[Tellico-users] sorting and formatting
trona at ameritech.net
Wed Nov 11 15:11:36 UTC 2009
Not trying to be a pain but I'm thinking about the way the Big Three
(let's say Amazon, LOC and ISBNdb) return information to you.
Just picking an arbitrary ISBN, 0-399-15504-X (Robert B. Parker,
/Resolution/), Amazon returns "Robert B. Parker," ISBNdb returns
"Parker, Robert Andrew" (which is actually his name) and LOC returns
"Parker, Robert B." using the Tellico internet search function; thus
there either is or is not delimiter in the string (in this case a comma
to delimit surname).
Well, OK, there's one -- now, how about a toughie: George Cordon Byron,
/Childe Harold's Pilgrimage/. George Cordon Byron, AKA Lord Byron.
Arrgghh! One begins to see the problem; do you sort it as if it were
"Byron, Lord" or "Lord, Byron?" What sort of rule do you write for
titles (his first name is not "Lord," it's George but generally nobody
knows that and, in England, he'd be called "Byron," "M' Lord" or
referred to as "George, Lord Byron." or some such) A puzzlement. The
Brits have all kinds of goofy fun things -- how, for example, does
Leicester get pronounced "Lester" I do not fathom.
Then, one goes on to the doctors (either MD or Ph.D.) and deal with
those (actually, Robert B. Parker is or has a Ph.D., but he doesn't
bother with that Dr. stuff). Those are actually easier rules to deal
with; when I have to for data base name parsing I just strip out any
pattern that matches any medical or academic title; Doctor, Dr., M.D.,
MD, MA, PHD, Ph.D., etc. -- the rule being that a title is not a
persons' name but that doesn't seem to count in England). I do the same
with military or civilian rank -- your name isn't "General," it's Your
Blasted Name, dang it! And, of course, if you want to be really picky
you can append the title to the end of the name string; e.g., George
Smith Patton, Jr. (also George Smith Patton III), General. Searching
for ISBN 0-395-73529-7 returns George S. Patton Major General, /War As
I Knew It/ from Amazon, Patton, George S. (George Smith) from LOC and
Patton, George S. from ISBNdb. Rank only appears in the Amazon search;
I'd be more likely to accept the LOC rule. It's kind of the same thing
you do in genealogy: what's your name on your birth certificate.
English is bad enough -- I can't imagine (because I have zero knowledge
of other languages' sorting rules) what one would do with French,
German, Polish, Russian or who knows what.
Truly a puzzlement.
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
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