Hi Jim,

Thanks for your thoughts. We’re aiming at minimizing the use of date 
expressions as much as possible, in order to:

  *   Reduce the workload and avoid the need to record date information twice 
(once as date expression, once as standardized date)
  *   Reduce the amount of possible input error and ambiguity caused by that 
In other words: if registrants have to enter a date, it would seem most 
efficient if they could express this as just a standardized date, which is both 
precise and machine-processable. Also, for exchangeability, a precise 
standardized representation of dates would seem preferable over date 
expressions, wouldn’t it?



Van: archivesspace_users_group-boun...@lyralists.lyrasis.org 
<archivesspace_users_group-boun...@lyralists.lyrasis.org> Namens James E. Cross
Verzonden: donderdag 13 oktober 2022 16:56
Aan: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group@lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Onderwerp: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] how to encode open-ended date ranges?

Another thought: use single date in both cases and let the “Date Expression” 
field indicate that it is open-ended, i.e. single date “1990,” date expression 
“1990 - ” or single date “1990,” date expression “1990 (end date)” The date 
expression is what the user will see in the PUI.


James Cross
Manuscripts Archivist
Special Collections and Archives
Clemson University

Strom Thurmond Institute Building
230 Kappa Street
Clemson, SC  29634

 On Behalf Of Ron Van den Branden
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2022 10:32 AM
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] how to encode open-ended date ranges?


We’re in the process of migrating data to ArchivesSpace, and one thing I’m 
still struggling with is how to encode open-ended date ranges, using 
standardized dates only. In other words: how to express:

  *   the fact that only a start date is known
  *   or the fact that only an end date is known
…while still indicating this known date is the start / end of a range whose 
other end is not known; as opposite to expressing a precise singular/punctual 

Given the fact that ArchivesSpace currently uses 2 distinct date models for 
accessions, resources/archival objects and digital objects vs agents (see 
 I’ll outline the observations and options I’m seeing.

[1] Accessions, resources, archival objects, digital objects:

  *   “Single” date only offers a single date field, labeled “Begin”
  *   “Inclusive” date offers both a “Begin” and “End” date field, only one of 
which is required
Would this be a good strategy:

  *   “singular/punctual” dates: “single” date, one value as “Begin” date
  *   date range: “inclusive” date, start and end dates as “Begin” and “End” 
dates, respectively
  *   open-ended date range: “inclusive” date, with known date as either 
“Begin” or “End” date
This leads me to the question whether in practice “single” dates are used at 
all for anything except accession dates, creation dates of digital objects, or 
as dates for only the lowest-level archival objects?

[2] Agents:

  *   “Single” date only offers a single date field, which can be labeled as 
either “Begin” or “End”
  *   “Inclusive” date offers both a “Begin” and “End” date field, of which 
“Begin” is mandatory
Would this be a good strategy:

  *   “singular/punctual” dates: “single” date, one value as either “Begin” or 
“End” date

Note: in EAC output, the begin/end qualification is dismissed: both are 
exported without distinction as e.g.
<date localType="existence" standardDate="2022-10-08">2022-10-08</date>

  *   date range: “inclusive” date, start and end dates as “Begin” and “End” 
dates, respectively

  *   open-ended date range: ?
==> problem if only end date is known, since begin date is mandatory
In other words: how would one differentiate between, e.g.:

  *   birth date of a living person (1990 - )
  *   birth date of a deceased person, whose death date is unknown (1800 - ?)
  *   death date of a person whose birth date is unknown (? - 1950)

The documentation in the ArchivesSpace Help Center merely documents the 
different fields, but I couldn’t find much guidance on how to use them in 
practice. The DACS, EAD, and EAC documentation is rather sparse as well 
regarding open-ended date ranges. Therefore, any guidance on this matter would 
be much appreciated!



Ron Van den Branden | functioneel analist - applicatiebeheerder Letterenhuis
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