> I don't think that you want to remove the distinction between names but
> you do not need separate tags. Basically, you can think of the problem
> you describe in terms of what the XLink standard does with its "role"
> attribute. The "role" attribute in the XLink standard allows you to
> define a relationship to the object you are describing. The benefits
> of thinking in an object/relationship fashion is that you only need to
> define one generic object and some standardized URI's for relationships.
> Implementers can define additional relationships, by using their own
> URI's. What's important here about "role" is that the "object" is still
> the object. You are not redefining the "object" but how you are using
> that object. As far as the MODS standard it could implement this as
> the following:
> The MODS standard would define the "object" [in MODS context is would
> be called aspect], e.g. <mods:name> where any name can be placed. The
> mods:role attribute could be optional, in which case the contents of
> the object is a name with an undefined relationship. The MODS standard
> would then create the following URI's for use in the mods:role attribute:
> As an implementer, if I needed to make the distinction between "for
> and "not for profit" corporations then I could define my own URI's to be
> used as roles. The important point here is that I still would specify the
> aspect, e.g. XML element, as <mods:name>. Anyone making use of the
> would know that <mods:name> is a name aspect of the metadata object. What
> role that name is playing in the relationship to the metadata object may
> may not be important to the person/program using the metadata.
I like your idea a lot, especially as the "role" attribute would be
optional. This would allow differing levels of conciseness and therefore an
incremental cost to the creation of these records. A record could be
"ramped up" to meet the needs of more demanding institutions. This would
allow anyone to create a basic MODS record without limiting more demanding
I would really like to see this happen with the subject field as well. In
fact, the entire MODS schema should be reviewed with this in mind.
> I disagree with your notion about excessive encoding of the data being
> arbitrary distinctions. As a matter of fact AACR2 doesn't do enough
> encoding. Markup is an important concept in any metadata standard. The
> markup allows you to easily retrieve aspects of the metadata object. You
> could define a metadata object as one blob of text. It would not be very
> useful for machine processing. Markup allows you to find the tree in
> the forest.
> However, as I previously indicated, you do not need five different tags
> to describe the same metadata aspect. You should describe one aspect
> that has varying roles.
Your solution is both elegant and striking in its simplicity. It solves the
problem of engaging casual users (my concern) as well as supporting "power"
users (your concern).