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The University of Iowa Libraries

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Graphic History: FAQs

This is an informational page about the on-going project Graphic History: A Database for Graphic Novels about History. Supported by a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association.

FAQs

Why do you use the term "Graphic Novel" when much of what you're dealing with aren't really novels?

The term graphic novel is imperfect and, yes, can be inaccurate. We are using it for as a catch-all phrase to include graphic biographies, adaptations, histories, etc. Bryan Talbot, artist on Alice in Sunderland, has said the following: "Many GNs aren't what could be considered novel-length and many aren't even fiction. Autobiography and reportage are now covered by the ludicrous marketing term ‘non-fiction graphic novels’! Having said that, I do use the term to describe what I produce because everybody knows what you mean and there's no other option that's any less vague."

Why aren't you using Library of Congress Subject Headings?

We have found that LCSH for graphic novels are often not nuanced enough, for our liking, to be accurate descriptors as to the content of most graphic novels. However, if that makes you nervous we are using Library of Congress controlled vocabulary/metadata.

What about X edition or Y edition?

We intend for Graphic History to be a discovery tool for titles, not all imprints of said titles. The editions we include in the database are the ones that we have actually had in our hands for review.

What about foreign language titles?

To prevent scope-creep we are currently limiting the database to English-languge titles, though these may include translations into English. We hope with time to increase the breadth of the project.

To be continued...