Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (books)

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For this naming conventions guideline proposal, either contribute directly to the project page, or leave your ideas here:

I have several comments on this:

  • In the sense that this naming convention uses, the subject of the article Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is a manuscript, not a book. It is a single item, kept in a particular location, each page has separate characteristics etc. Therefore the manuscript naming convention automatically applies. This might be better clarified in a general section that discusses the term book and that section should include the discussion of Ancient use of the term "book"
  • Eventhough trilogy is a very common form of a collection of books it should not be given as the first example of such a term without an explaination.
  • The section Title translations: Why should we always translate a title which is not in the Latin alphabet? We should always transscribe it, but the translation question should be the same question for German, Greek and Chinese books. E.g. Tao Te Ching is kept at an old transscription method of its Chinese title, maybe we could start a three way WP:RM for it, Tao Te Ching, Dao De Jing, and The Book of the Way and its Virtue and see what happenes.
  • Why should the first version of a title be the most authorative. In the example we currently give, Salome, the first English version was overseen by the author and that is a good reason for considering it the most authorative. In general, it seems to me that there is usually a good reason if a title is changed and we should be free to consider that reason and not be restricted by a convention.
  • The Subtitles and the Standard disambiguation sections are contradictory. From the Subtitles section it seems more common to use the last name of the author as a disambiguation method.

Respectfully, Stefán Ingi 14:35, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I updated, trying to take account of your suggestions - not always literally, but have a look at the updated version, maybe, and see whether you'd like it better.
Only re. your fourth remark, I didn't do anything with it, as you obviously misread Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#When title version "best known in English" can't be determined. Please don't deform the text as it is proposed, making an argument about something that isn't there. --Francis Schonken 10:22, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to have been much structured discussion about the title of Dao De Jing at Talk:Tao Te Ching#Name change for article and it seems that there were two people for Dao De Jing and two people for Tao Te Ching. I think it would be better if more people weighed in before we took it as an example in this convention. Would you object if I started a WP:RM for the book to see if more people would come and give their opinion? Stefán Ingi 11:20, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Of course I don't object to that (why would I?). Such vote would in all probability be concluded before this is turned from proposal into guideline anyhow, and if needed we modify the example if the vote would show something different than the present situation. --Francis Schonken 11:37, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
After reading further upon this, it seems that there is will to be consistent with the spelling of Dao/Tao. There is even an article on it: Daoism-Taoism Romanization issue. I don't want to suggest a series of moves of articles on a subject which I am not throughly familiar with. Rather I suggest we link to the relevant article and write something like

However, in some cases, when a transcription or transliteration of a title, originally not in Latin alphabet, is better known or less ambiguous, that version of the title can be used. An example of this is Tao Te Ching which is used as a title rather than The Book of the Way and its Virtue or other possible translations. See Daoism-Taoism Romanization issue for the question on the two different forms Tao Te Ching and Dao De Jing.

Stefán Ingi 12:29, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Anyhow, the Tao Te Ching page name is not going to change anywhere soon, and since I don't think this guideline needs to expand on Daoism/Taoism issues, I chose a "much" shorter version for the example, for the time being. --Francis Schonken 12:40, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, this is much better. But I don't like the and/or thing, it isn't a word. See wiktionary:or#Conjunction for why it is not needed. Stefán Ingi 12:50, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
On that page "and/or" is defined as a synonym. I prefer to use that synonym in some cases (mostly, however, I write "or"). Matter of style, afaik not bound by rules. I've seen you change that some times before. There's no need to do that: if you write something, please do so in the style you prefer.
Further, wiktionary:or#Conjunction seems contradictory to wiktionary:and/or#Conjunction: (...) in other words, to indicate that "inclusive or" is meant where "or" alone might be taken to mean "exclusive or". - which I think more correct: "in five or six days" would never mean "in eleven days", so: "exclusive" or in that context. --Francis Schonken 13:19, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes. The non-word and/or is used to indicate that "inclusive or" is meant where "or" alone might be taken to mean "exclusive or". In the sentence "when a transcription or transliteration of a title is better known or less ambiguous" there is no question that an "inclusive or" is meant. Imagine someone coming along saying that a title which is both better known and less ambiguous does not fit into this exception. Anyway, I don't think there is any point to keep this argument going. I was going to say you would be free to revert it but I see that you already have. Stefán Ingi 11:21, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

"confusion" example[edit]

Someone added following example to the guideline proposal:

In other words, use Legalized Cannibalism in America (book) not Legalized Cannibalism in America.

I move it here for further discussion: I'd rather like to have a "real" example than a fictional example, especially as, for example, Stupid White Men is presently not at Stupid White Men (book):

  1. could someone name a real example?
  2. or do we think that Stupid White Men should be moved to Stupid White Men (book) (in which case a WP:RM should better be conducted)?

--Francis Schonken 07:41, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Nothing against Stupid White Men (book), but given the logistical issues, it may be easier to point to something that already exists. I recently made this move for exactly this reason. BYT 13:41, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
The edit history of The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism [1] shows some move warring on this book article, your last move yesterday was only the fifth of such revert moves. Maybe better put it to the test, by WP:RM, proper procedure, if we want to consider this as an example for this guideline? --Francis Schonken 14:12, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Fine -- could you introduce it, as I'm an interested party? BYT 14:15, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
From what I've understood from helping out at WP:RM, "(anything)" at the end of a title is required when there is need to distinguish between it and another article of the same name.
Well, that's what I understand of it anyway! --Lox (t,c) 18:29, 13 January 2006 (UTC)


--Francis Schonken 14:39, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Issue here is not whether the article will be mistaken for another article, but rather whether the book title describes a phenomenon that may be mistaken for the subject of an encyclopedia article, when in fact no one is writing an article on that topic.
Say someone wrote and published a fictional saga entitled Increased Longevity among Wikipedians -- we need a policy that instructs people to add "book" or "novel" to that article title, lest people believe that there is a demonstrated causal effect between long life and contributions to WP. BYT 19:41, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with BYT's views above on this, When the title of a work sounds like the the subject of an article, particuarly when the title is not well known (I don't suppose many paeople will confude A Midsummer Night's Dream with an article about sleep studies), then the qualifier should be added, even (perhaps especially) if there is no other articel at a simialr title from which the artilce about the book needs to be disabiguated. Indedd I would favor a move from Stupid White Men to Stupid White Men (book). DES (talk) 19:35, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree and quote jiy (twice!): "To reiterate, people have a brain and do not need to be spoonfed using naming hacks" and "Reflexive redirects are incorrect regardless of the concept in question" (source).
I cannot see how anyone could mistake the article Stupid White Men for anything other than the book Stupid White Men since it firstly follows the Manual of Style for titles (i.e. uses italics) and secondly has the phrase "is a book by Michael Moore" in the first line! I cannot see anyone mistaking said article for one that considers caucasians with below average intelligence! --Lox (t,c) 08:15, 17 January 2006 (UTC)


--Francis Schonken 08:48, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Title translations[edit]

I reworded the "Title translations" section a bit. I tried to keep the original intent of what was there, but just make the writing a bit more clear. --Elonka 02:01, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Possibly you're a native English speaker and I'm not, nonetheless I'm going to revert. Some comments:
  • "The following guidelines should be applied:" - rulecruft
  • "if there is a commonly-used English version of the title, and" - redundant repeat of "If the book is best known by an English title, use that version of the title" - the "and" also makes the last paragraph of the section less clear: the example (Ensaio sobre a Lucidez) had no "commonly-used English version of the title" from 2004 to 2005 (the two competing versions Lucidity and Essay on Lucidity were used nearly as often): the intent of the guideline is to recommend translation of the title nonetheless, while, on average, someone who understands English, would not necessarily understand Ensaio sobre a Lucidez. Similar for Alles went behalve een vent: there's no "commonly-used English version of the title", so I translated it myself: One gets used to anything, except a guy (in fact: I distilled it from several alternate translations I found on the internet). This is just application of WP:UE.
--Francis Schonken 10:16, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, I wasn't trying to change the intent, just the wording. As a native English speaker though, I do think that a couple parts are difficult to follow. What would be the best way to suggest a rewording? --Elonka 18:29, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Article title length[edit]

Wikipedia:Naming_conventions (technical restrictions)#Title length is currently the only restriction on article title length, describing an upper limit from the software. I believe it is inadequate, and that we should discourage really long titles for articles. For example:

It's been suggested that these titles need no shortening under Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#Subtitles as they do not technically have subtitles. I think the inclusion/exclusion of subtitles based on length considerations actually has a similar spirit, such as the existing recommendation

My main reasons are:

  • Shorter titles are easier and more natural to link to.
  • Long titles can take up several lines of the page, since they are displayed in such a large font.
  • Long titles adversely affect the formatting of categories when they are categorized with short titles. For example, this looks okay in my browsers, but this, this, and this do not.
    • On a related note, those categories then place undue weight on the prominent long titles.
  • Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) already advises that the full and proper title of an article's subject is not necessarily the best choice.

I don't have a simple solution in mind, but I think this guideline should list length as a consideration for article titles and offer advice on how to shorten titles. (Sorry for writing so much!) Melchoir 23:12, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Other examples where a long non-subtitle is and should be omitted: The Origin of Species, When the Pawn, Robinson Crusoe, An Essay on the Principle of Population, The Tale of Tsar Saltan (Rimsky-Korsakov), Joseph Andrews, Table Alphabeticall... Melchoir 07:57, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe instead of theorizing, propose some alternatives:
Replies to your main reasons:
  • Shorter titles are easier and more natural to link to.
Of course, this is general naming conventions principle. Sometimes a redirect might help for those page names where a viable "short" alternative has not yet been found, then use the redirect for linking. For instance, I always link William the Conqueror, without pipes, although the article name for that person is somewhat longer.
  • Long titles can take up several lines of the page, since they are displayed in such a large font.
Yeah, and? Was this an innuendo or is there a point somewhere?
  • Long titles adversely affect the formatting of categories when they are categorized with short titles. For example, this looks okay in my browsers, but this, this, and this do not.
    • On a related note, those categories then place undue weight on the prominent long titles.
The "undue weight" is quite nonsensical. soon we'll be accusing "short and powerful" titles to give undue weight, while as everyone knows (or should know...) in web usability research it has been shown legion times that the short stuff gets read, while the long stuff doesn't.
Agree that the long titles can be somewhat layout-disturbing in the Category pages. But can't see a *reason* there, other than: avoid subtitles wherever possible.
I wrote about half of the present content of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names), including Some [...] guidelines [...] might lead to article names that are rather "the most obvious" than strictly spoken "the most used", however I never read nor wrote what you allegedly cite...
Re. your newly added list of examples... I don't know what you're driving at... The Origin of Species is at The Origin of Species, it follows the books NC, etc... what is your problem? --Francis Schonken 08:19, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have explained the history here. See Talk:How Hedley Hopkins........ I thought the move on that one would be uncontroversial, but I was wrong, and I wound up in an argument over what is and isn't a subtitle, and a major theme was but that's the title, isn't it? I think the examples I've given show that common practice is already to abbreviate long titles, even when it's unclear if the dropped part is a subtitle. In order to inform future discussions, I think it would be helpful for this guideline to reflect and encourage the practice. Of course, I'm willing to try RM, but I don't want any article to be discussed in a vacuum.
As for your concerns:
  • Innuendo: perhaps I should have spelled out that multi-line titles are ugly.
  • Undue weight: I know it sounds nonsensical, but I'm serious. In Category:Documents of the Catholic Church, for example, we might as well have a flashing marquee around the problem title. I never would have even noticed Hedley Hopkins (and I wouldn't be on this talk page now) if it hadn't displayed itself so prominently. The short stuff may get read, but the in-your-face stuff gets clicked on.
  • WP:NC(CN): The "Examples" section in particular contrasts "common names" with "a more elaborate, more formal or more scientifically precise version". My point is that the "but it's the correct title" counter-argument conflicts with the spirit of that guideline.
  • My list of examples: The Origin of Species's full title is "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life", and the others are similar. The point is that we already often drop parts of titles other than the subtitle. I am not proposing a change from that practice; I would like to get it on the record.
As for what my problem is: believe it or not, I am here to build a consensus in an area where I think people will agree with me. I am not as experienced as yourself in the policy sphere; your tone could be a little more encouraging. Melchoir 09:13, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Re. Talk:How Hedley Hopkins Did a Dare: sorry, I don't see a WP:RM there yet. If you get caught in "an argument over what is and isn't a subtitle" the easiest way to get out of that may be to conduct a WP:RM. I suggested a WP:RM specifically because it's not *mathematically* clear where the subtitle begins, so ask some other wikipedians outside the small circle now discussing on that talk page. WP:RM is a standard option in such case. If you do start it, and I am aware the WP:RM is going on, I'd support a move to How Hedley Hopkins Did a Dare. But don't go bazurk if the WP:RM does not lead to a change of title. Anyway, I see no reason to change the present recommendations of NC(books): it says to split off the subtitle. If it's not clear where the subtitle actually starts, revert to standard proceedings (e.g. WP:RM, but an RfC might be possible too although a bit less standard for changes of article names); if the result of such proceeding is to keep the full name: the technology allows it up to a quite long length.
  • Re. The "Examples" section in particular contrasts "common names" with "a more elaborate, more formal or more scientifically precise version" - I bolded common names in that sentence, to show you where your interpretation may be a bit flawed: the WP:NC(CN) indeed advises that the full and proper title of an article's subject is not necessarily the best choice, but only if it can be replaced by a more common name. So if you can indicate me a more common name for Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders I'd be very glad to move that page to that more common name. So, also here, no need to "re-arrange" or "rewrite" nor NC(CN) nor NC(books) as far as I'm concerned. I'd specifically avoid to *construct* short article names for which there is no evidence that they're widely used (which would create a WP:V problem: now WP:V is official policy, so I would not tamper with that by a guideline rewrite, as an additional argument not to change NC(CN) or NC(books) in this sense).
  • Re. what gets most easily clicked: in another category Sex and the City might probably be the most often clicked title, but in that case not for how "long" the title is, but for the short word consisting of three letters that starts that title... Sorry, wikipedia does not "control" how authors name their writings and movies (that would be even worse than OR) - so unless there is verifiably a more common name that is used to indicate that book or film, its original title (without subtitle apart from a short subtitle that serves disambiguation) is preferably used.
  • The Origin of Species is as much "on the record" as Social Contract (Rousseau), or the Russell book, it's just another example: really, I oppose to creating non-issues. For clarity I'll add the The Origin of Species to the list of "subtitle truncation" examples. --Francis Schonken 10:19, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Comment: I agree that these article titles should be shortened in most cases-- especially because the wikimedia software can't perform moves or let you click what links here(try it if you don't believe me, on that j and silent bob long title article). However, how would your proposed policy aim to deal with articles that are just an extremely long word(theres some volcano called asjdoiasjdoiasjdoiasjsasdasdasdasdasdassdasjdoiasjdoiasjdoiasjsasdasdasdasdasdassdasjdoiasjdoiasjdoiasjsasdasdasdasdasdassdasjdoiasjdoiasjdoiasjsasdasdasdasdasdassd or something crazy like would your proposed policy deal with that?--Urthogie 11:08, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Interesting, however,


Not problematic; even Tetaumatawhakatangihangakoauaotamateaurehaeaturipukapihimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu has no problematic "what links here": [5]

[6] [7]--Urthogie 12:04, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

As I said, thus far only the video game mentioned above appears to have the technical glitch. Please report to developers (if this hasn't been done before). Anyway, as I already said above too, I'd support the page to be moved to Dante And Randal And Jay And Silent Bob And A Bunch Of New Characters And Lando, Take Part In A Whole Bunch Of Movie Parodies, which I suppose not to be technically problematic. --Francis Schonken 12:24, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
So, what's wrong with longer article title lengths? Redirects are easy. List a book by what its actual title is, whatever that title might be, then put in short redirects. If that tends to create double redirects, who cares, they're relatively cheap and we encourage the ever nebulous "accuracy", especially for works in which the full title really is the full title. Banaticus (talk) 09:52, 5 February 2011 (UTC)


In the Oxford English Dictionary, the only use of the letter "e" as a prefix meaning "electronic" is for "email", all lower case. Knowing the OED, and knowing that we don't capitalize Book (or Tape or Download or any other adjective or noun as a generic format), I am nearly positive that the standard spelling is, or will eventually be, ebook. Can we work this into the naming conventions somewhere? Her Pegship 17:46, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi peg, I've seen the discussion at WP:VPP#Format of the word "ebook" too (and was thinking about this NC guideline straight away, while it uses the concept). As, however, the issue seems undetermined at the VPP page, I decided to do nothing yet. Please inform us if a consensus would've been reached somewhere. --Francis Schonken 21:22, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
It shouldn't be Ebook or eBook - irregular capitalisation.--Runcorn 22:30, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Since Her Pegship has goaded me into action <g> (elsewhere), let me limit my comments here to the obvious. If the issue is to be settled by a consensus vote, then the appropriate place for that vote would be in the eponymus 'flagship' article talk (evidence starts here (talk:ebook)), where said naming debate is indeed the sole thing currently under discussion—at least in that place, all arguements can be marshalled in a common pool of data and arguement. A guideline here should of course reflect that outcome, so please fork your attention to that page as well. I'll be posting a notice for general information on another section of the pump as well. Thanks, // FrankB 02:29, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Need for change?[edit]

Considering the issues raised at Talk:Polish_Biographical_Dictionary#Search_hits_in_Google_Books_and_JSTOR, I think the part about translations needs to be revised, as it apparently is not streamlined enough to be a proper guideline just yet.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:26, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Use original name or english disambig for a translated novel?[edit]

Case: Głos pana, translated into English as His Master's Voice, but His Master's Voice seems to refer to HMV (I changed it from redirect into disambig). Should the novel be moved to His Master's Voice (novel) or stay at it's Polish title?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 15:31, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd recommend either His Master's Voice (novel) or maybe His Master's Voice (Stanisław Lem novel) or His Master's Voice (1983). That's how movies of the same title tend to get disambiguated. --Elonka 19:43, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
His Master's Voice (novel) makes most sence - there are no novels do disambig about, and the year is different for pl edition and various en editions.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 02:18, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I'd keep it at Głos pana, its Polish title, because it is a Polish book. Similarly, I'd expect La bohème to be at La bohème since that is its title. An English translation could only approximate the meaning in the original language. --Oldak Quill 00:08, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
The book has been translated into English as His Master's Voice. Check here for the Amazon listing: [8]. --Elonka 00:32, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Notability criteria[edit]

Historical discussion[edit]

The notability section of the project page is linked through wikipedia:notability as providing our criteria for book notability, and though not a policy page, is highly cited in arguments for and against deletion. The section is very incomplete and as it stands allows patently not-notable vanity publishing house books and the like to ostensibly meet criteria for inclusion. In fact, most Publish America books (I think all) and similar ilk have ISBN numbers and are catalogued by the library of congress. For an example of the use (or misuse) of these criteria, see, e.g., Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/America Deceived. I propose the following replacement of the last two paragraphs of the referenced section as a minimal start to providing more trenchant standards:

Books should have at a minimum an ISBN-number and/or availability in a couple dozen of libraries and/or a Project Gutenberg type website, and with a notability above that of an average cookbook or programmers to qualify.
However, note that many self/vanity press published books that are manifestly not-notable are assigned ISBN numbers, are catalogued by the library of congress and may be listed and excerpted by google books. Additionally, if a an article on a book can only survive if a "(book)" qualifier, not needed for disambiguation, is added to the page name, this might indicate there is a problem with the notability, in Wikipedia context, of that book.

And something should be done about the utterly vague statement in the middle paragraph, "Nonetheless there is no dictum against any book that is reasonably spread" (emphasis supplied).--Fuhghettaboutit 19:33, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Maybe a better idea: why don't you start Wikipedia:Notability (books)? I'd rather make a link to that once it's finished & accepted after proper discussion, and remove the whole notability paragraph here (really, this is a naming conventions guideline, and it is probably too over the edge to have notability elaborated here)
Note that there is a template where such new proposal can be listed, and that can be used on the proposal page to quick-link to all other notability guidelines and proposals: Template:Notabilityguide --Francis Schonken 20:31, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm all for starting the WP:Notability (books) page. I actually have recently started one for hotels and this is starting to generate some discussion. In the meantime, I think changing the wording of the Naming conventions page is quite important. Actually, why don't we do this? I'll start the page right away in some very primitive form and you can change the notability paragraph to what was suggested by Fuhghettaboutit and link to the proposed books guidelines. Pascal.Tesson 23:53, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

I've been working on it for the last hour or so. It's in my subpage here (very rough as yet) User talk:Fuhghettaboutit/subpage/sandbox--Fuhghettaboutit 00:10, 1 July 2006 (UTC).
The referenced proposal is now posted here.--Fuhghettaboutit 15:46, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


There is a draft, and contentious, WP:Notability (books). The notability section in the present article is simply an attempt (whether recent or historical is irrelevant) to sneak M:deletionist viewpoints into an otherwise noncontroversial Guideline on book naming conventions. This is the kind of pork-barrel stuff that the corrupt US Congress pulls, and is not suitable for consensus building on Wikipedia. The books notability draft covers everything to bogus notability section did in here, so I am removing it here as inapprorpriate and not relfective of actual consensus, and as an irrelevant off-topic insertion in the naming convention article. The original commentator on this thread is right - people have been citing this article as authoritative on NN with regard to books, which is it not, and it is even listed as an official Guideline on book notability in the sidebar on the general WP:NN essay page, which again it is not (or there would be not draft guideline on the topic; q.e.d.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 12:21, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I reverted Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#Note on notability criteria to the version that had consensus when this became a guideline about half a year ago. There was nothing sneaky about it. Calling that version "deletionist" is an unfounded accusation.

Wikipedia:Notability (books) is a *proposal* and not a guideline. It may never become a guideline. It may be quite different before it becomes a guideline. But currently it is *not* a guideline.

You reverted the *consensus* version of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#Note on notability criteria to the version you had proposed earlier today. That version of yours is not consensus, and you knew that when you reverted. For guidelines one needs a new consensus for major changes. Yours was a major change. It had no consensus. So I'm going to post you an appropriate warning on your user page, and then revert the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#Note on notability criteria section to the version that had consensus when this became a guideline about half a year ago.

You're welcome to discuss other versions of that section (whether that be a temporary version until Wikipedia:Notability (books) becomes guideline or a more permanent solution) here on this talk page. But consensus is needed before it can be moved to the guideline page. --Francis Schonken 16:17, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Out of plain curiosity, I'd like to see evidence of that, specifically that the passage in question was present and substantively identical to its current wording at the pont of transition from a draft Guideline on book naming conventions to a non-draft one. But it's a moot point. It is almost ludicrously inappropriate for a non-controversial guideline on naming conventions to have a totally off-topic rider in it that attempts to set a guideline in one of the most hotly-debate spheres of Wikipedia, namely "notability". If this rider was present in the original draft naming convention for books, it is entirely possible that the only reason it survived is precisely because it was a hidden rider - few who would have any reason to object would ever notice it and weigh in. If it ever represented any form of consensus at all it was only a consensus among people who a) care about book naming conventions, and (not or) b) either support the vague notability rider, didn't notice it or didn't care either way. Ergo it it not a real Wikipedia consensus at all. But even this is moot. The existence of an active push to develop Wikipedia:Notability (books) demonstrates that there is in fact no consensus at all, period, that the notability rider in the naming article is valid. If it remains, I'm taking this to arbitration, because I believe the presence of the rider to be deceptive and an abuse of the Policy/Guideline formulation process and consensus mechanism. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 16:25, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
--Francis Schonken 16:40, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
[Below is in part a response originally posted on my Talk page; I don't feel there's any point in retyping it all here manually, I've expanded on it more here, and I think the debate is more important here than in User_talk.}
Thanks for the history links. But as I said, I think this is a moot point.
Regarding the "Warning" ("You reverted..." above): Cute, but a total misdirection (as to at least three claims: of consensus, my tacit agreement that consensus existed, and new edit not reflecting consensus; and possibly a forth, as to edit scope.) I do in fact dipute, in more than one way, that the section in question represents any meaningful consensus, for reasons already stated and evidenced. I contend that it is someone's "pet" section and removable as such; that it is an off-topic insertion and thus subject to removal on other grounds; and that even if it had some merit at one point it has been superceded by the current Wikipedian editors' consensus on this topic (which is that the topic needs a Guideline, period, so one has been started as a Proposal; notably it is not a consensus that the rider needs editing and improvement; rather it is being replaced, to the extent its existence has even been acknowledged. To continue, I further assert that removing the rider would in fact be a consensus move. Wikipedia:Notability (books) would not be well on the way to becoming a Guideline if there were any consensus that the off-topic notability rider in the naming guideline already had any consensus support whatsoever. It is very notable that no one has proposed a section merger or in any other way addressed the rider as valid or worth even thinking about. It is simply being ignored. And I assert further that it is at least questionable whether it is a "major edit" to remove a small section that is more adequately covered by another article (whether that article is considered "finished" or not) that has a lot more editorial activity and interest, and replace the redundant section it with a cross-reference to the latter, as I did.
The fact that no one has even touched the rider at all since Jan. strongly supports my points that a) virtually no one who cares about notability of books is aware of it, got to debate its inclusion, or even considers it worth working on or authoritative in any way, because the topic of how to define book notability is generating quite a bit of activity on the other article; and therefore b) it reflects no consensus on the topic of book notability, period. Which is what one would expect, given that it's buried at the bottom of an article about spelling! I also dispute the notion that an approved Guideline on [Topic A] is also an approved Guideline on unrelated [Topic B] just because it happens to mentione some ideas relating to how to deal with [Topic B]. If you are aware of another example, I'd love to see it.
I am not going to re-re-re-revert the edit again (assuming it's been re-re-reverted by you; I haven't looked). I re-reverted it the first time because your revert did not justify itself. Your discussion here does that now, and we have an on-going disagreement. I have no interest in back-and-forth editwarring (much less vandalism!) However, because this isn't just a Wikipedia article, but a meta-Wikipedia article claiming to represent actionable Guideline consensus, I do feel strongly about the issue and am not going to just drop it. I may go the arbitration route or the AfD route (not for the whole article of course! I think it's quite good otherwise, and am strongly supportive of nomenclatural conventions - I'm working on a draft one myself). I find it misguided and unacceptable to hide (meaning "bury or obfuscate" not "furtively keep from view for deceitful purposes") important and likely controversial would-be-Guidelines inside non-controversial ones, and frankly I find it completely implausible for numerous reasons I've already covered that this "parasite" section does actually represent any consensus at all, whatever the value and acceptance its "host" Guideline has.
PS: I am not a rabid inclusionist - I've done 2 successful AfDs this week, and have two {{prod}}'s in progress, an exclusionist but not deletionist activity - I simply lean toward eventualism when it comes to determining encyclopedic merit, and I share a lot of the broad concern regarding NN and its abuses. However (to respond to "unfounded accusation" above), I think it is reasonable to say that the NN concept and its progeny (the subject-specific notability criteria, whose categorization and sidebar template I even bothered to improve today!) is necessarily a deletionist endeavor, by definition (namely the definition of "deletionism" just linked to), without implying "deletionist fanaticism" or anything. As to the word "sneaky", I stand by it, without imputing motives. The use of riders in any form of rule-making to gain passage/tacit acceptance of something controversial or even simply under-debated, by attaching it to something well-supported, non-controversial, or even simply dull and unwatched, seems to me to fall well within several definitions of "sneaky" (paraphrased from a few different dictionaries I just checked: "stealthy", "difficult for adversaries to catch", and "deceptive", among other definitions that do not imply negative intent like "furtive", "shifty" or "deceitful"). Riders are a sneaky tool, just as a gun is a dangerous tool, and I don't confuse a tool with its user (e.g. *"If you use a gun you are dangerous"), nor make any value or other judgements about the user (other than perhaps that they don't understand the abusive potential of the tool at hand, in some cases, and may not wish to acknowledge that it exists or that it applies in the instance or context under discussion.)
SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 18:08, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Hoisted by it's own petard: "Although not the topic of this guideline..." - the Rider explicitly admits that it is not part of the Guideline that was made official by consensus. Ergo it is not a Guideline itself, after all. End of story. This obliterates the principal objection to its removal (that it IS a guideline and that the proposal on the topic isn't yet and may never be - turns out the same is true of the rider!) Under WP:MM, removing it was perfectly appropriate as everything it covers is already covered under the new proposal - the section and article already ARE merged. This is very strongly supported here on this talk page; see #Historical discussion above: "not a policy page", a view never questioned by anyone here, ergo a consensus viewpoint that in fact the rider is not authoritative/actionable (and a conclusion ironically arrived at by way of a deletionist argument. :-) See also "it is probably too over the edge to have notability elaborated here" in same subsection. Clearly a lack of consensus on the appropriateness of this passage (see previous debate today - this supports my contention that the rider is not in fact a consensus passage at all). And, again from same source above, see also "rather make a link to [the replacement proposal] once it's finished & accepted after proper discussion, and remove the whole notability paragraph here": demonstrates clear intent (never challeged) to perform the merge that is demonstrated above to already be complete; implies that heretofore there has been a lack of proper discussion, one of the points I've been reiterating; and more importantly for the present point, indicates a plan of action to get rid of the rider in response to already-expressed concerns that it doesn't belong here, isn't a real Guideline, and is poorly constructed. This was followed up with "The referenced proposal is now posted here". The only quibble inherent in this entire exchange is "finished and accepted [as an official Guideline]", but as shown already the rider itself is not "finished and accepted" - it says itself that it is not actually [part of] a Guideline, and this article's own editors say the same thing and complain further that it is incomplete and of poor quality; the very genesis of the new proposal idea. There is no valid concern of replacing an active guideline with a draft one, since the idea that the rider was ever an active guideline is a fantasy disclaimed by the rider's own language, and supported by this article's own editors' own overal consensus on the issue. Since the new proposal was launched, all discussion and interest in the rider has ceased (other than the reverted attempt to delete it.) It has come full circle, and resisting my deletion edit is simply postponing the proper, consensus-intended and inevitable result of the ongoing process, on a quibble with no merit. So, in closing, there appears to be nothing left to bother discussing any further. The rider should be removed immediately. The prosecution now rests its case. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 18:44, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Notability - ISBN number[edit]

There has been some discussion on Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(books)#Concerns, regarding ISBN numbers as a notability criteria for books. Just about anything published these days has an ISBN number, even ordinary U.S. government publications such as the 108 page "Are You Ready?: A Guide to Citizen Preparedness by FEMA. It's silly to think that Wikipedia should have an article on such a publication. Thus, stating "books with an ISBN-number...would qualify" is counter Wikipedia principles of Wikipedia:Notability.

"Usually, books with an ISBN-number and/or availability in a couple dozen of libraries and/or a Project Gutenberg type website, and with a notability above that of an average cookbook or programmers manual would qualify."

As such, I propose we cut that sentence out of the guidelines. --Aude (talk contribs as tagcloud) 16:06, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Proposal to remove the notability section[edit]

Given the discussion above, I am seeking some sort of consensus to remove the notability section of this guideline. I firmly believe that most would agree it is meaningless and the discussion on the current proposal WP:BK (although it has not reached consensus) certainly shows that the minimalistic criteria given here are way off the mark. Pascal.Tesson 07:56, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I think it would be wise to first settle whether or not the proposed guideline has consensus to become a formal guideline, or whether it is going to be rejected or go inactive. If it does get approved, then I'd agree that the notability section of this naming conventions page could be removed. --Elonka 22:48, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
There is certainly a consensus against having that little passage become a formal guideline; it has been surpassed completely by Wikipedia:Notability (books), and has been for many months. PS: I'm glad it was reworded as a wikilink to the guideline proposal as per the second proposal below. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:53, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm with Pascal on this. The wannabe notability guideline in here has NOTHING to do with book naming conventions and does not belong in a guideline on naming conventions. A book notability guideline as a legitimate, consensus-forged entity is already a separate, current and controversial topic in its own right, entirely independent of this "tacked on" thing in the naming convention guideline. This notability paragraph under naming conventions is, essentially, totally irrelevant. It is irrelevant to the current book notability guideline debate. It is irrelevant to people looking for book naming conventions. Just remove it. Elonka, your logic is rather backward. You appear to be saying that if the honest and wide consensus on book notability is that we don't need any such official guideline (that is if "it does get approved" doesn't happen), then the vestigial one lingering here in Book Naming Conventions out to be retained. That makes no sense at all. The one here should be removed immediately, regardless of the outcome of the effort to establish a real book notability guideline. The presense of a bogus one here is just entrenched political Deletionist b.s. It's the same sort of sneaky "rider legislation" tactic that the US Congress (among other parliamentary bodies) use to get ridiculous and self-serving porkbarrel legislation passed, by attaching it to something more popular that everyone will approve of without noticing the rider. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 22:57, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

What about semi-autobiographical novels?[edit]

I created Grave of the Fireflies (book) and then later realized that I didn't know what should be in the parentheses to disambiguate it from the popular animé film. Should it be "(book)" or "(novel)" or something else? --Iamunknown 03:18, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

  • I believe the most frequently used term is 'book'. >Radiant< 15:49, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Renewed proposal to remove or rewrite the notability section[edit]

The existence of that note is creating a lot of confusion in AfDs and is hampering discussion on the proposed WP:BK. I'd like to replace the section with the following:

Although not the topic of this guideline, the question has been asked whether every book deserves a separate Wikipedia article. For example, not every book somewhere cited in a references section of a Wikipedia article will necessarily get a separate wikipedia article for itself. This question has led to the proposal of a set of notability criteria for books whose precise form is still debated.
At the very least, any book being the subject of an article should be reasonably spread or otherwise well-known or remarkable. Ask yourself if several libraries or bookshops, or a no-subscription website have a copy of the book, so that other wikipedians can easily consult the book, or at least have access to on-line or press-published reviews of the book.

I think this is a more honest description of the current majority opinion: having an ISBN and being widely distributed is a threshold criterion for inclusion. The rest is still being debated and the section points to the place where this debate is taking place. Pascal.Tesson 16:10, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe that to be a good step forward. The notability section of the current article should actually just be excised as an irrelevant interpolation (no different from an out-of-place discussion of the Power Rangers in an article about physics). But for the time being I for one would probably drop the issue if the above text or something similar replaced (at least for a period, pending it's total removal) the current self-disclaiming wannabe book notability "guideline" attached to the legitimate book naming conventions guideline. This bogus tack-on is being cited far too often in AfDs as authoritative when it self-evidently is not. Above I've already decimated arguments for retaining this section, point by point, with no counter-argument, even after months. The section in question appears to have no remaining supporters. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 09:09, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Casing of foreign-language titles[edit]

_ _ There's been a dispute (now resolved, IMO incorrectly, via User talk:JJJJust#"Sexo, amor y otras perversiones and User talk:FateClub#RE: Sexo, amor y otras perversiones) over Sexo, amor y otras perversiones, based on (the presumably accurately asserted) Spanish convention. I would argue, per the emphasis on convenience of non-expert readers and principle of least astonishment that the only-first-word-upper convention is surprising and confusing, and should be limited to a mention like

(or rather Sexo, amor y otras perversiones, in line with Spanish casing conventions)

in the lead 'graph (in cases like this one, where the work's title is the article title, and within the sentence (or maybe first 'graph) of first mention, otherwise). Titles cited in English text should look like titles to native English-speakers, and also should assist comprehension by making clear to native English-speakers which words (possibly cognates as in this case) are major words of the title (e.g., don't waste much time wondering what "otras" (meaning "other", which should not necessarily be upcased in my preferred quasi-English rendering), let alone "y" (meaning "and"), means.)
_ _ Is this worth discussion in the guidelines?
_ _ While i'm on this page, shouldn't books, films, operas, paintings, statues, etc., be collected under a section for "Expressive works" (all the sorts of things that are subject to copyright), since their article-titling issues have so much in common? There should be

  1. a general discussion,
  2. two sections dealing with long works (books, films, plays, albums) and with short works (short stories, typical poems, songs), dealing with any principles that apply per size, and
  3. separate sections for issues that apply per specific formats/media.

For instance, the issue i raise in the preceding graphs should, i think, (no matter whether i'm right or wrong on it) apply to all expressive works and be placed in the general section accordingly.
--Jerzyt 01:44, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Remove line[edit]

"Although there are some extreme cases, for instance Herman Brusselmans' early 2006 short story would rather get The Dollarsigns in the Eyes of Mother Theresa (short story) as a page name, than without the qualifier." I think this line should be removed, I se no reason why this would be a qualified name, unless there is a well known play, poem or documentary of the same name. Rich Farmbrough, 07:55 22 April 2007 (GMT).

OK removed. Rich Farmbrough, 11:50 24 April 2007 (GMT).

Notability criteria nonsense[edit]

I added the "incoherent" tag because the phrase "any book being the subject of an article should be reasonably spread" is indeed incoherent. (If I "spread" a book, I open it up and lay it flat down on a table or similar flat surface.) I have a vague sense of what may be meant (well distributed or available in a number of countries, perhaps?), but not enough to make a clarifying edit myself. --jbmurray (talk|contribs) 03:55, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Conflicting book's title with the isseu itself[edit]

I believe should be included in this article an orientation to avoid create an article about a book, report or anything similar with a title that conflicts with the issue itself. For example, an article about a biography book titled "Smith John" could never have the title "Smith John", but "Smith John (book). Or a report about pollution in the world title "Pollution in the world" could not have the article's title "Pollution in the world", should be "Pollution in the world (report)". That, even though there isn't yet an article about that person or issue. That's necessary to avoid that an article about a book or report be misunderstood as an article about a person or issue - where readers expect a balanced article with more than one source and open for discussion and change.--ClaudioMB 16:29, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

There is a discussion as to whether the disambiguation term (book) should be appended to the IBM and the Holocaust article, which is an article about the book of the same name. The argument is that the article title could be misinterpreted to infer the article itself is about the subject of IBM and the Holocaust rather than the book of that name, so a disambiguation term would be appropriate. The opposing argument is that it goes against article naming guidelines since the article doesn't need to be technically disambiguated from any other article. Since a consensus for altering the title would result in breaching the naming guidelines I'd be grateful for some more impartial input at Talk:IBM_and_the_Holocaust#Reopening_the_naming_debate (please post your comments at the ongoing discussion rather than starting a new one here). Betty Logan (talk) 17:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

On the Origin of Species?[edit]

By an odd coincidence, an impulsive editor has moved The Origin of Species to On the Origin of Species. As it happens, "Darwin Online: On the Origin of Species". Retrieved 2007-11-22.  uses the "On the" title for all save the 6th edition, so from Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#When the title version "best known in English" can't be determined "try to determine which of the widely spread versions of the book in the English-speaking world was the most authoritative original (that is, the version that contributed most to the book's becoming known in the English-speaking world)" the "On the Origin of Species" version appears preferable. Oddly enough, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#Subtitles gives as an example "The Origin of Species, not On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, nor On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (see example →)" Please advise, preferably at Talk:On the Origin of Species#On the Origin of Species?. ... dave souza, talk 17:49, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Honestly I have always known it as "On the Origin of Species" and never heard of "The origin..." Also the photograph that is used on the page says "On ..." I think it is safe to say almost every college, university and high school uses "On ...". Britannica also uses "On ..." Either way, I do not have a strong feelings about this, but have never heard the name of the book without "On". I always remember it with "On" when I was in school. When was the "On" taken "Off"? And Why? Why did the history books and Britannica, etc. never take off the "on"?--Persianhistory2008 (talk) 07:06, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

"Title translations"[edit]

The Tao Te Ching might not be the best example due to the current transition between the Wade-Giles and Pinyin romanizations. SharkD (talk) 16:29, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Subtitles vs disambiguation titles[edit]

"Usually, a Wikipedia article on a book does not include its subtitle in the Wikipedia page name. The only exception to that is short titles, for disambiguation purposes."

While the above is correct, it doesn't exactly make a compelling case for using disambiguation-oriented titles instead of subtitles and, more importantly, is ambiguous insofar as it fails to define "short." For instance, the article title Collapse might be preferred over Collapse (book) or Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, but common sense, WP:BITE/WP:JARGON, readability, and basic professionalism say that the elongated title should almost always be preferred over the Disambiguated (Ugly) title. If we draw the line somewhere reasonable, and somewhere a bit further along than seems to be vaguely implied by the given examples, the end result would be a higher quality work. Would anyone have an objection to replacing the last sentence in the quote above with "The use of a subtitle in an article name is, however, preferred to disambiguation when the full title is short enough to be rendered on a single line", a sentence participle rather than a sentence, or some arbitrary number of words?

On a related note, the Social Contract example is needlessly complex, as well. While the complete title should suffice, and eliminate the need for piped links and redirects, The Social Contract seems obviously preferred, much like The Divine Comedy, mentioned later in the guideline.

MrZaiustalk 15:35, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Title translations on old (French, German) books[edit]

What is the policy on book titles within reference sections for old books? For example, many older scientific treatises are written by French or German scientists, and clearly the proper name of such reference would be in the respective language. I have run into an editor that thinks that these book titles should be replaced by English translations (in fact, machine translations, because he thinks they are "better" than the foreign-language titles). I don't mind if (proper) English translations are provided in addition as a courtesy to the reader, but what is the general view on this? Thanks, Nageh (talk) 18:15, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Disambiguating short story collections?[edit]

If the title of a collection shares its name with one of the stories then Title (short story) in itself is ambiguous, especially if there already is an article about the short story. I suppose "short stories", "short story collection" and "book" are all viable disambiguation terms, but is there a standard term? Betty Logan (talk) 16:05, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

There doesn't seem to be. In addition to the three you mention, I see "collection", "stories", and "story collection" all being used. My first choice would be to use a subtitle if there is one, but otherwise any of those would seem to do. Station1 (talk) 21:31, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

RFC – WP title decision practice[edit]

Over the past several months there has been contentious debate over aspects of WP:Article Titles policy. That contentiousness has led to efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of the policy and associated processes. An RFC entitled: Wikipedia talk:Article titles/RFC-Article title decision practice has been initiated to assess the communities’ understanding of our title decision making policy. As a project that has created or influenced subject specific naming conventions, participants in this project are encouraged to review and participate in the RFC.--Mike Cline (talk) 16:54, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Italicistion of book series title The Flashman Papers[edit]

Anyone have anything to add here? --Rob Sinden (talk) 14:33, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Italicising small poem names and WP:NCBOOKS[edit]

I started a conversation regarding our policy on poem titles--NCBOOKS says to italicise poem titles, the major style guides say quotation marks, the reliable sources cited at these articles don't italicise, and almost none of the poem articles on Wikipedia comply with NCBOOKs. So what gives? Join the conversation at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Italicising small poem names and WP:NCBOOKS.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:27, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Discussion re (surname book) only?[edit]

Is this surnames-only guideline really appropriate to little known authors? The Social Animal (David Brooks book), The Social Animal (Elliot Aronson book) etc. It's one thing "Orwell" or "Asimov", but these are authors not known by a mononym? Please see Talk:The Satanist (Dennis Wheatley novel). In ictu oculi (talk) 07:53, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

  • I don't have a problem with this guideline in general, but I'm not sure how well it applies for cultures with inverted name order. Should Flame (South Korean novel) by Flame (Seonu novel)? --BDD (talk) 00:59, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
  • It occurs to me as a librarian that surnames are probably given such importance here because they are in the real world of books as well. At least in the Anglosphere, the most important identifying aspects of a book are its title and author name, and the latter is almost always written surname first. Author surnames determine Cutter numbers, which affect how books are placed in at least the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classification systems. In turn, books in those systems are ordered by those surnames (more precisely, their Cutter numbers) within each classification number. And of course, some libraries forgo classification systems and just sort all or some of their collection by author surname—in the US, at least, this is a common practice in public libraries for fiction. IIO mentioned in a related discussion that we don't title music articles this way, i.e., The River (Springsteen album). Again, I think this reflects real-world naming and classification. When I want to listen to Bruce Springsteen on my iPod, I navigate to B, not S. And unless you rewrite personal names in inverted order (e.g., Springsteen, Bruce) or really hack iTunes metadata, it's always going to be that way. --BDD (talk) 17:34, 11 February 2014 (UTC)


I generally approve of WP:SUBTITLE, but is it the best guidance when the short title needs disambiguation anyway? For one example, WP:SUBTITLE supports the current title of Jury Nullification (book), but WP:NATURAL would give us Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine. How short does a subtitle have to be to fit the former's standard of "short titles, for disambiguation purposes"? --BDD (talk) 21:23, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I find the section WP:SUBTITLE to be rather unclear. What is meant by The only exception to that is short titles, for disambiguation purposes.? Is this guidance intended to AVOID use of qualifiers such as "(book)" or "(novel)" when there is a subtitle? Or does short mean a subtitle can be used for disambiguation if the title is not overly long? The reason I raise this is a number of recent moves by Good Olfactory. Which of the following pairs are better article titles under this guideline?
And there are more, but that should be enough for discussion. olderwiser 23:12, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment. My understanding has always been that for books, if we need to disambiguate, step 1 is to use the subtitle, if any. Only if the name with the subtitle remains ambiguous do we move to step 2, which is to add "(book)" or a similar parenthetical. This approach seems to be in accordance with WP:NATURAL. Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:14, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Does that presume that the books with the subtitles are a more common name or that they are somehow more recognizable than the short name? I wonder if Francis Schonken might enlighten us as to what he intended when he wrote the guideline. I find it very confusing to have a statement such as Usually, a Wikipedia article on a book (or other medium, such as a movie, TV special or video game) does not include its subtitle in the Wikipedia page name followed by a statement describing what may be a narrow exception, especially when there is an entire section describing of parenthetical qualifiers as standard disambiguation. Note also that Wikipedia:Naming conventions (films) and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (television) make no similar mention of use of subtitles vs. parentheticals for disambiguation. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (video games) does mention the use of subtitles for disambiguation. olderwiser 23:45, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
  • It might; though I don't know if a generalization can be made in this respect that would apply to all situations. But to me, given the number of articles that are affected, it makes more sense to have a standard convention that is relatively easy to apply and to follow it rather than adopting a case-by-case method. Good Ol’factory (talk) 02:43, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
  • A page that I very recently ran through DYK was just the victim - or perhaps beneficiary - of one of Good Olfactory's very recent moves. If we can, I'd be in favor of some sort of character-count-based cutoff rule of thumb if a title needs disambiguation. For example, we could say: If title+subtitle is <40 characters, then use subtitle for disambiguation. Otherwise, use "(book)" for disambiguation (unless that too gives >40 characters). That's a straightforward, cut-and-dry guideline, and it would avoid the ridiculously long page names in older/wiser's examples, which to me would be preferable. My gut says: Just as very lengthy book titles are listed in reference lists, people are sometimes called by their social security numbers -- but that doesn't mean we need to use either of those for a page name. --Presearch (talk) 05:38, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I hope that the note for use of subtitles on short book titles is a nod to WP:COMMONNAME; that is, that "Orlando: A Biography" is the way that that book is most commonly referred to in reliable sources. So, the rule could be rewritten "The exceptions to that are (a) where the subtitle is part of the common name or (b) for disambiguation purposes. But if the subtitle make the article title unwieldy, standard disambiguation should be used instead." -- JHunterJ (talk) 11:16, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree. This isn't something that we can (or should) make a firm and fast (one size-fits-all) "rule" about. Its a judgement call. How best to entitle an article about a book (or any other topic) depends on balancing the various criteria stated in the policy against eac hother... and the end result will be different from one book to another. The important thing is to come up with an article title that a) clearly identifies the topic (a book), and b) can not be confused with some other topic. When it comes to articles about books, in some cases the best way to achieve this will be to include the subtitle of the book in our article title... in other cases it will be to use a parenthetical disambiguation. There is no "right" way to do it... and no "wrong" way to do it. And the "best" way to do it will be different from one book to another. Blueboar (talk) 13:20, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I think this suggestion is closest to the spirit of the guideline. I also don't think the existing wording was unclear—all of the shorter versions of the titles above are the books' common names. czar  12:57, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment. So ... given this discussion (and I think probably everyone is in general agreement)—if anyone thinks any of the new subtitled names are "unwieldy", just let me know and I can revert the move. Or you can revert it without me being upset. I've already reversed a few of them that are obviously unwieldy. Good Ol’factory (talk) 07:09, 23 April 2014 (UTC) (I've now reverted all the changes I made under my apparent misunderstanding (or the bad writing of, or whatever) of the guideline. Good Ol’factory (talk) 01:03, 25 April 2014 (UTC))
Comment: Clearly, recent unilateral page moves with zero prior discussion on their respective talk pages is controversial, per above discussion. An easy way to mitigate this would be to attempt to have polite discussion on the article talk pages, before making such rapid page moves in quick succession without discussion. — Cirt (talk) 07:15, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, it was an implementation of the guideline as written. I think this discussion has clarified that the guideline needs a slight tweaking. Good Ol’factory (talk) 07:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I think this discussion has clarified that unilateral page moves in rapid succession without prior discussion on their article talk pages, can be potentially controversial as a general practice. — Cirt (talk) 07:18, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
You know, sometimes the best strategy to get guidelines seriously examined and actively discussed by other users is—ironically enough—to implement the guideline. Some users may not be comfortable with that fact, but it's a tried and true approach that many editors use. Good Ol’factory (talk) 08:23, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for calling my thoughts:

I propose to change "The only exception to that is short titles, for disambiguation purposes" to "The only exception to that is short page titles, for disambiguation purposes". The meaning of short can be qualified to avoid further ambiguity as far as I'm concerned. Then I'd say a page title exceeding ten medium sized words can no longer be called short in the sense of this guideline. And then still, I rather think of no more than five words as being short in this case.

Clarifying how come "Usually, a Wikipedia article on a book (or other medium, such as a movie, TV special or video game) does not include its subtitle in the Wikipedia page name" was included in the guideline: this was common practice at the time. I think it all derives from the "common names" idea: quoting subtitles is not all that common when referring to a book. I suppose the principle is still valid.

For the record Orlando: A Biography is not a common name, that's why it's an "exception". The common name for that book is Orlando (Orlando has of course many, many meanings). Why the exception makes sense is further explained in Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books)#Precision. The exception to the common names principle is, in this case, justified by the precision principle.

Re: "My understanding has always been that for books, if we need to disambiguate, step 1 is to use the subtitle, if any. Only if the name with the subtitle remains ambiguous do we move to step 2, which is to add "(book)" or a similar parenthetical.": Incorrect understanding, these are not the steps proposed in the guideline. Use of subtitles is uncommon, and thus generally discouraged for the main article page, with a single limited exception.

Francis Schonken (talk) 10:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Re: "My understanding has always been ..." The entire guideline as a whole (ie, not just the section on subtitles) can be read that way, however. That may not have been the intent of those who wrote it; it may just have that meaning due to careless wordings. Good Ol’factory (talk) 10:26, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Now I see, the lead paragraph has been written so that it does not reflect (nor even summarize) the content of the guideline. Francis Schonken (talk) 10:36, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree and do think that's better; we were getting various versions of the lead that could be read as offering slightly different advice than the subsections set out. For now, I think it's worthwhile sorting out what the subsections mean before we have a summary section at the top. Good Ol’factory (talk) 10:43, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment: I like the full titles better than the disambiguations. The full titles are encyclopedic. For example, Library of Congress doesn't do this silly disambiguation thingy process. — Cirt (talk) 14:41, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
    • Full names for books are important to use in a library catalogue system. It's not as important in an encyclopedia when we're deciding on the name of the article. The full name should always be included in the text of the article, though. Good Ol’factory (talk) 15:15, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
    (after ec) The Library of Congress also doesn't have a technical limitation against entries sharing a title. -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:16, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
    I think it's unlikely two entries would share the same exact title, and the same subtitle. — Cirt (talk) 17:05, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
    I prefer Francis Schonken's resolution of the 4 or 5 examples above, which generally involve using something like "(book)" to disambiguate, rather than a lengthy subtitle. I guess that diagnoses me as leaning on the side of WP:COMMONNAME, with the corresponding clarification of the guideline. Using lengthy subtitles when something clearer and shorter is ready-to-hand, and consistent with WP principles, just seems needlessly windy, perhaps even verging on pompous, or at least somewhat stilted. Wikipedia has it's own distinctive approach and logic - we want to be accurate and deliver high-quality information in good time (i.e., easy and rapid to find), but need not unnecessarily be Brittanica or LOC wannabes, in my opinion. -- Presearch (talk) 23:46, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
    It's not at all unlikely that two entries would share the same exact title, particularly if they lack a subtitle. How about "Acceptable Losses: A Novel" by Edra Ziesk and "Acceptable Losses: A Novel" by Irwin Shaw? -- JHunterJ (talk) 00:47, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Anyway WP:CONCISE appears to be the applicable policy principle here. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:00, 13 May 2014 (UTC)


I think that it would be beneficial to add a section to this page to set out guidelines for naming bibliography articles. Consistency is one of the five pillars of a good Wikipedia article title, and the lack of a guideline for these articles has led to inconsistent title formats, which I would argue is confusing to readers. By far the most common title format currently used for bibliography articles is "Jane Doe bibliography" (ex. George Orwell bibliography). Other title formats that have come into use include "List of Jane Doe works" (ex. List of Maya Angelou works), "List of works by Jane Doe" (ex. List of works by Chairil Anwar), "List of works of Jane Doe" (ex. List of works of William Gibson), "Bibliography of Jane Doe" (ex. Bibliography of Whittaker Chambers), "Works of Jane Doe" (ex. Works of Demosthenes), "Works by Jane Doe" (ex. Works by Fran Levstik), and "List of books by Jane Doe" (ex. List of books by Jacob Neusner). At present, these title formats are used fairly randomly, except for the fact that the "Jane Doe bibliography" format is used in the vast majority of cases (as can be seen by a review of Category:Bibliographies by writer), and that the word "works" tends to be preferred in the title when the list includes non-literary works. So that there will be more consistency in how these articles are named, I propose that the following section be added to this guideline:

Articles that serve to list the literary works written by an individual writer should have a title that starts with the writer's name and ends with the word "bibliography" (ex. George Orwell bibliography, Fyodor Dostoyevsky bibliography). Literary works include non-fiction books, novels, plays, poetry, short stories, articles, speeches, sermons, letters, screenplays, and song lyrics. If the list includes creative works that are not literary works, then the word "bibliography" does not have a broad enough definition to encompass the entire list and therefore the title should read "List of works by" and then the name of the individual (ex. List of works of William Gibson, which includes both a bibliography and an acting filmography). Non-literary works include filmography (other than screenwriting), discography (other than songwriting), visual art, dance, and architecture. Articles that serve to list the literary works written by different writers about a particular subject should have a title that starts with "Bibliography of" and ends with the name of the subject (ex. Bibliography of early American naval history), even when that subject is a person (ex. Bibliography of Abraham Lincoln).

I think that "Jane Doe bibliography" is the best title format for bibliographies by writer because 1) it is already the most well-established title format for these articles, 2) it is consistent with the standard title format for filmographies and discographies, 3) it is concise, and 4) it unambiguous and its meaning is clear. For articles that are not solely bibliographies, filmographies, or discographies, but are rather combinations of these or combinations with visual art, I recommend "List of works by Jane Doe" simply because it is more inclusive; this format is less concise and its meaning is less clear than "Jane Doe bibliography", "Jane Doe filmography", or "Jane Doe discography", so I suggest using the "List of works by Jane Doe" only when one of the other title formats are insufficient. The guideline I am proposing is consistent with standard practice already; I simply think that it would be wise to have a guideline on the subject so that it can be referenced when dealing with the minority of articles that do not already conform to this practice. Neelix (talk) 14:37, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

I have notified the relevant WikiProjects of this proposal. No one has opposed the proposal, so I have added the section to the guideline per the above. Neelix (talk) 17:48, 25 June 2014 (UTC)