Differentiating authors and users in WordPress

I wrote a plugin called Byline that lets a WordPress content manager assign multiple authors to a post without having to give them a username/password and modifying the theme to allow for an advanced co-author function.

Ideally, WordPress would have native co-author and guest-contributor functionality built-in, especially if it is intended to be a platform for community and collaboration.

For now, what my plugin proposes is that the User who creates a post entry and ensures it appears on the site is a distinct taxonomy from who wrote or contributed to the content. The notion of “author” in the WordPress admin is suited for blogs, but not a CMS that might handle a 1,000 different one-time contributors, like a community newspaper or student-run publication.