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Forgot to mention I support point #5. If an XML representation is
undesirable, then some kind of standardized encoding should be settled
on. ISO 8601, e.g., uses a slash "/" for ranges, so XPath 1.0 functions
substring-before() and substring-after() can be used to parse the
start/end date. It's how I work such things in my local citation
database, e.g.

<mads ID="brodmann.k">
        <authority>
                <name type="personal">
                        <namePart type="family">Brodmann</namePart>
                        <namePart type="given">Korbinian</namePart>
                        <namePart type="date">18681117/1918</namePart>
                </name>
        </authority>
</mads>


>>> [log in to unmask] 2004-06-10 11:46:59 >>>
On Mon, 7 Jun 2004 09:29:05 -0700, "Bruce D'Arcus"
<[log in to unmask]>
said:

5)  Parse dates (birth/death, etc.), please!  If you have separate
start
and end dates for organization or person origins, it becomes a lot
easier
to process with vanilla xml tools.