English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am designing a database and I have an entity called Publication.

A Publication can be either a book/academic journal or a technical report.

So I need a word for book/academic journal as "Book/Academic Journal" is not a clean entity name and it looks just as bad when mapped as a database table - book_academic_journal.

Is there a word that "combines" these two words?

share|improve this question
From your question, it seems like things vary greatly among fields. In mathematics, for this type of database, I believe that technical reports would not necessarily be considered to have been "published"; in which case you could have the categories "publications" and "technical reports". – Peter Shor Jan 25 '13 at 15:26
There is a publication entity with subclasses book/academic journal and technical report, that is the facts of the scenario I have to model, there is no point making assumptions, this is just the way the data is. – sonicboom Jan 25 '13 at 15:57
up vote 2 down vote accepted

A preliminary search suggests that 'Books & Journals' is a set-phrase widely used in the publications area, including by major publishers, libraries, systems of classification and repositories.

As such the phrase is preferred for use as a classification head. For programming purposes, we could perhaps use Books_Journals and Tech_Reports. That would be self-explanatory as well as more widely understood than other artifices.

share|improve this answer

I am trying to understand the distinction that you make between these two categories. The most obvious one is that books and journals are usually intended for wider distribution than a technical report.

If that is the criteria, you might consider general publications and somewhere define it as books and academic journals. If you need a database abbreviation, it lends itself to gen_pubs.

share|improve this answer
That's looks pretty good, I'll just see if anyone has other suggestions. – sonicboom Jan 25 '13 at 15:15

Why would you not use textbook, journal, article and report? A textbook is a singular entity, a journal is a singular entity although it differs in that it is a compendium of articles. Articles have a publication requirement, and there is no publication requirement for technical reports.

If it makes it easier, you could change your classification to "publication_type" (I am assuming that you have a separate table to tabulate publication information such as date published, publisher, edition, journal, etc., since it is possible that a single article/report could be published in multiple journals, or that a listed publisher changes between editions.), and publication_type would lend itself better to singular word classifications.

share|improve this answer
In my schema book and journal have exactly the same attributes. So I will have a publication_type flag in this entity to specify if a particular tuple is a book or an academic journal. But I need a name for that entity. – sonicboom Jan 25 '13 at 15:15
Not sure why they would have exactly the same attributes, but I can't see your schema so it could make sense. But I think you answered your own question, type would either be textbook or journal. You could also make it a numeric flag related to a publication_type table, that way if you find you need a new classification, you can simply add to the type table and update the main table as needed for the new type. – JohnP Jan 25 '13 at 15:18
For the downvoter, can you explain why? – JohnP Jan 25 '13 at 15:23
I haven't answered my own question because I haven't come up with a word that means both book and academic journal. I know that I will use a flag for the type but the word itself is the issue. – sonicboom Jan 25 '13 at 15:26
I suspect that down the road you'll be sorry you didn't make more subclasses, but this isn't the DBA forum. In any event, you might say "Internal" vs "External" publication, as tech reports are generally not disseminated beyond the issuing organization except on request. (This may be less true in the Web era.) You might also consider refereed vs non-refereed. – Andrew Lazarus Jan 25 '13 at 18:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.