I've recently came upon two issues regarding work names.

1 - I've recently added this book: https://books.discogs.com/book/708901-na-szczytach-rozpaczy by Romanian author, who also published in French. It was originally issued under romanian original title Pe culmile disperării in 1934. The polish translated copy I have says it was reprinted in 1990 under french title Sur les cimes du desespoir and that this french reissue is the basis of translation. I've added it into notes, but later user thethrowback edited it to original romanian title. But in my copy under "original title" there's French title.

Guideline says "The Work should be entered under the original title in the original language in which it was published."
So am I to assume that even if there's original title printed in the book itself, which for various reasons (like mentioned above - another version was the basis of translation) can be different to the "real" original title, I still have to use the very first original title?

2 - slighlty different situatuon, just added another polish book by french author. Original title inside says Les aventures de Gil Blas de Santillane, which as far as I understand it (I don't know French at all) says "Adventures of Gil Blas", but I couldn't confirm that title online. What I found on Wikipedia is L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil_Blas).
Again - should I change it? What if I am not even aware about the problem - I could just add the title as stated in the book itself, not knowing it's not really the original one. Are people who would probably change it in the future justified in that edit?

Sorry for such trivial problems, but I'd really like to dispel my doubts. :)

So am I to assume that even if there's original title printed in the book itself, which for various reasons (like mentioned above - another version was the basis of translation) can be different to the "real" original title, I still have to use the very first original title?

Tbh, I don't know. I usually enter the source language/title as given on the book (minus obvious spelling issues), and then explain any discrepancies and issues in the Notes.

My language is small and books often get translated from another translation, so I've also used the "Original language title" field for the source language title. As the original title is already in the "Work" field, I have not seen it as a problem.

I'm ok either way though, not a huge issue. :-)

  1. Now that I fully understand the situation I have reinstated the Original Language and the Original Language Title because your Polish edition is wholly based on the text of the French translation 'Sur les cimes du désespoir' by André Vornic, first published in 1990. So that there is no confusion, I have augmented the Notes. The Work was always credited as 'Pe culmile disperării' which is correct. Sorry for any inconvenience.

  2. I believe that 'L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane' is the original language title and therefore it is the title of the Work: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histoire_de_Gil_Blas_de_Santillane

thethrowback wrote:

  1. Now that I fully understand the situation I have reinstated the Original Language and the Original Language Title because your Polish edition is wholly based on the text of the French translation 'Sur les cimes du désespoir' by André Vornic, first published in 1990. So that there is no confusion, I have augmented the Notes. The Work was always credited as 'Pe culmile disperării' which is correct. Sorry for any inconvenience.

I didn't want it to sound like I have some grudge against you, I just wanted to present the full situation and didn't want to say "some user", it'd be strange. :) So no worries, thanks for helping creating that great database!

But I'm still not sure what to do with 2nd example: should I always check with internet about the proper original title and not believe the source I have - the book?

should I always check with internet about the proper original title and not believe the source I have - the book?

Well, the internet is not always right either...

If you want to, you can cross-reference the original title from the internet, but you're not forced to do that. If it turns out that the original title was different, it can be always updated later.

Personally I like to research things, so I often try (important keyword lol) to dig up information/pictures of the first edition, but it can be extremely time-consuming.

In this case the title page of the first edition says "Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane", at least according to the copy available via Gallica: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k1073226z

Should we choose a title for a Work that might only be known to a few scholars, or should we use the title that is commonly used?

To give an example: https://books.discogs.com/work/682395 by Arthur C. Clarke

The title of this short story has a convoluted history: it was first published in 1955 without a title because the publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction disliked the title chosen by Arthur C. Clarke which was 'This Earth of Majesty' (although it was published under that title in another publication 5 months later), and consequently readers were invited to select a new title. The competition winner was 'Refugee'. It was also published under the title 'Royal Prerogative' in 1957.

'Refugee' is the title commonly used for this short story. To use either '?' (technically 'Untitled'), or 'This Earth of Majesty' as the Work title IMO is an act of obfuscation and is bound to cause duplications.

'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane' might be correct: https://www.edition-originale.com/en/literature/first-and-precious-books/lesage-histoire-de-gil-blas-de-santillane-1747-41559 and http://www.museodelestudiante.com/Novela/HistoireDeGilBlasDeSantillaneAA(I).htm

Even the French Wikipedia page is titled 'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane'.

Just to add to the confusion about the title of that Arthur C. Clarke short story:

According to isdbf: 'Originally titled "This Earth of Majesty" by Clarke, given the name "Refugee" via a title contest in F&SF, reprinted in New Worlds as "Royal Prerogative".'

According to notes by Arthur C. Clarke from the collection 'The Other Side of the Sky': '"Refugee", to the utter confusion of indexers, was first published by Anthony Boucher in 'The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction' as "?," since he found my original title unsatisfactory and promptly started a competition to find a better one, finally settling upon "This Majesty of Earth." To add to the chaos, Ted Carnell, in the British magazine 'New Worlds', called it "Royal Prerogative".'

Mmmm?

It seems to be known as "Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane" in French, and that's also the title on the first edition as well as on many subsequent editions as can be seen from the linked pictures. It's also used on contemporary editions.

It has been also published as "Aventures de Gil Blas de Santillane", so it's possible that the translator just used an edition with that title. Especially when it comes to older works, the original edition is not always the basis of the translation.

Also just "Gil Blas de Santillane" has been used.

At least at this stage of the database I think it should be ok to use a commonly/better known title if the original title is really obscure and/or basically never used. This also applies to works that were originally untitled; if there's a relatively commonly used title for the work, it probably should be preferred over "Untitled".

Generally speaking I think the original title should still be the preferred Work title, and there should be a good reason not to use it. For example someone not understanding the original language should not be an issue, or if another title is just slightly more common than the original one.

Works that have had multiple titles throughout their existence, like the Clarke work, will be problematic no matter what. If a best known and/or author preferred title can be established, then that is probably the best choice.

Now, if we only had an "Alternative Titles" field for Works (similar to Filmogs), and the titles were indexed/searchable...

Now, if we only had an "Alternative Titles" field for Works (similar to Filmogs), and the titles were indexed/searchable...

It would make life a lot easier.

Based on our discussion I have made changes to the title of https://books.discogs.com/work/709321-histoire-de-gil-blas-de-santillane and recorded the alternative French and English titles.

Wow guys, never thought this topic would garner so much attention, thanks so much for valuable replies!

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