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Serieses! > New series feature & series numbering

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message 1: by Cait (last edited Feb 07, 2011 03:57PM) (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Hey, fellow librarians, Ken-ichi asked me to bring this question up for a policy discussion here.

The issue is that the new series feature which lists the series associated with authors and shows up to seven (I think it's seven, yes?) of the books in the series works great if all of the books in the series are numbered with numbers. (I don't actually know if that's just integer numbers or if any numbers are okay, such as the 2.5 convention for a short story between books 2 and 3.) However, the number field has never been limited to numbers: it's allowed numbers, text, or nothing at all, and so far our policy (and practice) has been to allow anything brief and informative in that field, such as "prequel", "art book", "novelization", "omnibus 1; books 1-3", "1 part 3/4", "2; issues 8-16", etc.

So, two questions:

1. Assuming that the series feature can be made to handle these "numbers", what would be the best way of listing them?

One option might be "show all books in order, ignoring numbering"; another might be "show numbered books if there are any".

2. Assuming that the series feature can't be made to handle these "numbers", what would be the best way of conveying this information?

There are two cases here: one case where a book has a "good" number and a "bad" number, such as book "2; issues 8-16" where "2" is the volume number which should be counted and "issues 8-16" is extra information, and the other case where a series has books with "good" numbers and books with "bad" numbers, such as book "2" and book "1-3" where book "2" should be counted as a volume and "1-3" could be ignored as part of the primary listing.


message 2: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
It is 7; and it is currently only looking at integers and ignoring decimal-containing numbers and other irregulars.


message 3: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Personally, I like the way it's working now. Only showing whole numbers shows the main books, but hides shorts, omnibus editions, and other add-ons.

As for books that aren't ordered at all, just display the first 7 as they are listed on the series page.


message 4: by Ken-ichi (new)

Ken-ichi | 11 comments Rivka's right. I also wanted to talk about whether ancillary material belongs in a series. I was looking at the Sandman series and didn't think the Death books belonged there. I'm still a little dubious about things like The Sandman: Book of Dreams, which, if I recall, are stories set in the same world that are only tangentially related to the main storyline. Do others agree that books not directly pertaining to the main sequence of publication belong in separate series? Sandman is particulary goodbad example, b/c books like The Sandman: Endless Nights and The Sandman: The Dream Hunters are also off-shoots, but were written by Gaiman. Not sure what to do with them.


message 5: by Ken-ichi (new)

Ken-ichi | 11 comments Oh, forgot to mention that I believe series with books that aren't numbered as plain integers just don't get shown on the author profile.


message 6: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Ken-ichi wrote: "Oh, forgot to mention that I believe series with books that aren't numbered as plain integers just don't get shown on the author profile."

So, if a trilogy has four books, 1, 2, 3, and 1-3, it currently won't show on the author's page, but it will show on the series list page, is that right?


message 7: by Ken-ichi (new)

Ken-ichi | 11 comments Ack, sorry folks, the numbering issue is already under discussion at http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

I'm still curious about the ancillary-material-in-a-series question, though.


message 8: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Ken-ichi wrote: "Ack, sorry folks, the numbering issue is already under discussion at http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...
"


Is this the same issue? I thought that that thread was mostly about how to count the number of books in the series, and then that part of the feature was dropped for now....


message 9: by Ken-ichi (new)

Ken-ichi | 11 comments Cait wrote: "So, if a trilogy has four books, 1, 2, 3..."

No, I worded that incorreclty. 1, 2, 3, 1-3 will show 1, 2, and 3 as a series on the author profile, but "1; issues 1-8," "2; issues 9-16," 1-3 will not. If there are any series books with positions that are plain integers they should show on the author profile.


message 10: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Ken-ichi wrote: "Do others agree that books not directly pertaining to the main sequence of publication belong in separate series?"

It seems like overkill to me to make a whole separate series just for one or two extras, especially because then you need to go to the trouble of putting cross-links in each series description so that you can get from one series to the other.

If we do go that route, though, what if the extras aren't logically connected? Say, for example, you have a manga series with two artbooks and a character profile books. Should that be "Series" and "Series: Extras" or should it be "Series", "Series: Artbook", and "Series: Character Profile"?


message 11: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
Cait wrote: "It seems like overkill to me to make a whole separate series just for one or two extras"

I fairly emphatically agree with this.


message 12: by Cait (last edited Feb 07, 2011 04:31PM) (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Ken-ichi wrote: "Cait wrote: "So, if a trilogy has four books, 1, 2, 3..."

No, I worded that incorreclty. 1, 2, 3, 1-3 will show 1, 2, and 3 as a series on the author profile, but "1; issues 1-8," "2; issues 9-16..."


Ah-hah, okay.

So, it seems like the two-series approach might be best for cases like this, where a single book has a "good" number and a "bad" number: one series for the "good" numbers to show in the profile and one series for the "bad" numbers to provide the full information for the more srs bzns fans.

Here's a tiny example illustrating this approach:
Tiny Titans
Tiny Titans (Single issues)


message 13: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Ken-ichi wrote: "I'm still curious about the ancillary-material-in-a-series question, though. "

Isn't that almost series dependent? I know at least one series that only has one ancillary book, but there are obviously other series that have all sorts of ancillary material.

In an ideal world, I'd love three views of a given series. One that covers only the core books. A second that adds in the shorts. And a third that adds in anything even loosely related - including third party commentary on the series. Of course that doesn't handle series that branch off. You'd almost want more views to handle something like that.

If there are plans to eventually let us rate and review series, I think we'd want to rate and review the core series, not any of the ancillary material. So, from that point of view you'd want to separate off the ancillary material.


message 14: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 392 comments Books with no numbers do show, as long as they are one of the first seven and have a cover on the most popular edition. 0 shows, 0.5 doesn't show, so we can use 0 for prequels.


message 15: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments So it sounds like there's also no problem with including split parts of books in the series listing, right? So if a series has books 1 through 3 and also book 1 has been broken into three parts, including "1 part 1/3", "1 part 2/3", and "1 part 3/3" in the series numbers won't prevent the books "1", "2", and "3" from showing up correctly, yeah?


message 16: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
Correct.


message 17: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Gah, I was afraid of that -- someone messed up all of the Korean editions of Harry Potter and now I've got no excuse not to fix them.... ;)


message 18: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
LOL!


message 19: by This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For (last edited Feb 08, 2011 01:25PM) (new)

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I believe the answer will be "no", but are there any good reasons to consider adding a second box/field for series numbering...a primary one for the "numbering" and a second one for "extra info", thus

1 |
2 |
3 |
1 | issues 1-8
2 | issues 9-16
1-3 | omnibus
1.5 | short story
| art book
| atlas

where the info on either side of the | are actually in separate boxes? Would this cause more problems or is it worth considering? You'd still have some non-numbered/non-integer items in the left boxes (no good way around listing omnibus volumes), but would this help or hinder?


message 20: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "I believe the answer will be "no", but are there any good reasons to consider adding a second box/field for series numbering...a primary one for the "numbering" and a second one for "extra info", t..."

It looks cleaner that way. Not sure if it would otherwise help or hinder.


message 21: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nkmeyers) | 40 comments @Ken-ichi RE This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For's idea about a volume/series number info field.

TINTM asks about series numbering and having: "primary one for the "numbering" and a second one for "extra info"

I have often seen this implemented in bibliographic DB's w/two fields: Vol_Number field (either as char or number: smallint or tinyint) and Vol_Info (varchar). The first scenario restricts the data in the number field to an actual number but if that's a text field already then it can stay a char or varchar.


message 22: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For wrote: "I believe the answer will be "no", but are there any good reasons to consider adding a second box/field for series numbering...a primary one for the "numbering" and a second one for "extra info"..."

Oh, this would be brilliant!


message 23: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
It does seem like it would solve several problems.


message 24: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Also, perhaps this could replace the "note" field for series books -- I don't think I've ever seen that used, since any notes on a series tend to apply to more than one book and be more useful in the series note field.


message 25: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
I honestly had never noticed the note field, although that's probably a location issue.


message 26: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments One series that I worked on that illustrates a lot of the problems is The Baby-Sitters Club. (It's still a mess, but it was a sure case of "do what you can and move on.")

There are overlapping box sets (issued at one point in sets of three and another point in sets of four), and multiple sub-series--Super Specials and Special Editions--and related series--Mysteries and Friends Forever--as well as what I'd call auxiliary books--the Portrait Collections--plus a couple things that were really more like branded merchandise (though still books).

The sub-series really aren't separate in the same way as a separate-but-related series like Baby-Sitters Little Sister.

I think the note field handles related series well, but I like mlady_rebecca's idea, which I think would entail having sub-series or even sub-sub-series (what else are you going to do with a Baby-Sitters Club Mystery Super-Chiller?) Maybe the idea of the "extra information" field would actually somehow make a sub-series.

http://www.goodreads.com/series/40767...
http://www.goodreads.com/series/41345...
http://www.goodreads.com/series/41893...
http://www.goodreads.com/series/42241...


message 27: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Catherine, one thing that will make that series a little neater is to move all of the boxed sets and collections to the end -- generally, we sort all of the primary works in order first, then all of the collected books, then all of the partial books, then all of the related books. (Also, it looks like at least some of these collections should be also listed in a "Babysitters Club Collection" series in addition to the main one, since there are volume numbers on the collections.) It looks like there might be some other extras that could form a sub-series, you're right, but that does indeed look like a lot of work to put into any order! :)


message 28: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments Cait wrote: "Catherine, one thing that will make that series a little neater is to move all of the boxed sets and collections to the end -- generally, we sort all of the primary works in order first, then all o..."

I think I didn't know a decision had been made about that. I was working on it around the time it was being discussed on the "Book series!" thread back in August, and I haven't really done anything with series since. I can see how it will be better with box sets at the end if the first seven (or whatever) display on an author page or elsewhere.

Personally, I decided doing series work is way too time-consuming and awkward for me, at least until series titles become searchable and series work better for non-fiction, and I'm on a break. Which I mention only to say, anyone else who wants to have at BSC, please do! The Sweet Valley series are another similar set.


message 29: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments I was one of the people arguing for having the boxed sets in line with the single volumes, but I think I am glad to have lost that argument, as it turned out. :)

(Also, zomg, I am terrified to touch the Sweet Valley High series. Although that might be due to the immediate junior high flashbacks!)


message 30: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherineeilers) | 45 comments Cait wrote: "(Also, zomg, I am terrified to touch the Sweet Valley High series. Although that might be due to the immediate junior high flashbacks!) "

Yep, you can tell in which era I was really into reading series fiction!

These series are actually pretty good for thinking through some of the series problems, though. First, because they are large and complex, and second, because they are now unpopular and can be subject to experiment without offending lots of true fans who want the series exactly right. (Most of those of us who read dozens of them probably can't even remember which ones for sure.)


message 31: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41992 comments Mod
Catherine wrote: "(Most of those of us who read dozens of them probably can't even remember which ones for sure.)"

Too true (excluding the first dozen or so).


message 32: by Shanon (new)

Shanon (shazamy) | 52 comments Hope this is the appropriate place for this question...

Do you number a book in series based on publication date or the date the action in the book occurred? For example: The anthology On the Hunt, although published between books 4 and 5 in the Sentinel Wars series, contains a story which actually takes place between books 2 and 3. So...is it correctly 2.5 or 4.5?


message 33: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Actually, Shanon, you might want to start a new thread for that to see if there's someone who's been working on that series and wants to discuss it. (In general, how a series is numbered -- by publication, by internal chronology, or by author's fiat -- can vary quite a bit.)


message 34: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 23173 comments Shanon, I haven't read Sentinel Wars but I'm familiar with her other work and as a reader I would prefer it to be where the story takes me, so I'd go for 2.5. Just my 2c.


message 35: by Shanon (new)

Shanon (shazamy) | 52 comments Thanks @Cait and @Sandra. My thought was to make it 2.5 but another librarian has changed it to 4.5 twice. I don’t want to start a series numbering battle, so I am thinking I’ll just have to fight my obsessive-compulsive desire for “correctness” (or my idea of it) and let it go since there seems to be some variance in procedures.


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