Report - Comic Strip Committee

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We would like to build a newspaper comic strip database.

Any and all strips and cartoons from any and all local or national newspapers, including college/university newspapers and alternative newspapers, from any country, are eligible for inclusion.

Data

We would like to be able to search and index from any of the following perspectives, and would like to be able to document the following facts at each level. Note that the organization below is not intended to place any restrictions on tech implementations--they may decide to organize things differently if it makes sense behind the scenes.

Strip meta data -- general information about the strip. Name of the strip. Alternate names. Dates begun and concluded. Creator(s). Premise. Major characters. Genre. Links to preceding and/or succeeding strips, if any. Frequency. Format(s). General Notes. Cartoon question: How do you determine Strip Name?

Strip owners -- syndicate, newspaper, or other entities who control distribution. Names. Address(es). Dates. Key personnel (and tenures and positions). Links to previous and/or next incarnations. General Notes.

Ownership -- links between strips and strip owners indicating duration of relationship. Strip. Owner. Begin and end dates. Notes.

Newspapers -- papers in which a strip appears. Publication name. Publisher. Location/distribution area (i.e. San Diego State University; Chicago, IL; U.K.) Links to previous and/or next incarnations. Notes.

Issues -- issues of above. Date; volume; issue number.

Installments or episodes -- individual strips. Date and/or serial number. Installment title. Credits. Characters. Synopsis or identifying caption or dialog. Keywords. Notes.

Publication -- occurrences of installments in issues. Strip Installment. Issue of Newspaper. Page No. Notes. Strip name? (Individual papers have the discretion of running a strip under an alternate name--this is probably the best place to record that?)

Story/Continuity -- aggregates of installments that tell extended stories. Strip. Installments. Story name(s). Synopsis. Keywords. Characters. Notes. (NOTE: Probably makes more sense for Installments to link to Stories than vice versa, but we’ll leave such things up to tech--point is that we know *which* strips belong to a given continuity. Will have to decide what to do about transitional/borderline/bridging strips.)

Characters -- people who appear in a strip. Name(s). First appearance. Brief description. Strip(s) and story(ies) associated with. Notes.

Creators -- people who produce strips. Name(s). Birth, death dates. Brief bio. Links to work. Notes.

Reprints -- links between reprints of strips (presumably in comic book database) and individual installments and/or continuities.

Images -- can't get away with scans of each strip. But can presumably get away with scans of isolated panels to illustrate characters, and possibly isolated strips to illustrate strip meta data and story/continuity. This area needs further review by the board of directors due to possible legal issues.

Functionality

Must be able to enter/edit/search for all of the above.

Internationalized/localized UI as much as possible.

Must be able to work on data in bulk--create installments in bulk by specifying beginning and ending dates and frequency. Select installments by data range to add/edit credits in bulk. Ability to add in bulk a newspaper run (e.g. paper "foo" carries strip "bar" from date 1 till date 2, matching same date range in strip history (or matching alternate date range or serial number range in strip history)). Add stories by selecting date ranges of strips. Add reprints by date or serial number ranges.

We should also be able to set up a template for ongoing strips and/or allow a new strip installment to be copied from the previous days'. Should also be able to set up a template for a given newspaper's strips and/or allow a new days worth of strips to be copied from the previous days strips (i.e. copy the same strips and page numbers to the next days issue, updating installment of each strip to next days installments).

An important issue is search display--many/most strips will have thousands of installments. So when returning search results, we want to see filtered/collated results that can be repeatedly drilled down to lowest details.

Example: Searching on creator or syndicate or newspaper might produce list of strips, possibly with associated date ranges. Clicking through a given strip might produce a list of years during which the strip ran (possibly limited by the original primary search--e.g. if we're looking at a strip via a creator search, we'd only want to see the years associated with that creator's tenure on the strip). Clicking through a given year might produce a list of months or weeks during that year, and clicking through a given month or week might produce a listing of the individual strips for that month or week, with full details. For a non-daily, there might be fewer click throughs to arrive at the details. If the strip makes use of story arcs, then clicking through the strip name might produce a list of story arcs instead of a list of years, and those could be drilled down to weeks or individual dates.

Main idea here is we don't want to see a list of thousands of strip entries at a time, need to filter into manageable levels of detail.