Alias (name variant) for work titles

I guess I’m right when I think that the alias function in the work form is used for the authors.
But I think we’ll need name variants for the work titles, too. I just wanted to add some Ray Bradbury short stories. But some of the titles differ from the original titles, e.g. “Unterderseaboat Doktor” - variant of “Unterseeboot-doktor”. For now this can be written into the notes, but if we come to poems - especially from former centuries - we fill find many different titles and writings for the same work.

We have to deal with this, somehow.

I think the alias field in the Work editor is for adding variant Work titles (at least that is how I have used it), e.g. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (published in the US as Death in the Air)

That does raise a question about what to use as the primary Work title. Should it be the title used in the first publication regardless of any successive titles? If that rule is not followed then the contributor has to make a judgement on what is the most common title and that can be problematic.

I know quite a bit about Ray Bradbury and the short story “Unterseeboot Doktor” was first published in Playboy, January 1994. The variant title “Unterderseaboat Doktor” was first used in the collection Quicker Than the Eye (1996), and two other collections.

I don’t know if you realise but I created most of the Ray Bradbury Works on Bookogs and I can vouch for their accuracy, if you want to use them as a source of data:

One thing I didn’t always do was to use the first published title for his Works as this had not been thoroughly discussed at the time (it was on my list of things to revisit and correct).

You might be aware of ISFDB which is a great resource for science fiction and fantasy genres. When I generated all those Ray Bradbury Works I found it was about 96% accurate which is not bad.

OK, I was thinking of that by myself, but I reversed these trials because I was not sure if we might need author aliases for the works.
Thinking about this we really don’t need them - the works just conatin the author-title-relationship, no matter what name they used for publishing them. The aliases are displayed in the respective editions.

I always tried to find out the original release, but of course it is an illusion that we might be able to determine the correct first published version for every work. So we should not care too much about it. If it’s easy to find use it. Everything complicated can be done later (maybe).

Well my example was taken from your sub :wink: I submitted the German translation. And I was going to add it here.

No, but it looks great. I wish soemthing like that existed when I was young and an eager collector of SF and Fantasy books.

Hmmmm. I’m not a fan of retrospective editing, I would rather debate these topics early before they snowball into a Herculean task. One thing that annoyed me about Bookogs was the slow implementation of developments. Before you know it you have to revisit 150,000 books to implement a change.

While you were typing your reply I noticed your sub of A+👏

I confirm, for each entity, its aliases represent variant names. For Works as you discussed, they will include variant titles, the title in other languages, etc.
For Author, you’ll have mainly pen names and names in various scripts.

I also agree the main title should be the title of the first publication whenever possible.
I’ll raise another question: if an original manuscript has a different title compared to when it was first published, which one should we use?
Do we consider the manuscript to be canonical or does its published form take precedence?

ISFDB is a great resource !

Well, absolutely. We should decide, which one to use as soon as possible. But what I meant was that there are many works, where it’s impossible to find the original one, e.g. translations form languages we can’t read or medieval works.

I wouldn’t use this for the Work title under any circumstances. This sort of detail is probably known by a few scholars and a couple of pedants.

IMO the Work title should always be the first published title (except when the work was first published in a language that is not the author’s native language; an example would be a couple of Larry Niven short stories that first appeared in German translation). Having said that I have already broken this rule with some of Agatha Christie’s Works but they are not set in stone.

I think it is better to have a definite rule that is easy to interpret, rather than users making subjective choices which can lead to arguments.

It can be tricky. I spent many an hour tracking down the original language titles for Russian authors, which on Bookogs are listed in Russian Cyrillic script. I haven’t got an easy solution for that problem.

This confuses me, sorry. Translations are separate works related to the originals via “translation of”. The title of this translated work is the translated title, Not the original. I hope I’m correct with this, otherwise I did everything wrong.
So why do we want to add this translated title as an alias to the original?
It just causes trouble imo. When you are adding a new work which happens to have the translated title of a completely diff. work, you get a warning (work or alias exists). No problem at the moment, but later?

Furthermore some translated works will have variants itself. Then the aliases would also comprise the variants of the aliases. Plus different translations of the same work.

Is this how it’s meant?

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I keep forgetting that translations are treated as a unique Work on this site.

I have to say that this practice does not sit comfortably with me. For example, Yann Martel did not write a book titled Schiffbruch mit Tiger. He wrote a book titled Life of Pi that was translated into German and retitled. It is essentially the same work and it only exists by virtue of Life of Pi. This argument applies to all languages, not just English.

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Works that have been translated into numerous languages (and even given various titles in the same language) will eventually swamp the author’s list of Works. This effect is multiplied when the author was prolific. It will make searching the author’s database a very difficult task when trying to assess what they actually wrote.

IMO a translated title is a name variation only, given that this site has an effective alias facility I’m not sure why they are not treated accordingly.

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If I could send a PM to you @indy133 I would, but I can’t. I think you have made some recent changes based on the comments made in this thread. Personally, I think what you did originally was correct if I understand the help page regarding treating translations as a unique Work. I wouldn’t start making mass edits until this matter is resolved.

Well some might say that ( a good) translation is an art in itself. Or think about a Shakespear sonet “translated” into a diff. language . We have a better word for this kind of translation: “Nachdichtung” meaning “writing poetry following” another poet. But I know you just want to find the best way to represent a bunch of variants of works.

You will have a long list either way. A long list of works or a long list of aliases.
Honestly, I don’t know which is the better way: Bookogs was a torture for me, concerning this topic.
e.g. —>

I had to find out every original poem and since the German poems were no works, I had to add the translator to the alias title.

So maybe you can imagine, that I was happy when I found how it is done here.

But of course, even “bookogs” might have solved this problems if it had the time to develop.

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I agree good translation is an art form, but I don’t think that qualifies something as a unique work.

Locating original language titles is difficult and the example you give is horrendous (full marks for a meticulous submission), but the aim of the Work is to collect all editions of the same work regardless of whether it has been translated into Aasáx or Zulu. Once you deviate from that then the database becomes fragmented and unwieldy.

The problem with Bookogs is that the name variation function didn’t achieve anything apart from appearances. It wasn’t searchable or predictive and was really a waste of time.

BB is different insofar as the name variation/alias is searchable and predictive. If users wear some early pain then it should pay great dividends. It might not be in my lifetime as I am getting a bit long in the tooth, but I like to take a long term view of things.

Yes you’re right and maybe your idea is in fact the better one. But there is one problem that has to be solved. If you add a compilation of translated works and you have no separate works, the only place where to add information about the translated work is the edition (like in bookogs). How do you link information about translation (translator, date of translation a.o.) to the alias of the original? I have no idea how that can be done.

I think it’s just a matter of organisation. All translations are linked to the original. You can operate with
them in many ways. If you see the different works as “alias” works, which allow to add much more information then just an alias, you maybe will make friends with this idea :wink:

I’m not totally certain I understand the point you are making. These are difficult concepts and I am amazed at your proficiency with English (I assume your native language is German).

There was a lot of discussion when Works were introduced on Bookogs in June 2018 as to whether translations should be treated as unique Works and that idea was rejected mainly because it fragments the Works database.

Therefore the only place to list translation details was via the book submission, e.g.

Because of entry field limitations it was difficult to fully record the data without resorting to adding fulsome Notes.

That is certainly an issue with the BB Edition editor page in its current format. I am hoping it can be modified to include more credit roles and categories of dates. To be fair I have yet to fully explore the Edition editor page, so I am not fully conversant with its capabilities.

That still relies on the user knowing the original language title, so the sweat and toil element is still there.

I do apologise if I haven’t properly answered your questions.

I wish I could edit Forum posts.

Click on the pencil :wink:

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My prayers have been answered!!! Thank you😇