At 04:46 PM 12/2/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>Why does this seem like we're reinventing the wheel?  We know there was a
>good reason for defining a MARC subelement for subtitle
>information.  The same reasoning was applied when developing the
>ISBDs.  It's not surprising that this argument is coming up again in a
>MODS context, but it's making me wonder why we bothered with MODS if
>people are going to enhance it to the point where it is as rich (and
>complex) as MARC.  It's a somewhat backhanded compliment to MARC
>really.  Maybe MARC's richness isn't such a bad thing, eh?


I suspect that part of our "groping in the dark" here has to do with the
fact that we haven't really settled on what the purpose of MODS is. I also
think that it isn't the richness of MARC that people object to, it's the
parts of it that are detailed but not useful.

MARC and MODS are just data structures. What should be determining those
structures is the data that we intend to carry. There's a big difference if
we are carrying data that results from library cataloging, or if we are
carrying data that has some other origins. Library cataloging data will
have a certain level of detail, some amount of which is deemed useful in
our environment. If instead MODS will be used to carry data that, for
example, originates in the HTML of bookstore pages, then it will have less
of that richness and the data structure will not need some of the features
of the library cataloging record.

What I am beginning to see here, mainly arising out of the postings by Yves
(thank you, Yves!), is that MODS may be a good format to unite varieties of
library cataloging that have considerable similarities but enough
differences that they cannot reside in the same systems. It may also be
able to carry bibliographic data that is somewhat less rich than library
cataloging but considerably more rich than something like Dublin Core. For
the moment, however, I think we will achieve more if we have a clear goal
for MODS (i.e. carrier for library cataloging) than if we simply throw it
out there and say "whatever."

Karen Coyle                    [log in to unmask]