Fredrik Ekman ekman at
Thu Oct 20 19:13:54 CET 1994

Here's yet another exciting message about database format. You have been 

Right, so there are three of us at least. Harry: You managed to 
straighten out a few question marks for me, but it also seems that you 
misunderstood me on a few points, no doubt due to me being unclear as 

> You can explicitly indicate in an 'issue' file that a story
> has a title, differing from the "official" one. 

Yes, but can you see in the .issues file if the title is for this issue 
specifically or "official"? I don't think so (although correct me if I'm 
wrong). What I am proposing is that the title designator (T, R, et c) 
should not be included in the .issues files unless the story has no title 
in that issue. Damn, I hardly even understand what I am trying to say 
myself here. What I would need to do is to come up with an actual example 
from one of the files, but since I don't have access to many of those 
books anyway, I'm not sure I can do that.

> My goal was to have all titles and descriptions in English, everywhere.

That's what I thought. But then we must ask ourselves: What is the 
purpose of this database? If only to facilitate making references in 
discussions on this mailing list, then this is certainly a good policy. 
But when I downloaded the Swedish files, I did so in order to send them 
to a comics collecting friend. Now, HE won't have any use for the English 
titles. He will want the Swedish. Another reason that I am rambling on 
about this subject is that I (perhaps foolishly) have undertaken the 
mission of converting these files for the Grand Comics Database, which 
has previously been discussed briefly on this list. For those who have 
not heard of them, they are a bunch of lunat... err... devoted collectors 
who are trying to index ALL American comics and making the results freely 
available on the 'net. I thought that our database would fit in neatly in 
that scheme if it can only be converted properly.

> Do you really think all story titles should be Swedish in the Swedish 
> index?

YES! If I really want to discuss story D88215 (dummy example) I could 
look the proper title up in the d.stories file. A little more trouble, 
but not really that much, I think.

> > it's really not useful to know which language it originates from.
> Oh?

I just KNEW that statement would be misinterpreted. Let's take dummy 
example D88215 for instance. Suppose John Anderson (isn't there some 
Egmont writer by that name?) wrote the thing and called it "Day of the 
Triplets". Then Stefan Dios translates it to Swedish and calls it 
"Knattarnas stora dag". Finally, Anders Engwall indexes the Swedish 
publication of the story and retranslates the title as "The big day for 
Hewey, Dewey and Louie". Now, what is the point of knowing where this 
last title originates from? Of course, we must point out that it is NOT 
the original title, and this could be done by using a designator like Tr: 
(meaning Translated). I think it's confusing enough having to keep track 
of Sw, D and N (or whatever it is that you use). What of the day when 
people will want to start indexing Russian, Italian, Chinese, Norwegian 
and French books all at once?

> > ALL NON-ENGLISH issues should have ALL TITLES included in the issue files.
> Please propose a handsome lay-out for listing more than one title of a story.

&%$**! Without seeing my original context, I don't have a clue to what I 
meant by that sentence, but I am pretty sure that I didn't mean what you 

> And even *if* Harry's software could handle Latin-1, there's absolutely
> no guarantee that the nodes between you and him can.

Well, perhaps it was stupid of me to suggest Latin-1. There is absolutely 
no realistic way to use it for plain-text files over the 'net. The only 
way is to UUencode it. This could work, but it also means that all 
indexers will have to know a lot about what they are doing. They must 
know enough about Latin-1 to tell if that is what they are using (or else 
a way of converting it) and also be able to UUencode. But I really don't 
see another way to have Swedish, Danish and other non-English titles in 
the database. Perhaps every language could use their own 7-bit standard, 
but that would be messy for anyone interested in some other country's 

Anyway, if that is any comfort, I could undertake to convert the Swedish 
titles that are _currently_ in the database to Latin-1. But I would only 
do it if we decide to go for Latin-1 on the whole line, since using it 
for only one language makes no sense.


PS. Thanks, Per, for telling me about DS. I had no idea it was 
specifically Swedish. Guess I won't be using it any more in my 
international messages. DS (oops!)

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