Recording the Fuller Form of Name (

3 August 2015

Recording the Fuller Form of Name (



Submitted by Bill Leonard, Canadian Committee on Cataloguing Representative

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15 Responses to Recording the Fuller Form of Name (

  1. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    I see many problems with this. First, the examples given by CCC as problems in need of a solution:

    1. Merrilee Rose as fuller form of Green, Merrilee. “The proposed changes will allow the inclusion of the first name, Merrilee, in the fuller form of name element.” The first name is already a part of the fuller form in RDA as written. At least I would certainly record “Merrilee Rose” in the element (378). No change is needed.

    2. William Robert as a fuller form of Bob White. Robert is not a fuller form of Bob. “Bob” and “Robert” are different names, not fuller forms of the same name. I strongly disagree with expanding the definition to say that “fuller” means “longer related names.”

    3. Elizabeth Ann Alice as a fuller form of Smith, E. Again, this is already the case in RDA as now written. At least no one until now has discovered that this is not the case. No change needed.

    4. Frederick M. as a fuller form of Brown, F. Once again, this is already the case. No change is needed.

    I do not think any change is warranted. But if the proposed change is considered, I have these points about the proposed language.

    “A fuller form of name is a name or group of names … that includes names not commonly used as part of the preferred name …” It doesn’t make any sense to talk about names not commonly used as part of the preferred name. According to we choose as the preferred name the name by which the person is most commonly known. Once we’ve made that decision, that’s it. There aren’t names that are not commonly used as part of the preferred name. This implies that there are more than one preferred name, some of which include names that aren’t commonly used with other preferred names. This doesn’t make any sense. It might make sense to say “includes names not used as part of the preferred name” but “includes names not *commonly* used as part of the preferred name” doesn’t. Either they’re used as part of the preferred name or they’re not.

    The proposed language for I strongly oppose addition of “nickname” for the reason I outlined above. This doesn’t clarify, it changes the substance of the instruction.

    I do not think ALA should support this revision proposal.

  2. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    While we’re on fuller forms, however, I would welcome a revision so that the fuller form recorded is the *complete* full form of the name, not just the fuller form of the forename(s) or the fuller form of the surname(s), unless of course there are fuller forms of both, in which case the fuller form is everything. RDA as written doesn’t make this clear, except in the examples. The instruction itself in the “then” clause of says (using somewhat obscure language) to record “as appropriate” fuller forms of the given names, “etc.” *and/or* of the surnames, “etc.” but gives no information about what is “appropriate” nor what that “etc.” might mean. The main instruction only talks about fuller forms of *names*, so I would think anyone reading the instruction might well think that the fuller form of, e.g., Merrilee Green is “Merrilee Rose Green” (applying the “and” of the “then” clause), not just “Merrilee Rose” (applying the “or” of the “then” clause). It is only when you look at the examples that you discover what is apparently “appropriate”, that the fuller form of “Smith, Nancy E.” is just forms of the forename “Nancy Elizabeth,” not “Nancy Elizabeth Smith.” And yet farther down we learn that the fuller form of “Rodríguez V., Manuel G.” is indeed the full form of the complete name, “Manuel Guillermo Rodríguez Valbuena”. No real explanation. This makes no sense to me and isn’t reflected in the instruction itself. I personally think–and I think this is a much simpler way to apply this instruction, to say nothing of closer to the principle of representation–we should always be recording the fullest known form of the complete name, including both forenames and surnames, in the *element*. That is, more or less eliminate the “then” clause.

    I think the instruction as written is thinking ahead to the access point, as many of the “element” rules were written, unfortunately (I think the editors of the original text just couldn’t get AACR2 access points out of their mind when they were writing the instructions about recording the elements). This is not appropriate. If we don’t like the idea of recording the complete fuller form of the entire name (forenames AND surnames) in the qualifier part of the access point, then *the instruction about the access point*, not the instruction about the element, is where it should be clarified that only fuller forms of surnames or forenames should be included in the access point unless fuller forms of *both* are known (though I have to say our practice doesn’t really make sense to me in the context of the access point either, and I don’t think it makes an access point that makes much sense to the user, except they’re probably used to it by now, as we are. “Because we’ve always done it that way” is not a principled reason for doing something.)

  3. John Myers says:

    It took long enough to make its point, but in the end, the outcome is a useful expansion of Fuller Form of name. (Subject to the clarifications and enhancements that Bob proposes.) I have seen the applicability along the lines of CCC17’s proposal to instances within my own catalog, in just the past week.

  4. Robert Bratton says:

    I agree with Bob Maxwell’s concerns. I disagree with the assertions in the examples. I do not interpret RDA 9.5 as telling us that the fuller form of “Merrilee Green” is “Rose.” RDA gives such examples as a fuller form of “Barbara Johnson” being “Barbara A.” not just “A.”

    The data element for “Fuller form of name” is pretty specific. Many of the other instances raised in this proposal would be covered by RDA 9.2.3 which deals with variant names. Unless I am completely missing something.

    I also agree with Bob that a reasonable change at RDA 9.5 be that when we record a fuller form of name that it be the complete fuller name, and not just the inverted part.

  5. Matthew Haugen says:

    I do see a contradiction between the definition and the examples of fuller forms of name. The definition seems NOT to include the forename or other part of the name that is already fully represented in the preferred name (e.g. Merrilee, Barbara) but only the part of the name that is either not given or given as an abbreviation (Rose, A.)

    And while expanding abbreviations may be different from expanding nicknames, I am not sure I see a reason not to consider them as an option for breaking conflict, since just like initials/abbreviations, nicknames might have more than one expanded form e.g. Nate–>Nathan or Nathaniel.

    If my preferred name was M. Haugen, then (Matthew) could be used to break conflict. But why not Haugen, Matt (Matthew) to differentiate from a Haugen, Matt (Matthias) or some other situation when useful for differentiation/conflict resolution? One could argue that Matt is just an abbreviation, but many nicknames involve more substantial spelling changes, diminutive suffixes, etc., e.g.

  6. Larisa Walsh says:

    I always interpreted the b) option in the – “a part of the name not included in the form chosen as the preferred name” quite broadly, as allowing to include nicknames, shortened names, etc. I don’t see the as excluding, but quite the opposite.
    So, I agree with Robert Maxwell that proposed change is not necessary.

    I also agree with earlier comments that examples in the proposal used to support the cause are not warranting the change either. Examples given in clearly indicate that John Dudley is a fuller form of name for Williams, John (not just Dudley), and Nancy Ellen is a fuller form of name for Smith, Nancy E. (not Ellen), etc., etc.

  7. Kathy Glennan says:

    I agree with Bob’s analysis above. Examples 1, 3, and 4 in the CCC proposal are moot — they are already addressed by RDA, where the cataloger is instructed to record “the fuller form of all the inverted part of the name…”

  8. Kathy Glennan says:

    Robert Bratton has already noted the overlap between this instruction and the variant name instruction in 9.2.3. I think the only reason we record “fuller form of name” as a separate element is to have something encoded that can be used to break a conflict when constructing an AAP. In theory, this could be provided “on the fly” by machines to differentiate among otherwise identical names.

    I agree with Matt that there is a use case to use the fullest form of the name to break a conflict when nicknames are involved. And, I think I agree with CCC that the instructions in 9.5 do not explicitly permit this now. There certainly is a healthy amount of debate about whether or not nicknames serve as shorter forms of names. In some cases I can see this, but in others (say Margaret –> Peggy) it just doesn’t make sense.

    So, I’m wondering about a two things:

    1. Should 9.5 be refocused/renamed to “fullest form of name”? Yes, that’s a bit overkill, and it would break some backwards compatibility with AACR2, but I think it could address the nickname problem. But, is that really worth solving?

    2. Should the details about how to use this information be provided in instead? Perhaps this is where nicknames, etc. could be addressed?

    • John Myers says:

      So, some examples I have wrangled with recently in doing theses cataloging:
      Name on title page: Nell Pinkston.
      Name on commencement program (usually our authoritative source, title page notwithstanding: Mary Cornelia Pinkston.

      Name on title page: MaryKate Farber
      Name on commencement program: MaryKathryn Farber

      In both cases, I took heart from the proposal to “cheat” and use the fuller form from the commencement program as a fuller form element, while using the title page form as the preferred form. In a NACO environment, I could have recorded these variants in the authority record, but my institution is not a NACO institution, so on the off chance that our students become future authors beyond the context of their theses, the only place to record this information is in the AAP. To me, this functions much like the addition of dates when known, not just for the purpose of breaking conflicts but for the general knowledge base. I will likely suffer for my transgression and heterodox practice, but these are situations that hoi polloi catalogers have to wrangle with.

  9. Kathy Glennan says:

    By the way, I don’t agree with recording the full form of name, including the surname, in this element in all cases. If 9.5 said this, then there really would be no difference between this and other variant names. If we go down this path, I’d rather just find a way to flag the preferred variant name to be used to break a conflict in the AAP — or to just have the instruction be to pick one of them, leaving the details to application profiles, etc.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      It wouldn’t be the same as a variant name because “fuller form of name” is recorded in direct order; variant names are recorded in inverted form. I made my suggestion because of teaching RDA–I have not yet met anyone that can read the instruction and come up with our practice (either fuller forms of surname or fuller forms of forenames but not both — usually) without having it explained orally to them. I just think it would be simpler to record in the element the fullest form of the whole name and be done with it. And deal with how the access point is supposed to be formed in the instructions for the access point.

  10. Kathy Glennan says:

    Part of the problem here, and this was noted in the BL comments on the original fast track proposal, is that 9.5 really means two different things by fuller form:

    1. The definition in
    2. The application in

    CCC’s proposed revisions do not solve this basic problem.

  11. Robert Bratton says:

    I think what the proposal wants is for RDA to explicitly allow you to use part of a *variant* form of name as a qualifier in the AAP.

    I think what they want is:

    AAP: Cuyler, Kiki (Hazen Shirley)

    Hazen Shirley isn’t a fuller or fullest form of Kiki (a nickname), it is part of a variant name (the man’s actual first and middle names).

    I think RDA could allow for this without redefining Fuller form of name.

  12. Tina Shrader says:

    I agree with Robert Bratton and Kathy. I don’t think the proposal solves the problem that it seems to want to solve, but I think it’s a problem that does need a solution.

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