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Because they are capitalized, it is generally easy to identify names in a text. Similarly, although not all those in a text are worthy of inclusion, it is generally easy to decide whether a name should be included in an index. It's then that the problems begin.

There are many issues pertaining to personal names, including:
  • Handling name variants resulting from such factors as name changes (Ford Madox Hueffer vs. Ford Madox Ford); marriage in societies where the woman generally takes her husband's name (Virginia Stephen vs. Virginia Woolf); Anglification (Titus Livius vs. Livy); alternative Romanizations (Mao Tse-Tung vs. Mao Zedong); the use of pseudonyms (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson vs. Lewis Carroll); election to the Papacy (Karol Wojtyla vs. Pope John Paul II); multiple applicable titles (Edward, Prince of Wales vs. Edward VIII vs. Duke of Windsor); capricious spelling that was common prior to the 18th century (as in the family records that show 44 different spellings of the surname that is now commonly spelled Shakespeare), etc.
  • Parsing names into a heading, especially a foreign name or an unhyphenated compound surname. For example: Does Pierre de La Fontane belong under D, L or F? Is Garton in Timothy Garton Ash a middle name or part of a compound surname? What about Cabot in Henry Cabot Lodge?
  • Distinguishing persons with homographic names - e.g., multiple persons in a text with the name Abraham or the name George W. Bush.
  • Handling names having prefixes - i.e., a patronymic or an article, a preposition, or a combination or contraction of an article and a preposition. Examples include: am, bar, bin, ibn, im, da, de, de la, de las, dos, du, ten, van, van der, von, von den and vom. Should the prefix precede the main part of the name or should it follow the forename after inversion?
Similarly, there are many issues pertaining to the names of corporate bodies, such as associations, companies, foundations, governmental agencies and religious bodies. For example:
  • Corporate bodies may have more than one name official name and they may use different names in different languages. This is especially true of international organizations and of corporate bodies in bilingual or multilingual countries.
  • Their full name may be less well known than a shortened or abbreviated form of the name.
  • They may change their name at will or as a result of mergers or splits. Following these changes, they may or may not retain their former name or parts thereof.
  • They may "die," only to be resurrected later.
There are also issues pertaining to place names, including:
  • Historical name changes.
  • Language-specific versions of place names.
  • Romanization of place names in places that use non-Roman scripts.
  • Homographic names of places in different regions.
The abundance of issues requires and abundance of rules.

Guidelines for indexing names:

  • Index proper names in full, even when the author fails to do so. For example:

    Reference in the text Index entry
    "Fyodor Mikhailovich"
    "the House"
    "the President"
    "the Village"
    Kennedy, Robert (Bobby)
    Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
    Dostoevsky, Fyodor Mikhailovich
    Heydrich, Reinhard
    House of Representatives
    Fillmore, Millard
    Superior, Lake
    Greenwich Village
    bottom row

    Note that "in full" does not necessarily mean that the name must be given in its fullest form. Heydrich, Reinhard is sufficient; Heydrich, Reinhard Tristan Eugen would have been overkill.
  • Add qualifiers to distinguish homographic names. For example:
    Isaac (of Antioch)
    Isaac (of Ninevah)
    London (England)
    London (Ontario)
        Milano (city)
    Milano (province)
    Pitt, William (the elder)
    Pitt, William (the younger)
    Remove the parentheses from the qualifier if it is an integral part of the name. For example:
    Leonardo da Vinci
    Leonard's of Great Neck
    Walther von der Vogelweide
  • Use the form of the name used most often in the text, even if it is not the common form. Provide a cross-reference from the common form to the form used in the text if a cross-reference is needed to prevent confusion. For example:
    Churchill, Sir Winston. See Spencer-Churchill, Sir Winston
    guilds. See gilds
    Yevtushenko, Yevgeny. See Evtushenko, Evgenii
  • Provide cross-references when there is significant discussion of a named entity under its alternative names. If necessary, expand the cross-reference to explain its purpose. For example:
    Albania. See also its vernacular name Shqiperia
    Byzantium. See also Constantinople; Istanbul
    Columbia University. See also its previous name King's College
    Constantinople. See also Byzantium; Istanbul
    Free Academy of New York. See also its current name City College of New York
    Istanbul. See also Byzantium; Constantinople
    Manhattan Company. See also its later names Bank of the Manhattan Company;
       Chase Manhattan Bank; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
  • Except for Icelandic names, Western-style personal names should follow the pattern of surname, comma, forename(s). Icelandic names consist of a forename and a patronymic that changes with each generation. Leif, the son of Eirikur, is named Leif Eiriksson. Thordis, his daughter, is named Thordis Eiriksdottir. She keeps her name even if she marries. Gunnar, Leif's son, is named Gunnar Leifsson. Icelanders are always referred to by their given names. Hence, index entries for Icelanders should consist of a forename followed by the patronymic without a comma in between. Because most people don't know about Icelandic names, there should be a cross-reference from the patronynic to the given name. For example:
    Eiriksson, Leif. See Leif Eiriksson
    Note that, in writing Hungarian names, the pattern is always surname followed by forename - e.g., Bartók Béla. For the sake of uniformity in indexing, a comma is added between the surname and forename, making Hungarian names indistinguishable from other Western-style names. For example: Bartók Béla is indexed as Bartók, Béla.
  • Use forenames and Roman numbers to specify monarchs. Add a title or qualifier to distinguish homographic names. Also, if the person is also known by an epithet and the epithet is used in the text, cross-reference it to the official name. For example:
    Charles III
    Richard I, King of England
    Richard I of Normandy
    Richard the Lion-Hearted. See Richard I, King of England
  • List names of Christian saints under some element of their name other than "Saint". For example:

    Augustine, Saint
    Francis of Assisi, Saint
    Thomas Aquinas, Saint

    Use the   Catholic Encyclopedia   as a guide to identifying the leading element in their names.
  • Post information about persons using pseudonyms under the name used most often in the text. If the text doesn't mention the alternative name, don't include it in the index. If it does, but only once or occasionally, provide a cross-reference from it to the name used most often.
  • List married women under their maiden name or married name, depending on which is best known. For example:
    Roosevelt, Eleanor
    Sutherland, Joan (Mrs. Richard Bonynge)
    Woolf, Virginia (née Stephen)
    If there is notable information about the woman both before and after her marriage, list both names, with cross-references. For example:
    Barrett, Elizabeth. See also Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
    Browning, Elizabeth. See also Barrett, Elizabeth
  • Consult the author, an editor or a standard reference work for rules governing the parsing of non-Western and other doubtful personal names. Standard works include The Chicago Manual of Style, by the University of Chicago Press; Indexing Books, by Nancy Mulvany, Indexing from A to Z, by Hans Wellisch, and Merriam Webster's Biographical Dictionary.
  • For names of corporate bodies, enter all words in its name without any inversion, even when the first part of the name is an initial article, a forename or initials standing for a forename. For example:
    John Jay College of Criminal Justice, ...
    R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, ...
    The Conference Board, ...

  • When alternative current names of corporate bodies are used in the text, post all information under the name used most often or the name readers are most likely to use. Also, provide cross-references from the alternative names to the chosen name. For example: AT&T is a more likely choice than American Telephone and Telegraph Company. If so, provide a see reference from American Telephone and Telegraph Company to AT&T.
  • Provide a cross-reference from the full name of a corporate body to its abbreviation when the abbreviation is used as a main heading. For example:
    Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. See IEEE
    International Business Machines Corporation. See IBM
    International Organization for Standardization. See ISO
  • Provide a cross-reference in inverted form when the first word of the name of a corporate body is a commonly used term, such as Association, Council or Society. For example:
    Computing Machinery, Association for. See Association for Computing Machinery
    Technical Communication, Society for. See Society for Technical Communication
  • Specify the name of governmental and organizational bodies in hierarchic order. Start with the encompassing jurisdiction or organization if the text addresses more than one. For example:
    New York City Department of Transportation, ...
    New York State Department of Transportation
       Freight and Economic Development Division, ...
          High Speed Rail Group, ...
          Intermodal Projects Bureau, ...
          Planning/Economic Development Bureau, ...
       Motor Carriers and Trucking Division, ...
    United States Department of Transportation, ...
  • Render the name of corporate bodies in countries that do not use the Roman alphabet in Romanized form. It may be best to provide more than one entry because users may not know the foreign language. For example:
    Information Processing Society of Japan (Jōhō Shori Suru Gakkai), 28
    IPSJ (Information Processing Society of Japan), 28
    Jōhō Shori Suru Gakkai (Information Processing Society of Japan), 28
  • List all place names in uninverted form. For example:
    Bay City
    Bay of Bengal
    Cape Cod
    Cape May (New Jersey)
    Lake Superior
    Lake Success (New York)
    Mount Everest
    Mount Holly (New Jersey)
    Sea of Japan
    Note that this guideline is controversial because it ignores the distinction between a geographic feature such as a bay or mountain and a place name having the name of a geographic feature as its leading term. Those who act on the distinction list geographic features in inverted form and the names of places beginning with names of features in uninverted form. They would create the following headings:
    Bay City
    Bengal, Bay of
    Cape May (New Jersey)
    Cod, Cape
    Everest, Mount
    Japan, Sea of
    Lake Success (New York)
    Mount Holly (New Jersey)
    Superior, Lake
    Check with your editor to see whether the distinction is important to her.

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Copyright © 2001 Martin Tulic. All rights reserved.