Q: What exactly are we looking for in BookBrainz?


I understand the project is new, and so I would like to clarify the scope of BookBrainz.

  • Published works with ISBN and/or ISNI only?
  • Self-published works are allowed provided distributed in popular sites (like Amazon) or have an entry in, say, Goodreads?
  • Are original works published on, for example, FictionPress and Wattpad, allowed?
  • Are single poetry also included, regardless if it was part of a larger work or not?
  • Are blogs included, since these are considered “publications”?
    • If blogs are not included, how about those with an ISBN, ISNI, or related recognised standard identifiers?
  • I read in another thread here that articles are included, does it include articles from a blog?
    • Or, are only articles published on a platform with ISBN or ISNI, are allowed?
  • What if the writer/author (of an article, blog, book, ebook) have an ISNI and the publication does not have an ISBN (yet, or they never applied for one)?

Apologies for the questions, just trying to grasp the scope. (Although I don’t have any new submissions in mind at the moment.)

Thank you!


I don’t know about blogs (I think they’re outside the scope, but I’m not certain), but I do know BookBrainz isn’t limited to anything with an ISBN or ISNI. I’ve added several fanfics myself, actually (mostly when they overlap with my MusicBrainz editing, like a song based on a fanfic or vice versa)

1 Like

I feel this is a question that will keep coming up. MB is quite a mature project, but you won’t have to scroll for a long time to find questions about what belongs and what doesn’t. A couple of things I think most people can agree on is:

  • ISBN/ISNI (or any other code) is irrelevant. You should remember most of these codes only started being attributed in the past few decades, we have centuries of books without ISBN or similar code, and no one would argue shouldn’t be here. Even now noncommercial books can be published without ISBN. Also, remember not all countries implemented ISBN/ISNI at the same time, and the cost (or lack thereof) also depends on the country.
  • The content matters more than medium. There are previously traditionally published novelists now publishing books chapter by chapter through Substack. It’s still a novel if it’s published on Substack (or a website, or a blog, etc.), and it probably still belongs on BB.

Yet, that doesn’t mean all Substacks and blogs and websites belong here. So that’s something that will probably be discussed for a long time here, and it will take time to reach anything like a rule. It’s also easier to talk about specific examples, so if you have some particular work in mind, we can also discuss that.

One thing to keep in mind is that BB is very green, and we still have to work on supporting better even more traditional works, so I don’t think these cases are a priority.

This is a different issue. By “single poetry”, do you mean a poem? And “a larger work” would be a cycle of poems? Then, yes. You can also look at previous discussions on what counts as a work, and our discussion about work types. Before there was no definition, but now we have a list of well-defined types. BB’s documentation also includes a definition of what a work is.