| This page is a help or manual page for the ISFDB database. It describes standards or methods for entering or maintaining data in the ISFDB database, or otherwise working with the database. Other help pages may be found via the category below. To discuss what should go on this page, use the talk page.
If, after exploring the Help system, you still have a question, please visit the Help desk and let us know. We probably know the answer, but we need your help to know what we left out of the help pages.
If you are new to editing the ISFDB, please see Help:Getting Started.
For more on this and other header templates, see Header templates.
When displaying information about an author, there is a link labelled "Author Data" on the left navbar. Clicking on this link will bring up the Author Data screen, which allows you to enter or modify information about the author.
The fields that can be edited are canonical name, legal name, birth place, birth date, death date, email address, web page, Wikipedia entry, IMDB entry, and author image.
- Canonical Name - The canonical name is the name under which a particular author's bibliography is organized. For authors who publish under multiple names, the canonical name is the most recognized name for that author. The canonical name may be a pseudonym, for instance Cordwainer Smith (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?Cordwainer_Smith). Where there is any possiblity of debate, an agreement should be reached on the project page for that author. For example, Megan Lindholm has had a successful career writing under her own name, and an even more successful career writing as "Robin Hobb"; a case could be made for either one being her canonical name.
- Most of the canonical names in the ISFDB have already been set; do not change the field lightly - other websites link into the ISFDB using these canonical names.
- Never use a format of Lastname, Firstname for this field.
- Do not kern initials. Use "H. P. Lovecraft", not "H.P. Lovecraft".
- Name suffixes should be separated from the last name by a comma. For instance:
Alfred Coppel, Jr. Edward J. McFadden, III Miles J. Breuer, M.D.
see also Template:TitleFields:Author
- Legal Name - This field should contain the most recent legal name for the author. For example, James Tiptree, Jr. was a pseudonym of Alice Sheldon, who was born Alice Bradley. Alice Sheldon is the most recent legal name for this author. The format of the legal name should be "Lastname, Firstname Middlenames", with all names being given in full. The reason for this format are names like “Patrick Nielsen Hayden” where you can't readily tell whether the last name is “Hayden” or “Nielsen Hayden.” No suffixes or prefixes should be used; "Jr.", "Capt." and so on are not recorded in this field.
- Last Name - This field is used to build the Author Directory. When an author is added to the directory, the software parses the canonical name to determine the author's last name. For example, Robert Heinlein = Heinlein; L. E. Modesitt, Jr. = Modesitt. There are cases where the automated parsing fails, for example, R. Garcia y Robertson should be filed in the directory under "Garcia," not "Robertson." Similarly, Ursula`K. Le Guin should be filed under "Le Guin", not "Guin". The Last Name field allows the editor to supply the correct last name in these instances. The field should contain the only last name (surname) of the canonical name. This field is significant when the surname contains spaces (as in "Le Guin" or "Garcia y Robertson"), or is not the last element of the name (as in some Asian names).
- Birth Place - Place of birth of the author. There is no standard format, but city and country are a minimum to strive for. If you have more details (street address, county) feel free to add them.
- Birth Date - Should be in the form YYYY-MM-DD. If the day is unknown, then use YYYY-MM-00. If the month is unknown use YYYY-00-00. If the birthdate is unknown, leave the field blank. Do not enter guesstimates (1956?) or approximations (c1956). Examples:
1956-11-26 1956-11-00 1956-00-00
- Death Date - The Death Date has the same format as the Birth Date, YYYY-MM-DD. If the author is known to be alive or if there is no reliable information about the author, leave the field blank. However, if the author was born more than 125 years ago and is therefore presumably dead, it is permissible to enter a death date of 0000-00-00 . Examples:
2005-07-04 2005-07-00 2005-00-00 0000-00-00
- Email Address - If you know the author's email address, and the author does not mind making the email address public, enter it here. If the author has no email address, leave this field blank. Example:
- Web Page - If the author has an official Web site, enter it here. The full URL should be listed, including "http://", e.g.:
If there is more than one official site -- including author-authorized sites, publishers' pages for the author, etc -- enter the one with the most comprehensive bibliographic and biographical data. If the author is deceased and has no official or authorized sites then alternate web sites with significant bibliographical and biographical data may be entered. Note that this field is a repeating field and it's possible to add more URLs later on.
- Wikipedia Entry - If the author is listed in Wikipedia, put the link to the article in the field. For instance:
- IMDB Entry - If the author has an entry at the Internet Movie Database, enter the URL of the author's filmography. For instance:
- Author Image - If there is an image of the author available on the Web and we have permission to link to the Web site that hosts the image, enter the URL of the image. For instance:
Please note that linking directly to Wikipedia-hosted images is not allowed since Wikipedia considers it bandwidth theft. However it is often possible to download an image from Wikipedia and re-upload it to the ISFDB server.