A Minor Issue I Care Too Much About: Inconsistent Apostrophe Use Is Affecting the Search Function


  • Premium Member

    If you've ever wondered why the search bar on the main site sometimes fails to work, even when you know the title of a novel, this may be why.

    Can Someone Please Explain What's Going On?!
    Her Majesty's Swarm
    If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Isekai
    The Holy Knight's Dark Road

    Copy any of those titles into the search right now, and you won't get any results. This is because of the apostrophe used in these titles. Most keyboards type a straight apostrophe character (Unicode 0027) when hitting the apostrophe key. However, these titles use a right single quote character (Unicode 2019) instead.

    Here are the two different characters:
    ’ (right single quote)
    ' (apostrophe)
    Copy just those characters in the search bar, and you'll see that the titles on this site are inconsistent about which character they use, leading to failed searches.

    Interestingly, the apostrophe character is sometimes used in the volume titles, even when the single quote is used for the series title. Compare https://j-novel.club/s/her-majesty-s-swarm/ and https://j-novel.club/v/her-majesty-s-swarm-volume-1. Her Majesty's Swarm also uses an apostrophe in the release calendar, meaning if you were to copy the title from the calendar and use it in a search, you would get no results.

    Some word processing software and even digital keyboards automatically replace apostrophes with single quotes. So, people searching from a mobile device or copying titles from a word document may not have the same problem, or may have this problem for the inverse set of titles.

    Fixing this does not actually mean changing the character in the titles. There are legitimate stylistic reasons to choose one over another, and the translator/writer should be able to decide what to use. Instead, the fix should be made in the search function. Ideally, the search function should not differentiate between single quotes and apostrophes. This is, in fact, exactly what happens on Yen Press's site. Compare https://yenpress.com/search-list/?keyword=i'm+a+spider and https://yenpress.com/search-list/?keyword=i’m+a+spider.

    I know this seems like a minor issue, and it really does only affect a few titles. But I think the search function is one of the most basic functions of the site, and I know this issue is fixable. I don't imagine it will be fixed anytime soon, but I still wanted to bring attention to this issue.


  • Premium Member

    That is because computers are stupidly literal, unless you strip punctuation out, which has its own issues. If you do the search on Google, for example, they ignore punctuation, which makes it difficult to narrow a search "properly".

    Searching here on j-novel.club, you don't need to use the whole title to search for it, fortunately. "Please Explain" or "Hitchhiker" will find the titles.

    As a "publishing" company, though, I would expect JNC to use proper punctuation, rather than the shortcuts the rest of us use. It looks better "on paper" than the typewriter versions.


  • Member

    Also I wish titles that start with "The," or "A/An" wouldn't be alphabetized by those first minor words. I'd rather they get alphabetized by their second word in the title.


  • Staff

    @FalseAim Unfortunately, due to the database and software in use, I can't fix this problem for you immediately. I have put it on my TODO list though


  • Premium Member

    @LegitPancake I'd rather that be a setting than just auto-alphabetization. Cause I actually prefer when titles that begin with The/A/An be sorted by those words. Makes it easier for me to not have to think about the second word all the time.


  • Premium Member

    @chocolatkey I didn't think this would be a quick fix. I appreciate the response.


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