"Unknown Author" or just "Unknown"?

If we have a text by an unknown author, what placeholder do we want to use. Any preferences?
I know that in bookogs both entries existed. I think that should be avoided.

Anonymous should have an extra profile though.

In English “anonymous” and “unknown name” mean exactly the same thing: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/anonymous

I agree there needs to be an Author credit for Anonymous.

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OK, in German there’s a difference: Anonymous means : the author decided to hide his name on purpose.

“Anonymous” in English refers to both situations.

I believe the Inuits have many words for snow, in English there is just one word “snow”.

plus 1 for German as lingua franca

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I think it should be “[unknown]” in order to maintain consistency between here and Musicbrainz.
On the other topic: in my opinion, there should be some sort of distinction between an unknown artist and an anonymous artist. While anonymous means the artist is unknown, it often holds the connotation that it was intentionally published without a name attached, while something with an unknown author might imply that the author’s identity became forgotten knowledge for one reason or another. This would allow a distinction between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Musicbrainz already makes this distinction (https://musicbrainz.org/artist/f731ccc4-e22a-43af-a747-64213329e088 and https://musicbrainz.org/artist/125ec42a-7229-4250-afc5-e057484327fe)

I repeat, in English those terms mean exactly the same thing. Some people might think there is a distinction, but there isn’t: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_work

Just looking at the two entries on MB, it is clear some users didn’t get the memo. The same thing happened on Bookogs.

If there is a need for splitting works where the author has intentionally withheld their name, and those where the author name has been lost in antiquity, then the nomenclature needs to reflect that.

Otherwise people become confused and the end result is you have a database split that is meaningless.

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I see Unknown exists in the DB:


Yes, I created the place holder, since I needed it :wink:

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As previously stated, Anonymous and Unknown mean exactly the same thing.

Yes, but we have to chose one. Since “Unknown” is also used in MB I used that.
Do you prefer “Anonymous”?

I think it would be a good idea.

The standard term in literature is “anonymous”. For example, most poetry anthologies will normally have a grouping under that name. This includes works by poets whose names have been lost in antiquity and those who intentionally withhold their name for whatever reason.

I just wonder if the word anonymous has been given a different connotation because of its use by the activist movement who wear Guy Fawkes masks.

Ok, I’ll change it to Anonymous, then.


I think that’s a good solution, thanks for adding Anonymous !