IPNI The International Plant Names Index

‘Standard forms’ of Author Names

The standard form of a name is a surname, or an abbreviation of it (e.g. Adans. for Adanson), or rarely a contraction of it (e.g. Michx. for Michaux), with or without initials or other distinguishing appendages (see principles 7-9 below). In establishing a set of principles for deriving standard forms of names, the Working Party has aimed above all for practicality and has been largely sympathetic to well established traditions. Very few absolute rules have been adapted, since experience shows that sooner or later it becomes inconvenient or undesirable to follow them. However, clear general principles have been laid down which are followed except when there is a good reason not to do so. The standard form adopted is the product of the interaction of all the principles, of which one may be of paramount importance in one circumstance but less so in another. The principles were agreed by the Working Party by a vote where necessary, but in the majority of cases the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the practice adopted here.

The first four ‘principles’ are applied rigidly as absolute rules:

1. Script. Names are given in Roman characters (see also notes on transliteration and similar problems under ‘Surname Problems’ above).

2. Uniqueness. Every ‘standard form’ must be unique to one person. The Working Party considered a suggestion that this should apply only within the context of each major plant group, but voted heavily against it. (For comments on the converse situation, concerning the same author always having the same ‘standard form’, see 10 and 11 below.)

3. Uniform treatment of names. The same surname (i.e. identical spelling) must always be given in the same form (e.g. Miller is always abbreviated to Mill.), unless it is part of a compound name (see 14 below), and different surnames must not be given in the same form (if Brown is abbreviated to Br. then Browne must not also be abbreviated to Br.) Unlike the Kew Draft Index, we have treated masculine and feminine forms of one name as different names. Thus, for example, Botschantzev and Botschantzeva are not given the same standard form.

4. Full-stops and accents. All abbreviations and contractions are terminated by a full-stop (e.g. Adans., Walt.Jones, Michx.) but the full-stop does not make a standard form different from the same spelling without a full stop (e.g. Lam. for Lamarck and Lam for H.J. Lam would be treated as homonymous, and initials are required for the latter’s standard form). Similarly names differing only by presence or absence of an accent (e.g. Love and Löve, Leonard and Léonard) or apostrophe (Ohara and O’Hara) are treated as homonymous.

The remaining principles are not considered absolutely binding except for 12. The first, no. 5 over-rides all the subsequent ones. Those from 6 to 11 refer to full surnames and when to include initials and other appendages, while 12 to 14 refer to when and how to abbreviate surnames.

5. TL-2 as a standard. The Working Party strongly favoured the retention of traditional abbreviations and other standard forms, and considered that the best way to ensure this was to accept the standard forms recommended in Stafleu & Cowan’s TL-2. This has been done in the majority of cases, but in a small number TL-2 has not been followed. Reasons for departing from TL-2 included : a) contravention of principles 2 and 3 above (rare, e.g. Stef.); b) serious conflict with the Kew Draft Index involving transfer of one standard form from one author to another; c) failure to abbreviate very long names, such as Schlagdenhauffen; d) rather excessive abbreviation of a few names of six letters or fewer where no outstandingly strong precedent seems to exist (e.g. Wilson is given in full rather than abbreviated to Wils.); e) failure to give any of a large number of authors with the same surname a standard form without the initials, e.g. Moore; and f) occasionally, conflict with particularly well established abbreviations used elsewhere, such as Copel. which is very widely adopted in pteridological literature for Copeland.

The following principles are applied only to names of authors not appearing in TL-2.

6. Surname only. A surname alone, or its abbreviation or contraction, is adopted as the standard form if it is applicable to only one author in the list. A surname alone, or its abbreviation or contraction, is usually also adopted for one of a number of authors with the same surname (see 7 below).

7. Initials. Persons with identical surnames are distinguished by use of initials of forenames, except as in 8 and 9 below. Usually the earliest born is given without initials and all later ones with initials, but in some cases a better known later author may be given without and all others, including the earliest, with initials. Occasionally, when all having the same surname are more or less contemporary and equally well known, all may be given initials. Where initials are required: a) if the author has one forename, then the one initial is given; b) if the author has two forenames, both initials are given, except in occasional cases where an author consistently omits one initial in authorship of books or papers (as distinct from authorship of plant names), e.g. P.Taylor, H.Rob., B.Nord. for P.G. Taylor, H.E. Robinson and R.B. Nordenstam who consistently publish their work using only one of their forenames; c) if the author has three forenames, three initials are given unless he or she has a clear preference for using only one and no ambiguity arises (L.A.S.Johnson is given all three initials to avoid confusion with Lennart Johnson and Leigh A. Johnson); if the author has more than three forenames, an ad hoc decision is taken. We recommend that no spaces be left after full stops.

8. Abbreviated or full forenames. When two authors have identical surnames and initials, full or abbreviated forenames may be used. One author may be given with only surname, or initial(s) plus surname, and the other with fuller name, or both may be given fuller names, e.g. Thomas Hogg (1777-1855) and Thomas Hogg (1820-1892) are distinguished as Hogg and T.Hogg respectively, while Walter Jones and William Jones have standard forms Walt.Jones and Wm.Jones respectively.

9. Suffixes. In a few cases persons with identical surnames may be distinguished by a suffix instead of, or in addition to, initials. In well known cases of father and son, the son may be distinguished by ‘f.’, an abbreviation of ‘filius’ (a narrow majority of the Working Party preferred ‘f.’ to ‘fil.’). Where this follows an abbreviated name with a full-stop, we recommend that no space be left between full-stop and f., e.g. Rech.f. for Rechinger the son. Decisions on when to use ‘f.’ and when to use initials were usually decided by a vote of the Working Party, which voted for Aiton and W.T.Aiton, but Baker and Baker f., for examples. Tradition may also allow a different suffix, such as ‘Arg.’ for ‘Argoviensis’ in Müll.Arg. (Müller of Aargau). In a few cases where different authors have identical surname and forename we have used the suffixes ‘bis’ for the second and ‘ter’ for the third, as in R.Br., R.Br. bis and R.Br. ter for the three Robert Browns.

10. Variant names for the same person. Except as noted in 11 below, one person is always given the same standard form, even though he or she may have modified the spelling of their surname during their lifetime, or different transliterations may exist, or a compounding form may have been adopted during their lifetime. For example, Meisner adopted the spelling Meissner later in life but is always given the same standard form, Meisn. The variant transliterations Tsvelev, Tselov, Tzelev and Tzelov have all appeared for the same person, whose recommended standard form Tzelev should be used in all cases. Alan Radcliffe Smith originally published plant names as A.R.Smith, but later modified his name to A. Radcliffe-Smith; the standard form Radcl.-Sm. should be used for both.

11. Different names for the same person. When a person has published under completely different names, different standard forms may be used for the same person. For example, Inger Nordal has published under both her maiden name Björnstad and her married name Nordal, and both may be used in standard forms, as in Scadoxus pseudocaulus (I.Björnstad & Friis) Friis & Nordal. However, where one person has simultaneously used alternative names, such as Brother Alain who also uses the names Liogier, Enrique Eugenio, and others, we have adopted a single name (in this case Alain, as agreed with him in correspondence).

The following principles concern when and how to abbreviate surnames. It should be noted again that these have been applied only to names not give in TL-2 (see 5 above).

12. Where to abbreviate. Names are never abbreviated before a consonant.

13. How many letters to save.
a) Names are usually not abbreviated unless more than two letters are eliminated and replaced by a full-stop.
b) Names of authors living before the 20th century are more likely to be abbreviated than later ones, and names of authors in the later 20th century tend to be given in full.
c) Where no strong tradition exists, names of 8 letters or fewer are not abbreviated, names of 9 letters are abbreviated if more than 3 letters are eliminated (e.g. Verdc. for Verdcourt), and names of 10 letters or more are usually abbreviated. (in the suggested abbreviations submitted by the compiler for Bryology there was a tendency for short names (7 letters or fewer) to be abbreviated where they probably would not have been abbreviated in the list for other groups. In the final editing some of these have been expanded to the full name to make them more comparable with others, but the tendency to greater abbreviation for Bryological authors may still be noted.)
d) Other things being equal, if an abbreviation is made, 2-syllable names are abbreviated to one syllable, 3-syllable names are most likely to be abbreviated to one (Pennington to Penn.), and names of 4 or more syllables are most often abbreviated to two syllables (Tirvengadum to Tirveng.). Many Japanese names have four short syllables, and we have tried to be consistent in abbreviating them to two syllables (Kitagawa to Kitag., Hashimoto to Hashim., etc.) except where ambiguity would occur, or except where the name has only seven letters.
e) Application of these principles may depend on whether initials are also needed in standard forms of well known authors. Decisions may also be affected when an author is known to be commonly cited as a joint author with somebody else.

14. Compound names. Compound names, whether hyphenated or not, may be treated as special cases, and some principles given above may be discounted. In order to keep the standard form as short as possible, the principles of how many letters should be saved (see 13 above) may often be broken. Similarly the principle that the same name must always be given in the same way (see 3 above) is over-ridden in compound names, so that, for example although Gonzales is given in full when it stands on its own, Gonzales Albo is abbreviated to Gonz.Albo. We recommend, again that no space be left after the full-stop.

Reproduced from Brummitt & Powell, Authors of Plant Names (1992).

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