Content v. attribute

Vrijland, Jacco TRC-OGRS/2 Jacco.J.Vrijland at
Mon Oct 26 09:04:53 GMT 1998


I am working on an XML-based data formatting standard and I've got the
following problem.

Inside the top element of the document I wish to declare some metadata
on the other elements. So far, I've come up with this structure:
     TITLE="Title of the data"
     AUTHOR="J.J. Vrijland"
     DATE="26 October 1998">

Now, the problem is the following. In this previous structure I have not
yet incorporated a general description of the data (possibly quite a
long string). At the moment I can think of two options:
1. include this as another attribute inside the METADATA element
2. put the description as content between the start- and endtag.
The first would provide me with an easy mechanism to check whether it
has been provided or not, the second seems more natural. Using the first
option is more consistent, though, I can think of no reason why the
description should be treated differently from the other attributes.

Maybe you can provide me with some reasons why one of the two would be
preferable over the other. Or with references as to where I can find out

I have only started studying XML last week, I have been following this
mailinglist since then, I have found lots of references to interesting
documents, but nothing to answer my question yet. However, if it would
be inappropriate to ask this question here, I apologise.

Thanks in advance,

>Jacco Vrijland
>Shell Research and Technology Centre, Thornton (TRC-OGRS/2)
>++44(0)151 373 5106
>e-mail: Jacco.J.Vrijland at

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