MODS folks,

  What I think is missing from this conversation is an understanding of
what a uniform title is designed to do in catalogs that follow AACR or
similar rules.  It is a device that tacks on any number of elements in
order to coerce an unchaotic arrangement in what can be very long listings
of similar and derivative works.  My own feeling is that it's unwise to
pick out language as one of these elements and treat it as not part of
that human-readable string that comprises the u.t.

Consider all of the MARC 240 subfields:

# $a - Uniform title (NR)
# $d - Date of treaty signing (R)
# $f - Date of a work (NR)
# $g - Miscellaneous information (NR)
A data element not more appropriately contained in another defined
# $h - Medium (NR)A media qualifier.
# $k - Form subheading (R)
# $l - Language of a work (NR)
# $m - Medium of performance for music (R)
# $n - Number of part/section of a work (R)
# $o - Arranged statement for music (NR)
# $p - Name of part/section of a work (R)
# $r - Key for music (NR)
# $s - Version (NR)

Once you pick these apart and treat some as attributes, some as other
tags, etc. you really don't have a uniform title anymore.  It could be
argued that many of these different u.t. constituent parts might be better
coded separately from the main title string.  But if you do that it will
be a huge chore in order to put a u.t. back together in a useful form for
browsing a large number of hits.

I suggest that anyone who doubts the usefulness of the uniform title as a
cataloger-constructed string might want to browse through one of the
following sequences in any large catalog:  any major work by any major
composer; any Bible translation; any U.S. Treaty heading; any author whose
works have been heavily adapted, translated, criticized, etc.
Shakespeare would be an obvious choice.

It also seems to me that anyone creating a MODS record with a Titleinfo
tag of the type "uniform title" is probably doing AACR cataloging or
converting MARC AACR records.  It's not a tag that a non-catalog MODS user
is likely to misuse.

I'm generally unapologetic about the AACR and MARCisms in MODS. It's not
that AACR and MARC got it right, but for MODS to work for my needs it
needs to support certain cataloging conventions at least until we've
gotten rid of our millions and millions of MARC records.

Dick Thaxter

*    Dick Thaxter  [log in to unmask] 202 707-7208                   *
*    Automation Specialist                                     *
*    Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division    *
*    Library of Congress                                       *
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