Should "vol." always be expanded?

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Should "vol." always be expanded?

lixobix
https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Titles/Abbreviations states that abbreviations should generally be expanded, but artist intent may override. https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Titles/Volume_numbers states that "vol." should be expanded when the releases are part of a series, which is a number of separate releases with a common theme (https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Series). However, at what point does the artist intent in choosing "vol." rather than ", volume" trump the general rule?

This issue has arisen in relation to two releases by Boards of Canada:

https://musicbrainz.org/release-group/def69be5-3dd3-39a1-96a0-5febd829ef6c
https://musicbrainz.org/release-group/d07fb1c0-d5f3-302a-bde3-3236e7d991e8

Although the two releases are similar in nature, there seems to have been no intention that they were to be part of a series. They were merely two similar collections of track releases at a similar time. There is no indication that more releases with a similar theme are intended. Moreover, only certain copies of the first release contained any reference to volume numbering, and certainly not on the face of the release. It seems the volume aspect only became important after the second release.

So I have three questions:

1) Are these RGs a series?
2) If they are not a series, should "vol." still be expanded, or should we follow artist intent? (i.e. title according to what is written on the release)
3) Does artist intent ever trump the volume numbers rule, so that releases in a series may be titled as "vol."? (e.g. if "vol." is used consistently throughout on all of the releases)
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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded?

lixobix
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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
In reply to this post by lixobix

The general approach to this has always been "always expand". I think the whole reasoning indicated there is pretty daft, and we should probably stop doing it, especially now that we have actual series so we don't particularly need to make all titles the same. But right now and with the guidelines as they are, I'd generally expect expanding.


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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded?

lixobix
Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren wrote
The general approach to this has always been "always expand". I think the
whole reasoning indicated there is pretty daft, and we should probably stop
doing it, especially now that we have actual series so we don't
particularly need to make all titles the same. But right now and with the
guidelines as they are, I'd generally expect expanding.

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Yes, I don't understand why we don't simply title as on the release, providing the style is consistent. It feels wrong to have a different title to the one on the cover. And the release itself is generally the strongest evidence of artistic intent anyway.
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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded? -- intent?

Alexander VanValin
On 08/24/2014 12:25 PM, lixobix wrote:
> And the release itself is generally the strongest evidence of artistic
> intent anyway.

That's not my understanding of "artist intent". I mean, yes, it's a
source to consider if you're trying to prove artist intent, but I don't
think it's sufficient. If it is, then we should just say "enter
everything as on cover".

So, for example, if I wrote 'K.D. Lang', I'd expect the artist to
correct me. ("Actually, I prefer 'k.d. lang' if it's all the same to
you" or whatever).

But if I wrote 'Volume VI', would the artist correct me? ("Um, not to be
rude, but it's just 'Vol. VI'. Thanks.")

I'm not saying that expanding is right or wrong. Either way, I don't
know if it rises to the level of "artist intent". Opinions welcome.

Alex / caller#6


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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded?

swisschris
In reply to this post by lixobix

And the release itself is generally the strongest
evidence of artistic intent anyway.

This discussion comes up again and again. I'm in favour for expanding, mainly for the reason that – unlike what lixobix seems to assume – what's written on covers is far from being Artist Intent, but is mainly graphicist's choice or cover art designer's will. To invoke Artist Intent you should not argue with covers. There should be better evidence than covers (like the artist himself stating that he insisted against the graphicist to use "Vol." instead of "volume" for artistic reasons) to claim exceptions from a rule that makes sense IMO
 


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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded?

Alex Mauer
On 08/24/2014 03:42 PM, SwissChris wrote:
> This discussion comes up again and again. I'm in favour for expanding,
> mainly for the reason that – unlike what lixobix seems to assume –
> what's written on covers is far from being Artist Intent, but is mainly
> graphicist's choice or cover art designer's will.

This seems only half true. Surely the artist will nearly always have at
least approved the artwork, even if they didn’t actually design it
themselves?


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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded?

Alexander VanValin
On 08/25/2014 09:17 AM, Alex Mauer wrote:
> On 08/24/2014 03:42 PM, SwissChris wrote:
>> what's written on covers is far from being Artist Intent, but is mainly
>> graphicist's choice or cover art designer's will.
> This seems only half true. Surely the artist will nearly always have at
> least approved the artwork, even if they didn’t actually design it
> themselves?

I think we end up talking about different senses of the word "intention".

1. "Did you intend to put out a release called 'My Awesome Series, Vol.
III'?" >> probably "Yes"
2. "What was your intention when you wrote 'Vol.' instead of 'Volume'?"
 >> probably "What? I dunno. What's the difference?"

IMO, for something to be "artist intent", it needs to be in some way a
meaningful difference to the artist.

Alex / caller#6

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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded? -- intent?

lixobix
In reply to this post by Alexander VanValin
caller#6-2 wrote
On 08/24/2014 12:25 PM, lixobix wrote:
> And the release itself is generally the strongest evidence of artistic
> intent anyway.

That's not my understanding of "artist intent". I mean, yes, it's a
source to consider if you're trying to prove artist intent, but I don't
think it's sufficient. If it is, then we should just say "enter
everything as on cover".

[...]

IMO, for something to be "artist intent", it needs to be in some way a
meaningful difference to the artist.
So why don't we say "enter everything as on cover"? I agree that capitalisation should generally be corrected, as the effect of capitalisation and font choice etc. don't transfer well into a standardised text database. Obvious, non-stylistic, errors should be corrected. But I see no reason why everything else should not be entered verbatim. After all, we now have recordings, which comply with MBs own formatting rules, so why do we have to change what is written on the release when adding releases / tracks to comply to our own standard? I expect many users would expect to see the release titles in MB written as on the media they own.

In relation to artistic intent, I see your point, but surely the release itself is always a refutable presumption of artistic intent. Your approach that the titling choices must make a "meaningful difference to the artist" goes in the opposite direction: you presume that the choices are wrong unless the artist has somehow confirmed that they are correct. According to that approach, we at MB have the authority to correct "errors" that were make by people actually involved with the release, simply because the artist has not made it clear whether such "errors" were intentional or not. I don't see why we take it upon ourselves to do this, nor the benefit.
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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded? -- intent?

tommycrock


On 26 Aug 2014 19:52, "lixobix" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> caller#6-2 wrote
> > On 08/24/2014 12:25 PM, lixobix wrote:
> >> And the release itself is generally the strongest evidence of artistic
> >> intent anyway.
> >
> > That's not my understanding of "artist intent". I mean, yes, it's a
> > source to consider if you're trying to prove artist intent, but I don't
> > think it's sufficient. If it is, then we should just say "enter
> > everything as on cover".
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > IMO, for something to be "artist intent", it needs to be in some way a
> > meaningful difference to the artist.
>
> (snip)
>
> In relation to artistic intent, I see your point, but surely the release
> itself is always a refutable presumption of artistic intent. Your approach
> that the titling choices must make a "meaningful difference to the artist"
> goes in the opposite direction: you presume that the choices are wrong
> unless the artist has somehow confirmed that they are correct.

Regardless of whether we should standardise Part, Volume etc. or not, those are the style principles :
"Usually you stick to the style guidelines.
If you are still unsure how to enter something because it is labelled inconsistently on official sources, use the most common version.
Finally there is the notion of Artist intent. If you can show that the artist intended something to be stylized a special way, then you should enter it like that into the database."

> According to
> that approach, we at MB have the authority to correct "errors" that were
> make by people actually involved with the release, simply because the artist
> has not made it clear whether such "errors" were intentional or not. I don't
> see why we take it upon ourselves to do this, nor the benefit.

It's standardising rather than correcting errors, but it's fair to ask what the costs and benefits are in each case.


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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded? -- intent?

lixobix
tommycrock wrote
On 26 Aug 2014 19:52, "lixobix" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> caller#6-2 wrote
> > On 08/24/2014 12:25 PM, lixobix wrote:
> >> And the release itself is generally the strongest evidence of artistic
> >> intent anyway.
> >
> > That's not my understanding of "artist intent". I mean, yes, it's a
> > source to consider if you're trying to prove artist intent, but I don't
> > think it's sufficient. If it is, then we should just say "enter
> > everything as on cover".
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > IMO, for something to be "artist intent", it needs to be in some way a
> > meaningful difference to the artist.
>
> (snip)
>
> In relation to artistic intent, I see your point, but surely the release
> itself is always a refutable presumption of artistic intent. Your approach
> that the titling choices must make a "meaningful difference to the artist"
> goes in the opposite direction: you presume that the choices are wrong
> unless the artist has somehow confirmed that they are correct.

Regardless of whether we should standardise Part, Volume etc. or not, those
are the style principles :
"Usually you stick to the style guidelines.
If you are still unsure how to enter something because it is labelled
inconsistently on official sources, use the most common version.
Finally there is the notion of Artist intent. If you can show that the
artist intended something to be stylized a special way, then you should
enter it like that into the database."

> According to
> that approach, we at MB have the authority to correct "errors" that were
> make by people actually involved with the release, simply because the
artist
> has not made it clear whether such "errors" were intentional or not. I
don't
> see why we take it upon ourselves to do this, nor the benefit.

It's standardising rather than correcting errors, but it's fair to ask what
the costs and benefits are in each case.

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I accept that these are established style principles. I'm just not so sure why the notion of standardising the actual text on the release cover etc. came to be. I can accept that in a proper series, it could be more satisfying to have the ", volume" part the same for all, but not so much in cases such as "Greatest Hits" "vol. 1" and "vol. 2". I'm particularly against it when there is only one release, such as the one at hand here, which nevertheless contains "vol." or "pt.". There's no real justification for standardisation in that case, other than wanting one standard across the entire database, which is not necessarily desirable to everyone. Moreover, if a user wants such abbreviations expanded, I'm pretty sure that can be achieved in Picard through scripting; but once the data is entered to MB in a standardised form, the opposite can not be achieved for those who want it. So in that respect certainly, there is an argument for "as on the cover" data entry, which highlights one of the negative aspects of standardisation.

In the end, this is a fairly minor point, and I accept that the current practices are well established. It just bugged me in relation to this release, when the text on the cover looked different to the release.
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Re: Should "vol." always be expanded? -- intent?

Frederic Da Vitoria
2014-08-28 14:28 GMT+02:00 lixobix <[hidden email]>:
I accept that these are established style principles. I'm just not so sure
why the notion of standardising the actual text on the release cover etc.
came to be. I can accept that in a proper series, it could be more
satisfying to have the ", volume" part the same for all, but not so much in
cases such as "Greatest Hits" "vol. 1" and "vol. 2". I'm particularly
against it when there is only one release, such as the one at hand here,
which nevertheless contains "vol." or "pt.". There's no real justification
for standardisation in that case, other than wanting one standard across the
entire database, which is not necessarily desirable to everyone. Moreover,
if a user wants such abbreviations expanded, I'm pretty sure that can be
achieved in Picard through scripting; but once the data is entered to MB in
a standardised form, the opposite can not be achieved for those who want it.
So in that respect certainly, there is an argument for "as on the cover"
data entry, which highlights one of the negative aspects of standardisation.

It may be for sorting reasons: if there is a "vol. 2", then there is a 1 and if 1 is printed as "volume 1", it would end up sorted after 2. Minor, but I can understand some users wanting a properly sorted display. Of course, for correct sorting, the standardization needs only be at the level of the series, but if we wanted to allow a different standard for each series, it would make the style guide probably much more complicated.

--
Frederic Da Vitoria
(davitof)

Membre de l'April - « promouvoir et défendre le logiciel libre » - http://www.april.org

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