Starting off from the fact that various artists seems to be a strong collocation in English, and looking into https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Various_authors

The expression "various authors," abbreviated with the acronym Vv.Aa., is rarely used in English except by non-native speakers, who look for an exact equivalent to similar terms (usually abbreviated Aa.Vv.) in Italian, Spanish, and some other languages.
In English it is much more common to describe the authors of such a compilation collectively, for example by saying for what occasion the texts were written or by naming one writer, for example the first one in the alphabet, and then adding et al.
The expansion of the acronym is the Latin expression auctores varii.[1]

I was looking for a stock phase to name the collective authorship by different writers. Among them there is neither a first/lead author nor an editor of the compilation. Their names might even be unknown. So the indication by Wikipedia to use something like A.N. Other et al fails there.

Is really various authors an import expression as Wikipedia claims? Are there idiomatic phrases/words/collocations to indicate a collective authorship in which individual contributors do not really matter or, even, are unknown?


1 Answer 1


I was a professional library cataloguer for many years, using the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. I know these have now been superseded, but the convention we observed was to list a book under its title if it had more than three authors, and describe it as being 'by John Smith et al.' if there was no named editor.

If you must put something in the Author field and there are really no named authors or editor, I suppose you would have to fall back on 'various authors'.


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