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short stories or toc

Recommend Site Improvements

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Jun 5, 2011, 1:06pm Top

Since we don't have table of contents (toc) for short story collections, how about a sub section of an author's works for short stories?

Edited: Jun 5, 2011, 1:40pm Top

I'm not sure how they'd get that to work. It could, presumably, be done using the work-to-work relationships, but that would be iffy at best: short stories are often collected into larger works, but so are whole novels. Take The Lord of the Rings, for example: I read an omnibus edition which contained the three novel therein -- which are often sold individually.

(Edited for HTML)

Jun 5, 2011, 1:41pm Top

I think that would be brilliant! Hard to achieve, though, since it would require the system to know what works were short stories, and that would mean that all the members who are entering them to accurately identify them as such.

Jun 5, 2011, 5:03pm Top

It's being worked on. Slowly, because it is complicated - but the work-to-work relationships were the first step towards a true Contained In/Contains relationship that covers everything, from independent books to short stories, poems, essays...

Jun 6, 2011, 7:38am Top

I believe Tim was working on various new layers, one of which would allow us to enter short stories into LT at which point they could get their own section on the author page.

Jun 8, 2011, 12:36pm Top

ObNerdery: The Lord of the Rings is one novel, often printed in three volumes.

More topically, I do not understand LT's stance on short stories. They're literary "works" by any sensible definition, incl by the cocktail party test: if someone mentions they've read, say, "The Door to Saturn", I'll expect they're talking about the short story, not the anthology named for it.

Jun 8, 2011, 1:05pm Top


I'm not sure what you mean about LT's stance on short stories. AFAIK Tim wants to support short stories sensibly in the database. It will take a fair bit of work to do properly. That work is proceeding (albeit slowly).

Short stories are obviously not as important to a great many people who use LT (look at those who want to use it merely as a reading list, or who do not strive for correctness in their catalogue entries). Nor are they likely to be an instant revenue stream. So I can understand the development going slower than I would like.

Yes short stories are literary works. However they aren't (or at least usually) distributed as a work by them self. They are distributed in groups in magazines, collections and anthologies.

I am not sure that I would agree with you on the cocktail party test either. OK for some titles I would agree. But for others it is far more likely that people will be talking about the collection.

Jun 8, 2011, 2:08pm Top

If you substitute "poem" for "short story" it may be easier to see the inherent problems, even if a both are legitimate literary works.

Jun 8, 2011, 2:38pm Top

8) why? Poe's Raven is one of my favorite works. if someone suggested a discussion on The Raven, I'd expect a discussion on that poem, not a collection of poems. Though discussions can and do wander.

Jun 8, 2011, 2:48pm Top

I mean in the sense of the mechanics of entering and tracking short pieces. Poems, like short stories, are seldom published separately. The site database is designed specifically for books the objects, and somewhat less so for the conceptual "literary work" itself. Book-length works and books overlap very nicely; anthology contents less so.

It's not that it's a bad idea, it's a question of retro-fitting something that was conceptualized to do something else.

Jun 8, 2011, 5:11pm Top

7> In fact, though I'm an avid cataloger and strive for correctness, it's as a reader (and rater, and reviewer) that I really want short stories to appear as items in themselves on LT.

And yes, it's the complications of dealing with things that...well, seldom...appear as single physical items (there have been some novellas published separately, and ebook short pieces are showing up more and more frequently) that's delaying the short-form works functionality. It will be great when it gets here...

Jun 9, 2011, 12:08am Top

For one thing, it would be a pain to see an authors full length works and short stories (and poems for that matter) all mixed together as works on the author page. Each should get its own section so there needs to be some way to distinguish between them.

Jul 18, 2011, 6:27pm Top

Is it not the same pain to see al kind of different author works which are all composed of the same short stories, while I cannot discus one short story.Translated anthologies differ mostly from original ones. I think the story is the work and not the book which is composed by an editor.

Jul 18, 2011, 6:27pm Top

Jet I can't wait for it to happen.

Jul 18, 2011, 7:23pm Top

13> If an author page shows more than one work that is composed of the same short stories they should be combined. Translations are also considered the same work and should be combined with the work they are a translation of.

Edited: Jul 19, 2011, 1:18am Top

15> I read HiramHolliday's message differently - first part "I want to discuss (rate/review/touchstone) a single short story and can't because it's part of one or more larger works" (I may be reading it that way because that's my major complaint with the lack of short stories. Though I'd be happy to see them separated from larger works on the author page, I really want them to be there - as you say in 12).

Second part - a translated anthology may contain different pieces from the original version. A story is left out, or added, or a multi-volume work is divided differently, or...there are a lot of ways in which, even without translation, a work may contain not _quite_ the same pieces as another work. Which means a lot of entries on the author page that can't be combined, although the majority of the content is the same. Adding short pieces as works wouldn't actually help that - but it would (probably) help with figuring out where a particular short piece appears - in which of the slightly varying works.

Jul 20, 2011, 2:04pm Top

>16 jjmcgaffey: + 15 jjmcgaffey seems to understand me on this one.
By the way I agree you should not mix stories, poems and complete works, but I love to see which stories I read of an author and in which work I own them. Would make my hunt for lost stories much easier.
Also to grade the stories would be much fun more than to grade an anthology because I don't see that as the work, but the stories are.
I imagine that a good solution should be an imense amount of work, but the more I think about it, the more anxious I get.

Apr 29, 2012, 4:39pm Top

Hello there,

Are there already developments on this field? Or should I forget my hope that there will be a solution for my short stories.

Apr 30, 2012, 3:17am Top

What I've seen in the intervening time is various new features, which Tim mentions are a step towards the editions level (stuff like the new Other Authors fields). When editions level happens, that will, I think, be a major step towards a true Contains/Contained in feature. So yes, progress...but very slow, as each little bit that's necessary gets added. Someday there will be a complete feature here...but if it happens this year I'll be surprised.

(So go ahead, Tim, surprise me!)

Apr 30, 2012, 8:11am Top

Just a note that a number of us are entering our short stories as individual works, keeping track of what anthologies they're in in various ways. I'd say that if you're interested in science fiction/fantasy or classic short stories, they're entered already. Just cut and paste the title into a manual entry, add the information you want and start a conversation. I've even included them in the new lists feature. They work just like books, except that you have to add them manually.

Apr 30, 2012, 8:14am Top

Oops. Message 20 was us posting from the wrong account. You can see our short stories in the aulsmith account in the Analytics collection.

Jul 16, 2012, 11:24pm Top

Just checking back on Table of Contents (TOC) or short stories.
Mainly I'm interested in tracking the contents of various short story collections. It's very difficult to discuss various collections without TOC or short stories as separate works. If I mention a collection, someone invariably asks what's in it. A reasonable question except I don't want to spend an hour typing titles and authors for every time someone wants to know what the contents
of a book are. Come on, there must be a simplified way to list contents. At least if I'm going to type for an hour, some way of saving it to that book!

Jul 17, 2012, 12:05am Top

You could save it in the Comments or Summary field - I'm surprised that wasn't mentioned here, it frequently is in threads on this subject.

Jul 17, 2012, 12:25am Top

I've seen TOC in reviews, comments, etc. Kind of lame to hunt around for the various possible locations. Worldcat.org has TOC.

Jul 17, 2012, 2:13am Top

I've seen a bunch of collections with a TOC in the disambiguation field to prevent erronous combination with same- or similar-titled collections.

Jul 17, 2012, 3:28am Top

24> Yeah - reviews is not so good, unless you're also reviewing each individual item (which I've done). And yes, without a dedicated field or similar, you can only be sure of your own data. But at least you can spend that hour typing and store it with the book.

25> Yes, that's sometimes a necessity.

Jul 17, 2012, 4:27am Top

24> 'World cat has TOC.'

Sometimes. But yes, It's the first palce I would go to look for a place to copy and paste from.

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