The definition of the author element is given as the following: "<author> in a bibliographic reference, contains the name of the author(s), personal or corporate, of a work; the primary statement of responsibility for any bibliographic item." There are a number of problems with this:
1) May an author element contain more than one name, or should there be only one name per author element? If the latter, how should encoders handle phrases like "Bill and Melinda Gates"?
2) May this element contain data that is part of an authority record heading in a library catalog? For example, the official form of William Shakespeare's name in the Library of Congress name authority file is "Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616".
3) Should <author> be used if the referring string that it contains is not actually a name, such as "unknown", "withheld", or (in some cases) "anonymous"? Perhaps the use of <persName> and <orgName> as children of <author> should be required to distinguish actual names from "unknown" etc.? The following are examples of what is proposed here:
* <author><persName>Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616</persName></author>
* <author><orgName>National Organization for Women</orgName></author>
4) As a librarian, I find "statement of responsibility" to be problematic since, in cataloguing, the statement of responsibility may be an author, editor, compiler, or whoever else is most prominently credited on the title page, regardless of whether they're an "author". I believe it was not intended that a statement of responsibility of *any* kind be contained in the author element.