Series by authors - how to manage

This is a thread about series that are created by authors. This has nothing to do with publisher series which need to be dealt with separately.

Series Numbering:

• Some series are easy to number as the books might be shown with numbering, or official sources can provide this information. In this situation the first work serves as the introduction and the final work serves as the conclusion.

• Some can be numbered by publication order.

• Some can be numbered by publication order, but there might also be a suggested reading order based on internal book chronology.

• Some series are difficult to number by publication order as supplementary works might slot in between the main numbering.

• Some series can’t be numbered at all and to do so would confer sequential rank that doesn’t exist.

Therefore, it is essential that the numbering of works in a series is optional.

Series Structure:

Most series have only one level, however many science fiction and fantasy series can have two and three sub-series. To date, I have never seen a four-tiered system. To give an example:

Honoré de Balzac wrote his opus:

La Comédie humaine (which consists of three sub-series):

Études analytiques

Études philosophiques

Études de mœurs (which consists of six sub-series):

  • Scènes de la vie de campagne
  • Scènes de la vie militaire
  • Scènes de la vie parisienne
  • Scènes de la vie politique
  • Scènes de la vie privée
  • Scènes de la vie de province

Series Naming:

Series can be known by various names, including language specific names for the same series, so an alias facility would be critical.

Series Author/s:

Series can be commenced by one author and continued by another author, or authors. Therefore a series can contain works contributed by multiple authors.

Conclusion:

I would think the best way to manage series would be to enter them via the Work editor. When someone adds a Work to an Edition, then the series would be automatically added to the Edition. It would also be helpful if the Work could link to the author page and provide a summary of the series titles currently in the database.

We’ve long been talking about adding a Series entity—on the same level as Authors, Works, Editions, etc.— which will undoubtedly be necessary to represent the complexity of the types of series we will encounter.
As such, they would benefit from the same mechanisms as all other entities: aliases and relationships in particular are of interest for this discussion.

You would add Works as being part of a Series, for example “Work X is n° 3 in Series Y”.
I agree that numbering should be optional.
Similarly, you could assign one or more Authors to a Series, the obvious example being as the series’ writers.

You could also use Series to represent periodicals, most likely in that case having relationships with Edition Groups rather than Works. Comic books also come to mind.
This means that Series entities wouldn’t represent only literary series.

The associated ticket: https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/BB-76
and related: https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/BB-224

One day, we’ll talk about how to represent box sets, but that’s for another day !

1 Like