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Top-level Element: <abstract>

Element <abstract>
Definition A summary of the content of the resource.
Attributes type; displayLabel; shareable; altRepGroup; altFormat; contentType; xlink; lang; xml:lang; script; transliteration
Subelements None



Used to record a succinct summary of some aspect of the content of the resource. When creating a MODS record for a digital surrogate, record a summary of the content of the original resource. If only a portion of the resource was digitized, summarize only that portion.

  • A link may be supplied in lieu of or in addition to the content.
  • This element is repeatable.

Specific DLF/Aquifer Guidelines

The DLF/Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS Records recommend the use of one <abstract> element in every MODS record, except when a title, formal or supplied, serves as an adequate summary of the content of the digital resource.

This element provides end users with information about the digital resource that assists them in making a judgment about its likely usefulness, and also provides context, if needed, for controlled vocabulary used in the record. The use of a content standard of choice is strongly recommended.

The use of the type attribute is not recommended due to its lack of controlled values.

The use of the displayLabel attribute is optional. It may be used to indicate the preferred labeling when displayed by a metadata aggregator. However, metadata aggregators may choose to ignore this attribute.

See the <abstract> entry in the DLF/Aquifer Summary of MODS Requirements and Recommendations Table for further information on requirements of this element, its attributes, and subelements.

Abstract as a broad class of elements is not covered in the "Recommendations for classes of data elements" in the DLF/NSDL Best Practices for Shareable Metadata.

Element Description




Identifies what type of summary is recorded.


There is no controlled list of abstract types. Examples include scope, subject, content advice, review.



Identifies data that cannot be shared outside the institution.

This attribute is used with shareable="no" for data that may be proprietary or is rights protected and should not be used outside of a local system (such as providing to harvesters).

altRepGroup; altFormat; contentType; xlink; lang; xml:lang; script; transliteration; displayLabel

See the Attributes used throughout the schema for descriptions of each.


There are no subelements for <abstract>.



<abstract displayLabel="Content description">Broadside advertising a funeral ceremony assassinated president Abraham Lincoln, held in Elgin, Illinois, on April 19, 1865. It details the route of the procession, the order of local official participants in the procession, and the order of service for the ceremony to be held in the Academy Hall.</abstract>

<abstract shareable="no">Describes the results of an ongoing evaluation of State activity relating to improvement of criminal records. Activities reviewed include upgrading of accuracy and completeness of records, automation, implementation of positive identification procedures and procedures for responding to firearm background check inquiries. The report describes the nature of activities initiated, time until completion, and impact on availability of records. Characteristics of individual states are represented in some areas. The document was prepared by Queues Enforth Development under BJS award 95-RU-RX-K002. 2/00 NCJ 179768.</abstract>

<abstract xml:lang="fr" type="summary" xlink:href="">A la fin du XIXème siècle, Rudyard Kipling, un jeune journaliste installé en Inde, fait la connaissance de Daniel Dravot et de Peachy Carnehan, deux anciens sergents de l'armée britannique à la recherche de la fortune et de la gloire. Après un long et périlleux voyage via l'Afghanistan, ces derniers pénètrent dans une contrée sauvage, le Kafristan, où des villageois sont en guerre contre une ville rivale. Tous deux s'engagent dans la bataille. Au cours des combats, Dravot reçoit une flèche en pleine poitrine, mais continue à lutter. En réalité, la flèche s'est plantée dans la catouchière. Mais aux yeux du peuple, il passe pour un être surnaturel, le dieu Sikander, fils d'Alexandre le Grand. Après ce miracle supposé, Dravot est proclamé roi du Kafristan et bénéficie de la puissance absolue. Mais le pouvoir peut corrompre même le meilleur des hommes.</abstract>

<abstract xlink:href="" displayLabel="Review">Written in a rather whimsical style, this short article makes a serious statement about the direction in which libraries are evolving. The word 'library' may eventually be dropped from our vocabulary, to be replaced by the 'idea store'. Books are being displaced by computers, multimedia content, playgrounds, thematic displays, and cafes. This is proving extremely popular, given the surge in client population. The library locales mentioned are local, however, the transformation of libraries is universal.</abstract>



MARC Mapping (Bibliographic)

<abstract> = MARC 21 field 520.

See also MARC Mapping to MODS for the <abstract> element.

Dublin Core Mapping

The MODS to Dublin Core Metadata Element Set Mapping recommends mapping the <abstract> to <dc:description>.

MODS example expressed in Dublin Core:

<dc:description>Broadside advertising a funeral ceremony commemorating assassinated president Abraham Lincoln, held in Elgin, Illinois, on April 19, 1865. It details the route of the procession, the order of local official participants in the procession, and the order of service for the ceremony to be held in the Academy Hall.</dc:description>


Last Updated: August 2, 2018