Try the UKOLN guide Metadata sharing and XML (particularly section 4) at
This explains namespaces and gives helpful examples of why they are
used. If you only ever use one DTD then the point of namespaces is not
obvious, but if you think of your EAD data as part of a larger body of
information it becomes clearer why namespaces are being developed.
Unlike the appendix, which seems to have once had a purpose, namespaces
have a purpose that will become more useful as XML evolves and more
information is put online using more DTDs (or rather schemas).
# Richard Higgins
# Durham University Library
# Archives & Special Collections
# Palace Green
# DH1 3RN
# E-Mail: [log in to unmask]
> I'm attempting to get a handle on XML namespaces. I have the O'Reilly book
> _Learning XSLT_, and in it the author says, "If namespaces sound somewhat
> confusing to you, you are in good company. Namespaces in XML are here to
> stay, but they are admittedly befuddling and difficult to explain."
> Oh goodie. At least I'm in good company, though no smarter than I was
> So off I went to Webopedia which tells me that " In XML, a namespace is a
> collection of names, identified by a URI reference, that are used in XML
> documents as element types and attribute names. "
> So that's different from a dtd in what way? And why would I want to use an
> element that's defined by someone else, somewhere out yonder on the
> internet, when that someone might change it at any time without my
> knowledge? Why wouldn't I just use the element I have in my own DTD and
> leave it at that? Sounds to me like the problematic DLL issue just waiting
> to happen again...
> If there's anyone out there who can explain in plain language and
> un-befuddle me on the purpose and benefits/drawbacks of XML namespaces,
> please help! Do people really go out of their way to use these things? Are
> they necessary? Or are they like one's appendix: still around due to
> evolution but not really used for anything?