Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: TAG-ging Historical Fiction

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Date Posted: 2/21/2008 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
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Speaking as a sort-of-computer person, once tag search is fully implemented, I'm betting we'll be able to search for 'books that have both tag1 and tag2' -- so searching for "historical fiction" and "vikings" would work, at that point, better than trying to guess what the 'historical fiction -- vikings sagas' tag (or whatever) is called.

 

I was just tagging White Fang (and similar -- MAN there are a lot of copies of White Fang posted!), and remembered to call it Historical Fiction. It's an Arctic Adventure, too, though, so I'd best hop to it and update accordingly. :->

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I was doing the "Historical Fiction - adjective" because the books tagged H/F are a huge mish-mash of all kinds of books. I thought it might be easier to search for something of particular interest this way, because there are lots of books about Canada, for instance, but they are not all H/F. I do see your point though. I guess I should go back and re-tag as "Historical Fiction" and as "Adjective".  Add two different tags. I wonder how we will be able to search tags, when they are searchable. Will you be able to click on the H/F tag and then narrow it down to a smaller tag that is of interest to you? See, I think the H/F tag has grown too huge to be all that helpful if you are looking for a particular kind of book. I don't really get exactly how the tags will be searchable, I guess.

Eloise, you are right...Ancient Lit is a much better idea. Actually, I think that I ended up using the "Viking" tag because it was already there. I need to check on that though.

Please do offer suggestions Elizabeth! I want my tags to conform with whatever everyone else is doing to make for easier searching.

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Eloise, I just read your above post and that was exactly what I was wondering. If that is the way it will work, then I should definitely change my tags to two tags and just remove the others. I haven't done all that many yet, so they'll be easy to delete.

I may hold off on adding tags until I can "see" exactly how they will be searchable.

Date Posted: 3/20/2008 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2006
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My main tags for historical mysteries are as follows:

Historical Mystery: Ancient  [up to approx. 500 AD]

Historical Mystery: Medieval [from 500 to about 1450]

Historical Mystery: 16th c [basically the Renaissance period; starts about 1450 in Italy]

Historical Mystery: 17th c

Historical Mystery: 18th c

Historical Mystery: 19th

Historical Mystery: Sherlock Holmes  [for pastiches; I'm a fan)

Historical Mystery: 20th c [up to 1970s or so]

In addition, for series I try at least to add the main character [Cadfael, Sister Frevisse, etc.].

Come visit me, I'm spending too many credits....

 

larry g

 

 

 

Date Posted: 3/27/2008 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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Larry--

Thanks for posting your list! I encourage you (as well as our other Historical Fiction fans) to participate in our discussion on tag formatting -- do we want compound tags (like Historical Fiction: Medieval) or multiple tags (like "Historical Fiction" and "Medieval")?

This discussion will help determine the direction our quasi-official tags take, so everyone, please have your say :-)

Cheers,

Elizabeth

Date Posted: 3/27/2008 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I actually asked R&R if we'd be able to search within tags to narrow down the number of books into categories that we are particularly interested in seeing. The response was that tags are not normally used like that, but the idea was a good one.  They also said that I should use tags in whichever way I would consider useful. From that answer, I'd guess that we won't be able to search within a tag, or, at least, not any time soon. I'll see if I can find the e-mail and post it for everyone to read, but if I can't locate it, what I wrote above is essentially their reply.

So...I'd say that we need compound tags like Larry's. The H/F tag is simply growing too large to be useful, imho. Or, maybe do both. Add the H/F tag and then an H/F: Category tag so the book would be under both tags. That sounds like too much effort though.

That's my 2cents, but like I said before, I'm willing to go with the majority.

Date Posted: 3/28/2008 6:17 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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The response was that tags are not normally used like that, but the idea was a good one.

LOL! Bless 'em. Wish they could afford a librarian.

I agree that using general (historical fiction or medieval) tags alone will prove less helpful over time. At the same time, Library of Congress-like subject headings are too esoteric for many people.

Add to this issue, the fact that many PBSers use tags as personal annotations (on my bookshelf, great book, tbr). This minimizes the value of such a feature, IMO.

I use both general and specific tags (historical fiction and historical fiction: medieval), when I have time to tag. But it's more work, so doing it this way requires more of a commitment from the group.

I actually like what LibraryThing does. It lets members tag however they want. You can also browse specific tags. But when it comes to searching them, LT has some kind of funky algorithm behind the scenes that tries to interpret tags. It's pretty cool. A search for historical fiction and medieval, for instance, would probably also retrieve books tagged as hf - 15th century, henry viii - fiction, etc.

Date Posted: 3/28/2008 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I think that HF as a large category is always a good idea, but then to make the tags more specific as well. I think tagging a book multiple times is always a good idea.

So, I'd tag "The Other Boelyn Girl" as Historical Fiction. Historical Fiction - England. Historical Fiction - Anne Boelyn. Historical Fiction - Henry VIII, etc. Don't you think?

I should go back and tag more, though.

Date Posted: 3/29/2008 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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LOL Genie! That part of the response made me giggle too. I'd give anything to have our tags work like the ones at LT. Maybe one day....

Mimi, I think you're right...the double tagging is the way to go. I like the idea of one big HF tag too. It's great for someone just starting to explore HF, but it's just too big for someone who already has a preference of the time period and settings that they like. I'm going to send in some feedback and ask that R&R set it up so that we can get more than ten books shown on a page. We need page numbers too. I think having more books per page and page numbers would make it much easier to browse.

I especially think we need the double tags for countries. I don't think using "Historical Fiction" and "Country" would work as well as using "Historical Fiction: Country" because there are lots of books set in different countries, but they are not all historical fiction. Does that make sense? Someone might see the tags that say "England" and post contemporary books there too.

Am I thinking about this too much? LOL! I can admit that I have a tendency to over-complicate things.

Elizabeth - Come back and tell us what you think! You may not know it, but I think you have been elected as our Historical Fiction Tag President. I just hope you want the job, lol! You're doing great keeping us organized!

Date Posted: 3/31/2008 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I came across a great article today (written over a year ago) on LibraryThing's blog. "When tags work and when they don't: Amazon and LibraryThing" compares the success (or lack thereof) with tagging on Amazon and LibraryThing. It then makes recommendations for sites that want to utilize the technology.

Interestingly (and PBS should take a lesson from this), the first recommendation is:

"Figure out why your customers would want to tag your stuff. Don't fool yourself." (Did PBS ever do a survey to find out what folks want? Many of the issues that have a negative impact on tagging at AZN also affect PBS. For instance, the use of opinion tags.)

And ...

"Consider whether a non-commerce site has the data you need. Back when LibraryThing had a million tags, Amazon could have bought our data for the price of a cup of coffee. Now, that we're big and important and have three employees, that'll be THREE cups of coffee, buster!" LOL, but I wish PBS would consider buying LT's tags.

Genie

Subject: Tagging Historical fiction
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 7:06 AM ET
Member Since: 1/26/2008
Posts: 9
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Just my opinion since I am unfamiliar with exactly how to search using a tagging system yet, but when I think of Prehistoric fiction, I don't think of the Viking era. I think of books like the Geoddyssy series by Piers Anthony...Shame of Man or Clan of the Cave Bear and books like The Kin, truly caveman type prehistory. I do think that making the tags or genres more specific would be good because frequently the books are miscatagorized when searching through using genres so I usually have to go through book by book and either read the description (if they happen to have one) or open another window and go to another search site, find the book and read the description there. There is another bookswapping site that I use an awful lot that has a direct link to Amazon so you can 'search Amazon' as an option and find the descriptions there but although I suggested it here a long time ago, I never got a response so I usually keep a window open to that other site and look through them first before going to Google to look up the title so I can see if it is something I am interested in. Best Wishes, Celeste
Subject: Historical Fiction Inspirational?
Date Posted: 3/31/2009 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2009
Posts: 82
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What would we use for inspirational historical fiction?

Date Posted: 8/17/2009 12:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
Posts: 379
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Wouldn't Medival and Middle Ages be basically the same thing?

 

Date Posted: 8/18/2009 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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I apologize, I've not been following this thread because I thought, with the new tags available for the Historical Fiction genre, nobody else was using this.

Sue is correct (I was obviously a science major, not a history major) and I've removed Middle Ages, since Webster says it is the same as Medieval.

I was going to ask Team PBS to unsticky this thread -- does anyone use this regularly and want to see it stay?

Cheers,

Elizabeth

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
Posts: 379
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Thanks

It helps for someone just starting to try to tag their historical books.

Namely me!

Date Posted: 11/19/2010 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Ok, since searchable tags don't seem to be coming soon, I've added some additional tags, including ones that were already in use, and provided links to each tag page to make it easier to find what we're looking for -- click on any link to see the list of books which have that tag. 

Please feel free to post here or PM me with additional tags you are aware of and/or would like to see used -- everyone is welcome and invited to suggest and participate.

The general "Historical Fiction" tag is getting unwieldy, and I'm open to suggestions on how to make it more manageable.

Tag away!



Last Edited on: 12/3/10 1:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2011 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2010
Posts: 284
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May I suggest Shogunate for Japanese 16th Century and Rennaissance for European 16th Century?

 



Last Edited on: 3/20/11 9:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/20/2011 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Renaissance and Shogunate have been added -- tag away! smiley

Date Posted: 12/3/2011 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
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We've got Historical Mystery broken down by century, but what about Historical Fiction in general? Thanks to the current list of tags,  my Sherlock Holmes is tagged as "Historical Mystery: 19th centurey," but my copy of Treasure Island is feeling left out without a "Historical Fiction: 19th century" tag. Wouldn't it be useful to have a set of Historical Fiction: insert century" tags? Duplicate the century tags we have? Or change the name from Historical Mystery: 19th century to Historical Fiction: 19th century. I don't mean to pick on the mystery novels. Maybe I can't see the forest through the trees... Any thoughts?

Date Posted: 12/3/2011 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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We can make HF century tags if you like, or we could mark them separately as "Historical Fiction" and "18th Century" or whatever.  We do have some time-related tags, such as Medieval, on the list.

I'm not personally a fan of the multi-part tags, but someone was using them and posted them to this thread, so I added them to the list -- it wasn't a personal Mystery bias.  I'm not trying to subject anyone to my personal tagging sentiments, so if you want HF tags by century, list what you want (separated by dash? colon? something else?) and I will add them to the list on the main page. ;-)

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
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Since it's already a Historical Fiction genre, I'm good with the simply labeling centuries after the Renaissance with something short I'm also for using something short,  either "18th century" or "HF: 18th century." Prior to the Renaissance, categories names seem to work just fine! All in all, it's not a dealbreaker; I'll still happily tag away.  

Date Posted: 12/5/2011 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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Dw, tell me specifically what tags you'd like added, and I'll add them. ;-)

Date Posted: 12/6/2011 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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I realize that I am tilting at windmills but I will add my two cents nevertheless. There is much debate about what constitutes historical fiction but according to the Historical Novel Society, "to be deemed historical, a novel must have been written at least fifty years after the events described, or have been written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research)."  Many, though certainly not all, of us in the forum go by this "50-year rule." Under this definition, contemporary books about Sherlock Holmes (e.g., Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series) would be considered historical mysteries, but the Arthur Conan Doyle books would not -- because Doyle set Sherlock Holmes in his [Doyle's] own time period. Neither would Treasure Island be considered historical fiction -- it would certainly be categorized as 19th c. fiction and likely categorized as a classic. (I stand corrected. Treasure Island is indeed HF, published in the 1880s and set in the mid-1700s; it is, of course, also considered a classic.) Likewise, books written by writers such as Austen, Dickens (with the exception of A Tale of Two Cities), or the Bronte sisters, or commonly cited historical works such as All Quiet on the Western Front, The Good Earth, or Uncle Tom's Cabin are not historical fiction (excellent though they may be). While I tend to be strict about the 50-year rule (because it is relatively easy to look at the publication date to determine how long after the historic events the book was written), others will look at whether or not the author was alive during the events and therefore had to do research. I find this latter definition difficult because it entails looking up the author's birth/death year. I also think it creates a significant problem -- which I can illustrate best by example. Let's say that two books are set during WWII and both published now -- one written by an 80-year old and one by a 35-year old. If we looked only at age of author, we would classify the former book as contemporary and the latter as historical. Somehow, that doesn't seem right to me. Regardless...

...the debate goes on and on and I know that people will continue to tag away -- but I really would urge folks to be careful tagging historical fiction. There is a difference between historical fiction and classic fiction. Even if one does not adhere strictly to a 50-year rule (or a research rule), at the very least, historical fiction is fiction that the writer has set in the past (relative to the writer's time period).



Last Edited on: 2/24/13 11:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/26/2011 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
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Very useful, Deb, thanks! I'll click over to the Historical Novel Society to explore more.

I caught the difference between classic Sherlock and later versions, but as far as I can tell, Treasure Island could still be HF. Published 1883 but set-in / inspired-by the 1700s. As a rule-of-thumb, I too like using 50-years to separate author and setting, but I stray even a bit further.  If 50 years now separates me and the fictional setting (even if it was written as a contemporary story), I'll think of it as HF. Yep, I'm taking the "fiction" part of the label more literally than the "historical" part, but hey, it works for me.

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