Concerning the new "is about" relation

The “is about” relation needs some explanation.
Do we only use it to relate authors or all kind of persons?
Since there will be a tag system in the future, we will not use it for topics as in bookogs.
But the restrictions of this relation needs to be described or explained.

The only examples I can think of where this could be used at the moment is for a non-fiction book that is about another book, or a non-fiction book that is about an author.

The About/Subject Credits on Bookogs were a double edged sword and if that is the path Bookbrainz is going down then some consideration needs to be given to what is permissible, otherwise wait for the inevitable tsunami of credits.

To give an example: I once saw that a user had created an About/Subject Credit for “photos taken from a London bus”. Perfectly legitimate but probably a waste of time.

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I like that idea :wink:
But as I mentioned above, “topics” will be added to a tag field later, which I’m really looking forward to. I like the idea of adding the names of places and characters appearing in stories.

So this “about” will just concern persons and maybe works. But drawing a line here is very difficult,
Nearly every important person will appear eventually as contributor to a book or magazine in some form (writer/artist or interviewee).
So I can’t see how to restrict this to a certain group of contributors.

The intent of that relationship was specifically biographical rather than generic subject.
The description “Indicates that a work is about a particular author.” should now appear when you hover over said relationship in the author page or in the relationship editor.

For example, the not-yet-in-the-database work Tolkien and the peril of war is about J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Any input, @ApeKattQuest_MonkeyPython?

I don’t have any other input than the previous note you gave here, :monkey:, :​D

I explicitly worded it as “about an author” precisely to avoid supermegainflux of “random people credited”

I don’t know how bookogs work(ed) so I can’t really give comment on any of that - but this is for biographies, yes.
I didn’t really know any other way of wording this than “is about” in this direction. In the opposite direction it’s “has biography”
if anyone has any suggestions for better wording,we’re surely interested :​D

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The problem is the definition of “author”. How do you want to distinguish a “real” author from just casual ones? For example: There are thousands of diaries/memoirs of “non” authors. They will appear as authors in the database then. And if the “authors” you want to link with this relation are not in the database yet, do you have to prove, that they appear as an author anywhere?
I can’t see how this should be handled. If you allow “authors” you have to allow all persons to be “linked” this way.
I f we don’t want this, we have to wait for the tags and maybe just link works with this “about” relation.
This would be less problematic.

You would only have that biography relationship with actual authors (someone who wrote or participated in the making of a book).
For someone who does not belong as an author in BookBrainz, you would mention it in the annotations (“This is a biography of XXX”).
After all, these relationships are here to link together and give context to items in that are in the database, rather than for describing all the aspects of a work.
We’re not trying to store everything in the database, but rather to enhance the entries we do have.
For example we don’t aim to have entries for characters like on WikiData to link to the works they appear in.

Yes, but what is an “actual author”?

The author of a diary or a memoir is often a person who is not an author by profession. That’s what I meant with “casual” authors. Many people contribute as writers to publications without being “authors”.
And there are all kind of mixtures. Artists who wrote a few essays about art-theory (others wrote several books) Politicians who wrote a commentary about a political event (others a complete textbook). Musicians writing a tour diary, and so on.
They all will appear as “real authors”. Where do you want to draw the line?

afaiu, a “real author” in BookBrainz’ terms is any person(s) that wrote anything published.
Much like in MusicBrainz anyone who released any kind of music is good enough to be added as “an artist” (or anyone that worked on a release, so producers, engineers, photographers and so on…)

We also do allow the adding of non-artist people provided they are for linking two related Musical Artists - so, say a non-musical father to link a violin playing grandfather and bongo-playing uncle with a daughter who DJs.
I can imagine we would allow that too in BookBrainz, and, should someone actually make an biography about this hypothetical link, then it’s fine to link them (but not fine to add a non-writing person just to link them to a biography)

Eventually we’ll have url links too, so then can link MB entities to biographies like that.


Sounds good to me, thx.

Thanks CatQuest, that was much better explained than my post :slight_smile:

Wait, what about the musicians? The direct links to people with personal entries not only in BookBrainz but in the sister music database, from literary works written about them?


yes, great idea, but that would not affect the “is about” field. This will need a bidirectional link between MB and BB, but this would be nice indeed…

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In-fact, this is already in the works, we would also like this very much :​D


I’d possibly even argue someone who never wrote anything, but about whom several biographies have been written might be worth considering for addition. Would be neat to have a way to see “these are all the biographies of historical figure X”. I guess most historical figures did write some stuff, but :slight_smile:

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