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 > I don't see how that can work for AMS journals: For most of them
 > "current address" prints together with main address at the end of an
 > article; but a few of them have main address at top of page one with the
 > author name and current address as a footnote on page one.
this does i agree sound a mess. do you introduce an extra optional
argument, eg
 \address[a][beach hut]{real home}
?

 > How do you deal with name inversion (it doesn't appear that you require
 > name data to have the form "Last, First, Jr"?), or reducing first names
 > from full form to initials (the elsart examples suggest an expectation
 > that only the initials will ever be used, everywhere)?

you are right, it isnt as good as i was claiming. we use, i am afraid,
a \runauthor{} command to override the calculated running head if necessary

 > ---No \dedicatory element? (In some publications this might be printed
 > under the title, in others as a footnote.)

we do have \dedicated internally, but it isnt advertised

 > ---No \email element? \translator?
we do not support \translator in our DTD either. which suggests to me
that it didnt emerge in our original document analysis. I agree,
\email is another omission

 > ---I don't care for having \thanksref embedded in the author name, I'd
 > rather see different syntax.

so would i

 > But the elsart markup for author names and addresses looks better than
 > current amsart.
i would be very happy to argue within Elsevier to change or extend our
markup to make it compatible with other people

sebastian