Multi-article publications of all types (anthologies, short story collections, omnibuses, magazines, etc) are a bit of a nightmare and every user has to come up with a methodology that works for themselves. As far as I can recall seeing, the possibilities are:
- Copy: Keep complete copies of the ebook for each story, including covers and metadata. Highest amount of duplicated files and metadata.
- Split: Cut the original ebook into separate files. While it duplicates covers and metadata, it provides the best and easiest means of searching.
- Comments: The ebook is entered once and a list of articles/stories is placed in the Comments field. Libraries with lots of records supposedly take a performance hit when searching.
Assuming dealing with records has less of an impact than Comments, Split might be the best option as it provides the least amount of duplication of metadata and files. But at the expense of more work (data entry and splitting the ebook).
Universes and sagas are tougher as they must handle a variable amount of data. Possibilities include:
- Separate Multiple Series: Simply add multiple series columns (series name and index) to account for each level of detail required. But it tends to clutter up the Book List as well as the Edit Metadata screen.
- Custom Multi-Series Column: Basically as above, but placed into a single custom column to help save space on the Book List. Might lead to a performance hit.
- Numerical Pathing: Use numbers in a specific format to account for series position. Various output methods: "Universe 1, Saga 3, Book 12", 001-003-012, or anything else that works for you. Three or four digits, with preceding zeros to force correct display, can account for the longest running publications (mags, comics, etc). Note the text between numbers is a "divider" and consistently displayed, allowing no variability (null values are not displayed).
- Numerical Subgrouping: Basically as above, but subgrouping might deal with forking better as it allows data to be a cross-section of the records. Appears as: 001.003.012.
- Top-down: Books are simply placed in publication or reading order and numbered accordingly. This method does not deal with forks well.
- Previous/Next Book: Each book record shows the name of the previous and next book in the series. It's wiki style. Could be awkward updating records if the author keeps filling in the back-story.
- Tags:Use one Series field normally, use Tags for Universe, Saga, etc.
If you know, or can think of, any other techniques I would certainly appreciate hearing about them. As well as results from using or testing any method. My Library structure is a WIP right now so changes are easier to implement.