What is a beta text?

We’ve been saying for some while that what we’re going to be putting live later this year is a “beta text” of the SFE. I thought it might be useful to explain exactly what we mean by this. So, some questions answered:

Q: What exactly is a beta text?

In this context, it means a text of the SFE that isn’t yet complete. We think we’re about 3/4 of the way through compiling the Encyclopedia. Our current 3.2m wordcount will probably expand to 4.2m by the time we’re done at the end of 2012. So there will be some entries missing in the beta text, and some cross-reference links that aren’t yet working. Of course, we hope that 3.2m words will be enough to occupy everyone for a while…

Q: How are you going to update the text?

Updates will probably happen monthly, and be flagged through this blog, our Twitter feed, and Facebook page.

Q: My favorite author/film/TV programme doesn’t have an entry. (Or: there is an entry, but it doesn’t seem to have been updated since the 1993 edition.) Is this because the SFE is still a beta text?

In all probability, yes. We know there are a lot of missing entries at the moment. These gaps will be filled over the course of the next year or so.

Q: You say you’re going to “be done” with the SFE at the end of 2012. Does that mean you’ll stop updating it?

No. We intend to continue updating the SFE for as long as we’re partnered with our friends at Gollancz. End-2012 simply marks the point at which we’ll be able to claim the Encyclopedia is as comprehensive as we want it to be.

Any more questions…?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “What is a beta text?

  1. Pingback: Getting in touch | The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

  2. What level of achievement would a writer need in order to be included? Traditionally pub’d? Self pub’d? Pre-pub’d, but with an extensive web presence?

    • Complicated question, and it’s not one I can give a clear-cut answer to. Perhaps I can put it like this: if an author was not “traditionally” published – a tricky term – I think we would focus on them if there was strong evidence of their influence on others or success, via awards and the like. (John Clute may want to come in and say more.)

  3. michael h

    So how does one go about informing you of errors found on specific pages of the SFE?

  4. Pingback: Linkydinks, Special E-Text Edition « Genreville

  5. Pingback: The morning after | The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

  6. Hello, and congratulations for the wonderful initiative!

    My question is about contributing to your existing entries. If we’d like to send updates on a particular entry (say, the one on Bulgaria, which understandably has become out-of-date), how should we do it?

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