Well, that is one part of the problem, which could be addressed in Wikidata
with a property "official name" with the datatype mono- or multi-lingual
but not available yet) plus the qualifiers start/end date.
The other part of the problem is that for different periods of time you
have different entities attached to geographic locations.

For instance after the "Kingdom of Great Britain"

Came the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland"

Yes, the name changed, but it it not just a name change, it is a different


On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM, Andrew Gray <andrew.g...@dunelm.org.uk>wrote:

> I think the problem is that we sometimes need to reflect more than just
> the single official name - at the moment we include multilingual names,
> which is great, and it's a bit of a backwards step to lose that ability for
> the past. Imagine if you're looking at an English or German map of Russia -
> all the names rendered with nice Latin-script equivalents - and you say
> "okay, show me a 1970s map", only for everything to become Cyrillic
> instead. :-)
> It becomes more complicated if you have cases where the name changes in
> some languages and not others, or countries with multiple official
> languages where it changes in both.
> For example, we'd want to be able to record that in English the city of
> Tsaritsyn became Stalingrad on a certain date, and then later became
> Volgograd, just as we record that in Russian it went from Царицын to
> Сталинград to Волгоград.
> However, as you can see at the moment, the "other names" are simple
> strings with no dates or modifiers, so we can't convey this information.
> (Switching the interface to a different language will display the
> alternative names in those languages)
> https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q914
> Susanna: I'm not aware of what the plans are for this, but I'm reasonably
> sure we can't do it right now. However, I'm not completely up to speed on
> how dates/modifiers etc work, so someone on wikidata-l can no doubt correct
> me :-)
> Andrew.
> On 20 March 2014 13:24, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdre...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> Am 20/mar/2014 um 13:51 schrieb Andrew Gray <andrew.g...@dunelm.org.uk
> >:
> >>
> >> Properties can have modifiers such as date, labels can't. So there's a
> >> bit of a challenge here - we would be able to construct a field that
> >> says "historic name : Warschau (date:1939-45)", but this would be
> >> shown as a historic name in Polish, German, English, Chinese...
> >
> >
> > maybe that's not a problem as this was indeed the official name in that
> time?
> >
> > cheers,
> > Martin
> --
> - Andrew Gray
> andrew.g...@dunelm.org.uk
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