Adding start and end date attribute to relationships

I am working on adding start and end dates to certain relationships which need them. As of now I have thought of these as the suitable relationships. Please feel free to add more or give me feedback on any of the ones I have included already.

  • Author
  • Marriage
  • Involved with
  • Member of Group
  • Subgroup
  • Collaboration
  • Translated
  • Adaptor
  • Worked On
  • Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Penciller
  • Colourist
  • Inker
  • Letterer
  • Other

This would be great. One I often think about is “wrote”, because works can be written decades (centuries?) before being published for the first time.


That’s great news @aabbi15!

The relation that currently needs these start and end dates most urgently is the “release date” for the editions.
Since we combine reprints without an id change in a single edition, there is a range in which each edition is valid.
At the moment you have to write this in the annotations.

And we need it for the not yet existing fields “Written” and “First published” for works.

We already have a “was written by” relationship for works, that’s the one I was thinking about.

I actually don’t agree with this. A release is a specific date, not a time span. Editions don’t become unreleased when there is a new edition or reprint. It may be useful to have a relationship for reprints, but that would be a different thing.

I also don’t think we need a “first published” field, the first edition containing it is the “first published” date. The only exception I can think of is for works first published as manuscripts (before the printing press was invented/widely used), because we’re not adding those (yet?)…

These last two are the same situation that we have with releases in MB and it works well. (Except for the manuscripts, which I’m not sure how to handle… Do we need a relationship just for those? De we allow adding the first known manuscript as an edition just to get the correct date?)

So you want to add the span to the “written by” relation. Does that work? Maybe…

No, not for BB. If there are no changes (same cover, same ids etc.) we don’t add a new edition.
See guidelines:

When should I not create a new Edition of a Work?

  • Minimal changes as in proofreading errors
  • Minimal changes on the cover
  • Reprints of the same Edition. You can mention “Reprint – [date]” in the annotations.

So we almost always have a span that comprises the reprints of an edition (or new editions without changes)…

Many works has been first published as a serial in newspapers. We don’t add these to BB. So this field is not redundant.

There also might be a misunderstanding concerning the meaning of “reprint/ new edition” here.
The concept of “reprint” does not exist in every country.
In Germany, for example, there are no “reprints”, only editions. This means that every reprint counts as a new edition. Maybe that’s why there are misunderstandings.

Like in MB, you can set start and end date to the same date to indicate a specific date, not a time span. I’m assuming that’s what @aabbi15 had in mind, adding the same kind of dates to BB relationships.

Yes, but I don’t see how that’s relevant. The edition doesn’t end when the new edition is released. When the second release comes out, the first editions don’t get unreleased. You just have another edition.

There may be some difference, but I don’t think it’s relevant, because I don’t disagree with this. In my experience, a book can have multiple editions, which generally something changed. The same edition can also be reprinted many times from the same plates, which prevents any change. Sometimes the dates of the reprints are listed in the front matter, sometimes not. I also agree we shouldn’t create new editions for each reprint, but we should for new numbered editions. If for no other reason, because most people will have only one edition, and the only way to know if there is any difference is to compare them page by page. Maybe that doesn’t apply to printing in Germany, I don’t really know.

Yes I also feel the same only having one date attribute (which would indicate the release date is fine)

This was written 2 years ago about this topic:

This might be a better explanation for what I mean:
A BB edition is NOT the same as a book edition.

Many of the editions I added look like the example in the linked thread.

[first known] release date: 1983


Confirmed editions [editions that are just reprints]:
3. edition: 1983
5. edition 1986

So the publishing date for this BB edition is not just 1983

We can do it this way, but it’s far from perfect I think

Here is another example:

I added the first edition from 1986 a long time ago.
I recently had the ninth edition from 1996 in my hands. The only difference between the two editions was the font on the cover.
That didn’t seem to be enough for a new BB edition.

So this BB edition has a start point 1986 and a preliminary end point 1996.

It seems to me that the description of the release date as a period of time (1986-1996+?) is more correct than a point in time (1986).

But is the 1986 edition discontinued from selling after the 1996 one was released? I don’t think a font change would make the 1986 edition obsolete. I don’t know exactly in this case but I know of examples where there are multiple editions of the same book co-existing in the market.

Also I don’t quite understand the difference between book edition and BB edition. What makes one book qualify as a NEW BB EDITION?

Of course. They printed 20000 Books of the first edition (The 200 in the printer’s key). When they had been sold out they printed the 2. edition and so on (technically these editions are all reprints)

Any change to the content, ids, credits or graphics leads to the creation of a new BB edition (we haven’t defined this exactly yet).

Yes, but the books weren’t destroyed, they still exist. They didn’t become unreleased. Reading your previous posts, I think maybe there’s a bit of confusion. Do you maybe mean we should accept multiple release dates (like in MB)? This makes more sense to me.

I actually think in 99% of cases there should be a single release date, but an exception would be a company publishing the exact same book in different countries at slightly different times (e.g. a German company publishing the same book [from the same printing] in Germany and Austria a couple of days apart).

We don’t currently have a field for reprints, but we should and these should definitely allow for multiple values, as there can be dozens of reprints.

I would say these should definitely be different editions. Any difference in the artwork should a separate edition. This is similar to what has been decided for MB.


Well, yes that’s in fact what I’m trying to do here :wink:
The release date is the date for the first printing, but doesn’t cover the date of the reprints.
I thought we could just do this by setting a start date for the first printing and and an end date for the last reprint.

Of course, we can also solve this with a multi value field for reprints. That would be more precise.

And the fact that we Germans don’t use the term “reprint” in our books but only “edition” is our problem - we have to deal with that on our own :wink:

Yes, that is certainly what it will come down to.


Nice to see there isn’t as much disagreement as it seemed.

I understand what you’re trying to do, but this would really work better with multiple dates. Otherwise, all dates but the last would be lost. And, besides, we don’t generally know the date of the last reprint, just the one we currently have (often not even that). Especially with MB’s precedence, I think it just makes more sense to allow multiple dates.

Germans sure are very particular about an awful lot of things, aren’t they? :wink: But eventually we should have documentation pages for each language/country. We have that in MB, and with books this kind of thing is probably more common.

I actually misread you as saying “The only difference between the two editions was the font and the cover” — I thought you were saying the artwork was different. I still think it should be a different edition, but it’s not as obvious…


Ok. So I guess we decide on adding start and end dates to editions. What relationship exactly is it in BB can you let me know it’s name?

There is no relationship, at least currently. And I think in the end we agree this would be better defined with multiple dates, not start/end dates. It seems we got a bit off the track.

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No, we decided against adding two dates to the editions. We will solve the problem with the reprint dates in a different way :wink:

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Cool for now I have added begin/end date attributes to other relationships and made a PR at Add begin date and end date attribute to relationship by aabbi15 · Pull Request #1073 · metabrainz/bookbrainz-site · GitHub

Kindly check it out and list if you think something is missing or if something that should not be there is. I have listed the names of relationships to help you out as well.


Thanks, @aabbi15, this is good progress.