that we do not have clear definition how the grid should look like. A good example is Aurealis,

  • some entries are in the form of issue number, eg: #1
  • some include the magazine name and year, eg: Aurealis #32, 2004
  • some include the month, eg: #44, September
  • and in other magazines grids there are no numbers, instead there is only month names: Sep, Nov, etc..

I think that at least within the same magazine we should have only one way of representation (and preferably without duplications like including the magazine name and year).

If I am right, how can I edit the grid? I found no option for this only "Edit Series"

Regards, Qshadow 13:48, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

If I understood clearly, what's displayed in the grid is the text following the comma if what's before it is strictly the same as the series title, if not, the whole lot is displayed. For the standard, there were some discussions due to cultural differences (e.g. in France, magazines are usually very visibly numbered in sequence and the publication date is accessory). Hauck 14:27, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree about the cultural differences. And I understand that the entry is taken automatically from the series title. But it just looks bad, giving a feeling of disorder or work in progress. While in fact the table is perfectly finished. Qshadow 14:49, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
The title which is displayed in the database magazine grid matches exactly the data which follows the first comma in the title field of the issue's publication record. Some magazines occasionally, by error or intentionally, change the way their magazine is dated and/or numbered. There is no reason that all title fields for any given magazine should have the identical format. In the title you're referring to it's possible that different editors may have different interpretations of the dating/numbering of the individual records they verified. If that's the case, they should discuss a standard format. This occurred when different people were entering issues of Interzone. Changes like this should be done by the verifying editor because you'd be changing the actual publication record (its title field) to get to the way it is displayed on the grid. Mhhutchins 15:20, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Looking again at the grid for Aurealis, I see that the few issues which have been verified were entered with the comma after the issue number. That is why the number and year are displayed. It appears the records aren't primary verified (the data came from Locus1), so feel free to update those records to move the comma before the issue number in the records' title fields. That way the grid should show all issues with the same format. Mhhutchins 15:25, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Another thing to consider is that we have full control over the grid display logic. If we can think of another, more sophisticated, algorithm for extracting months and/or issue numbers from the title field, we can easily augment or replace the current comma-based logic. Ahasuerus 15:59, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Changing the display logic would be the best solution, this way we won't be dependant on the mood of the editors and their comma preferences. We can use the clean design of Astounding/Amazing for all magazines that fit to this pattern (already have month names in most of the issues), and we can use only numbers for magazines like Aurealis. For all the Quarterly issues just write one of (Summer,Winter,Fall,Spring) in the cell of the month of the release. This will not change the "cultural" preferences it will just make it more uniform across the table for each magazine. Qshadow 22:26, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the help pages for magazine titles are quite specific on the format: "Magazine Title, Date, such as Asimov's Science Fiction, June 2004". Further: "If there is no apparent date, or the date is incomplete, a volume/issue number may be substituted. The date is always preferable, even if the magazine typically gives the issue number". If we are allowing magazine titles with different formats, we should document when the format should should differ. As I read the help pages, the issue number should only occur in place of the date (i.e. after a comma and a space) and only if we cannot determine a date from primary or secondary sources. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 19:39, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Exceptions are made for magazines which prominently display the issue number on their front cover, sometimes even in preference over a month date. That was the conclusion arrived at by the several editors who were working on Interzone. I see no problem with providing both in cases like this where the issue number is as prominent as the title.
Qshadow, if you want to make the issues of Aurealis to be consistently displayed on the magazine grid, please make submissions to do so. I'll moderate them and accept the changes. That seems to have been your original concern. Mhhutchins 05:06, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

We Are About To Use Your Data

Firstly I am sorry if I am posting in the wrong section .. but I ended up getting a bit confused about where was best!

I just wanted to let you know, mainly out of courtesy, that Comic Book Plus is going to start using your data matched against our old pulps. I will obviously give credit and a link to the original page on your site. I have the SQL working at my end so should just be a be a week or two :)

Best regards and thanks for such an amazing resource!

Mark —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MarkWarner (talkcontribs) .

Great to hear that you find the data useful and good luck with the project! Let us know if you find anything that we could improve on our end :) Ahasuerus 16:06, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Duplicate Illustrations

The Spectrum pubs have several duplicates of illustrations in each volumes. The front and back covers (for the two most recent hardcover volumes, the dust jackets and pictorial boards have different illustrations) and the endpapers are copies of illustrations elsewhere in the books. I tried merging the identical illustrations, but this eliminates one of the illustrations and assigns one of the page numbers to both copies. If you export the content, the illustration appears twice, but both have the same page number. Is there some way to indicate that an illustration appears twice in one pub? Bob 00:12, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

If an identical work of art appears more than once as INTERIORART in a single publication, the system will display the publication twice under that work's title record. If you've assigned separate page numbers to each, there should be no problem in display. I'm not sure why the same page number was assigned, when you imported the content to a new record, but it sounds like a software glitch, ie. the software can't handle the importing of the same record twice into the new publication record. Can you provide a link to the publication record so that I can see exactly what happened? Mhhutchins 02:38, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Michael, see comments to the message you left me on my discussion page. Bob 14:45, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Is the guy who wrote a plot summary a "co-author"?

In L.W. Currey's current catalog, he identifies the true author of six of the twelve books we credit to the house pseudonym "Roy Rockwood". Specifically, he lists

"The fourth of the nine volumes in "The Great Marvel Series." The first six books in the series were written by Howard R. Garis from plots provided by Edward Stratemeyer."

I created pseudonyms for those six books crediting Howard R. Garis as the author. Should Edward Stratemeyer be credited as a co-author? Chavey 07:26, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd say no. This seems to be a similar case to the Perry Rhodan series, where a raw outline of the plot is sent to the respective authors, but we credit only the authors actually mentioned, usually one; we credit the plot providers as editors, though, because of the character of an ongoing series published as magazine. I'd say Edward Stratemeyer should be should be mentioned in the notes or as editor of the magazine "The Great Marvel Series", which would need a transformation from title series to magazine. Stonecreek 12:33, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
It really isn't a magazine, but I could still see using the Notes to list Stratemeyer as an editor. What I don't know is whether this qualifies as a title series or a publication series. The titles themselves don' imply continuing characters, but there might be some. That may require more research. Chavey 17:43, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Christian that only the "written by" author be credited in the author field, but that the "story by" author be credited in the Note field. Just as we do with novelizations of films where the screenwriter is acknowledged only in the Note field. Thanks. Mhhutchins 19:20, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

New foreword by the author

Hi, I am trying to work out how to add a new edition of 40341 (an undated 3rd printing of an 1997 edition). The original has an afterword which is replaced in the edition I have with a different foreword. I can clone 40341, but I can't change the contents. --AliHarlow 23:33, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Once you've created a publication (regardless of the method used to create it) you can use the "Remove Titles from This Pub" function to remove any relative contents. Mhhutchins 23:56, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, yes I can see how that would work. As it happens, I've somewhat belatedly noticed that 165171 has a foreword with the right copyright date, so I'll clone that pub and work from there. The foreword is titled "After the Gap: Reflections on Storytelling" in my edition while it looks like the title in that publication is just generic so I'll edit the title afterwards. --AliHarlow 00:01, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Verification question

I have a copy of this pub and was going to verify it, but can't verify the credited cover artist. What's the correct approach? Should I add a note to the effect that the cover artist listed does not appear to be credited, and then verify it? Mike Christie (talk) 01:53, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

It looks like it's the same cover as the one used by the hc and pb editions, which have been verified by two editors. In addition, checking Amazon's Look Inside, I see that the pb edition says "Cover art by John Harris", which can be used as the source of attribution. Ahasuerus 04:14, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I verified it but didn't add a note about the source of the attribution because for some reason I don't see that in Look Inside. Mike Christie (talk) 12:23, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Have you tried searching on "John Harris" within Look Inside? Look Inside only shows a subset of pages, but it lets you search everything, which can be very useful in certain cases :) Ahasuerus 17:23, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I searched on "Harris". I've seen situations before in which different people get different results from Look Inside -- not sure why. Perhaps I was looking at a different edition? Mike Christie (talk) 12:36, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
It's hard to tell. The Amazon folks have been making their software much more convoluted lately and I no longer have a good feel for what and when they do. Ahasuerus 03:15, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Fictional essays

This title is listed as an ESSAY; it's actually written as if by a fictional character in the following stories, and is signed by Lyndon Parker, the fictional character. The title record credits it to Derleth, but shouldn't it be SHORTFICTION? The relevant help section doesn't give a similar example. Mike Christie (talk) 12:35, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

We all seem to agree that "Fictional Essay" would be a desirable title type, but it's currently not supported by the software, so each editor gets to decide whether a particular specimen is closer to an ESSAY or to SHORTFICTION. Ahasuerus 03:08, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll update the help text to say that; thanks. Mike Christie (talk) 11:57, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I made couple of edits here and here to clarify this; please let me know if I overstated it -- I didn't ask about the author attribution but wrote down the convention I saw being followed. Mike Christie (talk) 12:27, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Artist field when no art on the cover

If the cover of a publication has no art on it, do we note this (e.g. by "N/A" in the Artist field, or via a note)? Mike Christie (talk) 22:26, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

As per Help, "Enter the artist for the cover art if known. If not known, leave blank." As far the Note field goes, I usually enter something like "no cover artist credited". Ahasuerus 03:04, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
There is, though, a real difference between a book with cover art, but whose artist is unknown; and a book with essentially just a title printed on it in some font, hence a book where there really is no cover artist. Unfortunately, we don't have a protocol to distinguish these two very different cases. Chavey 03:20, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that was what I was getting at. I'll add something to the help text to suggest entering "No cover art" in the notes if that's the case. Mike Christie (talk) 11:59, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Page numbering question

I just updated this pub with page numbers, and noticed that the result is that the contents display out of order; "[7]" sorts after "1", for example. The first 14 pages are unnumbered, and I used [1] to [14] to number them; is there a way to avoid the sequence issue? E.g. if I were to change "[7]" to "[vii]" would that fix it, and is that the right approach? Mike Christie (talk) 00:42, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes, using Roman numerals would address the issue. Sorry, I should have caught it at approval time, but I am not feeling well tonight and all other NorAm moderators are presumably watching Superbowl :) Ahasuerus 03:13, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Wow, I've always thought that roman numbers should only be used when they are actually present in the publication. It never would have occurred to me to use them to record the numbering of a content that appears before the first numbered page of a publication. Isn't that why we use bracketed Arabic numbers, to indicate the appearance of a work within a range of pages that are unnumbered? Looking at the standards, the page count field gives different directions than those for the content page numbering field. One of these days someone has to go over these standards to make them consistent. If we use "[5]+300" in the page count field, shouldn't any content appearing on those first five pages also use bracketed Arabic numbers in the content page number field? If not, I've been doing it wrong for the past seven years. Mhhutchins 04:41, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, there is a technical component and a "rules" component to this question (and also a little bit of history since the way the software handles page numbers changed about a year ago), but I am afraid I can't do it justice tonight. Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow morning and describe what I remember about the history of this question. Ahasuerus 05:01, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
If we were to make the Roman numerals the solution to this, then we could change the help text to support that -- e.g. "[v]+300+[5]" would be the standard for a book with five unnumbered pages before and after the numbered pages. The brackets make it clear the numerals are not given in the text, but it doesn't indicate that there are no numerals at all at the front. Perhaps leaving it as "[5]+300+[5]" but still using "[iii]" to indicate the page of a content element is the best of both worlds -- the page is given and the reader knows none of the pages prior to the text are numbered. Mike Christie (talk) 12:18, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

(unindent) OK, let's start with the technical aspect of this question. The underlying problem is that page numbers do not necessarily reflect the order in which Contents titles appear in a publication. For example, an omnibus may contain three novels, each one with a different numbering scheme, perhaps using a mix of Roman and Arabic numerals. There is no way for the software to tell in which order they need to be displayed based on the page numbers alone. Ideally, we would have two separate fields for each Content title:

  • An integer number showing the relative position of the title within the book
  • Actual page number as it appears in the pub, including A-1, B-vii and other outliers. It could also be a decimal number to support ordering of multiple titles per page (e.g. two poems appearing on the same page)

The titles within a hypothetical omnibus with three novels, three introductions and two illustrations between the novels would then be entered as follows:

  • 1 i Introduction A
  • 2 1 Novel A
  • 3 Illustration X
  • 4 i Introduction B
  • 5 1 Novel B
  • 6 Illustration Y
  • 7 i Introduction C
  • 8 1 Novel C

And here is how they would appear on the Publication Listing page:

  • i Introduction A
  • 1 Novel A
  • Illustration X
  • i Introduction B
  • 1 Novel B
  • Illustration Y
  • i Introduction C
  • 1 Novel C

That would solve the ordering problem once and for all. Unfortunately, adding a new field to the Content section of all data entry forms, although possible, would be a time-consuming project and may also confuse new editors at data entry time (unless we were to do something clever with the way it is displayed.) Hence the following compromise approach implemented over a year ago:

  • Ignore square brackets for ordering purposes (this was FR 210)
  • Display all titles without page numbers first
  • Display 'fc' (=front cover) next
  • Display 'fep' (=front end paper) next
  • Display Roman numerals next
  • Display Arabic numerals next
  • Display 'bep' (=back end paper) next
  • Display 'bc' (=back cover) last

As you can see, it was an attempt to accommodate as many use cases as possible without addressing the underlying issue. Basically, it's a band-aid with inherent limitations. We can try to handle the latter via policy, but it's still a band-aid. (BTW, the page number field is currently limited to 8 characters, another limitation.)

So, based on the discussion above, how do we handle a pub like Regarding Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Solar Pons or, worse, The Metal Man and Others? The latter uses Roman and Arabic numerals in addition to a bunch of unnumbered pages, so you can't use bracketed numbers for the unnumbered pages without messing up the display order of the numbered pages. The editor who entered this pub used a mix of "plate N" for certain illustrations and "fep" for certain other pages, but they don't appear in the right order because the software doesn't know how to handle "plate N". Not that using "fep" would make any difference because the software doesn't know how to order "fep"'d titles.

My thinking is that we have two way of handling pubs like Regarding Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Solar Pons: either use "fep" for all unnumbered pages before the numbered pages start (and lose their internal ordering) or use bracketed Roman numerals. When dealing with pubs like The Metal Man and Others, there is little we can do aside from using "fep".

P.S. If there is enough interest in addressing the underlying issue, we can bump up the priority on FR 54, which is basically a request to implement proper display sort order. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ahasuerus (talkcontribs) .

I have no idea how the problem with displaying contents could be resolved considering the myriads of permutations that publications use when giving the page numbers for their contents. But I do believe that the problem of displaying the contents should not be a factor when recording the page count field, or the page number on which a content begins. It's actually two different issues, and the conflation of the issues only adds to the problems.
  • If significant content begins on an unnumbered page within an unnumbered section of pages before the first numbered page of a book, then all of the pages before that page should be added to page count field in bracketed Arabic numbers, and the starting page number of that content should be determined by counting from the first unnumbered page (not counting endpages) and entered into the content's page field as a bracketed Arabic number.
  • If there is no significant content in the unnumbered section of pages that appear before the first numbered page, then it is not necessary to include those pages in the page count.
  • If there is a section of Roman numbered pages before the first Arabic numbered pages, then the highest Roman numbered page should be given in the page count field, regardless of whether there is significant content on those pages.
  • If there is significant content which would require the creation of a content record within the section of Roman numbered pages, the starting page of that content should be based on its place within the Roman numbered section, giving the page number in unbracketed Roman numbers, regardless of whether that page is Roman numbered.
How the contents are displayed in the publication record is a software problem that can only be solved by adding a field (hidden on display) in which the editor enters the order of the contents. Yes, this would be burdensome and I personally would hate to have this become a feature of publication entry. But without this, we have to settle for software which would display the contents based on the how the overwhelming majority of publications are paginated. I believe the current software does a fine job with displaying contents and that we shouldn't meddle with it in order to display the relatively few publications which have unusual pagination. Mhhutchins 00:29, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Hm, you know, it occurs to me that we don't necessarily need to add another field to the data entry forms. What we could do instead is allow (optionally) appending "sorting" page numbers to the currently defined "displayed" page numbers. To use Regarding Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Solar Pons as an example, the two essays which appear prior to page "1" and which are currently labeled "[7]" and "[11]" would be entered as "[7]|0.1" and "[11]|0.2". They would then appear before "The Adventure of the Frightened Baronet" on page "1" and their displayed page numbers would still be "[7]" and "[11]". In the case of The Metal Man and Others, the illustrations would be numbered something like "plate 1|0.01" through "plate 19|0.1" while the titles currently entered as "iv" and "xv" would be changed to "iv|0.51" and "xv|0.52". And in cases where there are multiple titles per page, they could be entered as "50|50.1", "50|50.2", etc. Of course, if there is no "vertical bar" (or "pipe") character present, then everything will be handled the way it currently is.
That wouldn't be too hard to implement and would hopefully make everybody happy -- or at least happier :-) Ahasuerus 02:03, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like a good way to display order.Mhhutchins 15:33, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I use the option to record significant content beginning on an unnumbered page within an unnumbered section of pages before the first numbered page of a book with Roman numbers and stating in the notes that these pages are actually unnumbered. I'd say that this also solves the problem of displaying this contents in the right order (although this admittedly wouldn't solve the problem for unnumbered pages in the middle of a publication like, for example, plates, so your proposal seems in fact to be better, Ahasuerus). Stonecreek 07:12, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Using Roman numbers for unnumbered pages isn't a documented option. If it was discussed and accepted as an optional choice, I don't remember it and it never made it into the help section. Mhhutchins 15:33, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm about to do some clean-up on the record for this CD-ROM anthology, which is missing a fair amount of content as it stands currently. I was wondering, with the "sorting" page numbers, if I entered the page number with nothing before the pipe (e.g. "|12") would the display still have blank page numbers, which would be the desired effect?
There are no page numbers, but things do still appear in a particular order. I imagine other e-Book anothologies have similar issues. Albinoflea 22:15, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
That's right, "|12" should work as you described it. Ahasuerus 23:36, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Year on variant title

Sorry for all the questions; it's been a long time since I was an expert here. What's the year supposed to be on a variant title -- the year of the first publication with that variant title? I just created this pub as a variant, and have submitted a pub to go under that title; I suspect I should have just created the pub first and then made it a variant, and that would have created a title record with a date the same as the pub. As it is, I created it with the same date as the parent title, which I now think is probably wrong. Mike Christie (talk) 18:08, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

For years, it was necessary to have both the parent and the title record have the same publication date. Once the software was changed to display both the dates (if different) in a publication record, you can now give each their own date. This way a user knows when the variant title was first used. This change was also required when translated works became variants and need to have their own publication date. All of this was a gradual change, so there may be thousands of variant titles in the database that retain the dates of the parent record. I change them when I encounter them in other title record updates, but I'm not looking for them. I suspect no one else is either. BTW, it is better to create a publication record before you create a variant title record. This will create a new title record which can then be varianted to the parent title. Doing it in reverse (creating the variant title and then adding a publication to that title) works as well, but increases the chances of publess titles when for various reasons the editor doesn't follow up with the creation of a pub record. Mhhutchins 20:00, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
You will also note that the record you created is given as French when it actually appears to be English. Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:04, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Oops. Fixed; and the date too. Thanks for the clarification, and the hint on creating a variant. Mike Christie (talk) 20:40, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Our help still states that variant titles are to have the same date as the parent. I started a Rules & Standards discussion about formally updating it. -- JLaTondre (talk) 23:21, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Author's note and appendix

I have a 4th printing of this and was going to clone it but ran into a couple of questions. The book has an Author's Note on p. 441; definitely an ESSAY, not in the fictional world at all. Then on page 442 there is "A Brief Description of the Weirdin", which is back in the fictional world again. If the Author's Note had been after this, I would have ignored the "Brief Description" as being part of the novel's fictional world, but because of the Author's Note I think it should be indexed separately. Any thoughts on that?

Secondly, there is a credit on the copyright page to an interior artist, Ellisa Mitchell. There's only one piece of artwork in the book -- an illustration in the "Brief Description" section. My reflex would be to assume that's hers, add a note to that effect, and title it the same as the Brief Description piece. If that's not correct, please let me know. Mike Christie (talk) 02:04, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Proceed to clone the record, changing any fields that apply, adding any missing contents, and noting any important information. The content record for Mitchell already exists in the record, so just explain in the Note field about the illustration. It's probably the same in both editions. You can also retitle the INTERIORART record if the work it illustrates is more specific than the title of the novel. (Sorry it took so long for you to get a response. I've been away from a computer for the past five days, but there seems to have been enough activity that several other editors and moderators could responded to a help request.) Mhhutchins 00:30, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Maps in the Thieves' World books

This artist has three credits for maps in the Thieves' World books. One I just created (that's the 1979 one, "maps", not "map"); the other two were already there. The 1980 one has multiple verified versions; the 1979 singular one ("map" not "maps") is only from a 1983 reprint, verified by an inactive editor. I suspect that these are really all the same (two double page map spreads), but I don't see how to prove it. Should I just add a note to the one I created to that effect? Mike Christie (talk) 18:24, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

I've merged the three records, keeping the "maps" title, and dating it as October 1979. Here it is. Feel free to add any applicable notes to the title record. Mhhutchins 00:35, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

The Continent of Lies

Locus1 has:

  • _The Continent of Lies (Arrow 0-09-945460-2, Dec ’86, £2.50, 274pp, pb) Reprint (Holt, Rinehart 1984) sf novel.
  • _Continent of Lies (Legend 0-09-945460-2, Jul ’88, £2.99, 274pp, pb) Reissue (Holt, Rinehart 1984) sf novel.

The database has 37493 and 7951 (neither with a primary verifier).

My copy has "The Continent of Lies" on title page and cover, Arrow Books on title page and Copyright page (Legend on spine), Arrow edition 1986 on copyright page (no number line), and a price of £2.99.

How should I handle this? --AliHarlow 14:09, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I decided to create a third record. Hope that's right. --AliHarlow 10:03, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd guess you did absolutely right. Maybe someday we'll get a primary verifier for the other Arrow printing. Stonecreek 10:15, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Finding uploads

How do I find the link to the cover that I uploaded yesterday?

Thanks, but I figured this out. You look at the upload log. Sjmathis 17:33, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Some serious problem editing authors and titles

This seems to be a personal problem of me: when trying to edit titles or authors (in fact, when clicking on them) an error report of the following kind appears:

<type 'exceptions.ValueError'> Python 2.5: /usr/bin/python Sat Mar 1 05:00:27 2014

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

/var/www/cgi-bin/title.cgi in () 

 230         user = User()

 231         user.load()


 233         SQLupdateTitleViews(title_id)

user = <login.User instance at 0x894590c>, user.load = <bound method User.load of <login.User instance at 0x894590c>>

/var/www/cgi-bin/ in load(self=<login.User instance at 0x894590c>) 
 144                 if not

 145                         return

 146                 (self.concise_display, self.default_language, self.display_all_languages, self.covers_display, self.suppress_translation_warnings, self.suppress_bibliographic_warnings, self.cover_links_display) = SQLLoadUserPreferences(

 147                 self.languages = SQLLoadUserLanguages(

 148                 self.preferences_id = SQLUserPreferencesId(int(

self = <login.User instance at 0x894590c>, self.concise_display = , self.default_language = 17, self.display_all_languages = , self.covers_display = , self.suppress_translation_warnings = , self.suppress_bibliographic_warnings = , self.cover_links_display = , global SQLLoadUserPreferences = <function SQLLoadUserPreferences at 0x889595c>, = '15220'

<type 'exceptions.ValueError'>: need more than 6 values to unpack

There's no problem of editing publications or publishers, though. Any help is welcome. Stonecreek 11:10, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

It looks like there was a bug in the last patch that I installed. Let me take a look... Ahasuerus 12:02, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
OK, I think I got it now. Could you please try again? Sorry about the aggravation! Ahasuerus 12:16, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks! Titles are accessible again for me! Stonecreek 12:47, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Glad it's working again! I guess the lesson is that I should take breaks more often :) Ahasuerus 12:55, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Stale "forthcoming" info

How does one correct "forthcoming" info when an item has already come forth? For instance, the Karl Schroeder page lists the fourth part of Lockstep as "forthcoming" when it's been out for a month or so. --J-Sun 05:49, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

We date a magazine record according to the publication date which is stated on its contents page, masthead or cover. In this case, the last part of the serial is/was/will be "officially" published in the April 2014 issue of Analog. The system has no way of knowing that the issue has already appeared on newsstands and/or in your mailbox, thus displaying it as "forthcoming". This is a bibliographic standard, even though everyone accepts the fact that magazines can appear as early as 6 or more weeks before their stated issue date. (Retailers actually use that as the date to remove copies from sale!) On April 1, 2014, the system will automatically remove that notice. Mhhutchins 06:28, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Okay - I know of the magazine publishing standards but didn't realize the ISFDB standards took it literally and that it was handled automatically. I thought it was just something handled manually but was confused when it didn't appear anywhere editable. I should have realized then, but thought I was just missing something. Thanks. --J-Sun 09:28, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

(And, actually, off-topic but related to possible wrongness on the Schroeder page, The Claus Effect is listed as both a novel and collection when I'm pretty sure it's a fixup and "The Toy Mill (1992) with David Nickle" is listed as part of the "Toy Mill" series while "Prologue (The Claus Effect) (1997) with David Nickle" is not. I may be wrong and they're unrelated but I think that's all connected somehow or other. And a Queen of Candesce excerpt should probably go under the Virga series. And I haven't read it (or any of this besides Lockstep, which is why I haven't tried to change it myself) but I think "The Hero" is also a Virga story.) --J-Sun 05:54, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

According to a primary verified record, there is a novel titled The Claus Effect, included in a collection of the same title which includes a Prologue and the novelette "The Toy Mill". If you believe this information is incorrect, post a message on the talk page of the verifying editor. As for the other stories and their series, when you have more concrete evidence, please feel free to update those titles with the correct series data. Thanks. 06:28, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
It's not that I believe the Claus/Toy stuff to be incorrect but just that it looked wrong. That's why I didn't edit it but thought I'd mention it just in case. But I will follow up with the verifier. I do have "The Hero" to read and, when I do and if it is, I will edit that one. --J-Sun 09:28, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Time to wait for Talk Page replies?

How long should one wait for a talk page reply before making the edits one's self? I wouldn't expect people to reply immediately but every day that goes by leaves information that should be changed sitting in the ISFDB. The specific case is that it's only been 2-3 days for a couple of questions on User_talk:SFJuggler. --J-Sun 23:28, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Actually it looks like you only posted the message about 36 hours ago. That editor is pretty active and just may be taking a break from the database. (Sometimes, life gets in the way.) For most active users, wait about a week, and if you get no response, leave a message on the ISFDB:Moderator noticeboard. For inactive users, there should be an "Inactive User" notice at the top of most of their talk pages. In that case, post a message immediately on the Moderator noticeboard. You can always click on the link "User contributions" and you can see when the last time they posted on the wiki. That doesn't tell you everything though, because some users don't post on the wiki at all, just edit the database. Don't ask me what I call those editors. :) Mhhutchins 02:18, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
A good way of knowing when and where you've posted messages on the wiki is to click on the "My contributions" link. If you were the last person to post on that page the word "Top" is shown after the subject. Mhhutchins 02:34, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
There were two things I posted on that page and one's a day or so older than the other. Thanks for the info - I'll hold my horses for a few more days. ;) --J-Sun 04:47, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Ah-ha, I see now. You posted it as a response to a message made back in 2012, which is very likely to get overlooked by the user. I suggest that you create a new message which is posted at the bottom. This is more likely get the editor's attention. Thanks. Mhhutchins 07:08, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Alternate Names/only as by

Why do two items on Brad R. Torgersen's page say "only as by Brad R. Torgersen" when that's his name? (I looked and looked to make sure it didn't say "Torgerson" or something equally hard to spot, but they look identical to me.) The "only as by Brad Torgersen"/"Brad R. Torgerson" items make sense, but I don't get the others.

For the first it's because the given name of the author seems (as the record is not PVed) to be without the middle initial, it's so considered a pseudonym by ISFDB standards, for the second, it's a left-over from previous edits (IIRC the text was initially wrongly attributed to Torgerson).Hauck 06:46, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

(Incidentally, why does that - e.g., the Brad Torgersen item - trigger a "variant title" item? That's also confusing. It's a "variant author attribution" but the title is not variant.) --J-Sun 04:46, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

The varianting case occurs when 1) the titles are exactly the same and the authors are different, 2) the authors are exactly the same and the titles are different and 3) the first two possibilities at the same time (I add 4) when the laguage is different with all caracteritiscs being similar). So you can see that variating is not only title-related. Hauck 06:46, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Omnibus question

Voltaire's story "Candide" was listed by us as a novella. It is included in the 160 page Airmont Classic Candide and Zadig, which was listed as a collection. The original publication of Candide, however, was a 299 page novel. Even if it was compressed somewhat, and in the smaller font that Airmont Classics used, it still seems like it was a novel in that publication. So I changed it to a novel. In doing so, I reset the "storylength" from "nv" to blank, which the help pages says should be done. Of course then I had to change that "collection" to an "omnibus". But now on Voltaire's bibliography page, that book is listed as "Candide and Zadig (1966) [ONone]". The "ONone" is inappropriate. So did I do something wrong, or is this a bug in the software? Chavey 18:06, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

This is a rare bug that we have been trying to reproduce for some time. It sounds like you have accidentally succeeded :) I will try the same sequence of events on the development server and see if I can reproduce it. Ahasuerus 19:10, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
It turns out that the bug is in Edit Pub. When editing a publication without a "reference" title, i.e. a title whose title type matches the type of the publication, the page defaults the "Length" field to the value of "None".
BTW, it's possible for a book to have 299 pages yet contain fewer than 40,000 words. Many books published in the 18th and 19th centuries were very small by our standards and had very few words per page. I have quite a few of them in my library. Ahasuerus 21:47, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
The bug has been exterminated. Thanks for finding and reporting it! Ahasuerus 22:08, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Voltaire's Candide is indeed a short novel, and at 36K words it qualifies as SHORTFICTION for ISFDB purpose. I have the complete novella, all 36K words and 30 chapters, posted on my website, A Guide to Leonard Bernstein's Candide. It's on only six pages on my website, which goes to show you can't use page count to determine word count. Thanks. Mhhutchins 22:31, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Of course, that's the word count in English and not the original French. :) Mhhutchins 22:36, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure it's the best of all possible word counts. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 22:51, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
I downloaded from Gutenberg both French & English editions of Candide, deleted their boilerplate, and had Microsoft count the words. 35,506 in English and 33,679 in French. Novella it is. And the omnibus goes back to a collection. And the "novels" become chapterbooks. (Have I mentioned lately that I hate chapterbooks?) Ah well, at least I helped find a bug :-) Chavey 01:34, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Title sub-series not showing up

Cicely Mary Barker did a bunch of "Fairy" books (the original Daisy Meadows, only with better art). These books were placed in a Flower Fairies title series. She then selected poems from several of these books, got someone else to write music for those poems, and published 4 books of "Songs of the So-and-So Fairies". I put all of these into a sub-series of the "Flower Fairies" series. That sub-series shows up correctly if I click the link (above) to the "Flower Fairies" series. However, even though all of the chapterbooks in that sub-series are credited to Cicely Mary Barker, the sub-series does not show up as a sub-series of the "Flower Fairies" series in Cicely Mary Barker's summary Bibliography. Instead, it shows up as a separate "Short Fiction" series, instead of with its parent series. So, bug in the software, or did I do something wrong in entering these books? (I still don't trust myself with Chapterbooks, but I think I did all of these correctly.) Chavey 02:46, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

It's a known issue with the Summary page logic:
  • If an author has contributed to a fiction series, an anthology series and a non-fiction series and if these three series are sub-series of the same super-series, then the Summary page will display these series in three separate sections -- see Gary Russell's Summary page for an example. Ideally, we would want all series that belong to the same super-series to appear together on the Summary page.
Ahasuerus 02:57, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Glad it wasn't just me. Chavey 03:03, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Linking a review

I'm trying to link a review to the book it's reviewing (which I just entered). I can't seem to figure out how to do it. My memory there was a navigation command to "Link Review", and the Statistics/Contributor chart shows a command by that name, but I can't find it. It's not present on the main home page, and it's not present on either of the pages I linked to above. There is no help page on linking reviews. So has that command disappeared, or is it just really good at hiding from me? Chavey 14:03, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Oh, I had this problem also at one time: this happens because the item is still an essay, not a review. And the button on the left tool bar is only there when it is a review, in no other cases. Stonecreek 14:37, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
Ah, thanks! That explains what was going on. Chavey 19:08, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Argosy, March 10, 1934

I'm afraid I made a mistake, I accidently made this a variant of this when it can't be a variant of anything as this cover is uncredited as of now. How do I untangle this and correct the mistake. MLB 21:33, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Go to the variant record and click on "Make This Title a Variant Title...". On the next screen enter 0 (zero) in the parent number field. This breaks the variant relationship, resulting in two separate records. Mhhutchins 21:42, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Fritz Leiber boxed set of Mayflower Swords series.

I have the boxed set of the Mayflower releases of Fritz Leiber's Swords series. (St Albans: Granada Publishing/mayflower Books 1979 Paperback Boxed Set Isbn 0-583-13332-0)

I was just wondering the best way to add this information to the Mayflower editions? The books it contains are the same as the mayflower releases listed under Fritz.


David —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DavidCRead (talkcontribs) .

Create a new publication record using the "Add New Omnibus" function. Record the data from the box in the metadata section of the entry form (title, author, date, publisher, price, etc.) If any of that data isn't stated on the box, leave the field blank. In the Note field, record the ISBNs, prices, printings, etc of each of the books included in the box, noting that it is a boxed set. (Since we don't have a publication type for boxed sets, we use the OMNIBUS type.) In the Content section of the entry form, create a separate content record for each title included in the box, entering at least the title and author (the date field can be left blank at this point) and choosing NOVEL as the entry type and leaving the length field and page field blank. After that submission is accepted, you then merge the new title records with their corresponding titles already in the database. (That may be advanced at this point in your editing, so I can do it for you or step you through the process.) Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:35, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I forgot to add: in the metadata section of the entry form, choose "pb" in the drop-down menu of the Pub Type field. (Unless they're more than 18 centimeters which would make them "tp".) Mhhutchins 17:40, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Many thanks for your help! I will get this added later. --DavidCRead 07:47, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Dark Masques - omnibus or collection

Dark Masques has most of the contents of Masques and Masques II, however, it lacks the introductions and an interview with Richard Matheson from the prior versions , and has a new introduction in its place. It is currently designated as an omnibus, and the title pages states that it was previously published as Masques and Masques II. It seems that it might be best to remove the introductions from the first two editions as contents for this publication, but leave the designation as an omnibus. What's the proper way to handle this issue? TAWeiss 13:45, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Unless there is a distinction made between the two parts, like a separate title page for each, then this should be changed to ANTHOLOGY, and the title records of the two anthologies should be removed. (You'd have to change the title reference record to ANTHOLOGY as well.) Mhhutchins 17:32, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Wraparound Covers

Was wondering what the policy/standards are on wraparound covers, as I've noticed more than a few are done that way. I would be glad to submit some but don't know if they are preferred or just tolerated. Any guidelines? -Doug/Vornoff 20:33, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Those files can be uploaded as any other, but are the only ones that can exceed the stated standards for a front-cover-only image. Still try to stay within a reasonable file size (probably no greater than 200 KB), and image size (no taller than 600 pixels). You will get a warning that the image exceeds the limits, but you can bypass the warning by checking the appropriate box. Mhhutchins 21:55, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Also, only upload these covers if the art wraps around. Don't upload files that show the back of a book with text only as it is unnecessary, and may not be covered under the fair usage rules. Mhhutchins 21:58, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Magazine 'Maintainers'

I occasionally come across (web) magazines for which recent issues are still missing in the ISFDB. In many cases there is someone who usually updates the respective magazine, and I'd like to check with him/her first before I add missing issues myself.

Sometimes it's not immediately obvious who this 'maintainer' actually is (e.g. if there are no primary verifications of the respective magazine) - would it be useful to have this information somewhere, perhaps on the magazines page (, or is it already available somewhere else?

(if not, this should probably go into 'Rules and Standards Discussions'?) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Fsfo (talkcontribs) .

Before adding a new webzine (a title which is not in the database), please post a notice on the ISFDB:Moderator noticeboard. If it's a title that's already in the database, feel free to create records for missing issues. What particular issues are you wishing to add? Mhhutchins 18:00, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
GigaNotoSaurus has no entries yet for 2014, and is a bit behind as well. Fsfo 21:46, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Proceed to add records for GigaNotoSaurus. is going to be much more tricky, not only creating publication records for the website publications, but publication records for the ebook editions. You can try to enter one, but please look at the previous entries before doing so. Feel free to ask any questions about it on my talk page. Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:16, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Also, only create entries for the prose and not the comics or excerpts. Mhhutchins 23:20, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Mark Slowaski

Hi. It has been suggested [1] that "Mark Slowaski" as credited in 40058 is a typo for "Mark Salwowski". Do you feel that the evidence is strong enough to add a variant record? Many thanks. --AliHarlow 05:38, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes it is. Please make a variant of the title record, crediting Mark Salwowski. Then make Slowaski into a pseudonym of Salwoski. That's two separate, unconnected submissions. Ask if you need help to do either. Mhhutchins 04:05, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
You varianted it in the wrong direction. The pseudonymously published title should be varianted to a title giving the canonical author/artist name. You should have used the "Make This Title a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work" function under the Editing Tools menu. You mistakenly used the "Add a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work to This Title" function. I've fixed it. Thanks. Mhhutchins 22:53, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. It didn't quite make sense to me so I was following your instructions rather blindly. Now that you have fixed it, I can see what you were aiming to achieve. --AliHarlow 22:58, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Creating a new collection

I hope this is the right way to get help. This is the craziest site I have ever encountered in terms of adding new content.

While I have been using ISFDB for a couple of years now, I haven't done any editing further that adding new cover pages to some books. Now I have run into a case where I have found a complete six book series totally missing from ISFDB. I have found the template for creating a new collection that also allows me to enter the six publications in the collection. But the one thing I can't find is a way to link the new collection to the series collection it belongs in. The collection I want to create is "Slings and Arrows" and I want to link it to "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as a sub-series. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Macevanscb (talkcontribs) .

Adding a series is a two step process. First, you have to enter the collection. Once that is approved, you would edit the collection's title record and add the series to that. Since the collection's title record doesn't exist until the collection is created, you cannot immediately add it. Once the collection is created, you can follow the steps at Help:How to work with series. Please let us know if you have more questions and we appreciate you wanting to contribute. -- JLaTondre (talk) 23:57, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I'll also add that you have to create six different publication records using the "Add New Novel" function for each work. Once these six works are in the database, you have to update the title records of each work in order to add the series data (as JLaTondre explains.) Once a series is in the database you can then make it into a subseries of another series. Thanks. Mhhutchins 04:09, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

copy of King Solomon's Mines - not sure how to handle

Hi - I have in my collection a copy of King Solomon's Mines, published by Geo. Munro's Sons - Seaside Library Pocket edition. I didn't see anything matching it on the page for the title, and I'm not sure this is a book. On the bottom of the cover it states "Issued monthly by subscription", which to me sounds more like a magazine. Additionally I can make out the words "June 7th 1887". Across the top it reads: No. 753 (spaces) Issued Daily[this word is blurred]- Nov. 28, 1895, (spaces) Price 25 Cents. Any guidance? Catkhan 01:09, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

You have a copy of an edition not yet in the database. Except for the publication date, it matches this OCLC record. Go to the title record and click on the link "Add Publication to This Title" under the Editing Tools menu. Then proceed to fill in the data fields. "George Munro's Sons" is the publisher and "Seaside Library" is the publication series, number 753. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. Mhhutchins 04:00, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Feeling a little intimidated by having to add a new publication! And now I know I should also check the OCLC. Catkhan 18:18, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Include Web Exclusive Interview?

Should this interview, —which is not the same as the interview of Steve Sneyd by Catherine Mintz in Science Fiction Eye, Spring 1996—be included in the database? It appears to exist only online. Swan 22:08, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

With rare exceptions, web-only publications are not eligible for the database. If it were downloadable in any number of ebook formats (ePub, Mobi, PDF, etc), it would be eligible. The author's website is linked in her author data for ISFDB users who would like further information about her. Mhhutchins 22:57, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Swan 23:08, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Uh oh. I just noticed that's an interview of Sneyd. I'll link that to his author page. Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:32, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

"Borders of Infinity" shortstory doesn't really exists?

Hi, I noticed that we have this title Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold. However I could not verify that this shortstory really exist, it is a framing story of the fix-up novel by the same name, but not a standalone story (it is interwoven in the 3 other novellas), so it looks like it is not correct to have a separate title for it. See here for example: Qshadow 09:47, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

It may be broken into several parts, but based on the Note in the title record, it appears to be a complete narrative. I don't have a copy of the work, so I don't have a dog in the fight, but I would suggest letting this one lie. If you feel strongly about the issue, please post a message on the primary verifying editors' talk pages and direct them here to share in the discussion. Mhhutchins 16:54, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
We had this discussion here, and decided to add the shortfiction item, also based on the Miles Vorkosigan timeline. I see nothing new in the SF Site review. It's even called a "framing story ("The three shorter works are linked into a novel by a framing story that involves Barrayaran Security Chief Illyan visiting Miles in the hospital and demanding an accounting for some of the more unusual expenses that Miles' Dendarii mercenary fleet has accrued."). --Willem H. 20:47, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Philip José Farmer: Blown or Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind

Is this two titles are related (or maybe even same title)?:

Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind

They appear to be related because the publication name for "Blow" is

Blown or Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind

So it looks like they are somehow related. If yes, maybe "Blown" is the expansion to novel from the short story? Regards, Qshadow 17:16, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

In fact no. For example, see Brizzi here for more details. Hauck 17:44, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Qshadow 21:16, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Mitkey Astromouse has a dup

Mitkey Astromouse by Fredric Brown has two Title entries that both point to the same Publication, it looks strange. one of them must be a dup (I think that chapterbook is the correct one):

Regards, Qshadow 23:04, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

The first is a SHORTFICTION title record; the second is for the CHAPTERBOOK, which usually contains an identically titled SHORTFICTION record, per ISFDB standards. So there doesn't appear to be a problem. Mhhutchins 23:39, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

I lost a review

The bibliographic project "Authors that only exist due to reviews" reported one such author, Emile Anton, who had a review of his (actually "their") book "On se bat sur la Lune". So I added that book, creating the author. The listing of that review then disappeared from the "Authors that only exist due to reviews", and I am unable to find it. It didn't auto-link to the book, since it's not reported with that title. I do a search for "Emile Anton" as a reviewed author, and nothing shows up. I looked through all of the Reviews (it should be on this page) but I couldn't find it. I'd like to be able to link that review to the book it's reviewing, but I can't figure out why I can't find the review. Chavey 15:42, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

This book is reviewed here (I've just added it) and is briefly cited in this issue. Hauck 16:32, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Your first link is the one that I saw in the project listing. But how did I see it before if it wasn't there? Has our software achieved sentience and knew that this review was out there somewhere? Chavey 17:13, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I deleted that review record this morning after it appeared on the script which finds publess reviews. From the recent integrations list: 2014-06-11 | 09:13:00 | 2413032 - TitleDelete | Mhhutchins | Mhhutchins | On se bat sur la Lune Mhhutchins 19:25, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Aha! That explains the mysterious disappearing review. I saw that and took the longer route, to add the original book. (And then got distracted into adding all the books in that publication series.) Chavey 20:32, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Shock Totem

I have this issue of this magazine, and all of the articles that have What Is Your Best, Funniest, or Darkest Holiday-Season Memory? as a variant are actually part of an article series called Holiday Recollection, and that this is an umbrella title that is also used for the same type of articles in this issue of the same magazine. I know that I have asked this before, but how do I eliminate the variable on these articles so that I can then start a series to put both issue's articles into? And should I? And will this be multi-step procedure? MLB 20:37, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

It's going to take several steps. For each title:
  1. Unvariant them from their parent: Use the variant function but enter "O" in the parent field. (You only have to do this once for each pair.)
  2. Merge the corresponding records into one record, retaining the title without the series in the title.
  3. Update the newly merged (thus single) record, providing the series data.
Try doing just one pair at first before preceding with the others. Mhhutchins 21:43, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Before you do anything get with the primary verifier (Dwarzel) to determine if the titles should remain as variants. It's possible that the pieces appeared under different titles in each of the publications. Mhhutchins 21:45, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
If the titles are different, you should keep the variants, and add the series data only to the parent title records. Mhhutchins 21:49, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I don't see Dwarzel's name on the Christmas 2011 issue. Am I missing something? MLB 01:09, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh, never mind, this issue seems to be listed twice, and I didn't see the first one. MLB 01:10, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Canadian printing of a Ballantine book

I have what I think is a Canadian printing of Saint Camber by Katherine Kurtz; but I'm not sure. We have a first printing listed at $2.25, and no number line. We have a third printing listed at $2.75 and a note that says "Stated 3rd printing". (That strikes me as odd, I thought they used number lines.) What I have, printed about 1980, is a book printed in Canada, with no number line, and a price of $2.75 (i.e. more than the US first printing; equal to the US 3rd printing). There is no dual pricing. I assume that means it's a Canadian edition, but should I list it as a 1st Canadian printing, or is this one of those cases where the "2nd printing" was the same as the "first Canadian printing", and list it that way? Thanks, Chavey 04:27, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

What is the stated printing? As for number lines they start in the late 80's. If the stated date is Sept 1979 and it's printed in CDN then the 2.75 price will be CDN dollars. Only DAW used "2nd printing" as the "first Canadian printing" starting around Nov 1980 between book #406 & 411, Marc Kupper could never find any US 2nd printing's and this was why.Kraang 03:15, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
It has no actual stated printing. The copyright page says:
Printed in Canada
First Edition: October 1978
Paperback format
First Edition: September 1978
So it seems to imply that it's a "First Edition", but it doesn't really come out and say that. Chavey 03:26, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Is September 1978 correct?Kraang 03:45, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
If it states "September 1979", then it's a first Canadian paperback edition. Just clone this one and make the necessary changes to match your copy. (Be sure to enter the price as "C$2.75".) Mhhutchins 03:57, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
My typo. September 1979. Thanks for the help! Chavey 13:31, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Padgett/Kuttner's Tomorrow and Tomorrow and The Fairy Chessmen

There is one entry for this book as an omnibus and another as a collection which is wrong as the First Edition Library title is a facsimile reprint of the Gnome title. They have to be the same. In addition to that, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow" is billed as a novel but it is in fact in the vicinity of 30,000 words. It should be categorized as a novella unless more credit is given to the billing than the word count. I doubt this is so because many novelettes, even, were billed as novels in the 40s and 50s. A trickier question is the status of The Fairy Chessmen - my estimate has it land right around the 40K mark - I couldn't say for sure if it's over or under. So this is either a collection of two novellas or a whatever-you-call-it of a novel and a novella. I'm sure this has cascading effects through the various variant titles. I can be a 4th (or so) primary verifier for the Gnome but I'm not sure what to do about all this or who, if anyone, I should talk to before making changes, so I raise it here. --J-Sun 02:45, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

In cases like this, it's good to post a message here, and then leave a message on the talk pages of the primary verifiers to discuss the situation. I'll do that for you this time. Thanks. Mhhutchins 00:09, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I counted the words on 4 pages of my 1951 edition, for an average of 301 words per page (maximum of 336). At 99 pages of text, that comes to an estimate of 29,800 words, with a maximum of 33,264 words. Definitely a novella. The Locus index lists it as a novella. We should change this work from novel to novella -- changing omnibus editions to collections, and changing standalone editions from novels to chapterbooks. Chavey 03:50, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the reclassification. The Fairy Chessmen is barely a novel, 143 pages x 301 words/page = 43,000 words. I know that a lot of the Ace doubles contain "novels" no longer than either of these two stories, but we should be accurate where we can. I just changed another publication, <a href=""> Cold Steel</a>, from two novels to a novella and a novel, classified in this case as an ANTHOLOGY. I will presume J-Sun will make the changes here. Bob 23:35, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Using a a word count estimator that I got from Mhhutchins (Thanks Michael), I'm coming up with an estimate for "The Fairy Chessmen" of 39,678 words. As Chavey pointed out, these are both listed as novellas by the Locus index (Contento1) as does Miller/Contento for their original appearances in Astounding. I agree that this should be a collection (and merged with the omnibus), both contained titles should be converted to novellas and and any single publications should be made chapterbooks. There is some question as to whether the translations would push the word count back to novel territory, but I'll leave that to the editors more familiar with those languages. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 02:28, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good - sorry I haven't gotten to this yet but I'll do what I can soon. --J-Sun 21:21, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Including text of poems

I recently added an 1894 book of poetry, which had 6 genre poems, among a substantial number of non-genre poems. I included only the genre poems in the content. Five of the six poems were quite short, so to document their speculative fiction elements, I simply entered the entire poem into the synopsis (along with a short synopsis). Since the copyright has expired, there's no copyright objection to doing so; and since these are fairly short, it doesn't seem there would be any storage reason not to. Is there any other reason I should not include the full poem text? (If you want to look, the first poem is 22 pages, and I didn't enter it; the other 5 are all short, and were entered.) Chavey 00:36, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

The book is available at the Internet Archive so an alternative approach would be to use links (ex. Todlin Island). -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:14, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. I had only checked Gutenberg. Chavey 03:41, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Cloning Help (and more)

[Edit: "import from" seems to be what I need in this case, rather than clone, though I can't edit anything but page numbers until it's approved (? this is really inefficient and time consuming and puts in bad data before it can be made right) but if I needed to clone, the following question still applies. As do all the subsequent ones.]

A trade paper edition of an anthology already exists with a basically empty item. The hard cover version is complete. I'd like to clone the hc and tweak from there. Do I need to delete the tp or will changing the hc just slot into the existing tp? Or is this even the right way to go in the first place?

And, incidentally, why is the cloning help page so brief and, when I search for "clone" on the wiki, I get a bunch of administrivia pages and don't even get that cloning page, much less any additional info?

Hm. And, similar to the cloning issue, if I were to use the original tp item and add stories to it, do I just put in titles and dates as best I can and hope they "connect" to pre-existing story entries or is there a way to "bring in" items that already exist. For instance, if someone has a 2000-01 entry for a story because their copyright page says one thing, and I enter 2000-02 because my copyright page says another, doesn't this create an erroneous "alternate" version? And, if so, how would you know it had happened? I'm sure this is ISFDB 101 but I'm just not seeing the info. There's actually too much help and not enough, at the same time. Hard to see the forest for the trees. --J-Sun 20:52, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

1) About cloning, I think you've answered your question in the edit. Cloning should not be used to "fix" a record that's already in the database, unless there is so much wrong with it that it would be better to delete it and start from scratch. Otherwise, cloning is used to create a new record. About your concern in the edit to your message, importing is a separate function. It's done with the understanding that you've already edited the publication. It's used only to add contents.
Okay. I did get most of that when I thought about the importing but part of the help is clearer now when it talks about "adding" stuff. So edit the original title as much as it needs and then import from that and it will add into the title you're importing to. I think I got it. --J-Sun 00:58, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
2) The reason the help page for cloning is so brief: there's not much more necessary to know. It's a matter of bringing up a pre-filled edit screen. At that point, you need to know how to edit, and that's why there's a link on that help page to the help page for editing.
Right - since importing was what I wanted, there is no info about a two-or-more-step process like in Help:How_to_change_a_story_in_a_collection. That was based on my initial misunderstanding. --J-Sun 00:58, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
3) Under the content section of a pub edit, the "Add Title" link creates a new record. It will not be automatically "connected" to any matching existing record. After the submission is accepted, you can go back and merge the two records. You have the option to import individual title records (the lower half of the import function screen), and these would be automatically merged. When merging records, difference in the fields must be reconciled. If you're certain that your date field is correct, then you would choose to accept that field, which becomes the date of the merged title record.
Okay. But the answer to part of my question then is "you can't know" if you've accidentally created a mess and so you'd have to go check up on them to see if any merges were needed? --J-Sun 00:58, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, you do have to go back to see if any titles you've added are already in the database and require merging. There's a quick way to find them: on the author's summary page click on the link "Check for Duplicate Titles" which will find identical matches for same-typed records. (It won't match an essay and a shortfiction piece if they're identically titled.) You will have to manually compare the two records, and reconcile any differences, before making the submission to merge them. Mhhutchins 01:11, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Okay, good tip. Thanks. That is unfortunate. It'd be nice if, on submitting, it would respond with a "these duplicate titles were detected". Basically a "Check for Duplicates" based on what you'd entered vs. the previous author pages. In a big anthology with 30-40 authors, that's a lot of duplicate checking. ;) --J-Sun 02:30, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the help pages are plenty and pack-filled. If you can't find the help you're looking for, well, that's what this page is for. Thanks. Mhhutchins 23:48, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Changing Series Type

If something is listed as a 'Fiction Series" when it's an "Anthology Series" how is this corrected? Again, can't find any help info and the forms are non-obvious, as the type of series isn't present on the Edit Title Data of the constituents or the Edit Series of the series, itself.

(I agree with the person who said adding (or, worse, editing) data can be kinda crazy.) --J-Sun 21:06, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

The display of series categories is controlled by the system. You can't correct them. If there is a mixture of novels, anthologies, and collections in the same series, it will be displayed as a "Fiction Series". If there are only anthologies in the series, then it will be displayed as an "Anthology Series". Please give specifics and I can determine if the system has made an error. Mhhutchins 23:51, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Sorry - the Dozois page shows Good Stuff as a Fiction Series when it's an Anthology series. The two individual titles are both anthologies and they are collected in an omnibus.
(Even if it were a mix, I wouldn't think "fiction series" would be right - an independent novel and an independent collection wouldn't form a fiction series like a trilogy would, but would just be an omnibus. Maybe I'm misunderstanding there.)
[Edit: maybe that's it - The Good Stuff (omnibus) is described as being in that series when it should just be a non-series omnibus just like, e.g., Exploring the Horizons? But it does contain two (loose, informal) series books, so I don't know. --J-Sun 00:48, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
"Fiction" is a generic word that includes novels, short stories, poems, etc. So it's perfectly natural to use "Fiction series" for essentially anything that doesn't include non-fiction. There has been some specialization, so that if a series consists only of anthologies, or of short stories, then it's listed that way. That is the correct thing to do. However, in this particular case the software doesn't notice that an omnibus of only anthologies is, essentially, another anthology. That might be a reasonable Feature Request to add. Chavey 03:51, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
My problem is that it looks like Dozois wrote those books. There is no logical way to distinguish between a "fiction series" he edited and one he wrote. If I'm looking for anthologies and didn't know better, I'd miss them, the same as if mixed series by an author showed up under "anthology series" and I were looking for stuff written by him. I agree that anthologies are full of fiction, of course, but it messes up the author/editor distinction that should be present. And, indeed, an omnibus of anthologies is still an anthology, but that's a slightly different aspect. Still, I'll look into making a feature request, thanks. --J-Sun 19:34, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, in making the ticket and thinking about it some more, I realize that the "fiction series" thing is making only a content-type distinction but there's a category failure where it should be making a creator distinction. If collections and anthologies are distinct (both just "collections" of stories but the latter edited and containing multiple authors), then both omnibuses and series need to be distinguished, too. The ISFDB software is making a constituent distinction without making the same conglomerate distinction. Anthologies should go under anthology series and omnibuses should be distinguished into "anthology omnibus" and "fiction omnibus". I realize that there could be mixed things that will have to fall into one thing or another and levels of distinction that get overly refined and fairly useless but this seems necessary. --J-Sun 19:50, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
The "Fiction" series on the Dozois page is a mix of anthologies and omnibus, so it displays as I described. I see no reason why the omnibus should not be considered in the series, since it includes the other two works in the series. Mhhutchins 06:58, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the omnibus should be "in series" - I was just speculating about ways to avoid it showing up in "fiction series" and saying neither was a good solution. --J-Sun 19:34, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I believe that the word "author" may be one of causes for confusion. The ISFDB uses it to refer to the person(s) responsible for the publication. So an artist can be the "author" of a book of his art (for example here), an artist is the "author" of the piece of interior art which is published in a magazine (for example, here), and an editor can be the "author" of a book of nonfiction works by other authors (for example, here). Yes, Mr. Dozois may not have "wrote" those anthologies, but he is their "author" and the responsible party. I suppose the person(s) who designed the ISFDB software could have gone with a different name for the field, but something like "creator" just doesn't seem right.
Perhaps the software can be tweaked to change the display of such mixed series based on the various combinations. In the case of the Dozois anthologies, a mix of ANTHOLOGY and OMNIBUS could be displayed under "Anthology Series", just as currently a mix of MAGAZINE EDITOR and ANTHOLOGY records is displayed as a "Magazine Editor Series" (for example here). What do you think, Ahasuerus? Mhhutchins 22:34, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
OMNIBUSes are clearly outliers in our display system in that they can contain NOVELs, COLLECTIONS, NONGENRE, NONFICTION, SHORTFICTION and ANTHOLOGY items, which makes it hard to determine their proper placement. We already have a Bug report because "Series with non-genre works + omnibus [are] listed as genre", so it's been a known issue for some time.
I could try to tweak the current display logic and make it examine every OMNIBUS before determining where to display it. However, the Summary page is due for a rewrite, so it would be a better use of development resources to incorporate this feature request in the new design. Ahasuerus 01:24, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

The Strange Case of Cavendish

I'd like to list the latest issue of the fanzine Blood 'N' Thunder. It has a number of articles relevant to this site, but most importantly, it contains the complete novel The Strange Case of Cavendish by Randall Parrish, which is described as an eerie adventure, and which may have some supernatural elements. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any hard plot descriptions dealing with this novel. If anybody has any real information about it could they drop me a note on my "My Messages" page? MLB 03:05, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Looks like a non-genre story. Details on your message board. Chavey 15:33, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Changing Wrong Story Lengths

What do we do when a magazine lists a story with the wrong story length? In the 31st Dozois, Reynolds' "A Map of Mercury" (13pp, excluding Dozois' intro) is listed as a novelette while Dubois' "Hard Stars" (15pp, excluding Dozois' intro) is listed as a short story. This obviously can't be right and my word count estimations make Dubois' clearly a novelette. Assuming the FSF listing is correct and the magazine, itself, is wrong, what should be done?

(And does anyone have a good word count estimate on the Reynolds? Using one estimate, it is just barely over novelette and, using another, is just barely under. It feels kind of like a very long short story rather than a very short novelette, but I don't know.) --J-Sun 18:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

If you have an electronic version of the story and can do an exact word count, update the title record and give your count method in the Note field. You can also use this Google docs word count estimator (you must have a Google account to access it.) Page count should only be used cautiously. There are too many variables. "A Map of Mercury" was 24 pages in its original publication and "Hard Stars" was 21 pages. When a magazine categorizes a work, we take that without question, until a word count proves it is wrong. In that case, update the title record with the correct designation and note the discrepancy with the magazine's designation. Mhhutchins 19:12, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but the 24/21 were different publications. The 13/15 is the same publication and the short story is longer than the novelette. I know that, even then, different authors may tend to use shorter or longer words or more or less dialog and so on, but it would take some extremes of them to make that come out right. But, given mag priority and my lack of digital copy, I'll have to leave it as is. Thanks for the info. --J-Sun 22:35, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
The reason I brought up the page counts of the first publications of the stories was a caution against using page counts to determine the length designation. Try using the word count estimator that I linked to above. Mhhutchins 23:34, 29 July 2014 (UTC)