Ataria > Aurkezpena > Presentation of the project

Presentation of the project

Artikulu honen bertsio guztiak: [English] [Español] [euskara] [français]

This project aims to unify the name authorities in Basque. It was initiated by a number of library and information center professionals from the seven territories of the Basque Country and the Basque diaspora across the borders.

The list is the result of the work undertaken by this group of professionals from all over the Basque Country. Eusko Ikaskuntza-Basque Studies Society provides the technical infrastructure to publish this platform.

*Origin of the project and Working Group

In 2017, some library professionals and documentation centers in the Basque Country mentioned a problem in cataloging the Basque bibliography: the lack of a common reference instrument for the Basque authorities, a list of people name authorities. The National Libraries of Spain and France perform this function for Spanish and French, but in the absence of the National Library of the Basque Country, it has not been developed for the Basque language in a unified way until now, either in its entirety or, at least, in regard to the Basque authorities.

Assessing the need for such a tool, these professionals decided to create a working group to work and consolidate the Basque authorities. The objective is to create a reliable, unified, and permanent reference for professionals, libraries, and regulatory bodies at the international level (BNE, BNF, VIAF…).

When creating this collaboration, considering professionals from all over the Basque Country territory, it was tried to ensure the widest possible representation. To this end, these are the current members of the working group.

  • Five members of the BILKETA Network, a network that brings together the Basque libraries of the Northern Basque Country (i.e. a member from the IKAS Pedagogia Zentroa, the Basque Museum in Baiona, the Baiona library and the Library of the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour).
  • Four members of the Basque Government, i.e. one member of the Library Service, Euskariana, HABE Liburutegia and EIMA Katalogoa.
  • Two members of ASNABI from the libraries of Navarre.
  • One member of the Azkue Biblioteka of Euskaltzaindia.
  • One member of the Jon Bilbao Basque Library-Renoko Euskal Liburutegia of the University of Nevada, Reno.

To the extent that this project affects professionals from all over the Basque Country, it is necessary to create a tool that serves all these professionals, understanding that the professionals from the North and the South do not use the same tools and forms of cataloging.



The aim of the project is to standardize the personal name authorities that are part of the Basque bibliography and have Basque names and last names, in order to establish how these authorities should provided in Basque. In this sense, before defining its scope, it is important to define what the Basque bibliography is: works published or produced in the Basque Country (regardless of the language of publication or production, topic, format...) and (outside this geographical scope) works published or produced in Euskera and those related to Basque or Basque culture. Various criteria have been established to define the scope of work:

  • Authorities with Basque names or last names. These authorities should be persons born in the Basque Country or included in a Basque bibliography. For example, Txiki Benegas (born in Caracas and deceased in Madrid) or Xabier Irujo (born in Caracas). On the contrary, these rules do not apply to the authorities of persons with Basque names who have no relationship with the Basque literature, such as the Argentine author Julio Cortázar.
  • The authorities for persons with names in languages other than Basque but included in the Basque bibliography (Louis -Lucien Bonaparte, Esteve Materra, René Cassin, Antonio Valverde) fall within the scope of the project. It will be analyzed whether the name and last name should be kept as-is or, because of tradition, translated into Basque.
  • The language of the works of the persons who meet the above criteria will not be taken into account when applying these criteria. In other words, the authorities for authors working in Basque, but also those working in other languages, are included in the defined scope of work.


  • For each author, a report is drawn up containing and analyzing the different types of references that have existed to date about it (the authorities created by the regulatory bodies, the forms used by the author, those used in post-death editions and quotations, those currently used in reference sources). The main sources are: VIAF, ISNI, BNE, BNF, AUBI, Azkue liburutegia, Bilketa, Wikipedia, Auñamendi... The criteria established by the working group are applied and the report explains the way in which it is chosen. Exceptions are analyzed and justified. The role of the report is to document each case and ensure a regulated basis for the authority names to be decided.
  • Taking into account the number of Basque authors and seeing the influence and relationship of the history of the language (strengthening of Euskara’s spelling and language standardization), when defining the authorities, it has been decided to divide the corpus in three parts:
    • Classical authors (deceased before 1900)
    • Contemporary authors (deceased between 1900-1978): authors prior to language standardization. To define this group, it has been taken into account that the first normative rules of the unified Basque were given in 1968. A period of 10 years is added to this date, as ten years have been estimated as sufficient to consolidate and socialize the use of these rules.
      ** Contemporary authors (those deceased after 1978 and those alive): The Basque language is normalized, and the norms are known socially.
  • Two types of authorities are distinguished:
    • 1/ authors (writer, translator, painter...)
    • 2/ subjects (kings, historical people... mentioned in the documents).
    • Establishing authorities for both categories for cataloging is useful. However, in the first stage, authors are prioritized.
  • Two types of reports are used. More extensive in the case of the authorities with Basque names and shorter in the case of the authors who, although having a non-Basque name, are included in the Basque bibliography.


**Authorities of people deceased before 1900

***Language Reasoning

This group of authorities consists of people who died before the standardization of the Basque language. The general rule is to respect the will of the author when choosing the accepted form and to use the best-known name that the author himself has used in the works published in their language to create the accepted form.

However, each language has had its own standardization process and the accepted forms for classical authors have adapted to the standard forms of the language; for example, the National Library of Spain has adapted the spelling of the author Miguel de Cervantes, according to the current Spanish standard (does not use Çervantes).

According to the cataloging rules published by the Basque Government, when selecting the name of the authorities “The basis of admission will be the best-known name of the author according to the works published in their language”, but it is noted the need to respond to the problems derived from the late language standardization in the case of the spelling of the Basque last names and the need to prioritize the spelling approved by Euskaltzaindia.

Likewise, the manual for the creation of authorities of the Basque Public Reading Network refers to this point of the rules for cataloging classical authors, deceased authors, and historical characters. In France the AFNOR (French standardization organization) standard NF Z 44-061 concerns the construction of name authorities. It says that the form selected is the most widely used by the author themself.

For all these reasons, it is established that:

  • In the case of authors with Basque names, the Basque language form will be preferred, and this form will be approved. References: Euskaltzaindia’s nomenclature, especially EODA, the database for person names and place names. See the list of Basque last names of Euskaltzaindia. Toponimy of de Navarre: “Nomenclator of Navarra”.
  • Last name in French, Gascon, or Spanish are retained. The spelling of for each language should be maintained in general. However, in some cases, it will be necessary to consider whether the spelling of those names should be given in Basque.
  • The following criteria shall be followed for first names:
  • 1. Use. For example, if the Basque form has never been used, the name is given as-is (accents can be retained).
  • 2. The form given in the sources in Basque.
  • 3. Use the form used by the author themself.

**Exceptions (in regard to Language Reasoning)

A number of exceptions have been identified to be applied under the same conditions:

  • In the case of some last names, the spelling fixed by Euskaltzaindia is not preferred because this form is not traditionally used. Example: Baroja/Baroxa. The use and social recognition of these forms over the last 40 years have been taken into account for this decision.
  • The name is French or Spanish, but with a traditional Basque form, such as Belapeire or Materra.

**Form Reasoning (for Preferred Forms in Basque)

Once it has been decided to give the authorities in the Basque language, a series of rules are established regarding the manner in which they are given:

  • There may be two last names: that use will be preferred.
  • When the preferred form occurs in Euskara, it has been decided to remove the particle "de" when it is between the name and the last name.
    Example: Agirre, Manuel (1748-1800) and not Aguirre, Manuel de (1748-1800).
  • However, there are compound last names (e.g. Lopez de Abetxuko, Lopez de Aretxaga, etc.) that originated from the medieval last name system. From around 1600, they became fossilized into a single last name. Proof of this can be the occasional appearance of the second last name. Euskaltzaindia also gives them as compound last names. See EODA - Last names database (not all compound last names are listed).
  • Another case is the last names that follow the system of medieval names. Until approximately 1600, in many cases, two first names were used in addition to the last name. Later, this second name, in some cases and in some territories, especially in Araba, became part of the last name by adding the particle "de." This practice will be taken into account for authors born before 1600. This way, we have given Salazar, Lope Gartzia, and not Gartzia de Salazar, Lope.
  • Compound last names in Basque (Martínez de Ubago Mitxelena, Luis for example) are written without tilde. In contrast, when the compound last name is in Spanish (e.g. Fernández de la Cuesta), that tilde is maintained.
  • When the accepted form occurs in Basque, it is agreed to remove the conjunctions “y” and “e”.
    Example: Armona Murga, José Antonio (1726-1792) and no Armona y Murga, José Antonio de (1726-1792)
  • The ‘-tar’ and ‘-dar’ suffixes have been removed because they are outside the current standard spelling and use.
  • Where the origin is indicated to designate the authority, we will use the "-koa" suffix in all cases.
    Example: Diego Lizarrakoa, Joanes Etxeberri (Sarakoa), Joanes Etxeberri (Ziburukoa), Ignazio Loiolakoa, Jaime Corellakoa, Joan Salaberri (Ibarrolakoa), Diego Jose Altzokoa, Prantzisko Elizondokoa.
    The only exception is Pernando Amezketarra, who was named this way in his day, has been traditionally used and has been used in all his references.
  • Abbreviations of a religious order (O.F.M. for example) shall not be used in the preferred form. This decision is adopted in the absence of such use in cataloging in Iparralde. The National Library of France, when it speaks of a religious order, does not do so with Latin abbreviations, but with the French name. And in other cases, as information about authority.
    Example: Bartolome Santa Teresa (carme déchaux ; 1768-1836)
    On the other hand, it is currently difficult to understand the meaning of these abbreviations. If information relating to a religious order is important, it may be included in a note in the authority record.
  • Case of pen names and religious names:
    • In the case of bertsolariak it should be noted that classic bertsolariak was known in many cases by their pen names, and that is the most widespread form.
    • When the most known form is the pen name, it shall be deemed accepted.
      Ex: Bilintx (1831-1876) and not Bizkarrondo, Indalezio (1831-1876)
    • If the pen name is the preferred form it will be noted that it is not the last name/name. For this purpose, the name and last name shall be entered in a rejected form.
      _ Example: Bilintx (1831-1876)
      < Bizkarrondo, Indalezio (1831-1876)
      < Bizcarrondo Ureña, Guillermo Joaquín Indalecio (1831-1876)
      < Bizcarrondo, Indalecio (1831-1876)
      < Bilints (1831-1876)
      < Vilinch (1831-1876)
      < Bilinch (1831-1876)
  • When a religious name is the most known form, it shall be deemed preferred:
    Ex: Diego Lizarrakoa (1524-1578) eta ez Ballestero de San Cristóbal y Cruzat, Diego (1524-1578)
  • To designate an authority, where the religious name, pen name and the real name and last name have been used and none of those forms prevails, the real name and last name shall be preferred. (See as an example: Astibia, Erramun).
  • When the pen name consists of two words it shall be given as a special name in the authority record. Pernando Amezketarra and not Amezketarra, Pernando However, in some cases the alias can function as the name/last name, as that is what usually prevails in the form catalogs.
    Ex: Axular, Pedro (1556-1644)
  • In some cases, either to avoid homonymy or because traditionally it is the best-known form, elements are added to the last name, name structure:
    Example: Etxeberri, Joanes (Sarakoa) (1688-1749) Etxeberri, Joanes (Ziburukoa) (ca. 1580-1665?)
    Etxeberri Dorre, Piarres (1636?-17..), (Dorre is not a last name, but it is used traditionally in relation to the last name)
  • Case of the nobiliary title: to give the preferred form in Basque in an understandable way, the title is always behind.
    Example: Munibe, Xabier Maria, Peñafloridako Kondea (1729-1785) eta ez Peñafloridako, Xabier Maria Munibe, Kondea (1729-1785)
  • The case of the kings: the title (Iruñeko Erregea, Nafarroako Erregea...) and not the pronoun (Antso Nagusia, Antso Handia) is taken into account for the preferred form.
    Example: Antso Gartzeitz III.a , Iruñeko Erregea (ca. 992-1035) eta ez Antso Nagusia Iruñeko Erregea (1004-1035)
  • The case of the saints: in Basque "saint" is stated behind the name.
    Example: Frantzisko Xabier, Santua eta ez San Frantzisko Xabier


  • Dates will be given as follows: (1811-1858), with the year of creation and death when they are known.

Other forms may include:

  • 15... if only the century is known.
  • I158. if the decade is known.
  • 1580? if the year is known without certainty.
  • ca 1580, or ca. 1580 if the year is known with a certainty of +/- 5 years..
    Abbreviations “fl.” or “l.” (e.g. fl.1580) can be found in the catalogs to indicate the year of publication of a work. In this case, no mention of this kind will be made. On one hand, because of the belief that it can be difficult to understand for the regular user; on the other, because they are not used in Iparralde. In these cases, the 15.. form will be used.