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Subject: Re: [docbook] On family/given/first/last names

Out of interest, what do people use the firstname/surname/lastname/ 
givenname distinction for?  In Docbook, its main use is clearly to  
identify document authors visually on the page.  The only other  
application I could see is if you wanted to produce a sorted list of  
authors, but quite why you'd want to do that, I'm unsure.  Given the  
variation in naming schemes internationally, I'd be very unlikely to  
perform any sort of search restricted to givenname or familyname, so  
what else could it be used for?

Perhaps the correct distinction is to list name components in  
printing-order, with semantic markup to identify the sort order?   
Under this mechanism:

   <name sortIndex="2">Geraint</name>
   <name sortIndex="1">North</name>

...would indicate that, when sorted, I should be sorted first by  
"North" and then by "Geraint".

Geraint North
Principal Engineer

On 7 Dec 2007, at 22:14, Norman Walsh wrote:

> Our decision not to deal with the apparently insensitive use of
> firstname/surname rather than givenname/familyname (or something like
> that) in DocBook V5.0 is one of the few areas where I feel like I wish
> we'd done a little more.
> Maybe I don't have to:
>   http://blog.jclark.com/2007/12/thai-personal-names.html
> In particular,
>    "(I have to say that this has led me to question what I perceive to
>    be the i18n orthodoxy that it's more i18n-ly correct to talk of
>    given name/family name than first name/last name. Why does it
>    matter whether a name is a family name or a given name? Surely what
>    matters is the cultural role that the name plays.)"
>                                         Be seeing you,
>                                           norm
> -- 
> Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | In the life of saints,  
> technically
> http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | so called, the spiritual
> Chair, DocBook Technical Committee | facilities are strong, but what
>                                    | gives the impression of
>                                    | extravagance proves usually on
>                                    | examination to be a relative
>                                    | deficiency of intellect.--William
>                                    | James

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