For what it's worth, I think the former is preferable (e.g., new elements instead of adding attributes onto the existing element).  The case, I think, is for consistency.  By using attributes you introduce the question of why some sub-"elements" are expressed as attributes while others are expressed as elements.  Writing your XSLTs to process records that use the latter approach will require different access methods for some of the subdivisions of hierarchicalGeographic than for others.  If you were to make the case that it is important to maintain the citySection distinction, I'd suggest the others be child elements of it.  I look at the removal of citySection, though, as an improvement in granularity of the schema (you're replacing a less granular concept with concepts that are more granular).  You don't gain anything here by keeping the less granular concept around.  That's my two cents anyway...


On Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 3:25 PM, Melanie Wacker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The MODS Editorial Committee is considering changes to the <subject> subelement  <hierarchicalGeographic>.

Currently, the following subelements are defined under <hierarchicalGeographic>:

  • <continent> – Includes Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America.
  • <country> – Name of a country, i.e. a political entity considered a country.
  • <province> – Includes first order political divisions called provinces within a country, e.g. in Canada.
  • <region> – Includes regions that have status as a jurisdiction, usually incorporating more than one first level jurisdiction.
  • <state> – Includes first order political divisions called states within a country, e.g. in U.S., Argentina, Italy. Use also for France département.
  • <territory> – Name of a geographical area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a governmental authority.
  • <county> – Name of the largest local administrative unit in various countries, e.g. England.
  • <city> – Name of an inhabited place incorporated as a city, town, etc.
  • <citySection> – Name of a smaller unit within a populated place, e.g., neighborhoods, parks, or streets.
  • <island> –Name of a tract of land surrounded by water and smaller than a continent but is not itself a separate country.
  • <area> – Name of a non-jurisdictional geographic entity.
  • <extraterrestrialArea> – Name of any extraterrestrial entity or space, including solar systems, galaxies, star systems, and planets as well as geographic features of individual planets.

Difficulties have been encountered in digital projects recording increasingly detailed geographic information. For example, data may include information on neighborhoods, parks AND streets which all currently map to <citySection> causing granularity issues.

These difficulties could be remedied by adding more granular subelements such as  <street> or by the introduction of type attributes allowing to specify the existing subelements further.


            <mods:country>United States</mods:country>
            <mods:state>New York (State)</mods:state>
            <mods:city>New York (N.Y.)</mods:city>
            <mods:neighborhood>Lower East Side</mods:neighborhood>
            <mods:street>Mulberry Street</mods:street>


            <mods:country>United States</mods:country>
            <mods:state>New York (State)</mods:state>
            <mods:city>New York (N.Y.)</mods:city>
            <mods: citySection type="neighborhood">Lower East Side</mods: citySection >
            <mods: citySection type="street">Mulberry Street</mods: citySection>


The MODS Editorial Committee would like to hear comments from the MODS community if particular geographic subelements under <hierarchicalGeographic> have found to be lacking and which solution is considered to be preferable.

Thanks you,

Melanie Wacker
Metadata Coordinator
Original and Special Materials Cataloging
Columbia University Libraries
New York, N.Y.
(212) 854 9676