The issue with this container problem is that fundamentally that there
are two hierarchies in the finding aids - an intellectual one and a
physical one. Because the crafters of the DTD decided to focus on the
intellectual hierarchy (bravo), the container hierarchy is left in the
lurch and so we can not really represent the inheritance as successfully
as one might if we had a way in SGML/XML of capturing overlapping
That said, we at the University of Pittsburgh (in the Historic
Pittsburgh project) have successfully used the parent attribute to
reduce encoding redundancy in capturing the relationships of folders and
When a box first "opens" -at whatever level we declare it with
<container type="box" id="collectionid.boxno">1</container>
Folders within that box are expressed as
<container type="folder" parent="collectionid.boxno">1</container>
at the level at which they open.
We do not redeclare the box - that is redundant and time consuming. By
using the parent attribute we can always point back to the parent box.
While it isn't a true heirarchical representation (if we could capture
multiple heirarchies in SGML/XML the container of type folder would be
nested and the relationship implied) it seems like an adequate solution
that saves redundancy and encoding time.
Using XSLT it is a simple matter to create a display that repeats the
box information as often as necessary or desirable. And it can be placed
in a variety of places if you get really fancy. It is likely that you
could even place the information every nth folder(though I haven't
Because SGML/XML can be so good at using inheritance and reducing
redundant data, it seems a shame not to use the parent attribute to do
the same - even if it is a compromise to this problem of dealing with
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
[log in to unmask] wrote:
> Dear EADers
> I thought that one of the purposes (if not the main one?) of a hierarchical
> structure in the DTD was to avoid data redundancy. If repeating some
> information helps the user, can't it be done with the style sheet ?
> Or did I misunderstand the original question ?
> Pierre Clavel