Capitalizing the lowercase portion of author name in short form


I work a lot with Arabic texts that have author names like Abdullah ibn Malak, where "ibn" I refers to parentage (literally meaning "son of"). The standard way to refer to these authors—the "last" name—is "Ibn Malak," not just Malak, and it's standard to lowercase iIbn" when used with the first name and to capitalize it when not. So you can't just use "Malak" as the last name. I'm trying to figure out a way to get Zotero to put the name in as "Abdullah ibn Malak" (lowercase) for first appearance and then "Ibn Malak" (capitalized) for short-form subsequent appearances and in the bibliography. Can't figure it out.

If it requires code, kindly give me a clear walk-through of where to put it. I'm not a coder but can figure it out with instructions. Thanks for your help!
  • Isnt' that similar to the Dutch van/Van (where we haven't been able to find a decent solution)?
  • I remember this was raised not too long ago, and I didn't do anything about it. Are there edge cases that make it difficult, or does the processor just need to be unbroken?
  • I think part of the problem with "van" was that it doesn't behave the same way everywhere -- it's van Beethoven (and similar with other non-Dutch "vans", but Van Gogh etc. So not fixable in citeproc without significant additional effort if at all.

    "Ibn" seems more universal, so that might be worth just hardcoding in the processor (ideally in a way that it's easy to add other name particles if needed) if no one has objections.
  • Isn't the diff between Beethoven and Gogh captured by [Beethoven][Ludwig von] vs [van Gogh][Vincent]?
  • In that case it probably is, yes, so not a good example, but if you have someone who typically keeps the van as part of their lastname but doesn't uppercase it (as is common in the US), then there's no way to make that distinction anymore.
  • It's been a long time since I last looked at name particle handling, but doesn't enclosure in quotes cover that case?
  • It should AFAIR.
  • edited August 2, 2018
    Not quite the same question, but following up on something @adamsmith said above:

    There are differences in different languages, so that for example "de" is treated literally as part of the last name in Spanish, but not in Dutch. Spanish and Portuguese differ in subtle ways, Dutch and German, etc.

    Is there any way to assert the behavior of individual names? If I insert for example "de Sousa" (Spanish) it behaves as if it is Dutch, and doesn't work correctly. Dutch "de Vos" works correctly though.

    I'm mostly just wondering about when/whether the particle is included with the family name or not, in citations and/or bibliography. This is secondary to the capitalization issues, which also apply.

    The automation in Zotero seems to get it right most of the time, and actually I don't even know for sure how to split things myself in some cases. Honestly, I wish these things could just be standardized by style, rather than relying on cultural traditions that are often not specified in original sources, so I have to, for example, sometimes research the nationality of the author and guess. Or I've emailed editors in the past when it isn't clear where to split a name (Portuguese vs. Spanish, especially). The best information is finding the author citing themselves, but that doesn't always happen.

    Any ideas? Or is there a discussion of this in general somewhere? I'm not really looking for a simple fix in the CSL, just wondering what I should be aware of, and what strategies users prefer. Also if there is a list somewhere of the particles and how they are treated so that I can know when to manually make an exception if needed.
  • edited August 2, 2018
    FWIW I have looked at this very closely and while there are language and nationality rules and conventions about name particles, many publishers and authors pay little attention to the rules and conventions.

    For those who are submitting a paper for a grade or submitting a thesis, I recommend getting guidance from your supervisor by asking about specific names. If submitting a manuscript to a publisher then examine the reference lists of several issues of the journal to gauge the proper presentation. I believe that you should be safe as long as you use the same spelling and casing every time you site works by the same author. Zotero translators try to help with this consistency.

    I am working to solve the index-by-author-name issue by adding name synonyms to an alternate author table of my database (not Zotero). This way someone who is unaware of the name convention may nonetheless find works by an author of interest. Entering a name with or without a particle or with or without prefix punctuation marks will still identify works by the sought-after author. (Entering van Beethoven or Beethoven will return the same listings. Similarly, although less correct than other name forms entering 't Hart or Hart will offer an identical selection of names to select from. This is similar to the USE-OR [not for] function in a thesaurus.)
  • edited August 2, 2018
    So consistency over precision is a reasonable approach? That sounds acceptable to me.

    I am citing works written in dozens of languages, and of course with authors' names from many more. (Some also have shifted away from traditional practice and 'internationalized' their personal naming conventions, I think.) So I get quite a mix to deal with, and I'm not sure exactly how to do so either technically or practically, at least for certain details. Hard enough figuring out where to split first and last names sometimes!

    The "close enough" approach probably would pass for most instructors or publishers/editors. (Any objections they have for these ambiguous cases might be as likely to be wrong as right, based on whatever cases are most familiar for them.) As I said, I'm not sure where to even determine the correct practice for some names, when I'm just working from a published article for example.

    The most likely source of complaint or offense would likely be from the authors themselves if they found their names were not being cited respectfully, which is something I'd try to accommodate but still has limits.
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