Wikisource:Author names

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Author names

A brief summary of opinions regarding author names, naming conventions, pseudonyms and the use of initials.

The correct name to use for an author's page in the Author namespace can be less than straight forward in some cases where an author is known by different names, whether by the use of a pseudonym or by variants on their real name. There is no fixed policy on which name to use. At present, the use of different conventions and practices means that there is a lack of conformity in Wikisource's authorspace. This page summaries some of the opinions regarding the use of author names on Wikisource.

The discussion comes down to standard library conventions and sorting issues vs. popular recognition and authorial intent.

Full names[edit]

The use of initials in an author name is sometimes opposed on Wikisource. Using the full name of authors is the internationally-recognised standard for libraries. Libraries need to catalogue a large number of authors in order to catalogue their works. If initials are used it can cause authors to be catalogued incorrectly (in Wikisource's case, they may be listed out of order on category pages and Wikisource:Authors). There may also be duplication of names and initials across all authors, leading to unnecessary confusion. In the latter case, Wikisource can use disambiguation pages but this may be unnecessary or preferable only as a back up to using the correct name.

Wikipedia does not use this naming convention, being an encyclopaedia rather than a library, and includes initials in the page names of its articles as standard. This potentially makes linking between projects problematic.

Some authors may have chosen to be known in a certain way and are more commonly known by this name. Some users of Wikisource believe that the most commonly used name should be first preference, with other names as redirects. Other users believe that the wishes of the author should be respected regarding how they are known.

Full name Common name
Author:James Matthew Barrie Author:J. M. Barrie
Author:Thomas Stearns Eliot Author:T. S. Eliot
Author:Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis Author:C. J. Dennis
Author:Edith Nesbit Author:E. Nesbit
Author:William Matthew Flinders Petrie Author:Flinders Petrie
Author:Adeline Virginia Woolf Author:Virginia Woolf


The template {{initials}} can be placed on author pages to indicate that an initial has been used in the page name and that the page should be moved if and when the initial can be expanded. It appears like so:

If an author's page has been updated with full name information, please advise at the Scriptorium to have it moved.

Other names[edit]

Many authors use a pen-name, nom de plume, nickname or other pseudonym. Some use more than one alternative name for a variety of reasons. Some authors are more famous as their pseudonym rather than their full name. This creates a situation similar to the use of full names.

Full name Common name
Author:Samuel Langhorne Clemens Author:Mark Twain
Author:Samuel Clemens
Author:Eric Arthur Blair Author:George Orwell

In cases where an author has multiple pseudonyms, the full name can have other names redirecting to it. Where only one pseudonym exists, the choice is still a matter of debate between the full name and the cited name. Wikipedia and other sister projects use the common name. However, pseudonyms create an even bigger sorting problem on Wikisource because the surname may not be the same, potentially putting the pseudonym and the real name on completely different pages rather than merely out of order on one page.

Titles (such as "Pope", "King", "Lord", "Sir" etc) should not be used in the page name even if they are the common name of the author. In these cases the title can still be used in the author template or mentioned in the description.

Untitled name Common name
Author:George Gordon Byron Author:Lord Byron
Author:Pius II Author:Pope Pius II
Author:Victoria of the United Kingdom Author:Queen Victoria

Additional notes[edit]

  • Optionally, the name used in the header of a work can be the same as that given on the work in question, even if it is not the same as the title of the author page. A redirect should be used to connect the wikilinked name to the right page.
  • Whichever name is chosen for the author page, all other names should be created as redirect pages to the main author page.
  • When disambiguating two authors of the same full name with parenthetical information, prefer known dates of birth and death over other information, e.g. Author:William Ellery Channing (1818-1901), instead of Author:William Ellery Channing (poet). Use a simple hyphen between the dates for such pages names.

See also[edit]