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MODS  June 2004

MODS June 2004

Subject:

Re: MADS: XML schema for authorities

From:

Roy Tennant <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Metadata Object Description Schema List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Jun 2004 09:41:11 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

Please forgive me for wading in where I no doubt do not belong, not
being a cataloger, but I wonder if we aren't sometimes allowing our
current structures and systems to dictate those of the future, which I
think is a potentially dangerous and damaging enterprise. Is the
concept of a "heading" as a fixed data element still valid? That is,
isn't the real purpose of an authority heading to specify a unique
organization or individual for the purposes of record retrieval and
display? Doesn't the structure below provide a method to encode enough
information on a person to perform that function? If so, can't a
database entry for indexing or display be constructed either in batch
mode or on-the-fly by using specific rules for parsing the structure
below? Whether this is good enough or not, I think we would do well to
reconsider virtually all of the things we now take for granted in light
of new technologies and opportunities. If it turns out that we can't
live without the concept of a "heading" as a fixed data element, then
so be it. But at least we would have considered the alternatives and
thought critically about what we need _now_ rather than simply what
we've needed in the _past_.
Roy

On Jun 10, 2004, at 9:26 AM, Ruth Bogan wrote:

> Bruce,
>
> I haven't had time to absorb all your comments, and I would like to.
> Since
> my background is in traditional library authority control, the MADS
> schema
> makes sense to me, but I would welcome some alternative vision.
>
> As I look at your suggested structure--
>
> So, structure might be:
>
> person
>   names
>     primary
>       given
>       family
>     variant
>       given
>       family
>   roles
>     roleTerm
>   temporaral
>     birth
>     death
>   place
>     address
>
> etc.
>
> it occurs to me that what you are outlining is a bit of a biography.
> The
> person, the various forms of name, roles, dates, etc. In fact--at
> least to
> catalogers--authority records are not so much biographies as records
> of a
> standardized and unique form of heading. That heading may, depending
> on the
> circumstances, integrate name, dates and/or role. When you deconstruct
> the
> heading into the biography, you make the record pretty much useless as
> an
> authority record. It might be of interest to a metadata creator to
> know that
> a person was born in 1934 and was a doctor of physics as well as an
> author,
> but it wouldn't help her know how to construct a unique heading.
>
> That said, maybe the concept of uniqueness of headings isn't as
> critical in
> an online environment. Anyway, you gave me something to think about.
>
> Would it be too much to ask you to "redo" one of the sample MADS
> records at
> the MADS web site, in a way that makes sense to you. I would find it
> interesting.
>
> Ruth
>
> Ruth A. Bogan
> Head, Database and Catalog Portal Management Section
> Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
> 47 Davidson Road, Busch Campus
> Piscataway, NJ 08854-5603
> Ph.: 732-445-5906
> Fax: 732-445-5888
> Email: [log in to unmask]
>

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