Names of humans [089]


Discussion of the encoding of human names using <persName>, including criteria for identifying creatures as human, and guidelines for nesting name elements


The WWP encodes all proper names of human beings using <persName>, regardless of their rendition, and regardless of where they appear in the text. Even if a particular name must also be tagged with <publisher>, <author>, etc., <persName> should be nested within these elements.

For the WWP’s purposes, a creature is human if a significant portion of its anatomy is human: not necessarily the preponderance, but the important parts. Thus a creature with a human head, or a human body (let alone both) would be considered human, but a creature with only human arms or human innards would not. Thus gods with animal heads are still encoded using <persName>. In addition, creatures which usually take a human form but appear temporarily in some other form (Zeus incarnated as a bull) are still tagged with <persName>.

Note that “God” is no longer considered a personal name by the WWP. It should be tagged as <mcr> if renditionally distinct; otherwise not at all.

For the WWP’s purposes, human names include all terms used to refer uniquely to some human person Within the scope of a given <persName>, renditional shifts should be indicated using <hi> elements as necessary. We include within the <persName> element the entire string which makes up the name, including honorifics and titles, as long as they are clearly part of the name and not simply adjectival phrases modifying the name. However, we omit preliminary words and phrases such as “the”, “my”, “our”, “his highness”, “my lord”, “his grace” and similar phrases, and we also omit suffixes such as “Esq.” and the various combinations of letters which indicate various flavors of knighthood and membership in learned societies (KC, FRS, RA, etc.).

We do not nest <placeName> within <persName>. If a person’s title includes a component that is a place name, we omit that from the <persName> and encode it as a separate <placeName>.

In cases where a name is pluralized to indicate that it refers to more than one person of that name (e.g. “the Henries of the Tudor period” it should be encoded with <name> rather than <persName>. Similarly, where the pluralization indicates that an individual is being used to represent a type (e.g. “the Popes and Juvenals of future ages”) <name> should also be used, since the current reference is not to the original person but to plural people like them.

Highlighting within the <persname> should be encoded with <hi>.

        <persName><hi rend="slant(upright)">Mr.</hi> John Doakes III</persName>, Esq., R.A.

        <persName>Alfred, <hi rend="slant(upright)">Lord</hi> Tennyson</persName>

        <persName><hi rend="slant(upright)">Sir</hi> Philip Sidney</persName>

        <persName>William Cavendish, Duke, Marquess, and Earl of <placeName>Newcastle</placeName>; Earl of <placeName>Ogle</placeName>; Viscount Mansfield; and Baron of <placeName>Bolsover </placeName>, of <placeName>Ogle </placeName>, <placeName>Bothal </placeName>, and <placeName>Hepple</placeName> </persName>

        <persName>Elizabeth, Queen of England</persName>

        <persName>Queen Elizabeth</persName>

        his grace <persName>Lord North</persName>, K. C., C. B. E.

        her Royal Highness <persName>Queen Elizabeth I</persName>

        <persName>Sir John Boggs</persName>, Chancellor of the Exchequer

        the <mcr rend="slant(italic)">Prophet</mcr><persName>Isaiah</persName>

The key= attribute is used to link the name to a regularized list of names to facilitate searches. See 082 for more information on our use of the key= attribute.

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