ISFDB:Moderator noticeboard/Archive 06


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This is an archive page for the Moderator noticeboard. Please do not edit the contents. To start a new discussion, please click here.
This archive includes discussions from February - April 2009.

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Expanded archive listing


Pushing Ice

Submitted a new pub, 2nd printing of Reynold's "Pushing Ice" and forgot to '0000' the date. ~Bill, --Bluesman 16:54, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Done, assuming you meant this one. BLongley 17:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Land of the Headless

Submitted two edits for LNDFTHHDLS2007 Please reject the first; forgot the source for the month. Thanks. ~Bill, --Bluesman 17:16, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Too late! Both have been approved. You'll just have to live with it being correct now. (Well, the note is correct - whether "Month of publication from AMAZON" is a good move is another matter.) BLongley 17:55, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Fall-back reference until LOCUS gets caught up! And I try to use only the month, not the day. ~Bill, --Bluesman 18:59, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Bagumbo Snuff Box

Submitted a title update for BGMSNFBX1999 REJECT!!!.... moment of extreme non-sentience. My Vonnegut headache is coming back. If he wasn't already dead I'd kick his butt for changing his name......... ~Bill, --Bluesman 06:38, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

There were three updates which all tried to modify Bagombo Snuff Box and its contents in various ways. I rejected all three to be on the safe side. The Amazon URL was // and the Notes section read:
  • ©1999 No statement of edition. First printing, full number line 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Month of publication from the code 9908 on the inside front flap and LOCUS. • Jacket design and illustration © 1999 Paul Bacon. • $34.99 in Canada. • LCCN: 99-13665
Ahasuerus 06:51, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Only the Title submission was bad, I think. Just trying to get rid of the "Jr." Since this is the only pub of this title thought I could just change it in place. The Introduction and Coda are written for this book but all the rest of the contents were written while still "Jr.". Then he writes in the Coda that he did 'minor' edits on some stories and major rewrites on three (at least these he mentions by name). Eliminating the "Jr." from the intro and Coda seems easy enough, but the revised stories? "TITLE (revised)" comes to mind, then no variant or merge? ~Bill, --Bluesman 16:59, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Fixer upgrades

Fixer has learned a few new tricks:

  • Apostrophe/quotes issues have been fixed -- please let me know if you find any problems
  • Amazon's accent-less records for "China Miéville" and similar authors are not automatically merged with their accents-enabled siblings
  • A big warning appears when a book is marked "Import" by Amazon. This usually means that the price will be incorrect, but sometimes Amazon's clerks err and use "Import" gratuitously, so exercise caution
  • Amazon-provided formats (e.g. "Large Print") are now added to Notes. Except "Bargain Price", which is ignored
  • Items marked as maps, "*.exe"s, calendars and NTSC are no longer submitted
  • "MP3 Audio" and "CD" are used as the binding if no other binding information is available
  • "General" and "General AAS" browse nodes have been removed from Moderator Notes

Ahasuerus 04:59, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Another double-quote problem

I've just noticed that some of my publication fixes are introducing a different problem, in a field I wasn't adjusting. :-(

If a pub has a binding like 5½" x 8½" then a pub-edit submission will cut off the binding at the first double-quote, and the publication will end up with a binding of "5½". The good news is that you CAN edit it back to 5½" x 8½" in another edit. I've no idea why one edit loses info and another keeps it. This is probably a recorded bug but it just caught me out so I thought I'd give it a mention. Maybe we should have another good look at allowable binding values? BLongley 21:59, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

There are a few known issues with quotes and ampersands in certain fields, e.g. ampersands break the Price field (Python error) and double quotes break Author fields (truncated author names). It really needs to be fixed in the software, I am afraid :(
In other news, Fixer has now submitted the rest of Tor books (201 of them) from Amazon US. I will be busy reconciling Amazon US and Amazon UK data for the next few days, so at least it will give other moderators something to much on. Ahasuerus 23:23, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

"Alibrarian" lives!

He's back, as of 2009-02-13 13:57:27, still hasn't looked at his talk page. Anyone got any new ideas on attracting his attention? BLongley 20:02, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

If any of their submissions have problems I would suggest posting the problem to their page and giving them a set amount of time to reply before the submission is rejected. The last time through many of the submissions were for author data and a number of them had formatting errors such as legal names that were not last name, first name.--swfritter 01:12, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
You all got my attention by rejecting an edit with the message "You have messages - Please visit the ISFDB-Wiki to read them" or something to that effect. Has that not been effective in this case? Kevin 16:37, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
It's a standard technique with new editors and we tried it about a dozen times last year, but no luck :( Ahasuerus 18:12, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I also discovered, that unlike many ISFDB fields, that you can't use HTML in the reject notes. A while back I tried to reject with a direct link to someone's talk page but it didn't work and the rejectee gets the raw HTML. --Marc Kupper|talk 08:49, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Diamond Mask

Submitted two edits for BKTG10498. Please reject the first as I forgot to put in the month of publication. Thanks ~Bill, --Bluesman 20:49, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Done! MHHutchins 21:24, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Alexander Blade - Summary Bibliography

Something's gone wrong here. There was a circular reference - Henry S. Lewis was "Used As Alternate Name By: Alexander Blade" and "Used These Alternate Names: Alexander Blade" and I fixed that by renaming all Henry S. Lewis titles aside and back again, but Alexander Blade now shows as "Used These Alternate Names:" (nothing) BLongley 22:51, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I believe this is a known problem -- when an Author record is auto-deleted, the deletion process doesn't clean up its associated pseudonym pointers. Ahasuerus 01:51, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's a major problem if both ends are broken, the author ids aren't reused are they? But it's a slight anomaly if one end is still present. Is it broken both ways or just one - e.g. does author deletion leave links to the deleted author and from the deleted author, or is it half tidied up? In this case links to the deleted author seem to still remain, I'm not sure of the other way though. BLongley 19:29, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think any IDs are re-used, so we should be safe in that respect. As far as I know, the only problem that the broken link causes is an empty "Used These Alternate Names:" line, which is unfortunate, but not fatal. Ahasuerus 02:00, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I think I've answered my own question. Thomas Locke has a stray "Used As Alternate Name By:" so it goes both ways. Ah well, no biggy. BLongley 20:25, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

and is refusing to show most of his titles. They're still there (if you click the "titles" link in "Editing Tools:") and they appear in all the right pubs, but I'm unable to see where the problem is. Maybe after I load today's backup tomorrow. In the meantime, any clues are welcome. :-/ BLongley 22:51, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, "Alexander Blade" was a house name, so "his" variant titles appear on their real authors' Summary pages. As soon as the last Alexander Blade two essays are turned into Variant Titles, the big "Pseudonym. See:" line will appear and point to a list of all known Authors who used this house name. Ahasuerus 01:51, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
OK, there was possibly something especially wrong before then, as the number of titles on his page reduced more than I expected. Although I suppose I might have misremembered, I only expected one Henry Lewis title to go and feel there might have been more than that. BLongley 19:29, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
By the way, Blade is one of the examples where people have made him a variant of "unknown". I don't like this - it seems defeatist and suggests we never will discover who wrote a story. I'm currently not "fixing" pseudonyms of unknown to make them disappear into "Pseudonym. See:" - I don't think anyone will ever look at unknown and try to resolve them so it seems to be hiding the problems. Is anyone doing this? If not, can we remove the pseudonyms of "unknown" only from the list of authors needing a look? (I think swfritter and I would like artists and 0000-00-00 titles excluded from consideration too, but I suspect the adjusted queries would have severe performance problems.) BLongley 19:29, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I don't think there is a simple solution in this case. The problem with leaving unattributed Titles by a known house name like Alexander Blade alone is that they make the Summary page look as if the name was used by a real person called "Alexander Blade" as well as by a number of other writers. Since it's not an unheard of scenario -- see V. C. Andrews for an all too well known example -- it can be hard to tell whether the name belonged to a real person or whether it was a house name.
The obverse side of the coin is that, as Bill pointed out, an "unknown" VT effectively buries the Title and, in addition, creates a Pseudonym association which our software won't let us delete once the real author of the story is identified. I guess you just can't win with this class of cases, at least not until Al comes back and adds support for (occasionally requested) "pseudonym bibliographies". Ahasuerus 02:56, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Bad Checksum

This pub comes up with that warning, yet the ISBN checks out on AMAZON search, Locus1 and using Marc Kupper's ISBN tracker......? ~Bill, --Bluesman 20:50, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Not sure about Marc's tracker or Amazon, but it will show up on Locus1 because they record the actual number printed in the book, regardless of whether it's a valid ISBN. In this case, Arbor House printed an invalid number (meaning the last number doesn't match the first nine.) You can get rid of the warning by placing a # sign before the number. The record already has a note about the number being as stated in the book. That's about all we can do. Some dealers have given this pub the ISBN 0-87795-577-8, because their system will not allow bookdealers to enter an invalid ISBN (I thought Amazon did the same.) I don't suggest we do it here on the ISFDB, but that's been debated in the past, without any definite resolution. MHHutchins 21:02, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
You added a note that this pub can be pulled up on Amazon and that Marc's ISBN checker shows it is a good number. I tried an Amazon search and it came back empty. Also used the search from the pub record's page (try the Amazon link in the menu), and got an error message. I also tried Marc's linker and it also showed an error. MHHutchins 21:27, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm a big fan of using a working ISBN (when findable) and recording the misprint on the book in notes. But 0877955578 is wrong, and so is 0877955573 (which is what people try when they're told the check-digit is wrong, rather than directing them to any other digit that might be in error.) It's the right prefix for Arbor House though. BLongley 23:05, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the "Marc's ISBN checker shows it is a good number" comment. Assuming you are using then 0-87795-557-8 reports an error and the link to Amazon reports a 404 (document not found).
As Bill noted - Going by just the error message and correcting the 8 to a 3 is not always the correct fix and in fact doing so links to another book. Searching Amazon for Arbor in 1985 and then June 1984 confirms that 0-87795- is the correct publisher prefix and that they were using 0-87795-5xx-x at the time with some of June's books being 572, 594, and 598.
I then used the ISBN linker to check for possible single digit errors. 0877951578 is another book, 0877955778 is Conglomeroid Cocktail Party by Robert Silverberg which is what we want, and there's no valid ISBNs for 0-87795-55?-8. I also checked for a transposition of 557 into 575 but that gets an error.
If the publication record is to be believed then the publication states 0-87795-557-8 and the correct ISBN seems to be 0-87795-577-8. AbeBooks for 577 finds 12 copies. Two of them are listings where the dealers appear reliable and neither reports anything about 0-87795-575-8. Both of them report Arbor house with one reporting 1st per # line. Thus it seems Arbor did editions with 0-87795-577-8.
Bluesman, what do you mean by "the ISBN checks out on ..., Locus1?" Locus reports the ISBN as 0-87795-577-8. Google finds ISFDB:Bad ISBN List where we already had this conversation. :-)
I suspect the book states 0-87795-577-8 and that someone made a data entry error into ISFDB. I went ahead with changing the ISBN but also added a note. --Marc Kupper|talk 08:38, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I have changed the error message about the checksum to report "Error - ISBN checksum does not match". This will force people to replace the checksum with ? and the linker will calculate and display the checksum. I need to clean up the display logic for wild card mode. I took one shot at it but the code was messy and so I reverted. --Marc Kupper|talk 08:59, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

[unindent] I don't think changing the note in the pub was the right thing to do. Even though Scott Latham hasn't been participating in the Wiki for a long time, his original verifications are still valid. This very same pub was discussed when Bill Longley created his ISFDB:Bad ISBN List. I did an abebooks search as well, but not by ISBN. A search for the pub by author, title and publisher returns 73 items, and only six of them have the ISBN "corrected" to 0-87795-577-8. That left 67 dealers which had no ISBN in their listings, rather high percentage for a book published in the eighties, wouldn't you say? So I took the time to email four dealers, three that showed no ISBN and one that did. Two of the three have answered that the book had 0-87795-557-8 on the copyright page and dustjacket (just as Scott's original note stated). The one of six dealers that showed 0-87795-577-8 in their listings said his was the galley proof (which oddly wasn't stated in his listing) and that it shows the ISBN as 0-87795-577-8. I'm going to email another of the 0-87795-577-8 dealers, because I need at least one to acknowledge that a) he only listed it that way because abebooks doesn't allow an invalid number to be listed in its database, or b) that's the ISBN printed in his edition. As it stands now, we have at least three sources say the wrong ISBN is printed in the book. And it wouldn't be the first time Arbor House did it. Here's how I handled it in one of my verifications. And please don't tell me I should "correct" the ISBN for the sake of I'm tired of bowing down to the great god of commerce. When do we start changing titles and authors because they don't match Amazon's? Where would it stop? If any of our database users can't read the notes then they probably can't read the book. So why would they be looking for a copy? Rant over. MHHutchins 23:08, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Just heard back from an abebooks dealer who had 577-8 in his listing. In email in its entirety reads: "Dear Mr. Hutchins: Thank you for your inquiry. This book is available. I did not put that ISBN in the listing. That was done by ABE in some automated process. The ISBN on my copy is 557 not 577. Best wishes, Philip Core, Brillig Books." MHHutchins 23:18, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
After thinking about these problems I suspect that the underlying issue is that we use the ISBN field to do entirely too many things. Not only do we put "stated" Catalog IDs and ISBNs there (which creates an inherent conflict when a book has both), but we also expect ISBNs to work as links to other Web sites like and WorldCat. Ideally, we would have more fields, one for Catalog IDs, one for ISBNs, one for LCCNs that would link to Library of Congress (now that they have static links) and one for "corrected ISBNs", which would be used to link to Amazon, ABE and other sellers. And, of course, we would want to allow multiple Catalog IDs (for DAW and such) and multiple ISBNs (for multi-ISBN books as discussed previously). Oh well, we can dream, can't we?.. Ahasuerus 02:55, 26 February 2009 (UTC)


Submitted an edit for this and changed the name of the artist from "Rob" to "Ron" to match the credit in the book, thinking the entry in the pub record was just a typo. Locus lists it as "Rob". There are quite a few covers credited to "Rob" in the db but only one to "Ron". No bios to go on and the only WIKI hit was on the Stones' guitarist. Is the book credit the misprint? Thanks. ~Bill, --Bluesman 16:45, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

It may be a misprint, but we'll have to go with it until it's established that "Ron" and "Rob" are the same person. If they are, then we'll create a variant for the odd one. MHHutchins 17:48, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
The pb cover is the same and was verified by Kraang so I left a note asking him to check. Maybe they will have corrected it at that point. ~Bill, --Bluesman 18:14, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Claw of the Conciliator

When I opened the pub record for this the type size for everything below the notes was very tiny. Opened the record and found an incomplete html: in front of the second line there was < but no li > to complete the indent and the line was missing from the previous page. I corrected the html but until the submission is accepted can't see if that was causing the type change. ~Bill, --Bluesman 18:04, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm sure it was the open carat without a closed one that caused the font to be reduced. I recall MartyD submitting an edit for this pub earlier in the week. I usually view an approved edit, just to make sure everything's OK. That one may have slipped by me. It just goes to show how you have to be careful with HTML. There was a submission this morning which opened with <ul?> and the line bullets were outside of the display box. Also, if you don't close the HTML properly it will go into the contents area. I've seen open italics in the notes that weren't closed and all of the contents were in italics. But it happens, and hopefully it won't take long for someone to discover it. As in this case, maybe two or three days. MHHutchins 20:03, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
See, Bill? I did tell you HTML in notes was a bit dangerous. BLongley 20:07, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, the wisdom of the elder generation! Wait a minute, I am the elder generation!! ;-) ~Bill, --Bluesman 20:40, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

The In-World

Have submitted an edit to this pub and the 'tag' ends with a hyphen....?? ~Bill, --Bluesman 02:31, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd guess it should be an 8 so that it reads 1968. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:46, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
That that trailing - looked odd I decided do go ahead and changed that to an 8 meaning the publication is now at THNWRLDLNM1968. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:50, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

4 for the Future

Submitted two edits for FRFRTFT1959, please reject the first. Did not notice the title page was different than the pub record. Thanks! ~Bill, --Bluesman 14:39, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Another 'buried' pub.

I could only find this pub through a title search. It does not show up on the "Anonymous" bibliography page. ~Bill, --Bluesman 16:19, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Dug a little more and it shows up under Thomas A. Dardis, though it retains "anonymous" as the editor....? ~Bill, --Bluesman 16:23, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
It will show up under Anonymous's titles but only if you've selected to show all titles (select "Titles" under "Editing Tools") as it's been made a variant of "Beyond" by "Thomas A. Dardis", so it's no longer truly anonymous. I suspect "unknown", "anonymous", "uncredited" etc are betraying the principles of least surprise. I know I don't make anyone a pseudonym of or for any of these any more, it confuses me. BLongley 20:57, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Escaping an Apostrophe in an Authors name?

I think I need a Mod to fix up this pub. See The High Frontier. The Title Author Gerard K. O'Neill link works, but the publication author Gerard K. O'Neill link does not...and takes me to a page for "Gerard K. O’Neill". If I go to the Publication record THHGHFRNTR1976 The Author link works. I think I must have used the wrong apostrophe / single quote somewhere. Thanks - 01:49, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

I am afraid it's a known bug. Author names with embedded apostrophes are not linked correctly for Publication records when displayed on Title pages, e.g. see this Title. None of the 5 Author links work in the Publication section, but all of them work just fine if you drill down to the individual Publication pages. Ahasuerus 01:57, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

The Day the Martians Came - Collection / Fixup - Mixup

This pub BKTG13532 in this title 11823 is not clonable due to a type mismatch and also I cannot remove the dummy novel contents. I imagine its due to someone shoehorning a collection into a novel record. Per Locus and per my SFBC Edition (#14491) this Title should be a collection, not a fixup novel. I'm not sure how to fix it. I pass it into your capable hands. Kevin 04:21, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

I've changed it back to collection as it was when I entered my copy. Should be cloneable now, but get in quick before someone else changes it back. BLongley 18:27, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! Kevin 04:26, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Change in display of Magazine Editor Series

Over the past few weeks Rtrace has been adding the ten issues of The Arkham Collector, after which I created a magazine series, into which I placed August Derleth's editor title records. Well, today I approved his submission for a bound collection of the ten issues, which he had placed into the OMNIBUS type (something I wasn't crazy about to start with, see this discussion). After approving it, I also placed it into The Arkham Collector series. Now the individual issues appear on Derleth's summary page as a fiction series (which they really aren't), with an additional link to the series under Magazine Editor category (but no titles). Was this caused by placing an omnibus (typically fiction) into a series with editor records? I'm thinking about doing a little experiment with the title record for the bound collection, changing it to non-fiction for instance to see if the editor records will return to the correct category on Derleth's page. Is this a known bug? Thanks. MHHutchins 06:59, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

After the experimenting I discovered that changing the title record of the bound collection to NONFICTION and ANTHOLOGY moved the series back to the correct category. Changing it to COLLECTION and returning it to its original type as OMNIBUS moves the series to fiction series. Any suggestions about how this title record should actually be typed? MHHutchins 07:04, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Considering the notorious vagueness of our categories, we might want to prioritize for display over accuracy of nomenclature especially since this a rare instance.--swfritter 01:04, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
P.S. This software behavior is actually by design, although in retrospect the design's implementation was incomplete. If you look at Piers Anthony's Summary page, you will notice that Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth appears in the main Xanth series even though it's NONFICTION. The idea was to make series-related NONFICTION Titles appear within the core fiction series rather than in a different part of the Web page under NONFICTION. Unfortunately, the software was never cleaned up, so it also displays "Xanth" as an empty NONFICTION series. Similarly, it doesn't handle EDITOR/OMNIBUS and other permutations well, so they are best avoided at this point. Ahasuerus 02:12, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
This reinforces my belief that nonfiction should not be placed into series, at least until the software can handle the display of it on summary pages. I agree with you both that display should have priority over category, at least in this instance. I'll change the bound collection to anthology, because taken as a whole the book becomes a de facto anthology (one editor, with a mixture of fiction and nonfiction by different authors.) MHHutchins 05:26, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Having worked on Fixer's latest Star Wars Nonfiction contributions, and some existing entries these revealed, I have to say that I think we need to organise the Nonfiction a bit more and series might be the way to do it. Mixing Fiction and Non-Fiction series does look awful though, as does adding Nongenre, and I think Magazine Editor merging should be totally separated from all sorts of other Series. Given other recent experiments with Chapterbooks, I think the only safe thing to do for now is keep each series restricted to one title-type. Obviously we're far too late on that in most cases - Shortfiction, Novels, Collections and Omnibuses are getting shoved into fiction series even when we can't order them. Essays and Nonfiction (and misuse of Nonfiction for contents) are getting accumulated badly. (Look at all those magazine essay series spread over variations of author names.) And Nongenre is messed up a bit too, though to a lesser extent as it is by definition excluded in most cases. But I for one have no problem with keeping Fiction, Nonfiction, and Magazines separated as far as possible for now. If there's a direct relation we'll probably see it on an author page anyway, and if not, who cares? I'm happy separating Kevin J. Anderson's Star Wars books. And I don't mind if a notable critic or sociologist doesn't get their books showing up automatically alongside the fiction they're reviewing/researching/critiquing. BLongley 22:48, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Century Rain

I've held this submission as it might annoy another moderator if approved. Basically, I've verified one of Alistair Reynolds' books as tp as it's too wide/deep to be a pb, Kraang has verified it as pb as it is still an appropriate height for pb. We did discuss it here but just left both records ( CNTRRNLRNZ2004, CNTRRNTPGD2005 ) around in the end as we couldn't agree, although neither of us really pushed the issue. Other eyes on this would be appreciated. BLongley 21:08, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

On some noticeboards I'd just say "bump" to bring it back into your attention range. As this is a wiki and we haven't got any guidelines for when it would be appropriate to reorder a discussion page, I'll just remind you that you'll never see a clear submission queue until this is resolved. Some of you might never have even seen a clear submission queue. :-) BLongley 22:22, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Please don't just reject or approve though, please say WHY. Help might need updating. BLongley 22:22, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
There are also marketing and price differences with trade paperbacks. But if you can't decide I'd say flip a coin and make sure whichever pub is kept has a note stating the size.--swfritter 22:34, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Help says "Used for anything significantly larger than a paperback". All we disagree on is whether it's larger in one dimension (as mine is) or two (as Kraang seems to want). This is a general issue. BLongley 23:03, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
If we go on to marketing differences, then the US and UK are completely different. It's often far easier to buy a tp-size paperback here as that's the one that the mass-market will supply. I can buy those in supermarkets that won't necessarily carry the pb edition, if one ever gets printed. The pb-size is the one that might only be available in a book-store. UK editions of books that are going to sell now generally go hc, tp (same size as hc but soft-bound), pb, and the price goes down for each edition. Alistair Reynolds seems to have got an exception. Iain Banks seems immune to pb-size now. BLongley 23:03, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I guess we're down to flipping a coin.--swfritter 23:19, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I own at least one of them and they are somewhat unwieldy, but I would still call them pbs, although I don't have a strong preference. The obverse side of the coin is that at least a couple of US publisher have experimented with tall and narrow paperbacks, which I'd call tps, but, again, I don't think that it is going to make a great deal of difference one way or the other. Ahasuerus 23:39, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Ask yourself where a used bookstore would shelve / price the book? Users of the database are going to be 'least surprised' by our record matching the reality of where they can find the book in a store or collection the separates publications based on size; or how a lay person would describe it. (Paperback, or Paperback like a hardcover, or Hardcover) Kevin 00:21, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't care where a bookstore puts them, if I visit one I can see what size it is. What I do care about is where I can put them. A "pb" that is too tall won't fit my shelves. Or if it's too deep/wide, I can't double-stack that shelf (for that section at least.) I think it's important that all aberrations get noted, so I prefer "tp" means "anything significantly larger than a paperback" in either dimension as I am prepared for paperbacks only and get upset if I get anything significantly larger. Bookstores tend to have shelves that can cope with anything above "normal", I don't. So I want a definition of "normal" pb I can cope with, or clarification of what other meanings "pb" might have so I can avoid them. BLongley 00:57, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, I also double-stack (773 books/bookcase at the moment) and it's true that these specimens do not play nice with others. However, there are other odd formats as well, e.g. coffee table books, encyclopedias, "armed forces" editions, that Chester Anderson book which clearly abused steroids in the past, etc. Different bookstores, libraries and private collectors have devised different mitigation strategies for different types of oddballs, so I doubt that we will be able to come up with a standard based on their practices. As long as these exceptions account for a small percentage of all cases, Notes is probably the easiest way to capture this information. Ahasuerus 16:24, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

(unindented) I just measured Alistair's books and there all about 7 inches high and 5 inches deep. This makes the height close to the 6 1/2 inch norm and the depth within 3/4 of an inch of the 4 1/4 inch norm. As far as I'm concerned this is a paperback, or if you like a slightly chubby paperback.Kraang 02:22, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

And as far as I'm concerned it's over-deep or over-wide and "significantly larger than a paperback". I'm "least surprised" when a "pb" is actually pb sized. I can cope with old Ace paperbacks being even smaller, but significantly bigger books are a NASTY surprise for me. It's at the level where I do NOT buy "tp" editions when I can buy a "pb" one. Yes, we've added notes, and I think we're right in doing that. But we have two versions where one looks normal and one is abnormal - and they're the same book. The way we use "tp" here means we're allowing all sorts of odd formats, the way we use "pb" has (mostly) made it easy to find books I want. If "pb" gets expanded to include books too deep/wide then I can no longer use a simple search for "pb". I know - that's just me complaining, and I understand other people have different views. But "pb" has been a good category for my purposes, if definitions of "pb" and "tp" start overlapping then they become meaningless. I vote "pb" for standard sizes and "tp" for all the other paperback oddities. If "pb" gets used for anything else then the category becomes useless to me. BLongley 21:20, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Since one of the dimensions is tp size I will say tp and maybe we can be done with this. This is a book that would end up in the hb section of my collection although that should not necessarily be the deciding factor. Then we need to update Help - perhaps saying that if a book is higher than 7.25" or wider than 4.5" then it should be classified as a tp.--swfritter 21:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
If my book is 7" high and 5" wide and a tp is 7.25" by 4.5", how does this turn my book into a tp? All it does is pock out a bit from the rest of my pb's on the shelf.Kraang 00:11, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree we should get this out of the way and do a strait up or down vote. This "how may devils can dance on the head of a pin" type argument are a waste of everyones time. If it gets rid of the hold I'll even vote whatever way the majority votes! Democracy in action! Ha Ha!! :-)Kraang 00:28, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Democracy is only fun when you win. You have found a way of winning even if you lose so you get to have all the fun.--swfritter 00:57, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

The Enigmas of Aldiss (and the enigma of series)

User WillemH is trying to sort out the Enigmas of Brian Aldiss by each story of the triplets their own record (God bless him for the effort). Some of them are in verified pubs, which I'm leaving alone. Among them are Bill Longley's The Shape of Sex to Come and Rkihara's F&SF, November 1974. I've placed the submissions on hold for those moderators to handle. The series changes have me stumped so I'm leaving those to anyone more experienced in them. I made a botched attempt yesterday at some of the series changes (wound up with two series with the same name, and learned you can't delete a series very easily.) Thanks. MHHutchins 19:07, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

I rename them to something that has my initials and then try to remember to use them later.--swfritter 21:25, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Wonderful idea! That way not only is there a record of your mistakes, you have to claim them.  :) It's still a great idea. It honestly never occurred to me that I could easily rename them. Another "duh" moment. Thanks. MHHutchins 21:38, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I did mine, and the series I could make sense of. Not sure of the "Diagrams For Three Stories" variant of "Diagrams for Three Enigmatic Stories" Shortfiction so I've left that. It looks like the plan is to replace the group titles with Series, which is fine, but I doubt they'll order correctly. And Series Names aren't long enough: e.g. "Three Enigmas: IV. Three Coins In Enigmatic Fountains / Three Co" might have to be "Three Enigmas: IV. Three Coins in [Enigmatic|Clockwork] Fountains" or suchlike to work. Still, a brave attempt, let's support it. BLongley 21:06, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the support. I did a last big change today, when these are verified there should be eleven subseries under the Enigma umbrella, each containing the three stories (numbered 1-3) and in some cases an introductory essay (numbered 0). Most publications that have one of the enigma's and all editions of Last Orders should be ready (I'll check them tomorrow), and some of the old storytitles can be deleted. There is still one missing enigma (published in Vector 87), and maybe some titles will have to be merged. As for "Three Coins in [Enigmatic|Clockwork] Fountains", nice suggestion, I made the change. I can't find a way to number the subseries. It would be nice to have them chronological, but so it goes... Willem H. 16:49, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd recommend adding the Vector 87 from here for now until I can find it and add page numbers. (I really did have a good hunt for it yesterday but although I've found the box of Vectors before that and another box of ones after it, I can't find that range just yet. I just believe it does exist, somewhere.) BLongley 21:37, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Make that twelve subseries. I just found another one in Common Clay (1996), but it was probably also in The Secret of This Book(1995) but no one has entered contents for that pub. Here's a dilemma: "Her Toes Were Beautiful on the Hilltops" was changed to "Her Toes Were Beautiful on the Mountains" in Common Clay (and probably in The Secret of This Book as well). The acknowledgements in Common Clay notes that it has been revised from its publication in Universe 2. Series can't have variants (and so I'm led to believe). One more dilemma: there are two records for stories titled "The Ancestral Thought of Home". The first is in the 1980 series "Three Revolutionary Enigmas" and the other one is in the 1995 series "Her Toes Were Beautiful on the Hilltops/Mountains". If these are the same stories they should be merged, but the merged record can only be in one series. Any ideas? MHHutchins 19:20, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Series variants are a No-No, hence the "Three Coins in [Enigmatic|Clockwork] Fountains" workaround and "Her Toes Were Beautiful on the Hilltops/Mountains" looks a good workaround too. I'd leave "The Ancestral Thought of Home" alone till someone can compare. BLongley 21:37, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I think my job is done. I made a few last changes, most in the Diagrams For Three (Enigmatic) Stories series. This one was published in Final Stage as Diagrams For Three Enigmatic Stories with an afterword, and reprinted in Last Orders as Diagrams For Three Stories with a foreword (two different essays!). My change to F&SF nov.74 is still pending. This enigma was reprinted in this pub, I got the titles of the stories here. Locus agrees on them, except for this one. The official Brian W. Aldiss website thinks it is "40 Million Miles from the Nearest Blonde", Locus sais "Forty Million Miles to the Nearest Blonde". I think I followed the Locus spelling, but perhaps someone can check this with the publications. I don't have them. When this is done, this title can be deleted. Thanks for the sometimes very quick verifications. Willem H. 07:32, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

It's definitely "from the Nearest Blonde" in The Shape of Sex to Come. BLongley 18:52, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem with splitting out the sub-series from group, but the group title should be left, since the sub-series are not listed in the TOC, and deleting the group title will generate a mismatch between the actual pub and database. The last triplet is titled " . . . 'from the Nearest Blonde," in F&SF.-Rkihara 21:27, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

OK, I've added a note to the group title in the magazine to prevent it being deleted. Someone let some unnecessary variants through though, so I've fixed those. The "to" version is gone, the "from" version retained, Locus got it wrong. However, it's "Forty" in mine versus "40" in the magazine (or is it?) so another variant has been created, earlier publication is the canonical one. Also, the unhyphenated "A One-Man Expedition Through Life" doesn't appear to exist, so I've removed that variant too and corrected the magazine to what the note for the group title says. Please check once more - we might have finished this at last! (For now.) BLongley 20:25, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Five more "New Writings in SF" arrived today, so I've verified a few more. Series title length is becoming an obvious problem. :-( But the first five Enigma Triplets do have numbers 1-15 (well, I-XV), which confirms our order a bit. But later ones don't. And I suspect some of our group titles are a bit miscredited (e.g. Essay by Kenneth Bulmer rather than Aldiss.) But I think we're on the right track for the actual fiction at least. BLongley 23:17, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy

I was checking this pub, and came across two essays this and this. According to the book, they are the result of a group of people meeting at Larry Niven's house, twice. They are attributed to "Report of the Committee on Space War Citizens Advisory Committee on National Space Policy" and "Weapons Committee of the Citizens’ Advisory Council on National Space Policy". I would like to have both stories as by "the Citizens’ Advisory Council on National Space Policy". Locus agrees, and makes it even shorter (Citizens’ Advisory Council). Any objections? Willem H. 17:06, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

The credit to "Report..." is obviously wrong and the second may be complete but very unwieldy. I think your choice covers both quite well, and gives more than Locus's. I say go for it. MHHutchins 19:26, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
(Though not a moderator) I concur with a simple credit to the council as a whole. I have another publication where some of their reports appear and in mine they use the term 'Systems Assessment Group' for one item, and 'Committee on Strategy' for another... switching between Groups and Committees, when in fact I believe the membership of any particular group or committee was on an ad-hoc basis and anyone could contribute anywhere they liked. So attribution to the entire 'Council' seems most appropriate. I'm comfortable with the complete 'The CAC on NSP' credit or the shorter Locus 'CAC' credit. Thanks Kevin 00:11, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Reject pending Earth Abides (RTHBDS1971) edit

Would someone please reject my pending edit from several days ago to RTHBDS1971 (seems to be id 11752), the Marc Kupper-verified, Dragoondelight transient-verified pub? It was a notes change, and I imagine you may have it on hold. In light of this discussion, I have modified the notes on the other edition I submitted (careful, there's a pending edit for that, too, but I'd like to keep it) to articulate the differences Harry and I have uncovered. I'd like to redo the pending note addition to RTHBDS1971 to be parallel to it. Thanks. --MartyD 11:27, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Done! Ahasuerus 17:05, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Down Among the Dead Men

I was checking my William Tenn collection, and came across this title. It looks like something went wrong somewhere. According to Locus Down Among the Dead Men should be the first story in the anthology "Monster Brigade 3000". However, it is listed as the title of an anthology with "Monster Brigade 3000" as the only publication. I don't know how to fix this (change the title to short fiction, unmerge something???) Can anybody look at this? Thanks Willem H. 08:57, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Short version of the story: Fixed by changing the Title Type from Anthology to Shortfiction.
Long version of the story: Unfortunately, if you pull up a Collection/Anthology publication with no Contents and try to edit it, the first Contents entry defaults to "ANTHOLOGY", which some editors forget to change to Shortfiction. It's a known headache and I really need to update my script which finds Collection/Anthology pubs with embedded extraneous Anthology Titles... Ahasuerus 17:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I have merged the two resulting versions of the story. Willem H. 18:21, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Down in the Bottomlands

Please reject my TITLE UPDATE change of this title from Anthology to Collection. I had a momentary lapse of judgement. - Thanks Kevin 20:11, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Done. BLongley 20:30, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Kevin 20:58, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Bad Record - 1632

Please see this Title Record 1632. Notice the item partway down the list of publication... it has no month of publication and appears to be a duplicate. It is a bad record. Attempting to click on the link brings up a no record found message. Notice the item is trying to link to a pub tag of "16322001" which happens to be the title + year of the work. I'm not sure how it got created, but I figured a Mod would be better suited to figuring out a way to yank it from the system (Maybe an unmerge, then a remove pubs from this title?). - Thanks Kevin 23:53, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Tags are a leftover from ISFDB-1 and tend to be a pain in the back, but they typically work. They are automatically generated for new publications using a combination of title letters, publication year, eye of newt and toe of frog. They are also editable, which opens a potentially large can of worms, but that's a separate issue. We can fix this particular problem by deleting Publication record #70, but give me a few minutes to try to figure out what caused the error in the first place... Ahasuerus 00:01, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Apparently the software doesn't like tags that consist of digits and nothing else. This affects the following Publication records:
I have edited these records' tags and they are now much happier. Now we just need to create a bug report and we should be all set. Thanks! Ahasuerus 00:21, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Kevin 01:59, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
There are issues with editing Publication Tags, so I recommend that people usually DON'T. The only other exception I've found is when there are Duplicate Tags (which causes some nasty display problems, and makes it impossible to find the right publication without an Advanced search by Tag - we once had many duplicate "DCTRWHNDTHnnnn" for "Doctor Who and the <FITB>" titles that took me days to fix) and those could only be solved by editing Tags. BLongley 20:39, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
It's rare to need to advance search by Tag for any other reason either, but I've found one recently - apparently somebody has been trying to delete Graphic Novels by Removing Pub Contents rather than deleting Pub then deleting Title? I occasionally run a script for Publications that don't have Titles, and found a few this week. Some needed the publication deleting properly, some needed the NOVEL to be restored. E.g. not all editions of Stardust are Comics or Graphic Novels, leave them be! Someone had even tried to delete an Audio CD version - no pictures there, surely? BLongley 20:39, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I've edited tags a few times, on pubs I'd just created where the date part had showed up as 0000 (due to my having done something wrong on the pub date format). I fixed the date in the pub & changed the tag to match, as that 0000 seemed likely to cause confusion. -- Dave (davecat) 00:23, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
On publications you've just created, you're probably OK so long as you don't create a duplicate. However, on longer-existing Publications you might be breaking somebody's link into ISFDB - the help says to use Publication tags. 19:38, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

The End of Eternity -- entry/edit history?

In working with my apparent 1966 printing of The End of Eternity, Lancer #72-107, $0.50, I have come across several entries for Lancer editions that appear to be mixed up:

THNDFTRNTB1966 - #72-107, 1966, $0.50; commented as 2nd printing and year from 3rd printing
THNDFTRNTT1968 - #73-701, 1968, $0.60; commented as 3rd printing
THNDFTRNTB1963 - #74-818, 1963, $0.75; commented as 1st printing and year from 3rd printing

Both the numbers and the prices suggest the notes about the printings aren't right, and the year on #74-818 seems rather suspect. In addition, my copy of #72-107 states the 1966 (and says nothing about being a second printing or about any other printing; although the note about its being the 2nd printing does say "not stated as such").

Do you have any way to tell who did those note edits so I can ask? If not, what do you suggest as the best course for trying to clean this up? Thanks. --MartyD 11:32, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

There's no way for me (as moderator) to know who placed those notes, even though someone higher up may be able to check submission records. But it doesn't look like they should go to the bother. The catalog numbers shouldn't be used to determine the order of printing, especially with Lancer. The first two numbers was a code for their prices. In this case, "72" catalog numbers were priced at $0.50, "73" priced at $0.60, and "74" priced at $0.75. So why would a 1963 printing be priced higher than a 1968 printing? It was one of the Lancer SF Library editions, and released at a lower price when it was reprinted as one of the backlist titles.
There are three Lancer printings of this title listed in William J. Denholm III's Lancer Checklist (Megavore 10, 1980). He gives 74-818 (1963) as the first printing, 72-107 (1966) as the second printing (but not identified as such) and 73-701 (1968) as the third printing (as stated in the publication). So the records here appear to be correct. You can edit the record of your copy (72-107) with any additional information that may not be clear in the record. If you like I could add a note about the source for the dating. Thanks. MHHutchins 17:58, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Michael's explanation covers all the bases, but to answer the question about viewing "edit history" for a given Publication record, unfortunately, it's not so simple. Although submissions are preserved by our software, they are kept in a huge and hard-to-read file (that only Al and I currently have access to), which needs to be downloaded, unzipped, installed, parsed, etc. Moreover, although regular edits can be identified with a bit of effort, we don't have a good audit trail for deletes and merges, so anything complicated quickly becomes almost unmanageable. Most of the time, it's just not worth it. Lats year Al spent some time on adding a more user-friendly way of viewing edit histories, but it hasn't been released yet. Ahasuerus 19:36, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
You (I) learn something new every day. I will just add a note about its stating 1966. Thanks for the explanations! --MartyD 01:06, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I've tried to add some Lancer SF Library details recently (basically trying to detail the ones that were part of the Library, or Libraries), and have run up against similar problems with assumptions. Prices may go down as well as up. I thought that "74-8xx" might indicate first library editions - not so, there's others with 72- or 73- prefixes. Anything you DO find out, please detail on the Wiki - it's there to support the database, and yeesh, do we NEED support at times! BLongley 22:38, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
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