Data Format
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Series Control File (Series.cvt)

This file is used to validate series IDs and to control the way in which they are displayed, as well as providing a means of providing series cross-references. There are four basic formats:

series ID~numeric control code~author name(s)~series URL~
series ID~alphabetic control string~
author name(s)~series URL~
series ID~alphabetic control string~alternate series ID(s)~
series prefix~*~control code~


Series IDs are coded in a similar way to author names, with the "surname" first, "forenames" second and "additional bits" third, but the separators used are "|" characters rather than the "," characters used for author names. Thus some simple examples might be:

Abrams| Leah
Adjusters| The
Ainsley| John|, Master Thief

If the series relates to a character who is known both my a "real name" and a "character name" then the character name should be specified in brackets in the "additional bits" field and a cross-reference record added for it, as in:

King| Ed| (The Speed Demon)~1~Brandon, Barry~
Speed Demon| The~see under~King| Ed~

Note that only the real name part of the name being referenced (i.e. up to but not including the second |) should be specified in the cross-reference. Note also that, as in these examples, when a "title" is used for the character or the series as a whole then the leading article should be specified when appropriate (e.g. "Speed Demon| The" rather than "Speed Demon").

If multiple distinct series exist with the same name then they should be differentiated by appending an alphabetic identifier or numeric sequence number in square brackets after the series title (separated by two spaces and a second | if appropriate) as in:

Mars␢␢[Clark Ashton Smith]~0~Smith, Clark Ashton~
Mars␢␢[Kage Baker]~0~Baker, Kage~
Mars␢␢[Kim Stanley Robinson]~0~Robinson, Kim Stanley~
Fallen| The|␢␢[David Aaron Clark]~0~Clark, David Aaron/Rankin, David #4~
Fallen| The|␢␢[Thomas Sniegoski]~0~Sniegoski, Thomas E.~
Merlin␢␢[1]~0~Stewart, Mary/Nix, Garth~
Merlin␢␢[2]~0~Reynolds, Alastair~

For series defined this way, the full name will be displayed in the series index, but the qualifier will be removed when displaying the name in the other indexes.

By convention, in such cases, a "use" record should be added to indicate that the root series name should not be used in isolation, as in:

Mars~use~Mars [xxx]~
Merlin~use~Merlin [n]~

Note that series IDs must not contain the '#' character as this is used, when desired, to indicate a numeric sequence in a series (e.g. "Savage| Doc #34").

When choosing a series ID, preference should always be given to a series name that is used elsewhere (e.g. isfdb, thrillingdetective, Wikipedia, Goodreads, the author's website, etc.), particularly if there is a common name used in many online locations, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. Note that it is important to remember that we are identifying series and not lead characters so a series may be named after a lead character (or characters) even if they do not appear in every story in the series. In such cases it is helpful to use the series URL to link to a discussion of the series - a good example is the Lydia Chin & Bill Smith series.

One problem that is commonly encountered with series IDs (but less commonly with author names) is when there is a character with a title and a Christian name (such as Father Hugh) which raises the question of whether the series should be listed under 'F' or 'H'. The current rule is that the series should appear under the prefix in the following cases:

Note that if any of the above prefixes is followed by a "full name" then the series should appear under the surname as usual (e.g. "Father David" would appear under 'F' while "Father David Noone" would appear under 'N'). Note also that cross-references records may be added whenever there is a danger of confusion. To avoid adding a large number of cross-reference records with a similar purpose the generic "<name>" may be used instead, as in:

Captain <name>~see under~<name>| Captain~

Supplementary Files

In addition to SERIES.CVT there is an, optional, supplementary file that is used by various programs associated with names: