Rules and standards discussions/Doubles and shortfiction

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Moved from R&S page as it's a high traffic discussion. --Marc Kupper|talk 00:37, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Contents

Doubles again

A while back, above I pointed out a mismatch in help which meant some Doubles (Ace Doubles and Tor Doubles) could be entered incorrectly (according to our current practices) but "as according to help" (if you read a certain section of help). Kraang, Ahasuerus and myself seemed to be in favour of adjusting help to match actual practice and there were no objections. (A sure sign of a miracle, or everyone else was away that week.) I propose to adjust the help accordingly (now I'm a bit more familiar with the Wiki) but the latest confusion actually refers to a Dell "Binary Star" publication which Marc has adjusted to an Anthology rather than an Omnibus, and appears to me to be a duplicate of an existing Anthology anyway. Can I just ask people to review these discussions and give views on which types of Doubles should be entered according to the proposed help changes? BLongley 18:51, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

As it stands, only dos-a-dos Doubles are IN. The Binary Star series are OUT and should still be entered as Anthology as they have an (uncredited but apparently known) editor - but that's obviously (well, to my eyes) causing duplications. The example Tor Double I pointed at is now an Anthology and so would be corrected back to Omnibus (probably to the confusion of a new editor). There's still non-dos-a-dos Doubles to consider as well, and examples of other Doubles I've not thought of yet are welcome. However, on the original proposal it seems we've had unanimous consensus for almost a year (although no action) and I don't want to introduce discord, so please concentrate on which bits you AGREE with first and give me the headaches on the other border-cases afterwards. BLongley 18:51, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I see we even have novels containing novellas by other authors getting in. And while the Ace doubles are still looking mostly consistent, the Tor doubles aren't. Please help stop the rot. :-( BLongley 19:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree with most but not all of the comments in the discussion above. Specifically I think that:
  1. Most Doubles should be entered as omnibuses.
  2. However, a Double containing two shorter-than novel works, or one novel and one shorter than novel work should be entered as anthologies (or collections, if all by the same author). In my view an omnibus should contain either a) two or more novel-length works, or b) one or more novel length works, plus one or more previously published collections or anthologies, kept intact and under a separate title
  3. I agree with entering "Title1 / Title2" rather than "Title1/Title2", and would approve changing the EditPub help to make this more explicit.
  4. I agree that all authors should be listed as co-authors of the omnibus itself, or of the anthology when two works of short fiction by different authors are published as a Double.
  5. I agree that both cover artist should be credited, if there are two works of cover art. I agree that it is not safe to trust to the order to identify which artist did what, and a publication note is probably the best way to record this. A title note might be OK, but it is possible (if rare) for a later printing of the double to have different art. Coverart records would seem most logical, but will not be seen unless someone knows where to look.
  6. I also agree that a note indicating explicitly which title has how many pages is a good idea. Again, I think a pub-level note most appropriate, in case later printings vary, but title level would be fine when only a single printing exists.
I hope those points are helpful. I know Bill will disagree with number 2, but I hope discussion may result in a consensus -- I think the rest will be readily agreed to. -DES Talk 20:50, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
You are right, I disagree with number 2 - we had some some consistency and that's the first DISSENT we have on the original proposal expressed. Although we standardized Ace, Tor has got messy: and I don't want to expand these rules to Omnibuses in general. What is the particular objection to Omnibus? (Actually, take that thread elsewhere if it's a general objection on length grounds alone - this does NOT affect the length categorisation of contents which seemed to be such a big problem in other discussions.) BLongley 21:43, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Still, it's not as bad as some suggestions that lead to my "Why the F*** are you all trying to hide BOOKS from me?" standard rant and I could live with it, but would withdraw my offer of fixing the help for Doubles if we can't agree on ONE category - agreement on 3, 4, 5 and 6 is a start though. BLongley 21:43, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The Binary Star publications threw me for a spin. I got one recently, entered it as a dos-a-dos omnibus in my DB and it failed to auto-link to ISFDB as it was already rigged up as an anthology with the title "Binary Star #5". I'd forgotten about this thread about Binary Star #4 as I'd never seen a Binary Star book at that point.
A double or dos-a-dos usually just has the two stories bound together with no introduction. The Binary Star books at appear to be doubles in that the front cover and title page just mention the story titles/authors. It's not until you dig in that the publications take on an anthology flavor. Specifically, each story has an Afterword where the author writes about the other story of the pair in a given publication. It's not until the 5th volume that James R. Frenkel pops up with an introduction and the title "Series Editor".
Rather than change the publications to show the editor as James R. Frenkel, citing BS #5 as a reference, someone got clever and did variant title records from the "uncredited" titles to James R. Frenkel though failed to cite a source for these credit.
As for omnibus vs. anthology - I've been handling them on a case-by-case basis with the factors being
  1. Have both stories been published as a standalone work? If so, it's nearly always an omnibus.
  2. If one story has been published as a standalone work bot not the other I lean towards omnibus.
  3. If there are introductions, prefaces, afterwords, etc. that tilts towards anthology.
  4. If an editor is identified then it's nearly always an anthology.
  5. I look at the author summary bibliographies and think about where the works will get positioned. Usually this reinforces #2 in the list.
The Binary Star books are a pain. I'm inclined to change the titles to something like Binary Star #5: Nightflyers / True Names and to change the title/pub types to omnibus as nearly all the stories are hidden in the Shortfiction section. Ahasuerus dealt with BS #3 by declaring it an anthology containing two novels even though neither story seems to have ever been printed in another form. He dealt with BS #1 as an anthology of a novel (which was published standalone in digest format) and novella which is hidden.
In support of Binary Star #5: Nightflyers / True Names" I've added notes at Publication:ANCL00183. Marc Kupper (talk) 00:17, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
The Frenkel attribution comes from Clute/Nicholls (p. 453 of the first hardcover edition). As I recall, I meant to add a note to the 5 Title records in the series (plus the 5 "uncredited" ones) but got distracted. I see that somebody has added the following note to Binary Star No. 1 in the meantime: "in "The Aleph" column in Galileo magazine #9, this publication is atributed to james Frenkel".
IIRC, the main reason that I set these up as an Anthology series was that I wanted them to appear all together. If we classified some of them as omnibuses, then the series would be broken up and, besides, the Frenkel attribution may be lost, so after a fair amount of juggling I opted to go with the Anthology solution. If we decide that other considerations are weightier, we can certainly change the way the data is organized.
BTW, Marc, I am not sure I am reading your comment about "an anthology containing two novels even though neither story seems to have ever been printed in another form" right. We handle both original anthologies and reprint anthologies as simply "anthologies", right? Ahasuerus 01:18, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
P.S. A quick search on ISBN="0440108217" finds three more records for "Binary Star No. 4". Two of them need to be merged/folded under the main one and the third one by somebody called Martin Vinger (???) and presumably needs to be deleted. Clearly, this series is hexed... Ahasuerus 01:29, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
"Martin Vinger" appears to come from Amazon Canada. I didn't know we'd been gathering data from there! BLongley 17:53, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, zapped! Ahasuerus 00:27, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm in agreement points 1- 6 with the exception of #2, many of the Ace Doubles contained novellas that were published before and after as standalone titles. I would only change the pub type to anthology if the title has been first published mostly in collections or anthologys before and after the Ace Double appearance. I'm more or less following Marc's system.Kraang 02:00, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Ahasuerus, by "an anthology containing two novels ... printed in another form" I meant that BS #3 has two stories, Dr. Scofflaw and Outerworld and neither of those stories seem to have appeared in other publications. Both titles are set up as novels meaning they will appear in the upper part of an author's summary bibliography and are not "hidden" in the shortfiction. I recall a discussion long ago where someone was concerned about the "false advertising" of calling a novel when it's never appeared as a stand alone publication. There was a more recent discussion where someone (or some people) wanted to look at the word count and anything over a certain number is a "novel" and anything under that is "shortfiction." It's possible this reasoning was applied and that's why these stories are novels.
I did an experiment with BS #5 where I converted it to an omnibus and also changed the title to Binary Star No. 5: Nightflyers / True Names. I thought everything would be wonderful until I remembered that because there are variant-titles to the James R. Frenkel titles that my newly promoted titles will not appear on George R. R. Martin and Vernor Vinge's summary bibliographies. I then added an editor record for Frenkel but that did not work well (it does not show up in the contents when you edit it) and so I made it an essay. Once I removed the variant title Binary Star 5 now shows up in the two story author bibliographies. I believe the results look good while not abusing things too much with the downside being that once all five books are using this method then the Binary Star series will drop from Anthology Series into Essay Series in Frenkel's bibliography. I'll leave the data in this state so people can have a look. Marc Kupper (talk) 03:50, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

(Unindent) (This is the third time I am writing this note, one was lost by a rouge click on my part, and one by what seems to have been a server failure.) I am one person who does not want any work of less than 40,000 words listed as a novel, and I have said so in the past. The definition of the various fiction types (Novel, Novella, Novelette, and short story) is one of the most objective we have, and it is based on the relevant award rules to boot. I see no good reason to change or blur it. If a work is shorter than 40,000 words it should not IMO be listed as a novel no matter how or when or where it was published, no matter what the author or publisher may have called it. -DES Talk 20:02, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

It's been over a month since we discussed "Binary Stars" and I don't recall seeing any feedback either for or against the proposed "essay" solution. A couple of days ago I had to review the current state of the pub and James R. Frenkel's Summary page when one of our new editors, User:Jayembee, tried changing it. I find that on balance, the "placeholder essay" solution seems to be too involved to be useful. Any time we overload a field -- in this case by using Essays to identify editors -- we are making the system more complicated and I don't think that it's more beneficial than making the pub a simple Anthology. Besides, we also get an empty "Essay Series" section on the Summary page. What does the rest if the crew think? Ahasuerus 22:27, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
It seems a lot of effort to get a credit for an uncredited Editor into a publication. Why does James R. Frenkel get this, when for instance Angus Wells doesn't? Angus only gets notes although I know him as an Editor of "Best of" Collections far better than as an author. BLongley 21:44, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Frenkel was the guy behind Bluejay Books back in the 1980s. Also, as Wikipedia says, he "has edited numerous award-winning authors such as Vernor Vinge, Joan D. Vinge [his current wife], and Frederik Pohl (all winners of the Hugo award), Andre Norton, Loren D. Estleman, Dan Simmons and Greg Bear." However, the two main reasons that I was trying to credit him were that (1) he is credited in the last book in the series and (2) the books contains various essays in addition to fiction. In the grand scheme of things, however, I don't think it matters all that much whether we make them Anthologies or Omnibuses, but overloading Essays seems to be a bad idea in retrospect. It puts considerable strain on the database structure for very little gain. If and when we add support for Collection/Novel editors, it will hopefully address this issue as well. Ahasuerus 00:29, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
If you look at Binary Star No. 5 you will see that the front cover, and presumably the title page, credit George R. R. Martin and Vernor Vinge. James R. Frenkel is not credited other than in the introduction which also mentions his title as "Series Editor". It would seem to be a rather odd construction to use "Anthology" as that means the two credited author stories will be buried in shortfiction, rather than under Omnibus and with Frenkel, who is not credited on the title page, we'd be putting the publication at the top of his bibliography as an anthology editor.
While the dummy essay records are a bit of a hack I'd consider them as a special case to handle a special case series.
With Binary Star No. 1, 2, and 3 there isn't even an introduction meaning you'd be proposing what are essentially dos-a-dos books be filed as anthologies with uncredited editors. Binary Star No. 4 apparently has a Frenkel introduction though we don't know if it credits him as a series editor.
Some of the stories included in the Binary Star series have been published separately which presumably would classify the Binary Star books containing them as omnibus editions.
I stil don't buy the "Published separately" criterion for a novel. Of soemthign would not be a novel when published in a magazine or a long anthology, it does not magically become a novel when published separarely. Even if there are literary criteria of form and structure which do not depend on wordcount, publishing format cannot be a criterion in my view. I might add that these are not "essentially dos-a-dos books", that describes a particular binding format which these books do not use. As for the claim that "two credited author stories will be buried in shortfiction". if they are short fiction they ought to be listed as such. i don't regard this as "burial" but as correct classification. Since the book would in such a case be listed in the anthology section, the arguemtne agaisnt chap(ter)books that they are "not obvious as books" does not apply. if you want to amke them obvious as books on the pages of the shortfiction authros, list each author as a co-editor. That is also a bit of a hack, but less bad than listing shortfiction as novels, IMO. -DES Talk 14:37, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Note that I used "published in novel form" and not that the story is a novel per the word count. When a book is published with the story name and author name(s) in big letters on the title page (and front cover) the implication it that it's a novel that would appear in the Novels section of an ISFDB author bibliography. Filing it in the shortfiction section introduces astonishment and confusion on the part of someone looking at an ISFDB bibliography. There is a hack in that we can put a shortfiction in a series that contains novels and it will get "promoted" up to the novels section though tagged with [SF]. Your suggestion of adding the authors of Binary Star stories as anthology editors creates even more astonishment as these people are absolutely not editors.
re: my use of "essentially dos-a-dos books." These books are very similar to the dos-a-dos format in that they contain two stories and do not acknowledge an editor. The only difference between these and a genuine dos-à-dos is that they were not published in the back-to-back format but rather are côté-à-côté. Like the dos-à-dos format, book stores did not like them as they did not know which author to shelve them under. In terms of filing them using ISFDB data structures they are identical to dos-a-dos.
James R. Frenkel was never credited on the title page of any Binary Star côté-à-côté. We know about him from secondary sources and the introduction of the fifth volume. When I see a book in the Anthologies section of a bibliography I'd assume that it's a publication that explicitly credits that person as the editor on the title page. Frenkel was never credited on the title page and thus should should not appear in a bibliography as an Anthology Editor for the Binary Star côté-à-côté books.
As we have a reliable source that credits Frenkel we are trying to come up with a way to do this in ISFDB. The issue has wider scope as presumably there are reliable sources for whoever put together the Ace and Tor doubles meaning once those are established they would get credited the same as how we handle Frenkel. These people are secondary role contributors in that they were acknowledged or credited somewhere other than on the title page of the publications. -Marc Kupper|talk 19:12, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Binary Star issues

There are several distinct but interrelated issues in the above thread about how to handle the Binary Stars line of books. I want to try to pull them apart if I can. Who knows, we might even agree on something, even if not on everything. -DES Talk 21:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

What is an Omnibus vs an Anthology

I (DES) suggested a set of criteria above for an omnibus. In general, i suggested that an omnibus consisted of a group of works previously published separately in book form, be they novels, collections, or (less commonly) anthologies; or else of a group including two or more novel-length works, even if these had not been published previously. This would mean that any omnibus would include at least one novel-length work, and would include short fiction only as part of a reprint of a previously issued collection or anthology. (I might stretch this to a publication containing two or more novels and one or two related stories inserted to complete a series. Things like the Bujold reissues that pack two novels with a single novella or novelette that is part of the same series. Much like we will sometimes call a publication a novel when a single "bonus story" is included.)

Marc Kupper suggests above that an anthology should, at least normally, have an explicitly credited editor. But there are a number of reprint anthologies, particularly some of the Dover reprints, when no editor is credited.

Some people seem to want any book that "headlines" two works by different authors to be considered an omnibus. I really can't see that how a book is promoted affects how it should be classified. If we want to say that any book including exactly two works of fiction by different authors shall be included in the omnibus category, no matter what their length, that would at least be a clear rule that could be followed. i disagree with it, but I could accept it if such was the consensus. it doesn't involve us in trying to differentiate based on how something is "headlined" and thus perhaps to debate just how large a font size is needed to count as having been "headlined".

Frankly, any category that you can't correctly assign a book into or out of if all you have is a coverless copy is IMO a poor category. If you can't tell, based on the copyright page, title page, and ToC, whether something is an omnibus or an anthology, then you have a poor definition, in my view.

We need to settle what an omnibus is, and what, by contrast, an anthology is, to prevent these issues from recurring, I feel. -DES Talk 21:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Totally agree with DES. An omnibus is a collection of previously published books. Ace Doubles are a special case and I think the current solution works well.--swfritter 21:55, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure though if it's possible to come up with a "settled" definition that would allow publication that contains a "headline" story plus a bonus story to *always* get categorized as of novel, omnibus, or collection.
re: "Some people seem to want any book that "headlines" two works by different authors to be considered an omnibus." I don't think I've seen anyone suggest that. I have suggested, and believe, that if a story title and author are "headlined" then it should appear in the upper part of the bibliography. If you can see a copy of ABC written or edited by XYZ on the shelf (per what's on the title page) then it should be in the upper part of a bibliography. This means the work would need to be classified as one of ANTHOLOGY, COLLECTION, EDITOR, NONFICTION, NONGENRE, NOVEL, or OMNIBUS. Likewise if ABC by XYZ is something that would never appear on a shelf as it's a work that appears inside of a publication (and is not "headlined") then it should be in the bottom part of a bibliography and would be one of COVERART, ESSAY, INTERIORART, INTERVIEW, POEM, REVIEW, SERIAL, or SHORTFICTION.
Rather that use "headlined" an alternative phrase that comes to mind is "publication title" which is a title record that matches what's stated on the title page of a publication. The publication titles are in the upper part of the bibliography and all other titles are at the bottom. An exception is magazine editors who often times don't appear on the magazine's "title page." and yet get "headlined."
I believe this is why we started using OMNIBUS as the container type for dos-a-dos as it is a way to get the thing you see on the shelf (the dos-a-dos) in the upper part of the bibliography for both authors. We know that many dos-a-dos books are by two different authors but the convention was to use OMNIBUS anyway to keep the publication title in the upper part of the bibliography. The alternative was to file them as anthology by either an unknown editor or someone like "Ace Books" and to falsely promote the stories to type NOVEL in an effort to get the story in the upper part of a bibliography. -Marc Kupper|talk 08:11, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I can see your point here. Rather than calling such stories novels, I would favor using one-item anthologies. These will be easy to find when a code change makes a better solution available. -DES Talk 15:24, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
They're fairly easy to find, see my Techie bit Alert. "Omnibus" is even easier and I wouldn't support changing all our Ace Doubles (for instance) in the meantime - I think we all understand these suggestions are all workarounds and we can't yet apply an absolute "Omnibus/Anthology/Collection" definition AND an absolute "Shortfiction" definition without breaking something else in the meantime. If a particular title is upsetting someone (e.g. "Trouble with Tycho"), we can apply a workaround with lots of notes for now. I don't think there is a workaround worth converting thousands of titles for in the meantime. BLongley 21:02, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
A minor code fix would be to add support for display of the length code for type NOVEL and to add a storylen code for novel that could be applied to shortfiction. Thus a 40,000+ word work that's never used as a publication title would be filed as type SHORTFICTION with storylen n. (borrowed from the Locus codes). A novella published in standalone form, dos-a-dos, and maybe double would be type NOVEL with the storylen set to nv (ideally we'd use the Locus codes and it'd be "na").
Note that your suggestion about "exactly two stories" is ok but I need to point out that the Binary Star books contain two stories and two related essays. Also, I believe it needs to be worded to allow for N stories. "If a publication is a dos-a-dos with two title pages, or it's title page lists two or more stories and their authors then we usually file this as an OMNIBUS as there is no direct support within ISFDB at this time for type dos-a-dos or double titles." -Marc Kupper|talk 08:11, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

What is a work of short fiction

I have generally preferred to stick to the wordcount limits in our help pages. Others have urged that these are too arbitrary, and that the "literary" definition of a novel includes questions of structure and technique that have nothing to do with wordcount. That may be, but I don't thing we are well set up to make judgments based on such literary concepts, which are not subject to general agreement among those with credentials in literature study, anyway.

It has also been urged that anything published independently, or "published in novel form" ought to be considered a novel. Frankly I can't see that the form of publication changes the nature of the work. If a work has long been considered a work of shortfiction, but is then published in an independent book format, does it suddenly be come a novel? what if it is published as part of a double, clearly "headlined" on cover and title page. Does it magically become a novel when it was shortfiction before. For example, Asimov's "The Ugly Little Boy" (the original novelette, not the novel-length expansion by Silverberg) has been published as part of a double, along with a somewhat longer work by Sturgeon. Does that make it a novel? Should it be moved to the novel section of Asimov's bibliography, so it isn't "buried"? If not, why should that be done with a more recently written story of similar length and structure, that has been published in a similar format? We should have a clear and consistent rule, that can be applied in the same way to newly or recently published works as to reprints of well-known works. If a work is a novella when published as part of a 900 page anthology, if should still be a novella when published alone in an 80-page paperback, or as part of a 170 page double.

But if we are going to change the classification of a work based on how it is published, let us at least agree to say so clearly, and apply the new rule consistently. Note that there have been 20-page publications in book form (I would call them chapbooks) that are "published with the story name and author name(s) in big letters on the title page (and front cover)" Should works so published be considered novels from now on? -DES Talk 21:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Since most s-f is generally not critically recognized by the academic community the current standards work 99.9% of the time. There are some rare cases. Few would classify The Time Machine as anything other than a novel although it is only 32k words. Anthem by Ayn Rand is an even more extreme case. Note that some rewards, crediting it as a novel, are listed and it has probably received others. Length, from a word count of the Project Gutenberg version, is about 20k words. I would allow a certain fudge factor for stories published as books because in many cases it is hard to get an exact word count. The current standards are fine. I don't know if there are enough special cases to warrant any major updates - perhaps a mention that a book can be defined as a novel if it has won awards in that category.--swfritter 22:24, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
That might be reasonable, and I do take your point about The Time Machine (I would be willing to call Anthem a novella, both on length and on structural grounds.) I'd even be willing to extend "won" to "shortlisted for" or "nominated for" or some such. What I object to is the idea that any independent publication or any "in novel form" (I'm not really clear what independent publication for a single work of fiction would be considered "not in novel form") makes the work a novel per se. -DES Talk 22:34, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Academic standards are useful as long as they don't introduce astonishment on the part of the regular public. I believe that if a member of the regular public sees something listed as a "Novel" listed on ISFDB that they would have the expectation that they can go buy a copy of that story using that author name and title. If something is listed in the Essay, Poem, or Shortfiction section then Sarah the Governor knows that she won't be able to order the story under that title but instead needs to locate a larger work that will contain the story, poem, or essay she's interested in along with other material.
The regular public does not care about word counts. The primary evidence for this is that it is very rare that the word count ever gets mentioned. The book buying public is clearly not demanding that authors and publishers publish word counts even though in this age of word processors and electronic typesetting the count could be very easy to include as part of the data block found on copyright pages and/or reported to sites like Amazon. Some organizations have issued awards for stories and to make things interesting created categories for various word counts. As you noted "in many cases it is hard to get an exact word count" meaning the storylen field will be a rough estimate for many of the stories in ISFDB.
That gets back to why I use the "publication title" or "headlined" concept for classifying stories. It's very easy to verify if a story title appears on the title page and does not seem to create widespread astonishment. -Marc Kupper|talk 08:45, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
The general public probably does not care about wordcounts per se, but I suspect that a degree of astonishment will occur if something listed as a "novel" is purchased and found to be "too short". Furthermore, if a title know to a reader (please remember that most of our users will be more or less SF fans) as a work of short fiction appears in a bibliography as a novel will the user think "oh it appears there because it was once headlined in a separate publication"? No, the user will IMO be far more likely to think "Oh I didn't know that had been expanded into a novel. I'll go find a copy." Than after buying it, quite probably "What a cheat! That wasn't a novel, that was the same old story I knew from the collection XYZ. I can't trust the ISFDB thing." In short, I think your "headlined" standard will violate the "principle of least astonishment" quite as often as a strict wordcount standard would. -DES Talk 15:26, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
So our special SF-clueful users will go by a Novel categorisation and ignore all our other details? For instance, I've left Odd and the Frost Giants as a Novel as it's a book they can buy, and as far as I know it can't be purchased any other way - yet. Other World Book Day books/stories HAVE been republished, e.g. The Seventh Dwarf - and need workarounds. Chapterbook support is broken (they cease being chapterbooks when you try to edit them), otherwise I might have used that for the first example too, but if anyone feels cheated by buying something that we clearly state is under 100 pages, has interiorart as well that might take up some other pages, and is severely low-priced for its date, has no cause for complaint IMO. Leave the Short Novels alone until there is better software support, I say. Anyone that tries to buy a book from a Title listing alone is a fool when we give LOTS more information with one more click. BLongley 22:11, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't argue that SF reader are specially clueful, but they are a distinct group and their preexisting assumptions are, on average, quite probably different from those of "Sarah the Governor". One of those assumptions is that works of shortfiction are often expanded into novel-length works, under the same title. Such expansions are still often short compared to original novels. Particularly if the book involved was originally printed some years ago, neither page count nor price will be excatly "flare-lit tip offs" that the separate publication is not an expansion. You don't seem to want to consider the case of the work originally published as a work of shortfiction (probably in a magazine), often reprinted as a work of short fiction (in collections and/or anthologies) but later appearing by itself, or as half of a "Double". This has happend to a number or more or less well-known stories: Biggle's "The Tunesmith", De Camp's "Wheels of If", and Asimov's "The Ugly Little Boy" (which was separately expanded into a novel, and if the shorter version is also to be a novel because it was headlined, there will be unneeded confusion) just to mention three off the top of my head. I maintain that the potential for confusion and "astonishment" is at least as great if such works are listed as novels as it will be if works like Odd and the Frost Giants are not so listed. We could rule that only the first (or first non-serieal) publication counts, that becoming a 'publication title" later does not make a book a novel, but that could lead to problems with works not quite as well-known, when we don't know if we have the first pub or not. -DES Talk 23:01, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not arguing for headlining, the Shortfiction in a Double (for instance) is fine by me so long as the whole book stays as something that looks like a book. "The Ugly Little Boy" as part of the Tor Double is fine and even if it was made a Novel on grounds of what the publisher said I think I could spot the difference between that and the one with the extra author. ;-) I wasn't aware of the other two - now I see them I have no problem with "Wheels of If" but The Tunesmith IS an astonishment. Not on grounds of length, but the notes for a start. What does "CHAP" mean? If it's a "Tor Double" why isn't that the publisher? Why can't I click on a title link from the pub? Because someone's left it in a broken state, that's why. BLongley 22:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Re; the CHAP - Ahasuerus edited that publication on 2006-12-17 and the CHAP was present then but it's not clear if he added it or left an existing note in place. I think he was just changing the pub-type. I edited the record on 2008-08-26 where I changed the tag to be consistent with other Tor Doubles, changed the date to 1990-11-15 (but failed to note a source), and added an image. There is no title link as there does not seem to be a title record... There are title records for the stories, the cover, and nothing else. I've added this. --Marc Kupper|talk 00:12, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
You're right in that I don't particularly want to address Shortfiction republished as half of a double and being called a Novel then - it doesn't matter. When I look at a Book, I go by page-count. Even if it was published standalone - I'd go by page-count. (OK, I'd look at the format as well - some TPs are SO much larger than a pb that you could reduce the page-count by a third but still have all the same words.) The only times the "Novel", "Novella", "Novelette" and "Short Story" categories are of any use to me is when looking at Awards (where we get the strict definitions from) or if I'm considering buying a magazine for a certain story - you can't use magazine page-counts to determine length. (Too many stories are "continued on pages xx to yy" and the continuations aren't recorded here.) This is why I'm quite happy to let shortfiction stand as "sf" in books if the page numbers are accurate, and let everyone else argue over whether it's just under or over or exactly on 7,500 words or suchlike. It doesn't actually matter to me, nor most of the people I introduce to ISFDB. BLongley 22:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that price isn't always a "flare-lit tip off" but I'm sure you'd notice a 2008 two-dollar paperback book was likely to be a little odd, as would a 1960 one. But page-count has been pretty good for decades - it's not as if we've gone from the original small Ace paperbacks to broadsheet newspaper size while keeping the same number of words. Yes, format has some significance - but on prices the variations are far larger and I can look at a new edition of a book that's thirty times the price it was when I was born. I doubt they'd manage to make it half the page-count. Maybe if there was a "Large Print edition" which is something we'd presumably note. I trust our ability to note "abridged", "expanded", "excerpt" and "Large Print Version" variations far more than our ability to assign the arbitrary length definitions. BLongley 22:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I still say it's not necessary to go "fix" things that for the people that are trying to find them are already OK. Most users of ISFDB I've actually met (as opposed to most of the moderators and editors, none of whom I've met) will look for a book, and are aware of the difference between a book with one story in ("Novel") or how they might find it in a bigger book ("Omnibus"). Or if they're looking for just a STORY then they'll go look in Anthologies and Collections and maybe even Magazines. The whole Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story is irrelevant to them. They're actually ADDING confusion. I can't speak for Magazine users as I don't know any. But I do know that a rigid application of length rules puts people off ISFDB. BLongley 22:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
(As an aside - how many people here demonstrate or recommend ISFDB to other people? It would be nice to have a real User survey to see how the non-contributing people find our work.) BLongley 22:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
You also don't respond to my "retroactive change" point. Consider Asimov's "The Ugly Little Boy", which i mentioned above. This was originally published as shortfiction, and has been collected and analyzed as such several times. But it was recently "headlined" as one half of a "double". Should the work be converted to a Novel? If not, because doubles often headline shortfiction, then suppose the publishers decide, for whatever reason, to issue an edition as a separate publication? (shorter works have been so published.) Should we then list it as a novel?
Also, in these days of self-publication and PoD, it is easy and cheap to issue a small edition of a short work bound as a separate pb. If an author with many works of shortfiction but no novels thinks that his visibility will be enhanced by being able to point to several "novels" in his ISFDB listing, it won't cost him much to go to LuLu or Amazon and have 40 page "books" of each printed, for however chooses to buy. The ISFDB is becoming a sufficiently visible site that someone just might try such a thing if our standards are that any "headlined" story is listed as a novel.
Now the ideal thing, IMO would be to have a special and more prominent display area for chapbooks (or whatever we wind up calling such pubs) so that they are not "hidden" among the short fiction. Perhaps we should even have a special sub-section of the short fiction for "short fiction that has been published separately" or some such. But of course it is easy to suggest such changes, but not easy to wait until they are implemented, nor easy to implement them. Still, if we call all such works novels, it will be very hard to find them for later conversion, while if we call them shortfiction, it is not hard to find all chapbooks and all anthologies with only a single content work, when he have a better type to handle such publications. -DES Talk 15:18, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I just read Marc's point about "publication titles" in the section above, and about wanting such publications to appear "in the upper half". Pending code changes i would favor making them single-item anthologies. This is an obvious hack, but they would be easy to find and convert when a better solution was available in the code -- perhaps an improved chapbook type. -DES Talk 15:26, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
A few thoughts:
  1. I don't think that relying on "structure and technique" to classify texts would work for us. For once it's inherently subjective and will often violate the principle of least astonishment, e.g. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn repeatedly argued that his "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" was a short story and not a novel(la) even though most English language editions take up anywhere from 150 to 220 pages (according to OCLC). Another, and probably more serious problem, is that we simply have too many Titles on file and not enough editors for this approach to work.
  2. The Solzhenitsyn example reminds me of another issue: what if the original version of the text happens to be on one side of one of our divides, but its English translation falls on the other side? And what happens when there are 2, 3 or more different English translations, which is very common in Verne's case? Should the original text and any complete translations be recorded as Novels while abridged translations would be Novellas (when warranted)? Or does it even matter since all translations will be displayed as variant titles of the original Title?
  3. One of the main reasons why I tend to use Novels instead of Novellas in borderline cases is that a Series without any book length entries doesn't get displayed as a series. Instead, its stories appear at the bottom of the Shortfiction section in a random (!) order, which is quite confusing. This is a particular issue with YA authors who may have written 2+ series of "novels", which are really novellas by word count even though they may be 100-150 pages long. If you make them novellas, the Summary page becomes an unmanageable jumble of Titles :( The medium term solution would be to change the display logic so that it would display short fiction series correctly (I believe Roglo found the problem section of the code a few months ago), but for now I think that using "novels" is justified as the lesser of two evils. Ahasuerus 18:07, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Translations are an odd case, and translations into English are not so very common, works with multiple translations are less so -- I would be willing to make a special rule for them. On the other hand, abridged translations are, well, abridged. Some indication of their less than complete status is desirable anyway. (Granted different translations can be of significantly different lengths even when not explicitly abridged.) One problem with choosing Novel when in doubt as in your point 3 is that there will be no easy way to find them when (if) we do have a code fix. -DES Talk 21:16, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, you can search for all Novel pubs where the page count is under 100. You can also search for all Novel pubs where the year of publication is after 1990 and the page count is under 160 -- very few non-YA novels that have appeared in the last 15-20 years are that short. Ahasuerus 21:40, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Are you talking about online ISFDB search or offline DB search? If you can do such online, I've missed it. I might try this offline at some point, to give some idea of how many pubs we'd have to update to the 'workaround' state. BLongley 22:20, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I assume that Ahasuerus is talking about an offline search, done once, to find works that might need to be corrected once we have a better software solution available. -DES Talk 22:43, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I note that currently the storylen field of a novel is nowhewre displayed, If we do go with recording such works as "novels" at least for the time being, I suggest putting a code (perhaps nv or nt) in this field for such works. This could be found by the application or by an offline search, and would enable conversion or different treatment when and if we have a better software solution available. It would be somewhat more positive than the search discussed above. -DES Talk 22:43, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Online Publication searches are currently broken, but it's easy to get a reasonable approximation offline:

mysql> select count(pub_id) from pubs where ((pub_ctype = 'NOVEL') and (pub_pages > 1) and (pub_pages<101));

+---------------+
| count(pub_id) |
+---------------+
|          2312 |
+---------------+
1 row in set (0.36 sec)
mysql> select count(pub_id) from pubs where ((pub_ctype = 'NOVEL') and (pub_pages <161) and (pub_pages>100) and (pub_year > '1989-0-0'));
+---------------+
| count(pub_id) |
+---------------+
|          3881 |
+---------------+
1 row in set, 1 warning (0.19 sec)
That's about 5,100 pubs -- about par for the course. Ahasuerus 23:23, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

What is a work of short fiction - point by point

(unindent otherwise it's 10 levels deep)

  • DES wrote "I have generally preferred to stick to the wordcount limits in our help pages."
    I don't like word counts as they are not widely published and are difficult and time consuming to determine. If even you have an electronic copy of a document two people can come up with differing word counts as they can interpret hyphenated words differently. At best we can only estimate a word count. FWIW, I took a look at the dictionary definition and they seem to be consistent in using "of considerable length," "long work of fiction," "extended fictional work", etc. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Granted that estimates can differ, they usually won't differ by all that much. I have now tried swfritter's spreadsheet for making such estimates from a physical pub. It requires entry of the number of pages the work occupies, the number of lines per full page (generally constant within a pub) the number of pages or partial pages not occupied by text, and a count of words in the first few lines on up to 12 pages in the work. it tok me only a few minutes, and it seems to give a reliable result when compared with word counts in ebook versions. Not worth doing on every story, but easy enough to pull out for disputed cases if a physical copy is to hand. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "Frankly I can't see that the form of publication changes the nature of the work."
    I don't think anyone has ever claimed that changing the ISFDB title code changes the nature of the work. A long standing shortfiction published in novel form is still the same story. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • My implicit assumption is that if we have a "novel record" for a work, we are saying that the work is a novel, and that if we change that to a shortfiction record, we are sayign that we now consider that the work is a work of short fiction. Marc uses the phrase "published in novel form" severla times. I'm not quite celar what he means by this. Is there any separate publication, bound as a pb or hc, that would not be "published in novel form"? -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "But if we are going to change the classification of a work based on how it is published, let us at least agree to say so clearly, and apply the new rule consistently."
    I don't think it's possible to have a clear and consistent set of rules at this point as we are regularly dealing with ISFDB shortcomings and so decide how to enter information on a case-by-case basis. I have looked at an author bibliography for example and used the existing entries as a guideline for how to add a new work. For example, a work can be borderline novel, collection, or omnibus. I look at the bibliography and see that there are zero omnibus editions meaning I narrow it to novel vs. collection. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • There will be some hacks and case-by-case variations, yes, but I think we can have and should have consistant rules to cover the vast majority of cases. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "What I object to is the idea that any independent publication or any "in novel form" (I'm not really clear what independent publication for a single work of fiction would be considered "not in novel form") makes the work a novel per se."
    I don't think anyone is saying the work is now a novel. It's now available in novel form. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • To my way of thinking, lisdting a work under "novels" says that it is a novel. Again "In novel form" does not convey anything to me, and i don't ever recall hering a fan say "is that available in novel form?" Does this mean "in book form" or "in book form as a separate publication with the title on the cover"? if not, what does it mean?
  • DES wrote "I suspect that a degree of astonishment will occur if something listed as a "novel" is purchased and found to be "too short"."
    Agreed and the size of the astonished group can be reduced further signal flare alert and with a tweak to the code we can also decode/display the storylen on the bibliographic display. The publication length in pages is already displayed. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • That would help. But once we assume code changes, we may as well assume a much more stable chapbook type, adn a separate display for chapbooks. We might even assume a seprate section listing "Doubles".
  • DES wrote "One of those assumptions is that works of shortfiction are often expanded into novel-length works, under the same title. Such expansions are still often short compared to original novels."
    I agree with that and there are already many titles in ISFDB that note that they are expansions. Novellas published in novel form are rare. I just checked and I don't own any other than a couple of chapbooks though see in my notes that long ago I read The Automagic Horse in novel form when visiting a friend's house and noted it was 83 pages. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Novellas published as one half of a double are not rare. Novellas published in separate book form are not all that rare, IME. If they are all that rare, why worry about the occasional one being "buried" in the shortfiction? -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "You don't seem to want to consider the case of the work originally published as a work of shortfiction (probably in a magazine), often reprinted as a work of short fiction (in collections and/or anthologies) but later appearing by itself, or as half of a "Double"."
    Published by itself means published either in chapbook or novel form. If it's in novel form then there should be a type NOVEL title record so that people are aware that the story is available in that format. Ideally, the story also appears in the shortfiction list and I believe there are several examples in ISFDB where we have two title records for the same story though one suspect they may be expansions. Half a double is also ok - The publication title will be something like Binary Star No. 5: Nightflyers / True Names of type OMNIBUS and it contains two shortfiction/novella. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • This violates what I consider a basic principle: one text = exactly one title record. If the same text is published both in an anthology and "in novel form" I want one bibliography page to show both publications. If we have any works with two (or more) title records, than IMO those are data errors. Either the records should be merged, or the titles should indicate that one is an expansion, revision, excerpt or whatever of anotehr. Once we have support for "based on" or some other way of linking related title records in such cases, all such pairs (sets) of records should be linked. But there still should not be dual records for an unaltered work, IMO. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "You also don't respond to my "retroactive change" point. Consider Asimov's "The Ugly Little Boy", which i mentioned above. This was originally published as shortfiction, and has been collected and analyzed as such several times. But it was recently "headlined" as one half of a "double". Should the work be converted to a Novel?"
    No - The "publication title" in this case is The Ugly Little Boy / The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff which Bluesman verified today as a type ANTHOLOGY. I personally would have used OMNIBUS as I don't consider Isaac Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon to be editors of the two works. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Well suppose this had been entreed as an omnibus. Would the component works have their records be changed to type "novel"? I would hope not. Wores yet, would separate, unlinked records be created? I would very much hope not, i would rather that the sole record was listed as a novel. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "If not, because doubles often headline shortfiction, then suppose the publishers decide, for whatever reason, to issue an edition as a separate publication? (shorter works have been so published.) Should we then list it as a novel?"
    In that case, yes, there should be a type novel entry for the story. One solution is to add a new title record with links in the notes to the shortfiction title and the shortfiction likewise has a link explaining the same story is available in novel form and it's not an expansion. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • As I explain above, i think that solution is even worse than changing the record to type NOVEL, as it destroyes the unity of the bibliography page. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "Also, in these days of self-publication and PoD, it is easy and cheap to issue a small edition of a short work bound as a separate pb. If an author with many works of shortfiction but no novels thinks that his visibility will be enhanced by being able to point to several "novels" in his ISFDB listing, it won't cost him much to go to LuLu or Amazon and have 40 page "books" of each printed, for however chooses to buy. The ISFDB is becoming a sufficiently visible site that someone just might try such a thing if our standards are that any "headlined" story is listed as a novel."
    I'm sure once we became aware of this abuse that we would add notes.
    • Fair enough, but I think it helps illuminate why form of publication should not determine the classification of the work published. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "Now the ideal thing, IMO would be to have a special and more prominent display area for chapbooks (or whatever we wind up calling such pubs) so that they are not "hidden" among the short fiction. Perhaps we should even have a special sub-section of the short fiction for "short fiction that has been published separately" or some such. But of course it is easy to suggest such changes, but not easy to wait until they are implemented, nor easy to implement them."
    I fully agree.
  • DES wrote "Still, if we call all such works novels, it will be very hard to find them for later conversion, while if we call them shortfiction, it is not hard to find all chapbooks and all anthologies with only a single content work, when he have a better type to handle such publications."
    If we use type NOVEL titles with with storylen nv then a search for those can be done in seconds. There are already 36 NOVEL records of storylen nv, 25 of sf, 2 of ss, and one of nt. I suspect some cleanup is needed in here, for example this looks like it should be a shortfiction as it's 79 pages long. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Perhaps they aren't as hard to find as I thought, but i still suspect that using single item anthologies or collections would make later conversion easier. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "I just read Marc's point about "publication titles" in the section above, and about wanting such publications to appear "in the upper half". Pending code changes i would favor making them single-item anthologies. This is an obvious hack, but they would be easy to find and convert when a better solution was available in the code -- perhaps an improved chapbook type."
    I would prefer a single item collection as then the author is listed as an author and not changed to an editor. Like the type NOVEL with notes I used above this record would also need notes explaining why it's a collection and linking to the shortfiction. I'd also still like to use the storylen to make it easier to find the records and to convert them to whatever new title type we come up with. I believe using NOVEL will lead to less astonishment than COLLECTION. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • For the moment, storylen is only useful internally, it is not displayed anywhere. It can be sueful for that purpose, provided we use it with some consistancy going forward. As to the degree of astonishment, I personally would be far more astonished by the novel classification, and ity is hard to judge what would astonish our user base in general. Perhaps we should try to poll on RASFW or soem such site. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES wrote "On the other hand, abridged translations are, well, abridged."
    On a mailing list someone trolled recently with trying to explain a certain concept in one word. The winner was a someone who posted what looked like a 90 letter long German word and explained it *is* a concise language. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • I don't quite understand your point. Mine, probably made too obliquely, is that an abridgement, line an excerpt, is a new, albiet related, work, and should not share a title record with the unabridged version anyway. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • DES, have I missed any important points you had brought up? --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Only one, really. You have several times referd to "publication in novel form". As I say above, i am not clear on what you mean by this, and whether it says more than "separate publication" or "publication as a publication-title". I am not sure if I have properly addressed your points that are made in realtion to this concept, since I am not sure that I have correctly understood your terms. Otherwise, I think you have responded to all my points, even if i do not agree with all your responses. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Ahasuerus wrote about short publications. I ran the query and see yet another project starting with sticker books (I deleted the two linked pubs. Both of them were books of fairy stickers --Marc Kupper|talk 01:00, 13 November 2008 (UTC)). The select also picked up records that used constructs such as "33+527" but there's only 35 of those. It still seems that 1.8% of the publications is rather high but suspect many of those are juvenile or YA books. --Marc Kupper|talk 05:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I think you have addressed all or almost all of my points. I will respopnd point-by-point as soon as I have a chancve. We may even find some areas of agreement. -DES Talk 15:23, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I have now responded point-by-point inline above. -DES Talk 17:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Too bad I did not use numbered points - if we agree on one we'd know how many are left. :-) I don't have time top read-think-respond to everything. One item is "published in novel form." That's a story published as a book as opposed to publishing it as part of a magazine, omnibus, anthology, collection, double, dos-a-dos, chapbook, pamphlet, etc. The story title (which may be a VT) appears on the title page. 99% of the type NOVEL title records are stories published in novel form with the exception being some less than 40K word shortfiction that people have promoted to NOVELs for various reasons. I agree, a bookstore would rarely get asked "Do you have a copy of ABC published in novel form?" though if ABC is available in both shortfiction (inside a collection for example) and published as a standalone book then the book store should reply that the standalone book is available. If I go to a book store and ask "Do you have a copy of ABC?" an answer may be "no but that story is available in this collection" meaning they don't have a copy of the story available as "published in novel form." --Marc Kupper|talk 00:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

How should an uncredited anthology editor be recorded

Jim Frenkel is established by reliable secondary sources to have been the editor of the Binary Star series, as I understand the matter. But he was not credited at all in most of the volumes, and was only credited as the author of an introductory essay in one of them. Is there any way to get these works listed on his bibliography page without doing violence to the ISFDB as a whole?

I'm not sure, honestly. If there isn't, that is unfortunate, but not fatal. Recently it has become more common for the copyright page to list "Edited by: <name>" on a novel, and we have no method except a pub or title note to handle this. We currently have no way to list translators, either, even though every word in a book may have been selected by the translator (compare two different translations of the same Lem work, or for that mater of the same Verne work, and you may find a significant difference in quality and effect). I think we should, ideally, add support for database fields for people who contribute to a book in various ways: Translator, Editor, Jacket Designer, Book Designer, etc. In Al's copious free time, this ought to be easy :). But until and unless we have such support, perhaps there is no good way to credit Frenkel. Or if we determine, on other grounds, to list these as anthologies, it might be better to list them as edited by Frenkel than by "uncredited". But whether or not to credit Frenkel (beyond a note which should surely be there if there is no other credit) should not, IMO, be the basis of how to list these works. -DES Talk 21:07, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

I did it by setting up a dummy essay record. I agree completely that improvements to the DB and/or code are needed. -Marc Kupper|talk 07:04, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
It looks like there may be a couple of somewhat separate issues here. The first one has to do with recording bona fide anthologies with 3+ stories whose editor is known but not credited. For example, Clute/Nicholls and OCLC agree that Five Fates was edited by Keith Laumer, but he was not credited in the book, probably because he also contributed a story. I think the right way to handle these cases is to enter the anthology as by "uncredited" (as opposed to the obsolete "anonymous" which is currently used in Five Fates) and then set up a variant title for the actual editor, in this case Laumer. That way our users will see the book on Laumer's Summary page. Ahasuerus 16:35, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Remember Three for Tomorrow? Where we "know" from a Primary Source who the editor is, and from secondary sources who the REAL editor is? That looks such a mess now that I think I'd prefer all such dubious entries to be recorded in notes. At pub level, title level, and even in the Wiki pages. Lots of cross-references too. BLongley 20:36, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Both Five Fates and Three for Tomorrow look ok to me though I'd agree that "uncredited" is better than "Anonymous." Three for Tomorrow needs lots of notes... --Marc Kupper|talk 00:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
How should an uncredited anthology editor be recorded - Essay solution
The second issue has to do with recording the (typically uncredited) editors of "doubles", whether they are dos-a-dos (Ace, Tor) or not (Binary Star, 1980s Ace doubles). If we decide to enter all doubles as Omnibuses, then there will be no place for a separate "editor" credit, which will be unfortunate, but, as DES said, not fatal. I really don't like the "essay" solution since it would further aggravate the existing confusion over "EDITOR" vs. "ESSAY". Ahasuerus 16:35, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I dislike the Essay 'solution' too. I can live with Editors of Collections or Omnibuses being recorded in notes for now. Who wants Asimov's page getting any longer anyway if we figure out how to deal with the "Quantum SF" series in a workaround? BLongley 20:36, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
While I used the essay method I did not like it. I can't think of a clean method to have Frenkle credited on his bibliography as an editor. I tried to do it by adding an Anthology record that was a parent title of the existing omnibus/anthology records but then a screen refresh reminded me that the variant/child titles vanished from the bibliographies of the story authors. There is a method that's also a hack which is to add anthology title records for Frenkel and in the notes field of each one point to the omnibus title record. The anthology records could even have child VTs that say "uncredited" - There would be no publications. Likewise, the omnibus records that have the stories would have links in their notes to the anthology records. A single Essay record, while not a bringer of happiness to anyone, was far simpler. --Marc Kupper|talk 00:22, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I see the problem. None of those looks really good. I'm inclined to think that the best answer in a case like this might be to simply put the credit in the notes, and wait until we have a "roles" field, or some similar device that lets us credit individuals for a variety of things now only recorded in notes, like translator, editor of a novel, jacket designer, book designer, etc. -DES Talk 00:40, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Finally, one of my concerns specifically with the Binary Stars series was that entering some of the books as omnibuses and some as anthologies -- which may have been the right thing to do technically -- would break the series up and there would be no easy way to find all 5 books. That, in turn, would cause problems for our users who may come across "Binary Star No. 4" and ask questions like "How many other books were published as part of this series? Who were the contributing authors and what were the titles?" By entering them as anthologies, I got all of them to appear on Frenkel's page, but, of course, it opened a whole different can of worms. I retrospect, I probably should have paused and considered the ramifications of this approach for Tor Doubles, which were also numbered, but the Binary Star series was in such a bad shape at the time that I wanted to do something quickly. Ahasuerus 16:35, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I think we've all been surprised by the Binary Star entries at some point. We've tried to make them look like Ace Doubles, Tor Doubles, Anthologies, Collections: trying to take the outside view, I think the final solution needs to be that anyone can search for "Binary Star", or either of the constituent titles, and be able to pick the book(s) out of the results. (Yes, that digresses into COVERART and REVIEW pollution of search results, and maybe even EDITOR records. But the search goal remains the same.) Series Display on Author pages is already a little sub-optimal, and a consistent pattern for notable series might be improved even if it's a workaround - having a series of four anthologies and one essay as we do now just looks wrong. But I don't find this a particularly notable series. BLongley 20:36, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I also don't like the dummy essay, nor do I like that the pub record that I verified as an anthology was changed into an omnibus, and added an appendix to the title which includes the story titles, and a nonsensical note about assuming it to be a first printing which declares itself to be the first printing. I'm removing my verification from a record that doesn't resemble my original submission. Anyone willing to take this record over, please do so. MHHutchins 17:54, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
That sucks. Please note that I for one don't want my verified pubs "experimented with". I think it's fairly clear when I experiment, and any "BL TEST" entries are probably obnoxious enough that nobody takes them as serious entries. BLongley 20:36, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it's probably best not to experiment with verified pubs, especially since there are plenty of other guinea pigs walking around, just begging to be abused :)
As far as the "nonsensical note about assuming it to be a first printing which declares itself to be the first printing" is concerned, it looked like something that Harry used to do when adding notes to pubs ("I rarely mess with previous notes as I have been warned not to.") I advised him against this practice just a few days ago. Unfortunately, the change must have somehow made it past moderation :(
I have ended the omnibus/essay experiment and have converted the omnibus entry into an anthology which makes all five books match. As BS #5 no longer matches my understanding of its contents I've removed my transient verification though will leave Publication:ANCL00183 in place unless someone objects to it. The Binary Star books no longer show up in the individual author bibliographies. I consider it an oddness as the authors, their story titles, but never the editor, are credited on the front cover, spines, and title pages of the publications. The editor is credited via his introduction and on the back cover of BS #5. --Marc Kupper|talk 01:46, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I have now verified my copy, which turned out to be a useful exercise since I found a note (in fine print, of course) about textual changes in Martin's novella.
Also, for the record, I don't object to converting this quintuplet to Omnibuses if we decide that that's the way we want to handle doubles. I am more concerned about "real" anthologies with 3+ stories in them not appearing on their uncredited editors' Summary pages. Ahasuerus 02:11, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
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