The Vault standard type, Series, poses special problems for organizing and administering Vault data. In this Part of the User's Guide, we describe the most important of those problems and how we have chosen to deal with them.
In the Take11 Vault, "Series" invariably refers to a TV Series—a sequence of Seasons and Episodes first released to television. Typically, a Series is marketed in units of Seasons or in units of Sets. In either case, each Season and each Set contains several episodes.
We distinguish between a "Series" and a "Complete Series". A Complete Series contains all Episodes of a Series and is marketed as a single entity. In contrast, a Series is not marketed as a single entity: the term "Series" refers to all its Seasons and Episodes, but those Seasons and Episodes are not commercially available as a single object.
This distinction is important to us because it means that the Take11 Catalog may contain a single record for a Complete Series, but it cannot contain a single record for a Series. Therefore, Take11 algorithms, as described in previous Parts of this Guide, would not create a standard title for a Series. Those algorithms require that a Catalog record exist before a standard title can be created.
Although no Series record appears in the Catalog, we would still like to have a Series display page in the Vault, even if it does not refer to a physical entity. It would be sufficient if that display page just contained a list of links to the Seasons or Sets that make up the Series.
Therefore, we modified Take11 algorithms to automagically create a Series display page whenever it recognizes a Season or Set and when no corresponding "Complete Series" record exists. You might think of this as a page for a "dummy" or a "virtual" record, since no record for it actually exists in the Catalog. An example is shown in Figure 5.1.
Note in the figure that this display page is much simpler than those for other Vault types: with no Catalog records for this standard title, we have little to present on the page. The page primarily provides links to the Seasons and Sets that are cataloged at Take11. To summarize:
- The "Complete Series" type refers to a physical object that has a record in the Take11 Catalog.
- The "Series" type does not have a corresponding record in the Catalog; it serves as a organizational tool for the Vault.
- Even if a "Complete Series" object exists, if it has not been cataloged at Take11, then the software does not know about the "Complete Series" entity and it will create a "Series" page. When a user does catalog the Complete Series, then the software will replace the Series page with a Complete Series page.
Users cannot directly create or delete Series standard titles. If a user catalogs a season for some series previously not in the Catalog, the software will create the corresponding Series page. Inversely, if a user deletes a season and there are no others in the catalog, then the software will delete the corresponding Series page. This implies that users have an indirect way for creating and deleting a Series page.
The indirect approach uses the User Control Panel. If you use the Control Panel to change the type of title from, say, feature to season, then the software will create the corresponding Series title, if it does not already exist.
To have an example, consider the Howard Hawks feature "Rio Bravo". The display page for this standard title appears in Figure 5.2. Note in the figure that under the Take11 logo, the standard type is "Feature Film." We emphasize that at this point, there is only one standard title "Rio Bravo" in the Vault.
Now we use the User Control Panel to change the type from Feature to Season or Set (see Section 2.1). The resulting display page is shown in Figure 5.3. Under the logo, the standard type is now "Season or Set." Further, the content in the middle column differs considerably from that for the feature film in Figure 5.2.
If we now do a Vault search on "Rio Bravo", we find two standard titles: one for the Set that we just created and the other for the Series, which was created by the software; see Figure 5.4. Note there is no cover art for the Series in the search results of Figure 5.4 because there is no Catalog record for "Rio Bravo: Series". The display page for "Rio Bravo: Series" is analogous to that in Figure 5.1.
Now we realize we just made a big boo-boo: "Rio Bravo" is really a Feature, not a Set in a Series. To fix this, we return to the "Rio Bravo: Set" display page (Figure 5.3) and use the User Control Panel to change the type from "Set" back to "Feature". This restores the feature display page we had initially (Figure 5.2) and drops "Rio Bravo: Series" from the Vault.
Users cannot directly delete a Series from the Vault; however, there are two situations in which the software deletes a Series.
- On the User Control Panel for each Season in a Series, if a user changes each Season to some other type, such as Feature, so there are no longer any Seasons associated with the Series, then the software will remove the Series from the Vault.
- On the Edit Relationships page for the Series, if a user marks all related standard titles as "Not Related", then the software will remove that Series from the Vault. When this happens, the software will throw a "Deleted" page reminding the user that the Series has been removed.
Obviously, these actions should be used with care. If either of the these is done by mistake, you can recreate the Series as described in Section 5.3 above.
Finally, a special case occurs when a Series is complete in only one Season or Set. An example is Joss Whedon's "Firefly" which aired for only half a season. In such cases, the Take11 record for the one Season constitutes a Complete Series, and it should be marked as such in the Vault. Users may have to do this explicitly on the User Control Panel, as described in Section 2.1 of this Guide.
Further, since the one Vault standard title, "Firefly: Complete Series", encompasses all Seasons as a single object, we do not need a list of all Seasons on the Complete Series page. Instead, we'd like the Complete Series page to list all Episodes. We can force this to happen using a special link on the User Control Panel.
Whenever a Complete Series display page loads, the User Control Panel contains a link "Restrict to only 1 season or set," as in Figure 5.5. Clicking on that link signals the software to replace the list of Seasons on the Complete Series page with a list of Episodes.
If the "Restrict to only 1 season or set" link has already been selected by a previous user, then the link will read "Extend to 2 or more seasons or sets." Clicking on that link returns the Complete Series page to its normal form in which it shows a list of Seasons rather than Episodes. For an example of the list of Seasons on a Complete Series page, see Figure 3.2.
Copyright © 2012 by J.M. Haile. All rights reserved.