Alternate first lines

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I understand why alternate versions of the first line of a hymn text have separate instance pages. But shouldn't they have the same text authority? My preference is for the original published text, if it is known and can be found. There might be a list of "Instances linked to this text authority" – the best solution for me.

(The first line is important because it affects sort order in lists; text variants for lines other than the first line are better taken care of by simply comparing representative texts, which anyone can do.)



In most cases alternate versions of first lines should have the same text authority. You are welcome to merge them. Editors usually work at the instance level and may not realize that a first line has an alternate version. The first line may be the original, the authority id should be the first line most commonly used.


Should the text authority be under the most common first line ever, or the most common since 1979?

Most common ever, I say. But I am biased, since I mostly work with 16th to 18th century lyrics. And as I said before, I still have a fondness for the original – there is no one around now of the likes of Isaac Watts, John Newton, William Cowper, Charles Wesley, Joseph Hart, Anne Steele, or Benjamin Beddome. I still like Fanny Crosby, though.

This is a question that could be brought to the editorial board, perhaps, if it a common problem.

This is not really a "problem", but a question, that most often has a variable answer, depending on the perception of the editor. The Editorial Board could discuss it, of course, but I don't think it needs resolution at that level. The reason why I chose "most common ever" was that many hymns have no instances after 1979 (or any recent date). Anyhow, just a recommendation or guideline would be helpful.

The idea of the most common first line is to help editors select the right authority id most of the time whether they are adding older hymnals or newer hymnals. I would say most editors are adding newer hymnals.

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