[rfc-i] Author line oddity in citations

Elwyn Davies elwynd at folly.org.uk
Thu Jun 22 16:54:34 PDT 2017


This is an oddity that has been brought up many times previously.  
Conclusion has always been that nobody (now) knows why we got this 
curious citation format.  One theory was that it was just a mistake in 
some early RFC which was aiming at Chicago Manual of Style citations 
that use this format:

> If there is more than one author, list the first person last name 
> first, add a comma, and then list the second person normally. Any name 
> that appears after the first name is always written first name first.
>
>     Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar.
>
and didn't obey the "Any name ..." clause correctly.

Some heretics have claimed that St Jon made a mistake and the rest of us 
just followed the one true path.....  and references were maybe not so 
verbose back then.

AFAIK the format is unique to RFCs/Drafts.

Cheers,

Elwyn


On 22/06/2017 16:22, Ole Jacobsen wrote:
> The format is one of many used for citations.
>
> Wild guess: In the early days Jon Postel worked for a time at
> SRI with Jake Feinler who was a librarian by training. It may
> be that she suggested this format and it stuck.
>
> Useful tool developed by Henry:
>
> https://tools.ietf.org/tools/citation/
>
> Use 1187 for your example, then change the string "{authors.rfclist}"
> to "{authors.andlist}" and you'll get the more common format.
>
>
> Ole
>
> On Thu, 22 Jun 2017, Carsten Bormann wrote:
>
>> On Jun 22, 2017, at 10:05, Bob Hinden <bob.hinden at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> a long time
>> “Long” as in “Since RFC 753, Jon Postel, March 1979”.
>>
>> Grüße, Carsten
>>
>>
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