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Expanding category key for publ_author.name

  • Subject: Expanding category key for publ_author.name
  • From: James Hester <jamesrhester@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2019 14:37:42 +1000
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Dear Cif-developers,

The CIF core group has not expressed an opinion on the following proposal, so before going ahead with one of the suggested fixes, I would like your opinion as CIF software developers and database curators on the options presented:

The publ_author category has _publ_author.name as the category key, meaning that _publ_author.name can be used to select a unique row of the loop. However, it has been pointed out that _publ_author.name is insufficient as a key for the _publ_author loop, as some authors have the same name (there are apparently 40 entries in the COD with this feature). 

Solution (1): Add a further disambiguating data name to _publ_author. The suggestion is that something like "_publ_author.id" could be defined, which would contain an arbitrary code and which would be added to the category key.  The lack of this dataname in historical CIFs can be worked around by assuming it has a constant value, and CIF curators can auto-generate it when a situation is encountered with multiple identically-named authors.

Solution (2): Define "_publ_author.id" as the new key of the category that can be auto-generated from each packet. While in a formal sense this makes all current CIFs non-conformant, I can't imagine that it would affect most software, which will continue to work with _publ_author.name.

Please indicate your preference or alternative solutions. Particularly important is the perspective of software authors and database curators who may be impacted.

thanks,
James. (CIF chair/acting core CIF DMG chair)
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