Letter from the Encyclopedist
Gadgets and Trinkets

by Daniel DeLorme,
Before delving into the crux of this letter, let me bring you up to date on how were the last two months since my last letter. Remember how happy yours truly was with the Encyclopedia's growth in July? In total, 5873 informations had been added. Well in August, that number climbed to a staggering 12775! For that performance, let me extend my most heartfelt thanks to our staff members Miagi and phoenix, and to all the users who contributed information, in particular Path, Joshua, drakh, pita-tenshi, msoftceo and zaphdash. In contrast, September was rather tepid with a mere 2831 new informations. Well, it's only to be expected that not every month can be record-breaking, heh? I guess everyone is busy, what with school starting and all... But hopefully, one of the improvements I'm unveiling today will give us a little boost in that area.

As Encyclopedist, my role is to help the Encyclopedia grow, not only with new data but also with new features. So now that I am done with the thank you's, I wish to go over a few of the more recent additions I made to the Encyclopedia. Oh, it's nothing staggering, just a few little improvements... which is why this letter is titled "Gadgets and Trinkets".

Firstly, for a person it is now possible to add a picture and a list of non-anime roles. I am sure that last one will be quite useful for those voice actors that have a career outside of anime, and also for all those radio/CD dramas that seem to go hand-in-hand with anime in Japan. And for an anime it is now possible to add a picture, a plot summary and the names of the OP/ED musics, and for a manga it is also possible to add the names of the volumes. As usual, the specific instructions about each of these can be found when you add the information. Previously the plot summary could only be added by staff members because we wanted to make sure it was a neutral description and not some mini-review; after all, an Encyclopedia is not the place to express opinions, it should only contain facts. Now that anyone can submit a plot summary, we'll see if it works or not and if we can leave it public like this. The same goes for pictures, for which there are certain guidelines to follow. Up to now, people have been pretty smart about the information they submit to the Encyclopedia, so I don't believe this should pose any problem.

Secondly, I have added to the custom anime list page the ability to display an anime's production date and to sort them with that date. This is illustrated by the "most recent" link in the right-hand menu, under "Anime". This link will return a list of the 100 most recently produced anime contained in the Encyclopedia. Furthermore, in that page one can change the display options at will. In fact, the "by relevance" and "licensed" links in the right-hand menu will bring you to the very same page but simply with different display options. It's pretty flexible, so I encourage you to use this page to create whatever custom lists you may want. The only thing left to add would no doubt be the ability to display anime titles according to genre, as has already been suggested to me a few times. But that would require more genre information in the Encyclopedia, and that is another story.

Thirdly, In the right-hand menu, you can now find user preferences. This is only available to ANN registered users, of course. For now, those preferences merely allow one to customize the appearance of an anime's details and to hide hentai titles for those uninterested in that side of anime (not that we have that many of them in the Encyclopedia anyway). I am very open to suggestions on other ways to customize ANN through those preferences.

And lastly but not leastly, I have at last implemented a way to add more than one staff/cast member at a time. In the user preferences mentionned above, there is a second page titled "Input Mode" which explains how the multi-input mode works and allows you to turn it on. With this feature, users who wish to contribute large amounts of information should find it significantly easier than entering each single information one at a time. The explanations are a little complicated, so feel free to contact me for more details.

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