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Old 08-13-2014, 10:14 PM   #1
bethohio3
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Series names in titles

As I've added books to Calibre, many of them have the series information in the Title (e.g. Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega). Using Patricia Briggs as another example, some of her Sianim books had (Sianim) after the title and some had (Aralorn).

Obviously there is a lot of inconsistency in how titles are put together by the publisher in the metadata.

I've been using (and want to use) the Series tag in Calibre for the Series name and number.

I have two questions:
1) Do people recommend "cleaning up the title" and removing the series name from the title of the book?

2) How do you handle the Number for Series that don't have an obvious order (Liaden series where the book release dates jump around)

I'm asking these as Calibre questions, but if it matters, I read my ebooks on an iPad or iPhone using Marvin.

Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethohio3 View Post
As I've added books to Calibre, many of them have the series information in the Title (e.g. Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega). Using Patricia Briggs as another example, some of her Sianim books had (Sianim) after the title and some had (Aralorn).

Obviously there is a lot of inconsistency in how titles are put together by the publisher in the metadata.

I've been using (and want to use) the Series tag in Calibre for the Series name and number.

I have two questions:
1) Do people recommend "cleaning up the title" and removing the series name from the title of the book?

2) How do you handle the Number for Series that don't have an obvious order (Liaden series where the book release dates jump around)

I'm asking these as Calibre questions, but if it matters, I read my ebooks on an iPad or iPhone using Marvin.

Thanks!
I would recommend cleaning the Titles of all 'extraneous' stuff, like pubdates, series etc.

For series with no designated or obvious sequence I would recommend just having them all at 0.

FWIW - I have a #subtitle/Subtitle custom column

BR
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:58 PM   #3
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to removing all garbage from the title. I like my titles pure and neat. That includes series, numbering, and even the awful "___: A Novel" that they do.

Regarding series numbering, I believe real series order goes according to internal chronology regardless of any specified ordering. Some series' are just lumped all over the place.

I do, however, have a custom column called "Subseries" where I store information such as official series order when there are multiple series' in an extended universe. Riftworld, Forgotten Realms, Star Wars...
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:23 PM   #4
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#1:

Short answer: Yes.

Medium answer: Yes. Absolutely. Don't even think about it. Just do it.

Long answer: Using the built-in fields the way they're intended will save you a lot of grief down the road. The most common reason for people trying to cram too much info into the title field is to get it to display the way they want on their ebook reader. Inevitably, they discover why this is a bad idea when they get a new reader and suddenly they need to change the titles to a different scheme. Then they end up on the forum asking about complex search-and-replace, when it would have been easier if they had just filled in the fields properly, and they would just need to change their Save-to-Disk/Send-to-Device template and/or plugboard.

Addendum to the long answer: It's best to get into the habit of reviewing and cleaning up all metadata manually every time you import a book or download metadata. Think of the downloaded metadata as "suggestions" rather than gospel truth, because every site does it differently.

#2:

As others have mentioned, if a series really doesn't have an order, use "0" as the number.

HOWEVER:

I noticed you read Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I recommend you install the "Search the Internet" plugin and get used to looking up authors on ISFDB.org. (Or skip the plugin and just bookmark it) You'll find that their series numbering is pretty accurate, even more accurate than Fantastic Fiction in most cases where they disagree. You might be able to find series numbers there for series you didn't think actually had that info available. (It's also the first place I check for covers)

And, as others have mentioned, add a custom "subseries" column. IMHO, this should be built into Calibre by default. When I first started using a subseries column, I finally stopped pulling my hair out in frustration over how to categorize those pesky two-level series from authors like Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton.
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fidvo View Post
Addendum to the long answer: It's best to get into the habit of reviewing and cleaning up all metadata manually every time you import a book or download metadata. Think of the downloaded metadata as "suggestions" rather than gospel truth, because every site does it differently.

If you let the Garbage pile up, it WILL BE daunting.
Clean VERY frequently.

Metadata is trashy, even from the same publisher,
Even for the same series

Baen can't even use a consistent Publisher name: Baen Books, Baen Publishing enterprises. I would not mind if those were their IMPRINTS: Baen Fantasy, Baen Science Fiction

Series names Not only not consistently done, they don't match the Publishers Catalog nor the listing inside the book and vary from book to book

Tags: A stopped up kitchen sink of a mess. Do they think there is a prize for how many tags are applied to a book??

Don't get me wrong. I like Baen. I buy A LOT of their titles, which is why I NOTICE. The sample size is larger

Other publishers are just as bad (or worse)
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:22 AM   #6
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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one...

So far, I've been keeping the titles "clean" and using the title sort field for the series info to get the books to sort correctly. I've also been using the series fields, but they don't directly affect the book sorting order so it's just extra info for the moment. It's difficult- for example "The Belgariad"/"The Mallorean" series- Technically two series, but they follow each other so I want them to sort together in my title list but naming a book "Belgariad 06, Mallorean 01: [Title]" in the title sort column is getting a bit unwieldy.

I actually came here to get suggestions on how to sort my Bolo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolo_(tank)) books.. A handful of novels, and collections of short stories, an actual 'series' of 6 books, and some more novels and short story collections. All by different authors. The set defies clean categorization. That said, it's still overall my second favorite "series" or "universe" of all time so I want to get them organized! I'm thinking the best option is to just come up with my own numbering scheme for the title sort column, set the series number to '0' for any book without a number. I figured it can't hurt to ask the experts first though!

Edit:

And just what the heck is the purpose of the "General" tag I'm finding on nearly every book? Isn't that like saying "it's a book"? lol

Last edited by cvlowe; 08-15-2014 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:51 AM   #7
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That is exactly why I would use #subseries="Belgariad [6]" series="Mallorean [1]".

And you can set the sort order in Preferences ==> Advanced ==> Tweaks
Tab -- Specify columns to sort the booklist by on startup

I use:
Code:
sort_columns_at_startup = [('authors', 0), ('series', 0), ('title', 0)]
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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How do I enter 'subseries'?
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvlowe View Post
How do I enter 'subseries'?
Make a custom column
Preferences: add your own column: (Series from the quick create: touch-up the names)
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:11 PM   #10
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I'm taking people's advice and taking all of the auto-downloaded title extras out of the titles, and I'm cleaning up the titles and the publishers. I hadn't added any information to the titles--but downloading books and metadata tended to add all sorts of inconsistent parenthetical stuff.

Thanks to fidvo for pointing me to ISFDB.org. I haven't started using the plugin, but it's really helping me update the series information!

Since I'm using Marvin, it does a great job of making the metadata available and I can see the series information easily on my iPad and iPhone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
That is exactly why I would use #subseries="Belgariad [6]" series="Mallorean [1]".
eschwartz, could you please share a bit more about how you use your subseries column? It could just be this example that threw me.

Would the subseries go from 1 to 10 (plus Polgara, etc.) and then series be Belgariad 1-5 and Mallorean 1-5, and then what for the additional ones?

Similarly, what do people generally do with omnibus editions which have multiple books in them that belong to a series?

I'm not sure yet how complicated I'm going to get with the series metadata. I have a lot to clean up. I have about 600 books--and most of the metadata is messed up.

Okay--yet another question. I have a lot of gutenburg books because I like the classics. Do you put Gutenburg for the publisher? I've learned that the metadata has to be picked up carefully--and I've started grabbing some of the descriptions from Wikipedia.

Thanks for everyone's help--this is really informative and will help me get things in order!
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethohio3 View Post
Okay--yet another question. I have a lot of gutenburg books because I like the classics. Do you put Gutenburg for the publisher? I've learned that the metadata has to be picked up carefully--and I've started grabbing some of the descriptions from Wikipedia.
@bethohio3 - I would have as the publisher/pubdate what Gutenberg has in the 'book'. Eg Swinburne's Atalanta In Calydon has London: Chatto & Windus, Printed by Spottiswoode and Co., 1885

Hence I have Chatto & Windus in Publisher, 1885 in Date Published, I have custom columns for 'Where Published' and 'Printed By', so they have London and Spottiswoode and Co. respectively. And I have another custom column 'Source', that's where I have put Gutenberg. If I was inclined I could put a link to the relevant webpage at Gutenberg in my custom comments column - 'Notes' - but I didn't, its easy enough to find, should I ever need to do so.

BR

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Old 08-15-2014, 07:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
That is exactly why I would use #subseries="Belgariad [6]" series="Mallorean [1]".

And you can set the sort order in Preferences ==> Advanced ==> Tweaks
Tab -- Specify columns to sort the booklist by on startup

I use:
Code:
sort_columns_at_startup = [('authors', 0), ('series', 0), ('title', 0)]
I may have done something wrong. I tried your tweak and now all my books with entries for series are sorted out of the list at the bottom. The books with blank series info look to all be sorted by the 'title sort' field and not by author.

Edit:

OK, I must not have applied the change, it's working now.

New problem, book series with different authors are now scattered randomly... Well, not random but by the different authors. Any suggestions?

Last edited by cvlowe; 08-15-2014 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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I worked around the problem by adding the series creator as the first author in the Author sort field. Now they sort correctly.

Is there a way to re-sort the library by the initial conditions without closing and re-opening the program?
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethohio3 View Post
eschwartz, could you please share a bit more about how you use your subseries column? It could just be this example that threw me.

Would the subseries go from 1 to 10 (plus Polgara, etc.) and then series be Belgariad 1-5 and Mallorean 1-5, and then what for the additional ones?
In this case, the series would be Belgariad -- the main universe series, and it would encompass all books, so Belgariad 1-5 would still be Belgariad 1-5. Malloreon comes later, so it is series: Belgariad 6-10 and subseries: Malloreon 1-5. Belgarath the Sorcerer would be book 11 of Belgariad, and Polgara the Sorceress would be book 12. (Or perhaps Belgarath is book 0, a prequel, and Polgara book 11? When I read the series, I can decide which one fits better. )

Similarly, by the Drizzt books, they are all The Legend of Drizzt, though some are in subseries like Neverwinter Saga, Transitions, Sellswords, etc. Someday I may compile a main series listing of all Forgotten Realms books by chronology, and switch to that -- but I doubt it. Many of them happen concurrently, involve unconnected storylines entirely, and/or overlap in horrifyingly complex ways, so I don't know how much meaning it would give me.

Star wars has its own main Star Wars series, and each so-called "series" I consider a subseries, though that hasn't actually received its sorting yet...

Quote:
Similarly, what do people generally do with omnibus editions which have multiple books in them that belong to a series?

I'm not sure yet how complicated I'm going to get with the series metadata. I have a lot to clean up. I have about 600 books--and most of the metadata is messed up.
Omnibuses get titled "series_name, Books a-b" and do not get a series or subseries. The title is the series (and subseries) already, so why duplicate it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvlowe View Post
New problem, book series with different authors are now scattered randomly... Well, not random but by the different authors. Any suggestions?
Sort by series, author, title?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvlowe View Post
I worked around the problem by adding the series creator as the first author in the Author sort field. Now they sort correctly.

Is there a way to re-sort the library by the initial conditions without closing and re-opening the program?
Click on the column headings to sort by them. Or switch between libraries.
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Old 08-17-2014, 06:38 AM   #15
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Hi all,

I come at the desire to dispense with non title material for two reasons. First, I have the shared experience above where the addition of the non-titlle info bollixes up the network search for meta-data. But secondly, my literary prof friend who uses Calibre to do management of his students' work, has another issue. The students started putting search terms in the title (i.e. Elizabethean Poetry - 10212 (Romanticism, Historial)). This is intended to game the system and have their essay come up in searches at the top ... the students not knowing how the teacher keeps their work. It's also a DIRECT contravention of what they are instructed to do, listing categories at the end of their essays. So, I'm in a little bit of a pickle.

My basic instinct is to go to work with a user-defined column, work at chopping off after designated BAD symbols ... brackets and the like, and then have the teach copy over THAT column over top of the Authors column contents. Ugh!!!

Better would be to find out of the Library import routines ever have a moment of Title declaration where the title COULD be shaved of everything after a designated stop symbol. Maybe even several (some of the kids seem awfully found of '|' for example). Make it an option. Defaulting to off so that the great unwashed never need to know of its' existence.

And while I'm here, maybe a change to TitleCase option. It's ALMOST there, but All caps and all lower case still beat it. But I'm as happy as I can be and this is just digressing.

So, IS it feasible before I put it on Kovid's feature requested list?

Thanks, GM
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