OI Tutorial

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An Illustrated OI Tutorial

Logging in

Log into the system on the front page by using the username/email and password you used when you created your account.

If you have problems logging in, check if you've got the caps lock on - it may affect the login procedure. Fill in the two fields and click "Login". Login box.JPG

You can also log in from any page on the site by using the "Log In" button at the right of the search bar. (Toggles between "Log In" and "Log Out".) Search-Bar.JPG

You should have cookies turned on in your browser. If the first thing that comes to mind is Oreos, you've probably got them on already...

Your first screen

If you have logged in, you will see the same page you logged in from, only now any "edit"-type buttons will actually work!

Also, in the header menu, you can now edit your Profile by clicking that link. Of particular interest to new indexers is that your Profile can provide links to this wiki while you are indexing. The "Wiki Links in OI" box near the bottom of your Profile page should be checked for new indexers. This will provide a link to the appropriate topic as a small [?] at the top of each data entry field. After you become familiar with indexing, you can go to your Profile and turn off these links if desired.

How do I create my first index?

If you want to index a comic, find out if the comic is available for indexing by searching the database. To use the Search bar at the top of any page, enter the name of the comic and search for “Series.” A tip is that it is often best to use only a simple part of the name, because this search is by exact match only. Thus, a search on “The Muppet Show Comic Book” will NOT return a series named “Muppet Show: The Comic Book.” A better search would be simply “Muppet Show” and then choose the appropriate series from the list returned. You should note that the GCD uses the official name of a publication as printed in its indicia or publication data within the book: this may not be the same as the name on the cover.

If you find the Series you wanted, look in the "Index Status Grid" on the Series page for the issue you want. If the issue you want to index is shown in white in the grid, then it should be available for you to make a reservation.

If you do not find the comic you want, one of the following may be missing:

If you have navigated to the series you wanted, you may reserve the issues you need by clicking through to them on the grid and then clicking the "Edit" button in the top right corner of any Issue page. All aspects of that issue are then available for you to index.

Indexing Step-by-step

So you are now logged in, you have an issue reserved, and are ready to edit its information. What follows is a step-by-step illustrated tutorial. A complete, new index will be used for the sample; if you are adding only a few of these information items, you will need only those steps. The information is a sampling of the most common requirements and formatting for an index. For detailed information on any item, please see the Formatting Documentation or the individual item links listed below.

Editing an Issue

1. Choose an issue to edit

If you haven’t yet navigated to your Editing queue, click the “Editing” link in the login box on the front page, or at the top of any page. You will see a list of all the issues you have reserved. Click on any one to open it for editing.


2. Edit issue fields

At the top of an issue page, you will see the Series Title (with the year began), Publisher, and Issue Number. We’ve chosen Mad (1952 series) (EC) #50.


Press the “Edit Issue Fields” button to begin. You will see a screen (shown below) with information that pertains to the entire issue. It is important to fill in as much of this as you can, because the volume and date info is used for sorting, the brand and indicia info links the issue to other issues, and the page count helps to insure whether any sequences are missing later. Follow the instructions below each field box when entering data. Complete instructions for each field are given at the links below.


Some fields are deactivated. These may include "Issue Title", "Variant Name", "Publisher Age Guidelines", "Indicia Frequency", "ISBN", or "Barcode". To enter a value for one of these, the corresponding series setting has to be changed.

Some areas of special concern are:

  • Indicia/Colophon Publisher: You may choose from the drop-down list. If the publisher listed in your book is not shown in this drop-down list, please see Adding an Indicia/Colophon Publisher. If you determine that the Indicia/Colophon Publisher you need already exists, but it is not showing up in the drop-down list, the problem is likely back at the Series record. In come cases, a series Begin or End Date will not include the date of the Issue you are indexing. The Series record will need to be edited to change one of these dates before it will show up in your drop-down list.
  • Brand: You may choose from the drop-down list. If the brand shown on your book is not shown in this drop-down list, please see Adding a New Brand. If you determine that the Brand you need already exists, but it is not showing up in the drop-down list, the problem is likely back at the Series record. In come cases, a series Begin or End Date will not include the date of the Issue you are indexing. The Series record will need to be edited to change one of these dates before it will show up in your drop-down list.
  • Indicia frequency: use only the frequency actually printed in the book. If none exists, leave this blank and check the No Indicia Frequency box instead.
  • Notes: are encouraged for any information that pertains to the entire issue but does not fit elsewhere. For example, in Mad #46, the Note “April Fool cover printed on the BACK cover of magazine. Contents herein is indexed beginning from the front of magazine.” explains why the contents of the index may appear to be listed backwards.

When you have finished with the issue information, click the "Save And Return To Changeset" button at the bottom of the page.

The Cover - Your First Sequence

3. Create a cover record

If you want to add a cover scan to the issue, please see the Covers FAQ and Adding Covers for more information.

After you have added the information that refers to the whole issue, you will be back at the Issue Editing page. Click the "Add Story" button to add the first sequence to the issue. The first sequence is always the Cover, and is automatically numbered “0”, as shown in the box at the right of this line. You should now be at the top of an Adding Story page (shown below). It is important to fill in as much of this as you can. Follow the instructions below each field box when entering data. Complete instructions for each field are given at the links below.


(See [Reprints] for instructions on entering Reprint Links from the Issue Editing screen.)

In addition there are three fields that apply ONLY to sequences of Type [About Comics]. They will not be visible on any other Type of sequence. These are:

Some areas of special concern are:

  • Editing: Most sequences will leave this blank and have the No Editing box checked below it. The reason for this is that for most books, the editor is listed in the issue information you just entered. He generally edits the entire book. Exceptions are when a story actually has a separate editor, or when a story is a reprint and you want to reference the original editor.
  • Notes: This field is for anything that helps explain other data you entered. This should be information that is useful to explain the sequence but does not fit into any of the other fields. Common uses include noting unusual credits such at "Issue lists a thank you to Marie Jones, but no indication of her contribution.", or explaining why you changed an art credit such as "Long, pointed noses of the horses and curved eyebrows indicate Fred Johnson art. Art ID by Don Milne, January 2001.", or placement of a sequence such as "Between pages 4-5 of the Vampire Shampire story."

When you have finished with the story information, click the "Save Story" button at the bottom of the page.

Adding More Sequences

You can now add as many stories or other sequences as the comic contains. While you can index sequences covering every page of the comic, you do not need to. Including only story and text story sequences is acceptable to create what we define as a minimally complete index.


Other Buttons and Links

Besides adding stories, there are some other functions you can perform on your Issue Editing page.

  • Copy Story: This button allows you to copy the complete story sequence from some other issue in the database. When you press it, you will be sent to a page that allows you to search for the story you wish to copy. You an search using a variety of criteria shown. Once you find the correct story, enter its code number from the right end of its URL in the last box and hit "Select Story". You will be sent to the story record, which you can modify as needed, using the same fields as shown while adding a new story (above). When you have finished with the story information, click the "Save Story" button at the bottom of the page. Your copied story will be at the bottom of your story list.
  • Reorder issue stories: This button near the top of the page allows you to change the order of the sequences you have in the index. This is useful when you forget a sequence and need to insert it between other sequences you have added. See [Sequence Number] for more information.
  • Edit Issue/Story Reprint Links: This button near the top of the page allows you to change Reprint Links for either individual stories or for the Issue as a whole. You can also change Reprint Links for individual stories using the button at the far right of each story. (See [Reprints] for instructions on entering Reprint Links from the Issue Editing screen.)
  • Add Variant Issue: For more information on adding a variant issue, see [Variant Issues].
  • Move to Series with ID: This button allows you to move the current issue to a different series. It is useful when you discover that an issue is in the wrong series, such as a 1957 issue being listed in a series that began only in 1986, or a hardcover book being listed in a magazine format series.
  • Remove New Story: This button allows you to remove any new sequence you have added.
  • Mark To Delete: This button allows you to delete any sequences that existed before you reserved the issue.
  • Import Sequences: These buttons allows you to upload text files (a.k.a. "Flat Files"), instead of entering your data in this OI web form. Two import formats are supported: tab separated files or CSV files. Please see [Indexing Offline] for more information on that method of indexing; the link to that information is also on your editing page.
  • Compare Changes: This button provides you with a different view of your editing progress.


Reviewing Your Work When You’re Done

When you think you have finished entering all the information you wanted to enter, please click on the "Preview" link near the bottom of your editing page. This will show you what the finished page will look like if an editor approves it as is. A partial view of the data for Mad #50 is shown below, to give you an idea of where the information you enter ends up in our display.

Preview page.JPG

If you see anything that did not work, that does not look right, or that is missing from what you intended, you can still add or change information before you submit the index. Please check carefully for simple typographical errors. If you see any of the following errors, please check the Formatting Documentation for more information. If you have questions for the editor who will review this index, please include some Comments in your index. The Comments box is intended for a give-and-take conversation between the editor and indexer. Use the Notes box for anything you want to explain about the index that you want all site users to see.

Some of the Most Common Errors for People's First Indexes

  • Mis-entering (or misunderstanding) the Keydate. See Keydate for detailed information on using this field.
  • Not putting ?s on creator credits which are not known. All creator fields (except 'script' for covers and 'editor' for sequences other than the first cover) must have a name, a "?", or have the "No Script" (for example) box checked.
  • Not using [ ] and ( ) correctly. Do not use { } anywhere in an index.
  • [ ] is for alternate names, such as character secret identities, writer/artist pen names or studio names. Pen names are noted like this: [as Jane Doe] while character names do not use "as".
  • ( ) is for explanatory notes, such as the fact that this is the introduction of a character, or that one artist credited for pencils drew only the first half of the book, while the other artist drew the second half.
  • [ ] is also generally used for information not present in the comic, such as a Publication Date where the month is known but not shown in the comic. For example: [December] 1958.
  • Using commas instead of semi-colons to separate data. All Characters lists and creator name lists should be separated by semi-colons. However, notes within these lists should still use commas. Here's an example of a correctly formatted list: John Smith; Superthing; Fred Johnson (origin, death).
  • Missing page counts for one or more sequences. Don't forget to put the page count of the whole book in the Edit Issue Fields page.

Submitting Your Index

After you have made and verified all the changes you intended, are satisfied you have properly formatted items, and have included any Comments to ask the editor, hit the "Submit Changes for Approval" button at the bottom of the issue editing page.

Submit Button.JPG

What Happens Next?

First time indexers will be contacted AFTER submitting an index, by one of the Editors at the GCD to be mentored and to help them along with some of our more specific formatting. All indexes are reviewed by an editor (usually within a week). If there is a problem, the index may be put back in your editing queue with comments and you may be contacted by e-mail for comment. We require the data to be in one consistent format so that it is easily searchable. Please do not be discouraged if you get back a list of stuff to be corrected. The editors can be a picky bunch, and they have to be. Some of the seemingly strange things we require are needed due to the fact that a large part of our data was created in older databases, that did not allow for modern relationships and formatting. Some details are covered above. But once you've done a few indexes it becomes old hat!

What if I Want to Make a Change Before it Is Approved?

You can view the status of your index at any time on your Editing page. It will show whether it is still in the pending queue and who has been assigned to review and approve it. If it is no longer shown on this page, it has been approved! However, if you want to change some information before it is approved, you can click the “Retract and edit further” button and then reedit the index. If you decide you want to throw out your entire work on the index, you can hit the “Discard” button. If you do not see these buttons on your page, that means the index is under review by an editor. You can only retract an index while the it is in the pending queue, and not once it is under active review. However, you can still comment on it and even ask that the Approver send it back to you for more work instead of approving it, in the Comments box as discussed above.


How Do I Contact an Editor with Questions about My Index?

The easiest way to contact an Editor is to put a Comment in the issue you're working on, if it applies to that specific issue. If you have a more general question, a good method is to post the question on the gcd-main list. Most of the Editors take part in the discussions there and someone is very likely to answer your question.

What's up with All These Crazy Rules Anyway?

Currently most of the fields in the database are free-form text. In the future we will change this so that they are more structured, and then the system will handle a lot of the formatting automatically. For instance, right now you must put a semi-colon between multiple pencilers for a story, and that all gets stuffed in one field and displayed with the punctuation you used. In the future, each penciler will be a separate credit, and you will not need to worry about what sort of punctuation to put between them - the system will add it automatically. For now please bear with our rules as following them will help us move to an improved system more quickly!

Video Indexing Tutorials

For several more complex indexing tasks, we have video tutorials. These include the following subjects:

  1. How to Do a Bulk Change
  2. How to Edit one Issue with Another Issue
  3. Adding A Variant Cover
  4. Reprint Links

Thank you again for signing up with the Grand Comics DatabaseTM for an indexing account and have fun indexing!