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Policies & Practices > Question about issues of literary periodicals.

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message 1: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments I think this was discussed already, but can't for the life of me find the thread.

Are literary periodicals (collections of short stories and/or novellas) considered books for the purpose of GR?

I thought we had agreed they were, but another librarian disagrees.

Here are some examples of what I am talking about:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17...
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31...
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/94...




message 2: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
Magazines are not books, literary or otherwise.


message 3: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments There are a lot of things on the border, but I think these three are pretty clearly magazines.


message 4: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments But if sheet music bound together is a 'book' on GR, and maps bound together is a 'book' on GR, why wouldn't short stories/novellas bound together be a book on GR?




message 5: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Because they haven't been bound, technically. They've been published in a periodical, and the periodical as a whole is considered by most cataloging systems as one big item while each issue is only a little piece of that whole. Usually the pieces aren't even given ISBNs; I'm not sure why these three have them.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments Occasionally you stumble across a magazine with an ISBN; sometimes these are fake/wrong. An Amazon seller adds a number to the ISBN field and it carries over. Other times they appear to be legitimate, although it's not clear why.

There are dozens of issues of Dragon Magazine in the GR DB, all of which have legitimate looking ISBNs. I remember this magazine from 20 years ago...it was pretty much a standard monthly magazine and it seems unlikely that they had ISBNs, but maybe they did because they were published by a game company rather than a traditional magazine publisher. I think I have one or two buried in a box somewhere in a closet. I keep meaning to dig them out and see if they had ISBN's at the time or if they come from somewhere else.

On this subject, I recently stumbled across an interesting website: http://isbndb.com

It's an ISBN database which gets its info's from libraries rather than booksellers (it gets price info from booksellers, but the book info is supposed to be from libraries). I haven't really delved into it yet, but it might be a good source for info about odd, stray books, particularly where the Amazon data is suspect.


message 7: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (last edited May 18, 2009 11:23AM) (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
That does look like a useful resource. And it's already on the GR links list, so I added it to my links.

One note: I just tested it on a few of my books, and it has issues with out-of-print books, even ones that WorldCat shows as listed as various libraries.


message 8: by Debbie (last edited May 18, 2009 02:27PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse When I asked Otis about magazines, he said that anything published "in the form of a book" is okay for GR. So, GUD magazines, frex, which are perfect-bound, are 'books'. Sorta.

And we do have an ISBN for one issue--I think it's #3?--which we bought in order to get listed on various ebook sites.


message 9: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments Cait wrote: "Because they haven't been bound, technically. They've been published in a periodical, and the periodical as a whole is considered by most cataloging systems as one big item while each issue is only a little piece of that whole. Usually the pieces aren't even given ISBNs; I'm not sure why these three have them."

But, not only do these have ISBNs, they each have unique ISBNs - they don't share them. That would indicate that they are considered separate items, not just parts of a whole.




message 10: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
So? Many musical CDs do as well. (Which is another issue, but nonetheless.)


message 11: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments SF SQRL wrote: "When I asked Otis about magazines, he said that anything published "in the form of a book" is okay for GR. So, GUD magazines, frex, which are perfect-bound, are 'books'."

So, if GUD magazines are ok as 'books' on GR, then the examples in my original post should all be classified as books as well. Correct?


message 12: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Are they perfect bound? I think that's a significant part of the question. If they're stapled, then no, they're not books, I think.


message 13: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
What is "perfect bound"?


message 14: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse It's the binding you commonly see on paperback books.


message 15: by Carolyn (last edited May 20, 2009 01:07PM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments Well, I know the older Science Fiction periodicals were all made like paperbacks (Analog, Galaxy, Magazine of F&SF, Isaac Asimov Presents, etc.)
For others, if you can't tell from the GR database listing, do you know how we would be able to find out?


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I've done some looking. The vast majority of magazines are issued ISSNs rather than ISBNs. Some small subset appear to have both. I would suggest that if a publication is issued both an ISSN and an ISBN it be considered a magazine, since there would be no reason to issue an ISSN for a book, but there might be reasons to issue both to a serial publication such as a magazine.

In the Dragon Magazine example I mention above, I went and found an old issue yesterday. It only has an ISSN on the title/copyright pages, but the cover does have a small number near the spine, which if you add a zero to the front of, appears to be the exact ISBN reported by Amazon (and thus GR) and ISBNdb.com for that issue. It also appears to be a valid ISBN, at least insofar as the number has the proper checksum and does not appear to belong to any other publication. Despite the ISBN, however, the fact that the publisher clearly reports ONLY an ISSN on the copyright page shows that this should be treated as a magazine and not a book.

Now, it may be difficult to determine just by looking at the database what category something falls into, but across all the active GR librarians, it may not be that hard to find someone who can find an issue either at hand or in a library for cross-checking specific titles if necessary.

And as Carolyn says, some periodicals are published much more like books than magazines. I have an annual Food&Wine Guide to Wine which essentially is bound as a pocket-sized paperback field-guide, but it is issued an ISSN and not an ISBN because they consider it a special yearly periodical rather than a book.


message 17: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse The New Worlds series of anthologies were published periodically and considered by editor Michael Moorcock to be magazines, but they're perfect bound and have ISBNs, so they're books as far as I can see.

There's never going to be a perfect way of determining which is what.


message 18: by Carolyn (last edited May 26, 2009 09:46AM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments Personally I think that anything primarily composed of short stories, novellas and/or poetry should be considered a book for the purposes of GR. I don't think that whether or not something has an ISBN should be the main determinant though, mainly since a lot of the 'classic' science fiction stories were originally only published in the pulp periodicals issued before the ISBN system was created.

SF SQRL said "There's never going to be a perfect way of determining which is what."

Probably not, but I think we need to come up with some sort of resolution, because right now we have librarians at odds with each other.

For example, while we have been having this discussion, a certain librarian has been going through and NOT A BOOKing and removing all the authors from the science fiction pulps that I put links to in my original post (and all the rest of their series.)

Now, I don't have a stake in it myself, but any of the librarians who manually added and scanned in the covers for a lot of those science fiction periodicals, or even edited existing entries to add all the author names and details of the contents, is probably going to be mighty pissed off that all their work was negated. (Here's an example of one: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63...)

I know that on the first link in my OP, I had gone in and added all the story authors as contributors. Those have now all been deleted by the NABbing (which is why I came and opened this thread.)

Considering all the *real* work on correcting errors and garbage entries in the db that still needs to be done, NABbing these items seems like a colossal waste of time (and a potential cause of serious friction.)

Should we ask Otis & Co to weigh in and make a final rule?


message 19: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I think it's going to have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, tbh. A final rule would probably end up not being final. But asking Otis, yeah, I think we should.

Annoying about all that work being undone. I feel for you.


message 20: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
SF SQRL wrote: "But asking Otis, yeah, I think we should."

We have. ;)


message 21: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
I'm going to answer this with another question: Is there any harm in allowing magazines and periodicals? I don't think we should allow short stories or articles that were not published on their own, but there might not be harm to letting people catalog magazines, and it seems that some people really want to as this question keeps cropping up.


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Otis, It's just there are so many; they could literally overwhelm the books in the database. I used to keep bound copies of professional journals and had sometimes tens or hundreds of copies of each; if I'd kept up I might have thousands of some by now. I don't know if you consider this a negative but I thought I'd put that issue out there.


message 23: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse It's an important point. Maybe, though, if we don't so much add magazines as not delete existing ones, we won't drown :D.


message 24: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Squirrel, If members see magazines of any kind in the database, they'll feel entitled to add their own. We will drown eventually, but maybe that's considered ok. Members will be able to continue to find and enter and rate and review their books.


message 25: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Eh, I've seen F&SF and such in the dbase, and haven't felt inclined to add the ones reclining on my bookshelf. But I'm not every user :).


message 26: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Well, I actually wouldn't enter mine either, but with over 2 million members I think enough of them would that it would inundate the database.


message 27: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
Could we at least combine all printings of a given magazine into one work?


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Rivka, That would be helpful.


message 29: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Hmm, maybe, but wouldn't satisfy those who want to rate a variety of issues.


message 30: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments If we start allowing magazines, I think the big door we open is comic book issues. Right now "comics books are like magazines and we don't allow single magazine issues" is the final answer -- and, honestly, I should admit that I'd love to have comic book single issues on here with comic book bound trades, but the thought of allowing it before we have series handling in place makes me want to cry.


message 31: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Obviously what we need is a sub-site called GoodMags....


message 32: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments makes me want to cry

Me too Cait! I like having books only on this site. Ideally.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments If magazines and comics are allowed, I think combining them into a single work would be a mistake. People would really want to rate individual issues and having them combined would just cause huge headaches. Also, authorship might change through time (even issue to issue), making combining more difficult unless you used fake author names. You'd really want to treat them as a "series" (particularly once series are implemented properly) since it is closer to the proper description.

I wish there were a way we could include short stories. I think it's extremely impractical at this point, but it'd be great to actually have a system which allowed people to rate and discuss the individual pieces more easily. I think you'd then need them in their own separate DB, cross-linked to author. On an author page you'd have separate tabs for "books" and "stories/articles" rather than everything lumped into a single list (maybe a third tab for "magazines/journals/comics" to hold the serial publications as a separate thing not mixed in with books). Individual stories could then include links to the "books" (or magazines) in which they're found, and books could have links back to the stories they contain. (Individual comics could be linked to the TPB collection, etc.)

Authorship of anthologies would no longer need to list all the contributors; instead we could just list the editor and have the contributors stories under their individual profiles linked to (and from) the book.

There are a lot of potential issues and problems, not to mention librarian nightmares (e.g., ebooks and web publishing become even more problematic than it currently is). Maybe a long-term concept. Not something I expect to see implemented this weekend :-)


message 34: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse With more and more short stories being published as individual Kindle editions, I think we're going to get them whether we like it or not....


message 35: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 575 comments Sounds like it should be tabled till the new series mechanism is in place. And if this makes that upgrade come sooner, I won't be complaining. *g*


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments SF SQRL wrote: "With more and more short stories being published as individual Kindle editions, I think we're going to get them whether we like it or not...."

You're right; it may begin to happen whether we want it to or not. Maybe it's time for GR to start planning ahead. What about a radio box where every item in the DB can be marked as one of four things:
(1) Book
(2) Serial (magazine/comic/journal)
(3) Story/Article
(4) Not a Book

The first three are sorted into different tabs on the author page, author book list, etc., while the fourth is simply hidden and does not show up in any searches other than by ISBN (keywords, authors, titles, etc. are hidden).

Searches would default across all three "reading" types, but could be filtered to a specific type if desired.

You'd still want some sort of cross-referencing/linking among individual entries to show which stories are in which books, etc. (In theory, this would also allow you to link individual books to the omnibus that contains them...)

When viewing a user's shelf, there would be an option to show all types or filter by type.

If we may be forced into some of this anyway, maybe it's time to really consider a practical and useful implementation. A lot of users would certainly like the expanded system (and have even asked for it). It would almost certainly make life more difficult for librarians due to the increased size of the DB, but if implemented properly it might make other things easier. For example, being able to just click a button to Not a Book something. Not having to discuss/argue with someone whether a magazine or comic should be removed (just shift it to the proper type) (instead we could argue about which type something properly belongs to...).


message 37: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 577 comments Since none of these options will be a quick fix, can we at least agree to something like not NABbing periodicals for the time being, especially anything that has been manually added or has been edited to add significant information?

Like I said, I hate to see librarians at odds with each other, and I don't see this being resolved quickly. Detente seems like a good idea for now.

It's not like there aren't tons of other things in the database to be worked on while this gets resolved...


message 38: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I'm in favour of this idea. After all, there's lots of other things to mess up ;).


message 39: by Brandy (new)

Brandy | 29 comments Not really helping, most likely, but my own opinion: I'd consider these closer to books than magazines. There are plenty of magazines where I'd agree with the "not a book" distinction--the regular ones that are on sale at the grocery store or newsstand racks, like Cosmo or Seventeen. But literary journals (published with spines! perfect bound!), like McSweeny's, Tin House, or Ploughshares, are really more akin to anthologies that just happen to come out quarterly (more or less).

If we go out of our way to make sure every "Collected Works of [Author:]" is combined only with things that collect those exact same pieces, then why wouldn't we extend that same courtesy to literary journals? Each issue (edition) has different content in it, even though it has the same master title. I don't think "Journal title, volume X issue Y" is radically different from books titled "Collected works, volume 2"--they don't get combined with all the other volumes just because they're in the same series.


message 40: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 25283 comments Mod
Collected Works of X rarely go to dozens and dozens of volumes.


message 41: by parrais (new)

parrais | 7 comments Carolyn wrote: "Since none of these options will be a quick fix, can we at least agree to something like not NABbing periodicals for the time being, especially anything that has been manually added or has been edi..."

Oops, I NABbed all the copies of Dragon magazine and Dungeon magazine before seeing this thread!

In my defence, they are clearly magazines - sold on news-stands, dated and (for most of their run) stapled. Very few of them had a rating, and none (as far as I saw) had had any work done on them by other librarians. They all just listed the editor as the author - not very satisfactory. Also, many issues were missing from the database altogether (or had already been NABbed by someone else).


message 42: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
I'm am still not 100% sure of the best policy, and will give it some more thought. But I think that for now, if we are NAB'ing things instead of deleting them, it would be much more friendly to add the type (as per Not the Michael's suggestion in #36).

Long term, as media is evolving, and as even Libraries have been evolving to store more types of media, perhaps Goodreads should follow that trend. This can be dangerous as we might lose our focus on books (which we don't want to do) - so we'll need to tread carefully here.


message 43: by Cyn (new)

Cyn Armistead (technomom) | 159 comments FWIW, I'm the librarian to whom Carolyn referred at some point in this thread. I had been going through and NABing magazines before the thread started, and continued to work on that off and on for several days, after finding quite a few of them while working through works attributed to "Various"--obviously NOT as a response to her original post. (It'll take eons to get through Various.)

I really would prefer to see GR remaining book-only, but will certainly abide by whatever the site's policy is at any given time. For now, I'll leave off NABing magazines.


message 44: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments I've always preferred books only too Cyn.


message 45: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
I thought about this some more over the break. I think we should allow magazines and comics, but in an ad-hoc semi-unofficial way. To do them right, we'd have a lot of separation between them and books - and they just aren't a priority to do them right at this point.

But if people are bent on spending time to manually add entries for comics and magazines (which many have been), I can't think of many negatives to leaving them in there.


message 46: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Otis, Yes, if there were essentially separate databases, that would be great.



message 47: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Otis wrote: "I think we should allow magazines and comics, but in an ad-hoc semi-unofficial way. To do them right, we'd have a lot of separation between them and books - and they just aren't a priority to do them right at this point."

That makes sense. Perhaps someday, then?

Lisa wrote: "Otis, Yes, if there were essentially separate databases, that would be great."

Well, there'd need to be a point of contact where books are bound collections of comics or magazines!


message 48: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Who knew a book could be so hard to define?


message 49: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Abigail, Would you add as authors all the writers of the essays and reviews. I could see these being considered books; it depends on the type of writing and whether it's original/first published in this form. After all, bound comic books, atlases etc. are considered books. Just one opinion, and I might need to see a description of contents.


message 50: by Lisa (last edited Jul 19, 2009 10:46AM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2366 comments Abigail, In my opinion if they are deemed books, all the authors should be listed; otherwise, they seem more like magazine/periodicals to me. Once again, this is just my opinion. I don't feel as though I'm an expert about this regarding what Goodreads would say.

Edit: Although with your Babar example you do have a point. I do believe in listing all authors though, ideally. That doesn't mean I'd actually always do so.


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