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Thanks for the responses, problem solved. Paraphrasing:

If the source XML contains namespace information (xmlns), associate the
namespace ('') with the prefix 'mods' in the
XSLT template. Then prefix all mods elements called by the XSLT with
"mods:", for example:
<xsl:value-of match="mods:mods/mods:subject/mods:topic"/>

A perfect example is given in the first response below.



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>Take a look at the following from the MODS site:

>This stylesheet converts MODS to a 'simple HTML display'. The opening 
>xsl:stylesheet element:

><xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
>exclude-result-prefixes="mods" >

>associates the namespace ('') with the 
>prefix 'mods' you can use to reference elements in the namespace. 
>I've always found it useful to start from a known working state, so I 
>hope this gets you started.

>Good luck --


>>Are you declaring the mods namespace and binding it to a prefix in the
>>stylesheet? E.g. you should have templates with xpaths like
>>"m:titleInfo" where the "m" prefix binds to the correct URI.


>>>Here's a guess, though: you have xsl templates matching mods
elements, but the templates aren't name-spaced; e.g., you have

>>><xsl:template match="titleInfo"> ...</xsl:template>

>>>which will work fine if you try to match against an un-namespaced
mods record but not a (proper) one in the mods namespace. For that you need

>>><xsl:stylesheet xmlns:mods="">

>>><xsl:template match="mods:titleInfo">...</xsl:template>


>>>    Dr. Clifford E. Wulfman
>>>    Technical Director
>>>    Modernist Journals Project
>>>    Brown University