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Book Issues > (Sir) Walter Scott

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message 1: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Should Walter Scott have "Sir" in front of his name? It looks like he's been swapped back and forth several times in the first page of edits, so I thought I'd bring it up here. I thought that the policy was to not keep titles...?


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I am of the opinion and impression that it should not have Sir in front of his name. There are a few exceptions to the title issue (e.g., Popes) but generally they should not be used.

This would be a good use of the librarian note: when the Sir gets removed, add a note stating that official GoodReads policy (I think it's official policy) is to not include titles in author's names, hopefully discouraging those who keep trying to add it back.


message 3: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 36767 comments Mod
Good thought, Michael. I did so.


message 4: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 87 comments I agree with the rule overall, but in his case, I dont know of anyone who calls him "just" Walter Scott. Ben Kingsley (not that he's a writer or anything) is also technically 'Sir', but 99% of people just call him Ben Kinsgley. There are other cases where I think it just comes down to how someone is known by the majority of the population. Like, I really dont like the fact that H.P. Lovecraft is on here as Howard Phillips Lovecraft, but for some odd reason thats how it ended up and as much as I cringe every time I see it, I guess thats just the way it is...


message 5: by BJ (new)

BJ | 27 comments Shouldn't it just be listed the way it's listed on the book? No? Isn't H.P. Lovecraft a pen name of sorts? It seems like it would be hard to make distinctions if you're not just going to use what it says on the cover.

I guess I don't really understand the criteria for this. I looked up "Richard Bachman" and they all (well, most of them) list Richard Bachman AND Stephen King as the author, maybe because some of the covers have it that way? A.N. Roquelaure doesn't list Anne Rice. What about George Sand? If the cover said "Johnny Lovecraft" would GR still list the author name as Howard Phillips Lovecraft?


message 6: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 36767 comments Mod
Billy wrote: "I looked up "Richard Bachman" and they all (well, most of them) list Richard Bachman AND Stephen King as the author"

They shouldn't. Except for those few cases where both are listed on the book.


message 7: by Christina (new)

Christina | 60 comments It could be added in the 'about the author' area that Richard Bachman is a pen name for Stephen King.
However, there might be a problem with this since apparently some of the Richard Bachman books are later published with Stephen King on the cover...
Not quite sure what to do about that.

And Ubik, I agree with you on Lovecraft. He should be on here as H.P. Lovecraft. When people talk about him, that's what they use. The book I'm currently reading by him also says H.P. Lovecraft and I looked at a few other covers and they said H.P. as well.
So if there's no objections, I'll change it in the morning (unless someone beats me to it...).


message 8: by Ubik (new)

Ubik | 87 comments Yeah, I would have changed it myself, but I vaguely recall that some of the "higher-up" librarians purposely changed it to Howard Phillips because of what LOC or Worldcat says as those are the general guidelines. Im not saying that you shouldnt change it, but dont be too alarmed if it ends up back the other way. Then again, it is possible that I imagined the whole thing...


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I think the LOC/Worldcat rule should be more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule, particularly for cases like Lovecraft where the author is universally known under one name.

As for the Stephen King/Bachman issue, it's a major complication, not helped out by the fact that some of the books are released in his real name and others are only released with Bachman. In theory, many (although clearly not all) of these issues will be fixed if the Also Known As.../Pseudonym function is ever successfully worked out.

There are many other fun cases. Like book series which have one author's name prominently on the cover but are actually written by someone else (e.g., the various Tom Clancy's XXXXX series, none of which are written by Tom Clancy or any other co-creator actually listed on the book) or books written under shared pseudonyms like many children's book series.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments You want a really fun case. In the early 90's, there were two books published (Interface and Cobweb) by Stephen Bury. It was later revealed that "Stephen Bury" was a pseudonym for a joint collaboration between Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George. Since Stephenson had become relatively famous since the original publication, the books were re-released under these names rather than the original Stephen Bury. But who is J. Frederick George? Later on, it was revealed that this was yet another pseudonym for a man named George F. Jewsbury, a historian who has published under his real name.

So what names should go on these books? (1) The name on the cover (which would then list the same book under different authors, depending on which version it happened to be). (2) The (two) true names only. (3) The original published name only. (4) All four names, two of which are fake. (5) The two real names and the original pseudonym, but not the intermediate pseudonym. (6) Other combinations?

Currently, we (er...I) have all editions listed by #5, but it's not clear there is a right way to do this. My personal preference would be #2, but there are a lot of arguments against it, not the least of which is that none of the versions ever published actually lists the true name of the second author, and only some list the true name of the first author.


message 11: by BJ (new)

BJ | 27 comments I would say all names that appear on the cover, all editions combined, as in King/Bachman. I guess there really needs to be some other kind of author field.

If I'm holding a book in my hand the GR listing should match what it says on the book, at least as much as possible.

My feeling about the original question is that the "sir" is less an honorific and more part of a pen name at this point. Are there any books that don't say "sir" on them?


message 12: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 36767 comments Mod
Any that don't are probably preserved under glass somewhere.


JG (The Introverted Reader) | 463 comments I was thinking of her as I read this, Abigail. I vote for L.M. Montgomery, for what that's worth.


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