#72 semantics of <author>

GREEN
closed
nobody
5
2009-03-18
2009-02-22
Kevin Hawkins
No

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>
* <author>(unknown)</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.

Discussion

  • Lou Burnard
    Lou Burnard
    2009-03-14

    These seem to be usage questions rather than a bug report. As far as I am aware, (1) <author> may contain more than one name (or how could it contain the name of more than one person?) see Coombs et al example in CO; (2) it may also contain dates as in the LC convention you cite (there is an example of this in the Guidelines in the spec for <teiHeader>); (3) it may contain strings such as "Anonymous" or "Unknown" (though I dont recall an example of that, so maybe one should be added). Additional markup of <persName> or <orgName> etc. within <author> is certainly possible, but not mandatory. (4) The reference to "statement of responsibility" in the definition of <author> is prefixed by "principal" to indicate what is meant by "author". The intent is to show that am <author> must contain a statement of responsibility, not that all statements of responsibility must be contained by an <author>. Else why would we have the element <respStmt>? But if you would like to propose a better definition, please do so.

     
  • Lou Burnard
    Lou Burnard
    2009-03-14

    • milestone: --> GREEN
    • status: open --> closed
     
  • Kevin Hawkins
    Kevin Hawkins
    2009-03-15

    Below are notes on points (3) and (4) in particular, followed by a synthesis.

    (3) An example with "Anonymous" or "Unknown" would be welcome. But in addition, I would like to suggest requiring <persName> or <orgName> within <author> when applicable, as in my original posting. This is low-hanging fruit for making texts more machine-processable for entity extraction.

    (4) I see what you mean that an <author> contains a statement of responsibility but not the entire statement of responsibility, but it's misleading to use "statement of responsibility" even though <respStmt> is present. It put catalogers on the wrong track.

    So addressing (1), (2), and (4), I suggest changing the definition of the element to:

    <author> in a bibliographic reference, contains the name(s) of the author(s), personal or corporate, of a work, possibly as a name authority heading.

     
  • Kevin Hawkins
    Kevin Hawkins
    2009-03-15

    • status: closed --> open
     
  • Lou Burnard
    Lou Burnard
    2009-03-18

    • status: open --> closed
     
  • Lou Burnard
    Lou Burnard
    2009-03-18

    Thanks for the helpful rewording; I've changed the <desc> at revision 5812 as follows:

    <desc>in a bibliographic reference, contains the name(s) of the
    author(s), personal or corporate, of a work; for example in the same
    form as that provided by a recognized bibliographic name authority. </desc>

    this is for the benefit of those who don;t necessarily know what a "name authority" is

    I also revised the <remarks> as follows:
    <p>Particularly where cataloguing is likely to be based on the
    content of the header, it is advisable to use a generally recognized
    name authority file to supply the content for this element. The
    attributes <att>key</att> or <att>ref</att> may also be used to
    reference canonical information about the author(s) intended from any
    appropriate authority, such as a library catalogue or online
    resource. </p>
    <p>In the case of a broadcast, use this element for the name of
    the company or network responsible for making the broadcast.</p>
    <p>Where an author is unknown or unspecified, this element may contain
    text such as <mentioned>Unknown</mentioned> or
    <mentioned>Anonymous</mentioned>. When the appropriate TEI modules are
    in use, it may also contain detailed tagging of the names used for people, organizations, or
    places, in particular where multiple names are given.</p>
    </remarks>

    And I've added some hasty examples.