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[personal profile] marcusmarcusrc
I had a discussion with a colleague at work today about changing last names (don't know how we got there given that I know our conversation meandered through unions, climate change, Paris, and workplace performance reviews). Two things I hadn't really thought about before:

1) Keeping one's own name: I'd known that it means having a tough decision about what last name one's kid will have: what I didn't realize is that apparently for traveling on airplanes, this requires that the parent with a different name have a certified letter of some kind attesting to relationship with the kid to prove they aren't kidnapping it.

2) I had seen in a couple places proposals for academic publishing to tag every author with a unique identification number: the rationales I remembered hearing were to improve the ability to do author searches in the literature by avoiding confusion of people with the same name, problems with misspellings, and not needing to care about inclusion/exclusion of a middle initial: probably listed in the standard rationales, but I'd never made the mental connection, was that if an academic chooses to change his or her name this would enable searches to still pull up all their articles, which would eliminate one of the arguments for not changing names.

Just some musings. I lean towards being a "keep your name" sort of person - I like my own last name and identify with it and at least at this moment would be hesitant to change it even if that would add a greater sense of "family togetherness" or whatever (I'm assuming that for me, this would only come up in the context of marriage), and it would seem weird to me to have someone who had always occupied a space of -theirfirstname- -theirlastname- in my head to suddenly become -theirfirstname- -mylastname- though I suppose I would get used to it... I also often have trouble remembering whether or not my friends who have gotten married have changed or hyphenated their names or not, which occasionally makes life difficult when I try and write them postcards... Also, keeping names constant makes it easier to find people I've lost touch with even if they've gotten married in the interim (though I suppose maybe we could start using our journal personal identifier as a social identifier too... I mean, my name is unique so anyone can google and find me, but other people are much harder to find online. And I presume some people are quite happy with that status quo. But that's another issue entirely...)
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