Authors in the main text

author name phrase-level encoding
author bibl persName name

Encoding of authors in bibliographic entries, using author and persName

Like the title element (see titles), author exists to identify the authors of works other than the one you are encoding, in the context of a bibliographic entry. Having this information can be useful for similar reasons, particularly to help identify the range of reference that a document makes, and to indicate the reading that the writer has done. It may be a bit less straightforward to apply than title, however, because the text may refer to someone who is an author, without necessarily invoking any particular literary connection. Frances Burney might mention having had tea with Samuel Johnson, and yet it would arguably not be useful to encode this reference as a bibl and his name as author in that context. As a general rule, we recommend that you use bibl and author only for cases where a name is mentioned specifically as the author of a work being discussed or referenced.

Since in most cases the content of author will be a personal name, it may seem redundant to encode persName or name within author. If you are encoding all names with persName or name, however, it may make life easier to be consistent and encode names even within author, since these are essentially two different pieces of information. This apparent redundancy will make it easier to program searches and similar functions, since you will not need to treat author as a special case of name. Furthermore, in the rare cases where the author is not a person, the extra encoding will allow you to indicate specifically what kind of name it is.