On Wed, 23 Jul 2003 10:47:24 -0700, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>At 06:43 AM 7/23/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>>I probably wasn't being clear. By saying MODS "enforces" I am simply
>>meaning that there is, AFAIK, not any facility to indicate in MODS "this
>>is an unsure date, the name of the author of this record is unknown."
>>I am thinking about stuff like:
>>Surely there are better terms than those I use above, of course...
>There is a date qualifier in MARC in the fixed field area for dates. That
>has bunches of codes, including "questionable date" and "date unknown."
>That element wasn't included in MODS, however.
I think what Bruce is getting at is that XML lets us separate data encoding
from data presentation. This makes it a different animal from MARC, and
there is good reason to rethink how cataloging rules are to interact with
the data storage mechanism. In particular, cataloging rules proscribe data
presentation, e.g., AACR2 *still* focuses on how to lay out a catalog card.
The data encoding and presentation are not divorced, as they are in XML.
Therefore, we should be cautious in how we allow cataloging rules to
influence our encoding decisions.
Sticking to the date-encoding part of the conversation, I think it a
disservice to allow something like the following:
It's poor encoding, and it makes it difficult to use the date as a retrieval
criterion. I argued this on the list back in May.
Another problem is that notation in the <date> field cannot be modified.
Consider the following encodings:
Don't think your users understand the "c." abbreviation, or the Latin circa?
You can change how an uncertain date is displayed. Users don't understand
that "c1972" is a copyright date? The local system can display "copyright"
as a literal, or the copyright symbol. It is this flexibility that data
encoding can give us. But if "c. 1954" is acceptable in MODS, then that
flexibility is shot. In the case of dates in particular, ISO dates, for
example, can express ranges and different resolutions and additional
attributes can add qualifications to the date. XML validators can check
that the encoded data is, in fact, valid, and presentation to the user is a
Anyhow, XML allows use to separate data encoding from presentation. This is
true for date, authors, whatever. Cataloging rules, specifically AACR2, do
not allow for this. Attempts to support various cataloging rules should not
cause us to throw away the benefits of this separation.
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