Crystallographic Information Framework

Format of proper names

Many CIF data items take as value the name of an author or contributor e.g. _publ_author_name). The convention for expressing a name is as follows. A complete name may be defined by concatenating

  • the family name or names
  • optionally, any dynastic suffixes
  • the character "," (comma) as separator followed by a space
  • optionally, a title
  • given names or initials
The name should be given in mixed upper/lower case. For the family name, multiple components should be hyphenated or capitalised according to local custom. The family name may include conventional dynastic or courtesy components such as "Mc", "ben", "ibn", "de", "von". Dynastic suffixes take the form "Jr", "III" etc. The use of titles is discouraged, but if employed, they should precede the forenames, and should be shortened with a trailing point if abbreviations (e.g. "Prof." for "Professor") and without a trailing point if contractions ("Dr" for "Doctor"). Initials should be followed with a trailing point and optionally a space, but no space should be included in hyphenated sets of initials.


  • 'Bleary, Percival R.'
  • "O'Neil, F. K."
  • 'Van den Bossche, G.'
  • 'Yang, D.-L.'
  • 'Simonov, Yu.A'
  • 'Churchill III, Mr Winston S.'