The Level Three Records Room

Rules of the Archive Posting Interface Instructions Tips for Searching

Hi! Welcome to the Level Three Records Room. This is the archive for the Level Three list. If you are a member of the list, just follow the rules of the list when archiving and you'll be fine; you can skip down to the posting interface instructions. The rest of you, please read on...

The Rules of the Archive

If you are not a member of the list, please read these rules first. This is not We do not have many rules, but they are different from's. If you do not follow the rules, your submission will be deleted. Please also consider subscribing to the list; this will allow you to post your stories to the archive and the list, and you will get more readers that way.

  1. This archive is for fic of all pairings, genres, styles, etc., but fic only. That means stories and only stories (including poems, filks, and the like--basically, any text-based genre of fiction about the characters), but not challenges.
  2. Any labels not mandated by the interface, such as summary, pairings, and notes, are up to your discretion. You should be aware that people may complain if you don't warn for sensitive topics, such as rape. The archivist fully supports your choice not to use labels, but cannot prevent people from emailing you about it.
  3. All stories posted to the archive should be completed (i.e., no WIPs). It is fine, however, to post complete stories within a series that is not yet finished. Such stories must stand alone. Labelling what are actually chapters in a story 'parts' in a 'series' will get your stories deleted and make the archivist grumpy. Don't do it.
  4. There are two content restrictions:

    1. No actor or archive fic [i.e., stories that aren't really fiction, but rather a use of the characters to promote your own projects] of any variety.
    2. No graphic sexual content involving people known to be under 16. R-rated or less only, please, for these characters. At this point, none of the main characters are confirmed to be under 16 in the present day, so all are fair game, unless you make a point of identifying them as underage. This may change in future if the show gets more specific. (No moral judgment here; there are plenty of lists which can take those kinds of stories and the listadmin belongs to several!)

  5. You should not repost to the archive unless there is a problem with the text, not just because you want to revise. (The archivist would never get anything done if she had to delete stories every time someone wanted to change a comma.) If you do run into a real problem, you must let the archivist know ( and wait for her to respond before reposting. (Please include the exact name and title you used-- the delete script is very picky to avoid accidentally deleting the wrong story, and your request will get taken care of much faster if the archivist doesn't have to hunt around to figure out exactly which version of your pseudonym you posted that particular story under.) This will allow her to delete the original file first, so you can post the revised version under the original title.

    [Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you no longer need to delete and repost stories to change your email address. Just email the archivist with the old address and the address you want it changed to, and she can make the changes for you.]

Instructions for the Automated Posting Interface

The Posting Interface lets authors upload text files to the Records Room, and converts them into HTML files, while adding the specified headers to each story. It also creates a new entry in the Record Room's database, meaning that people can search for stories by keyword, rating, title, etcetera. If you wish your story to be archived at the Records Room, you must use the Posting Interface to submit it.

When you have finished writing your story, save a copy of the completed version as a plain text or HTML file (plain text strongly preferred--the HTML option exists for those rare stories where the formatting is an essential part of the story itself). This file will have no indents, no bold text, no italicized text, and no underlined text.

To get the Posting Interface to italicize a word, surround it in *asterisks*. Likewise, to underline a word, surround it with underscores. The Posting Interface will convert this into the proper formatting. Unfortunately, the Interface has some trouble with italicizing and underlining words when they contain punctuation (like apostrophes); you will need to put asterisks around both parts of these words. That is, you will need to use "*you*'*re*", not "*you're*".

To create a horizontal line-break between sections, hit return, then type three asterisks, then hit return again. In your text file it will look like this:


and the archive will turn it into a line like this:

Do not indent at the beginnings of paragraphs. This won't show up on the archive. Do include a blank line between each paragraph. Stories that do not do this are very inconvenient to read on most computer screens. Please note that you need to include some kind of marker (like the horizontal line, or an asterisk, or whatever takes your fancy) between sections; if you just use two blank lines, one will be stripped out, making it look like there is no section break.

Almost every word processor has two ways to save a file: Save, and Save As. If you choose Save As, you will see an option such as "Save as what file type?" or "Type of File" or "Save as Type?" Among your choices will be Text, Text Only, ASCII Dos Text, or something of that nature. Any one of those will usually work.

Most of the fields on the upload form are self-explanatory. There are a few points that need addressing, however...

Ratings are required, for the convenience of readers searching for particular types of stories. For Smallville fans abroad, here is a short explanation of the American ratings system. This is not the final word; after all, this ratings system was proposed for the protection of children, and the archivists certainly hope that children are not accessing this archive. So it won't always exactly fit. But please feel free to use these guidelines to help pick what you think would be an appropriate rating for your story.

G -- General Audiences -- No nudity, sex scenes, or scenes of drug use. Violence is minimal.

PG -- Parental Guidance Suggested -- Brief nudity. No explicit sex scenes or scenes of drug use. Horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

PG-13 -- Parents Strongly Cautioned -- No rough or persistent violence, or sexually-oriented nudity. Some scenes of drug use may be seen; some use of harsh sexually derived words.

R -- Restricted -- Contains adult material. An R may be assigned for use of language, theme, violence, sex or portrayal of drug use.

NC-17 -- No One Under 17 -- May contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, and/or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic, simply that it addresses these topics.

Please note: The "summary" field is for actual summaries of stories. It should hold a brief description of your story that will help people decide whether they want to read it or not. It is not the place to request feedback, or publicize your other stories (unless it'sa sequel/prequel), or go on about who betaed it. If you feel the need to make these kinds of comments, put them in the Notes field. "Please R&R!!!" should never appear in your summary; it's simply not helpful to readers.

As of February 2003, the archive has two search functions, along with the "random story" and "most popular stories" options.

Search by Attribute

The story information search allows you to search for fics by title, author, character, date posted, etc. This is the search you want to use, for example, if you're looking for stories with specific pairings, or specific categories of stories. For the most part, it's self-explanatory. However, there are a few tips that can help you search more effectively.

Most importantly, nearly all fields are optional. The author chooses whether or not to include them when uploading the story. This is probably most noticeable when it comes to pairing. There are a number of stories on the archive that feature romance between characters, yet do not have a pairing tag (some authors dislike giving the story away, or categorizing it before it's read). The "characters" field is mandatory, however, so if you are unsatisfied with your results from searching on a pairing, try searching on the two (or more) characters involved instead.

If you would like to see a simple listing of stories with summaries, you can submit the form with no fields filled out, one of the Author/Title ranges selected (to see the listings within that range), or just the date range (for stories posted within that date range).

The engine assumes an "and", not an "or," between fields in a query; that is, stories returned will meet all the criteria you specify, not just one of them. Thus, searches with many criteria may return few or no stories. If you are not satisfied with the results of your search, try leaving more fields blank.

If you are still not satisfied with the results of your search, try checking fewer boxes within fields as well.

Search in Text

The newer search function is a full-text search engine. This allows you to search for words and phrases within a story. In other words, this search is useful if you want to find stories that mention Lex's time at Metropolis University, or that one story you read once where Clark spilled pickle relish on Lex's Burberry trenchcoat and you loved it but you can't remember its title or author.

This is a very powerful search option, but it is still not always the best choice. If you are simply looking for stories with a certain pairing, for example, this search will probably not work--because most people don't actually include, say, the word "Chlex" in the body of a Chloe/Lex story! However, they usually do include the story's pairing in its entry in the database. Therefore, you're much better off using the Search by Attribute for this kind of search.

The full-text search function works much like Google. Click on the "Tips" link on the search page for more instructions.

Please note that the indexer has to be run manually, so the index may be as much as a week out of date. However, you can easily check the stories that recent by clicking on the Newest Stories link on the archive front page.

Still have questions?

Email the archivist, Sarah T., at

Note: Part of this FAQ was adapted from the Smallville Slash Archive's FAQ (, which was adapted from yet other FAQs.