Duplication between MusicBrainz and BookBrainz

It struct me today, that with MusicBrainz containing entries for audiobooks and similar, there is duplication between MusicBrainz and BookBrains especially in two areas.

First off: artists - specifically should / would it be possible, for BookBrainz to share the same database of artists as MusicBrainz, albeit that an artist in MusicBrainz is an author in BookBrainz?

If such was to happen, the schema would perhaps need to be expanded to indicate further what kind of artist/author the entity is. We do already have Person / Group / Character, but (particularly with respect to a person) there needs (IMO) to be further categorisations. People do use the ETI / Disambiguation for this, but a more formal set of characteristics to describe a person would be (IMO) useful.

For example: is the person a music artist (which perhaps is split further between someone performing solo and someone who performs only as part of a group / orchestra / choir); a visual artist (photographer, illustrator, etc.); a composer; an author; or someone working on technical aspects. Of course some people fit multiple of these categories.

Secondly: works. In MusicBrainz this typically refers to a musical work, but we already have audio dramas, plays, poems and prose which will match BookBrainz categories.

I know that there is already the ability to link between at least artists in MusicBrainz and authors in BookBrainz, but is this simply duplicating data?

I’m not sure how possible or even desirable this merging of the two projects is. Just something I was thinking while adding some entries in MusicBrainz for audio recordings which could need duplicating in BookBrainz. My particular interest was Doctor Who where a television serial has been novelised, and then that novelisation released as a audiobook. Obviously (in an ideal world) the audiobook is an entry in MusicBrainz, but links directly to a book in BookBrainz, but in turn that book links back to a “work” of the original TV episode / serial.


audiobooks have RGs/releases in MB, and are a format option when adding editions in BB. so there’s overlap there too.

i love the idea of a unified mediabrainz that would allow metadata for books and music and movies and games and all other media to connect seamlessly

for now i’d say make sure the MB entries and BB entries are linked, if the hope is for a merge then that gets the data prepped


Great idea.
A lot of medieval music is sourced from codexes and folios.
Like these MB thingies:
that are the source for songs on this album

Edit: Having those codices as books, as well as or instead of, “a series of Works” would be clearer.

A quick google search has found no centralised global catalogue of historical codices.
WP just has a very short list.

Bookbrainz might have an opportunity to lead the way here.
One good thing about a catalogue of historical codices is that no more are being produced and so there is a finite number to be catalogued.
As prev indicated much medieval and renaissance music is sourced from these codices by Artists such as Jordi Savall, Hesperion XI, the Early Music Consort and the Tallis Scholars.
Having these codices entered in a shared db would make it much easier for MB editors to identify and link sources to Works.


That would be cool. Even better if BB worked with archive.org or something similar to host the manuscripts themselves if possible.


I had the same thought today, but I went the other way on this. My instinct is to move audiobooks out of the MB database and into BookBrainz. After all, audiobooks aren’t music.

This leaves me wondering, however, where radio dramas and stand-up comedy albums belong.

There are many spoken word performances in Musicbrainz which are sold on the same audio media as music. The same CD\Vinyl\Cassette. You never find an Audiobook in paperback format. :slight_smile:

It is not just books, but also plays, audio dramas, comedies, interviews. The spoken word is a wide area which is why MB have categories for it.

These are uploaded and documented as tracks with lengths, acoustIDs, performers. Data that does not fit in the Book database

Yes, we need to have good links between the book world and the audio world. And I believe these are in place via the Works. I don’t use BookBrainz, but I have gone digging in there to specifically find books to add these links to my audiobooks in MB. And have linked authors between databases.

I also don’t think it is a problem to have the same author in both locations. We also link to Wikipedia and many other databases. Each database has their own tilt on the data that is important to them.


You made me curious. Bookbrainz is missing links back to MusicBrainz.

Example: Prose “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” - MusicBrainz

Notice how the MB WORK here has a BookBrainz link? But nothing on the BookBrainz site to link back?

The Authors are linked in both directions, but the audiobooks seem to be missing their links both ways.

It is one thing I think MB always does well. All the links to other sites is great to see. Too many other websites want you to come to them and never leave. MB gives us so many links to other sources. A true library.

Edit: Err… something odd. HHGTTG works and has links both ways. But Dirk Gently doesn’t link both ways.

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BB is the same as MB, somebody needs to add the link :wink:


I think the nature of the work should be the distinction, rather than the medium. MusicBrainz’ stated goals are to be “The ultimate source of music information” and “The universal lingua franca for music.” I would imagine that BookBrainz’ goal, if stated, would be to be the ultimate source of book information. I think books, whether published in hardback, paperback, PDF, or audio CD format would naturally belong together in a book database.

I suspect support for audiobooks, and perhaps other spoken-word works, was added to MB due to demand, and the fact that BookBrainz didn’t exist yet. Now that it does, it seems appropriate to migrate book entries from MB to BB (if BB’s development is far enough along to do so).

But i cannot see where bookbrainz can support a track list? Or am I missing something? Where do I add my track times, acoustIDs, etc?

Audiobooks are a natural fit to MB as they are Digital Audio Files.


That’s certainly a valid question for now. I don’t know if they have plans to add track lists to BB or not (it certainly has a long way to go), but they do have an Audiobook format choice (and I did say "if BB’s development is far enough along…).

I still think, conceptually (leaving MB and BB out of it), audiobooks are a more natural fit to a book database than to a music db.

Hmmm. I think it doesn’t fit the book concept that well… :thinking:

We shouldn’t be fooled by the commercial name audio book.
It is really not a book, IMO.

Reading is definitely such a very different activity than listening to an audio book, where you cannot feel the content as when reading it at your own pace and with the time to think (or build or imagine) of what you read.

I don’t think many people would read books or listen to audio books.

It sounds closer to a radio play, or another kind of audio thing and thus to MusicBrainz.

Just my point of view, maybe.

But the main point of this topic about the duplicate author entities (people) stands true, of course!
And also the original work, the text, today has to be duplicated between BB and MB.


That doesn’t make sense to me at all, but I guess that’s the variety that makes everything so fun! :slight_smile:

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I’ve always considered MusicBrainz should be more properly named “AudioBrainz” … it is (to my thinking) a repository of data relating to audio material.

WRT to an audiobook (or audio/radio drama) a book is turned into an audio performance in the same way as a manuscript is turned into an audio performance when a piece of music is performed.

As I posited at the start of the thread; MusicBrainz and BookBrainz (and a potential future MovieBrainz and TVBrainz) share so much in that (to me) they need (at least at a database level) feel like they should be combined. Looking at MusicBrainz and BookBrainz they both have a similar hierarchy…

  • Artists (be they authors, musicians, actors, or ‘technical’ artists) and groups should, to my thinking, be one shared database as a first layer.

  • Next comes Works. This encompasses concepts such as manuscripts for a book, score/composition for music.

Now the MusicBrainz / BookBrainz hierarchy does divide at this point.

  • For music (audio) one work has one, or multiple, performances (books skip this level)

  • From performances (or in the case of books) a “medium” is created. If we look at CDs, a medium would be represented by the Disc ID. Now one “medium” can have multiple Disc IDs, but one Disc ID should not (IMO) be related to multiple mediums. This also relates to CD ripping and tagging - to my thinking, if you insert your CD into a computer to rip; it should be possible for the ripping software (via MusicBrainz) to get a definitive answer.

  • One, or multiple media is then combined into a release. Multiple releases may use the same medium. For example: release Lungs (standard edition, UK ) contains Disc ID IIWu26A1eh0.KlKxCNagmEcAzIA- which is a CD (in reality the medium would have a musicbrainz number not just its calculated disc id). This same medium however is also (almost certainly, I’ve not actually checked) contained in Lungs (standard edition, USA) as well as Lungs (deluxe edition, UK).
    The problem with the current is that if I enter the mastering details for this disc on one release, it doesn’t propagate to the other releases which share this disc. (Thinking aloud); to my thinking the release - release group relationship in MusicBrainz is wrong, or at least needs a third layer - a medium belongs to one or multiple releases, which in turn belongs to a single release group. If MusicBrain had the concept of a medium separate from a release group it would (IMO) solve issues around box sets too. The DireStraits SBM remasters would each belong to an individual release (which in turn belong to the release group for that “album”) but the discs also belong to a boxset release. In addition, a release would link to one, or multiple, pieces of art.
    (I’m not sure how clearly I’m describing my concept - its not a fundamental shift in the MusicBrainz schema, but a slight tweek to the idea of release, release group and adding a separate idea of a medium within that release. The slight flaw to the schema is that, as default, it links track titles to a medium, rather than linking track titles directly to a release, but this isn’t insurmountable and - IMO - is actually correct; the track/titles are almost always the same across releases and if I correct the title on the deluxe version of a release, it’s almost certain that correction should apply to the standard version which uses the same disc.)

    (a really rough relational diagram to explain my concept - the current schema as I see it is below)

Please note I think MusicBrainz and the work which has gone into it by the creators/contributors is fab.