[OAI-general] DLF Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS Records

Sarah L. Shreeves sshreeve at uiuc.edu
Thu Nov 2 12:47:15 EST 2006

-Apologies for cross posting-

The Aquifer Metadata Working Group is pleased to announce the release 
of the final version of the DLF/Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for 
Shareable MODS Records. These are available as a pdf at: 
http://www.diglib.org/aquifer/products.htm under "Schemas, Reports, 
and Communities of Practice."

For those of you attending the Digital Library Federation Fall Forum 
Nov 8-10 in Boston, the Working Group will be holding a Birds of a 
Feather session to discuss the guidelines and other related efforts.

We would like to thank the many reviewers who suggested changes or 
questioned content either through email or at the Birds of a Feather 
(BOF) session at the DLF Forum in Austin, Texas in April 2006. 
Following are some of the major changes made to the final version. 
The Working Group also made some changes based on changes to the MODS 
standard from version 3.1 to 3.2. In addition, we made numerous minor 
changes to both the text and examples to make the guidelines more 
consistent and readable.

Purpose of Guidelines:

The Working Group made a great effort to ensure that the guidelines 
were focused on how to implement MODS for shared records. Whether an 
element (or attribute or subelement) in a record created explicitly 
for the purpose being shareable should be required, recommended, 
optional, or not recommended was partly determined on its usefulness 
(or potential usefulness) by aggregators. Each element includes a 
discussion of how aggregators may use the element. The change in the 
title (from DLF MODS Implementation Guidelines for Cultural Heritage 
Materials to DLF/Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS 
Records) also reflects this focus. These guidelines are not intended 
to dictate local practice, but to provide a useful structure for 
implementing MODS records for sharing within the DLF Aquifer 
Initiative and potentially in other such initiatives.

What is being described?

The original version of these guidelines recommended describing only 
the digital version of an object in the top-level MODS elements and 
recording information about the analog original in <relatedItem>. 
This question generated many comments from reviewers as well as 
forming the basis for almost an entire BOF session at the DLF 2006 
Spring Forum. Most reviewers thought that this decision was confusing 
and would lead to inconsistent application.

In the final version, the Working Group has tried to keep in mind the 
needs of end-users and aggregators and has tried to provide as simple 
a structure as possible for presenting metadata. The guidelines 
recommend that metadata about content and digital and analog carriers 
all appear in the main record. The guidelines try to make clear how 
an aggregator might use the metadata in services for end-users and 
make recommendations for the inclusion or exclusion of information 
based on that use. <relatedItem> is used only for conxtual 
information, to point to a full metadata record, and to provide 
additional information about intellectual constituent units of the 
resource being described. While this does not provide a clean 
one-to-one record as the Working Group had attempted (and failed) to 
deliver in the first draft of the guidelines, the Working Group does 
feel that this is a practical solution to a very complicated issue. 
Because these guidelines are meant for the 'shared' record, local 
implementations of MODS that adhere more closely to the one-to-one 
principle are still possible.

One and only one URL:

Originally the guidelines had required one and only one <location> 
element with a <url> subelement to link to the resource. Several 
reviewers pointed out that this is not practical given the fact that 
there are often multiple files associated with a resource, for 
example, a high resolution image and thumbnail.

In the final version the guidelines require one <location><url 
usage="primary display">, but allow additional <location><url> as 
long as these do not use the attribute usage="primary display". The 
attribute usage="primary display" was added in MODS 3.2.

Optional <subject><genre> element:

MODS 3.2 added <genre> as a subelement under <subject>, which allows 
legacy complex subjects (e.g. LC Subject Headings) with a form/genre 
subelement to be more appropriately represented in MODS. The final 
version of the guidelines make use of this subelement an option, but 
give strong preference to use of the highest-level <genre> MODS 
element for form/genre terms whenever possible.

For the DLF Aquifer Metadata Working Group (past and present)

Sarah L. Shreeves (UIUC), Chair
Laura Akerman (Emory University)
John Chapman (University of Minnesota)
Melanie Feltner-Reichert (University of Tennessee)
Bill Landis (California Digital Library)
Elizabeth Milewicz (Emory University)
David Reynolds (Johns Hopkins University)
Jenn Riley (Indiana University)
Gary Shawver (New York University)

Sarah L. Shreeves
Coordinator, Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and 
Scholarship (IDEALS)
University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign
Phone: 217-244-3877 or 217-233-4648
Email: sshreeve at uiuc.edu

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