Multiple authors problem

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The .epub (2.0) I am creating has twelve different authors.

I am using <dc:creator opf:role="aut">Name 1</dc:creator> in my metadata, and each author is listed separately. (My files validate perfectly using this method.)

But, I have noticed on different readers that sometimes one author will be listed on the page header, and on another reader a different author will be listed.

For the top metadata listing, I have added <dc:creator opf:role="aut">Multiple Authors</dc:creator>, and in one reader, "Multiple Authors" does appear at the top of the page. (Still waiting to test other devices.)

I'd like to have all of the authors listed, but have read that using <dc:creator opf:role="aut">Name 1, Name 2, Name 3, Name 4</dc:creator> is a big no-no.

Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance.

Sorry for the long delay in responding, but I would second against merging authors into one tag.

This problem just came up again in the 3.0.1 revision in relation to which author name should be displayed when recognizing only one (it's always supposed to be the first dc:creator in the package document), and we've provided more guidance that all names should be displayed whenever possible (and reinforcing in document order).

I realize this won't necessarily have an effect on EPUB 2 reading systems, but aside from the technical purity of dc:creator being a singular element for one name, if you merge the names it can impact on any built-in functionality the reading system might provide, such as the ability to arrange books by author, locate additional titles by the same author, etc.

You can argue that most reading systems don't do a lot with the author name anyway (and only sort by the one name they recognize), but hacking data to what systems do now is typically a bad thing.

There's also an assumption that there is no string length limitation on the author name. Merge them all together, and you're likely to get part of someone's name chopped off when the string exceeds the displayable area for it.

There's unfortunately not a whole lot you can do here. You're at the mercy of the reading system when it comes to exposing this metadata within their application.

Thank you, Matt, for your response.

I find it absolutely insane that having multiple authors is a problem. You can't believe what I've been going through with CreateSpace and for the print version, so that multiple authors are listed on the selling pages. :(

After recognising, that most EPUB user agents I tested have not the capabilities to provide all
metadata to the audience, I duplicate all this data into an XHTML file as content of the book -
having this available, at least the audience gets all the data and can clearly see what is missing in the presentation of the viewer derived from the OPF-file. The generators I have for EPUB 2 and 3 simply create both files automatically from the metadata set I have for a book.
But completely interpreted huge author lists can cause trouble in viewers as well - for example in AZARDI one can get funny results for a long list of authors ;o)

Unfortunately the methods to indicate the role of each author and contributor is incompatible between EPUB 2 and 3. Now even those viewers fail for EPUB 3, that already managed to get it right for EPUB 2 ;o)

If such book sellers get it wrong or do not have the option to fix this manually, it is maybe a good
idea not to disturb their work to complete their implementations of metadata extraction tools by sending even more books to them before they manage to fix their programs - it is much more helpful for them to send them bug reports about such issues instead ...

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