RDA 9.2: Addition of Elements for Given Name and Surname

8 August 2016
RDA 9.2: Addition of Elements for Given Name and Surname


Submitted by: Gordon Dunsire, Chair, RSC Technical Working Group

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to RDA 9.2: Addition of Elements for Given Name and Surname

  1. Elizabeth Shoemaker says:

    As with the original instruction, I’m disturbed by the inclusion of “patronymic” but not “matronymic” in I suggest that the instruction should include both terms.

    • Teressa Keenan says:

      I completely agree with Elizabeth on this account. When reading the proposal I immediately wondered why matronymic was not included.

    • Tina Shrader says:

      Passing along a comment from Robert Rendall, former CC:DA chair:

      I agree, in principle. It would be good to find some examples, but some of the instances given in the Wikipedia article on “Matronymic” seem to be family names inherited from the mother rather than equivalent to the patronymics discussed in RDA. One real example is the Icelandic name Heiðar Helguson (“Heiðar son of Helga”), though in RDA that will be handled under the specific instructions for Icelandic names rather than the general instruction for patronymics[/matronymics]. This name illustrates that “patronymic” should be changed to “patronymic/matronymic” in those instructions at F.4.1.

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        I agree that if we think that matronymic needs to be added to RDA, F.4.1 also needs to be updated as Robert suggests.

        Examples (from Wikipedia) are:
        * Heiðar Helguson
        * the novelist Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir (in NAF as LCCN n 00101520)
        * the medieval poet Eilífr Goðrúnarson (in NAF as LCCN nr 97009983)

        Based on some web searching, it appears that matronymics that are not actually used as surnames is unusual. If there are examples outside of Icelandic, that would be great to know.

        If I’m missing some obvious understanding about how matronymics fit in here, please correct me!

        • Kathy Glennan says:

          So if I’m understanding things correctly, there’s support for changing to (additions indicated in bold, since I can’t figure out how to get WordPress to underline):

          Names Including a Patronymic or Matronymic
          Record a name consisting of one or more given names and a patronymic▼ or matronymic▼ by applying the general guidelines at 8.5.

          Record the first given name as the first element. Follow it by the rest of the name in direct order. If the patronymic or matronymic precedes the first given name, transpose the parts of the name to bring the first given name into first position.

          [Examples unchanged — although one could/should be added for a matronymic]

          See appendix F for additional instructions on patronymics and matronymics contained in names in the Arabic alphabet (F.1) and in Icelandic (F.4) and Romanian names (F.9).

          Variant names. Record as a variant name a form using the patronymic or matronymic as the first element (see

          • Kathy Glennan says:

            The question then arises about changes in Appendix F — specifically F.1.1.3, F.1.1.4, F. 4.1 & F.9.1 which mention patronymic.

            I don’t think that F.9.1 needs to be updated, and I think we largely have a path forward for F.4.

            However, I need someone with Arabic expertise to advise about any changes needed in F.1.1.3/F.1.1.4.

          • Tina Shrader says:

            I support these changes.

  2. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    No explanation is given as to why names used as family names by Romans of classical times are excluded ( Perhaps there is a reason, but as a classicist I don’t understand why.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      This carried over from AACR2’s Glossary:
      Surname. Any name used as a family name (other than those used as family names by Romans of classical times).

      So, we can propose a change to that practice if we want, but the exclusion didn’t originate with this proposal.

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        FYI, the instructions on Roman names which resided in AACR2 22.9A1 moved to F.8 in RDA.

        Instead of the paragraph about this in the proposed, should there just be a reference to F.8?

        If the text stays here, shouldn’t it be labelled an exception?

    • Tina Shrader says:

      Passing along a comment from Robert Rendall, former CC:DA chair:

      I agree. If we want to treat family names of Romans differently from other family names, special instructions can be written for them. See for example F.10.1.1, which says to enter all Thai names in direct order (following standard Thai practice), even when the last part of the name is actually a surname.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      This is a response to your e-mail query today, Kathy. I would think “A name used as a family name” would suffice, just delete the line about Roman names. The instructions in F.8 are sufficient for dealing with Roman names.

      BUT, because I was looking at F.8, I got to thinking about this whole proposal. F.8 says “record as the first element the part of the name under which the person is most commonly listed in reference sources.” This is basically the same instruction as current “If the name consists of several parts, choose the part … to record as the first element following usage in reference sources …” That part may or may not be the surname. It is the “common usage” or “commonly known” principle, one of the most fundamental principles of what we’re about.

      This proposal, in, says to record the surname as the first element. No reference to common usage. It just flatly states that we are always to record the surname first. I disagree with that.

      Also, as far as I can see, the proposal doesn’t suggest revising, which will therefore continue to say “choose … the first element following usage in reference sources …”; this may give a different result from the proposed To me, this is a problem.

      I suspect the line about the Roman names was included because F.8, like, explicitly says that for Roman names you give as the first element the part under which the person is commonly listed in reference sources, which also contradicts the proposed, but which, in my opinion, is the correct path–we should be recording names in the way users expect to find them, both for Roman names and for any other name.

      So in summary, in my opinion there is no need for an exception for Roman surnames, so I suggest simply removing the line from the glossary and from the proposed new section, if it is approved. But I do not think I agree that there should be a blanket instruction that the surname always will come first, without any reference to common usage. So I think I disagree with this proposal, at least for that part of it. I am not opposed to separating out surname(s) from forename(s), but I don’t think the instructions for recording the name as a whole should revolve around which part is the surname.

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        If we refer to common usage, would that allow us to remove the guidance about order from the instructions in – Names Including a Patronymic? [2nd paragraph of current instruction]

        Or would that be too confusing?

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        From Robert Rendall, former CC:DA chair

        I agree with Bob about the blanket instruction on surnames coming first. The proposed is not appropriate, because we do not record the surname as the first element in the name of a person for Thai names, where surnames are common (F.10.1.1) or for Icelandic names, where surnames are uncommon but do occur (F.4.1).

  3. Robert L. Maxwell says: Scope. Is a surname always a family name? A patronymic/matronymic is a type of surname, but I think it probably isn’t a family name; at least if it is it only applies to the family consisting of the children of the man/woman, not to the broader group we think of as having a “family name”. Are there surnames that are neither patronymic/matronymic nor family names? What about a surname that a person makes up and takes on later in life (e.g. as a pseudonym or stage name)?

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I’m not a great fan of this definition, but I don’t think we can propose just substituting “family name” at this time. (That would be my preferred terminology, however.)

      I think that for many pseudonyms or a stage names in multiple parts (say Gene Wilder), the “surname” is used as “a family name”, even when it really isn’t one.

  4. Robert L. Maxwell says: Scope (Given name). Not all forenames are “given”. Yes, the name somebody gets at birth is “given” to him/her, but most names a person takes on later are not “given”, they are chosen by the person (e.g. pseudonym; or a religious name, which might be either chosen or given). Would “forename” or “personal name” be a better word for this element?

    • Teressa Keenan says:

      Robert has a good point here. I believe that consideration should be given to providing a better descriptive name for this element.

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        I think “forename” would work well as a counterpart to “surname”. As Bob mentions above, “given name” has a number of problems.

        Even if we change the term, the question remains about the definition. Right now it emphasizes the “birth name” aspect, with the possibility that a different forename could be *given* to a person at some later point. This leaves out the possibility of the person *choosing* a different forename:
        Benjamin Kubelsky –> Jack Benny
        Bruce Jenner –> Caitlyn Jenner
        Jorge Mario Bergoglio –> Pope Francis

        Do we have suggestions for improvement? (I should note that this term & its definition have only been officially defined in RDA since Aug. 2016.)

        • Kathy Glennan says:

          Note that “given name” is used in 33 different RDA instructions, so there would be a significant ripple effect in making this recommendation. (Some of those instances are only in example text.)

        • Tina Shrader says:

          I agree with this. — And after I posted this, I gave it some more thought, and have an additional comment. Calling the element ‘Forename’ is problematic in those languages where the surname precedes the given name. While I support this notion generally, I think that needs to be addressed.

          • Kathy Glennan says:

            Yes, I really am troubled by the Western bias in the terms “surname” and “forename”.

            It would really be better to use “family name” instead of “surname”, but that gets in to problem areas with Chapter 10, which the WG decided not to grapple with at this time.

          • Amanda Ros says:

            I agree. I also agree with Kathy’s point about Western bias

  5. Kathy Glennan says:

    If RDA goes in this direction, separately identifying forenames & surnames, can some of the instructions about order be removed from 9.2? (Maybe we’re not ready for this yet, but is that a logical view of the future?)

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      I actually think *all* of the instructions about order/inverting, etc., should be removed from 9.2. In my opinion, the preferred name should be recorded–as an element–exactly as found, in direct order. Instructions about inversion, reordering, which element comes first, etc., belong in the instructions about access points, 9.19. The authorized access point is *based* on the preferred name, but it seems inappropriate that we’ve already manipulated the name before we even record the preferred name.

      I also think it is an anomaly that there was no MARC field devised for recording the preferred name; it can only be recorded as part of the authorized access point. This causes problems for conceptualizing what is going on–most catalogers don’t distinguish between the preferred name part and the cataloger additions, and it also complicates teaching.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      If RDA goes in this direction, the instructions about fuller form (9.5) could be refined. Although the examples show this, the instructions don’t say to record fuller forms of given name, or of surname, but not both (unless there are in fact fuller forms for both parts). If I were reading through the instructions right now without any background I would never understand that that was what we were to record.

      The definition of two separate elements for given name and surname would allow an instruction that follows current practice.

      Or we could just do what I think is more sensible, and that is to record, in the fuller form element, the fullest form of the entire name in direct order, fornames, surnames, everything.

  6. Diane Napert says:

    I was all ready to say adding /matrynomic was a good idea until I saw that it would possibly impact RDA instructions in 33 places. Likewise with the term “forename”, until Tina brought up the languages which use an alternative order.
    Perhaps this can be addressed in the future as Kathy notes. She makes a good point, but I’m not able to visualize it yet!

  7. Robert Bratton says:

    “Given name. A name given to a person at birth *or at some later point*…” Does this imply that someone can give themselves a “given name?” I understand not wanting to use “forename” or “first name” but is “personal name” too confusing?

    “Family name” seems preferable to “surname” if we also understand that these can be “given” or assumed, such as Dr. Seuss.

    And what about middle name(s)?

  8. Kathy Glennan says:

    I think “personal name” is used to refer to the entire name (given name + surname) in this context.

    I think middle names could be considered part of the given name.

  9. Kathy Glennan says:

    Comments from Iman Dagher:

    The MELA Committee on Cataloging thinks that the term “matronymic” should be added, otherwise we are making unwarranted cultural assumptions. Although this is not common, there has been evidence of its usage in history among Arabs: some Arabic resources include compilations of names of well-known people (authors, poets, etc.) who were known and named after their mothers.

    Examples of such resources: Muʻjam alladhīna nusibū ilá ummahātihim ( OC/35870482) and Man nusiba ilá ummihi min al-shuʻarāʼ (OC/ 27423066)

    Examples of Arabic names with matronymic element: n 2009034183; no2016091189; n 83153848; n 78096229

    Examples of Persian names with matronymic element: n 88218396, nr 98039965

    Since the Appendix F needs to be revised, the Arabic NACO Funnel coordinators were consulted to revise the text of F.1.1.3 and F.1.1.4; revised text with suggested examples [provided via email to K. Glennan].

  10. Amanda Ros says:

    In response to Kathy’s emailed question “Do you want to propose a definition for surname ( that omits the exclusion for Roman names of classical times? If so, I would appreciate some wording suggestions.”:

    My response is yes, I would like to see a definition that omits the exclusion of Roman and Classical names. I would use as a basis (When choosing the preferred name for the family, generally choose the name by which the family is commonly known. The name chosen can be the surname (or equivalent) used by members of the family, the name of a royal house or dynasty, or the name of a clan, etc.)

    My wording suggestion is: A name used as a family name. The name chosen can be the name used by members of the family, the name of a royal house or dynasty, or the name of a clan, etc.

Leave a Reply