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Questions > Original Publication Date for Older Books

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message 1: by Samantha (AK) (new)

Samantha (AK) (samantha_ak) | 77 comments This is something that's been bugging me.

From The Manual:
"This field is for entering the date at which the work was originally first published. For example, if you are editing a 3rd edition of book XYZ, published in 2009, but the 1st edition was published in 1985, the original publication date would be 1985. Determining the original publication date can often be done by checking the copyright page of the book and seeing when it was copyrighted."

For many books in the database, this is as simple as the above excerpt implies. However, in the case of some older manuscripts, the exact date of compilation/publication is unclear, and the "original publication date" listed appears to be a 'guesstimate' based on the author's lifetime, rather than the date the author's writings were compiled and put into common circulation.

Some examples:
Meditations (Currently listed as AD 180)
Letters from a Stoic (currently listed as AD 64)

For works like those above, would it be more appropriate to simply leave the date of original publication blank, given their nebulous circulation history? Other books which are published or otherwise enter into circulation posthumously aren't backdated to the lifespan of their author (ex. The Silmarillion), so why should these?

message 2: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 196 comments I have always entered the "first published" date by the most solid date I can come up with--in my opinion, also, it's not a "date written," but a "date first published."

I recall there having been discussions a few months ago about dating the Epic of Gilgamesh correctly and also the discussion when finding the date "30AD" on the Bible...which was obviously not when the final books were penned.

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