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Subject: RE: [docbook] Rename firstname and surname?

OTOH, 'familyname' is culturally biased to the extent that we infer anything about the names of a person's relatives. Personal names are inherently bound to various cultural contexts.


My problem with 'surname' is that it suggest a certain sequential ordering.

Personal names are not created equal, and usage changes with time, culture and purpose. In general, one should expect each person to have several names that must be presented in various ways, depending on context.

In DocBook, personal names are generally used to convey that someone has contributed in some way to the current document. E.g., in the proceedings of a learned society, you'll want to be able to display a lot of details wrt. professional titles and affilations *at the time of contribution*. When the proceedings are eventually published, names, titles and affiliations of the person may have changed completely.

Under other circumstances, it might be more appropriate to record the the sha1sum of the URI of an Internet mailbox for which the person was the first owner. Or some other web-friendly persistent identifier.

When I recently investigated vocabularies for personal names for a specific project, I drifted towards new VCard ontology,


There is a cross-walk between VCard and a few other vocabularies here:


kind regards
Peter Ring

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dave Pawson [mailto:davep@dpawson.co.uk]
> Sent: 10. august 2007 08:55
> To: docbook@lists.oasis-open.org
> Subject: Re: [docbook] Rename firstname and surname?
> Michael(tm) Smith wrote:
> > Robin Cover <robin@oasis-open.org>, 2007-08-09 20:51 -0400:
> > 
> >> I spent all of 12 minutes surveying the territory again,
> >> using online (Wikipedia) sources and other available resources:
> >>
> >> "first" and "sur" don't quite get the job done from a
> >> multi-cultural POV.
> > 
> > What exactly is wrong with "sur" from a multi-cultural POV?
> Think of any foreign languages you know Mike?
> Even I could translate family, it's in the low level vocab.
> 'sur' just plain isn't IMHO.
> That's how I judge which words to use to be understood.
> [Middle English, partial translation of Old French surnom : 
> sur-, sur- + 
> nom, name.]
> I don't want to move from an Anglofile bias to a Francofile one!
> I'm definately +1 to 'familyname' now.
> Thanks for making us think of it.
> regards
> -- 
> Dave Pawson
> http://www.dpawson.co.uk
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