Existing Date

Transcribe the date of creation from the resource being described.  This can include a publication date, a copyright date, a range of dates, multiple dates (in this case put the most current first), and approximate dates.  Below are prescribed places where a date(s) can be found.

  • Text: title page, cover, date on finding aid, spine label, verso of title page, statements at end of document, document;

  • Sound Recording: disc/cassette label, container, insert;

  • Video Recording: title screen, disc/videocassette label, container, credits;

  • Scores: title page, cover, spine label, verso of title page, statements at end of documents, date on finding aid;

  • Image: date on back of image, caption, container, date on finding aid;

  • Maps: cartographic item itself; title page; container;

  • Cultural Object: object itself, label, accompanying textual material, container, date on finding aid;

  • Computer Files: title screen, website, container, accompanying manual.

No Date

If no date of any kind appears on the resource, supply an approximate date of creation in square brackets:

·         One year or the other

o    Ex. [1866 or 1867].

·         Probable date

o    Ex. [1765?].

·         Between a range of dates less than 20 years

o    Ex. [between 1997 and 2005].

·         Approximate date

o    Ex. [ca. 1634].

·         Decade certain

o    Ex. [186-].

·         Probable decade

o    Ex. [191-?].

·         Century certain

o    Ex. [17--].

·         Probable century

o    Ex. [19--?].

Formatting a Date

  • Identify the date of creation and input exactly what is on the resource. 

  • If there is no date of creation but another type of date (publication or copyright) on the resource use that as the primary date of the resource.

  • If there are multiple dates, put the most current date first.  Limit putting 2 dates in the date element.  If there are more than two, put the first two in the date element and the rest in a note field.

    • Ex. 1980, 1965.

  • If there is a range of dates, input the dates with a hyphen between them. 

    • Ex. 1970-1980.

  • If end date of a range of dates is unknown leave it blank after the hyphen with no period.

    • Ex. 1999-

  • If the date is known to be wrong on the resource put the correct date in square brackets in the date element, and make a note of the wrong date in a note element.

    • Ex.

      • Date: [1834].

      • Note: 1850 is the incorrect creation date.

  • If a date is provided from another source for the resource being described, put the date in square brackets.

    • Ex. [1955].

Other Date

If there are other dates besides the creation, publication or copyright date, make a note of those dates.  For a list of abbreviations for months in several languages click here.