[rfc-i] Author line oddity in citations

Elwyn Davies elwynd at folly.org.uk
Wed Jun 28 12:26:25 PDT 2017


Previous attempts to find a rational explanation for the strange format 
have never identified either a formal specification of the format in 
IETF archives or any oral history of why we ended up this way.  The best 
we can do is the cock-up theory.

<nerd mode on>

Being at a bit of a loose end this afternoon, I had a ferret through the 
archives to see when this strange format first appeared.  So far I have 
tied it down (probably) to between RFC 905 (May 1984) and RFC 1145 
(February 1990).  So far RFC 1145 is the earliest RFC that has an 
example (Ref 1) of the current IETF standard that I have found. RFCs 
1146, 1158, 1160. 1161 and 1163 all have examples of the IETF format but 
interspersed are examples with the conventional Chicago Manual of Style 
(CMOS) format.     Several later RFCs around this time (RFCs 1162, 1179, 
1185 and 1203) still use CMOS.  However, there is no one consistent 
format for References sections  and various formats were used, although 
Jon Postel and Joyce Reynolds used CMOS religiously at this time.   
Official blessing of the IETF format didn't come till RFC 2223 (October 
1997) and then only implicitly - Section 9 of RFC 2223 says that its own 
reference section is 'canonical' and Ref [5] in RFC 2223 has 3 authors.

So there is still no hard evidence of how the RFC 2223 format came into 
being and why it happened other than as a mistake possibly by Craig 
Partridge in RFC 1146.

Incidentally, RFC 793 does not have any reference with more than 2 
authors and conforms to both IETF and standard CMOS  format.
<nerd mode off>

Regards,
Elwyn

On 28/06/2017 09:09, Loa Andersson wrote:
> Heather and Brian,
>
> On 2017-06-27 14:41, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) wrote:
>> On 6/25/17 1:26 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>>> Loa,
>>>
>>> I do wonder myself why we use this style instead of the simpler style
>>> used by IEEE and ACM, but this goes back a long way (RFC793 for 
>>> example)
>>> so it would be a bit strange to change it now.
>>
>> Also, changing it has implications for a number of tools. I'm not sure
>> the effort is worth it in this case (but am happy to hear other 
>> opinions).
>
> While I think the format:
> "Deans, Graeme K., F. Kroeger and S. Zeisel"
> would be fine for RFCs, I was more interested to know why we use the
> format we use.
>
> /Loa
>
>>
>>>
>>> As for CMOS, I think it must depend on the edition. Some sources
>>> suggest "Deans, Graeme K., Fritz Kroeger and Stefan Zeisel"
>>> rather than "Deans, Graeme K., Kroeger, Fritz and Stefan Zeisel".
>>>
>>> Also see 
>>> http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/turabian/turabian_citationguide.html 
>>>
>>
>> What Brian said.
>>
>> -Heather
>>
>>>
>>> Regards
>>>    Brian
>>>
>>> On 25/06/2017 20:56, Loa Andersson wrote:
>>>> Heather,
>>>>
>>>> inline please.
>>>>
>>>> On 2017-06-23 01:20, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) wrote:
>>>>> On 6/22/17 12:53 AM, Eggert, Lars wrote:
>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I just noticed that the author line in citations has an oddity, 
>>>>>> in the sense that the name format is "Lastname, I." for all but 
>>>>>> the last author, where it is "I. Lastname."
>>>>>>
>>>>>> [RFC5681]  Allman, M., Paxson, V., and E. Blanton, "TCP Congestion
>>>>>>            Control", RFC 5681, DOI 10.17487/RFC5681, September 2009,
>>>>>> <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5681>.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Is this on purpose, e.g., following some common citation style? 
>>>>>> Just feels odd.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Yes, on purpose. Basically follows CMOS.
>>>>
>>>> I've looked at CMOS, and can't find the style you are referring 
>>>> too, can
>>>> you send me a link?
>>>>
>>>> /Loa
>>>>>
>>>>> -Heather
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