Requirement Level: Recommended

Core Element: Yes

Describes: Digital Surrogate, Original Source


The name of a person or organization providing significant but secondary contributions to creating the content, such as an editor, funder, or thesis committee member. Names of individuals or organizations involved with the creation/publication of the digital object may also be entered here. This element provides additional search points for names associated with a resource, even if their exact role is unspecified. See also Creator (guidelines for entering and managing names are consistent across both Core elements).


Personal Name

LeMay, Curtis E.

Personal Name with title

Elizabeth, II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-

Family name

Woodruff family.

Organization name

Michael C. Carlos Museum.

Conference/ Meeting name

United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.

Mappings and Encoding

Dublin Core: 


See recommended mappings for additional standards.

How Do I Fill This In?



Provide additional name entries for Contributors as needed.

Recommended Data Entry Type:

Controlled vocabulary; Free-text entry

Use of a controlled vocabulary for names is strongly recommended. Using controlled versions of names helps relate resources affiliated with the same Contributor, and keeps resources separated when associated with different people/entities with similar names.

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is strongly recommended for name authorities. VIAF contains name authority records for many national libraries, including the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF), which is the primary source used by U.S. Libraries for personal and corporate names.

ORCID and ISNI are two additional sources managing name identifiers for researchers, authors and contributing organizations who may not be represented in traditional authority files such as LCNAF and VIAF.

If you are unable to determine an authority entry for your Contributor, a free-text entry for the name may be used. It is recommended to format the name using conventions from a metadata content standard such as RDA; content standards provide guidance for how to differentiate between persons or organizations with similar names.

As a general fallback, enter free-text names in Lastname, Firstname format when feasible.

If you have multiple contributors listed, personal and entity names should be in Romanized form for the first Contributor’s name entry. Non-Roman languages such as Russian, Chinese, and Hebrew should be transliterated to a Romanized version for metadata entry.

If possible, the vernacular (native language) form of the name should also be searchable and provide access to the Romanized form via a cross-reference. If the metadata system being used does not support this, additional entries in the original vernacular may be preferred to allow native language searches for creators.

See the Additional Detail section for more information about entering Contributor names.

Punctuation/style notes:  


When recording personal and organization names, follow appropriate capitalization and punctuation standards. Authorized forms of names from a controlled vocabulary will already include this in the name entry, but free-text entry will need to follow correct form. This is especially important when additional elements are being included to differentiate names, such as birth/death dates.

Order of name entry

Personal names should be entered in the filing order appropriate to the nationality of the person. For example, American and English names are generally filed by surname, i.e., “Twain, Mark.”

Additional detail:

Encoding name parts as separate elements

If your system or schema supports it, record name parts (first, last, middle, etc.) as separate elements, as opposed to one single metadata element. This helps to support more robust searching and sorting.

Additional Attributes/Properties

If your system or schema supports it, it is recommended to provide the following additional properties for your name entry (see additional notes that follow):

For name entries:

  • Name Authority name or code
  • Name Authority URL
  • Name Term ID
  • Name Term URL

For clarifying name entries’ relationships or roles:

  • Role Term Value
  • Role Authority Name or code
  • Role Term ID
  • Role Term URL

Name Authorities

When using an authority, if your schema or system supports it, use additional attributes or properties to specify which authority you are using. Some systems/schemas may also allow you to record the URI or record ID for an individual name entry.

Relationship/Role of Creator

Some schemas and standards enable the use of additional properties that explain more clearly the relationship or role of the creator in the context of how the resource was originally created.

Examples of Contributor roles include: Editor, Sponsoring Body, Thesis Advisor.

These attributes should be utilized when possible; roles help to ascertain a person or entity’s relationship to a work and can aid researchers in locating appropriate resources.

Role Vocabularies

Use of a controlled vocabulary for role or relationship terms is strongly recommended. When using a role attribute with a controlled vocabulary, it is also recommended to include an attribute specifying which vocabulary has been used.

Examples of role terms include RDA’s role terms (preferred source; found in the RDA Toolkit, or in the Metadata Registry). Additional role vocabularies exist such as the RBMS (Rare Books and Manuscripts Section) relationship designators.


What is a Corporate Name?

The term "corporate name" is used in bibliographic cataloging. It means the name of an organization or business entity (as opposed to the name of an individual person).

What is RDA?

RDA means Resource Description and Access. It is the established set of description rules used in bibliographic cataloging, and offers broad, general purpose guidelines that can apply to many formats.


What is a Controlled Vocabulary/Authority?

Links and Resources:

Virtual Authority File (VIAF)

Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)

Library of Congress Authorities - FAQs


International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI)

RDA Role Terms

Guideline last revised: 2015-04-28