ISFDB talk:Proposed Design Changes

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New fields: first printing date

From a discussion here: Hopefully, Some day we will be able to enter the first printing date and printing # into ISFDB. At that point the 0000-00-00 for the printing date will become less onerous as the display code will be able to sort by the first printing date and printing # if the printing date is not available. Both 'first printing' and 'this printing' dates should be available. --Roglo 11:40, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)

New fields: Title problems

Help page states: Symbols and punctuation. Strange symbols should be entered if appropriate typographical characters exist. If not, do what you can and make a note as necessary on the wiki page. For example, John Varley's story "Press Enter" is often titled with a black rectangle, indicating a computer cursor, at the end. Other characters should be entered in Unicode if possible; this includes accented characters, and symbols such as em-dashes. [ . . . ] Em-dashes should be entered directly adjacent to the words on both sides. Hyphens and spaces make different titles: "Hell Fire", "Hellfire", and "Hell-Fire" are three different titles, and should be entered as such. If you are using a Windows computer, you can use the Windows Character Map to enter unusual characters; . . .

However, there are problems with searching such 'Unicode using' titles. Perhaps we could have a second field for keeping a 'simplified' title for searching, and use the 'regular' title_title field for presentation? 'Simplified' would mean: remove punctuation; remove special symbols, transliterate non-ASCII chars. Currently we can't find 'Mr. Norrell' if we search for 'Mr Norrell'. (Is it possible to resolve on index level?) --Roglo 11:55, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)

Roles: a subject

Roles could be used also to point to a subject of the work: e.g. an author on a photograph; a book about the author. I added a few author's photographs (as INTERIORARTs in Interzone) but you have to search them by title (Photo: Author's Name). --Roglo 13:26, 29 Jan 2008 (CST)

See #Subject below. -DES Talk 14:47, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

"Based on"

This excahnge is copied from ISFDB:Community Portal#Synopsis becauise it is directly on-topic here. -DES Talk 09:22, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

This issue has come up before, but I don't think an elegant solution has been found yet. When two+ variant titles represent the same text, it doesn't make sense to have separate Tags, Votes, Notes, Synopsis etc fields for each Title record. If anything, it can be misleading and confusing, resulting in data duplication and dispersion. On the other hand, if we allow variant titles that represent related but different texts ("abridged", "restored", "revised", etc), then it's entirely possible and even likely that we will need to populate these fields with different information. I suspect that until this underlying issue is addressed, there will be ambiguity about the use of Title level fields in the context of variant Titles. Ahasuerus 20:59, 30 Jan 2008 (CST)

It is my view that the ideal design would be to have some sort of relationship field, so that when one title is an abridgment, expansion, revision, etc of another title, or is "based on" another title in some way (such as a fixup), two separate non-variant title records can be linked via the relationship. (See ISFDB:Proposed Design Changes#Based on for more detail. Of course, this requires code changes, and may not be feasible. Expanding the use of variant titles to cover this would be possible, but it would not handle the fixup situation, nor the case where a work is significantly expanded with no change of title. I agree that we can't settle the use of fields in variant title records until we decide finally what they are and are not to be used for. I also agree that if variant titles are only to be used for essentially identical texts, then there is no reason for a separate synopsis field, or separate tags. However, even then a separate notes field might help to document the circumstances in which the variant title appeared. -DES Talk 10:52, 31 Jan 2008 (CST)
We have been discussing adding a new "based on" one-to-many relationship field to link fixup novels with the stories that they were based on. We have also considered adding another one-to-one relationship field to describe the nature of the relationship between Variant Titles, e.g. "abridged", "revised", etc. What you seem to be proposing is adding only one new one-to-many relationship field that would cover the "based on" type of relationships as well the "abridged"/"revised"/etc type of relationships (and breaking the currently existing variant title relationships between all non-identical titles).
Sounds quite promising, but we'll need to run it by Al and consider all structural and display implications of the design change. <wanders off to play with data elements> Ahasuerus 04:27, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)
Yes that is my suggestion, made in ignorance of the detailed code and structural implications It seems to em that functionally they are versions of the same thing. in particular, a fixup may also be an expansion, as it often adds new content, or a revision. However, if it seems better to implement this as two distinct relationships, and use variant title for revisions, expansions, abridgments that do not involve multiple parts, so be it. Note that if variant titles are used for such cases we need to account for situations in which the actual title is changes, and other situations in which it is not. I am going to copy this exchange over to ISFDB talk:Proposed Design Changes and hope for more discussion there. -DES Talk 09:22, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)

End of excahnge copied from the communiuty portal. -DES Talk 09:22, 1 Feb 2008 (CST)


When a books is clearly "about" an author or another work, there ought ideally to be an indication of this fact, from both sides of the relationship. A critical story of an author's work, or a biography or a bibliography, should link to the author (or artist) that is the subject of the work, and the authors page should display a list of "Works about this author". Similarly, a critical study of a particular work of fiction (There are LOTS of these about Tolkien's works, and a number about other works of SF) should link to the title record of that work, much like a review does, and be displayed there, much like a review. This might function something like the "based on" concept discussed at ISFDB:Proposed Design Changes#Based on. There would probably need to be some sort of interface (radiom buttons, a check box, or a pull-down) to indicate if the subject is a person or a title -- then the record number could be used to define the target without ambiguity. See ISFDB:Help desk#Painter != author? for one discussion in which a subject field would have been very welcome. -DES Talk 14:44, 3 July 2009 (UTC)