17 Names and Dates

This chapter describes the MEI module used for the encoding of names (names of persons or corporations/organizations) or descriptive phrases for styles, periods or geographical indications. In section 1.3.4 Names, Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations, and Addresses it was noted that the elements provided in the core module allow an encoder to specify that a given text segment is a proper noun. The elements provided by the present module allow the encoder to supply a detailed sub-structure for such proper nouns, and to distinguish explicitly between persons and organizations, and between stylistic, periodical or geographical indications.

The chapter begins by discussing the elements provided for the encoding of names ( name) and dates ( date) in general and finishes by addressing more specific elements for corporate names ( corpName), geographic names ( geogName), period names ( periodName), personal names ( persName) and style names ( styleName). In general it is recommended to use standardized forms of proper nouns and to record the names and web-accessible locations of the controlled vocabularies used. There are several commonly-referenced authority files, especially for geographical, organizational and personal names, such as the Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND), the Library of Congress Authorities, the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), and the MARC code list for relators. Recommendations on which standards could be used can be found in the descriptions of the individual elements.

17.1 Basic Elements for Names and Dates

The basic elements for capturing names and dates are defined in the shared module:

  • nameProper noun or noun phrase.
  • dateA string identifying a point in time or the time period between two such points.

The name element contains the name of an entity that is difficult to tag more specifically as a corpName, geogName, persName, or title. In section 1.3.4 Names, Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations, and Addresses it was noted that the name element may be used in place of the more specific elements when it is not known what kind of name is being described or when a high degree of precision is not necessary. For example, the name element might be used when it is not clear whether the name "Bach" refers to a person or a geographic feature. When name parts are needed, use name sub-elements. The recommended values for the type attribute are:

'pers'
- a personal name
'corp'
- the name of a corporate entity
'place'
- a geographic name
'process'
- the name of a process or mechanical agent

The date sub-element is available within name in order to record any dates associated with the name, for example, creation and dissolution in the case of a corporate entity or place or birth and death dates in the case of an individual. The name of the list from which a controlled value is taken, such as the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF), may be recorded using the authority attribute.

Examples of the use of the name element:

<p>
<name type= "pers"> Henry VIII, King of England </name>
<name type= "corp"> The Beatles </name>
<name type= "place"> Orbach </name>
<name type= "process"> OMR software </name>
</p>

The element date contains a date in any format, including a date range. A date range may be expressed as textual content or, when intervening punctuation is present, as a combination of date sub-elements and text.

<p>
<date>5/3/05 </date>
<date>May 30, 2012 </date>
<date>March 1-21, 1812 </date>
<date>
<date>March 1, 1812 </date>
-
<date>March 21, 1812 </date>
</date>
</p>

To be more specific about the date, the attributes in the att.datable class can be used:

startdate
- contains the starting point of a date range in standard ISO form
enddate
- contains the end point of a date range in standard ISO form
notbefore
- contains a lower boundary for an uncertain date
notafter
- contains an upper boundary for an uncertain date
isodate
- gives the value of a textual date in standard ISO form
calendar
- indicates the system or calendar to which a date belongs, for example, Gregorian, Julian, Roman, Mosaic, Revolutionary, Islamic, etc.
cert
- signifies the degree of certainty or precision associated with a feature (high, medium, low, unknown)

In the following example, the ambiguous date text "5/3/05" is resolved using the isodate attribute:

<p>
<date isodate= "1905-05-03"> 5/3/05 </date>
<date isodate= "2005-03-05"> 5/3/05 </date>
</p>

17.2 Specialized Name and Date Elements

In addition to the generic name and date elements provided by the shared module, the namesDates module provides for the markup of the specialized cases described below.

17.2.1 Corporate Names

  • corpName(corporate name) – Identifies an organization or group of people that acts as a single entity.

Corporate names are non-personal names which refer to structured bodies of one or more persons that act as a single entity. Typical examples include associations, businesses, projects or institutions (e.g.,. 'the Royal College of Music' or 'the BBC'), but also racial or ethnic groupings or political factions where these are regarded as forming a single agency. Organization names typically include some type of indicator or pattern or words that help identify them as non-personal names.

The corpName element is frequently used within the header of an MEI document. It is typically found in the respStmt element:

<respStmt>
<corpName>Library of Congress </corpName>
</respStmt>

It may also be used wherever it is necessary to mark a corporate name, for example when a corporation is responsible for a certain event in the history of a musical work:

<history>
<eventList>
<event>
<p>First performance by
<corpName>The Boston Symphony Orchestra </corpName>
,
<date>October 22, 1881 </date>
. </p>
</event>
</eventList>
</history>

When it is necessary to provide structure for a name, the separate parts of the name may be encoded in corpName sub-elements, for example:

<corpName>Federal Research Division,
<corpName>Library of Congress </corpName>
</corpName>

Standard designations for corporate bodies can be taken from a controlled vocabulary, such as the Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND). If a controlled value is used, the list from which it is taken should be recorded. In this case, the following attributes are particularly relevant:

authority
- to record the list from which a controlled value is taken,
authURI (authority URI)
- to record the web-accessible location of the controlled vocabulary from which the value is taken,
codedval (coded value)
- to record a value which serves as a primary key in an external database.

17.2.2 Geographic Names

  • geogName(geographic name) – The proper noun designation for a place, natural feature, or political jurisdiction.

Geographic names are proper noun designations for places (e.g.,. Baltimore, Maryland), natural features (e.g.,. Black Forest) or political jurisdictions (e.g.,. Quartier Latin, Paris).

The element can be used, e.g., to label geographical names in titles:

<title>
<geogName>Bohemia </geogName>
: Folk Songs </title>
<title>Music in the
<geogName>German Democratic Republic </geogName>
</title>

Geographic name sub-parts may be encoded in geogName sub-elements. For example:

<p>
<geogName>
<geogName>Baltimore </geogName>
,
<geogName>Maryland </geogName>
</geogName>
<geogName>
<geogName>French Quarter </geogName>
,
<geogName>New Orleans </geogName>
,
<geogName>Louisiana </geogName>
</geogName>
</p>

Alternatively, geographic name sub-parts may be encoded using the following more specific elements:

  • blocContains the name of a geo-political unit consisting of two or more nation states or countries.
  • countryContains the name of a geo-political unit, such as a nation, country, colony, or commonwealth, larger than or administratively superior to a region and smaller than a bloc.
  • districtContains the name of any kind of subdivision of a settlement, such as a parish, ward, or other administrative or geographic unit.
  • geogFeat(geographical feature name) – Contains a common noun identifying a geographical feature.
  • postBox(postal box or post office box) contains a number or other identifier for some postal delivery point other than a street address.
  • postCode(postal code) contains a numerical or alphanumeric code used as part of a postal address to simplify sorting or delivery of mail.
  • regionContains the name of an administrative unit such as a state, province, or county, larger than a settlement, but smaller than a country.
  • settlementContains the name of a settlement such as a city, town, or village identified as a single geo-political or administrative unit.
  • streetfull street address including any name or number identifying a building as well as the name of the street or route on which it is located.

In contrast to the way addrLine is used to mark the physical arrangement of the parts of an address, these elements can be used to mark the semantic components of an address. For example:

<address>
<street>21 Jump Street </street>
<settlement>My Town </settlement>
<region>My Prefecture </region>
<region>My Province </region>
<country>My Country </country>
<postCode>A123B456C </postCode>
</address>

They may also be used to identify place name components within textual content:

<annot> Holmes and Watson live at
<street>
<num>221 </num>
Baker St. </street>
in
<settlement>London </settlement>
,
<country>England </country>
. </annot>
<list>
<head>Oh, the places I want to go </head>
<li>
<settlement>London </settlement>
</li>
<li>
<country>France </country>
</li>
<li>
<region>Napa Valley </region>
</li>
</list>

To enable localization of an organization, or to specify names of places with identical names, the use of controlled vocabulary is recommend for names of administrative divisions, such as cities, states, and countries. In this case, the following attributes are particularly relevant:

authority
- records the list from which a controlled value is taken, e.g., the Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN),
authURI (authority URI)
- records the web-accessible location of the controlled vocabulary from which the value is taken,
codedval (coded value)
- records a value which serves as a primary key in an external database.

The encoder may use these attributes in combination. In case of the German city of Frankfurt, for example, a clarification whether Frankfurt am Main or Frankfurt an der Oder is meant can be achieved by referring to the ID of the TGN entry:

<!-- Frankfurt am Main -->
<geogName authURI= "www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn" authority= "TGN" codedval= "7005293"> Frankfurt </geogName>
<!-- Frankfurt an der Oder -->
<geogName authURI= "www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn" authority= "TGN" codedval= "7005972"> Frankfurt </geogName>

The names of places given within addresses can be marked with geogName elements, for example:

<p>
<corpName authURI= "http://d-nb.info/gnd" authority= "GND" codedval= "2007744-0"> German Research Foundation </corpName>
<address>
<addrLine>Kennedyallee 40 </addrLine>
<addrLine>53175
<geogName authURI= "www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn" authority= "TGN" codedval= "7005090"> Bonn </geogName>
</addrLine>
<addrLine>
<geogName authURI= "www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn" authority= "TGN" codedval= "7000084"> Germany </geogName>
</addrLine>
</address>
</p>

17.2.3 Time Period Names

  • periodName(period name) – A label that describes a period of time, such as 'Baroque' or '3rd Style period'.

The periodName element is for names which describe a particular period of time, for example, those which characterize obvious similarities in style, such as ‘Baroque’ or ‘3rd Style Period’:

<periodName>Baroque </periodName>

The date sub-element is available within periodName in order to record any dates associated with the name that should be captured in the text, for example, start and end dates of the named period:

<periodName>Baroque (
<date>1600 </date>
-
<date>1750 </date>
) </periodName>

Recording start and end points of a certain period using the startdate and enddate attributes may prove to be better for machine processing:

<periodName enddate= "1750" startdate= "1600"> Baroque </periodName>

If a controlled value is used, the list from which it is taken should be recorded. In this case the following attributes are relevant:

authority
- to record the list from which a controlled value is taken,
authURI (authority URI)
- to record the web-accessible location of the controlled vocabulary from which the value is taken,
codedval (coded value)
- to record a value which serves as a primary key in an external database.

17.2.4 Personal Names

  • persName(personal name) – Designation for an individual, including any or all of that individual's forenames, surnames, honorific titles, and added names.

Personal names within an MEI document may simply be marked with the persName element containing a proper noun or proper noun phrase referring to an individual. For example:

<sourceDesc>
<source>
<titleStmt>
<title>Im wunderschönen Monat Mai </title>
<respStmt>
<persName role= "composer"> Robert Schumann </persName>
</respStmt>
</titleStmt>
</source>
</sourceDesc>

Apart from the composer or originator of a musical work, there could be many other persons involved in the genesis of a musical work, such as librettists, lyricists, arrangers, editors, transcribers, printers, publishers, etc. In addition, sometimes a single individual may have multiple functions with regard to a musical work, e.g. composer and librettist. The role attribute on persName may be used to capture a person's responsibility. For example:

<persName role= "arranger"> Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart </persName>
<persName role= "lyricist"> Heinrich Heine </persName>

The Marc code list for relators offers a variety of controlled terms that may serve as values for this use of role.

Personal names often consist of several components, such as given names, surnames, inherited or life-time titles of nobility, honorific or academic prefixes, military ranks, and other traditional descriptive phrases. These components can be marked using persName sub-elements, the function of which may be indicated using the type attribute with the following values:

'forename'
- contains a forename, given or baptismal name.
'surname'
- a family (inherited) name, as opposed to a given, baptismal, or nick name.
'rolename'
- contains a name component which indicates that the referent has a particular role or position in society, such as an official title or rank.
'addname' (additional name)
- contains an additional name component, such as a nickname, epithet, or alias, or any other descriptive phrase used within a personal name.
'namelink' (name link)
- contains a connecting phrase or link used within a name but not regarded as part of it, such as van der or of.
'genname' (generational name)
- contains a name component used to distinguish otherwise similar names on the basis of the relative ages or generations of the persons named.

However, the recommended practice is to employ the following sub-elements provided the namesDates module:

  • addName(additional name) – Contains an additional name component, such as a nickname, epithet, or alias, or any other descriptive phrase used within a personal name.
  • famName(family name) – Contains a family (inherited) name, as opposed to a given, baptismal, or nick name.
  • foreNameContains a forename, given or baptismal name.
  • genName(generational name component) – Contains a name component used to distinguish otherwise similar names on the basis of the relative ages or generations of the persons named.
  • nameLike
  • roleName(role name) – Contains a name component which indicates that the referent has a particular role or position in society, such as an official title or rank.

For example,

<persName>
<foreName>Rob </foreName>
<addName>The Bold </addName>
<famName>Stark </famName>
<genName>I </genName>
<nameLink>of </nameLink>
<geogName>Winterfell </geogName>
<roleName>King in the North </roleName>
</persName>

In the case of individuals with more than one forename, it is often sufficient to place all given names within a single foreName element:

<persName>
<famName>Mozart </famName>
,
<foreName>Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus </foreName>
</persName>

However, the advantage of marking names with specific name part elements instead of nested persName elements, is that it becomes possible to use the type attribute to distinguish between multiple instances of the same generic name component. The following example indicates the function of each of the given names of Wolfgang Mozart:

<persName>
<famName>Mozart </famName>
,
<foreName type= "baptismal"> Johannes </foreName>
<foreName type= "baptismal"> Chrysostomus </foreName>
<foreName type= "familiar"> Wolfgangus </foreName>
<foreName type= "baptismal"> Theophilus </foreName>
</persName>

The use of a controlled list, such as the Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND) or the Library of Congress Name Authorities, is recommended for names, especially those occurring within the metadata header. When a controlled value is used, information about the the value should be recorded. The following attributes are provided for this purpose:

  • authority: records the list from which a controlled value is taken,
  • authURI (authority URI): indicates the web-accessible location of the controlled vocabulary from which the value is taken,
  • codedval (coded value): holds a value which serves as a primary key in an external database.

For maximal machine-processability, these three attributes may be used in combination. For example:

<persName authURI= "http://d-nb.info/gnd" authority= "GND" codedval= "118584596" role= "composer"> Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart </persName>

17.2.5 Style Names

  • styleName(style name) – A label for a characteristic style of writing or performance, such as 'bebop' or 'rock-n-roll'.

Music can be divided into different styles, genres, and forms. The term style denotes a mode of expression, or more particularly, the manner in which a work of art is executed:

"In the discussion of music, which is orientated towards relationships rather than meanings, the term raises special difficulties; it may be used to denote music characterized of an individual composer, of a period, of a geographical area or center, or of a society or social function. For the aesthetician style concerns surface or appearance, though in music appearance and essence are ultimately inseparable. For the historian a style is a distinguishing and ordering concept, both consistent of and denoting generalities; he or she groups examples of music according to similarities between them." (Source: "Style", Grove Music Online, accessed: April 27, 2012)

The name of a musical style can be marked by the styleName element, for example:

<styleName>bebop </styleName>

It may be, e.g., used for recording a style name within a title:

<title>La voix du
<styleName>bebop </styleName>
</title>

or to record a style of a certain epoch by using the styleName sub-element:

<periodName>Modern
<styleName>Jazz </styleName>
</periodName>

Musical forms and genres must be distinguished from musical style. Form and genre are typically indicated using the classification element, described in chapter 2.3.12 Classification.