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Archive of messages from January - April 2012

Variants of Chapterbooks

I'll admit it; chapterbooks still confuse me. They feel like something part-way between a title and a publication. But because of the way they get listed in an author's bibliography, it seems that I should still handle foreign language variants the way that I do with novels, collections, etc. But the system really doesn't seem to want me to do this. Here are problems I'm having with entering such variants, assuming that there are both English and non-English chapterbooks for the same short fiction piece:

  1. If I create a chapterbook under a non-English language, and then make it a variant of the English language chapterbook, the system changes the language of that new chapterbook to English.
    Hm, that sounds wrong. Let me take a look. Ahasuerus 19:33, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
    I took van Vogt's "A l'Assaut de l'Invisible" and turned it into a VT of a (fake) English language chapterbook, but it didn't seem to cause any problems on the development server. Could you please provide a list of steps? Ahasuerus 20:14, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
    My attempts to re-construct the problem showed that it was a different problem. I had created a non-English chapterbook (setting the language), then added the story by the same name to the chapterbook. At that point, you don't get the option to set the language of the short story, and it doesn't inherit the language of the chapterbook. So when I later looked at the contents, it appeared that it had reverted to English. My mistake. So this isn't an actual bug, but it is "unexpected behavior" on the part of the code. As I understand chapterbooks, it seems that the language of the book and the language of the contents should be linked -- at least by default. (I'm aware that chapterbooks can also be anthologies, and in theory at least could be multi-language anthologies, although that would be rare.) Chavey 21:19, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
    Ah, I see! Yes, there are a few places in the software where the default language is not set for Contents titles. It's on my list of things to fix as part of continuing language improvements. Ahasuerus 23:17, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. If I start with the English language chapterbook and try to "Add Variant Title" to it, it creates the variant title as an Anthology, and doesn't even give me the option to change that title type to Chapterbook. The only thing I can do is to complete data entry as an Anthology, and then edit the title rec to make it a Chapterbook.
    That's a bug. I'll try to fix it tonight. Ahasuerus 19:33, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
    Fixed. Ahasuerus 03:12, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
  3. There are some situations where the short fiction piece was originally published in English and then later published as an English chapterbook; but where the non-English chapterbook predates the English version. So the non-English short fiction piece is clearly a variant of the English short fiction piece. But which chapterbook is a variant of the other? The How to Enter Foreign Language Editions help page says "If a book was written in one language, but a foreign language translation was published first, then the original language title is entered as the canonical title and the translated title is entered as a Variant Title." In the case of Chapterbooks, the "book" was not written in English first, but since the story was written in English first, I assume that I should interpret those directions as telling me to list the canonical chapterbook title as the English language one. But now what date do I put on that title rec? In the example linked above, the English language canonical title date is 2007. But the date for the Galician chapterbook is 1994. So which date do I use?

My impression is that either (i) I'm not supposed to be creating VT's of chapterbooks (which would make them like publications); or (ii) There are several bugs in the code (& help screens) on creating such VT's. Chavey 17:22, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

CHAPTERBOOK is neither a title nor a publication. It's a type, similar to NOVEL, COLLECTION, ANTHOLOGY, etc. There is no chapterbook record, but each chapterbook has both a title record and a pub record, both of which are typed CHAPTERBOOK. This is no different than a book typed as NOVEL.
As for dating the record, I feel the title record should be dated the same as the first pub record. If a title record is a variant (based on whatever criteria we use these days to determine variants), it should also be dated the same as its first publication record. So the date of the Galician variant title record should be the date of the first (oldest) publication of that variant. That date might change if we find an earlier publication. In the example you give, I feel the date of this record should be the date of the first separate publication, regardless of its language. (BTW, the language of that title record should be changed from Galician to English.) This is only my opinion. I don't know if there are any stated rules or a policy concerning this situation. There may be dissenting opinions on the matter. There's going to be many new matters that will need discussion because of the changes in language support. Mhhutchins 21:12, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Golden Key chapterbook language corrected. I agree with your analysis of the date to use on the title record; but I'll wait to see if other opinions are expressed here. Chavey 21:22, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Michael. Under current policy/practice the date should be the same for all variants (and the parent) and should be the oldest. I "know" it's been discussed, but I can't for the life of me find it. I suspect that now that we've headed down the slippery slope of content-based variants, there would be more support for having the dates be "first appearance as such" (which is my personal preference anyway), but that isn't supposed to be the way it is done currently. --MartyD 14:10, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, the help still suggests variants don't get their own dates. And if that was universally true in practice and desirability, we could improve "make variant" to make sure of that. But I suspect this isn't actually what people do, or want. E.g. I would like title variants to be consistent if it's just a slight punctuation or spelling difference, but for a complete retitle I'd prefer to see the variant with the date it was first retitled. Same with author variants - a missing or present middle initial shouldn't usually need a new date, but for a complete change of pseudonym I'd like to see the dates the pseudonym was used. (The recent change to "writing as" rules has kinda stuffed that idea though, and sometimes a middle initial change does indicate an author-desired change rather than a UK/US difference.) For language variants, I'm even keener to keep the date of first appearance in that language but we haven't thrashed that one out yet. And when we changed "SERIAL" to use variants we didn't keep the help up to date, and when we get translator support that will build on the language variant rules. Lots of worms in this can! BLongley 04:57, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Are these synopsises good enough?

I entered as a test synopsises for stories in this Galaxy issue. As a non-English speaker I am not too confident about my spelling. Is the spelling on those good enough and are they non-spoilerish enough? (if so, I have some sort of a synopsis written for all stories in over 150 issues of Analog and Galaxy magazines. I might consider adding at least some of those. I probably have slightly more time this year than in last year. Tpi 15:34, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't use the synopsis field myself, but can see how others might find it helpful. The synopses you've added to the stories in this issue look OK to me. Mhhutchins 03:47, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, add them - they don't seem too spoilerish. Your English isn't perfect but it's far better than my Finnish and a synopsis is better than no synopsis. I would suggest making sure the synopsis goes on the canonical title though - e.g. for "Made in U.S.A." you have the synopsis on the "J. T. M'Intosh" version which means it's not visible on the "J. T. McIntosh" version. BLongley 04:22, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. BTW, I find synopses especially useful when they help clarify whether a book is SF or not. For example, a few minutes ago I added a brief synopsis to Albrecht Koschorke's The Holy Family and Its Legacy which would otherwise look out of place in an SF database. Ahasuerus 04:39, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

"Austin and His Friends" by Frederic H. Balfour

Would anyone happen to know if this book is SF? The text is available on Gutenberg and I can see multiple references to ghosts, but they all appear to be conjectural. Ahasuerus 03:58, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Snagging larger cover images from LibraryThing

Is there a way to snag the full-size images to the covers of those that only show the thumbnails on LibraryThing? When I look at the display of all covers of any given title, I see that many of them are annotated with a larger dimension than displayed. Does anyone know how to see those larger images? (Kind of like the trick you can do to see larger Amazon images.) Thanks. Mhhutchins 16:41, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I took a quick look, and the dimensions displayed are in the generated HTML page, not derived from anything on the page or in the image file name (that I was able to determine). If no one knows the answer, we'd probably have to get someone to upload some images and see if they end up having access to the original image, then compare to the thumbnails presented and see if we can figure out a pattern.... --MartyD 17:49, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
They want to give away their images - see [1] and you can indeed get at large, medium or small versions. It looks like anyone could do it if they can at least sign up to get a dev key, it doesn't appear to need development skills - although programatically going through our missing images and seeing if they have one would be better. There are daily limits of a 1000 per day per developer key which is fine for most of us caching the files here, but discourages us from deep-linking to them. BLongley 22:20, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Hmm... their "large" doesn't seem much larger than the thumbnails - typically 220 or so pixels high versus a standard 190. It might be worth using the Tineye service or plugin to find better ones: e.g. using Tineye on 114f8d95d1499125932555952774141414c3441.jpg helps find msf-070.jpg on this Frank Herbert page which has several other good covers. It doesn't find the 752x1216 image suggested on Librarything so maybe that's not intended for public consumption. BLongley 23:01, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
You're right. Their "large" isn't. In hunting down the image for the SFBC edition of On the Beach (with the Richard Powers artwork), I found the image on LibraryThing, but it's not very useful.
In the meantime, I made another discovery. Our links to Amazon no longer give the "larger" image on their server. It's larger than their thumbnail, but still relatively smaller than what they once were. Maybe Amazon's trying to cut back on bandwidth? Now I'm going to have to go back through my verifications again (fourth or fifth pass) to add better images.
Also another revelation: why are all of the Amazon images credited with a link to the UK site, when the URL for the image is on the US site? Mhhutchins 00:03, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
We credit "" prefixes to Amazon US, and "" to Amazon UK. Also if the second part is "images-amazon" (notice hyphen) we'll credit the UK site. I think there's a lot of reuse over the Amazon sites but as we provide links to them all (except Spain,for now) if they're ISBNed it's not too important. BLongley 01:06, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
We may want to change both credits to "Amazon" since there is no easy way of telling (that I know of) which side of the Atlantic the image comes from. Ahasuerus 01:21, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
[after edit conflict] Why do the "images-amazon" images link to the UK site? Was that a decision by the programmer? I've just checked 5 random records and all of them were US publications. For example: here, here and here. Mhhutchins 01:22, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Interesting question. It appears that when it first went live, "images-amazon" was considered US. When the code was moved to a separate "PrintArtCredit" function it became considered as UK. The fact that it has taken over 2 years to notice reinforces my thinking that it isn't all that important - but if we do want to address it, there are several "" that we don't cover. BLongley 02:30, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Checking the code history, I see that it was changed from the US to the UK in September 2009 when that whole section of the code was rewritten. It looks like the change was unintentional, so we should change it back. But before we do that, how confident are we that "images-amazon" images always come from the US store? If we are less than 90% confident, then it may be easier to simply say "image provided by Amazon". Ahasuerus 02:37, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I'm certainly less than 90% confident. I think I recall Marc Kupper having some input when it was first discussed but after this long whatever we decided at the time may no longer be true anyway - we've changed, Amazon has changed. I'd be quite happy to leave it as "image provided by Amazon" with no hyper-link - there will be a hyper-link to at least one Amazon store as we don't allow people to turn all Amazon "Other Sites" links off. (Except for non-ISBNed titles, which are presumably not in Amazon's own main stocks, just those of their resellers. And also excepting Kindle books, of course.) BLongley 02:51, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

(unindent) Thinking back, I recall that Al wanted to make sure that Amazon was explicitly credited for its hosted images because of something in their Terms of Services. Oh well, I have changed the code so that "Amazon" is credited for "images-amazon" images and the link goes to the site. Ahasuerus 06:17, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

(unindent) on the original subject - A couple of years ago I saw that someone had uploaded a decent scan of a very rare book to LibraryThing. I struggled, including with the developer interface, but was never able to figure out how to extract that image. I gave up and e-mailed the LibraryThing people to see if they would be willing to send me that image. If they ever replied I never noticed. --Marc Kupper|talk 06:54, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

"This view is of the authority edition"

Does anyone know what Amazon mean when they put that at the top of a "Look-Inside"? BLongley 00:21, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I've never noticed it. Which listing(s) does it appear om? Mhhutchins 03:58, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Dead in the Family was the first time I've seen it. BLongley 22:27, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Much (most?) of the time Amazon scans only one edition of each book and then links all other editions to the scan. (I am sure it saves them a lot of money.) The notice at the top of the page usually says something like "This is a view of the hardcover edition. If you order this book, you will get the paperback version", but perhaps they use "authority" if they are not sure where the scan originally came from? Ahasuerus 22:40, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
It seems whatever they consider the "authority" to be, in this case it's the ebook with ISBN 1101182504. Although they also allow you to preview the Kindle version, ISBN 9781101433552. I have a nasty feeling Amazon are getting less and less helpful with dead-tree data. :-( BLongley 01:35, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I noticed this several months ago (and noted it here.) It seems that in almost every instance where an ebook exists, you only see the "Look-Inside" of the ebook edition. (Doesn't this kind of make the name "Look-Inside" inappropriate?) It's rare that you get the option to see both the print and ebook editions. Mhhutchins 02:03, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, when Amazon started preferring Kindle look-inside to any other kind I went and looked at Smashwords, where their ebook samples generally allow you to copy-n-paste some useful data (very good for collections and anthologies). There's not much of an overlap though. I appreciate that Ahasuerus has put a lot of work into keeping the Fixer Amazon data coming, but I'm less and less interested in it now. There's other problems like "hardcover audiobooks" that I don't really understand either. I think I'd prefer (small) Fixer runs from the European Amazon sites rather than more ebooks or audio-books, they stretch my brain usefully. BLongley 02:31, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Fixer is supposed to auto-suspend digital and audio pubs, but a few have slipped past his safeguards lately. I'll have a talk with Fixer to make sure he does a better job of catching them.
As far as European ISBNs go, they have been captured in Fixer's internal database, but a number of significant changes to Fixer's logic will be needed before they can be submitted. I would like to catch up with the currently outstanding Python changes before I start working on that. Ahasuerus 16:27, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
By all means, do so! I can find plenty of stuff to keep me busy. For instance, today I'm pretending to be Portuguese. BLongley 17:05, 11 January 2012 (UTC)


I don't know if it's just me, but Portuguese titles seem hard to track down. I snarfed a few dozen test pubs from (which seems to be the only Amazon site where you can search by Language) but most didn't appear to have an entry in Worldcat: nor in the European Library, presumably because many of them are actually Brazilian. I'm not going to pursue this any further, but does anyone have a suggestion for Brazilian and/or Portuguese libraries we can check against, before we get real Portuguese-speaking editors? (And sites for any other South American countries that have Portuguese as a main language?) BLongley 19:36, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

When I first visited Portugal in the early 1990's, the major SF publisher was "Livros Do Brasil", and there was little else. The name of the publisher can be confusing, but the company has it's offices in Lisbon. If you want to try something, take the publication series "Argonauta". An overview of Portugese SF in larger and smaller publication series (colecções) is on this site. here are the (sometimes beautiful) covers, but Worldcat has only 60 of them. Another site with more information is here. Hope this helps. --Willem H. 20:41, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I may have got a little carried away. And there's this Flickr Set that we might be allowed to take some cover images from. BLongley 13:56, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Superb! Note some interesting "parallels" (or plagiats) when you compare this portugese edition and this first french pub of the same title, or this and that. Hauck 14:12, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Updates to Help:AddAward

In response to questions raised by an editor trying to add some awards, I had the opportunity to revisit the Help Screen for Adding Awards. Looking at this afresh, and with his questions in mind, I believe I have clarified some aspects of this Help Page. I encourage others who are interested in the awards to look at, and evaluate, this page. (New text is in red font, deleted text is struck-through.) For experienced award editors, it would be useful to check my correctness and completeness. For others who have not yet worked with awards, but think you might, your opinions about the clarity of this page would be particularly helpful. Chavey 06:55, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

No comments for a week, so I made the changes permanent. (You can look at the history if you want to see what the changes were.) Chavey 04:42, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
No problems, but you DO realise that it has a very small audience? Such edits are still Mods-only, unless Ahasuerus slipped another change in that I'm not aware of. BLongley 05:33, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
It's still moderator-only. I'd like to implement more fixes and enhancements before we open the floodgates. Ahasuerus 17:06, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
And, of course, it would be nice to have the Help pages as accurate as possible for when we open the floodgates. Chavey 23:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Italian "Complete Novels" and Serials

While on my virtual tour of Brazil, I've also been setting the parent title languages where needed. However, quite often I come across an Italian serialisation that Ernest Vegetti entered, that I guess I could also do in passing. He was very good at recording the Italian title in notes so I could correct those as I go, but I'm not sure whether our "Complete Novel" or "Part x of y" suffixes are meant to be used for non-English titles. Should I leave these in English, or can someone tell me what the Italian terms should be? (This may apply to other languages, but Ernesto was the most prolific foreign editor of his time.) BLongley 19:41, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I think we should continue to use the same form that we use in English titles regardless of the original language: (Complete Novel), (Part X of Y), (map), (frontispiece), (excerpt), etc. We have to remember that these extensions are not part of the title even in the English language. I see no reason to make exceptions for these explanatory appendices to titles. Just as we're not going to be changing the field names, the publication types, the header displays, etc (all current English usage) into the language of the publication. Or is that also something planned for the future that no one has discussed? Mhhutchins 21:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
If it's planned, it was never discussed with me. I could support such changes, so long as they're not inflicted on us by default. I really would like to help us become The Internet Speculative Fiction Database rather than just the English-Speakers one, but not at the cost of losing any of our English-only editors. BLongley 01:00, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Michael. We shouldn't make things harder with more exceptions to the rules. --Willem H. 21:42, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd feel slightly more comfortable if people explained, in their own language, why we're still mostly English-centric. But I really have no idea on how to improve our help pages to be multi-lingual. BLongley 01:00, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Bill, I don't think you really need an explanation for why the database is oriented toward English. Just as I've never asked why Noosfere is French-oriented, why Terminus Trantor is Spanish-oriented, or why the Catalog SF, Fantasy e Horror is Italian-oriented. I wouldn't even ask why they don't include English-language publications in their databases. I would ask why there are editors who feel it necessary to duplicate the information in those databases into the ISFDB. Mhhutchins 01:22, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
The operative word is still. I know the history. I also know how we're trying to expand our remit. You have a very valid point as to why we're duplicating data already covered pretty well elsewhere. I don't really know, but Ernesto, Hervé, Willem, Christian, Rudolf, etc seem to have found reason to spend a lot of time on such. I think it would be helpful to have rules and guidelines for the non-English - and probably even more useful to have all the help pages translated into our "mostly-supported" languages. I'd love to be able to turn around and say, "OK, we're up to date on English titles now. Would the French, German and Dutch please catch up." BLongley 04:25, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not intending to duplicate noosfere's data (whose accuracy is sometimes on the faulty side) and I wish to strongly point that the data (and its errors) that I entered is mine only. To answer more precisely your question, having a book collection split in equal measure between French and English, investing my time here (I've already help some french sites at length) seemed to me a worthy adventure. Also, as I said before, as an amateur bibliographer, I'm very interested in having The Internet Speculative Fiction Database on hand, so the best way to progress toward this ideal is to work on it, even if it means some adjustements. Hauck 06:22, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I once read somewhere that 80% of the Dutch fans read their books in English, which is probably the reason that the amount of Science Fiction books published in the Netherlands is rapidly approaching zero (only the big fat Fantasy series remain). I don't think there will ever be a Dutch fan here who can't at least read English. My reason for adding Dutch books here, is that no existing Dutch site comes close to what I want to see in a bibliography, especially the connection between translated and original titles. ISFDB at least has the potential to become the "International Speculative Fiction Database". --Willem H. 14:25, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I've not met many Dutch SF fans - Larry van der Putte seems to make up for their general absence at UK cons quite nicely! ;-) BLongley 16:34, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I can think of a few reasons to add non-English books to ISFDB. First, our backups are publicly available so that if the site becomes defunct for some reason, it can be easily recreated and the data won't be lost. Second, language-specific bibliographies are by definition limited to one language. If you want to see all translations of a given author's work, there is no place to turn to unless you find a robust author-specific (personal, fan-run, etc) site. Ahasuerus 07:58, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
And also, it makes a nice change when you're fed up with Daisy Meadows. Although I'm beginning to wish I'd chosen a shorter series. :-/ BLongley 17:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the original question is much simpler. Do we stick with "Complete Novel" and "Part X of Y" for serials in any language, or use (for instance) "roman complet" and "La partie X de Y" for French titles or "romanzo completo" and "Parte X di Y" for Italian ones? I have no preference myself: I can understand that one rule for all is simpler, but as I'm not going to be the one entering all the foreign titles (however much it looks like it at times) I thought I'd throw it open for discussion. And just for an informal discussion - I'm very reluctant to start a full "Rules and Standards" discussion covering multiple languages, the differences in proposed Capitalisation Rules makes me very aware that we may need different rules for different languages. BLongley 10:01, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm all for sticking with English. It is the one language we all understand (and we do need such a language). I am not able to understand Hungarian, for example (sorry for that), somebody else has difficulties with German. In the end it's much to time-consuming to look up every possible meaning in a bunch of unknown languages, even if we have a sort of dictionary (or several of them). Stonecreek 13:40, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I vote for English. For me, this also includes the publication notes (translated by ., not vertaald door . or traduit par . or whatever). My conversations with Dirk or any other Dutch or Flemish editor will always be in English too. --Willem H. 14:25, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid I've been lazy with translators and narrators and typically just use whatever form the source used. So when we get proper support for these people then there'll be lots of different "Notes Searches" to do to find them. :-/ Ah well, at least they're recorded and you can still search Pub Notes for a name like "Alexandra Santos Tavares", even if she doesn't yet appear as an "Author". BLongley 19:41, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. Obviously, English is the current default, but I thought I'd ask whether people wanted some exceptions. If you're all happy with English, that is definitely fine with me - I speak it like a native! Oh, wait - I am a native, unlike the Americans and Canadians. ;-) BLongley 16:34, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I would always prefer one language for technical terms and communication and and in our case it could only be english. But perhaps there could be some specific bibliographic terms in non-English languages, then it would make sense to use them in their original language but always with the english translation in brackets. Rudam 17:44, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree that it would be best to use "(Complete Novel)", "(Part X of Y)", etc regardless of the language, at least for now. In the long run, we may want to move these indicators from titles to a separate field, which would then enable us to display them in user-defined languages. It won't happen overnight, though. Ahasuerus 07:55, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I've just noticed that serialisations in another language don't show the language, e.g. Le amazzoni (Complete Novel). Another small fix needed - although if we introduce a "Translations" section separately from other Variant titles, which section should these go in? BLongley 18:11, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I noticed the same thing almost five months ago, but no one seemed to think it was important enough to respond. As I pointed out then, it was something to consider when implementing foreign language support. Mhhutchins 22:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I missed that one. This Wiki communication is not ideal if you really want to be noticed. But people aren't that good at recording bugs and feature requests on Sourceforge either. :-/ Sometimes I wonder how we've made any improvements in the last few years... :-( BLongley 22:58, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Anyway, the question remains - if we do "fix" our current over-stretching of variants, can serials and translations be divided neatly or are serial translations an entirely separate category? BLongley 22:58, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Sorry about the overloading

In hindsight, I think I'm guilty of stress-testing our server a bit more than is wise. :-( Thanks to those that have helped clear the queue of my Portuguese experiments. As a sort of apology, I'm willing to help make things better by cutting the big lists down to manageable chunks, like we do with searches - i.e. 100 results at a time. The Submission queue is an obvious one, and Publication Series looks worth a look too, with some European series going into the multiple hundreds. Is there anything else I should look at while I'm still this sorry? BLongley 11:42, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

That was a task (or tusk?) worthy for several mammoths, I think. What you do seems just great to me, so do what you're up for (and like) to do. Thanks a lot for expanding ISFDB in several directions! Stonecreek 13:33, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I would prefer that the submission queue remain complete, and the publication series pages as well. What would be the point of splitting them into blocks of 100 when all someone has to do to get to the bottom of the page is to push one key? If I had my choice, I'd also rather that searches be complete, although I can see the point of smaller blocks when the results run into thousands. Even then 100 results at a time seems too small, in my opinion. Mhhutchins 15:40, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, I can foresee a future where the submission list can be cut down by language(s), although we may not be there yet, with only five current ones actively worked on. But if people want MORE entries, that's another option too: I'd suggest we make it a "user preference" so those that have trouble with more than a screen-full get their wish, and gluttons for punishment can see many many lots. BLongley 16:20, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Aside: it wasn't to get to the bottom of the page that irked me, it was getting to the second hundred of five hundred that felt awkward. Most websites will split results up into smaller chunks with a quick way to go to page three, page nine, page twenty, or page umpteen. BLongley 16:20, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I see. So you're thinking of adding links on the first page to each of the additional pages? If so, that would work fine. Mhhutchins 17:42, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes - the "Next 100" option is beginning to look a bit inadequate on some pages. And some summary pages are taking ages to load for me now, I'm not sure if that's because of the extra foreign titles. I'm beginning to think that a "Suppress Magazine Appearances" option would help - e.g. Ray Cummings would be about a third shorter with that option on. BLongley 18:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I've noticed no delay in loading any pages. How could text without graphics cause such a delay? Even the largest text page on the website shouldn't take longer than the typical graphic-laden web page. Mhhutchins 18:34, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
If retrieving the text from the database takes any significant amount of time, then the page will be slow to appear even if there's not much stuff to display. An author summary page like Isaac Asimov's is about 350K - smaller than the home page with all those forthcoming book covers, but it takes longer to load. BLongley 19:17, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, performance testing is particularly hard to do for us developers that don't have exactly the same hardware and software configuration as the live server. There does seem to be a time-of-day issue too - sometimes I'll get a "500 Server Error" for no particular reason I can see. But at the moment, it's working fine, after an afternoon of fairly slow responses. BLongley 19:17, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Nominating editor Rudam as moderator

Rudam (talk) has been contributing for more than five years by now, collecting on his way a fair amount of knowledge about our database. In addition he seems to have the overall quality of data in mind and communicates openly and in advance on his changing edits. In short: he is up to the task, willing (see here) and meets the Moderator Requirements. Stonecreek 13:51, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

(See Moderator Qualifications#Becoming a moderator for details of the nomination process.)


  1. Support, as nominator. Stonecreek 13:51, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  2. Support, no problems with his submissions lately. He does a good job on German publications. --Willem H. 14:31, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  3. Support. Hauck 17:15, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  4. Support. Possibly not our most prolific editor, but definitely a conscientious one. He'll be a valuable asset. BLongley 18:01, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  5. Support. Since his recent move to entering only German-language pubs, I've left it to other moderators to handle his work. I'm assuming he's doing well. Mhhutchins 21:50, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  6. Support. 100 % --~ Bill, Bluesman 02:25, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  7. Support. Ahasuerus 09:15, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  8. Support. --MartyD 11:17, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  9. Support. Kraang 02:42, 22 January 2012 (UTC)



'Outcome: The nomination passed and the moderator flag has been set. Congratulations! Ahasuerus 06:09, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Sue Grafton

I ran across the following entries for Sue Grafton. As far as I know none of these titles qualify as SF, so I am thinking of deleting this bibliography, unless otherwise informed.--Rkihara 20:57, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Remove the pub and title records for the the non-genre books, but you'll need to keep the spec-fic related essay. So she won't be completely removed from the db. Mhhutchins 21:48, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, please obliterate them before we get to "Z Is for Zero". BLongley 00:30, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Damn! And I was waiting for "X Is for Xanax". Mhhutchins 00:49, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Done! Thanks for the input.--Rkihara 17:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Lilian Jackson Braun

Does anyone know why we have the "Cat Who..." series by Lilian Jackson Braun? As far as I know, they're mysteries with no spec-fic elements. Can we safely delete them? Mhhutchins 22:13, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I guess Koko and Yum-Yum are just too talented for normal cats for it to be considered mainstream fiction? Same as Lovejoy is too talented a human. A borderline case, admittedly, and I wouldn't mourn their departure. But if we are going to mass-delete authors, how best can we stop them reappearing? We've had similar discussions over Mario Puzo, Clive Cussler and maybe even Ian Fleming (I'm pretty sure the novelisation of Moonraker should be "in".) BLongley 04:33, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
It's handy to have, say, "Robinson Crusoe" listed as "Non-genre" in Daniel Defoe's summary bibliography, to prevent others from adding it as spec fic. We wouldn't want to do that with individual titles for most authors, who are below the nebulous "threshold", but I wonder if it might not be worth having the ability to add a "fake listing" in Braun's bibliography that would be non-genre listing for the "The Cat Who (series)", or under Mario Puzo for "Most books"? Chavey 00:07, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Cover image pelmanism

I'm impressed. this matched to that (thanks to Tineye.) Not so impressed with an accidental Google image search for "Image:FNTSTCVGTS1973.jpg". (To be fair, Google did get the first one right, but added 93 others.) BLongley 08:59, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Is it really pelmanism when it's the same title? :-) --~ Bill, Bluesman 17:37, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it's the same title when it's been translated. The Dutch image is so small I can't even begin to figure out why "Fantastic Voyage" is three words in Dutch. And who are these "Wondermints" that used it as a CD cover? BLongley 02:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The Dutch looks like the title for the sequel "Destination Brain". --~ Bill, Bluesman 17:37, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Could be, I'll leave that to the expert(s) though. Now that we have experts in non-English languages, I try to leave them to get on with it. I'll just go do another language (got to set out some bait!) or some more English. BLongley 21:06, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The image is from the 1967 first Dutch edition. Funny, we knew the title of the sequel 20 years before it was published:) The literal translation is "Destination: Human Brain". Most likely, I'll verify and add a better scan this year. --Willem H. 21:16, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The Wondermints are a California pop music group, who've lately been Brian Wilson's back-up band. Anyone into the 60's pop sound should like their album "Bali". What album did they use this image on? I couldn't find it. Mhhutchins 03:21, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Found it. Image was used on this Japanese-only EP. I wonder if they credited the original artist. Mhhutchins 03:23, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Even if they did, who here reads enough Japanese to decipher it? :-/ Still, you raise an interesting point - Tineye went from the colour image to a black and white match, but you need to search again on the black and white version to find the EP cover. Bug or Feature? BLongley 16:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Progress on languages

I thought I'd post an update on how we're doing so far. We're up to 82 defined languages used for titles now. The most popular are:

English	43961
German		4072
Dutch		2201
French		2051
Portuguese	629
Russian	130
Spanish	109
Galician	100
Italian	65
Japanese	50
Polish		49
Swedish	36
Czech		17
Danish		11
Finnish	9
Hungarian	9
Sundanese	6

I'm not surprised at the top 4, and think I might be personally responsible for most of number 5. Presumably Darrah can claim most of the "Galician"? I'm a bit disappointed at the low Italian count (although I appreciate Ernesto can't edit from beyond the grave) and Polish and Finnish. Are people just waiting for further language support improvements? (I have some planned, when Ahasuerus opens to new software submissions.) Or is there a lack of interest in most languages? BLongley 09:33, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Yup, that's all my Galician books. A weekend off, and I figured there at least I wouldn't be conflicting with anyone else, and probably not duplicating the work in somebody's language-specific bibliography. Chavey 16:53, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
A mass update for the French series that I entered (at the time where pub language didn't exist) should probably add a couple thousand to the corresponding total. Hauck 08:56, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm willing to work on such scripts, but I'd like Ahasuerus to clarify how dangerous and/or effective they're allowed to be. There's no point me developing the script if he won't run it - although the same logic could also provide a Wiki-page of "pubs that need doing". Which I'm reluctant to post until he catches up on the development queue and I can give you "Unmerge Foreign title" to make it much easier. Can anyone get us a grant that means we can devote our full time to ISFDB, rather than fitting it around other stuff? BLongley 21:18, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
User:Zoltar is working on entering Polish magazines, so the number of Polish titles will be going up in the next few weeks. It's an "if you build, they will come" situation -- as long as our support for multiple languages was poor, relatively few people bothered to enter non-English books. Now that it has been improved, we may get more non-English submissions. Ahasuerus 09:45, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
One thing to watch out for is that languages aren't being correctly set when adding contents to existing publications, so we're still making a lot of work for non-English editors. I don't feel qualified to moderate Polish titles, especially as some of them seem to stress our alphabet support. BLongley 16:55, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Right, added Title records should be inheriting the language of the reference Title. Bug 3479684 created. Ahasuerus 17:17, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
As far as "stressing our alphabet support" goes, it's mostly a display problem -- see Bug 3012341. I tried fixing it on the development server about 8 months ago, but I didn't like the direction it was going in, so I stopped. We'll need to fix it for sure, but we'll try a different tack. Ahasuerus 17:21, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
P.S. It's also a search problem, but a relatively minor one -- search All Titles for "42" and note the first 5 titles :) Ahasuerus 17:29, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Copyright infringement?

A submission is in the queue to add a website address to a title [a poem] which prints the poem in its entirety. Is this copyright infringement? If permission was given to the website [it's a blog] does that extend to us linking there? --~ Bill, Bluesman 20:22, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

The copyright material is not on the ISFDB server. We're just linking to it. I can not see that being a violation of copyright laws (until the US Congress gears up again to destroy the internet to pay back their bankrolers at the MPAA and the RIAA.) Mhhutchins 20:47, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. It never ceases to amaze me how ones with heads so far up their butts can push them in even further. --~ Bill, Bluesman 21:18, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, I Am Not A Lawyer (tm), but there is this concept of "contributory infringement" in the US and the US Supreme Court just recently held that "[o]ne infringes contributorily by intentionally inducing or encouraging direct infringement". I suppose linking to an infringing site may be considered "encouraging", although I don't know how the courts view this matter.
That said, there are thousands of sites illegally hosting thousands and even millions of copyrighted texts, images and movies -- and many other sites linking to them -- so I am sure we won't be at the top of the list of offenders that the US government will go after. At most, we may get a "cease and desist" letter and have to a remove a few links. Still, it's probably best to be careful and not to link to any sites that openly infringe. Ahasuerus 05:58, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
So how would the internet user (or the government) know of these "rogue websites" unless they are provided a list of them? If anyone, including the MPAA and the government, supplies a list of these websites, then wouldn't they also be contributing to copyright infringement? Common sense tells me that a link neither encourages nor induces infringement. But then the government and those corporations that control it have never been accused of having common sense when it comes to power and money. Mhhutchins 06:30, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Common sense can't shut ISFDB down, but governments can :-) therefore we have to worry about the laws and regulations that apply to the server hosting ISFDB rather than about common sense. And, since the server is based in the US at the moment, the laws in question are the American laws. If and when these laws (or their interpretation by the courts and various regulatory agencies) change to make it hard for us to do what we are doing here, then we may consider moving the database to a server in another country with different laws, but I don't think that copyright issues are a deal breaker for us. Ahasuerus 07:06, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Remove Award Error

When removing an award from a title, the following error occurs:

The requested URL /cgi-bin/edit/submitrmaward.cgi was not found on this server.

-- JLaTondre (talk) 18:16, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Specifically which award were you removing from which title record? Mhhutchins 18:22, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
After making 40559 a variant of 1368084 (per your talk), I wanted to move the Nebula Award Short Story Nomination from the variant to the primary record. I added it to 1368084, but when I try to delete it from 40559, I get the above error. However, that error is independent of any specific title or award. The remove award page ( is calling a CGI script submitrmaward.cgi that cannot be found on the server. It will happen with any title / award. -- JLaTondre (talk) 18:36, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I think it has something to do with the Python error that occurs when you try to remove an award from the 1996 Nebula Awards listing. Maybe the "Withdrawn - Ineligible" tag given to "The Perseids"? Mhhutchins 19:16, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
But then again, any "Preliminary Nominee" for Nebula can't be edited. What's up with that? Mhhutchins 19:18, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
It appears "rmyearaward" is fubar in several ways, and all the "special" award levels are broken. I planned to get round to award levels after fixing/expanding award types but we've got a bit behind. BLongley 22:16, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
There are numerous known problems with award editing, which is why it's currently limited to moderators. Bug 3161128 deals with awards for variant titles and is currently in the pipeline. Ahasuerus 20:44, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Not the same bug, but may be related. I guess once someone has the time to work on it, this problem can be fixed as well. Mhhutchins 21:05, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, Bill's changes affect the same script, so he may have fixed this bug as well. We'll find out when I start testing it... Ahasuerus 21:09, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
This sounds like Bug 3272198 which I reported but don't recall having fixed. (It's been so long since I submitted some changes I can't recall exactly what they were for, and I've been pretty lousy at recording such stuff.) There is a workaround for the worst cases though - don't use "Remove Award Information from This Title", instead use "Edit an Award", "Select an Award to Edit" and "Delete record". BLongley 21:28, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Change in Amazon's API starting on 1/30/2012

Will it effect the ISFDB? Is this the change that Ahasuerus has been warning us about? Goodreads has opted out from using Amazon as a source. Mhhutchins 04:54, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

It's one part of it. Amazon has been slowly tightening both the legal side and the technical side of things. For example, you used to be able to ask the Amazon API to give you a list of all "science fiction" (or "fantasy" or "horror" etc) books for a given month and it would return up to 8,000 ISBNs, which was plenty for our purposes. In October the number was changed from 8,000 to 200, which is obviously insufficient.
The next change (which I have just found out about) will be in February and it will further roll back the functionality of the Amazon API. I think the writing is on the wall: the Amazon API is going away as a viable source of bibliographic information and we'll have to switch to something else.
The good news is that I saw it coming when the last round of changes was announced last summer, so I taught Fixer how to get data from other sources as well. We may end up missing some obscure ISBNs, but at least we'll stop playing the game of whack-a-mole with the Amazon API team. Ahasuerus 16:50, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good, but I'm really gonna miss those self-published titles from Amazon (he said sarcastically). And how are we ever gonna survive without those Kindle-only publications (boo hoo). Mhhutchins 17:32, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Granted, most of them are, um, not that great, but a lot of professionally published authors are making their backlists available as Kindle books too. It's something that we will have to consider at some point, but it's a bigger problem for Goodreads, which is much more ambitious than we are (and they have a budget to support their ambitions!) Ahasuerus 17:43, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
"Amazon requires sites that use its API to link that content back to the Amazon site exclusively" suggests that we'd have to remove or rework our "Other Sites" links. I suspect it's best just to stop using them, and hope they don't want us to remove data collected under the old rules. BLongley 18:10, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that was apparently the deal breaker for Goodreads. (Of course, not only are they much bigger than ISFDB, they also directly compete with Shelfari, which is owned by Amazon.) The ISFDB software proper doesn't use the Amazon API although some of the robots (Dissembler and Fixer) do, but I am not sure if it makes a difference. The biggest problem for us will likely be images -- 91,400+ of our 143,700+ image links are to Amazon. Ahasuerus 18:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, but how many of them are broken or wrong? 34,000+ are those notoriously unreliable 'ZZZZZZ' URLs. BLongley 19:03, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Magazine collector website

I checked with Ahasuerus before posting this, so I think this is OK, but please remove this if you feel it's spam. I wanted to let editors here know about a new website a friend and I have just started for magazine collectors. The url is; we also expect to be effective but that won't happen until later today.

The goal is for the site to be useful for collectors of anything -- china plates, antique dolls, coins, civil war memorabilia, or anything else -- but we had to start somewhere and since I know sf magazines very well I thought it was a good place to begin. I'd be very grateful for any feedback on the site functionality. We have all the major sf magazines set up, but are still adding some of the smaller ones with runs below ten issues. There's a forum there where you can comment, or you can email me directly from that site, or post a reply here.

Thanks -- Mike Christie (talk) 10:33, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Bradbury's "October 2026—The Million-Year Picnic "

I was adding the cover image and expanded notes to my verified record of The Martian Chronicles when I noticed that the title of one of the stories had been changed since I last updated the record. "The Million-Year Picnic" had become "October 2026—The Million-Year Picnic". So I went to that title record and discovered that there were several dozen pub records that should not have been listed there. I've made corrections on the records that I had verified, and about a dozen more. There are still more than 30 records, some of them verified by other editors, that should also be changed. I can't see that this title was used in any other publication than in some The Martian Chronicles editions, and maybe in some editions of The Silver Locusts, but even then, not in all of them. If the editors who have verified records can make corrections in theirs and maybe a few others we may be able to clear it up faster. If anyone knows a method faster than adding a new record with the correct title, removing the wrong record, and merging the new title record with the one already in the database, I'd really like to know. Three submissions for each pub record is rather mind-numbing, especially after doing more than a dozen of them. (I reduced it to two submissions per pub by holding off until the end to merge all the loose title records in one submission.) Mhhutchins 05:18, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I checked my verifications, and corrected all "S Is for Space" pubs not verified by active editors. My copies of "The Martian Chronicles" and "The Silver Locusts" both have the title as "October 2026: The Million-Year Picnic" and are correct in the database. Alas, I don't have a faster method for this. --Willem H. 08:14, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Willem. Also everyone keep in mind that there's a variant that uses the colon instead of the emdash (here), in case some of the reprints that use "October 2026" are under the wrong variant. Mhhutchins 18:57, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I've changed about a dozen more, and have yet to find one that actually uses the title "October 2026—The Million-Year Picnic". I'm now thinking I should have just edited the title record to "The Million-Year Picnic" and then changed the few that do have the month in the title! (I was against adding these months to the titles from the very beginning, but other opinions prevailed.) Mhhutchins 19:24, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Changing attribution?

As most of you know, when a new record is automatically created by one of our robots, the Notes field is populated with a comment along the lines of "Data from as of 2012-02-04". However, given Amazon's ongoing changes to the way they expose their data to the outside world, some of the data may no longer be available. My robot can get some of that missing data from other sources and create "composite" submissions, but then we need to decide how to credit these "Frankenstein records". We could try to credit the source of information for every field, but the way my robot is set up, it would be quite cumbersome.

In many cases these records are little more than placeholders (because they can be quite unreliable) and in any event we replace/remove the attribution when we verify them. Given the complexities involved, would it be sufficient to say something like "Data from online sources as of 2012-02-04 and may be unreliable until verified"? Ahasuerus 09:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I don't think it needs to be attributed per field, but I'd prefer to see the sources listed (ex: "Data from and Publisher's website as 2012-02-04"). Or perhaps list if 2-3 and just give "online sources" if more? I recommend against the "and may be unreliable until verified". All unverified data should be considered at the same level of reliability (which isn't necessary unreliable) so I don't see the point of of marking these. Plus, it implies that data with that tag is less reliable then previous online data without the tag. -- JLaTondre (talk) 14:55, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it would be helpful to know that it's Fixer's composite, not a human's composite. And I agree, knowing what sources contributed would be ideal, although at the field level is not necessary. I'm thinking about the situation where a verifier comes along and finds, say, no date in the book. Knowing where to look for a possible date would be a useful starting point. --MartyD 15:23, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback! After playing with Fixer some more, it looks like it should be possible to attribute field level data to individual sources without doing too much violence to the code. It's not a priority at the moment since I have been able to get the data that we need from the latest version of Amazon's API, but I'll keep it in mind going forward. Ahasuerus 04:33, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Unlisted Asimov anthology?

There is an anthology, edited by Isaac Asimov, whose cover title (at least) says only "Science Fiction". (See, for example, Amazon.) Of course there are dozens of Asimov anthologies we have with "Science Fiction" in the title, but there's always more to the title than that. I "advance search"ed ISFDB by author/title/publisher and by ISBN with no success. It appears to be a UK publication (all 3 Amazon sellers with copies are in the UK), so it's likely a variant of a different US title, but it still seems those searches would have found it. I'll be a bit surprised if there's an Asimov book we don't have listed, so before adding it, I thought I would ask if someone knows where it's hiding. Chavey 17:05, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd bet money it's a reprinting by Robinson (with a variant title) of The Mammoth Book of Modern Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1980s especially for the British bookstore chain W. H. Smith. Mhhutchins 17:19, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. The only other Anthology with all the authors named on the cover is The Norton Book of Science Fiction: North American Science Fiction, 1960-1990 and that has no mention of Asimov. BLongley 18:03, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that helps. I found a seller that has all of the authors listed (the cover has a subset), and that list agrees completely with the "Mammoth" book listed. Since it has a story by James Tiptree, I'm going to go ahead and purchase a copy of the book to verify this. Chavey 19:02, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
It may not even acknowledge the original publication, but good luck. BTW, you say it has a story by James Tiptree, but does it have one by his "son"? See this discussion. Mhhutchins 21:41, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh yes, I've been following that discussion. I don't have much to add. Of course it's not really a discussion about Tiptree, it's a discussion about how picky we want to be about the variations we see in someone's name. And I have mixed feelings on that. Chavey 03:43, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
They did the same thing with this edition of another anthology. If you want to know how I figured it out, just ask. Mhhutchins 17:23, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I bet it's not the same way as mine. BLongley 18:03, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Wollheim's Secret of the Martian Moons and the Winston SF Series

An editor asked a question concerning this record:

My copy of this book at the bottom of the dust jacket and the book spine both show "Winston" not "A Guild book". Does this show that my book is from the "Winston Science Fiction Series"?

Bluesman added the image, but is this the right one for this edition? I don't see any reference in the record to "A Guild Book". And "Winston" is not shown on the spine. Can anyone with books in this series check to see how their copies are credited on the dustjacket? Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:27, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Actually the spine of the image with the record does show Winston. The larger image accessible from the notes shows the Guild Book cover. --~ Bill, Bluesman 02:44, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
My third printing says "Winston" on the spine and there are no references to "A Guild Book" anywhere that I can see. I wonder if the spine was changed between the first and the third printings? Ahasuerus 20:52, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

"The Last of the Mohicans"

We have this title by James Fenimore Cooper listed as spec fic. It's been a while, but I certainly remember no spec fic elements in it, and reading the plot description on Wikipedia, I see nothing spec fic about it. There is the character of David Gamut, trying to teach the beavers to sing psalms, but everyone in the book understands that he's crazy. However, before I submit a delete, I thought I would ask if anyone knows any reason why this book should not be deleted. Chavey 08:11, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

The title shouldn't be in the db, and neither should a publication record. I have no idea why Marc Kupper added a pub to the title. You should ask him. Of the three titles in the ISFDB, only The Monikins is spec-fic. The Water-Witch is the name of a ship, not a person. It should also be deleted. The Spy (1821) and Mark's Reef, or The Crater (1847) are spec-fic and should be in the db, but neither are. Mhhutchins 17:50, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
That edition of The Last of the Mohicans was published by Tor, which may have been Marc's motivation for adding it to the db. Mhhutchins 19:38, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
I added the first couple of editions of "The Spy" and "Mark's Reef". (I read plot outlines and agree with you that those two are spec fic). I left a note for Marc to visit this conversation. Chavey 00:28, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
I had found a copy in a box of specfict and it appeared to be be specfict from what I saw on the cover. It seems clear though from the book's Wikipedia article that it's not specfict. I also looked over my local public library's descriptions of the story and confirmed this. I've deleted the title, publication, and scanned cover image. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:29, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Herman Melville

We have Melville's Moby Dick included in the ISFDB because it was listed in "Fantasy: The 100 Best Books", but the title record includes the note "DO NOT ADD pubs to this record. It exists solely because of that unusual review." We also have Melville's "The Confidence-Man" included. This is included because of a review in "Horror: 100 Best Books", and also has no publications currently listed. I have not read that book, but after reading some synopses and analyses of the book, I can find nothing spec fic about the book. (Scheming businessmen and haters of Indians do not seem to me to be speculative.) Should this book also include a sentence like that for Moby-Dick, or should I be adding publications to that title? Chavey 01:24, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

"Horror" is probably our weakest area for exclusions as it's rare for it to be clarified as supernatural/speculative or just plain gore. In this case, I think it deserves a "DO NOT ADD" warning. BLongley 19:54, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've made that change, and changed both "Moby Dick" and "Confidence-Man" to "Non-Genre" books. I've also submitted an additional "DO NOT ADD" warning for Dickens' "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". It seems to be in here only because another version of that book added an ending to this uncompleted novel, and that ending includes supernatural elements. But I'm leaving that submission in the queue in case anyone else wishes to object to that status change. Chavey 01:33, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
I've never read "Moby Dick" but from what I've heard that's probably wise. The nearest I've come to reading it is this article - bibliographically irrelevant, but funny. BLongley 01:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Author Webpages -- Google Books

We have a few Author-specific "Webpages" that link to a book page available via Google Books, e.g. see Terry Dixon. Do we know how stable these links are and whether Google Books may be unhappy with us for using them? Ahasuerus 17:28, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

In the case of Terry Dixon, the link doesn't work, at least for me. I say remove them from author data, as they would seem to be specific to titles (?). Mhhutchins 17:38, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Now the link is working, and it links to the author's entry in Reginald2. How did Reginald 2 get on Google Books? And on the Dutch version of Google Books at that? I don't think we should keep such links if it's determined that the linked site has illegally uploaded the book. Or did we come to another conclusion when we spoke of linking to rogue sites? Mhhutchins 17:42, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not the Dutch version of Google books, it's the UK one with the output language set to Dutch - I think that's the "&hl=nl" parameter in the URL. I'm against most links like these - they're not really to a particular web-page, they're more of a search query encapsulated in a URL that may get different results in future. BLongley 19:49, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I also think that the "&q=terry dixon 1950" is probably a search for "Terry Dixon 1950" Fine until we get another author/artist/translator with the same name and birth or death date. BLongley 01:52, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Most legal issues were sorted out by Google a few years ago when they were sued by copyright holders. The "search query encapsulated in a URL that may get different results in future" argument is a valid one, but it's a question of probabilities. Also, keep in mind that most linkable Google Books are "preview only", which means that you can view a certain number of pages before Google refuses to show you the rest of the book. Thus if we end up with a bunch of links to, say, Reginald-2, only the first N will be accessible by any given user. I guess one could argue that in some cases it's better than nothing, but it seems to stretch the definition of a "Web page". Ahasuerus 04:34, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
"Better than nothing" is fine until it actually becomes nothing - I've seen a depressingly large number of dead links, and even more that are just unstable, like Locus references. Still, they do no actual harm, even when they do no actual good. As for "rogue sites" - why not ask Robert Reginald for his opinion on Google Books use of his work? BLongley 14:07, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

I made a submission to update the link so it is on with an English interface and shorter URL. I still am undecided on what to make of this sort of link to begin with, however. Uzume 20:57, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Language chauvinism and Wikipedia pages

While our "Web pages" field allows us to enter multiple links, we can only enter one Wikipedia page. Today I was entering data about the French author Gabriel Daniel, who has both an English Wikipedia page and a French Wikipedia page. Not surprisingly, the French page has substantially more information than the English page does. So which do I enter as our Wikipedia page link? For now, I have entered the English page there, and the French page as just a "Web page" for the author. That would qualify as a case of English-language chauvinism. (Although, using the word "chauvinism" is a French-language chauvinism :-). Was that the right call? Chavey 03:47, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

I personally think that the Wikipedia (and IMDB, for that matter) links should be reduced in importance - while encouraging many more other links. Coding-wise, there's no real reason I can see for allowing those two fields any special status, and several reasons for encouraging more general links. I can see a use for putting a "language" option on such links, though. If we're truly going to put the "I" in "ISFDB" we're going to have to address this issue eventually. I'd say we are now up to about seven languages with active support, and I'm sure that we now have several authors that are represented on Wikipedia pages in each of them. BLongley 04:10, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Back when ISFDB-2 was set up, Wikipedia had a better reputation, so it became a "privileged Web site" in the ISFDB database. Both Al and I spent a fair amount of time working on Wikipedia articles in late 2005-early 2006, setting up an SF portal and so on. By late 2006 it became apparent that Wikipedia had its share of problems, so we have been concentrating on ISFDB proper for the last 5+ years. That said, Wikipedia is still quite useful, in part because it does a pretty good job of linking different languages: if you go to an author's English page, it's usually easy to jump to his/her French, German, etc pages.
To go back to Darrah's question, the rule that I have been using is to link to the English Wikipedia page if one is available. If it is not, then I link to the most appropriate version, which is usually in the author's native tongue. Ahasuerus 04:59, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, that seems the correct way to do it, at least for me. If you'd like to find out more on a French author and you are capable to understand some French it is quite easy to reach the French wikipedia page. Stonecreek 10:50, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
I think this is an accidentally designed weakness on our part. There are several authors where I can read the English Wikipedia article, but would need to go to one or more non-English Wikipedia pages for more info - e.g. for Bulmer's or Van Vogt's non-English-only titles. I think there was a feature request at one point to put a label on each off-site link - not intended for this, but relevant. I could support a move to put all web-page links in the same basket with labels and languages for guidance. I know I rarely use IMDB links and bail out when the Wikipedia one isn't to the English language site, but I do click-through to many other author sites when I feel our biographical details are a bit weak. I guess I should look into the possibility of letting users click on a link and have it automatically passed through a translation service according to their set preferences... when we can set the preference, of course. BLongley 14:30, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
In the meantime, without software changes, I'd say either the practice of "native tongue first" or "English first" is OK by me, I can figure out which to use. But I do think that one slot for Wikipedia is giving them a special status they don't quite deserve. BLongley 14:30, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, at least for now I think that keeping a special page for Wikipedia is a good idea. They often have the best data about an author, they often are inferior to specialty pages devoted to the author. But at least, keeping such links can be used by us to evaluate when there are other Wikipedia pages that should have a link to the ISFDB on them. The specialty pages won't let us add links; but we can always add links to Wikipedia pages when we feel those are appropriate, and that's some of the best advertising for us. (And it's also how some of your current editors found you :-) Chavey 04:06, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
"keeping a special page for Wikipedia" will be the default action anyway, any software change to address that would be low priority: and even high priority (IMO) changes are several months behind. :-( I don't know how many different Wikipedia sites encourage links to us as much as the English one does: but if someone wants to work on the French, Dutch and German equivalents I'm sure we have mods capable of supporting such new users that are encouraged that way. Maybe not Portuguese, yet: I seem to be the main instigator of that language but would really have trouble communicating in it. BLongley 15:45, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Language column added to Show All Titles and Advanced Title searches

"Show All Titles" and the Advanced Language Search now show each title's language. It should help when working with titles like Solaris, which have multiple identical looking VTs in different languages. Ahasuerus 23:53, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that looks useful. We should add "Language" to title searches at some point too. (Or can I do that? I've resisted piling on more software improvements till you catch up a bit.) BLongley 15:59, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

French SF Publication Series, 1787-1789

I've been entering some pre-1800 books this week, and while entering the French version of "The Voyage of Nicolas Klimius to the World Under-Ground", I realized that it was part of a 31 book French publication series on Imaginary Voyages, published between 1787 and 1789. The series includes such books as Gulliver's Travels, Cyrano de Bergerac's trip to the moon, some less familiar books, and several that I was completely unfamiliar with. It also includes some books that we would not classify as speculative, such as Robinson Crusoe. But I'm hoping someone more comfortable with French than I would be willing to look at this series and add the books that should belong in here. I've put a complete list of the 39 volumes with the Voyages Imaginaires publication series, which so far only links to the Klimius book. A WorldCat search for this series gets 209 hits. Searches for the individual sub-series (listed at that publication series link) give more directed results, e.g. the WorldCat search for the Voyages Imaginaires Merveilleux sub-series gave 13 results -- although there are supposed to be 14 books in that sub-series. Anyway, I'm hoping that this preliminary work might encourage someone to do the work needed to get this publication series populated. I think it would be a great addition to our early speculative fiction entries. Chavey 06:21, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Apparently there were quite a few relevant French pub series in the relatively distant past, e.g. Bibliothèque Reliée Plon et conjectures, but 1787 is impressive! Ahasuerus 15:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Italian publications

I live in Italy (and by pure chance in the same town of the late Ernesto Vegetti, which I had the fortune to know personally) and I have discovered lately ISFDB. I am now in the process of adding/verifying the English book I own; after that, I will start with my Italian books. If it is of interest of ISFDB and not against its policy, I can help, both for the language and for data manipulation, with the importing of sections of, an action which is actually encouraged by the site curators as per their home page (asking for permission may be polite anyway). I could start with the links to the covers located in, which result broken. --Pips55 00:32, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Sure, that would be great! Please note a couple of things:
  • There is a Web API that can be used to create submissions programmatically if you are familiar with programming
  • Our data entry standards for translated titles have changed since Ernesto entered many Italian publications. At the time he was working on them, the rule was to enter the original title rather than its translated version (except for English translations.) Now, however, we enter all titles the way they appear in publications and then link them to the original title as a "variant". Thus, the Italian translation of Wilson Tucker's Time Bomb in I Romanzi di Urania #138 needs to be changed from "Time Bomb (Complete Novel)" to "L'uomo che veniva dal futuro (Complete Novel)" and made into a variant of the original title record.
Thanks for contributing! Ahasuerus 09:21, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Excellent ! To better understand rules and problems, I will practice with the Italian books I own. When I feel ready, I'll let you known. To correct the links to the covers, is there any way for me to retrieve the list of the covers in ISFDB located on ? --Pips55 21:36, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
If you can install MySQL locally (5.0 through 5.5 works) and download the latest ISFDB backup file from the ISFDB Downloads page, you can search the pubs table for "antascienza". Here is what I get when I run a search against my development version of ISFDB:
mysql> select count(*) from pubs where pub_frontimage like '%antascienza%';
| count(*) |
|      755 |
1 row in set (0.14 sec)
If this is too difficult, please let me know and I will set up a page with a list of all affected pubs. Ahasuerus 22:15, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
No problem, a nice pastime for this weekend ... --Pips55 23:02, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
There seem to be only a few of us that can work with the offline data, and more would be welcome. Feel free to ask for help! BLongley 23:59, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Note also that you can do this search online now - Advanced Search, ISFDB Publication Search Form, Term 1 = "antascienza", field "Image URL". BLongley 12:21, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Wow, that was fast ! I am up and running (happily) off-line on my Windows machine, instructions were perfect. I am starting on the broken link problem, it seems quite straightforward even if it will be a bit time consuming to check all of 755 of them ... --Pips55 16:13, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I have checked all the broken links comparing the covers in the new location ( moved the images from ../catalogo/cov/XX/ to ../catalogo/imgbank/cover/, preserving the file name, so the relinking should be easy) with the titles and notes. Let me know how you would like to proceed; going through the Web API seems overkill to me in this case (and I am not proficient at XML ...). During the check, which was a strain on the eye due to the reduced quality of the covers (Ernesto was VERY worried about copyright infringements), I noticed one image repeated 4 times (pub_id 301251, 301250, 301244, 301243) which I am going to fix manually, if I can find the right covers in . I think that a number of minor edit will be necessary to some notes fields (titles on the cover that do not match description, for instance) which I am going to perform once I understand the rules concerning foreigner publications. I am amazed at the amount of information that Ernesto was able to add to ISFDB. --Pips55 17:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I'd say the best way to go is to submit a script for consideration that does a mass update on all affected publications. But Ahasuerus (the only person that could execute such) is very wary of such. Second best would be to use the Web API to submit batches of updates for normal Moderator review. (Just don't send them all at once!) Third best is to post a "page with a list of all affected pubs", as Ahasuerus suggested, and let people work on them at leisure. It may be that people will find better images than have, or they may provide their own. BLongley 01:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, if we are 100% sure that all we need to do is change "../catalogo/cov/XX/" to "../catalogo/imgbank/cover/" and that there are no exception, then I could be convinced to run a mass update script (chocolate usually works!) Or we could try to convince some other developer to leverage the Web API to create submissions :) which would result in a human moderator eye-balling the changes before they are applied. Ahasuerus 04:11, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, this moderator has already eyeballed the results of this script:
UPDATE pubs p 
SET p.pub_frontimage = CONCAT(SUBSTR(p.pub_frontimage,1,36) , '/imgbank/cover/' , SUBSTR(p.pub_frontimage,45))
where p.pub_frontimage like ''
All 755 give a cover-image and I confirmed the 4 duplicates Pips55 saw. So unless someone has added some variations since the last backup I loaded locally, I think it's 100% safe. BLongley 15:28, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I would try my hand at the Web API, but a number of Italian pubs are not susceptible to getpub since they miss ISBN. If useful, to avoid a mass update, I can provide the list of single updates (for pub_id) with the correct pub_frontimage. Does the server implementation of ISFDB for Windows support the Web API ? --Pips55 18:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
getpub.cgi is only used for getting data from ISFDB. The script that handles submissions is submission.cgi and it accepts all types of standard submissions, including Edit Pub, Edit Title, etc. The page that describes the format for each submission type is Data Submission Formats. Ahasuerus 20:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I was playing lazy: get the entire record, change only image link, resubmit (probably creating a mess...). If I got it right, sending a message like this should be enough:
 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1" ?>
     <Subject>Cover relink I Romanzi di Urania #1</Subject>
If this is as it should be, I would like to experiment with submission.cgi on a ISFDB server system located on my machine, in order to verify my programs. Is a License Key required for PubUpdate ? --Pips55 22:35, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
A license key is required for all types of submissions, but anyone can get it by clicking on the "Key Maintenance" option in the navigation bar on the left. If this is your first type requesting a license key, you will see "License Key: NOT SET" and will need to click on the "Generate New Key" link. And after that it's off to the races! :-)
You may want to try it on your local system first. I think it should work locally, but I don't think I ever tried it. Ahasuerus 22:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
No, locally you'll get an error "Table 'isfdb.license_keys' doesn't exist". I tend to test on the live server but I can view and reject the bad ones quickly. For instance, the above is missing the "http" part of the new Image URL. BLongley 16:46, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

(Unindent) I've revived "Data Thief" to submit some batches of updates. Unfortunately, the first batch was with a brain from a Mister A. B. Normal and there might be a few duplicates in the later batches. :/ BLongley 19:38, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

If Mods want to have a go at them, please consider a follow-up edit to set language to "Italian", at least for the easy ones like "complete novel" entries. It will save later rework. BLongley 19:38, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Data Thief has finished, based on an older backup. I'll check the next backup before trying to pick up any stragglers. If there aren't any, then Data Thief is open to simple requests. BLongley 00:53, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
There are still 48 pubs with covers hosted by with a broken image link, all of them of the 'I Romanzi del Cosmo' magazine: I checked both with the last backup and with advanced search using the string '%catalogo/Cov/%'. The images are now located in the directory, preserving the file name (I verified each one). Another run of Data Thief ? --Pips55 23:00, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Done. BLongley 15:54, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Double quotes in Series names

Please note that there is a bug when editing a title record whose Series name includes double quotes. I have changed the affected series (there are about half a dozen) to use single quotes for now. Ahasuerus 09:03, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

There's also a problem when you "Add Publication to This Title" for titles in double quotes, e.g. "Homo Stelaris". BLongley 14:32, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Bug 3492197 created. Ahasuerus 16:53, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Malcolm Pryce and Aberystwyth

Does Malcolm Pryce and the Aberystwyth series qualify for ISFDB ? --Pips55 22:37, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Not sure about the whole series, but "The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still" says "ingredients include a Buick sought by an alien from another planet" which would definitely be "IN", IMNSHO. In reality, Aberystwyth is one of the most boring towns I've ever stayed in. :-/ BLongley 00:21, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
But no! They had a fair supply of science fiction in the second hand bookshops when I stayed there in 1985 for four or five days. But, yes! The rest of the town wasn't that exciting! And the first volume, 'Aberystwyth Mon Amour' does also qualify for us. It begins as a un-speculative (but nevertheless quite un-normal) detective story, but ends with the flooding of said town.Stonecreek 10:30, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I knew it, after all, there are Druids in it ! It was quite a surprise for me to discover that Aberystwyth exists in reality. --Pips55 16:16, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Not only that, but this place's fascination is boundary-transcending: I've read the first volume in a German edition and the publisher has published at least one more volume in the series. It made me longing for another visit ;-). Stonecreek 17:09, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The only place in Wales I can recommend for bibliophiles is Hay-on-Wye. I've spent many happy days there, although with diminishing returns each time. I suspect I've moved a lot of their SF back to England. :-/ BLongley 23:59, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm quite fond of Aberystwyth, though I've never set foot in Wales. One of the "relocated" characters in Michael Bishop's "The Quickening" is originally from Aberystwyth. When I was editing his revision of the story for this recently published collection, it was misspelled as "Aberyswyth". So it will always remind me of that Nebula-winning story. Mhhutchins 20:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Request for assistance in finding a publication

I have just logged onto this website for the first time ever, so please bear with my ignorance. Looking through the website, this seems to be the most appropriate place to ask my question.

My Grandfather, Walter F McCanless, was published in the November, 1923 volume of the publication "Wierd Tales". His story is "The Phantom Violinist". I have tried for some time to get a copy of his story, but have been unsuccessful. Can anyone direct me to some place where I might be able to get a copy of his story? Jkmccanless 22:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Early Weird Tales issues are quite expensive, but if you just want the text of the story, you can buy a replica edition from various places like this one or Ebay. $35 is a little steep for a single story, but ISFDB shows that it hasn't been reprinted, so your options may be limited. Ahasuerus 22:49, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I did a little online searching for that issue, and was unable to find any copy for sale. As Ahasuerus says, these early issues are pretty expensive. For example, I was able to find copies of Weird Tales from 1928-1929 for around $80. But the only issues I found from 1923 were the March, 1923 issue, which was the very first issue. There are two copies of that for sale, the cheapest being $10,000! If the Nov. issue was for sale, it would certainly be less than that, but still pretty pricey. Thus I also suggest going for a replica edition. But if you really want to try to get an original, your best bet is probably to go to and set up two "Want" searches: one for "Weird Tales 1923 Nov" and one for "Weird Tales 1923 November". Then be willing to wait a few years to see if an issue comes up for sale from any of the dealers that list with them. Chavey 06:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
At those prices, $35.00 for a facsimile sounds like a steal! Mhhutchins 07:33, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
If you live near Chicago, try the Windy City Pulp and Paper Covention. Dates are April 27-29 this year.--Rkihara 08:22, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Bio:Ralan Conley

The biography page that we have for Ralan Conley, written by that author, does not appear (IMHO) to meet our standards for such bios. But I would appreciate another opinion. Chavey 00:27, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree it's not appropriate. Please feel free to edit it. This is a whimsy-free zone. Mhhutchins 01:05, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Done. Chavey 06:13, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Martin Cruz Smith

Does "The Analog Bullet" qualify for ISFDB? --Teddybear 18:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

If you've read it you'd be the one who would most likely know if it qualifies. Here are the Definitions and Rules of Acquisition. BTW, to create a new message on a wiki page, click the + (plus) tab (or click the "Post a Comment" link, if present), enter the subject in the "subject/headline" bar, and then write your message. This method let's those of us who monitor the wiki pages know that you've started a new discussion on the page. It will also prevent edit conflicts if another editor is commenting on another topic of the same page. Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:28, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Multiple publishers per pub?

Looking at all the "Arbor House / William Morrow / SFBC" and "LucasBooks / Del Rey / Ballantine / SFBC" pubs out there, I am beginning to wonder if it may be useful to allow multiple publishers per pub. Not a high priority, just something to consider going forward. Ahasuerus 06:07, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I think one field for publisher(s) is sufficient. I'd rather have a separate field for imprint. Mhhutchins 18:10, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Same here. BLongley 19:03, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
In the cases where "SFBC" is added to the publisher field, it doesn't indicate that the Science Fiction Book Club was the publisher of the title. They printed it for "private distribution" through an arrangement with the publisher. William Morrow and Ballantine remain the actual publisher of the works. Mhhutchins 19:33, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Does it occur often enough to be of concern? Rather than multiple fields, a simpler approach would be a convention to indicate multiple publishers vs. imprints. Based on this (limited) conversation, I used "&" (plus a note on the publisher record) for the DH Press & Digital Manga Publishing joint publishing. -- JLaTondre (talk) 21:31, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, we have 1,334 "slashed" publisher records, so it does occur fairly frequently.
The main reason why I am interested in this change is that the current convention prevents users from getting a unified view of a publisher's output. For example, we have "Alfred A. Knopf", "Alfred A. Knopf / BCE", "Alfred A. Knopf / BOMC", "Alfred A. Knopf / QPBC", "Alfred A. Knopf / SFBC", "Borzoi / Alfred A. Knopf", "Borzoi / Alfred A. Knopf / BOMC", and "Borzoi Sprinters / Alfred A. Knopf" (among others) on file. If a user wants to see all SF books published by this publisher, he will need to review a dozen Web pages and then follow links to dozens of year-specific pages. If we allowed multiple publishers per pub, then all of "Alfred A. Knopf" pubs would be accessible from the same page.
As far as adding a field for imprints go, the idea has been discussed a few times. I think the main problem that we identified when we talked about it was the fact that when publishers are absorbed by other publishers, the original publisher name is often turned into an imprint. Sometimes it's not immediately obvious: the imprint may look like a publisher's name or it may look like the book has two publishers. It can be hard to sort all of this out unless you know the history of the imprint/publisher. Ahasuerus 06:56, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Either you have me confused or you're combining imprints with multiple publishers. The 1,334 count includes imprints. Are you suggesting that imprints be listed as a separate publisher (there would be an a publisher record for the imprint and a separate publisher record for the publisher)? When you asked about "multiple publishers", I interpreted that as joint works by independent publishers.
I agree that current convention can be user unfriendly. It's not intuitively obvious that a publisher's works can be contained in multiple records and I wonder if that confuses casual users. -- JLaTondre (talk) 22:34, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I assumed like JLaTondre that you first meant books that are co-published by two different publishers (like when Mark Ziesing published a couple of books with Ursus Imprints or when Donald Grant co-published with Scribner some of the trade editions of King's Dark Tower sequence), but then I saw you'd included those SFBC printings. I don't think it does much disservice to a user that book club printings are not included under the list of titles when searching by publisher. Except for the exclusive editions (published as Nelson Doubleday, GuildAmerica or the Science Fiction Book Club) the book club editions are just reprints. A search shows there are 1169 " / " publishers. ISFDB policy is to leave spaces around the slash, so about two hundred aren't as the standard, although there are a few exceptions like Berkley/Putnam. Of that total, 300 are SFBC publishers, 56 are BCE, 40 are BOMC and 38 QPBC. That leaves a little more than 700 publishers with slashes in their names. I'd bet 95% of those are of the imprint/publisher variety. Because of the situation you bring up (when publishers become imprints), it's going to be a chore to make the changes with the records already in the db, if we ever have a separate field for imprint. But I think it can be done by the more astute and knowledgeable moderators. Mhhutchins 00:33, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

(unindent) These are all valid points, so perhaps it would be best to step back and list the types of cases that we are dealing with here. That way we will all be on the same page and have a better idea of what we are facing. So, if I understand everyone correctly, we have the following scenarios where we use the names of two+ different entities in the Publisher field:

  1. Two or more publishers co-publish a book. Sometimes they are on the opposite sides of the Atlantic, other times an SF specialty publisher collaborates with a major house, and so on.
  2. A book specifies both its publisher and the imprint that the publisher used. This can get somewhat fuzzy when either the publisher or the imprint is listed in a way that makes it hard to find, e.g. only on the spine, on the copyright page, etc.
  3. A book club like SFBC or QPB reprints a book originally published by another publisher. The book club is not a "real publisher" in this case nor is it an imprint.

Does this sum it up or am I missing additional cases? Ahasuerus 04:25, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that pretty much covers all the scenarios of two or more names in the publisher field. In cases #1 and #3, having two publisher fields would help. Case #1 is relatively uncommon. In case #3, the book club's name would be separated from the publisher's name in its own field.) In case #2, you'd need a field for imprint and another for publisher. An overwhelming majority of records having a slash in the publisher's field would fall into this last case. In those records, it should be fairly easy to split the publisher into two fields: one for publisher, the other for imprint. Remember it wasn't very long ago that we implemented the publication series function, making separate fields for name and number. And it went quite smoothly. I don't see this transition to go that easily, but it could be done over time...and even faster if moderators have the power to do universal changes. For example, when a moderator clicks on the publisher's name that has a slash in it, there's a link that says "Separate this publisher into publisher and imprint". The next screen has two fields, the first for publisher, the second for imprint. The moderator fills the fields, and then in one change, every record that was, let's say, "Del Rey / Ballantine" now shows "Del Rey" in the imprint field and "Ballantine" in the publisher field. This will not effect any record that already has "Del Rey" or "Ballantine" in its publisher field. A second submission will have to be made in order to merge the newly created publisher with any that already exists in the db (basically, the same thing we do now.) In the case where a publisher becomes an imprint, some work will have to done before making such changes. Awhile back I cleaned up the records for Scribner. All records of books published after it became an imprint of Simon & Schuster have been separated from when it was the publisher. Gollancz is going to present a challenge, but it's not insurmountable. It's a matter of defining the point at which it became an imprint (I'm assuming early 1999). Mhhutchins 05:39, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, an imprint field is comparatively simple, although wide-ranging. We could also simplify the rework with some conversion rules - all unslashed names are both imprint and publisher, with one slash the before name is the imprint the after name is the publisher. If we try and fudge SFBC and other clubs into this format then we can make SFBC an imprint of many publishers - although triple or more names would still need manual consideration. There would need to be quite a few new screens and amended screens to allow for searching by imprint and editing or merging imprints but they should be very similar to the existing publisher functionality. BLongley 16:48, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
As Bill said, adding an imprint field would be relatively straightforward. The amount of work would be comparable to adding the Publication Series feature a couple of years ago.
However, before we decide that it's a desirable end state, let's try to identify all possible permutations. First of all, it looks like we really have at least three separate data elements here: publisher, imprint and "printer". For example, if a book currently says "LucasBooks / Del Rey / Ballantine / SFBC" (see my original example above), it means that it has two publishers (LucasBooks and Ballantine), one imprint (Del Rey) and one "printer" (SFBC). In an ideal world, we would have a multiply occurring publisher field, an imprint field and a "printer" field in order to capture this information accurately. Since book club "printers" like SFBC can also function as publishers, the same ideal world would also let users view each book club's output in one of three ways:
  • original editions with SFBC functioning as a publisher
  • reprint editions with SFBC functioning as a printer
  • a composite view of all pubs that SFBC has been associated with
Similarly, if at some point a publisher like Gollancz became an imprint, then our users would be able to see all pubs by Gollancz the publisher, Gollancz the imprint and a composite view of all Gollancz-flavo(u)red pubs.
It would require at least three database changes:
  • Make the publisher field multiply occurring within each pubs (similar to authors and cover artists)
  • Add an "imprint" field
  • Add a "printer" field
As a practical matter, we could start by adding an "imprint" field and move all book clubs to it as Bill suggested. In may be an improvement compared to what we currently have, but I can think of a few problems with it.
First, will a "naive" user always know that LucasBooks and Ballantine are publishers while Del Rey is an imprint (which is currently not a big deal since everything gets entered in the same field)? Adding support for imprints probably won't make things any harder when dealing with recent pubs by major houses, but it can be more of an issue with older and more obscure publishers/imprints. For example, we have a couple of Russian pubs published by Terra Fantastica in 1997. I believe I entered them a few months ago when Tor began publishing the Wanderers series by Sergey Dyachenko and Marina Dyachenko. A quick Google search finds the publisher's Web page, which hasn't been updated since the late 1990s and which states that "In 1996-1997 Terra Fantastica Publishing House acts mostly as packaging company". Does it make them a "printer" in this case? And who is the publisher then? It can be hard to tell without specialized knowledge.
This is one reason why I originally thought that it may be easier -- and more in line with our "enter what you see" approach -- to simply allow multiple publishers per pub, although if we go that route it may be better to change the terminology from "publisher" to "publisher/imprint". It would also make searching much more straightforward since you wouldn't need to know whether to look for a publisher, an imprint or both. Any information about the publisher/imprint's history, e.g. when it was purchased by another publisher, turned into an imprint, etc, could be entered into notes. Granted, compared to the "imprint" approach, we would lose the ability to separate pubs where, e.g., Gollancz functioned as a publisher vs. as an imprint. On the flip side, we could show a list of other publishers/imprints that the current publisher/imprint has been associated with (the way we currently show pub series for each publisher) and a page for every permutation and its pub.
Second, I happen to have this pub, which we currently list as published by "Roc / New American Library", here. The title page says "A Roc Book" and the copyright page explains that it was "published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc." The relevant Help section currently states that "you are free to choose an imprint ("Ace Books"), a division ("Berkley") or the parent corporation ("Penguin Group (USA)") as you wish ... [I]f both an imprint and a publisher are listed, and particularly if both are known for publishing genre fiction, consider listing both". Based on these directions, the book that I am looking at could have been entered as by "Roc" or as by "New American Library" or as by "Penguin" or as by any combination of the three -- consider our records for Roc / NAL / Penguin, Roc / Penguin and Roc / New American Library. It's bad enough now, but how would we handle these three tier hierarchies with the addition of imprints?
This was another reason why I thought that allowing multiple publishers would make life easier: we would simply enter "Roc", "NAL" and "Penguin" as three different publishers/imprints for this pub. It wouldn't solve all of our problems, e.g. we would still need to decide when to use "Penguin" vs. "Penguin (US)" and "NAL" vs. "New American Library", but it seems like an easier approach to take. Ahasuerus 22:54, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
P.S. And, of course, allowing multiple publishers will also address cases where two+ legitimate publishers collaborated on a book. Ahasuerus 22:56, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Broken Amazon Image Links

After stumbling across one of my verifications where the Amazon cover image link had subsequently broken (example), I created a script that, using a database dump, checked my verifications and reported which ones had broken. There turned out to be about a half-dozen that needed to be replaced by scanned covers.

If anyone would like a check of their verifications, it would be easy for me to do. You can leave a request here or on my talk page and I'll place the results on your talk page. -- JLaTondre (talk) 21:23, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I'd been meaning to go through my primary verifications to check for any broken Amazon image links, but the prospect of going through thousands of records was quite daunting. If you can do it with a script, I'd really appreciate it. Mhhutchins 21:48, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd quite like to see the script and see if I can use it. I think several of mine suffer from "Amazon has reused it" which I presume you can't do (unless you can compare my verification date against the latest update Amazon have done for the image). BLongley 03:22, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
The script looks at the status code provided by the Amazon webserver and reports cases where their status is a not found error. For valid links, the server does provide a Last-Modified field which could be compared to the verification date. However, the Last-Modified implementation is server dependent and I don't know how Amazon treats it. It should theoretically change if the image changes, but there is no guarantee. It also might change if their internal metadata for the image changes, but the image itself doesn't. Another option would be to compute a checksum for the image and save it; then on subsequent runs, compare checksums and report changes. I'll look into it (would be nice for my verifications also) and then email you a copy of the script. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
This is a tremendous service! I would certainly appreciate it if you could give me such a list for my verifications. Can your script also catch verifications where there is currently no cover image? In some cases, those may now exist on Amazon; in other cases I really need to scan in my own covers. Thanks much, Chavey 17:55, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I can also report verifications without images; results posted at your talk. -- JLaTondre (talk) 02:33, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Just for fun: The most expensive SF&F books

I received Abebook's newsletter today about the most expensive book sales from last month. Since they keep these lists back to Sept. 2009, I couldn't resist seeing which SF books had been the most expensive. So here are the most expensive recent sales of SF&F books.

Sales through Abebooks, $10,000 or more:

  • J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, 1st ed., $20,447
  • Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), 1857, $14,925
  • John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids, signed 1st ed, $14,500
  • Stephen King, The Dark Tower series, 7 vols signed & numbered, $14,000
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, signed 1st ed, $12,500
  • J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter series, 7 deluxe eds, signed, $11,791

(It was this month's listing of "Triffids" that got me looking.)

Sales through Heritage Auction House, $10,000 or more:

  • Edgar Rice Burroughs, Collection of 77 1st eds, many of which are genre, most of which are Tarzans, $95,600
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula, signed 1st ed., $33,460
  • J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, true 1st ed., copies for $33,460; $29,875; $23,900, etc.
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 1st ed., copies for $33,460; $16,730; $13,145
  • Complete Collection of Fantasy Press Signed First Editions, 53 books 1947-1961, $23,302
  • Philippe le Noir, Lancelot du Lac, 1533, $21,500
  • Edgar Allan Poe., Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, 1840 1st ed., copies at: $21,250; $20,000.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, 1st ed., copies for $17,250 and $14,937
  • Charles Dickens. 5 Christmas Books, $16,250
  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, signed 1st ed. with Asbestos Boards, $15,535
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Gods of Mars, 1918 1st ed., $14,340
  • Frank Herbert, Dune, $10,755.
  • J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, 1906, limited ed. signed & numbered by illustrator Arthur Rackham, $10,157.50
  • Stephen King, The Dark Tower series, 7 vols signed & numbered, $10,157.50

Chavey 17:33, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Upset stomach today, so not being very productive. Here's another list:

Sales through Sotheby's, $20,000 or more:
Usually, I haven't been including original manuscripts, but I couldn't resist including the first listing here:

  • J. K. Rowling, Tales of Beedle the Bard, handwritten, $3,985,410
  • Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), 1857, $809,706; $20,596
  • Edgar Allan Poe, Tales, 1845, $314,500
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, signed presentation copy, 1843, $286,629
  • Brothers Grimm, Grimm's Fairy Tales in German, 1812 & 1815, $206,500
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 3 vols, 1818 1st ed., copies at: $182,256; $124,588; $114,000; $36,000
  • Cervantes, Don Quizote, 1608, copies at: $158,794; and $98,988. 1605 copy at $94,604. 1780 copy at $63,640. 1611 copy at $28,750.
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, hand colored by John Leech, 1843, copies at: $116,500 & $20,438.
  • Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726, copies at: $108,000; $90,610; $86,426; $84,000; $79,396; $58,907; $49,250; $33,370.
  • Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, signed, $102,000.
  • Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, 1477, $93,604. 1491 copies: $70,004; $31,466; & $25,745. 1481 copy: $69,933. 1484 copy: $22,878
  • Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone, 1868, $67,250
  • George Orwell, Animal Farm, signed presentation copy, 1945, $62,210.
  • Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven and Other Poems, 1845, copies at: $54,000; $25,000
  • Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, 1908, $48,678.
  • J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000 formerly belonged to Peter J. Rowling, $48,000.
  • Charles Dickens. 5 Christmas Books, $43,893
  • Edgar Allan Poe., Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, 1840 1st ed., copies at: $43,750; $39,000.
  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843, $31,168
  • Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, copies at: $38,418; $20,596
  • J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy, 1911, $35,582
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, 1937, copies at: $33,952; $33,942; $25,548; $24,270.
  • Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, 1860, copies at: $33,605; $30,000
  • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas, 1864, $33,600
  • J. K. Rowling, Complete set of Harry Potter 1st eds, $33,370.
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932, $30,000
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adv. in Wonderland, with signed watercolor by Arthur Rackham, $29,184
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897, copies at: $28,800; $21,600.
  • H. G. Wells, When the Sleeper Wakes, 1899, $27,600
  • Sir Thomas Malory, The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, 1917, abridged, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, $27,145
  • J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, true 1st ed., copies for $25,507; $23,359.
  • H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man, 1897, $25,200
  • H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895, $25,200
  • Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven and Other Poems, 1902, $25,000
  • L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900, $24,000
  • Brothers Grimm, Grimm's Fairy Tales 1823 & 1826, $24,000
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897, later imprint, signed, $23,376
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 3 vols, 1823 2nd ed., $21,744
  • Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Works, 1902, $22,500
  • H. Rider Haggard, She, 1887, $21,600
  • C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 1952, signed $21,232
  • Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven Poëme, 1875, French translation, art by Manet, signed by translator and artist, $20,822
  • Mark Twain, A Yankee in King Arthur's Court, 1889, $20,400
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings set, Ballantine 1965 pb, $20,022. (I don't understand this! Paperback, not 1st ed., in vg- condition at best, not signed. What were they thinking?)
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adv. in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, 1869 & 1872, $20,000

I didn't have the time to check Christie's, which is a competitor to Sotheby's for these high-end books (and customers who can drop $20K on a set of Tolkien paperbacks :-) Chavey 07:54, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

To paraphrase one well know SF writer, many people can drop $20K on a set of Tolkien paperback, but why would they? :) Ahasuerus 18:00, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Locus index vs. ToC

In Tales by Moonlight II, ed. by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, the ToC lists "Autumn Vignettes" by Wendy Wees. This consists of two short (2 pp) stories called "Chocolate" and "Mousewoman", which are not listed separately in the ToC nor in the credits, but are listed separately in the Locus index to anthologies. Locus does not list "Autumn Vignettes" in their contents listing. These were published in separate issues of "Fantasy and Terror", a magazine that we do not list. Should these items be listed as in the ToC or as in Locus? Currently, they are listed as in Locus with a note about the ToC, so that "Autumn Vignettes", which has a ToC listing and tops the title page in this book, does not appear in the ISFDB. Chavey 19:02, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

ToC or Locus? Simple answer: neither. Record them as they appear on the title pages of the book. We don't use a book's table of contents to record content. Also, the ISFDB doesn't handle group titles very well, so just record that title in the note field. Or create a mini-series, as some do. I don't, unless there's an explicit connection between the stories. Mhhutchins 20:01, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is NOT spec fic

This is not speculative fiction! Just because it has a giant on the cover (representing industry) doesn't mean it's not just an economics book. I keep deleting this book, and it keeps coming back. And while that means editors keep submitting it, it also means moderators keep accepting it. Chavey 06:56, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

More likely, it means a bot keeps submitting it and a moderator who'd rather not check the data approved the submission just to clear it from the queue. I doubt that a human would make a submission for such a title. There may be a way to find out how it keeps returning to the db. I wouldn't know. Mhhutchins 07:49, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Hm, let me check submission history. Fixer keeps track of all submitted ISBNs, so he should never resubmit the same ISBN twice unless explicitly asked to. He also doesn't submit ISBNs that are already present in ISFDB. Ahasuerus 17:57, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
It wasn't the same ISBN. That book occurs in many editions, and this was certainly a different edition than ones I've deleted before. Chavey 19:33, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Here is what I see in the "submissions" table:
PubEdit: Leviathan: Authoritative Text: Backgrounds Interpretations (Norton Critical Editions), Edited by Richard E. Flathman and David Johnston, Author Thomas Hobbes, submitted and approved by Mhhutchins on 2009-12-17
Title Update: A similar update for the associated title, also on 2009-12-17 Ahasuerus 22:47, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I have to take your word for it, because I have no clear recollection of creating a record for this title more than two years ago. And I can think of no reason why I would have done so, unless it was reviewed in a genre publication. Mhhutchins 02:54, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
It was a PubEdit rather than a NewPub submission, so perhaps you were cleaning up old data from ISFDB-1? Oh well, one way or the other it's gone now and we'll make sure to keep the riffraff out :) Ahasuerus 03:10, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
That makes me feel better. Mhhutchins 06:01, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
There are also a couple of submissions by Ron Kihara and Dirk adding data to the author record. However, I don't see any recent NewPub submissions for "Thomas Hobbes". Was the name spelled correctly? Ahasuerus 22:47, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
That's certainly the way that author's name is always spelled. So I don't know how I missed this one when I was deleting other editions. Mea Culpa; I must have erred when I was trying to correct this before. Chavey 02:25, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
According to this post, dated 2011-12-17, you were asking about deleting a record for the title. So if you deleted it, there must have been one created in the last 2+ months. Do you remember actually deleting the record that you questioned back in December? No big deal if you don't. At least now, you and I are aware of this title. Mhhutchins 02:54, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Obviously, something went wrong, and it's reasonably likely that it was my intent to delete the book, but I didn't actually delete it. Chavey 05:28, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Is this a legitimate website? Should we link to it, as one of the editors did in this record? Mhhutchins 20:20, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

As per this page, "According to Ron, the system contains almost 400,000 authors and their writings. ... Ron believes that the copyright situation is clear -- that either it's PD due to age, due to lack of copyright renewal, or that he has permission in some cases via licensing agreements."
Certainly their scans of 19th century periodicals, e.g. The Century Magazine, are in public domain and can prove useful. The legitimacy of the rest of the texts is hard to judge. Ahasuerus 22:11, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Whether it's legal or not, I think we can use the scans to validate records of the older magazines that haven't been primary verified. They have many issues of Weird Tales, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Fantastic Adventures, Fantastic Novels, Startling Stories, and Unknown. I'm going to source them, but not link to them, just in case the PTB (Powers That Be) come snooping around. Mhhutchins 06:07, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The site has issues. Compare their May 1950 Weird Tales with the Internet Archives. The Internet Archive's states The pulp magazine's copyright was not renewed but "The Last Three Ships" by Margaret St. Clair and "The Man on B-17" by August Derleth (as Stephen Grendon) were renewed individually and are still under copyright. Therefore, pages 70-73 and 82-85 have been redacted.; whereas contains the copyrighted portions as well. Comparing their January 1889 The Century Magazine (linked above) to Google Books, the Google Book version is better quality and Google doesn't restrict use like does. It is certainly easier to navigate then the other two sites so I can see people wishing to use it as a source, but I wouldn't recommend linking to it. -- JLaTondre (talk) 12:24, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Unpublished Borgo Press "Annotated Bibliography & Guide" editions

The intended Borgo Press Bibliographies for Orson Scott Card, Harry Harrison, and Raymond Z. Gallun were never published. The title records I just linked to each show both a publication with a specified publication date, and a variant title that's been given the "8888" unpublished date. That doesn't seem to be the way these books are supposed to be handled; e.g. it isn't for the canonical unpublished Last Dangerous Visions. Is there some special reason these are listed in both published and unpublished formats? Chavey 20:27, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Both the title record and the pub record should be 8888ed. Record the announced publication date in the note fields of each. Mhhutchins 20:58, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
BTW you can still add the pub records to the publication series with their assigned numbers. It will be obvious from the series listing that these books were never published. Mhhutchins 21:00, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Good point. And an argument to have a publication record for these as well as a title record. I'll do that now. Chavey 23:24, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Another good reason to keep the pub record: it's a record of the vapor ISBN and prevents others from creating a new record with the same ISBN based on an unreliable secondary source. These ISBNs spread like a virus on the internet and there's no way to completely destroy all records of their existence. Mhhutchins 23:36, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, they don't show up as "unpublished". They show up as "8888-00-00". Feature request coming. Chavey 23:29, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I would think a semi-intelligent person seeing such a year would think to question what it means. Just clicking on the title instantly tells them it's unpublished. Mhhutchins 23:36, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Okay, so it doesn't have to be a high-priority feature request, but still, it would be nice to have the "unpublished" appear as is, the way it does in so many other places. WorldCat told me about two other unpublished titles in the series, #26 and #30, so I'll be adding them also. Chavey 00:36, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


Should it be noted that Analog started printing in Canada as of the March 1999 issue?--Teddybear 18:05, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

If you're certain that all copies are printed outside the US, you can note it on the wiki's Analog page. Personally, I wouldn't think it note-worthy (this won't be the last thing that's transferred out of the US). I wonder why Dell would print Analog in Canada, while printing Asimov's in the US? 21:32, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Should it be noted that some years during the 1970's, there was also a UK price added on the cover? There is currently also a Canadian price.--Teddybear 16:19, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
It's probably better to be more specific, i.e. record the data on each of the issue's publication records. But noting it on the wiki page wouldn't hurt. Mhhutchins 20:03, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Astounding poll for best SF books

Hi All!

I'm trying to track down at least one, and I think two, poll(s) conducted among Astounding readers in the 40s or 50s. For some reason I can find *references* to them in various Google sites but not the actual issue of the magazine(s) and, of more interest to me, the *results*. As I recall, one of the polls most definitely had Simak's City as the #1 SF book of all time. And RAH's Beyond This Horizon was pretty high on one of the polls....

Thanks for any help you can give me! Hayford Peirce 00:21, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

The October 1959 issue has both an Astounding and a Nebula poll results on page 141.--Teddybear 00:53, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
A description of some of the background for the Astounding polls is given on our Awards Page under Analog. (Astounding became Analog in 1960.) Astounding had monthly polls from 1938 on, and there's a link at that Awards section to an article about how one could recover "annual results" from the analysis of those monthly results, but the magazine did not, generally, construct such annual polls. The only such annual polls we know of were those done in 1952 and in 1956. Those links will give you the results of those two polls. (Which we should probably add to the Awards listing. Real Soon NowTM) I'll mention that the 1956 poll has Simak's City as the #2 SF book of all time, but not #1. Beyond this Horizon was #25 in 1952. Chavey 01:18, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
There are also poll results in the Jan 1953 issue and the Oct 1956 issue.--Teddybear 01:29, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I believe those two polls are the ones linked to above as the 1952 and 1956 polls. The 1959 issue appears to be one not collected by Locus. If you have that issue, can you post the results? Chavey 06:26, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The 1959 issue basically reprinted the 1956 Astounding poll and compared it to the Nebula magazine's poll printed in issue#39 and found here nebulasf--Teddybear 00:34, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Many thanks, people, that's exactly what I was looking for! Hayford Peirce 19:00, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Unknown cover art, could be by Ron Walotsky

Help would be welcome in this case. We have an falsely credited cover art here that seems to have been drawn by Ron Walotsky (there's a small signature that reads as 'Walotsky' to my eyes). Is anybody able to recognize it, so we could verify the assumed credit? Stonecreek 19:27, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

A very recognizable work of art! It was used for the first edition of Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle. And it is Ron Walotsky's work. Mhhutchins 19:59, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Michael! I'll change the credit and add a note. Stonecreek 20:02, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Requesting an editor to take over entering Asimov's SF Magazine data

After more than 30 years, I've allowed my subscription to Asimov's expire. Sadly, it's got to the point where I've become a collector and not a reader. Copies just stack up until I store them away. If there is any other editor who subscribes to the title, please feel free to take over the entry of issues as they appear. The last record I entered was for the January 2012 issue. Thanks. Mhhutchins 20:08, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I can do that. I still read Asimov's and F&SF, though I read less of each issue as time goes on. The writing has become more sophisticated over the years, but it seems that it was at the expense of good storytelling. I quit reading Analog thirty years ago, except for the occasional issue.--Rkihara 23:57, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
I stopped reading Analog shortly after Bova left, even though I had a subscription until the late 90s. Same thing with F&SF. I just never got over Ed Ferman's leaving, although I continued to subscribe for a decade longer. Anyway, thanks for volunteering to take over Asimov's. Mhhutchins 07:11, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
What! You stopped reading Hayford Peirce stories in Analog?! I was sure sorry when Ben left, but Stan picked up buying my stuff without much of a hitch. I *do* think that if Ben had stayed there, however, he might have bought a couple of my novels -- it's always been my big regret that I couldn't get a novel serialized by Stan.... Hayford Peirce 22:13, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure there were some great stories in Schmidt's issues that I missed. Unfortunately, I couldn't take the time to find them amongst all of the ones with cardboard characters fighting against the odds to find solutions to scientific problems. The stories he was choosing were directed at a readership that didn't include me. That's no commentary about the quality of the stories, just a difference in taste. And you know what those wise Romans said: de gustibus non est disputandum. Mhhutchins 22:25, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't have put better. After Bova left, the number of stories published that could hold my attention decreased to the point where I would hardly look at each issue. A while back, I bought a 25 year run for about the same number of dollars and filled the gap in my collection to the year 2000. I found a lot of good stories in this batch published in the years between 1990 and 2000, but not enough to consider buying a subscription.--Rkihara 00:35, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm ready to start entering issues, but I need to know how to enter new mags into the grid. Apparently the way I used to do it is not correct.--Rkihara 18:37, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The database grid is populated automatically once you place the editor record into the series. We still merge the editor records, at least for this title, into annual records which you then have to update with the series title, in this case Asimov's Science Fiction. After that, the system does the rest. Mhhutchins 19:22, 25 March 2012 (UTC)


I've found over 200 pub records for ebooks that use "unpaginated" in the page count field. I believe this term was intended to be used for print books in which the pages aren't numbered, not publications that don't have pages. Or has the meaning shifted while I've tried to ignore ebook records? In the case of print books, it was discussed that the field should remain blank, and that we record the fact in the note field that the pages aren't numbered. I can't find this anywhere in the help section, but I'm pretty sure we came to that conclusion several years ago. But placing "unpaginated" in the page count field of a format that is rarely paginated (I've heard) is just plain ridiculous. If we put anything into the field for these pub records, it should be "1". Mhhutchins 05:42, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I know I've accepted a few entries using unpaginated, probably all for ebooks. I don't find the use ridiculous, and it makes more sense to me than using it for print publications, where there are physical pages that can be counted. Lack of pagination in ebooks may be prevalent, but I've seen plenty of ebooks with pagination, too. I would suggest we use "unnumbered" for publications with physical pages, but we don't adhere to recording the last numbered page as the page count anymore, so it seems lack of numbering should be relegated to the notes and anything with pages should always have a page count. --MartyD 10:14, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I think this was the conclusion of a discussion years ago: if the pages of a book are not numbered, leave the "page count" field blank, unless you do a physical count, and record the fact that the book is unpaginated in the note field. BTW, "unpaginated" doesn't mean "no pages", it means "pages are not numbered". (And inversely, "paginate" is a verb meaning "to give numbers to a group of pages", not "to give pages".) It would not make sense to put either word ("unpaginated" or "unnumbered") into a field dedicated to "page count", a definition that surely means "the number of pages" in the publication. Now all we have to do is define "page" when it comes to ebooks. :) Mhhutchins 19:47, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, it varies. Some e-books are basically glorified scans and keep the originals' page numbers. Others are formatted for specific devices, e.g. the Kindle, which allows them to put "page" (or perhaps "screen") numbers at the bottom of each virtual page.
That said, I haven't played with e-books all that much, so I don't know how often it happens. Ahasuerus 01:53, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I recently moderated a submission for an ebook that had "unpaginated" in the page count field. I did a thorough search of the discussions to see if there was a justification to reject that submission. I concluded that there was nowhere near a consensus on the issue, and hence accepted the submission. I would support a standard. I don't even care much what the standard is, I just wish there was one. Chavey 05:31, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It seems like a slam dunk to me. An ebook without pages is unpaged, not unpaginated. This should be recorded in the note field, not the page count field, which by the very definition of its title should contain numbers. If an ebook has numbered "pages", then the number should be entered into the page count field. Mhhutchins 05:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Finally got around to searching in the help pages and found it here:
If a publication is not paginated, leave the field blank and put "Not paginated" in the note field.
According to the history of the page (it's actually a template) it was written in November 2006. So that's been our standard for more than five years. I knew it was somewhere in the help. Mhhutchins 06:05, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
That explains why I didn't find it--I searched for the word "unpaginated". Of course this conversation will come up first on that search from now on :-) Chavey 06:25, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
MartyD pointed me to this thread, and as someone who's been guilty of using "unpaginated," I just want to say that I used it because when I first started entering e-books, I used an already-entered e-book as my template, and that book used "unpaginated." So I figured that was correct. Anyway, I'll leave the page count field blank for e-books, in the future. AndonSage 03:39, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
The downside to leaving it blank is that we then get "Bibliographic Warnings: Missing page count". We could change the code to suppress that for audio and ebooks, or adopt a convention of putting 1 or 0 in as the count. BLongley 14:22, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd rather suppress the warning than force an arbitrary number into the field. And while you're at it, why not suppress the warning about no catalog numbers for pre-1972 hardcover records? I know ISBNs were being used by some publishers before that, but it was still relatively uncommon for most hardcover publishers. I think the current cut-off of 1950 is way too early, especially for hardcovers. And I don't think there should be any suppression of warnings for paperback records missing catalog numbers, which currently only warns after 1950. Or can the warnings only be suppressed based on year and not binding? Mhhutchins 15:41, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
It's all doable, we just need to describe the desired behavior and add it as a Feature Request. Ahasuerus 02:23, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I've never really looked at the code behind "Bibliographic Warnings" but there are several improvements to be made. Apart from the above, there is the matter of magazines with no ISSN, becoming more obvious now that we leave it on the Wiki page instead of each record (although I normally work around that by putting the issue number in there instead). And we've recently discovered the warnings for Anthologies and Collections in Magazines, thanks to certain Italian pubs. And we could suppress the "no price" warnings for SFBC publications. Maybe French ones too. I'm not sure how many "no price" exceptions we will need in the end. BLongley 11:40, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I can confirm that most (at first glance about 90%) of the French pubs are without price. Hauck 08:23, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

[Undent] I used to list price categories (which French pb publishers use instead), but stopped after a few unhelpful discussions. Circeus 03:44, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Please see Publisher:Project_Gutenberg#Pages_fields for a current instruction for entering Project Gutenberg texts with 'unpaginated'. I knew it existed somewhere... but when I found it, it was misspelled. Kevin 14:31, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Please see also Publisher_talk:Project_Gutenberg#Pages_fields prior discussion on adding 'unpaginated'. Kevin 14:33, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
It would have been better if discussion had taken place on one of the community pages, preferably the rules & standards discussion page. Because it was buried deep on the talk page of a publisher's wiki page, some editors may have missed it. (And the misspelling made it almost impossible for anyone searching for any established rules before this topic was restarted.) And as I said above: "unpaginated" doesn't mean "without pages". It means the pages aren't numbered. If an ebook doesn't have any pages, it can not be "unpaginated". Mhhutchins 23:46, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Need help finding cover artist for Dirty Work by Dan McGirt

I'm trying to help Dan McGirt find out the cover artist for his novel Dirty Work (1993), published in the U.S. If anyone recognizes the artwork, could you post here, or on Dan's website, please? Thanks. AndonSage 03:56, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm not 100% sure but this sure looks like David Mattingly especially when you compared to the covers he did for Janet Morris' "in Hell" series of anthologies.Don Erikson 00:42, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply, Don! I let Dan known what you said. AndonSage 07:46, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Cosmo Oro and Cosmo Argento: magazines or publication series ?

I am ready to start adding to ISFDB Cosmo Argento and Cosmo Oro, high quality Italian books from Editrice Nord, but I am in doubt about the publication type they should be categorized into. They present a progressive numeration, an editor, a common denominator (Collana di fantascienza for Cosmo Argento, I capolavori della fantascienza for Cosmo oro), sometimes essays in addition to the primary content, which can be a novel, anthology or collection. The format is hc (sometimes tp for Cosmo Argento), and each volume has a title. A very few of them are already present in ISFDB (see). I would like your opinion and some example I could follow. --Pips55 21:01, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

All of the Cosmo Argento books in my collection have nothing that would indicate them to be magazines. The more important question is whether it is a publication series or an imprint. Since what goes for imprint in the US appears to be closer to a publication series in Europe (and also because of its numbering), I'd lean toward a publication series. I'll enter one or two of my pubs and you can get an idea of how I'd do it. Since you've volunteered to enter them, your opinion will be just as valuable as any of ours. Mhhutchins 21:20, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Turns out that the books in my collection were published by Nord under the "Cosmo. Collana di Fantascienza" series, so I can't give you much input into the two series you plan on entering. Maybe Cosmo Argento is a magazine. I'll look at Ernesto Vegetti's database and see how he handled it. Mhhutchins 22:01, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't find anything related to Cosmo Argento on the site, which was strange. So I looked up Editrice Nord and found two series that may be related: "Cosmo. Collana di Fantascienza", 333 volumes, 1970-2007 (I have three books in this series) and "Cosmo Serie Oro. Classici della Narrativa di Fantascienza", 207 volumes, 1970-2003. Were these the two series you were thinking about? Mhhutchins 22:10, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I just went to the links you gave in your original message and saw that these are the two series (still couldn't find anything about "Cosmo Argento"). Mhhutchins 22:14, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
'Argento' is not the in the series name, it is just the italian nickname due to the silver finish of the cover: the actual series is "Cosmo. Collana di Fantascienza". This kind of pub seems appropriate to me, with the proper series name.--Pips55 22:21, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Here is my first attempt. I chose "Nord" as the publisher because that's how it is stated on the front cover, the spine, and the title page of the book. Mhhutchins 22:41, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Ok, tomorrow I will start adding some titles so we can see how it works. I think I prefer 'Editrice Nord' as the publisher, since it is the proper name of the publishing house as stated in copyright page. Thanks --Pips55 22:51, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
But in my book, it is copyrighted by "Casa Editrice Nord", so the copyright notice should not be a factor in naming the publisher. If it's never used on the title page, I'd be reluctant to use the complete name. But, if you can determine that the majority of books published by Nord give their name as "Editrice Nord" I'd be willing to relent. There are more than 2100 publishers in the db that have a form of "publish" in their names, so it wouldn't be precedent-setting to use "editrice". Mhhutchins 23:36, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Three of the four books I have give the publisher as "Editrice Nord" on the title page. I'll change the record that I entered to match these three. Hopefully, most books by the publisher follow suit. Mhhutchins 23:41, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
My books from this series are at my office, but my memory is that they generally listed "Editrice Nord" on the title page. WorldCat shows a large number of Italian publishers that contain the word "Nord" in their name, lists 345 books by "Editrice Nord", and randomly looking through the other Italian "Nord" listings I found very few that were listed as "Nord" alone. Thus I would be inclined to list the publisher as "Editrice Nord". I would agree that this should be viewed as a publication series, and not as a magazine (like the German Heyne series). As Pips55 (Piper?) says, "Cosmo Argento" is the common nickname for these books. For example, I did an Italian eBay search for that phrase, and got 645 hits; searching for the "correct" title of "Collana di Fantascienza" only got me 14 hits. Thus I wonder if it might be appropriate to list the publication series as "Cosmo. Collana di Fantascienza (Cosmo Argento)"? Then if someone searched for that series under either the formal or informal name, they would find it. Chavey 04:12, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Cosmo Argento, here in Italy, is the common name for the series so I like the possibility of searching for both formal or popular series name. If, in a second moment, a consensus is reached to alter the pub series name, I am quite sure it will be possible to perform a mass update, since I am going to provide uniform, computer-parsed data. Thanks. (My name is Andrea, Pips is a long story ... It's time I add something to my User page) --Pips55 17:08, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Andrea, apparently there's another "Pips55" whose true name is Piper. Chavey 03:07, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely no problem, it is my fault: I REALLY need to add something to my User page. --Pips55 17:18, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
And, as I recall, "Andrea" is a male name in Italy, right? <google-google> Hm, it looks like there are some female Andreas now, but they are quite rare. Ahasuerus 04:49, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you are right "Andrea" in Italy is a male name, the female counterpart is "Andreina". --Pips55 14:06, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Regardless of how the series is commonly referred to in Italy, I believe we should use the name as it appears in the books themselves. This is standard ISFDB procedure. And unfortunately, a pub record can only be placed into one publication series. A software change might allow it to be otherwise. I don't know. Mhhutchins 17:32, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's possible, but it wouldn't be trivial. Given everything else that we have on the plate, it's unlikely that we will get to it any time soon. Ahasuerus 04:51, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm down at my office, and entering one of my books from this series. Using our standard ":" notation for "one line over the other", the page before the title page calls the series "Cosmo: Collana di fantascienza". The book list of available books in the series, in the ad pages at the back, calls it "Collana COSMO serie argento: Fantascienza contemporanea", and the inside back cover lists this book as "Cosmo Argento 333". Thus the company itself refers to this publication series by the two different names. So I still argue that we should call it "Cosmo: Collana di Fantascienza (Cosmo Argento)", or something very much like that. Similarly, the Cosmo Gold book I'm looking at says "Cosmo: Classici Della Fantascienza" on the cover, with an additional label that says "Serie Oro", the pre-title page calls it "Cosmo serie Oro: Classici della narrativa di fantascienza", its book list compresses that last name to "Cosmo serie Oro: Classici della Fantascienza", and the book list in my newer "Argento" publication calls it "Collana COSMO serie oro", so I suspect a similar 'name (alternate name)' labeling would be appropriate for this series as well. Chavey 03:07, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

[unindent] A question: how should we enter the price for Italian publications? I see there are several different methods. Sometimes there's a comma to mark the thousands as in "1,000". In other cases it's simply "1000". The currency is given as both "Lit" and "Lit." This should be regularized before we get too deep in this. BTW, is that the standard abbreviation used for Italian lira? According to wikipedia it's ₤ (a double-crossed "L"). Mhhutchins 17:49, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Personally, I prefer 1000 (without the comma) and ₤. I admit, though, that I am not particularly consistent on commas; when the number gets to 5 digits (as it does in some countries), I like to see the comma. Chavey 22:42, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
A point I was not thinking about. Italian numbering uses points to separate thousands and commas for decimals, however on the books I am submitting neither commas or points are used, and so I inputted them this way. 'Lit' means Lira ITaliana, and was used in Italy, possibly shortened to L (wikipedia it). Since many pubs have been already added to ISFDB with 'Lit' as currency, I'd say it is more simple to continue this way; for the thousands separator, since ISFDB is in English, I think the 'anglo' convention of using commas should be used (Vegetti probably came to the same conclusion, see). --Pips55 21:22, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
So should we change those records that were entered as "Lit." to "Lit"? Mhhutchins 21:51, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I'll provide to change the ones I added, along with adding the commas for thousands separator. For now on, I will stick to this convention. Did you notice other occurrences of 'Lit.' beside the one I entered ? If that is the case, I think I can obtain a list from a search on the DB.--Pips55 14:55, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
I found more that Ernesto entered with a period. It's too hard to search for them, so I'll just fix them as I come across them. If you see any, please do the same. Mhhutchins 15:11, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
There are 69 pubs with "Lit." as currency. If it is Ok, I will change them, let me know.--Pips55 15:41, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
How were you able to find them? I tried searching in the advanced search, even using the wild character, and couldn't get any results. Mhhutchins 16:07, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
I have downloaded a backup copy of the DB on my PC, and I searched directly using SQL. --Pips55 16:50, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Harlequin Teen

We have "Harlequin Teen" listed as a publisher (20 pubs) and as a publication series (5 pubs.) Which way would you say we should go? Ahasuerus 17:10, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

I tend to favor the publication series option, along these lines. Hauck 17:20, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Done! Ahasuerus 06:04, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

r2012-04: Magazine grid fixed

The bug that corrupted links in the magazine grid when using "Show Earliest Year First" has been fixed. Ahasuerus 16:30, 2 April 2012 (UTC)


Patch r2012-05 has been installed. It implemented two Feature Requests:

  • 3072091, "Supress Bibliographic Warnings for non-editors", and
  • 3514032, "Suppress "missing ISBN/Catalog ID" warnings for hardcovers published before 1972 since they are not likely to have ISBNs."

Ahasuerus 05:34, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Language preferences fixed

There was a bug in the code that handles language preferences. It wasn't handling the "Show translations in all languages" flag correctly the first time you set it. Instead it changed the "Use concise Publication listing by default" flag which you can set on the User Preferences page. The problem was fixed in the latest patch installed a few minutes ago. Please check your user preferences and language preferences to make sure that they are configured correctly. As always, if you find anything unusual, please post your findings here.

P.S. As an added bonus, the Title page has been changed so that magazine serializations will now display their language if it differs from the language of the parent title. Ahasuerus 04:15, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Nominating Dirk P Broer for moderatorship

I nominate Dirk P Broer (talkcontribs) for moderatorship; he has accepted the nomination. Dirk has 9,884 edits and has been an active contributor for over a year, mostly concentrating on updating author data. He has shown attention to detail and good research and communication skills. I am sure that he will be cautious making database changes as he expands his area of expertise. I believe that he is qualified. Ahasuerus 15:10, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


  1. Support, as nominator. Ahasuerus 15:10, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  2. Support. Hauck 15:34, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


  1. This discussion, and its implications [making up data to fit the way things are done in one little part of the world] worry me greatly. In many discussions about problems with edits, that seems to be the fall-back stance: "that's how it is in the Netherlands", as if that justifies something/anything. As to the author updates, of the ones I've moderated, there was [I don't do them anymore] about 1 in 4-5 that would link to a Blog, or a site that simply sells books or even to a newspaper/magazine that requires one to log in to before being able to navigate. All pretty useless links. I really don't see the attention to detail when the ramifications of the edit aren't thought through. [No-one sees them all, we all make errors but I feel this is more than random]. Following the history of submissions, when there are problems Dirk simply stops doing that type of edit and moves on to another. I really see nothing positive to be attained [at this time] in giving Moderator status. --~ Bill, Bluesman 03:24, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


  1. Almost all of the submissions by Dirk that I've handled are author updates. I don't know if he has enough experience to moderate submissions that create and update publication and title records, because I've not seen that many. Mhhutchins 15:22, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  2. My experience has been the same as Mike's. Dirk has 9,884 edits, of which 7,027 are author update or pseudonyms; 2,857 edits involving pubs and titles. But I've moderated many of his author updates, and (especially at the beginning), verified them myself, and never found an error. His attention to detail is pretty good. Chavey 18:07, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  3. I am glad we are having a substantive discussion here rather than ganging up on the poor editor and moderatorizing him before he has a chance to recover his senses :-) It looks like we all agree that Dirk's work on author records is solid, but his exposure to other types of edits has been limited so far. A few options come to mind:
    • Leave everything as is and give Dirk more time to acquire additional experience in other areas -- the default and simplest option.
    • Set the moderator flag with the understanding that Dirk will be handling author edits on his own and leaving other types of edits for other moderators to review -- this will reduce the load on other moderators, but on the other hand it may also be confusing.
    • Try what we did with User:Kpulliam a few years ago, i.e. encourage Dirk to pick a mini-project that will give him additional exposure to some of the hairier aspects of database design, e.g. pseudonyms, VTs and reviews, which should help him fill any gaps that he may still have. Perhaps try his hand at entering some magazines? For example, we are still missing issues 13-16 of Tales of Wonder, which can be recreated using online source like this page. A somewhat bigger (and even hairier) project would be to sort out the Doc Savage bibliography, which currently uses a mix of "Kenneth Robeson" and real names for attribution. We also need to reconcile it with Doc Savage Magazine, but that may be too big a project in this case. (This is the option that I am thinking may work best for our nefarious purposes.) Ahasuerus 20:39, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  4. I supported the nomination on the grounds that nearly 10,000 edits indicate a high and constant level of implication on our project. I think that it's time to let Dirk make his own mistakes and most importantly correct his own mistakes (along the lines of looking at the result on the screen, tearing his hair, moaning "What have I done ?" and finding how to revert the whole mess in less that 100 edits). As he seems to be a sensible person, he'll probably (like me) concentrate on his own projects and will only moderate at first "easy" edits by other contributors.Hauck 08:47, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
    • Well, that's what I was thinking as well, but if other folks have concerns, then it's best to address them before we set the moderator flag. As they say, it's better to be safe than sorry :) Ahasuerus 05:25, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
  5. Back when Dirk was doing pub edits, I had some heavy problems with these. No sourcing of data, no notifying of primary verifiers, no questions asked before submitting questionable edits. I admit his author edits are good, better than I would be able to do, but I would like to see some proof of him understanding the general "rules" before supporting moderatorship. --Willem H. 18:53, 9 April 2012 (UTC)


The nomination is not successful at this time. Based on the feedback above, more indoctrina... er, exposure is required :-) Ahasuerus 02:26, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Drawing Down the Moon by Charles Vess

Would anyone know if the content listings of this record is correct? Why would an artbook by Charles Vess include the artwork of Charles de Lint and George R. R. Martin? Mhhutchins 15:17, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Vess has been known to illustrate de Lint's and Martin's works, so my guess is that the editor who entered this record intended to indicate that certain pieces had been created to illustrate specific works by de Lint, Stemple and Martin. Ahasuerus 15:48, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
I assumed the same, but unfortunately the moderator who accepted the submission didn't ask the submitter the source of their data, and they didn't do a verification of it. I'm going to ask Ofearna who uploaded the image if she can confirm the contents. Mhhutchins 16:11, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Publisher, series and pub series names are now effectively unlimited

As many of you know, publisher, series and pub series names have been limited to 64 characters up until now. If you tried entering more than 64 characters, the software would silently truncate the rest of the text. It has always been a minor nuisance, but it became a real headache when we allowed non-Latin characters. Japaneses, Cyrillic, Latin-2/16, etc characters are stored using multiple bytes rather than 1 byte, so the effective field length was greatly reduced.

Patch r2012-07, which was installed earlier tonight, addresses this problem by increasing the maximum length of these three fields from 64 bytes to 16 million bytes. And if that's not enough, then we need to talk :-) Ahasuerus 05:44, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Albedo One

Is anyone updating this magazine? Last issue in DB is #37. Galactic Central has up to #40 and the publisher's site has up to #41. Thanks.--Teddybear 14:24, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Feel free to take on the mantle of guardianship. Mhhutchins 03:32, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Non-active editors

I've run across editors where a note at the beginning says, basically, "This editor isn't here anymore; if you have a question, check with the Primary2 verifier if available." Having just gone to post a note on the talk page for User talk:Mgpb, I see that he hasn't been here since Feb. 2008. At what point do we give up on someone and assume they really aren't going to be here anymore? Chavey 23:31, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Well, I have seen posts which started with "OMG, I have had messages waiting here for me for the last 4 years! I can't believe I just found them!", so you never know... Ahasuerus 23:41, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion, if you find an editor hasn't been active in 6 months or more, you should use an act-and-notify approach, rather than an ask-and-wait approach (assuming no other verifier is active/available). Just record sufficient detail in the note that what you do can be undone should the editor emerge and disagree with you. --MartyD 10:52, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I like Marty's approach, but for moderators and veteran editors only. I believe new editors who see that the verifier hasn't been available for more than six months should post a message on the Moderator Noticeboard before making a change to a verified pub. Note I said "change" not an "addition", such as notes or image links. It would be a good idea to add an "Inactive" message at the top of each of those verifier's talk page which they can easily remove if they choose to return. Mhhutchins 13:55, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
The combination of Marty and Mike's postings sounds like pretty good policy to me. How would we go about implementing the idea of an "Inactive" message, e.g. one containing the thoughts above, on such talk pages? Chavey 16:19, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Create a template (suggest Template:Inactive user) modeled on what's at the top of User talk:Scott Latham and User talk:Dragoondelight (which are slightly different). I'll take a stab at it. -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Draft made. I tried to keep it simple. I left out the difference between experienced and new users at that seems more appropriate for the help. If anybody prefers different wording, tweak away. -- JLaTondre (talk) 17:23, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Looks good, except I would suggest changing "post inquiries regarding the verification at the Moderator noticeboard" to "post inquiries regarding any other changes to the verified record at the Moderator noticeboard". (Also correct the spelling of "inquiries" in the last sentence. Sorry, my inner editor raises its ugly head.) Mhhutchins 03:31, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Changes made (and your inner editor is appreciated). -- JLaTondre (talk) 20:10, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

"dos" binding

I recently added a publication series from Robel called El Doble de Ciencia Ficción, a Spanish language series that lasted for 5 books, each containing two stories (generally novellas). Of course I was thinking of them like Ace Doubles (go ahead, say "Robel Doble" 5 times fast :-), and I entered this with a binding of "dos". I suspect now that I erred. These are not back-to-back publications, and they don't have independent page numbering, so I suspect I should just have entered their binding as "tp". Is that right? Chavey 01:11, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Correct. Unless they're 18cm or less, then they should be "pb". And to be my typical picky self, the binding we call "dos" is actually tête-bêche, meaning "head to tail". Dos is short for dos-à-dos, meaning "back to back". This wikipedia article explains the difference. Mhhutchins 02:11, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
They're all 22cm, i.e. full tp size. Corrected now. It was kind of nice to pick up one more Tiptree translation, and then get to enter an entire new publication series as a result. Chavey 03:40, 17 April 2012 (UTC)


I was working on Shakespeare's bibliography this evening, adding some very early editions of his spec fic work. For example, I entered the 1623 and 1632 Folio editions of his works. For these works, I included only a partial contents list, limited to those works that have a substantial amount of speculative fiction content (Hamlet, Macbeth, Tempest, Winter's Tale, and Midsummer Night's Dream). His full page includes lots of excerpts and abridgments of other works of his, but works which (IMHO) can't stand on their own as spec fic. (E.g., they include short quotes referring to ghosts and demons, but such characters don't appear in any substantive way.) Hence my table of contents omits many of the stories from which those extracts came. In case others have different opinions as to which works should be included, I thought I would mention this here. Chavey 06:53, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

I've now included all editions of Shakespeare's speculative fiction work up to 1700, and (since no one objected to that list of genre works), deleted all non-genre works from the contents listing for Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers, converting it to a partial ToC, so we didn't have all those other stories complicating Shakespeare's bibliography. I suspect the plethora of "extracts from" could be reduced also, but that's for another day. Chavey 14:29, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

LGF vs. Livre de Poche

Way back in December I pointed out that a certain editor was present under three names. I said back then that I wouldn't oppose too strongly a merge to any of those names (I still consider that having them under a single name is more important). Four months later, no action seems to have been taken on this. Any taker? Circeus 03:35, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Welcome to the democracy known as the ISFDB! I'm not in a position to make such a decision, but those moderators who handle French publications should know best how to handle it. Maybe they have and that's why the three publishers (as you call "editor") still remain separate. Mhhutchins 03:47, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
As I said, I'm not in favor of merging the three as most of the data entered for other publishers than "Le Livre de Poche" (about twenty pubs) is mostly unverified, sketchy to the point of being squeletic (like here) or of debatable quality (see here a 1989 book priced in Euros). If forced to act, my preferred option will probably be to merge under the LDP name. Hauck 05:30, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Limited Editions Club

The "Limited Editions Club" is listed in our records, and elsewhere, as a publisher -- operating from 1929-1985. As of 1937 the owner, George Macy, created "George Macy Companies" that printed these books as an imprint, along with "The Heritage Press", in a few variations. The "Limited Editions Club" published "classic works", including at least 20 books that we include (and probably more that haven't been entered yet). The club numbered each of the books they published, from 1 to 837. Should these also be entered as a publication series? It seems to fit our definition, but since the list of books from this "publisher" would be identical to the list in the "publication series", it seems this may be a bit redundant (except for adding those numbers). Chavey 17:02, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

If every book they published was part of the same series, I see little point in creating a separate publication series. Perhaps listing all of their pubs on one page would be a reason? It may not be of much value, taking into account the time and effort to do it, but I don't see it doing much harm either. Was the publisher's name consistent throughout the entire run? Were the series numbers stated within the books themselves? If they were I'd say go for it. Mhhutchins 17:16, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't be that much work, because I pretty much have a list of all the numbers. And the publisher's name was consistent throughout -- they never mentioned "George Macy Companies" anywhere within the books themselves, or any indication of publisher other than "Limited Editions Club". (They did list the printers they used for each book, which jumped all over.) But I checked a bunch of the books at my library, and they don't have the series numbers listed anywhere in the books. When the company published their "Quarto-Millenary: The First 250 Publications" (in 1959), they determined the sequence numbers for those first 250 books. Apparently, they then continued the numbers internally, and must have listed them somewhere because some University libraries also give the sequence numbers in their online catalogs. But, even after that book was published, they never put the sequence numbers within the books themselves. Chavey 21:06, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

E. P. Dutton / J. M. Dent

We have three books listed with a publisher of "E. P. Dutton / J. M. Dent". If I understand things correctly, such books were published in British editions by Dent, and in US editions by Dutton, hence they should be listed as two books. However, WorldCat does regularly list books as by "E. P. Dutton / J. M. Dent", so I may be wrong. Should those three books be changed? (This question does not appear to be addressed by our Help:Using Worldcat data.) Chavey 11:41, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

If there are two different printings, one for each market, then there should be records for each. If it's only one printing, which is then distributed in the both countries, one record should suffice, with notes. If the title page credits both publishers, it should be entered as "E. P. Dutton & J. M. Dent". As it is now, the entry format implies that Dutton is an imprint of Dent. Without a primary verification, I don't know how we can be sure how the records should be entered. Mhhutchins 16:23, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I did some additional research on the books. The 1925 book is "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / The Merry Men and Other Tales", a volume in Dent's "Everymans' Library" set. According to Wikipedia, these were produced by J. M. Dent, with US distribution rights granted to E. P. Dutton. The link above includes a cover image which shows both publishers listed on the spine. WorldCat shows 4 libraries with editions credited only to Dent, and 106 libraries with editions credited to Dent & Dutton.
The 1965 and 1966 book are both editions of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". This was produced by J. M. Dent as part of the "Children's Illustrated Classics" series, which was an outgrowth of the Everymans' Library, and hence probably had the same arrangment with Dutton. However for the 1965 edition, WorldCat reports 126 libraries with a copy listed as by Dent, and only 1 with a copy listed as by Dent & Dutton, while for the 1966 edition they report 3 libraries with a copy by Dent and none credited to/with Dutton. It seems to me that this is sufficient evidence to list these books as by J. M. Dent, with a notes that they were distributed in the US by E. P. Dutton. Does that seem reasonable? Chavey 17:58, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, very much so, for the Oz books. But may I suggest that the 1925 book be credited to "J. M. Dent & E. P. Dutton" (based on the library listings and the scan of the dustjacket)? Your call though. Great research. Mhhutchins 18:23, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with that solution, and made those changes. Chavey 04:32, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I went back to the review that the 1965 and 1966 publications were entered from. The review does mention "Children's Illustrated Classics", though obliquely. The review is really only of a single printing. It starts off "1965--E. P. Dutton & Co. (New York)" and lists the $3.50 price. The review ends up with a parenthetical statement:
"This edition, printed in England, was issued there by J. M. Dent & Sons of London 
in 1965.  Both publishers' names appear on the identical American and English 
Based on that statement, I think perhaps we should list both publishers. I also created this as 2 publication records because of the difference in issue date and price, even though it sounds like it was a single printing. I would lean towards keeping 2 pub records, though I should probable better reflect the relationship between them in the notes. However, I can see an argument for a single publication record for the printing rather than one for each issue. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 13:21, 29 April 2012 (UTC)