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Help required from a beginner - regarding content updates

Peter Larsson

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My apologies, I am new to ComicBase and have found myself confused with the fundamental premise of the software. I have browsed through your various forum sites, as well as the help and guides, but still am no wiser.

So, now turning to a forum post to try to get some clarity.

In short, it seems that I am able, and that it is very easy, to change, update, add, and remove comics to suite my own comic collection. I have also found that there are regular content updates that updates the database. So I guess the question is: how does the content update recognise all the changes that I have made, without overwriting or autocorrecting the changes I have made.

As an example - I like to organise the titles based upon the comic-title found in the indicia, together with the product code found on the barcode. This is a much more clinical and correct way of organise titles. This also makes it much easier to search, as well as group comics together. However, as this is not how comics are organised in ComicBase, this result in a great deal of changes to the databse from my perspective.

The question then arises, when I do a content update, how does the update recognise the changes that I have made, and how comics have been moved around? Also, as I will undoubtedly have added variant covers that are currently not listed in ComicBase, when these are subsequently updated via a content update, how does the system recognise that they have already been added manually? If I change a title to align with the indicia - which result in (in essence) a different title, how does the update recognise this? If I change a variantion label - resulting in a new item# for that issue, how does the update recognise this? etc. etc. etc.

In short, is there any type of technical manual or similar that outline how this works, as I am reticent to commit a great deal of work on the database, only to have it 'overwritten' or 'autocorreted' with a content update. 

Happy to provide some detailed examples if that would help.

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The short answer is you can't do what you are doing and have the content update work very well.
There is a Master Database which the folks at HC (Human Computing) maintain.
When the Content update is run, the information in the Master Database is sent to your computer and used to Add, Delete and/or Modify your database to get it to match.
You can modify the Delete behavior by using the Update options and unchecking both 'Remove Obsolete Series' and 'Remove Obsolete Items' (see attached).

With these un-checked, the Content Update shouldn't delete any of the Titles you have renamed or the Issues in them.
NOTE: The Content Update will NEVER delete any Title or Issue you own (Qty >= 1).

Here are some of the ramifications of Renaming Titles:
1) They will never have any Content Updated (either Data or New Issues) as the Master Database doesn't know about it/them.
2) You can't submit any new or corrected Data/Covers as HC will not be able to match it to the correct Title and it will just look like a new Title. Eventually they will notice it is 'duplicate' and reject the submissions. In the meantime, some of the 'duplicate' data will be accepted (by mistake) and it will be populated to every else's databases (which won't make very many people happy).
3) You won't be able to use the feature to find the Title/Issues on AA (Atomic Avenue) as they won't match the Master Database.
4) You will have Duplicate Titles as the Content Update will always 'replace' the missing Titles (i.e. if you renamed "Batman (2nd Series)" to "Batman (2011)", the next Update will add "Batman (2nd Series)" back into the Database and you will have both of them.

The Content Update works fairly simply by matching Titles/Issue numbers from the Master Database to your Database.
If it Finds a Title/Issue in the Master database that matches a Title/Issue in your database, it does an Update.
If it Finds a Title/Issue in the Master Data but NOT in your Database, it Inserts (Adds) the Title and/or Issue number.
If it Finds a Title Issue in your Database but NOT in the Master Database, it will Delete it/them
(NOTE: Remember, it won't delete anything you own and if you uncheck the Update options, it shouldn't delete anything, but that is the normal behaviour for most people).

I would strong suggest you do not rename Titles/Issues for the best use of the program.
However, it is your database and CB is set up to let you do pretty much what you like.


Update Options.JPG

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Thank you for the note. Unfortunately, this means that your database has some fundamental flaws if the aim of the database is to replicate what the publisher has actually issued. 

Let me give you a few examples from Marvel.

Marvel introduced the product code in 1971. They used a unique product code for each title they published and it was used for all issues printed under that title. 
As an example:
•    The product code ‘02456’ started appearing on the covers of The Incredible Hulk as of #141 (1971). 
•    When Marvel later introduced the barcode for newsstand editions as of #200 (1976), the ‘02456’ was used as the product code in the barcode.  
•    The product code ‘02456’ also continued to appear on the cover (usually under the CCC logo, or the issue number) until they introduced the direct editions with #269 (1982). From that point on, it only appeared in the newsstand barcodes.
•    With the introduction of the barcode for direct editions with #408 (1993), the product code ‘02456’ now appeared in both the newsstand and direct edition barcodes up until the end of the series with #474 (1999)
•    In addition to this, Marvel now also started printing the issue# as part of the barcode. This, of course, made it very easy from this point forward to identify titles and their issue# from their barcode.

None of this is of course news to any seasoned comic collector. And the example above is of course very straight forward. But the point here is that it is the product code (together with the title in the indicia to certain extent) that determines the title – not the title as it is printed on the cover.

Where problems can occur is in situations such as:
•    The relaunch of The Incredible Hulk with #600 (2009). That series actually has the product code ‘06637’ – and therefore is a new and separate title, not a continuation of the ‘02456’ title. In ComicBase, these two titles are combined into one continuous title.
•    The 2008 Hulk title. This title has the product code ‘05992’. ComicBase has listed the ‘Marvel Greatest Comics’ issue as variant 1-3 to issue #1. The problem with this is that this particular issue actually has the product code ‘07213’. Not only is this issue not part of this Hulk title, but it is actually part of the completely different ‘Marvel Greatest Comics’ title. If you search the ComicBase database you will find a number of ‘Marvel Greatest Comics’ issues scattered around various titles – listed as reprint variants. In fact, all of these issues should be listed as a separate ‘Marvel Greatest Comics’ title all-together - with the product code '07213'.

There are of course other, more subtle, examples:
•    Revolutionary War (2014). Although these eight issues are all listed as #1 on the cover, they are all actually part of one title. This is evident via the product code in the barcode (they all have ‘07993’, as well as the sequential numbering of the titles in the barcode. ComicBase has them listed as separate titles – when they should all be one title.
o    7-59606-07993-3-00111 - Revolutionary War: Alpha
o    7-59606-07993-3-00211 - Revolutionary War: Dark Angel
o    7-59606-07993-3-00311 - Revolutionary War: Knights Of Pendragon
o    7-59606-07993-3-00411 - Revolutionary War: Death's Head II
o    7-59606-07993-3-00511 - Revolutionary War: Supersoldiers
o    7-59606-07993-3-00611 - Revolutionary War: Motormouth
o    7-59606-07993-3-00711 - Revolutionary War: Warheads
o    7-59606-07993-3-00811 - Revolutionary War: Omega
•    Incredible Hercules (2008). The preceding Incredible Hulk title with the product code ‘04745’ switched over to be called the Incredible Hercules with issue #113. Both of these titles have the same product code, and they have a sequential numbering in the barcode – with Incredible Hulk between #1-112, and Incredible Hercules between #113-141. This is therefore one title, that switched name.
•    Black Panther: Man Without Fear (2011). The preceding Daredevil title with the product code ‘04706’ switched over to be called Black Panther with issue #513. Both of these titles have the same product code, and they have a sequential numbering in the barcode – with Daredevil between #1-512, and Black Panther between #513-523. The title then continues with Black Panther: Most Dangerous Man Alive between #524-529 – again with the same product code. This is therefore one title, that switched name twice.

And finally, and probably the most controversial example, most Annuals are actually individual titles – they do not ‘belong’ to a standard title. As an example, lets take the later issues of The Amazing Spider-Man Annuals:
o    The 2017 (#1) Annual issue has the product code ‘08535’, which is different to the contemporary Amazing Spider-Man title, which has ‘08297’
o    The 2018 (#42) Annual issue has the product code ‘08784’, which is different to the contemporary Amazing Spider-Man title, which has ‘08297’
o    The 2018 (#1) and 2021 (#2) Annual issues have the product code ‘09129’, which is different to the contemporary Amazing Spider-Man title, which has ‘08936’ 
o    Etc.

The list of examples goes on and on, but in short – the Product Code matters – as it properly denotes how Marvel issues their titles. As such, any comic database should mirror this categorisation.

With this, I’d like to thank you for your patience, and for letting me rant on a bit. I don’t expect you to change the fundamental database in your software. But it does mean that I cannot use it – and my search for another one which denotes titles using the product codes will continue. 

Thanks – and all the best…

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Unfortunately CB has been around for a long time and decisions were made that are not easy to change as they would affect everyone's databases and Atomic Avenue. This is not likely to change (but I don't make those decisions).

PS You appear to be going by the UPC code information. The UPC didn't exist before the Mid-70's and even when implemented, not all publisher followed the standard. It took several years and even today, some publishers don't implement it consistently.

However, the software will allow you to do what you want. But if you do it, the content update will be mostly useless for you.


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