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Proposed Changes MODS 3.7 -- Alternative Names

October 24th, 2017



A requirement has recently surfaced to represent alternative names for the same entity – not alternative forms but alternative names, for example:

  • - "Claudia Alta Johnson" and "Lady Bird Johnson"
  • - "IBM" and "International Business Machines"


A single MODS record may include several elements. Originally the idea was that different elements are names for two different entities. Later, the requirement surfaced to be able to include multiple names for the same entity - names that might differ in format, such as different scripts, transliterations, or translations -- multiple representations of the same name. A number of approaches were considered but in the end the following solution chosen:

alternativeName is added as a subelement of <name>.  It has its own definition based on the name definition, with the following subelements and attributes:

Allowed Subelements:
-          <namePart>
-          <displayForm>
-          <affiliation>
-          <role>
-          <description>
-          <nameIdentifier>

Excluded Subelements:
-         <etal>

Allowed Attributes:
-          @xlink:simpleLink
-          languageAttributeGroup (@lang @xml:lang @script type @transliteration)
-          @displayLabel
-          @altType (which is valid for alternativeName only, not <name> itself). The value of @altType may be any string but the following (tentative) values are considered well-known values (whose semantics are conveyed by the value).

  • “formal name”
  • “preferred name”
  • "acronym”
  • “nickname”
  • "no specific type" ("no specific type" may be used for any or all names when no specific type applies.)

Excluded Attributes:
-          @xsID
-         authorityAttributeGroup (@authority @AuthorityURI @valueURI)
-          @nameTitleGroup
-          @altRepGroup
-          @usage
-          @type


         <mods:namePart>Claudia Alta Johnson</mods:namePart>
         <mods:alternativeName altType="nickname">
                    <mods:namePart>Lady Bird Johnson</mods:namePart>

<mods:name type="corporate">
        <mods:namePart>International Business Machines</mods:namePart>
        <mods:alternativeName altType="acronym">

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