[rfc-i] Author names in RFC references

Elwyn Davies elwynd at folly.org.uk
Mon Mar 24 12:48:49 PDT 2014


On Mon, 2014-03-24 at 12:45 -0500, Ted Lemon wrote:
> I find the authors' initials thing really weird and inconvenient—I
> absolutely _never_ care what the authors' initials are, and I _do_
> care what their first names are, so I wind up having to hunt down at
> the end of the document for information that could as easily have
> appeared on top.   It's even worse in the references section where you
> have to go to the referenced document to get the info.
> 
Even then there are no guarantees.  Many computing science papers don't
give full first names (and as I have discovered recently while doing a
literature survey there are a few eccentrics who *never* publish their
first names anywhere!)

It strikes me that giving a stable reference such as a DOI reference is
generally more important these days.

The format that we currently use is different from all the usual general
purpose style guides, ITU-T recommendations, IEEE, ACM
journal/conference papers etc., in that we use:
- Author specified mnemonic anchors rather than author/date, title of
recommmendation or numeric
- All the same typeface to cope with ASCII documents (no use of italic
or small caps)
- The strange author abbreviation/ordering (but initials are common -
IEEE/ACM - although how many and whether before or after the surname and
whether the first one is inverted is also different for most cases).

There are other rules (RFC editor know what they use).
- Punctuation (or lack of it)
- How many authors before you get to use 'et al' (please not seven as in
CMOS!).

We probably ought to generate a Citation Style Language (CSL -
http://citationstyles.org/) specification for the citation format - once
we have decided what it is.

Regards,
Elwyn




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