APF Chapter 6: Editorial Comments [Prev Page] [Index] [Next Page]

Page Numbers

Up to APF v7a.0, each annotation was identified (in addition to the relevant quote from the book) by two page numbers: one for the Gollancz hardcover and one for the Corgi paperback. Unfortunately, this system has a number of drawbacks.

One minor problem is that I have never liked the look of those double page numbers. The "247/391" strings look ugly, bloat the text, and make the annotations just that tiny bit harder to read.

A more serious problem is that having two page numbers is a maintenance headache. Double the numbers means double the chance of mistakes. And since I don't own Terry's books in both hardcover and paperback editions myself, I have to rely on volunteers to supply fully half of the data I need: all the page numbers for the editions of the books I don't have.

Thankfully, so far I have had the help of volunteers who have done a stellar job on this, but it does still mean that I can never just add an annotation without having to go bother someone else for the second page number. This makes annotating a two-step process, which is especially tiresome now that APF updates are supposed to happen in more frequent incremental steps.

The most serious drawback, however, and the one that has made me truly reconsider the whole setup, is fairly recent, and caused by the fact that there are now so many different editions of Terry's books available that the percentage of readers to whom either of the page numbers I supply means anything useful, is shrinking, and will only get smaller over time. Not only do we now have American editions in widespread use, but we also have reissues of the older Corgi paperbacks and Gollancz hardcovers, both with page counts that are different from the original versions.

Finally, I think the most useful aspects of the page numbers is that they provide an ordering of the list of annotations for a given book. Had Terry written in chapters, I probably would never have used page numbers at all, but merely listed the annotations on a per-chapter basis. I strongly suspect that the actual page numbers are used more often by me as editor than by the vast majority of APF readers. I doubt that the APF readers often have a need to use the page numbers as a link back from individual annotations to the source text. Rather, it will be the other way around, and on a much more global level: "I have just read Pyramids, now I'll go browse through the annotations for that book and see what I've missed".

With all that in mind I have decided that the APF will be switching to uni-numbered annotations, based on the editions of the books I happen to have in my possession. For v9.0, the double page numbers are still present for the older books, but removing them will be one of the first things on the TODO list for v10.0.

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