Detailed Entry Format
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Item Types
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The FictionMags Index Family
Item Types & Other Abbreviations

The following abbreviations may be found in the FictionMags Index Family. For those who are submitting index information and would like some guidelines of which types should be used when, or for anyone who just wants a fuller definition, most of the abbreviations are hyperlinked to a discussion of what the code means and when it is used. Note that, because of the wide variety of the sources from which the index has been compiled, it must be stressed that this simply indicates how the abbreviations should, ideally, be used – there are many cases where an abbreviation has been used in a way that doesn't match the following list (although these are, hopefully, a minority).

ar = article es = essay in = introduction n. = novel si = section introduction
as = afterword to story/poem/article ex = extract is = introduction to story/poem/article ob = obituary sl = serial segment
au = audio e/s = edge-stapled iv = interview pi = pictorial sr = story review
Aut = Autumn fa = facetious article iw = incomplete work pl = play ss = short story
aw = afterword fc = front cover ix = index pm = poem(s) sy = symposium
bc = back cover Fll = Fall lc = letter column pp = prose poem sz = synopsis
bg = biographical material fp = frontispiece lk = linking material pr = preface s/b = square-bound
bi = bibliography fr = fanzine review lr = magazine review pt = photography s/s = saddle-stapled
br = book review fw = foreword lt = letter(s) pz = puzzle tc = true crime
Chr = Christmas gm = game mg = magazine qa = question & answer column te = true experience
cl = column gp = group of items mm = memoir qz = quiz th = theatre review
cn = competition gr = game review mp = map (r) = reprint ts = true story
cr = criticism hd = heading mr = movie review rc = review column uw = unfinished work
cs = comic strip hu = humour ms = miscellaneous ri = reviews introduction vi = vignette
ct = cartoon ia = illustrated article mu = music score rr = round-robin Win = Winter (at end of year)
cv = cover art ibc = inside back cover na = novella/short novel rv = review Wtr = Winter (at beginning of year)
c/b = comb-bound ifc = inside front cover nb = non-fiction book sa = story adaptation ?? = unknown item type
ed = editorial il = illustration nv = novelette sg = song  

Simple Fiction Types
Related Non-Prose Types
Complex Fiction Types
Introductory/Explanatory Material
Ilustrations and Illustrated Articles
Puzzles, Quizzes and Regular Features
Other Types
Groups of Items

Simple Fiction Types

These are the simplest, and probably most common types and are defined as follows:

Clearly the length guidelines are no more than a rough guideline, partly because page lengths vary from magazine to magazine (and few have the time to count the number of words) and partly because there is no agreement in the "outside world" as to how long an item must be to be called a "novella". Generally speaking the descriptions in the magazine may be used, although a degree of discretion may be required – in particular, a pulp magazine that promises "Five Complete Novels" and then delivers five stories of 20-30 pages each should not really be coded as as being "novels"; instead, "novelette" or "novella" should be used.

If the length of an item is unknown (e.g. because the details come from an eBay listing) then "ss" should be used as the default. Note that if the item is abridged (typically from a novel) then the appropriate type for the full work should be used with an additional note to indicate that it is abridged.

Related Non-Prose Types

Technically, "fiction" implies "prose narrative", but there are other related forms of literature that are often thought of as fiction, particularly:

Complex Fiction Types

There are also a handful of slightly more complex types related to the above:

See also the discussion on groups of items.

Introductory/Explanatory Material

Frequently items in a magazine have associated introductory or explanatory material, either about an individual item or about all the items in the issue. These may be described as follows:

See also the discussion on groups of items.

Ilustrations and Illustrated Articles

In general, illustrations either accompany an individual item (such as a story) or illustrate the cover of the magazine, and are specified as part of the main entries as discussed in the sample entry format. However, there are other "illustrated" item types that may be used:

Note that, for "cv", "fp", "il", "mp" and "pt" the "author" of the item is the artist in question; for "pi" and "ia" the "author" is the person who wrote the text and the person/people who provided the illustration, if different, are coded as "illustrators".


Also common in magazine issues are reviews of one kind or another. rv (review) may be used as a generic type for any such review, but there are also more-specific item types for different types of review:

In each case, the item type may be used either to indicate either a group of reviews, which are not listed individually, or an individual review. In some cases where there is a formal title for a group of reviews, as in "The Reference Library" in Analog or "Books" in F&SF an additional item type of rc (review column) may be used to identify the fact. In these instances, if the group contains an introductory essay of some kind, another special type ri (review introduction) may be used for that essay.

Puzzles, Quizzes and Regular Features

In addition to (some of) the item types discussed above, there are a number of other features that turn up, often on a regular basis, in magazines. These include the following:

Other Types

There are a small number of specific types that don't fit any of the above categories:

If all else fails there are two "catch-all" types:

Groups of Items

There are times when a group of separate items are presented together under a group title. When the items are fiction or poetry (usually by a single author), the item type of gp (group of items)should be used. In this case, the group title should be specified with an item type of "gp" and, if known, the individual items should be listed next, in the normal way except for an underscore ("_") prefixed to the page number to indicate the grouping, as in:

48 * Two Exploits of Harry the Hat * Philip MacDonald * gp
_49 * The Absence of Tonathal [Harry the Hat] * Philip MacDonald * vi
_52 * Sheep's Clothing [Harry the Hat] * Philip MacDonald * vi

When the items are non-fiction and/or by multiple authors they are handled in much the same way but with a different item type at the start. If there is a simple header followed by a group of titled items this is typically specified with an item type of hd (heading) and without any author name, as in:

586 * A Man's Den: From Two Points of View * * hd
_586 * From a Woman's Point of View * Norma Lorimer * ar
_589 * From a Man's Point of View * C. V. Godby * ar


372 * Tales by the Way * * hd
_372 * Possessed of a Title * Mary Hampden * ss
_375 * The Dignity of Rank * May Aldington * ss

Note that this should only be used to label formal sections of the issue, not subdivisions in the Table of Contents like "Features" or "Five New Short Stories". Where a group of articles has an introductory/editorial piece under the generic header then an item type of sy may be used, specifying the author of that piece, as in:

348 * The Future Life: Is Immortality Necessary? * Ernest H. Rann * sy
_348 * Annihilation Difficult to Imagine * Sir Oliver Lodge * ar
_349 * The Public More Interested in Cricket * Andrew Lang * ar
_349 * The Belief Is Distinctly Weakening * Edward Clodd * ar

Note that, as here, the symposium title should not be repeated as part of the title for each individual article.