The problem of the inconsistencies in the authors’ signatures has been around for many years, but its significance is increasing due to the great number of people publishing research studies and papers. It is clear that we must become aware of the fact that this is important for us and that first of all it is our own responsibility, that of every author, to always sign in the same way.

In the case of the Spanish, the problem is increased since

  1. we have more choices of signature, and
  2. the omnipresent English is the principal language of scientific communication, both in the production (articles, communications, reports), distribution (databases, repositories, browsers) and in the industry as a whole (Publishing houses, compilers, intermediaries, portals etc.).

The producers of databases follow a standard worldwide model of signature which is used not only by the Anglo-Saxons, but also by many other countries (Nordic, Slavic, Italian...). Even the Portuguese, when they have compound names and surnames, put the surname of the father at the end.

Another thing to bear in mind in the recovery of works by author’s name is that the distributors of databases index the author field only “as a phrase” and not by separate words as in the rest of the fields, or by both at the same time as in the describers. Thus, for example, if the author Antonia Ferrer Sapena appears in the reverse index of authors as AU=Ferrer-Sapena, A., she can never be located searching for AU=Sapena.

For all of these reasons, we feel that the time has come for Spanish -speaking authors to seriously consider:

  • Always using the same signature.
  • Doing so with a format that both the producers of databases and the automated browsers can interpret correctly: the iralis format.

The initial nucleus for the application of IraLIS names will be the EXIT Directory, the E-LIS repository, the ThinkEPI Group and the journal El profesional de la información.


Those responsible for these projects have the maximum interest in that the authors participating or figuring in them should have standardized names in order to avoid future lapses due to errors in later quotes. To this end, all of the authors will be invited to choose an iralis format, and to use the same one on all occasions.

We want to send out a call to all of the journals, webs, databases, directories.... and, it goes without saying, to all of the authors to take part in this project by registering and taking on its directives.