Names of places [090]


Discussion of encoding the names of places using <placeName>, including definition of “place” and relationship between place names and personal names


The WWP tags all place names using <placeName>, regardless of their rendition. We do not use the more detailed elements for encoding geographical locations: <settlement>, <region>, <country>, <geogName>, and <bloc>. We do not use a key= attribute for <placename>.

The WWP defines a “place” as a geographical or social designation of location, including geographical features such as mountains, rivers, fields, etc., and socially or legally defined locations such as towns, counties, countries, streets, districts, etc.

In connection with personal names, we encode the names of places as long as they retain their explicit reference to a place rather than functioning simply as a surname. Thus the word “of” (or some similar construction) must be present, as in “William, Duke of Norfolk” or “John of Gaunt”. The <placeName> should not be nested inside the <persName>, but should be encoded separately.

We do not encode personal names within place names. In cases where the place name and personal name seem both to be present, we encode the most direct reference, the one which is functioning actively in the sentence.

For instance:

     <persName>William</persName>, Duke of <placeName>Norfolk</placeName>

     <placeName>St. Michael’s Mount</placeName> [because it is referring most directly to the place]

We treat structures and movable objects as things, not places, and encode their names using <name>, not <placeName>. We treat institutions as organizations, not places, and encode their names using <orgname>, not <placename>. However, a reference to the building where an organization meets would be encoded with <name>, since the building is a structure.

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