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

(Dave and Markus, this addresses both your comments, since they're  
quite closely related)

> Geraint North wrote:
>> 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.
> Contributors? A group of authors?

Sure, but that's still basically the same thing - document authors.   
It seems to me that within DocBook, the uses for names are much more  
constrained than a general-purpose ontology for a 'person' would need  
to be - that's what I was trying to understand.

>>  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?
> I like the suggestion on James page (one of the respondents) to enable
> 'search term' so that I could search on what the person wants rather
> than what a non-local might use?

The thing is, if I'm searching for a document author, I don't want to  
miss a result because I'm unfamiliar with the particular local  
characteristics of the person's name - the only sensible thing to me  
would seem to be for the XML to contain every component of their  
name, and for me to search on all of them.

>> Perhaps the correct distinction is to list name components in  
>> printing-order, with semantic markup to identify the sort order?
> Which might be your or my interpretation? If it's known (not always
> the case I guess) then surely better to use that person (or their
> locale specific usage if known) for search?

And Markus's comment:

> Naming conventions are a pet peeve for everyone involved in  
> generating citations and bibliographies for scholarly publications.  
> Scientific journals and publishers have fairly strict rules how to  
> display names of authors and editors. In order to do that, you need  
> to know the function of each part of the name. Assume the journal  
> wants the names displayed as "Last, First M.". A guy named Luis  
> Lopez Penabad would obviously be displayed as "Penabad, Luis L."  
> although this is all wrong. He is Spanish, has one firstname (Luis)  
> and two lastnames (Lopez Penabad), one from each of his parents.  
> The correct display form is therefore "Lopez Penabad, Luis". The  
> firstname/surname/lastname/givenname elements somewhat help to get  
> this right, although you still face lots of problems with non- 
> Western names, and even with some standard US names. E.g. if a  
> person goes by his second "firstname", like L. Clinton Webb, the  
> current DocBook markup has a hard time to catch this

If publishers do have strict guidelines in this regard, it would be  
interesting to know _why_ they have these guidelines - I suspect that  
they are artefacts from a time when search would be performed on the  
printed document itself, which (as Markus showed in his example) has  
clear disadvantages.

Obviously an impossible proposal, but if _I_ were King of the  
International Author Naming Committee, there seem to be only two  
things of interest:
- How each author would like their name displayed
- An unordered set of all the components of their name (including  
variants), for search purposes.


   <displayas>L. Ron Hubbard</displayas>

   <displayas>William Gates III</displayas>

   <displayas>Luis Lopez Penabad</displayas>

   <displayas>Geraint North</displayas>


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