However, I would like to be able to add in some potential publications to this schedule, without adding real records to the main database.
Why not add them?
I'd add the records to the existing table(s), but use an additional field to identify them as "potential". That way finds, sorts and portal filters can be used to exclude them on layouts where such records should not be visible.
I suppose the reason why I don't want to add them is because many of them won't eventuate and it will mean creating new half-hearted records (we will only have some details) in several tables that become messy leftovers.
Perhaps another way would be to have manual fields in Production for author title info and a calculated field that looked in both places for the schedule layout. That way at least the superfluous entries would be contained to one or two tables.
Thanks. I was getting caught in a loop with my thinking.
It's your database, but I'd still go with using one set of tables and just labeling the potential records. If you set up the correct delete options, deleting a "potential" record that doesn't pan out would set up a cascading delete that also deletes the related records. (Do this carefully or you can delete stuff that shouldn't be deleted...)
Or you can keep all the records and just use the methods mentioned earlier to exclude potential records (and those related to them). No clutter visible to your users and if you ever need to review past "potential" entries, you still have all the data in the system. (And you might add a "canceled" status option to keep old not going to be used, potential records separate from newly added ones.)
It's still one set of tables, just an extra field for the potential entries, for author title info (and a calculated one to display from whichever source). Author and title are the trickiest to delete because the author may have other real titles and it's also possible the title is published in another form, so a cascading delete would be complicated. I can't see the advantage of creating new author and title records that may end up as clutter.