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Abstract Tag
At the Michigan State University Library, we also do item level cataloging of the audio recordings in the Vincent Voice Library.  I chose to use the <abstract> tag to encode the summary of each recording for three reasons:  1. Since these brief summaries would go in the 520 field if the recording was being cataloged individually, either <abstract> or <scopecontent> would be appropriate, since the MARC equivalent for both tags is the 520 field (summary note). 2. However, within the <c> tag, <scopecontent> could be used only outside the <did>, while <abstract> could be used within the <did>. I thought it more appropriate to group all the basic, item-level descriptive information within the <did> (i.e. <unitid>, <unittitle>, <unitdate>, <origination>, <physdesc>).   I had also been advised (hopefully correctly) that having the basic descriptive information all within the <did> would facilitate the display of search results using X-Pat, which we intend to install soon. 3. The <note> tag seemed more appropriate for general comments about the recording, such as "sound quality uneven," rather than for the brief summary of the recording.
 
My finding aids do, of course, have a <scopecontent> note at the highest level, which describes the contents of the collection in general and the collection's organization (if the collection is sufficiently complex to have multiple series), and if possible, points to individual recordings of particular interest.  This information is pulled into the 520 field of the collection's MARC record. The <abstract> tags are not pulled into the collection's MARC record, but we hope to make them searchable using X-Pat soon.
 
If you'd like to see what these finding aids look like, use IE 5.0 or 5.5 (because we're displaying the XML directly) and go to http://www.lib.msu.edu/vincent/findaids . From that page, you can browse the finding aids by subject or alphabetically. (And if they won't display, please let me know!)

Lisa Robinson
Assistant Digital Services Librarian
Michigan State University Library
East Lansing MI 48824-1048
Phone: 517-432-1645
Fax:     517-432-4795
Email: [log in to unmask]
Web:   http://www.lib.msu.edu/robin179/index.html


 -----Original Message-----
From: Carol Bartels [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 4:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Abstract Tag

We do item level cataloging at the Historic New Orleans Collection and we use the abstract tag for summarizing the item.  Do any of you who use the abstract tag in this manner or any other matter when you think about it have a problem with the fact that the paragraph tag, <p> is not allowed to occur within  <abstract> ?

Realizing that at this time there are no harden rules established for using <scopecontent> or <abstract> for item level description,  would it be better to use <scopecontent> because it may contain <p>?

Carol Bartels
Documentation Coordinator
THNOC