User:MartyD/ProposedDateHelp

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The text below has been moved to the official Template:PublicationFields:Date as of 2022-02-12. --MartyD 12:38, 12 February 2022 (EST)

Here is the third draft of proposed help text for publication dating, to replace Template:PublicationFields:Date. See this Rules & Standards discussion for background. Please enter comments on the discussion page.

Ideas for shortening / text reduction especially wanted!



  • Date - The date of publication, in the form YYYY-MM-DD. The list below provides instructions for how to determine the date. DO NOT GUESS. Some date handling details are different for different types of publications. See Dating Periodicals and Dating Books for handling details specific to those publication types.
    • General Publication Date Policy - The ISFDB records a publication's date, as best it can be determined, according to the following general rules:
      • Start with the publication's stated publication date as the basis unless known to be/demonstrably for another printing or a misprint, in which case the inappropriate date should be recorded in the publication notes and otherwise treated as if absent.
      • A missing date, or a correction for an inappropriate date, may be supplied from secondary sources, as long as the source is recorded in the publication notes, along with the publication's original statement (or lack thereof). See Secondary Sources of Dates.
      • The base date optionally may be made more precise (e.g., supplying the month or day of publication) using information from a secondary source, if that source's date is otherwise consistent with publication's stated date. The source, and which details of the date were obtained from that source, must be recorded in the publication notes. See Secondary Sources of Dates.
      • Discrepancies between the publication's stated date and dates from secondary sources should be recorded in the publication notes.
    • Partial/Incomplete Dates - If the day or month is not known, use 00 in its place. Examples:
              1956-00-00 - "Published 1956"
              1956-11-00 - "Published November, 1956"
              1956-11-26 - "Published November 26, 1956"
    • Future Publication Dates - ISFDB captures records for some publications that have been announced for release in the future.
      • New publications announced for the near future (within the next 90 days) should be given that future publication date.
      • Do not create records for newly announced publications scheduled for release more than 90 days into the future, as these plans often change.
      • New publications announced for the future but with an unstated or unknown release date should be given the date 9999-00-00. Do not use this if the date is stated or known, and do not use this as a substitute or placeholder for a publication with an announced date more than 90 days into the future.
    • No Publication Date - When a publication's date is unknown or unavailable, use one of these special date values:
      • 0000-00-00 - The publication date is unknown
      • 8888-00-00 - The publication was announced (to be released in the past) but was not published.
      • 9999-00-00 - The publication has been announced (to be released in the future), with no known scheduled release date.
    • Dating Periodicals - Except for reprints (see Periodical Reprints), use the issue's "cover date", regardless of when the issue became available. The date usually appears on the cover or web page.
      • If more than one month is stated, use the earliest year and month. E.g. "December 1959/January 1960" should be entered as "1959-12-00".
      • For cover dates that cannot be assigned to a specific month, use the year only. E.g. "Spring 1943" should be entered as "1943-00-00".
      • If a more specific publication date consistent with the cover date is available, that may be used, as long as its source is recorded in the publication notes.
      • Periodical Reprints should be given the date of the publication of the reprinting, with the source of the date recorded in the publication notes. Follow the instructions in Dating Books.
      • Discrepancies between the cover date and any other source of date should be recorded in the publication notes.
    • Dating Books - Follow the General Publication Date Policy, and see Secondary Sources of Dates for more information about other sources of dates. A source used that is not the publication itself must be recorded in the publication notes, and recording of the book's actual statement (or lack thereof) is strongly encouraged.
      • Try to find a statement (often on the verso of the title page) that says something like "Published in June 2001"; the copyright date is often misleading, since works can be reprinted or copyrighted before publication. Also, some reprints reproduce the original publication date statement instead of providing an updated date for the reprinted edition. See Book Reprints for more information about identifying and dating reprints.
      • Sometimes a publication date is represented as a series of two-digit numbers on the verso of the title page, e.g., "98 99 00 01 02 03", which is shorthand for "1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003". The earliest date in the list applies to this printing. Later dates do not indicate that future printings are planned or scheduled. Whether such a number line refers to publication date or reprint number may be ambiguous (e.g., "01 02 03 04 05"), and care must be taken when assessing the meaning.
      • If there is a single statement about simultaneous publication in multiple locales but with differing dates, use the earliest date if this record is for all of the locales, and use the locale-specific date if this record is for just one of the locales. E.g., "Published in the USA March 1990 and Canada April 1990" should be entered as "1990-03-00" if this single record represents both locales or just the USA edition and should be entered as "1990-04-00" if this record represents just the Canada edition.
      • If multiple dates are stated, other than in the context of simultaneous publication in different locales, use the most recent date stated unless that is determined to be inappropriate (in which case, treat the date as missing and record that determination in the notes). The earlier dates in this list are a record of publication dates for earlier printings, and this publication's statement may be used as a Secondary Source of dates for other records in the database.
      • Book Reprints - The ISFDB records each different reprint of a publication, since there can be some significant differences between them, such as cover art, or price.
        • The date recorded should be the publication date of the reprint, not of the original edition.
        • Look out for signs that this is a reprint, such as a series of numbers at the bottom of the verso of the title page whose lowest number is higher than "1" (e.g. "3 4 5 6 7 8 9" indicates a third printing), a list of previous publication dates, or differences in price/cover/ancillary content between this publication and similar publications.
        • If you know, or suspect, you are holding a reprint, try to assess the likelihood that any stated date applies to this specific printing. If there is a stated date, and it does not seem suspect, use it. If the stated date is suspect and/or there is no way to determine the date, use one of the special date values described in No Publication Date. Here are some examples of indications about a stated date's reliability:
          • Suggesting reliable: The publication also lists past publication dates, the stated date is later than dates for previous printings, a later printing's list of previous printings corroborates this printing's statement.
          • Suggesting suspect: The stated date is earlier than a stated date on contained material (ads, artwork, sometimes an introduction), contained advertising lists for sale publications not available at the stated date, the identical statement in another printing is known to be incorrect, multiple printings (especially with different prices) state the same date.
    • Discrepancies Between Stated Date and Reality - Publication date does not always perfectly match the calendar date. For example, a January issue of a magazine is usually available in December of the previous year, and often earlier than that. Books with a January publication date may often be bought in the closing weeks of the prior year; they will show the later year's copyright date, even though that year has not yet started. In these cases, the convention is to use the official publication date rather than to try to identify when a book actually first became available. If there is a large discrepancy -- for example if a book was printed but unexpectedly delayed before release -- then this can be noted in the notes field.
    • Secondary Sources of Dates - A "secondary" source is any source other than the publication itself. Dates, and date details, may be obtained from any of the following secondary sources, as long as the source and the publication's original statement are recorded in the notes. Editors are encouraged to provide page numbers or (stable) links for the secondary source information, where available. This list is roughly in descending order of how authoritative ISFDB considers them. For sources other than those with first-hand involvement, bibliographic databases and library catalogs are usually more authoritative than other sources, such as reviews or interviews. Also, databases and catalogs in the same country or region as the publication are usually more authoritative than databases and catalogs based elsewhere. Editors are strongly encouraged to seek independent corroboration of dates from sources lower in the list.
      • First-hand participant (publisher, editor, author, contributor, artist) website/blog/catalog
      • A later printing/edition's historical publication statement
      • Other bibliographic databases and library catalogs, such as the ISFDB Verification Sources (list and details)
      • Second-hand participant (new book seller website/catalog, new book announcement/list, new book review, etc.)
      • Calculation based on codes, known announcement + publication timings, etc. (e.g., for book clubs)
      • Other sources, such as interviews and used book seller websites/catalogs