Names of humans: encoding details

name rendition proper name regularization phrase-level encoding
placeName persName key forename surname genName addName reg

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

There are two basic strategies for encoding personal names. The simpler of the two is simply to distinguish human names from other names (using either name type="person" or persName) and to leave the interior details of the name unmarked. This approach is sufficient for any project which is not actively studying names or people, for which complex markup of the parts of names will not greatly increase the effectiveness of searching or analysis. The more complex approach is to use the more detailed name elements provided in TEI to mark surnames, given names, and other name parts explicitly. For any project interested in onomastics, prosopography, or other research involving names, this more detailed approach is probably worth the investment. We discuss first the simple approach (assuming the use of persName, but name type="person" could of course be substituted), and then the more specific name elements.

The persName element should enclose 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. It is best to omit preliminary words and phrases such as the, my, our, his highness, my lord, his grace and similar phrases. If you wish to make it easier to retrieve all references to a particular person, regardless of variations in the way the name is written, then you should use either the key attribute or the reg attribute to provide an identifier or a regularized version of the name.

Within the scope of a given persName, renditional shifts should be indicated either with more detailed naming elements (e.g. surname, roleName), or if those elements are not being used, then with hi elements as necessary.

If you are using the more detailed name encoding, all of the additional name elements are nested inside persName:

These elements are documented in detail in the TEI Guidelines.

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.) may be encoded with addName. Suffixes indicating generational information (Sr., Jr., III, etc.) may be encoded using genName.