ICPSR Personal Names Authority List

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Personal Names is an alphabetical authority list of name forms for individuals identified in ICPSR's metadata records (the list does not include principal investigators). The following points describe the structure and logic of the list:

  • Non-preferred terms are italicized and indicate (with USE notation) the appropriate term to apply

  • There is no hierarchy (broader term/narrower term) expressed in this list. The only reciprocal relationship established is USE/USE FOR.


    Kennedy, Jack
    USE: Kennedy, John F.

    Kennedy, John F.
    USE FOR: Kennedy, Jack

  • The remaining notation presents comment fields designed to provide indexers and searchers with enough information to identify the appropriate individual and to determine the preferred name form to use. These fields are defined below.

    Dates (birth/death). For living individuals, the date is expressed as an open date: b.1937- .

    Descriptive information. A brief statement identifying some facet of an individual's life or career.


    Carter, Jimmy
    DATE(S): b.1924-
    DESCRIPTION: 39th President of the United States 1977-1981.

    Includes other names and nicknames an individual may also be known by.


    Rabin, Yitzhak
    DATE(S): 1922-1995
    DESCRIPTION: Israeli diplomat and politician; Prime Minister of Israel 1974-1977, 1992- 1995; assassinated 1995.
    NAME VARIANT(S): Itzhak Rabin

  • Common usage is the primary criteria by which preferred name forms are established. Preference is also given to the use of full names as opposed to initials (e.g., Lyndon B. Johnson rather than LBJ).

Literary warrant for the Personal Names list is established through the following sources:

Merriam-Webster's Biographical Dictionary. 1995. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Random House Webster's College Dictionary. 1999. New York: Random House.

S9.com (preparer). The Biographical Dictionary. [online.] http://www.s9.com/biography/index.html