On Tue, 30 Sep 2003, Fox, Michael wrote:

> The Minnesota Historical Society uses the altrender attribute in a somewhat
> similar way.   The text of our "table of contents" consists of a series of
> icons rather than the text taken directly from <head> elements.  While we do
> include <head> elements in the body of the finding aid, we use a value in
> @altrender to determine whether the icon that reads "Administrative History"
> or the one that says "Biography" appears.
> That said, Marsha's suggestion for a type attribute has merit.
> On the other hand, I am not sure that personally agree that all this display
> information should always be left to the stylesheet.  I think that it is
> probably useful to include heads and labels, if only as a default when
> finding aids leave the creating institution or consortium and go off to who
> knows where to be interpreted by a stylesheet that may assume their
> presence.
> Michael

But since <head> elements are not *required* elements, that seems to imply
that a style sheet should at least provide a "default" on its own without
"assuming" anything and that "tests" should be performed on whether a
particular combination of parent/child elements exist, not on whether a
<head> element exists among those parent/child elements.

The benefit of having a "type" attribute would be that some consistency in
encoding it could be suggested among repositories who want to distinguish
between different types of <bioghist> notes.  This is best handled by an
attribute (consistently applied among repositories) rather than a value in
a <head> element which will vary (or perhaps omitted) among those

I don't think any such consistency could be imposed on an attribute such
as 'altrender'.  According to the tag library, the attribute's definition

"The content of the element should be displayed or printed differently
than the rendering established in a style sheet for other occurrences of
the element"

In this case, it's not so much to print a different heading (although that
may be a result) but to indicate the type of data that <bioghist>