Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Geospatial Information in MODS

The MODS Editorial Committee is looking for community input on geospatial information in MODS.
In considering changes for future versions of MODS, the MODS/MADS Editorial Committee is starting to think about how to better handle geospatial information. Detailed geospatial information in the form of coordinates, etc. is becoming more and more common and can promote many innovative user interactions with resources. Currently MODS has poor support for this information.

The committee would like to bring together use cases for supporting geospatial access to resources from MODS and/or MADS implementations. We are interested both in use cases that you already have in your MODS/MADS implementation and that any local geospatial experts you have access to can provide, to help us inform how MODS and/or MADS should evolve to better handle this information. It should be noted this discussion came to the Editorial Committee from the more specific geospatial elements (latitude/longitude, equinox/epoch) in RDA, although we want to look beyond RDA for guidance in this decision.

So far, we have identified the following use cases for geospatial data:
  • To allow resources with a geospatial component (interpreted widely) to be plotted on an interactive map-based interface
  • Interactively overlaying different maps, including aerial photographs, digitized historic maps, and current maps in a GIS environment
  • To index coordinate data about the geographic coverage of a resource for retrieval purposes
  • To index coordinate data about the geographic origin of a resource for retrieval purposes
What others can you provide?

Are there more specific use cases both for geospatial *coverage* (what a resource is about or represents) and geospatial *origin* (where a resource is from, for example, a soil sample)? This distinction seems important but it would be useful to understand what is done differently in each case.

There is some question as to whether the appropriate place for this information is MODS or MADS - thoughts on this issue? Should MODS/MADS be looking to embedding or referencing other standards for this information, and, if so, which and where? What is the best balance between functionality (and potentially complexity) and ease of creation/maintenance/use?

We look forward to hearing discussion on this issue - it's a complex but important one that will benefit from community contribution.

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