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Subject: FW: Surname and Firstname

Since this went out some time ago, I thought I would resend it
so people don't have to search through their mail folder from
last month.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rowland, Larry 
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 10:57 AM
To: DocBook Technical Committee
Subject: Surname and Firstname

I have investigated the issue regarding what to use for names of
people.  It is quite interesting and the exchange in the mailing 
list that Norm mentioned was fascinating.  However, it did not
really provide compelling reasons to adopt something other than
givenname as the complement to surname nor to abandon surname. 

As far as standards go, there are a number of them but most seem
to be very Western oriented (firstname/middlename/lastname) and
while more consistent than what we currently use, not really
superior.  Others seem overly complex for what we need.

After considerable additional research on the Web, I did not find 
significant reasons for abandoning the givenname/surname model.  
I recommend replacing firstname with givenname, which is widely 
accepted as a complement to surname.  We should consider 
supplementing it with othername or additionalname to cover things 
like nicknames or maiden names, but simply explaining that 
firstname really means given name seems weak.  If we do go down 
the path of modifying our name elements, attributes may be 
appropriate for specializing the othername/additionalname but 
may not be necessary for our purpose (which is really to allow 
identifying a person without too much cultural bias).  I would
be happy to pursue what attributes might be appropriate if
we decide to modify our names.

However, if simply changing the descriptions is what we are going 
to do, here is what I would recommend.

For surname


  surname - A family name; in western cultures the last name


  A Surname is a family name; in Western cultures, the last name. 

Recommended Change:

  surname - An inherited or family name; in western cultures the
  last name 


  A Surname is an inherited or family name; in Western cultures, the
  last name.  This is used for the patronymic or matronymic or any
  name that is based on a persons situation at birth or due to
  marriage or adoption.

For firstname


  firstname - The first name of a person


  The Western-style first name of an author, editor, or other

Recommended Change

  firstname - A given name of a person.


  Use firstname for any given name or chosen name of a person.  This is 
  also used for forenames and nicknames. 

Looking forward to discussing this.

[ Larry Rowland             | If you want to build a ship, don't drum ]  
[ ESS/ATG                   | up the men to gather the wood, divide   ]
[ Hewlett-Packard           | the work, and give orders. Instead,     ]
[ 3404 East Harmony Road    | teach them to yearn for the vast and    ]
[ Fort Collins, CO  80528   | endless sea. - Antoine de Saint Exupery ]
[ Phone: 970/898-2280       +-----------------------------------------]
[ E-Mail:larry.rowland@.hp.com                                        ]

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