RE: bibliographic issues

From: Matthew Cockerill <>
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2005 15:22:05 +0100

Eric Miller wrote:
> Getting various content providers to agree on *a few*
> properties when
> it comes to describing peoples for bibliographic description,
> however, is a small but useful step. For the content providers that
> are reading this list, I'm wondering if the following might be a
> simple core folks could agree on...
> <foaf:Person>
> <rdf:value>Jim Gettys</rdf:value> <!-- default value for
> apps that
> don't know foaf -->
> <foaf:givenname>Jim</foaf:givenname>
> <foaf:surname>Gettys</foaf:surname>
> </foaf:Person>
> Alf, Matthew? others? What do you think?

Well, from a bibliographic citation point of view, I think that if we're going to the trouble of RDF representation, we should at least match the expressiveness of the leading tools currently in use for academic citation (and I think it's worth considering that in a way, the current practice of academic citation defines a subset of the bigger name problem - for practical purposes we don't really need to solve every nuance of name representation - just to be able to fit in well with existing academic citation practice.

Key issues with names not addressed by the above simplication of the <foaf> format (but that are addressed by EndNote/BibTeX, are:

(1) middle names (?)

From: it looks like the idea is that you provide a sequence of given names, the first being the traditional "first" name.
The fact that the first name is not special in any way could make processing more of a pain than necessary though.
And then there's the question of which of the given names that people use as there preferred name.
e.g. R Timothy Hunt, where Timothy is the middle name, but is used in preference to the first name.

I guess what might b e needed there is an optional?) attribute of <foaf:givenname> to flag it as the one that is used by the person concerned (in some cases, several of the given names may be used I guess, so several could have this attribute..

(2) suffixes (Jr, III)

(3) the fact that both the given name (in the case of reference lists), and the middle names (in most cases) will only be available in the source data as initials.
Assuming that all upper case letters are initials lets you get away without having a separate tag for initials compared to names, but would be ambiguous in any culture that has single letter names.
Might be better to express clearly whether something is being asserted to be a name, or one or more initials.

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Received on Tue Aug 02 2005 - 14:20:12 EDT

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