Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hugo Awards Lenses

For anyone reading my archives, please note that the Hugo Award lenses, except the one for Movies and TV, were replaced by one multi-page lens, Hugo Award Winners: Novels in January 2011. Links to the old lenses in these blog posts no longer work.

I got up fairly early this morning with an idea to check Squidoo to see if anyone had made lenses on science fiction's Hugo Award. They're presented annually at Worldcon and along with the Nebula Awards are the top awards in science fiction and fantasy.

Nothing came up in a search, so I decided to check Wikipedia for their listings of the awards, and settled on doing lenses for novels. The Wikipedia entry lists the winners and nominees back to the first awards in 1953, although no nominees are listed until 1959. There were no awards in 1954, and none for best novel in 1957. From 1959 on, there are five books for each year, occasionally six when there were ties. That's a little over 250 books.

Dividing things up by decade seemed like a good idea, otherwise it would make for an awfully long lens. By decade it's six lenses. I started the first lens as "Hugo Awards - Novels - 2000s" and used the URL and then chose three keywords.

There was a lot of formatting involved with the text of that first lens. At first I typed in the whole list in the first introduction module. Then I used a text module for each year. Once I got the formatting they way I wanted it, I saved a copy to plug into each year's text module. I didn't do that at first, but after realizing just how much work it was going to be to format each year separately, I made the copy. It was a lot easier to plug in formatted copy and type over the author's name and book title.

Probably the most time-consuming part was writing up blurbs for each winner, which I did by looking at the reviews in Amazon, usually at least three for each book, and coming up with my own words.

The next step was to get Amazon links for all the winners plugged in. Once I did that, I went to the introduction module and deleted the book listings, since they were now in text modules by year. Then I wrote up a few paragraphs about the Hugo Award. I was lucky in finding a copyright-free photo at Wikipedia of the 2005 award to use for each lens in the intro. With the intro written, I saved that to use on each lens, with a spot to list any Hugo winners or nominated books that also won the Nebula Award.

With the 2000s lens in shape enough for publishing, I published it so it will get listed on Squidoo sooner. Then I set about creating lenses for the other decades. For each of the others, I set up the lens, then put in the introduction and photo, created text modules for each year with titles, and plugged in the formatted copy to change later. With that done five more times, I was ready to go back to the first lens.

There were 41 nominees from 2000 to 2007 (there was one tie), and after each short list of the four nominees, I plugged in the four Amazon links. These links are tagged with my associate's ID, so for each one, it meant going to Amazon, searching for the book, usually the mass market paperback if one is listed, copying the ISBN number, plugging that into the utility that makes the code for the link, then copying and pasting the code onto the lens module. 41 of those operations later, I checked everything out, fixed a few errors, and published again.

I think it's taken me about 10 hours to get it all done. The rest of the lenses won't take 10 hours each because I've got a system worked out and it'll just be a matter of plugging in, typing over, and finding the Amazon links. As I go back in time, availability of books will probably become an issue. That may mean fewer links, but I'll still have to search each title.

Before I do the 1990s Hugos, I'm going to take the stuff from the completed lens and turn it into a web page on Have Pun Will Travel.

But not tonight.

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