Names: general notes [092]


Overview of the WWP’s encoding of names, including personal names, place names, organizational names, and the names of objects


The WWP encodes all names of people, places, and things, regardless of their rendition. We use the TEI’s more complex provision for encoding names, described in Chapter 20 of the Guidelines; of the elements provided we use <persName>, <placeName>, <orgName>, and <name>. We do not use <addName>, <surName>, <foreName>, <roleName>, <genName>, or <nameLink>.

This entry provides an overview of our usage; see the more specific records for details.

We encode the various types of name as follows:

Human names: <persName>, with a key= attribute. See entry 089.

Place names: <placeName>, without a key= attribute. See entry 090.

Proper nouns referring to non-human creatures, collectivities, events, and things: <name>, without a key= attribute. See 091.

Organization and institution names: <orgName>, without a key= attribute. See 166.

We consider “names” to be limited to proper nouns: terms which refer to a specific unique individual, thing, or group, and which intend to designate that individual uniquely. Terms which refer to a person’s role or title, without a proper noun, are not names. Thus “the President” is not a name, but “President Lincoln” is a name; “the Earl” is not a name, but “John, Earl of Norfolk” is a name.

References to personified qualities (such as Love, Virtue, Temptation) should usually not be treated as names, since they are not strictly speaking proper names and since in general they do not refer to people. However, personification of this sort sometimes does shade into the realm of names when, for instance, a character in a play or a novel is given a name such as “Despair” (as in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress). The decision whether to treat a given case as a name or not should take into account whether it refers to a character with a persistent existence within the work (rather than being a passing poetic reference), and also whether the term itself is really a proper name or not.

Words which are renditionally distinct, and are not names, should be encoded using <mcr>, <emph>, or some other specific element. See 094 on renditional distinction for more information.

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