Bruce D'Arcus writes:
 > The "other context" that Markus was referring to was a discussion on the
 > refdb list that started with a French user who argued that middle names
 > have no place in bibliographic metadata, to which Markus answered with
 > the pragmatic observation that many bibliographic styles demand different
 > formatting for middle names, so the metadata ought to support it too.  I
 > have come to believe that it's important to separate metadata from
 > formatting issues -- e.g. that one should not force contortions in the
 > metadata simply to get proper output formatting -- even if they cannot be
 > divorced completely.

Let me point out that I'm not introducing the distinction between
"first" and "middle" names to allow nice formatting. Many styles
format them differently because they *are* different. Both are given
names of sorts, but you wouldn't start a personal letter to Mr
Roosevelt with "Dear Franklin Delano" or "Dear Delano". You'd make
sure to start with "Dear Franklin". These two given names serve
different purposes and the formatting in a bibliography ("Franklin"
often, but not always spelled out, "Delano" usually, but not always
initialized) merely reflects this fact. This is why the data model
should distinguish them too.

 > 2)  I'm not convinced middle name should be in the metadata.  It seems to
 > me multiple given name elements could solve the problem, though this
 > admittedly introduces the possibility for variability in coding
 > practices.  The idea is:
 >   <namePart type="given">Franklin</namePart>
 >   <namePart type="given">Delano</namePart>
 > A processor could say the first element should be handled as a first name
 > for purposes of citation formatting or searching, and the second as a
 > "middle" name.

This is how most (western-centric) bibliography tools do it these
days. Non-western names may have entirely different ideas about name
parts. For western names it is still a very practical approach that
has it's limitations though. Justus pointed out on the RefDB list
that in a few occasions the first given name is abbreviated (if at
all) whereas the second is spelled out (something like "S. Michael
Good"). Again, the personal letter would start with "Dear Michael",
not with "Dear Steven" or whatever the "S." would spell out. In that
case it would be wrong to treat "S" as the first name and "Michael" as
a middle name as you would wind up doing if you simply base the
distinction on the order of appearance.


Markus Hoenicka
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