Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Criteria for Sources -
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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna, Lillia de Vaux, and Alys Mackyntoich

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- Criteria for Sources -

January 2014 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

When I started writing these in June of 2010, little did I know how much material we'd cover. I hope that you've found these useful, and that you've enjoyed reading them at least as much as I've enjoyed writing them.

To conclude this series, I want to point out a few criteria that you might use in judging name resources, whether articles, books, or online resources. The first thing I look for in a resource is spelling variability. If names are always spelled in the same way, that's a sign that the source has been normalized. Normalized forms are not always a problem, but many editors also modernize the names and sometimes Anglicize them. Thus, you can have a source about period people, sometimes even one that includes period texts, that still doesn't give us the period name forms. This is a particular problem in languages that use special characters, like accented letters or other diacritical marks; editors often silently add them, even in historical periods when they were not used or were not used consistently. Along with that, I expect period documents that refer to people to use different forms of names (with and without titles and bynames, for example) as they mention the same person again and again. A document that always uses exactly the same phrasing to talk about a person is one that's probably been altered by a modern editor.

Good name information is dated information. In general, an article or book that has few specific dates is a problem. You have to be careful with this, as sometimes dates are hidden in plain view. For example, italicized forms in Woulfe are dated to Ireland in the time of either Elizabeth I or James I. Similarly, italicized forms in Geirr Bassi are dated to Iceland in the settlement period (9th-10th century).

For a few times and places, dated names are hard to come by. Our work on Arabic and Mongolian names largely depends on articles that include longer time periods than we prefer. However, the sources from which these data are taken cover long periods of time and do not always date people's lives clearly enough to attach dates to an individual name citation. So, where more precisely dated material is not available, using less precisely dated citations is acceptable. But do make sure that there are good reasons to think the citation is period: names and bynames have continued to be created (and to be spelled in different ways) after the end of the Renaissance.

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