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Old Oct 11, 2007, 04:40 AM
Gigablah's Avatar
Gigablah Gigablah is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
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Default Artist Management for Albums

The artist table and associated artist/album crossreference table is a rather complex addition to the VGMdb system, and as such testing will be limited to trusted editors and staff members. This thread is concerned with the artist-to-album linking component (crossreference table); the actual interface for managing artist entries in the main artist table will be discussed at a later time.

Firstly, the main goal of the crossreference table: to normalize the artist fields for albums (composer, arranger, performer -- and lyricist, to be added later) such that:
  • All artist names will conform to naming conventions and accurate spelling
  • Ambiguity is eliminated by ensuring that all aliases of a particular artist point to the same artist entry (and are listed in the profile)
  • Individual artists can be displayed as links in the album view pages, which will take you to their profile pages
  • Artist name display can be switched between different languages
  • Queries for all works by an artist, in whatever role, can be performed efficiently and return accurate and comprehensive results

This has implications for the album view pages: If a particular album has artist reference entries, the regular artist strings for composer, arranger, etc. will be bypassed in favor of those entries. However, artist fields in the album database will remain. They'll still show up in the album submission and editing interfaces, and you can still update them. They serve a function for the new artist management interface, which I will explain now.

Let's take a look at an example album, Clannad Arrange Album MABINOGI. You can access the management interface via the Edit menu:

An album without any entries in the artist-to-album crossreference table will have no content under "Linked Artists" and "Unlinked Artists". If the artist strings for the album contain data, though, they will be parsed and listed under "Unassigned Artists":

Notice that the original strings are shown as a reference, in case anything horrible happens during parsing (for example, when track numbers are listed with commas after an artist name).

Before you click on "Assign" though, check whether any of the names contain suffixes. Suffixes are extra information after a name; anything that isn't the name itself. Therefore, we need to fix the first guy.

KEY is an alias for Jun Maeda (for this album, at least). Note that you can also just go ahead and replace KEY with Jun Maeda, but since we're following what's printed on the album liner notes, we should preserve the alias. Once you click on assign, all the names disappear from the unassigned section, and reappear in the unlinked section.

From this point on the album will retrieve these entries for display on the album view page. However, the artist names will still NOT be linked -- you will have to perform the next step.

First, notice that under "linking options", the system has found matches for Shinji Orito and Magome Togoshi. Every matching name in the artist database (yes, there could be two or more artists with the same name) as well as names associated with every matching alias in the crossreference table will be listed in the dropdown box. We don't have entries for the other artists (except Jun Maeda, but we'll get to that part later), so let's create them now. Scroll down a little bit to find the multiple artist name submission form:

Uncheck the box for KEY because it's an alias, and we don't want to add aliases to the artist database. Submit the rest, and now we get this:

Excellent! KEY needs to be manually linked to Jun Maeda (prior to this, I've already added him to the artist database with ID 4) because it's a new alias which hasn't been recorded in the crossreference table yet. After submitting this information, the system will suggest matching KEY to Jun Maeda from now on. Remember to check all the boxes if you want to update the entries (the mass checker on the top right is handy here).

And this is the result. We're done linking artists for this album. Notice that the aliases for everyone except KEY have disappeared, because the system detected an identical match between the provided alias and the artist name in the database and cleared it. (It's not an alias anymore!)

Question: What if I DON'T want to use this system? Yes, you can completely disregard this process if you want, it's only there to make adding multiple artists easier and safer. There's a single form for manually linking an artist to the album, if you wish to use it:

As long as the artist you add in a particular role matches the artist detected by the parser from the album's corresponding artist string, that artist will disappear from the "unassigned artists" section.

What if someone adds a new name through the album editing interface? That's fine, it'll show up automatically under "unassigned artists", and you can repeat the process for that artist.

Current Issues:
  • No option to delete entries from the crossreference table yet
  • Script does not check whether a linked ID refers to a valid, existing entry in the artist database
  • Suggestions do not take into account transposed names (e.g. Orito Shinji instead of Shinji Orito)
  • Artist links in the album view page are not shown yet, that'll happen once the artist profile template is finished

Comments and suggestions are welcome!
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