Release Date - definition

I’m surprised that this topic hasn’t been discussed and I can’t find anything on the help page regarding this subject so I apologise if this is covering old ground.

What is meant by Release Date?

I assume that it means the date the submitted edition was actually published and not the date the work was first published. I have noticed that a lot of edition submissions list the original date of publication. Unless some users on this site own first editions (including a first edition of a Shakespeare poem) then I think this is a misinterpretation.

It would be helpful to have the definition included on the help page.

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This helps a bit I think, from the Help-page:

When should I not create a new Edition of a Work?

  • Minimal changes as in proofreading errors
  • Minimal changes on the cover
  • Reprints of the same Edition. You can mention “Reprint – [date]” in the annotations.

So the release date should be the first year your edition type or version was published.
If it’s possible I add the first year of the addition as release year.
Then I add everything I know to the notes:

  1. edition: date
  2. edition: date (In most cases the one I own)

If I don’t know the date of first release, I add the date I have, like in the example the date of the 12. edition + adding that to the notes.

Sometimes I only have a Copyright date - then I add this and add: “Coypright: date” to the notes.

I agree it can be difficult sometimes finding the actual date of publication for books, but I still think it would be helpful to have a definition of the release date (I would change that term for a start, maybe: This Edition Published), so users have an idea of what is expected.

I get the impression that some contributors think it is the date of the first edition regardless of the date of their copy, which makes identification of the submitted edition difficult or impossible.

You never know someone might have a first edition of The Turtle and the Phoenix by William Shakespeare, if so they might like to auction it and donate the proceeds to BB💰

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Sure, this would be helpful for a lot of users. But as you will have experience yourself in bookogs - many users doesn’t read the help pages. They just add, what they see, they don’t even check, if the entity they are adding is the correct one. “Oh, James Smith is already in the database, then I don’t have to add him”. You can’t do anything against this behaviour.

That is very true, but you also have to provide resources for the people who do want to consult and follow the Guidelines.

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That is correct.
And as you found out, this is sometimes entered as first publication date instead.
And sure enough, without having it explained anywhere, it’s not surprising some users get it wrong.

I’ll add a help text next to that field on the Edition edit page as a stopgap, but it will also need to be taken into account and explained properly when we get to writing down the style guidelines.

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I know it is a work in progress. Thanks.