The MODS Editorial Committee has discussed this request. It seems that there are a few issues (correct me if I'm wrong):
1. Somehow marking the record or names with "et al." to indicate that there is a longer list we don't know about
2. Displaying the names in the desired order
The Editorial Committee didn't think that the usage attribute was the proper place for this, because we would have to change its meaning.
The "et al." would be in the statement of responsibility (particularly if cataloging rules were followed), thus indicating that there is a longer list of names. In MODS that goes to note type="statement of responsibility". Doesn't this help?
If there is reason to give an explicit indication about the missing names, one could create a bogus name to be used in the <name> element, e.g. <name><namePart>et al.</namePart></name>. You could also use the <description> element under name to explain the situation.
As for displaying in the desired order, we can say that they are input in the desired order, although we know that we can't assure that they will remain that way in XML. If this is needed, the MODS-EC could consider a proposal to define a sequencing attribute.
To summarize, the EC thought that MODS already had a method to indicate that some names are lacking, and if a more explicit indication is needed, you can use the suggested construct above. If sequencing is needed then we would need to add something.
From: Metadata Object Description Schema List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Thomas Scheffler
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2012 5:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [MODS] how to mark "et al."
I wonder what is the best solution to mark a mods:name being the "et al." part in a list of persons. The way I see it, the "usage" attribute should be the best place. There is already a value "primary" defined to mark the main author.
Are there any known mods profiles that mark mods:name entries as "et al."? If not I would like to suggest that usage="et al." marks a undefined list of names, where the real name of persons/corporations could not, would not or can not be resolved. Leaving an entry fully uncommented may result in loosing semantics in further transformation processes or software that handle these cases.
This problem is similar to unknown persons where you have some information for the description or affiliation. I would suggest that these names should be marked as usage="unknown".
I am looking forward for any comments on this matter.