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MODS  November 2005

MODS November 2005

Subject:

MADS use case

From:

Jamie Norrish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 25 Nov 2005 13:40:07 +1300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (85 lines)

At the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (http://www.nzetc.org/) we
make use of a MADS authority file for the names appearing in our
collection of texts (full text and images of dead tree works). We have
some issues with the schema, and would appreciate feedback on our
usage - it may be that another schema might better suit our needs, or
we may not understand some aspects of MADS. The following description
may also prove interesting in light of the recent discussion on
alternate personal names in MODS.

We use our authority file to keep track of the names of every person,
organisation, place, title and ship (we have a large war history
corpus) mentioned in the works we have digitised.[1] So far each entry
is a record not of a bibliographic entity but a 'real' one - an entry
is for a person, not for a name.[2] We use the authority part of an
entry to give the fullest version of a person's name we know,
preferably in its native language and script. The variants represent
other names, abbreviated forms, the name in other languages and
scripts, etc, as (I hope) is usual.

These entries are each given a unique ID[3], and this ID is used in the
electronic texts. We use TEI (http://www.tei-c.org/), and mark up
names as, for example, <name key="name-207379" type="person">John
Beaglehole</name>. The text within the markup is whatever appears in
the original work, while the key is the ID of the MADS entry - the two
are entirely independent (except of course in that they both refer to
the same 'real' entity).

In order to mark up the electronic texts, we have a set of scripts
which match a provided string against the authority file, checking
authoritative and variant names for a match, doing its best to cope
with initials, ordering, and the like.

The ID is of central importance, since it is what is used in all of
the relationships that underpin the site. A text (which has an ID) is
written by one or more authors (each with an ID), with a publisher and
place of publication which are also represented by IDs. The actual
names associated with a record are of secondary importance, in that we
can change them as we wish without any of the established
relationships being affected. We can make corrections, add new variants,
replace the authoritative name with a different one, etc.

In addition to marking up places where a name occurs (or an entity is
referenced[4]), our site will often show a name where all we have is a
MADS ID. So, far example, the page
http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/name-207379.html is titled "John
Cawte Beaglehole", with that name being the authoritative version of
his name in the MADS file. On occasion such a heading will include two
names, when the authoritative name is not written using the Latin
script (eg, http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/name-025840.html). This
means that a link from a document which uses one name may lead to a
page which is titled with a completely different name (eg, Mark Twain
to Samuel Clemens). Obviously it would be useful to provide (on pages
detailing a particular 'real' entity) all of the variant
names.

Unfortunately, it does not seem possible to reflect all of the
relationships between variant/related names using MADS. For example,
it would be nice to specify that a variant name is a maiden name, or
that a translation is in fact a translation of a variant, not of the
authoritative form.

In the future, we would also like to model genealogical relationships
between people, but that is well outside the scope of MADS.

I hope this description has not been confusing!

Jamie


[1] That is the goal; in reality many names are included, and many
instances of a name we do have are not marked up in the electronic
document of a work.

[2] We have not (yet) encountered a situation where a single
bibliographic entity maps to more than one 'real' entity. We're not
sure what we will do if and when that occurs.

[3] We adopted MADS when the latest draft did not have an ID attribute
defined for the mads element, which caused some confusion as to how
others were referencing their own records.

[4] For example, in marking up some bibliographies which use "--" to
indicate the same author as the previous entry, we mark this up as <rs
key="name-207379" type="person">--</rs>.

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