Data Format
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Book Records

A book record is required for each separate publication, whether it be a book or magazine. It contains up to 17 fields, although only the first 14 are used in the UK files:

Record Type Author(s) Title Publication Date Seen Date Edition Publisher ISBN Price
Pagecount Binding Book Type Classification Title Additional Cover Artist(s) Series Control Flags
  1. Record Type

    An, where n is a count of the book note records to follow. The 'n' is only meaningful for US files (if there) and is 1-9 or A-Z.

  2. Author or Author(s) of the book / title of the magazine

    For a book this contains the author (or authors) of the book, as defined on the title page, in the standard internal format. In addition, if the book is edited, the editor name(s) should have '!ed.' or '!eds.' appended to the very end of the entry.

    Note that, for historic reasons, when documenting a magazine the first field actually contains the magazine title and the second field contains the magazine editor(s) - this reversal of fields is identifed by a Book Type field of "mg". Formatting of this record for magazines is discussed in more detail in a separate section.

  3. Book Title

    This contains the title of the book with all leading articles, spaces and special characters removed and stored in the "Title Additional Information" field. If the title starts with numbers or abbreviations that may cause it to be sorted into an undesirable order, then the title may be specified in the form "sort title^\\real title" (e.g. "Sixty-Six Rose St.^\\66 Rose St.) to ensure the correct ordering. More discussion on general protocol on specifying titles can be found in the section on title formats.

    Exactly what the title of a book is can be the subject of some debate - this is discussed in more detail in the style guide.

    If the title is lengthy, and it seems appropriate that only the first portion should appear in cross-reference lists, then a '|' should be inserted at the appropriate point. Note that this is simply ignored when listing the full title so should be used in addition to any existing title punctuation.

    For a discussion of the format of magazine names see the section on magazine indexes.

  4. Date the book was published

    This corresponds to the "official publication date" of the book or magazine - i.e. the date announced by the publisher for books or the date listed on the magazine (if one exist) rather than the date the book/magazine "first went on sale" (see the discussion of book editions for a further discussion of this field for books; and the section on magazine indexes for a further discussion of this field for magazines).

    The date is specified in the format CCYYMMDD where the DD or MMDD may be omitted completely if not know. If any part of the year isn't known than ? characters should be used instead. For single digit months, a leading zero should be specified; for single digit days a leading space should be specified.

    Note that, for forthcoming books (in UK files only) the month may be 13 - 16 corresponding to Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Note also that in some older files the century part of the date was omitted, so the 20th century is assumed if the first two digits are 30 or higher.

  5. Date the book was first seen

    This corresponds to the date that the book was first seen, and was originally used to indicate when a book appeared some time before (or after) the official publication date. Currently it is used in the magazine indexes to identify issues added, or significantly revised, between versions of the index.

  6. Book edition

    For the Locus listings, this is a single digit that distinguishes between first editions, first US editions, reprints and reissues where:


    Note that the definition of a first edition is extremely problematic and is discussed further in the notes. For magazines this is typically always set to "1" even if the magazine is a British Reprint Edition (or similar).

  7. Publisher

    This contains the publisher of the book or magazine concerned. The precise format varies from file to file, but some points worth noting include:

  8. ISBN or Book Number

    This field typically contains the ISBN for the item concerned, or ISSN if it is a magazine. For pre-ISBN books an SSN or publisher book number may be used. Failing that a Library of Congress code (prefixed by "LC:") may be specified. For DAW books in selected UK files, the ISBN may be followed by the DAW "Collector Number" in the format "ISBN␢(#nn)".

  9. Price

    This field contains the price of the item concerned, in one of the following formats:


    where, in each case, a leading "nn" may consist of 1 or 2 (or, in extreme cases, 3 or 4) digits.

  10. Length in pages

    This is typically in the format 'nnn' (with no trailing 'pp'). If the book contains separately numbered sections then the format 'nnn+nnn', 'nnn␢+␢nnn' (etc.) may be used, where one or more of the numbers may be specified as Roman numerals. If the pages are not numbered then 'unpaginated' may be used. Note that magazines may have a trailing '+' to indicate that the covers are not included in the page count.

  11. Binding type

    For books this is typically one of: hc = hardback; pb = rack-size paperback; tp = trade paperback; lp = large paperback (UK files only); ph = pamphlet.

    For magazines this can take a huge range of values (see the section on magazine sizes for some examples): some of the more common are A4 (UK magazines only); A5 (UK magazines only); quarto (US magazines only); digest; large; pulp and trimmed pulp. In some cases magazines also take additional modifiers (after a space) of: c/b = comb-bound; e/s = edge-stapled; s/s = saddle-stapled; s/b = square-bound. (e.g. "digest s/s"). Odd sizes may be given as 'nn.m␢x␢pp.q' where the measurements are in centimetres, or as 'nn.m"␢x␢pp.q"' where the measurements are in inches.

  12. Book type

    This is one of the item types discussed here.

  13. Book Classification + Flags + Book ID + Editor/Referenced Author

    This is a very complex field that has grown to contain all manner of different things.

    The first part is the book classification which is a combination of the following single characters:

    a = associational h = horror o = occult/supernatural w = western
    b = biography i = art/illustrated/graphic p = private investigator x = novelization
    c = critical study j = juvenile/young adult r = reference y = mystery
    d = crime/police procedural k = true crime s = science fiction z = espionage/techno-thriller
    e = first English translation l = 'literary' t = thriller & = romance
    f = fantasy m = myths and legends u = humorous 1 = a first novel
    g = ghost n = non-fiction v = gothic/romantic suspense  
    A = adventure fiction H = historical fiction M = mainstream fiction P = post holocaust adventure

    (where the last row is only used internally by a small number of UK files). The classification was originally designed for use in the Locus files, but has been de-emphasized in recent years.

    The classification is followed by the book flags which consist of:



    there are also three obsolete flags which are no longer used but which may appear in older files:



    If the book contains original content then this should be followed by a book abbreviation for the book which should be specified here in square brackets as [YYYY*XXXXXXX]. If the book type is 'ss', 'nv', 'pm' or similar, then the source of the story should be located here in place of the book abbreviation. If this is the first publication then the format is [YYYYxxx] where xxx is the publisher. If it is a reprint then the format is <YYYY*XXXXXXX> or similar (i.e. standard story publication details in angle brackets.

    If the book is about a particular author (or authors) then recent files include the author name(s) in this field inside curved brackets; in this case, if multiple author names are specified then they are separated by '/' as usual. Similarly, if the book is not an anthology (or magazine) but has a designated editor then the editor name(s) may be specified in this field inside curved brackets and preceded by "ed:". If the record already contains a book abbreviation or equivalent then that should precede the author/editor names.

    Note that, as a special case in magazine files, if this field only contains a single * and the magazine title field does not contain "␢␢␢[features]" then it indicates that the following entries should not appear in the issue index. This is typically used in special Additional Entries files but may also be used in ordinary magazine files where the issue date is not known for a particular item.

  14. Additional title information

    This contains any bits of the title that were removed from the start of field 3 (including any trailing spaces).

  15. Cover Artist(s) (US only)

    These are specified in the same format as standard author name(s). This field is only used in US files as the separate Cover Artist Record is used in UK files.

  16. Series ID

    This may contain the series ID of a series the book belongs to.

  17. Index/Validation Control Flag (US only)

    In recent US files, this may contain a flag to indicate how the associated book/magazine should be handled by particular indexes or, if specified on a "[features]" record, how it should be validated. This field only exists in US files as special DQE Book Note records are used in UK files. The field may contain multiple flags (where appropriate) separated by "/" characters.

    Possible values for the flag on a normal book record are:
    Possible values for the flag in a "[features]" record are:

    Note that if a file does not contain a "[features]" record, the validation defaults to VALFULL except that the VALSERIAL checks do not apply; otherwise if no flags are specified explicitly, none of the optional validation is performed.