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A name used by an agent that is not the real name of the agent¹.

Here agent refers to an entity who is capable of deliberate actions, of being granted rights, and of being held accountable for its actions. An agent includes a collective agent and a person.²
  • Person: An individual human being. It is important to note that figures generally considered fictional (for example, Kermit the Frog), literary (for example, Miss Jane Marple) or purely legendary (for example, the wizard Merlin) are not instances of the entity Person. 
  • Collective agent: A gathering or organization of persons bearing a particular name and capable of acting as a unit. Collective agents include families, commercial or corporate entities and other legally registered bodies, organizations and associations, musical, artistic or performing groups, governments, and any of their sub-units.

Pseudonym refers to an assumed name used by a creator of a work to conceal identity or to establish a separate bibliographic identity.³ [Bibliographic identity refers to the concept that creators of works may use separate personae when creating different types of works. For example, Charles L. Dodgson and Lewis Carroll are two bibliographic identities used by a single person; one wrote about mathematics and the other wrote stories for children.]

The Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science⁴ describes pseudonym as below:

Pseudonym: A fictitious name, especially one assumed by an author to conceal or obscure identity. The classic example in American literature is Mark Twain whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The writer François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) probably holds the record for the most pseudonyms, with Daniel Foe (Defoe) a close second. Prior to the mid-19th century, women writers often used male pseudonyms (pseudandry) to get their works published and to attract readership (example: George Sand whose real name was Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin Dudevant), although there were notable exceptions (Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters). A joint pseudonym is one shared by two or more collaborators in a work (Rosetta Stone used by Dr. Seuss and the illustrator Michael K. Frith). U.S. copyright law permits a person to register works pseudonymously.



1. RDA Toolkit. (accessed July 30, 2020).

2. IFLA, "IFLA Library Reference Model (LRM)," (accessed July 30, 2020).

3. Daniel N. Joudrey, Arlene G. Taylor, David P. Miller, "Introduction to Cataloging and Classification," (Santa Barbara, California : Libraries Unlimited, 2015).

4. ODLIS - Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science,  (accessed July 30, 2020).