Template talk:Infobox book

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Category:Pages to import images to Wikidata has been nominated for discussion[edit]

Category:Pages to import images to Wikidata, which is populated by this template, has been nominated for deletion. A discussion is taking place to decide whether this proposal complies with the categorization guidelines. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at the category's entry on the categories for discussion page. Thank you.

Proposal to deprecate "country" in favor of "location"[edit]

I would like to propose a change here to change the |country= parameter to |location= or |pub_location= to clear up confusion and match the usage in {{Cite book}}. In my wide experience of observing and editing book articles, there is a constant confusion and misuse of this parameter. Using |country= to mean country of original publication is confusing as books, nearly without exception, are published in specific locations. Usually a city, the city where the publisher is based. The standalone city name, not country, is THE standard in publishing. But |country= is endlessly used for the writer's nationality. Typically, the author's country of origin is indeed the country where their given book was published. However, that is not always the case. {{Infobox book}} favors the 1st edition publication of a book. First editions are periodically published first in countries that differ from the author's nationality or citizenships. Especially in today's globalized world. A book by an Indian-born writer first published in New York by Simon & Schuster should not have India in the country parameter. And yet, I cannot count how many these instances I have come across. This trend only seems to be getting worse. |location=, but especially |pub_location=, removes confusion here and more clearly states what that parameter is for. Οἶδα (talk) 19:04, 14 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

|country= is indeed confusing, and for novels it often gets used for the country or countries in which the action takes place (should be |set_in=). I may have been guilty of that myself once or twice - oops. |pub_location= would be much clearer on all counts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MichaelMaggs (talkcontribs) 19:52, 14 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I note that Template:Citation uses |publication-place= (and synonymously, |place= or |location=) and defines it as "The city of publication. If more than one town/city is listed on the title page, give the first one or the location of the publisher's head office." Do we still want to refer to the country (not the city) of publication, and if so, should we draw a distinction in naming the default parameter? (|publication-country=?) TheFeds 19:59, 28 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I believe location takes precedence over country as the latter is not present on title pages and is merely a practical extension of a location. However, realistically the longstanding country parameter will likely remain. As such, a distinction must be made because the ambiguity of "country" was a problem in the first place. Confusion has persisted despite the template documentation clearly delineating it as the "Country of original publication". Also, I suppose 'country' is needed because some books were published in cities that–at the time of publication–were located in countries that no longer exist (i.e. East Germany, USSR, Yugoslavia etc.) |pub_place= or |pub_location=, and |pub_country= should suffice. We already make the distinction for Date (|pub_date=). These should follow. Οἶδα (talk) 20:55, 30 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I mentioned the citation template to provide an example of another thing the parameter could be called, and to point out the conventions that have arisen in that context, which may be instructive here.
An added wrinkle, I suppose is that it is theoretically possible for the publication to have been simultaneous in multiple places—e.g. coordinated releases of language versions on the same day by different publishers who specialize in their own markets and languages—so the parameter might more correctly allow for a list of places when required. (Infoboxes sometimes deal with this with a <br />-separated list.)
Given that the parameter contents might have to be a list, disambiguating with the form city, country doesn't seem unreasonable when necessary or desirable.
For cities that don't exist any longer, or whose name or country has changed, the name of the city should be linkable to the most correct placename at the time of publication. So if something was published in Danzig, Weimar Germany, which is modern Gdańsk, Poland (see Timeline of Gdańsk), we could link to Danzig and there would either be a redirect or a separate article there. (There are other considerations at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names).)
I guess as a bottom line, if there is a consensus to change something, but existing usage is messy and inconsistent, the consensus can drive efforts to improve in the long term. For example a simple one would be to add |country=<!--of original publication--> to the copyable template example on the documentation page. This would induce a particular usage in new instances. More complex ones could involve manual or automated review via the bot process. TheFeds 00:31, 3 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I would support disambiguating with the form city, country. Any change that would accommodate this standard in publishing is preferable. And I agree with changing the documentation page, which I predict is a particularly non-controversial change. Οἶδα (talk) 21:28, 15 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I agree too. Bibliographically the publication place of (an edition of) a book is the city of its publisher and not the country. --Frognall (talk) 11:02, 4 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Would be helpful to revive this discussion because it has not aged out of relevance. Οἶδα (talk) 12:17, 17 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed. There seems to be general approval of the proposal, but not a lot of engagement so far. Sugegstions as to next steps? MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:40, 17 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The proposal appears uncontroversial but more input is always helpful. Perhaps notifying relevant WikiProjects? Οἶδα (talk) 23:55, 24 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Good idea. MichaelMaggs (talk) 10:13, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Just chiming in here. For electronic literature, it would be helpful to have BOTH potential fields for country of origin as well as city, country for publication. Often works are published in digital form, with many people from all over the world collaborating on a single platform. Thus, country of origin for works would help as well. Is it not possible to have both fields? Thanks! LoveElectronicLiterature (talk) 17:01, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure about the scope of that and I don't think it's particularly useful to this discussion. The country parameter has always been used for publication, not for "origin", the distinction of which you are making I am not entirely sure of. There has never been a country origin parameter. Regardless, as developed in the discussion above, I am more concerned with introducing a |pub_place= parameter than replacing |country= at this point. Sorry if the section header is now confusing. Οἶδα (talk) 22:39, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So what is the status of this discussion? I came across an edit to Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah (Ibn Ishaq) where the "country" is listed as Medina" and an IP user changed the field to "city", which obviously broke the display. We can't set it to Saudi Arabia, as this work predates the existence of that by about 1,200 years. Zaathras (talk) 00:30, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I am not sure how to generate more discussion short of forcing the addition. I would boldly edit the template myself but naturally it's protected for only template editors and administrators to edit. I also do not have enough technical knowledge to edit the source. Οἶδα (talk) 08:31, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Suggest asking one of the template editors who have edited this template in the past, as they may well have further advice, or may be willing just to do it if they agree there's a definite consensus about exactly what change is to be made. The most recent editor is Jonesey95 who I know to be friendly and helpful. MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:47, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for the kind words. Based on my reading of the discussion above, it looks like adding |pub_location= as an alias of |country= would work from a technical standpoint. That would allow |country= to continue working unless |pub_location= had a value. The documentation could then be updated to read something like |pub_location=<!--location of original publication-->. Am I summarizing the consensus view? One unresolved issue is the text of the bold label "Country" that currently accompanies |country=. It will need to be changed, I think, but to what? "Publication location"? – Jonesey95 (talk) 18:04, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure if there is an important distinction between |pub_location= vs |pub_place=. Consistent with the CS1 style, they would be interchangeable. But I believe for the bold label that "Publication place" is more recognisable, natural and concise than the rhyming mouthful "Publication location". Οἶδα (talk) 21:23, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, agree with you both. MichaelMaggs (talk) 22:03, 15 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
OK, this became a bit more interesting when I went to make the change to the sandbox. Here is what I did:
  • Moved the "Country" label to a more logical row, below "Publication date", and changed the label to "Publication place"
  • Found that |location= was already in existence but not displayed. Since it was used in only 84 articles, I have removed it entirely, replacing it with the new |pub_place=/|country= combination.
  • Added |pub_place= as an alias of |country= (|pub_place= is used if both are present)
  • Marked |location= as unsupported, so 84 articles will have to be checked and modified to use |pub_place= or remove |location=, depending on what information is already present.
Please take a look at the sandbox versions in {{Infobox book/testcases}} and provide feedback. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:33, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Looking at the Cervantes example, would publication place more logically fit directly below publisher? Something about [Publisher>Date>Place>English date] looks confusing. Οἶδα (talk) 05:42, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

preceded_by/followed_by for prequels?[edit]

Are these parameters based on publication order or internal series chronology? If the former, can someone update the descriptions to 'Title of [prior/subsequent] book in series, by order of publication', or similar, for clarity? I became confused after seeing a debut novel 'preceded by' a book (prequel) published years later. Thanks! Random fixer upper (talk) 19:04, 30 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Not sure there's a consensus on this (beyond the fact that it is only for books in the same series, not across an author's works) but probably a good idea to establish one. The example you give makes sense, but I'd also be confused if the infobox of a prequel said it was "preceded by" a book that follows it chronologically (it might also be fighting an uphill battle to try to force it to be publication order only). There's a good case for the wording of the infobox itself to be changed to make it clearer which one is meant, maybe along the lines of {{Infobox album}}, which has a header over the preceded/followed by links, stating "{{{chronology}}} chronology" (or in our case, maybe something like "series name chronology" or "series name publication order"), in cases where the publication order differs from the series chronology (when they're the same, I don't think there's any need for a header). --YodinT 11:29, 19 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
{{Infobox television episode}} also has "Episode chronology" above the previous and next links. --YodinT 12:26, 3 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Yodin. Yes, having something visible in the infobox to clarify would be better than changing only the documentation. Though perhaps the parameter should just be used when a publisher or reliable source clearly specifies that the book is part of a particular series and it's order within it...
For a specific example, see The Hate U Give -- Random fixer upper (talk) 21:35, 21 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Index terms in subject parameter[edit]

The documentation says:

(for non-fiction) See index term and library classification

It appears that Kevinalewis added the |subject= parameter in 2006 as a nonfiction analogue to |genre=.

I think the documentation should be changed, removing all notion of using formal index terms. Specifically, I don't think Library of Congress Subject Headings should be displayed to users. Rather, they're for librarians and computers. I think we should prefer "14th-century Europe" as a subject, rather than "Civilization, Medieval--14th century".

What do others think? Are their consumers of the information in subject field beyond article readers that we should consider? Daask (talk) 13:44, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I don't see that it specifically recommends LOC headings for that parameter? Nikkimaria (talk) 04:25, 6 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Nikkimaria: The documentation doesn't specifically recommend Library of Congress Subject Headings, but that is the most widely used controlled vocabulary system listed at Index term § Examples. Perhaps what needs improvement is not so much the Template:Infobox book/doc documentation but rather the index term article. I understood the subject of that article to be a controlled vocabulary based on the statement "Index terms make up a controlled vocabulary for use in bibliographic records.", but later the in the article it says Index terms can either come from a controlled vocabulary or be freely assigned. Daask (talk) 16:50, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't recall ever seeing anything in this parameter that was recognizably not freely assigned - my suspicion is that people are just following the general meaning of "subject" in going with free assignment. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:38, 9 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]


After skipping through the The Reactionary Mind page, I was thinking about reading a passage from the full text and looked for the DOI of the book. After finding it, it wanted to make the life of future readers a bit more easy by adding the DOI to the infobox for the book. Thereby I discovered that DOI was currently not a parameter for the infobox book. Would that not be a helpful addition? And if others think so too - could this be made possible by someone with editing rights for this template? All the best! WatkynBassett (talk) 16:08, 6 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

In my experience, the DOI of most academic books is essentially the same as the ISBN; the ISBN link in the infobox provides plenty of links for people to find a book. What value does the DOI add? – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:26, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@WatkynBassett: As I see it, a DOI field could serve two purposes:
  1. A DOI is an identifier to specify which book we are discussing. Other Template:Infobox book parameters which serve this purpose include |isbn= and |oclc=. While most books have ISBNs and OCLC Control Numbers, only a minority of books have digital object identifiers. Furthermore, I suspect that nearly all books with DOIs also have ISBNs. Thus, as an identifier for books on Wikipedia, DOI is unsatisfactory and superfluous.
  2. A DOI is a link to access the book. Other Template:Infobox book parameters which serve this purpose include |website=, |external_url=, and |wikisource=. What's the advantage of having a separate |doi= over putting the DOI in |website=? The infobox isn't intended to provide every possible related link, so if there are different web pages from the publisher for various editions or for the print edition vs. online access, I don't think we should make any effort to include all of these in the infobox.
I'm inclined to believe existing Template:Infobox book parameters are adequate. Daask (talk) 17:09, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Daask @Jonesey95 Hi, sorry for my late reply. I appreciate your considered objections which I will try to address in turn:
a) "What value does the DOI add?": In my opinion the doi-link is the quickest and surest way to find a non-pirated full text version of the book I want to access. Clicking the ISBN does not accomplish the same task, as it simply leads me other websites - many of them will not provide me with the full text but simply with an option to buy the print version.
b) "[A]s an identifier for books on Wikipedia, DOI is unsatisfactory and superfluous." I think the quickest way to disprove this objection is to look at the parallel: The - in principle - much more concise "cite book"-template. It has a doi-parameter which is used quite often because it fulfils one purpose very well. It provides a stable and usually quite well maintained full text version of the book. If it was superfluous, why is it commonly used in this other template (which also has an isbn-parameter)?
c) "What's the advantage of having a separate |doi= over putting the DOI in |website=?" The advantage is that the documentation for the website-parameter is different. The "website"-parameter advises to link "the publisher's or author's website about the book". It is thus not intended for the text of the book.
Thanks again for considering my idea in depth! Best regards, WatkynBassett (talk) 12:52, 14 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If there were a single link which would be best way for readers to access an ebook, then I would wholeheartedly include such a link in the infobox. That's what |external_url= and |wikisource= provide for public domain works. However, accessing paid resources through libraries is a complicated task and the processes vary from institution to institution. In my experience, DOIs are often not helpful for accessing ebooks.
For example, let's consider the book: Exhibiting religion by John P. Burris. The most appropriate value for |website= is https://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/1593/ , the publisher's webpage for the book, which provides no indication that an e-book exists, much less how to find it. The Handle System identifier (a superset of DOI) of https://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb40178.0001.001 redirects to an ebook at https://www.fulcrum.org/concern/monographs/6w924f72t . However, although I have institutional access to this book, there is no way for me to access it through that website, even through the "Log in with your Institution" page. I can only access it by first logging into my institutional portal and then using the institutional library website to search for the book or access Fulcrum ebooks. For me, this experience is not unusual. Other times, the book may be accessible to me through a different website entirely than the one that the DOI redirects to. I realize your experience may be different. Daask (talk) 01:18, 16 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There are few options for where in book articles DOIs could be placed:
Is the infobox superior to these other options? Daask (talk) 01:18, 16 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]