Alert readers will recall that I live in Maine. In fact, that I live in that geographically squishy area known as Central Maine, about 3 hours from the Massachusetts state line and 2.5 hours from the Canadian border, if you’re feeling sanguine with regard to Coburn Gore.
Now, not only do I live in Maine, but I am a veritable giantess among Maine women — six foot tall in my striped sockfeet. This means that I need to either (1) make my own clothes, which I used to do when I was young and ambitious, but have not done for more than twenty-five years, (2) wear mens clothes, which I do pretty often, or (3) buy girl clothes from tall shops on the internet, which is what I do somewhat less often than (2).
One of my favorite vendors of tall women’s clothes is Long Tall Sally, a British chain with stores/distribution points in Massachusetts and in Canada. Mind you, I order from the internet, and make no secret of my US address.
Which is of course why two out of three orders that I make with Sally are fulfilled by the Canadian distributor. I wouldn’t mind this so much, except that the Canadian facility runs the credit card and I get whacked with a currency conversion fee.
And, also, on the rare occasions when I need to return something, the Sally folk in charge of issuing RMA numbers pretty much always insist that my original order of course did not come from Canada; that would be. . .silly.
I suppose there’s a database somewhere in Sally’s kingdom that figures out which shipping facility is closest to what customer and shuffles the orders that way, with a fine — let us even allow, a joyous — disregard for such human vanities as the borders between countries.
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Speaking of databases — this post is about databases — I wonder if someone who is more savvy than I am can explain why it is that bookstores can’t seem to handle co-authors in their databases. It seems universal, from the Big River on down to Ma & Pa’s Bookstore and Pizza Emporium.
Steve, as the second author listed on our collaborative work, is constantly dropped from the database record. This is not only unfair and untrue, but it means that readers who may only recall that “Steve Miller” is one of the authors of those space opera books they like so much can’t find what they want to read.
Which seems a disservice to readers, authors, bookstores, and publishers.
In other words — it’s lose-lose.
And yet the error persists.
Is it Just Too Hard to build a database that will accommodate the reality of co-authors? Or do the builders of databases, being, perhaps techies more than readers, not understand (and therefore don’t care about) the issue?
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I have met folks who haven’t believed that co-authors do equal work on the projects that bear both of their names.
My co-workers on the newspaper many years ago for instance widely believed that my husband “let me put my name” on his books. To keep peace in the family, one assumes.
More recently, I submitted a novel by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller to the Maine Arts Commission, in application for a grant. After they had the application in hand, and despite having asked beforehand and told to go ahead, I was told that co-authored works were not acceptable. The official’s suggested solution was that I simply remove my co-author’s name from the application.
I don’t believe that, to this day, she understands why this was wrong, though, be assured, I did my Very Best to tell her.
So, it’s not at all outside the realm of possibility that those who are charged with building database may be. . .misinformed regarding the necessity of listing all the authors of a particular work.
What I’d like to know, I guess, is how to get to these folks in order to educate them.