Identifying and definitional attributes
|Metadata item type:||Data Element|
|Short name:||Given name(s)|
|Synonymous names:||First name; Forename; Christian name; Middle name; Second name; Other given name|
The person's identifying name within the family group or by which the person is socially identified, as represented by text.
|Data Element Concept:||Person (name)—given name|
Value domain attributes
|Maximum character length:||40|
Data element attributes
Collection and usage attributes
|Guide for use:|
A person's given name can be:
The agency or establishment should record the person's full given name(s) on their information systems.
This metadata item should be recorded for all clients.
There are no universal verification rules for a person's given name.
Given name(s) should be recorded in the format preferred by the person. The format should be the same as that indicated by the person (for example written on a form) or in the same format as that printed on an identification card, such as Medicare card, to ensure consistent collection of name data.
It is acknowledged that some people use more than one given name (for example formal name, birth name, nickname or shortened name, or tribal name) depending on the circumstances. A person is able to change his or her name by usage in all States and Territories of Australia with the exception of Western Australia, where a person may only change his or her name under the Change of Name Act.
A person should generally be registered using their preferred name as it is more likely to be used in common usage and on subsequent visits to an agency or establishment. The person's preferred name may in fact be their legal name. The Person—name usage type, code AAA metadata item can be used to distinguish between the different types of names that may be used by the person.
The following format may assist with data collection:
What is the given name you would like to be known by?
Are you known by any other given names that you would like recorded?
If so, what are they
Whenever a person informs the agency or establishment of a change of given name (for example prefers to be known by their middle name), the former name should be recorded according to the appropriate name type. Do not delete or overwrite a previous given name. For example 'Mary Georgina Smith' informs the hospital that she prefers to be known as 'Georgina'. Record 'Georgina' as her preferred given name and record 'Mary' as the name at birth.
Similarly the establishment is informed that 'Baby of Louise Jones' has been named 'Mary Jones'. Retain 'Baby of Louise' as the newborn name and also record 'Mary' as the preferred 'Given name'.
Registering an unidentified client:
If the person is a client and her/his given name is not known, record unknown in the 'Given name' field and use alias Name type. When the person's name becomes known, add the actual name as preferred Name type (or other as appropriate). Do not delete or overwrite the alias name of unknown.
Use of first initial:
If the person's given name is not known, but the first letter (initial) of the given name is known, record the first letter in the preferred 'Given name' field. Do not record a full stop following the initial.
Persons with only one name:
Some people do not have a family name and a given name: they have only one name by which they are known. If the person has only one name, record it in the 'Family name' field and leave the 'Given name' blank.
Record complete information:
All of the person's given names should be recorded.
Shortened or alternate first given name:
If the person uses a shortened version or an alternate version of their first given name, record their preferred name, the actual name as an appropriate name type e.g. name at birth, and any alternative versions as alias names as appropriate.
Example - The person's given name is Jennifer but she prefers to be called Jenny. Record 'Jenny' as the preferred 'Given name' and 'Jennifer' as if a person has only one name it should be recorded as the family name not the
Example - The person's given name is 'Giovanni' but he prefers to be called 'John'.
Record 'John' as the preferred 'Given name' and 'Giovanni' as the name at birth.
If special characters form part of the given names they shall be included, e.g. hyphenated names shall be entered with the hyphen.
Do not leave a space before or after the hyphen, that is between last letter of 'Anne' and the hyphen, nor a space between the hyphen and the first letter of 'Maree'.
If the person has recorded their given name as more than one word, displaying spaces in between the words, record their given names in data collection systems in the same way (that is Jean Claude is one given name and Marcel is another given name).
Names not for continued use:
For cultural reasons, a person such as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may advise that they are no longer using the given name they previously used and are now using an alternative current name. Record their current name as their preferred given name and record their previously used name as an alias name.
If a person identifies their first name as being a composite word, both parts should be recorded under the first Given Name (rather than the first and second Given Name).
Registering an unnamed newborn baby:
An unnamed (newborn) baby is to be registered using the mother's given name in conjunction with the prefix 'Baby of'. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is Fiona, then record 'Baby of Fiona' in the preferred 'Given name' field for the baby. This name is recorded under the newborn identification name type. If a name is subsequently given, record the new name as the preferred given name and retain the newborn name.
Registering unnamed multiple births:
An unnamed (newborn) baby from a multiple birth should use their mother's given name plus a reference to the multiple births. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is 'Fiona' and a set of twins is to be registered, then record 'Twin 1 of Fiona' in the Given name field for the first born baby, and 'Twin 2 of Fiona' in the 'Given name' field of the second born baby. Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3 ...) are used, not Roman Numerals (I, II, III ......).
In the case of triplets or other multiple births the same logic applies. The following terms should be used for recording multiple births:
use Twin, that is Twin 1 of Fiona
use Trip, that is Trip 1 of Fiona
use Quad, that is Quad 1 of Fiona
use Quin, that is Quin 1 of Fiona
use Sext, that is Sext 1 of Fiona
use Sept, that is Sept 1 of Fiona.
These names should be recorded under the newborn identification name Person name type. When the babies are named, the actual names should be recorded as the preferred name. The newborn name is retained.
A useful resource when capturing ethnic names is the referenced Naming Systems of Ethnic Groups produced by Centrelink, Canberra, AGPS.
Misspelled given names:
If the person's given name has been misspelled in error, update the Given name field with the correct spelling and record the misspelled given name as an Alias name. Recording misspelled names is important for filing documents that may be issued with previous versions of the client's name. Discretion should be used regarding the degree of recording that is maintained.
Often people use a variety of names, including legal names, married/maiden names, nicknames, assumed names, traditional names, etc. Even small differences in recording - such as the difference between Thomas and Tom - can make Record linkage impossible. To minimise discrepancies in the recording and reporting of name information, agencies or establishments should ask the person for their full (formal) Given name and Family name. These may be different from the name that the person may prefer the agency or establishment workers to use in personal dealings. Agencies or establishments may choose to separately record the preferred name that the person wishes to be used by agency or establishment workers. In some cultures it is traditional to state the family name first. To overcome discrepancies in recording/reporting that may arise as a result of this practice, agencies or establishments should always ask the person to specify their first given name and their family or surname separately. These should then be recorded as Given name and Family name as appropriate, regardless of the order in which they may be traditionally given.
Source and reference attributes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Standards Australia 2006. AS 4590—2006 Interchange of client information. Sydney: Standards Australia.
|Related metadata references:|
Supersedes Person (name)—given name, text X[X(39)]
See also Person (name)—family name, text X[X(39)]
|Implementation in Data Set Specifications:|