Pen-names as aliases or as separate entries

As I understood it, we add pen-names as aliases to the author’s primary name. This is the way also used by the other book databases.
But the relation “is a pen-name of” indicates a different approach. Do we really want to go this way?
Adding all the different pen-names as separate entries will cause a lot of problems, we won’t have with the “alias way”.

I agree that the “is a pen-name of” relationship is not the way to go. I think it might be left over from an old version of BookBrainz, and that it is not intended that we would have both.
I can mark the relationship as deprecated (which should hide it in the relationship editor from that point onwards without breaking anything), and I can then publish a list of entities with that relationship that we’ll want to manually correct (by merging authors, presumably).

Does that sound like a good plan?


Yes, it does, thx. Fortunately there are just a few profiles, where this relation was used. Should be done quickly.

@indy133 I think you have realised that goldilox was just trying to clean up an old mess.

I thought it would be a quick job, but found that I couldn’t remove the pen name relationship from the redundant alias credits that I was going to repurpose into other author credits. In the end I merged them with Stephen King and that enabled me to remove the pen name relationship.

I see you have been busy!

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Yes, I realized that when having a closer look and I saw that goldi is not a new user but someone with a new name :wink:

So users aren’t able to add new pen name relationships anymore, which leaves us with minimal cleaning to do.
Below you’ll find the list of authors with existing pen name relationships.
It might be wise, before removing and merging them, to wait until we have a better way to express that a work or edition is credited to the pen name.

I’m unsure if that will just be for editions only (author credits) or if (and how) we can express “Author X wrote Work Y under pen name Z” in the relationships.

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Since nearly all works have been published under at most two names (first published under pen-name, later published under main name), it might be enough to add this to a "first published in… as “alias” field.

I don’t know what is going on with the system at the moment.

I tried removing a pen name relationship from an author credit, submitted, only to find the relationship back again. My solution was to merge the main credit with the alias credit, and then remove the pen name relationship (which for some reason worked).

Now I have experienced a similar problem with an alias after I merged two credits:

I try to remove the duplicate Kenneth Roycroft alias, submit, only to find it reappears🤯 (that’s an exploding head emoji).

I experienced this bug several times when trying to remove relations. They just reappeared after submitting. It doesn’t appear, if you add a new relation at the same time. I fixed your problem by doing the same, adding a fake alias and removing it afterwards. But this bug has to be fixed of course :wink:

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Maybe I am missing something, but if I remove an existing relationship by adding a fake relationship, then I’m still stuck with the fake relationship, unless I add another fake relationship and that is the definition of infinity.

How do I end up with no relationship showing?

For example: the relationship showing on needs to be removed.

Don’t ask me why, but if you remove the fake relation immediately after you’ve added it, it doesn’t cause any problems and leaves its place without complaining.

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It’s not working for me. To be perfectly honest these bugs are the very reason I gave Bookbrainz the flick. I’m not a computer programmer and I don’t enjoy wasting my time trying to make things work.

Hmm, you’re right, it doesn’t work anymore. But, hey, it’s just a bug. I remember the days on bookogs, where we couldn’t do anything for hours and hours, that was much worse…

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I’m glad that I wasn’t doing something wrong. Additionally, I tried crossing my fingers and holding my breath while reciting the Lord’s Prayer and that didn’t work.

For me that was an excuse to take a break while the staff sorted out the problems!

P.S. Poor old Erin Hunter must be feeling used and abused with all the relationships she has been through in the last hour.


In case I get hit by a bus. I have experienced the same problem when trying to remove a written by and has an edition relationship on two Edition Groups: and

Not sure if I have done the right thing on this credit:

I merged the real name to the most used pen name. From what I understand Indrek Sootak mostly writes under the pen name Indrek Hargla. I can’t find any evidence that he has released a book under his real name. He has also published under the aliases: Andrei Golikov, and Marat Faizijev. For that reason I can’t see a point in using his real name as the primary.

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Looks good, even when there’s some stuff I’m not sure about: Should we add series titles like " Kriminaalromaan vanast Tallinnast #1" to the disamb. field? There will be a separate field later.
And the user added 3 editions with the same ISBN without explaining where’s the difference —>

But since @spUduxB is active he might explain this

That is a good question as adding the series to disambiguation seems to be fairly common practice. By definition that information is not supposed to be in that field. This is something that needs to be discussed.

I have noticed another user is adding profile notes to the disambiguation field which is not correct as this belongs in Notes.

Yes I’ve moved dozens of them to the correct place. What we reall need is a possibilty to PM these users, because they don’t seem to follow the forum discussions.

Don’t forget that we have the bug tracker
@mr_monkey is happy to receive any reports on bugs or errors.

BookBrainz is still in “beta” so not “released officially”, for tickets *I* feel needs fixing before that is the case, see the Minimal usable interface fix version

You do need to create another account for JIRA, but please, don’t flick BookBrainz, flick bugs (into the ticket tracker)!

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