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Multiple names

Multiple names

Hello, I'm interested to know how other institutions handle multiple names for a person. For instance,

1) a person may be known by a series of names (or spellings of their names) throughout their careers (taxonomically, bibliographically, etc.), (not just the obvious changes via marriage). Are you using the synonym field, and if so, are you maintaining a notion of a parent record, with all of synonyms attached to the parent, or are you attaching every name to every name they have been known by?

2) How do you distinguish between when to use the 'Other Names' field versus the Synonym table? Have you configured the Registry to search also the 'other names' field when looking in 'Brief name'?

Joanna at FMNH

Edited by: - 01-Jan-70 09:00:00

Joanna McCaffrey
Biodiversity Informatics Mgr.
39 Posts
Female  Birthday  Website 
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Re: Multiple names


At CMA we use Other Names when a separate record is not needed to link the party to a catalogue record (or loan etc.) with the name they were known by at that particular time. This is a search aid for users. We do use the Also Search registry settings so that regardless of which field is used to perform the search, the Other Names table is also searched. We do not enter Other Names systematically, only when the opportunity arises in the course of business.

If a separate record is required so that the module record to which the party is linked displays the correct name for the period of time involved, we do use Synonymy. So far we have not had a case where we've needed more than one synonym for a party so we've not thought thru your question of whether there ought to be a parent record. But I believe that each synonymous record has to be linked to the others if you want all synonyms to be searched in a query by any one of the names. In other words, if record A is synonymous with records B and C, but B and C are not synonymous with eachother, then a search on B or C would bring up records linked to 2 of the 3 synonyms, not all 3. There would probably be a way to catch them all by editing the query in TexQL (if you are Forbes or someone of similar mastery), but this wouldn't be of much help to the average user.

Good luck


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