Identification and naming practices

States have been precursors in building registers of persons. Here are some national practices and projects in civil registration systems, vital statistics and other administrative identity systems :

You are building an international directory of persons, you know that you will record names, surnames, given names. But what does « surname » mean ? Will you be understood when you ask a foreigner his given name ? Here come culture, society and naming practices :

You’ve got existing databases that you want to link to your fresh new directory of persons. But how to build that link ? How to match records coming from different databases when they don’t share a common unique identifier ? This is the art of record linkage :