1) Choose a name
2) Enter the name
3) Add alternative names
The first choice regards the primary name, and the choice of it. However, for our purposes this is simple; the primary name is going to be the article title.
Now, we have to decide how to enter the name. For most people, this is simplicity itself - John Alan Smith becomes [NAME=Smith, John Alan]. "Surname, forename middlenames". Leave off any honorifics or additions - Mr John Smith; Dr John Smith; Professor John Smith, PhD; General Sir John Smith RA VC CBE - unless they're actually part of a "title of nobility".
The name will have three parts; a forename, a surname, and a title. There will also often be a short form - for example, Lord Byron. His full name was (George Gordon) (Byron), (Baron Byron). Note that the title has two parts - a rank and a name (this will likely be a surname or a place). This would be entered as Surname, Forename, Title - [NAME=Byron, George Gordon, Baron Byron]. Our articles often list numbers - these aren't particularly important, in terms of the individual, so feel free to leave them off.
But, there are other cases. Monarchs, for example; Queen Elizabeth II technically has a surname, but you rarely see a reference to "Elizabeth Windsor". So how do we enter these? Common name, then identifier - [NAME=Elizabeth II, Queen], [NAME=John Paul II, Pope] [NAME=Peter, Saint]
If they have something after their name which isn't a surname, how you treat it depends on whether:
a) it serves in the same way as a surname - Malcom X. b) it's an identifier - Francis of Assisi, John the Baptist
For a), sort it identifier, forename; for b), sort it forename, identifier - so [NAME=X, Malcom], but [NAME=John, the Baptist]
[NAME=Catherine, the Great, Queen of Russia]
There are two other cases which can confuse matters:
- a surname in two parts, eg/ George Macdonald Fraser
This is entered under both parts of the surname, so [NAME=Macdonald Fraser, George]. If you're not sure if a name is a middle name or part of the surname, make sure to enter an alternative name to cover both cases. Foreign languages may also pose a problem - is it [NAME=Marquez, Gabriel Garcia] or [NAME=Garcia Marquez, Gabriel]? Again, include both if in doubt - whoever searches for them probably won't know either!
- a surname with a prefix, eg/ Ludwig van Beethoven
This gets a bit complex. The formal standards say that this depends entirely on the language of the name - and it can get weird for, say, German - but it seems best to go with a simple rule - we include the prefix in the surname, so [NAME=Van Beethoven, Ludwig]. It is probably a good idea to include an alternative; [NAME=Beethoven, Ludwig van]
Thirdly, alternative names. Remember to always give the obvious alternates - Jimmy Carter, James Earl Carter; Tony Blair and Anthony Blair. Also pseudonyms - Charles Dodgson should have an alternate listing for Lewis Carroll - but remember that some very famous pseudonyms, like Cary Grant, George Orwell or George Eliot, will need the real name given as an alternative. It's not that important, so long as you list both.