From: Foster Zhang [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Subject: Re: [MODS] language: comments please
> we should allow people to use name of the language instead of code in
> MODS, because we will have collection that is generated from people not in
> library science background, and the name of the language is much more
> understandable by regular users who without access to the standards.
Foster makes a good point here. If you are going to create a language
element or attribute in your schema, separate from xml:lang, then use
URI's rather than specific codes. Many other MODS attributes suffer
from this problem, where they use MARC coded enumerated lists in the
schema, rather than using an extensible URI. Using URI's allow people,
in other communities, to use the MODS "structure" but not MARC specific
coded lists. MODS will never go beyond the Library community until it
starts using URI's so different communities can use their own coded
BTW, an advantage of using xml:lang is that many tools will perform
automatic language discovery since they specifically look for xml:lang.
If you define your own language element or attribute in your schema
then tools need to first understand your schema. I don't see why using
two letter codes is hanging people up. RFC3066 is compatible with
ISO639-2B and with ISO639-2T. One can easily map between all of them.
So what if MODS uses two/three letter codes, per RFC3066, instead of
MARC ISO639-2B. You can convert MARC record codes to RFC3066 and MODS
RFC3066 codes back to MARC record codes. Record conversions from MARC
to MODS to MARC, currently, may not produce the same MARC record anyway.
So I just don't see the "big" issue here. Use xml:lang and RFC3066.