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Consistency in Multiple Series Titles (e.g. Metal Men)


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Today I've run into another mess of titles that should be changed. I'm adding issues of Angel (the spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) to my database. ComicBase has six series of Angel listed, plus a magazine. Several of these are disparate titles that should be titled with their publisher names rather than as "1st series" or "4th series" or whatever. Right now we have:

Angel - Published by Titan. Though listed under Comic Books, it belongs under Magazines (or possibly Books). The description says it collects articles from the Angel magazine about the TV show.
Angel (1st Series) - A kid comic published by Dell in the 1950s.
Angel (2nd Series) - The first Dark Horse run of the Buffy spin-off.
Angel (3rd Series) - The second Dark Horse run of the Buffy spin-off. Actually a 4-issue miniseries.
Angel (4th Series) - An unrelated manga title from 2003.
Angel (5th Series) - An unrelated indie comic from 2004.
Angel (6th Series) - The IDW series of the Buffy spin-off (which took over the numbering from Angel: After the Fall).
Angel (Boom!) - The first Boom series of the Buffy spin-off.
Angel (Boom!, 2nd Series) - The second Boom series of the Buffy spin-off.

 

What a tangled web. Disregarding any desired changes to how series are named (using the year of first publication, etc.), this is all screwed up under the existing ComicBase guidelines. It should be more like this, if I have it right:

Angel should not be in the Comics section.
Angel (1st Series) should probably be Angel (Dell).
Angel (2nd Series) should probably be Angel (Dark Horse, 1st Series).
Angel (3rd Series)
should probably be Angel (Dark Horse, 2nd Series).
Angel (4th Series) should probably be Angel (Tokyopop).
Angel (5th Series) should probably be Angel (Hi-Horse).
Angel (6th Series) should probably be Angel (IDW).

Presently, most of this can't be changed, so we have the implication that a kid comic, a vampire comic, a manga publication, and a black-and-white indie all belong to one group of series. It's messy and kind of bizarre.

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  • 2 months later...

So what is the threshold for it being "okay" to change a title?  This week, I had two come back as Unrecognized Comic Titles. They were "Avatarex (Grant Morrison’s… )" and "Night Terrors: Graveyard Moon (John Carpenter’s… )".  They were changed to "Avatarex (Grant Morrison’s…)" and "Night Terrors: Graveyard Moon (John Carpenter’s…)".  I'l wait while you find the difference. 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOILERS BELOW....

 

 

 

 

 

 

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? 

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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.

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The title did actually change because there should not have been a space between the ellipsis and the closing parenthesis.

There were also title name changes due to an Article being at the beginning (for example: 'The Mighty Utahn' and 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Manga Classics)' ) instead of at the end (for example: The Mighty Utahn, The and 'Midsummer Night’s Dream, A (Manga Classics)' )

In both cases, they were syntax / formatting errors that went against the standards.

 

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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? 

More than two titles like that were changed. Besides Avatarex, I had two other titles change in the same way. It's not that I don't think they should have been changed, but I'm baffled as to why making minute, hard-to-discern changes to these titles was deemed a necessary inconvenience to the installed user base, while other plainly inaccurate or disorganized titles "can't" be fixed because of the same installed user base. Those extra spaces after the ellipsis weren't going to confuse anyone, but this and other threads are full of examples of far more problematic titles that we are seemingly stuck with.

I don't get it, either.

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10 minutes ago, Randall J. Paske said:

More than two titles like that were changed. Besides Avatarex, I had two other titles change in the same way. It's not that I don't think they should have been changed, but I'm baffled as to why making minute, hard-to-discern changes to these titles was deemed a necessary inconvenience to the installed user base, while other plainly inaccurate or disorganized titles "can't" be fixed because of the same installed user base. Those extra spaces after the ellipsis weren't going to confuse anyone, but this and other threads are full of examples of far more problematic titles that we are seemingly stuck with.

I don't get it, either.

I picked the two that showed up on my list but logically, there had to be others.  I 100% agree that these changes should have been made.  The frustration arises from the fact that a single space in an obscure title is deemed important enough to inconvenience users but something as important as putting entire series in a reasonable order isn't a concern. 

How about this, we get titles like Metal Men, Star Wars, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Wolverine, Avengers, Challengers of the Unknown, etc. corrected like Walt has suggested with a year at then end of the title.  This may be a year long project with many of us working on it both in the field and at HC.  Once completed, a single long list is sent to all users to inform them of the changes and that they need to check their databases and transfer the books in their collection to the new titles.  Plan B would be that as titles are brought into line, once a month, a notice is sent along with the updates, similar to how a new build of CB is pushed out.  Users would see the titles are changed and could move their books to the new titles in smaller pieces to make it seem less overwhelming. 

I have more than 21,000 books in CB right now.  To say that it will be a huge project to move even the portion that are involved with correcting just the titles I listed in this post is an understatement.  The reality is that for CB to remain relevant, it must be accurate and organized in a way that even the most novice collector can quickly and easily find titles.   

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Two different items are being conflated.
1) Changing Titles due to typographical errors (this would include many things. misspellings, extra spaces where they shouldn't be, articles at the beginning of titles, to name a few).

2) Changing Titles to something that is more consistent base on some peoples suggestions. (Note that these suggestions may not be the same with different opinions on what and how to name something.)

For #1, this is correcting mistakes.
For #2, this is based on subjective opinion.

#1 should always be corrected (with maybe some rare exceptions I can't think of at the moment).
#2 may be corrected if the situation really calls for it.

(NOTE: I am not taking sides on the issue (but I lean towards better naming.)

#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.

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While they are very different in the type of correction, they're not different at all to the user with those titles in stock.  One is a fix of typographic errors that border on unnoticeable, the other is a fix to titles that were entered using a variety of methods over a long period of time creating difficulty for users.  Both require the user to either move their entries to the new title or miss out on the benefits included with CB.  Either way, the decision is made that one is worthy of an end user having to make a tweak to their database while the other is not.  It's absurd to me that having users move entries for a deleted space is acceptable while leaving series with the same title a complete mess for fear of confusing the users is a good idea.  

Additionally, these flaws are not just a difficulty for CB users, they become a difficulty for Atomic Avenue users as well.  While weeding through Metal Men, one is likely to come across the title they are looking for within a very short time.  If one searches for Avatarex, they are very likely going to find it with or without the space after the ellipsis.  If looking for the Justice League Spectacular (as mentioned in another thread) a new CB user will have considerable difficulty if they find it at all.  If looking to purchase the book, many potential Atomic Avenue customers will likely stop looking pretty quickly, costing sellers potential buyers.  

When pushing for a fix on these series' titles, I'm not even saying it needs to be done my way.   It does need to done in some way that is quickly and easily recognizable to the newest user.  I am quick to recommend CB when people ask for a way to catalog their collection but I do it with the caveat that the titles don't always make sense and that one may have to search a bit to find the correct title for their book.  

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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

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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. 

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 9.12.41 PM.png

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 9.13.05 PM.png

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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.

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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

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