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MODS Elements and Attributes

The MODS top-level elements are listed below in the order in which they appear in the MODS XML schema. All top-level elements are described on individual pages, along with their subelements and attributes. An Alphabetical List of Top-level Elements is included at the end of this page. A separate list of all MODS elements and subelements is linked: Alphabetical Index of MODS Elements and Subelements.

Top-level Elements in MODS

(listed in order, read down each column)

titleInfo language note location
name physicalDescription subject accessCondition
typeOfResource abstract classification part
genre tableOfContents relatedItem extension
originInfo targetAudience identifier recordInfo

Attributes Used Throughout the MODS Schema

Certain attributes may be applied to multiple MODS elements, as indicated in the MODS schema.

Language-Related and Other Attributes: lang - xml:lang - script - transliteration - altRepGroup - displayLabel
Date Attributes: encoding - point - keydate - qualifier
Linking Attributes: ID - xlink

Language-Related and Other Attributes

Certain language and related attributes (e.g., script and transliteration attributes) may be applied to most MODS elements, as indicated in the . They are defined below:

  • lang – This attribute is used to specify the language used within individual elements, using the codes from ISO 639-2/b. This is equivalent to authority="iso639-2b" used with the <language> element (which gives a language of the resource described in the record), but is applied to the language used as content of the metadata elements. There is no MARC 21 equivalent for this attribute since language cannot be currently indicated at the element level.
    <name type="personal">
    <namePart type="given">Jack</namePart>
    <namePart type="family">May</namePart>
    <namePart type="termsOfAddress">I</namePart>
    <description lang="eng">District Commissioner</description>
    <description lang="fre">Préfet de région</description>
    </name>
  • xml:lang – In the XML standard, this attribute is used to specify the language used within individual elements, using specifications in RFC 3066.External Link RFC 3066 ("Request for Comments," which defines Internet practice) uses the two-character ISO 639-1 codes along with three-character ISO 639-2 codes for those languages not given in 639-1. This is equivalent to authority="rfc3066" used with the <language> element (which gives a language of the resource described in the record), but is applied to the language used as content of the metadata elements. There is no MARC 21 equivalent for this attribute since language cannot be currently indicated at the element level.
    <titleInfo xml:lang="fr" type="translated">
    <nonSort>L'</nonSort>
    <title>homme qui voulut être roi</title>
    </titleInfo>
  • script – This attribute specifies the script used within individual elements, using codes from ISO 15924 External Link (Code for the representation of names of scripts). There is no MARC 21 equivalent for this attribute.
  • transliteration – This attribute specifies the transliteration technique used within individual elements. There is no standard list of transliteration schemes available, although one may be developed. There is no MARC 21 equivalent for this attribute.
  • altRepGroup – This attribute is used to link alternate representations of the same element content, such as different scripts, transliterations, and translations. The same attribute value is applied to each of the element instances to be linked. The attribute applies to all MODS top-level elements with the exception of <relatedItem>, however, it applies to those top-level elements when used within <relatedItem>.
    <name type="personal" script="Latn" altRepGroup="8">
    <namePart>Būrī, Muhammad al-Tihāmī,</namePart>
    <namePart type="date">d. 1827</namePart>
    </name>
    <name type="personal" script="Arab" altRepGroup="8">
    <namePart>بوري، محمد التهامي،</namePart>
    <namePart type="date">d. 1827</namePart>
    </name>
  • displayLabel – This attribute provides additional text associated with the element if needed for display purposes.  The preferred text with its capitalization should be included, but not delimiters such as colons.
    <titleInfo type="alternative" displayLabel="Spine title">
    <title>Science and public affairs</title>
    </titleInfo>
    <targetAudience displayLabel="grade level">kindergarten<targetAudience>
    <classification authority="lcc" displayLabel="Library of Congress classification">ML410.B3</classification>
  • altFormat – This attribute is used to point to HTML from MODS, linking with @altRepGrp, and indicating the format of the alternative encoding. It applies to those elements that are most likely to have values that need HTML or other formatting that cannot be expressed inside a MODS XML record. Use the altFormat attribute to link out of the record to the same content, formatted or marked up in a different way. Optionally, include the contentType attribute with a media-type as its value (e.g. text/html) to indicate the content type of the target. Where there are multiple alternatives, use the already defined altRepGroup attribute to bind the related instances of each element.
    <abstract altRepGroup="A" altFormat="http://foo.edu/alternate-markup.html" contentType="application/xhtml+xml">
    <abstract altRepGroup="A">l'histoire d'un cheval et un garçon qui aimait<abstract>
  • contentType – This attribute is used with the attribute altFormat to include. A media-type is used as its value (e.g. text/html) to indicate the content type of the target. Where there are multiple alternatives, use the already defined altRepGroup attribute to bind the related instances of each element.
    <abstract altRepGroup="A" altFormat="http://foo.edu/alternate-markup.html" contentType="application/xhtml+xml">
    <abstract altRepGroup="A">l'histoire d'un cheval et un garçon qui aimait<abstract>

Date Attributes

Certain date attributes may be applied to some MODS elements, as indicated in the schema. They are defined below:

  • encoding – The following values are used with the encoding attribute:
    • w3cdtf – This value identifies dates following the W3C profile of ISO 8601, Date and Time Formats, that specifies the extended format for dates using the pattern: YYYY-MM-DD. If hours, minutes, and seconds are also needed the following pattern is used: YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss.
    • iso8601 – This value identifies formatted dates allowed in ISO 8601 which use the alternative described as "basic" (i.e., with minimum number of separators) rather than "extended" (i.e., with separators). This alternative specified in the standard uses the following date patterns: YYYY; YYYY-MM if only year and month given; YYYYMMDD if year, month, and day are included (hours, minutes, seconds may also be added: Thhmmss.s). It is also used for other encodings specified in ISO 8601, e.g., date ranges, which are in the form of <date/time>/<date/time>.
    • marc – This value identifies formatted according to MARC 21 rules in field 008/07-14 for dates of publication/issuance. Thus, this would only apply to the attribute in <dateIssued>. Examples include: YYYY (for year), MMDD (for month and day), 19uu (MARC convention showing unknown digits in a year date), 9999 (MARC convention showing that the end year date has not occurred or is not known). See Legal Characters section under field 008/06 of MARC Bibliographic
    • edtf – This value is used for dates coded according to Extended Date/Time Format External Link which in consistent with ISO 8601 but extends it to express special forms of dates that are not covered by w3cdtf and iso8601, such as open ended ranges.
    • temper – This value is used for dates coded according to Temporal Enumerated Ranges External Link. TEMPER is a simple date and time syntax for representing points, lists, and ranges of timestamps. The syntax is designed to be easy to parse and for humans to read, and compatible with basic lexical sorting algorithms.
    <dateIssued encoding="marc">19uu</dateIssued>
    <dateIssued encoding="w3cdtf">2004-06-04T12:12:12</dateIssued>
    <dateIssued encoding="iso8601">20040604T121212</dateIssued>
    <dateOther encoding="edtf">unknown/2009</dateOther>
    <dateCreated encoding="temper">1860~-1872</dateCreated>
  • point – If no point attribute is specified, date is assumed to be a single date. The following values are used with the point attribute:
    • start – This value is used for the first date of a range (or a single date, if used).
    • end – This value is used for the end date of a range.
    <originInfo>
    <dateOther point="start">20011008</dateOther>
    <dateOther point="end">20011027</dateOther>
    </originInfo>
  • keyDate – The following value is used with the keyDate attribute:
    • yes – This value is used so that a particular date may be distinguished among several dates. Thus for example, when sorting MODS records by date, a date with keyDate="yes" would be the date to sort on. It should occur only for one date at most in a given record.
    <originInfo>
    <dateOther keyDate="yes">20030328</dateOther> <dateOther>20030427</dateOther>
    </originInfo>
  • qualifier – The following values are used with the qualifier attribute:
    • approximate – This value is used to identify a date that may not be exact, but is approximated, such as "ca. 1972".
    • inferred – This value is used to identify a date that has not been transcribed directly from a resource, such as "[not before 1852]".
    • questionable – This value is used to identify a questionable date for a resource, such as "1972?".
    <originInfo>
    <dateIssued qualifier="questionable" point="start">1894?</dateIssued>
    </originInfo>

Linking attributes

Certain linking attributes may be applied to some MODS elements, as indicated in the schema. They are defined below:

  • ID – This attribute is used to link internally and to reference an element from outside the instance.
  • xlink – This attribute is used for an external link. It is defined in the as xlink:simpleLink, (see information about the XML Linking Language External Link), which in the XML schema specification has a further breakdown for different types of xlinks. At this time, only xlink:href is envisioned in MODS records.
    <abstract xlink:href= "http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/cchrie98.htm"/>

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Alphabetical List of Top Level Elements in MODS

This section provides an alphabetical list of the top-level elements in MODS. All elements, subelements, and attributes are described on their individual pages (click on element link).

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Last Updated: September 4, 2014