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Walt Grogan

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Posts posted by Walt Grogan

  1. Hi, all--

    I came across this the other day. I was entering a loose issue of what I thought was Continuity Publishing's Armor #2 (June 1986). It does show up under Armor in the Find list. However, it also shows up under The Revengers as The Revengers #2 (June 1986). Issues #1 and #2 are also listed under The Revengers, too. One more thing to throw a twist into this... the indicia of #2 lists the issue as The Revengers™ featuring Armor™ and The Silver Streak™ #2 (June 1986).

    In one of those rare cases, the GCD lists the issues under Armor rather than the indicia. It seems one of the locations should be cleaned up. The only concern is that if The Revengers is removed, someone will recreate it if they look at the indicia.

    Best,
    Walt

    790589471_Armor002.thumb.jpg.f3d71ff611945883033c1c9f8235ca90.jpg

     1290224475_Armor002-Indicia.thumb.jpg.fc0716d4f6dda03647bbb31a897b59f5.jpg

    2026358314_CB-Revengers.jpg.92100d01ee16540c1a90c7d153d40bc0.jpg

    1631297714_CB-Armor.jpg.070bd6c615d95074fbc4f628ea8c0a59.jpg

     

     

    CB - Revengers.jpg

  2. Here's the problem with comic-sized books and magazines not being typed as comics... if you are Adding by Barcode and you scan a comic-sized non-comic, it will destroy the Save list when finished. If you're scanning 50 or more books when this happens, it's incredibly frustrating. That said, I'm not advocating for the type that should be applied to Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children (heck, I don't know off the top of my head if it has a barcode) rather I'm indicating what can happen if a comic-sized non-comic is in the middle of the pile of comics. If would be great if Add By Barcode could reject anything that's not the first scanned type or at least indicate the type of a scanned item so it could be removed.

    I mention this because switching something from comic to magazine or book or vice-versa can have consequences.

  3. 22 minutes ago, Robert A. Weinberg said:

    Walt, I do understand where you are coming from being an almost 20 year user of CB. I also have many thousands of comics. If I get what you are saying, since I have several hundred boxes that are labled/printed with the CB titles now, changing them would be a nightmare of work for me. So for me, keeping it the way it is fine, though I wish it could have been addressed much earlier in CB editions. I'm sure you have noticed this, but in case you haven't, if you search a title an then use the arrow keys to move up or down, you can very easily see the years the title was published.

     

    Hi, @Robert A. Weinberg--

    Thanks for pointing out the years published in the Find dialog. It's a workaround to be sure but it helps.

    And I totally understand your point about existing labels and if I were in your shoes, I'd feel the same way. However, I and others have offered suggestions that would allow longtime users like yourself to not have to change existing labels while allowing users who haven't labeled inventory extensively like you have to have some consistency.

    In another thread, I proposed adding a new column, DisplayTitle, which ComicBase could maintain. It would not invalidate the Title field or referential integrity while allowing users like yourself to maintain your existing labels. A user setting could switch between using one or the other.

    @Fred Slotasuggested creating a user editable field to do the same thing but have it maintained by the user rather than CB but it would ultimately work the same way via a user setting. Either solution would help title organization moving forward.

    This would, of course, require development on CB's part and I hope it's something they take up after the 64bit upgrade. 

    The other problem is the burying of a title under another title which makes it difficult to find when it doesn't have a UPC code (e.g. Justice League Spectacular under Justice League America).

    That's a more difficult problem to solve and I don't have an easy answer for that one. The label unfortunately reads Justice League America Spectacular rather than Justice League Spectacular as it is in the indicia.

    545511555_JLS01.jpg.f9fbaac3ed49d36c99611087c1af26db.jpg

    My biggest frustration with CB is trying to locate an issue that doesn't have a barcode and whose title doesn't come up in Find. I have to assume that it's already been indexed and then I have to play a guessing game as to what title it is hiding under. It's not fun and slows down the entering of older titles.

    Best,
    Walt

  4. 5 hours ago, Steven L. Dasinger said:

    #2 is what most of this thread is about. But to bring up #1 as 'proof' or 'evidence' that since they are changed, that #2 type of titles have to change, also, isn't a good argument.

    I use to be a Database Administrator. I prefer consistency but also realize when something gets into production, it is hard to get that consistency when the benefits don't out-weigh the time/cost to do the work.

    Hi, @Steven L. Dasinger

    Thanks for your reply. It's not that that titles have to change, it's that they can change. What #1 shows is that titles can change even for something as simple as a stray space or to correct an article placement, while #2 seems to be locked in amber especially for something like the Metal Men mini-series -- even though changing it would make it easier for all collectors to find. While I would prefer the year of release in the title rather than Series 1, Series 2, etc., I'd be find with it just to bring consistency. Don't get me wrong, I applaud the grammar and article corrections of #1, but I find it baffling that there is a reluctance to apply organizational standards to titles in a program designed to organize a comic book, book, or magazine collection.

    I think that this is the main frustration of myself and my fellow users.

    Thanks for listening,
    Walt

    • Like 2
  5. TL;DR
    I’d love to see the Marvel UK Spider-Man Comics Weekly comic broken apart as it’s an all-in-one container title where ancillary titles continues its numbering and that makes finding any of those titles a nightmare 💀 -- because the various issue indicias don’t list a title name and the ComicBase title description doesn’t break down any of the contained titles (and I'm not advocating for that).

    I've been avoiding posting corrections and bringing up issues like these because I feel like TPTB at CB are finding me a PITA but the following  problem bit me in the butt again today as I was trying to find Super Spider-Man #277.

    When I initially tried to find Super Spider-Man #277 to enter it into CB, I didn't have a label maker so I couldn't put a label on it. After getting a label maker, I was going to add one to the issue, so I had to find it again in CB. There's only one obscure way to find it in the CB database and that way is below the radar of anyone looking for the title. Since I was unaware that I could have queried the Notes field to find a note that identified the issue where the name changed (which seems like a roundabout way to do it), I, instead, went to http://comics.org to look it up and track it back to the original title, Spider-Man Comics Weekly, to find the issue catalogued there. I found it frustrating to leave ComicBase, go to an unaffiliated web site to gather information, and return to ComicBase so that I could find this title but I would have found it equally frustrating to have to go to Find -> Item Fields -> Notes on the off chance that it was identified and identified under that field.

    Back in January, 2022, I contacted Pete to alert him about this and we had an email exchange about this problem. I suspect his suggested solution fell through the cracks, and that's okay, I'm sure there's bigger fish to fry in CB Land, but it's issues like this where I find ComicBase the most frustrating and it all has to do with organizing data -- which should be ComicBase's strongest suit.

    So, after finding the title again and putting a label on it -- it looks crazy -- the title reads Super Spider-Man #277 (remember, no title in the indicia inside) yet the label reads Spider-Man Comics Weekly #277 -- that seems counter-intuitive to any kind of sorting. [see attached image].

    50519579_SuperSpider-Man277-CoverwithLabel.thumb.jpg.e9b3e36c413a6e9140524c5444506de7.jpg

    Thanks for reading this far! Here's the original email exchange between Pete and I on this issue:

    Walt to Pete (Jan 26, 2022):

    Thanks for considering my question today in the LiveStream. So here's the problem. I wanted to index my issues of Marvel UK's Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain comic. While it has indicia, there is no title, issue number, or week of release. Everything that identifies the issue is on the cover only. For example:

    SUPER SPIDER-MAN AND CAPTAIN BRITAIN
    No. 245
    Week Ending Oct. 19, 1977

    I tried to look it up in ComicBase to no avail. I didn't want to add a new title and thought that it may have continued its numbering from a previous title but there was no way for me to figure that out in ComicBase. I went to comics.org where I looked up Super Spider-Man. There was a lot of merging with other titles and numbering continuation.

    The GCD lists the following under Super Spider-Man:
    Cover title: "Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes" issues 158 to 198.
    Cover title: "Super Spider-Man and the Titans" issues 199 to 230.
    Cover title: "Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain" issues 231 to 253.
    Cover title: "Super Spider-Man" issues 254 to 310.

    All of these issues were indexed in ComicBase under Spider-Man Comics Weekly and double-entered again under Super Spider-Man and the Titans for the issues in that run (probably because the indexer didn't know where to look).

    This problem ties into what you were talking about in today's live stream.

    The following titles are all listed under Spider-Man Comics Weekly in ComicBase. Obviously, I don't have many of these, but this is an extreme example of cover titles changing while numbering is continued.

    Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1-157
    Super Spider-Man with the Super-Heroes #158-198
    Super Spider-Man and the Titans #199-230
    Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain #231-253 ( no title, number or date in the indicia)
    Super Spider-Man #254-310
    Spider-Man Comic #311-333
    The Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #334-375
    Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #376-424
    Spider-Man and Hulk Team-Up #425-449
    Super Spider-Man TV Comic #450-499
    Spider-Man #500-552
    Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends #553-578
    Spider-Man #579-633
    The Spider-Man Comic #634-650
    Spidey Comic #651-666

    Just something to consider while you are thinking about cross-referencing.

    Pete to Walt (Jan 26, 2022):

    Good grief! 
     
    Can you send me a shot of the cover/indicia page just so I can try to wrap my head around this one?
     
    -Pete

    Walt to Pete (Jan 27, 2022):

    Hi, Pete--
     
    I've included 4 scans: Cover and indicia page for the first issue of Super-Spider-Man and Captain Britain #231 and the same for the last issue #253. I also looked through each issue page-by-page and saw no other publishing information. It is possible the other titles have a more robust indicia? Possibly, but I don't have access to those.
     
    Thanks again,
    Walt Grogan

    1943103723_SuperSpider-ManandCaptainBritain231-Cover.thumb.jpg.ba06cd790b06a983f22d19ab2acffb5c.jpg785035562_SuperSpider-ManandCaptainBritain231-Indicia.thumb.jpg.1cd8cd93d0ca9e40031492de07f2660a.jpg

    1790861720_SuperSpider-ManandCaptainBritain253-Cover.thumb.jpg.49179dd428ac349a49b39d828cfbfbdb.jpg1736498670_SuperSpider-ManandCaptainBritain253-Indicia.thumb.jpg.2d3db44e436b5c41e40de6583bd0dccd.jpg

    Pete to Walt (Jan 27, 2022):

    Wow—this is probably the most extreme version I’ve seen of the British style of “let’s just rename the poorly selling title every so often while keeping the number scheme going”, combined with an apparent allergic reaction to proper indicia or even trade dress. I wonder if the transitional issues included any context clues, e.g. The Rover announcing on the cover for a few issues “Includes The Whizzer” (or whatever comic was being folded into it at the time).
     
    My gut reaction is that it ought t be busted into multiple titles—I guess it would depend on how frequently the transition happened, and how well known the overall series was to Brits, though. If it oscillated every several issues to a nearby name, I’d be inclined to overlook it (the “Captain America/Captain America and the Falcon” example), or if the title name was cyclical and relatively well-known (The Peter Parker/Spectacular Spider-Man example). As an American, however, I have to say I’d have had a hard time finding this one without some sort of title change.
     
    -Pete


    Here's the cover for Super Spider-Man #277 as well as its indicia page.

    459356230_SuperSpider-Man277.thumb.jpg.ba7f5149323a883b1fd264bd345e4b9c.jpg1239908736_SuperSpider-Man277-Indicia.thumb.jpg.87ee3bac3c1149fcf0b7f16bc82ad80e.jpg

    As I said, I'd love for this title to be broken apart. And please, as always, take my criticism in the spirit its given which is to help, in a small way, to help improve the data in CB.

    Thanks for your consideration,
    Walt

     

     

  6. On 7/2/2022 at 9:02 AM, Douglas W. McCratic said:

    Did you find it?  Did you find that a single space after the ellipsis in each title was removed?  A SINGLE SPACE.  We changed two titles for a single space in the title.  How is this acceptable but it is somehow not acceptable to change titles as mentioned in this thread to fix them so that they make some kind of sense?  We have discussed how it might inconvenience some collectors and prevent them from getting updates to the titles that they own.  Why inconvenience some collectors for the sake of a single space in a title but not others to make huge corrections to make the db follow some sensible order? 

    Behind the scenes, I don't think they changed this title. Don't get me wrong, they may have and if they did, they should for other titles as well. I think what they may have done is simply trim trailing spaces in the query results which doesn't require actually changing the title, but I could be wrong.

  7. 4 hours ago, Douglas W. McCratic said:

    In addition to slowing things down, without the knowledge I now have from digging all over for information on these books, it doesn't make any sense.  The original title was "Justice League" in 1987 but that became "Justice League International," which changed titles in 1989 to "Justice League America."  The trouble is that the books in question were placed under Justice League America, throwing a word into the title that is nowhere on these books.  I understand that these two have the same writer/artist as was on the main title at the time but finding it would be near impossible without knowing that or looking for the title.  

    Wholeheartedly agree, Douglas, but there doesn't seem to be much appetite to fix these things -- which seems pretty odd for a database program. I'll continue to point them out, but I'm not holding out hope that they'll be fixed. 

    • Like 1
  8. 1 hour ago, Randall J. Paske said:

    I think this falls under the general rule in ComicBase that annuals, specials, etc., are listed under the main title, following the philosophy that if you were looking for them in a shop, you would find them with the main title.  It's not my own preference (I'd rather have separate title listings), but I'm learning to live with it. It does make things hard to find sometimes, especially when there are multiple iterations of a series (Justice League, for example) and you don't know for sure which one the annual/special/spectacular is associated with.

    Hi, Randall--

    I get it and, unfortunately, I'm learning to live with it, too -- but it really SLOWS things down when you have to stop and wonder 🤔, where is this thing going to be found in CB? Let's go on a scavenger hunt!

    • Like 2
  9. I just had an interesting time finding this issue. There is no title entry for Justice League Spectacular as it's indicated in its indicia and it was published too early for it to have a barcode. I couldn't believe that it hadn't been indexed, so how did I find this comic? Search by writer and artist? No, it's Dan Jurgens so that would have brought back too many issues. So I ended up searching the StoryLines field, hoping that the story title had been added to that field. Luckily, it had. The issue ended up being indexed under Justice League America as Item # SP 1/B. Obviously, someone decided that this issue should be buried under a different title. Is there a chance that this can be pulled out, and have its title created?

    Again, I love ComicBase, but I find this aspect of using it frustrating as it just slows me down from entering my very large collection. I hope that these criticisms are being taken in the spirit they are given -- to help, in some small way, to better ComicBase.

    • Like 1
  10. 8 hours ago, Mark J. Castaneda said:

    It's a known limitation according to the programming team - the Add by barcode/show results will only show the type of list of the top scanned item, since it's impossible to mix and match media types. You may want to separately batch your items by media type.

    Hi, Mark--

    Thanks for your response but that's actually the problem. Let's say I have a batch of 100 comics I'm Adding By Barcode and I unwittingly happen to have a something that's comic-sized in the bunch but classified as a magazine in ComicBase, I'm basically SOL when I save (this is what happened to me). If I have to look up all my comics up front to see if I happen to have a comic-sized item that's a magazine, it seriously defeats the purpose of Adding By Barcode.   

    The Add By Barcode dialog does not show the category type of the top item and even if it did, it would still be mostly useless as anything that's miscategorized will trip up the Saving of the list. It also doesn't matter what you're currently looking at in the title view. I can add anything and since I don't know how it's categorized, I might be in for a rude surprise when I save, and that's bad since I want to update some custom fields.

    It seems to me that each issue must have a type (book, comic, or magazine) that should be accessible through title. If it can be looked up and added, then its type should be available and displayed.

    Or based on you comment, if the first thing you scan is a comic, it should reject anything that's not based on that type. I actually prefer this approach.

    I also hope my criticisms are taken in the spirit they're given. I like ComicBase. These suggestions are only to help it be better and more user-friendly.

    Best,
    Walt 

    AddByBarcode.jpg

    • Thanks 1
  11. I love Add by Barcode but if I'm scanning a bunch of stuff and I accidentally scan different types in the same session, the resultant Save list won't show everything due to different types. This is a colossal pain, if I've scanned a whole bunch of stuff. For instance, I scanned a whole bunch of comics and unwittingly scanned a a comic-sized book that was typed as a magazine. The Saved results only showed the magazine.

    --Walt 

    • Thanks 1
  12. Although ComicBase is an amazing program and the defacto standard for cataloging a comic book/magazine/book collection, it suffers from a major defect and that is how titles are created, named, and maintained especially if a title ends and is restarted with a new number one adding it as part of a series. A classic simple example of this is DC Comics's Metal Men, e.g.

    1. Metal Men
    2. Metal Men (3rd Series)
    3. Metal Men (4th Series)
    4. Metal Men (Mini-Series)

    In the example above, Metal Men (Mini-Series) would ideally be Metal Men (2nd Series). However, there is an underlying decision that makes renaming Metal Men (Mini-Series) problematic, as described by Pete, and that is that the title name is used as the foreign key in, what I presume, is the Item table.

    This defect can make it difficult to locate a specific title, organize titles in order of their publication and often results in additional titles added for titles that already exist. Based on the comments of @Peter R. Bickford in the live stream of 4/13/2022, it seems that it is unlikely to change. I think that's a shame since organization is the major component of a database application. 

    After giving this just a little bit of thought, I think this may be a starting point of a solution that could solve the problem. Caveat: I'm suggesting this without knowing the intricacies of the DB structure and would welcome input. I expect that moving forward with this will not only take time to mull over but to implement as well, but ultimately will make ComicBase an even greater product than it already is. Here's my take:

    1. Create a new field called DisplayTitle in the table that contains Title.
    2. Copy the values of the existing Title field into DisplayTitle.
    3. Use this DisplayTitle for searching and display.
    4. When a new title is created either by CB or a user, copy that value into the DisplayTitle field as well.
    5. If a DisplayTitle needs to be changed, CB verifies the new display title, changes it and voila, after the next update, the title can be found and sorted correctly.

    This would allow the implementation of a title naming standard perhaps using the indicia, year, and even the publisher of the title.

    Something like Metal Men (1993 Series) (DC)

    The benefit of this is if the standard changes, titles can be easily updated.

    This solution addresses some of the problems that @Peter R. Bickford brought up in the live stream.

    1. It doesn't violate the foreign key constraints between Title and Item.
    2. It easily allows for renaming the DisplayTitle if the indicia changes between solicitation and publication of the title.
    3. There is no requirement to shift data around in the tables and potentially mess up a user's data, since it's simply a DisplayTitle change.

    I'd love to see something like this implemented.

    --Walt

     

    • Like 2
  13. After giving this just a little bit of thought, here's a solution that could solve the problem. Caveat: I'm suggesting this without knowing the intricacies of the DB structure.

    1. Create a new field called DisplayTitle in the table that contains Title.
    2. Copy the values of the existing Title field into DisplayTitle.
    3. Use this DisplayTitle for searching and display.
    4. When a new title is created either by CB or a user, copy that value into the DisplayTitle field as well.
    5. If a DisplayTitle needs to be changed, CB changes it and voila, after the next update, the title can be found and sorted correctly.

    This would require a fairly strict naming protocol using the indicia and year of first publication as the name...

    something like Metal Men (1993 Series)

    although even if it gets messed up, it can be easily changed.

    This solution addresses some of the problems that @Peter R. Bickford brought up in the call yesterday.

    1. It doesn't violate the foreign key constraints between Title and Item.
    2. It easily allows for renaming the DisplayTitle if the indicia changes between solicitation and publication.
    3. There is no requirement to shift data around in the tables and potentially mess up a user's data, since it's simply a DisplayTitle change.

    I'd love to see something like this implemented.

    --Walt

     

     

    • Like 1
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