Hierarchical works in editions

I’m starting this thread to gauge what the BB community would like to see regarding how hierarchies of works should be represented in editions. If we reach consensus, I’d like to create a JIRA story.

So, works can be hierarchical. The latest example I’ve seen are named songs at the end of each short story in a book. Other obvious examples are fix-ups and circles of poems. So, we should represent those poems hierarchically as works being parts of other works.

So far, so good.

Now, the question of what works to include in an edition. With the current user interface, it’s probably true that all works at every level of the hierarchy should be included in the edition. This is problematic, as: a) it means having to dig to see what works an included may include, and then manually including those works as well, and b) without any cues to the user, the related works appear separate and disjoint to anyone viewing the edition.

I find myself tempted to just include the outer works, and let the user explore those works themselves to discover whatever inner works they may contain.

What I think I want:

  1. When a work is listed in an edition, any works it may contain are listed as contained works.
  2. This repeats recursively for any inner works they may contain, and so on.
  3. Each work and inner work can be clicked to take the user to that specific work page.
  4. As an editor, I would only need to include the outermost works for an edition.
  5. BB should prevent cyclic work relationships from being created. The graph must remain acyclic.


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Unfortunately this is much more complicated.

  1. If you just add the outer works the content has to be EXACTLY the same when you add it to an edition.
    You can’t add work title variants for the inner works and if just one part of the inner works is missing you can’t use the outer work.

  2. The proposal only works if you can represent the hierarchical structure as a work-work relation. This does not work for thematic outlines.

Poems sorted by categories (love, war, expressionist poems, impressionist poems, etc.).

Non-fiction books that are hierarchically organized by topic:

I. Zoology
Author 1 : Introduction
I.1. Molluscs
Author 2 : Introduction
I.1.a. Author 3: Classification [of molluscs]

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So, when I add the “outer” work to an edition now, what should a user presume it contains? Would the inner works need to be explicitly included to confirm the outer work also contains them?

I agree, it would not work in such cases.

So, then I guess I wonder, should what we be trying to create in an edition be a table of contents? (This would address another problem, which is we currently have no way to display—except through quasi-luck—the order of content.)

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Yes, we need a content editor to organize the structure of the edition:
Changing the order of the works, adjusting the title names, inserting chapter titles etc.


@pbryan I feel what you are describing may end up being too complex. I think we should limit collection works to those there are indisputably meant to published together, in sequence. A book of sonnets isn’t work. Sonnets written specifically as sequence (e.g. a crown of sonnets could be considered a work by itself, as you ruin the effect if you split the sonnotes).

I basically agree with @indy133, the edition creation page should look a lot more like MB’s release creation page, works should be added sequentially, like tracks, possibly with additional metadata. That would essentially result in the edition page looking like a table of contents (or an MB release page).

OK, I think we’re all saying “TOC” for editions. Would you want to include items in the table that are not explicitly works? (I would answer yes to that question.)

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In MB we automatically create ‘recordings’ for each track, if an existing one isn’t selected.

This could be a convenient way to batch-create multiple works as well, something I find a bit tedious in BB (I barely use BB, to be fair… maybe there’s already a good way to do it)

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Such as chapters and other divisions? Yes, I would. Possibly also the pages for each work and division (basically like tracks and durations in MB). But, also, I think this isn’t a priority. Just being able to define the sequence of works and “cloning” editions would be a huge difference.

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I think what you mentioned is already possible in the new-ish “Add book” wizard.

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