Collection / Anthology title = unique Work title

I am wondering whether a collection or anthology title should have its own “Work” in addition to the individual contents of the book.

To give an example: The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury which consists of eighteen previously published short stories. Should a Work be generated for The Illustrated Man?

Probably. I don’t know much about BookBrainz though, I know on Open Library anthologies get their own works.

If I remember the book correctly, the short stories are themselves part of a story told by this tattooed man. Is that correct?

In this particular case, considering the arrangement of the short stories is itself within some literary device, it would be its own Work, with relationships to the short stories (“Work A is part of The Illustrated Man”).

In the case of an anthology or collection whose content is simply short stories back-to-back, it wouldn’t be a separate Work.
Instead it would be a separate Edition Group with accompanying Edition[s], with relationships to the various Works (“Edition contains Work A”, etc.)

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The Illustrated Man is a collection of previously published unrelated short stories that Bradbury tied together using the frame device of “The Illustrated Man” who acts as the narrator. It is not a fix-up novel like The Martian Chronicles. However, in retrospect it was not a great choice to support my argument.

What I was trying to establish is there are plenty of collections and anthologies that either contain previously published material, a mixture of both previously published and new material, or completely new material. These collected titles are famous within their own right and have been reprinted multiple times. Some examples include:

Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway
Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
A Haunted House and Other Stories by Virginia Woolf
Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison

IMO it is remiss not to consider them as distinct works.

The problem at present with creating an Edition Group for a collection is that it does not appear in the author’s database. To locate the collection title, a user needs to know the title of one of the works it contains to locate the Edition Group and the Edition.

The only other method is to do a search for the collection title.

As an example, I created an Edition Group for Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, an Edition and a Work that it contains, The Mist.

It does seem a bit clunky.

That’s the main problem I see in all this. The “book” as we think of it is the Edition Group, not the Work.
Especially in the case of these collections, the right way to go is as you describe, and Edition Group with its Edition(s) and the Work(s) they contain.

However, with that approach, clearly on the Author’s page we should have a “Books by this author” section that lists Edition Groups attributed to the Author, rather than specific Editions.
The system we are putting in place to attribute Editions to Authors —Author Credits— should maybe apply to Edition Groups instead…

@Leftmost_Cat do you have an opinion on this?

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Has any progress been made on a decision to display Edition Groups in the author page?

I was just about to create a Work for Dubliners by James Joyce when I remembered that it is a collection of short stories, so I will have to create an Edition Group which will be essentially invisible.

Just create the edition. The Edition group is created automatically. The only problem at the moment is: you can’t add “anthology/collection” to the edition or edition group. It’s only available when you create a work. Makes obviously not too much sense :wink:

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The method is not my concern, it is the fact the Edition Group remains practically invisible and in the case of collections it serves a similar role to that of the Work.

I do have a fundamental problem with not treating a collection as a Work. In the example of Dubliners by James Joyce, this is an extremely important work in his oeuvre. Only two of the stories in the book were previously published and they have a common theme. It seems ridiculous to ignore it as a distinct Work. I would be less troubled if the Edition Groups were shown on the author’s page.

However, when in Rome!

Just add it as work. There are many good reasons for this decision.

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Besides “novella” exists as format. I saw that you added “short story” to “The Dead” but mentioned novella in the notes.

The Dead is borderline between long short story (aka novelette) and novella. Most sources describe it as a short story.

I don’t know if you are aware but the terms short story, novelette, novella, novel are subjective at best. You will find various definitions on what constitutes each of these terms based on differing word counts.

I could do that, but that is inviting other users to break the rules. Either we have rules or we allow the site to operate chaotically.

I might add that classifying a book as a collection or a novel can be difficult.

A good example is Smoke Bellew (1912) by Jack London. Some sources classify it as a novel and others as a short story collection. It consists of twelve chapters / short stories that are loosely connected via the protagonist Christopher Bellew as he heads to Alaska to cover the latest gold rush.

@GLBW (aka Gustav Landauer Library Witten) I would prefer to send you a private message but that is not possible.

A Work is not created for a collection title (short story collection, anthology, omnibus, collection of articles, poetry collection, etc).

A Work is created for the individual stories (or whatever) in the collection.
An Edition Group is created for the collection title.

When an Edition of the collection is added to the database then each of the stories (or whatever) is listed as a Work using the relationship function, and the Edition Group is the collection title.

Just to illustrate how variable these terms are (taken from 3 different sources):

“There are general guidelines for each literary category: Short stories range anywhere from 1,500 to 30,000 words; Novellas run from 30,000 to 50,000; Novels range from 55,000 to 300,000 words.”

“A short story is anything up to about 7500 words (sometimes 10,000), with higher word counts typically called novelettes, and short novels called novellas.”

“• Under 1000: Flash fiction, or “short short” stories
• 1,000-7,500: Short story
• 7,500-20,000: Novelette
• 20,000-50,000: Novella
• Over 50,000: Novel”

The Dead by James Joyce has a word count of 15,952 words, so take your pick (but you can’t have novelette as that is not a menu option)!

I see, In German literature it’s much more complicated. We have “Kurzgeschichte” (short story), which was derived from the English term, “Erzählung” and “Novelle” which leo translates as “novella” but it’s not exactly the same. And we have “Kurzroman” (short novel) + sometimes short non lyrical texts are just called “Prosa” (prose). I don’t really understand the different concepts or definitions and if it comes to translation I just have to guess.

Either that or be prepared to count every word in the item you are submitting. I wouldn’t get too hung up on it.

Goldilox changed this work to a completely different work of a completely different author. The IDs were left unchanged and are now of course wrong. (From book of Jack London to a book of Henry Miller.) And the link in Wikidata to BookBrainz are also left unchanged and are now wrong.

What ist this? What should I do in cases of such bully behaviour?

(I will stop contributing to BookBrainz for now until this problem is solved.)

@GLBW if you read the comments made by @mr_monkey above you will find that a collection title is not a unique Work. The contents of the collection are treated as individual Works, and the collection title exists only as an Edition Group.

You did make it clear by adding to the disambiguation section that it was a “short story collection”.

The Son of the Wolf is a collection of nine short stories by Jack London: therefore it is not treated as a Work.

I did explain this in my edit notes:

This is a list of the stories if you want to add them as Works:

  • The White Silence
  • The Son of the Wolf
  • The Men of Forty-Mile
  • In a Far Country
  • To the Man on Trail
  • The Priestly Prerogative
  • The Wisdom of the Trail
  • The Wife of the King
  • An Odyssey of the North

P.S. I have created a Work for each of the short stories and created an Edition Group for the collection title The Son of the Wolf.

@eloise_freya I notice that you added a Work for Octopussy and The Living Daylights and For Your Eyes Only. Both of these are short story collections and therefore are not treated as Work titles. Instead the individual stories are created as Work titles and the collection title is an Edition Group. I have deleted both these Works and created an Edition Group for the collection titles.

I suggest you also refer to this Forum post: Disambiguation and Annotation fields