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By Carrie Moran

To examine the Metadata Object Description
  Schema (MODS) metadata scheme to
  determine its utility based on structure,
  interoperability and metadata quality.

   Developed by the Library of Congress’ Network
    Development and MARC Standards Office
    (Guenther, 2010)

   Purpose: to provide a schema and guidelines
    for encoding a resource description

      Support localization and customization needs
      Accommodate widely adopted descriptive practices
      Maintain a relatively small number of elements and attributes to reduce training, application, and implementation costs
      Support the communication of resource and authority descriptions
      Support validation of the encoding
      Allow use of MODS/MADS elements by other standards and in application profiles
      Maintain continuity of structure and content
      Maintain a single way to encode a piece of information
      Accommodate indexing of data in the description
      Accommodate presentation of data in the description
      Make element and attribute names as intelligible as possible to a general audience
      Allow for extensibility to include data from richer element sets
      Accommodate information about the metadata and record itself
      Accommodate conversion to and from other commonly used resource and authority description encodings (such as Dublin Core, MARC,
       VRA Core)
      Accommodate controlled vocabularies that are commonly used in resource and authority description
      Allow full description of whole-to-part and similar types of relationships
      Support encoding a description for any type of resource
      Support encoding the relationship of an agent to a resource

(from http://www.loc.gov/standards/mods/design-principles-mods-mads.html)
 Implementation Registry: projects using MODS
  that are in planning, in progress, and completed
 There are currently 34 projects in the
  Implementation Registry
 MODS is currently being used for a variety of
  purposes and formats
 Example: used by UC Berkeley for Computer
  Science Technical Reports; Archival, Rare and
  Fragile Collections; and Digitized Tables of Content
 Expressed in XML format
 Composed of 20 top level elements and 56 sub-
 Each element can be combined with attributes to
  allow for more precise records
 Each element can be used multiple times
  throughout a single record, with the exception of
 There are no mandatory or standard elements
 Elements can be presented in any order
Top Level Elements:
    <abstract>
    <accessCondition>
    <classification>
    <extension>
    <genre>
    <identifier>
    <language>
    <location>
    <name>
    <note>
    <originInfo>
    <part>
    <physicalDescription>
    <recordInfo>
    <relatedItem>
    <subject>
    <tableOfContents>
    <targetAudience>
    <titleInfo>
    <typeOfResource>
<mods version="3.3" >
         <title>Learning XML [electronic resource]</title>
<name type="personal">
         <namePart>Ray, Erik T.</namePart>
                       <placeTerm type="text">Beijing</placeTerm>
                       <placeTerm type="text">Cambridge, Mass.</placeTerm>
         <languageTerm authority="iso639-2b" type="code">eng</languageTerm>
         <form authority="marccategory">electronic resource</form>
         <extent>1 online resource (xii, 354 p.): ill.</extent>
<note type="statement of responsibility">Erik T. Ray</note>
<note type="source of description note">Description based on print version record.</note>
<subject authority="lcsh">
         <topic>XML (Document markup language)</topic>
<identifier type="uri">http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/0596000464</identifier>
MODS Guidance Page contains links to
 MODS User Guidelines
 MODS Note Types
 Sample MODS Version 3 XML Documents
 MARC Code Lists Available as Linked Data
 Sources
 Value lists
MODS User Guidelines (Version 3) available at

  Introduction and Implementation
       -XML Structures
       -Implementation Notes
  MODS Elements and Attributes
       -Top Level Elements in MODS
       -Attributes Used Throughout the MODS Schema
  MODS "Lite"
  MODS Full Record Examples
  Alphabetical Index of MODS Elements by Element Name
 Each top level element has its own page listing
  its definition, attributes, and sub elements
 The top level elements pages also provide
  guidelines, a description, examples, and
 Extensive guidelines enhance metadata
  creators’ ability to create complete, accurate,
  and consistent records

   One of the goals of MODS is “Accommodate conversion
    to and from other commonly used resource and
    authority description encodings”
   This goal is achieved through the provision of mappings,
    stylesheets, and conversion tools
   MODS Website Conversions page links to websites,
    Excel files, and XML files for the following schemes:
    MARC, RDA, Dublin Core, and MARCXML
   http://www.loc.gov/standards/mods/mods-
   The Metadata Encoding &Transmission Standard (METS)
    was also developed by the Library of Congress
   METS is “a standard for encoding descriptive, administrative,
    and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital
    library” (Library of Congress)
   METS was designed to facilitate the management and
    exchange of digital objects across repositories
   MODS is frequently used within the Descriptive Metadata
    section of a METS record
   The nesting of MODS information within a METS record
    serves to enhance the interoperability of MODS records
    across repositories
   MODS scheme allows for the use of any controlled
   Controlled vocabularies work to enhance specificity of item
    records and to enhance interoperability between records
    using the same vocabularies
   The “authority” attribute can be used with six of the top level
    elements to designate which controlled vocabulary is being
    used for that particular element.
   Example:
    <subject authority=“lcsh”>
        <geographic>United States</geographic>
 To test the effectiveness of MODS in a real
  world setting, three repositories were chosen
  from the MODS Implementation Registry
 Repositories were chosen based on the
  availability of MODS records for public view.
 Twenty-five records from each repository were
  analyzed for controlled vocabulary usage,
  completeness, accuracy, and consistency.
 http://copac.ac.uk/
 Catalog containing records from 71 libraries
 No guidelines for metadata usage provided on their website
University of Florida Digital Collections
 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/
 Over 300 distinct digital collections
 All metadata built using SobekCM open source software
 Website contains extensive guidelines for the use of MODS and METS in
   their collections
Library of Congress Web Archives
 http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/lcwa/html/lcwa-home.html
 15 collections of archived websites
 Website provides a short but detailed Technical Information page outlining
   metadata usage and application

 80% of records used MARC Genre Term list for
  <genre> element
 12% of records used the <subject> element, of
  these, 2 used Library of Congress Subject
  Headings (LCSH) and 1 used uncontrolled
  vocabulary terms
 When controlled vocabularies were used, they
  were implemented properly
   5 of 20 top level elements were used in every sample record
   5 of 20 top level elements were not used in any sample
   Many elements used only in records to which they apply, ex.
    <language> used for written materials but not photographs
   Only 12% of sample records made use of the <subject>
    element, this is problematic because subject searching is
    often a first step in the search process
   None of the records used the <typeOfResource> which
    means that users cannot sort or browse by type

 72% of sample records used the<subject>
  element, and each of these elements used LCSH
 8% of records used MARC Genre Term list for
  <genre> element
 When controlled vocabularies were used, they
  were implemented properly
 A majority of records using the <subject> element
  used the same exact terms
 This makes it difficult to distinguish between
  collection items based on subject alone
3 of 20 top level elements were used in every
  sample record
6 of 20 top level elements were used in no sample
Of the remaining top level elements, 5 were used in
  a majority of records
As mentioned previously, much of the inconsistency
  in usage can be attributed to the fact that not all
  elements apply to every record
UFDC sample records made extensive use of sub-
  elements and attributes

 100% of sample records used the <subject>
  element with LCSH subject terms
 Many of the records also used the Thesaurus of
  Graphic Materials (TGM) and uncontrolled subject
 Several records used the LCSH Name Authority
  File for the <name> element
 The use of controlled vocabulary terms was
  implemented correctly in all records examined
14 of 20 top level elements were used in every sample record
4 of 20 top level elements were not used in any sample records
<name> and <targetAudience> were the only top level
  elements used in only some records
<targetAudience> is not frequently determined on websites,
  and is an element that is likely to only be used for certain
The inconsistent use of the <name> element (only in 5 records)
  is troubling because one would expect some type of personal
  or corporate name to be associated with a majority of
   All three collections contained metadata of relatively good quality
   Elements were applied accurately and consistently throughout the
   The LOC repository is clearly the most complete and consistent, the
    limited scope of the collections combined with the fact that the LOC
    developed both the MODS scheme and the repository is the likely
    cause of this completeness
   The UFDC and Copac repositories both lack completeness and
    consistency, however, the UFDC’s use of sub-elements and attributes
    gives it an edge over Copac
   The UFDC and Copac collections contain a much wider variety of
    materials, which is evident in their application of metadata
   Each repository examined used the MODS scheme correctly
    and consistently across sample records
   This speaks to the effectiveness of the MODS scheme and
    the availability of guidelines and mapping information
   The MODS element set is designed to enhance quality while
    allowing for flexibility.
   The MODS guidelines are thorough, and the amount of
    elements, sub elements and attributes works to limit any
    semantic challenges in application of elements.
   This examination has shown MODS to be a well-structured,
    interoperable scheme that can be used to create high quality
    metadata records
Guenther, R.S. (2003). MODS: The Metadata Object
  Description Schema. Libraries and the Academy,
Library of Congress. (2009). Design Principles for
  Enhancements to MODS and MADS. Retrieved
  from http://www.loc.gov/standards/mods/design-
Library of Congress. (2011). Metadata Encoding and
  Transmission Standard. Retrieved from
   I certify that:
   · This paper/project/exam is entirely my own work.
   · I have not quoted the words of any other person from
    a printed source or a website without indicating what
    has been quoted and providing an appropriate citation.
   · I have not submitted this paper / project to satisfy
    the requirements of any other course.
   Signature Carrie E. Moran
   Date       May 28, 2011

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