USC-2.5.4

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Record the dates of archival materials

Record the dates of archival materials
Summary ID number USC-2.5.4
Overview

An archivist identifies the date range of a unit of archival material. In the main scenarios, identification is straightforward; in the variations, multiple types of dates must be recorded or uncertainties arise as to exact dates.

Actors

Primary actor:

  • Archivist
Description Preconditions
Trigger
Successful outcome
  • Date range identified and recorded.
Main scenario

Scenario A (fonds or series):

1. Archivist determines date of earliest file or item registered to fonds or series.

2. Archivist detemrines date of latest file or item registered to fonds to series.

3. Archivist enters the year values in the Creation year and End year fields.

4. Archivist enters the full date range in the Date display field, using any date formats or qualifiers as per institutional policy.

  • E.g. "May 1950" or "ca. 1950" or "1950-1975, predominant 1950-1955".

5. At the highest level of description, the archivist also registers the name of the creator. This registers the dates of creation and links the description to the creator's authority record.

6. At a lower level of description, the archivist typically leaves the name of the creator blank (if it is the same as at the higher level). If the creator at the lower level is different, the archivist enters the name along with the date.

  • E.g. the creator of a series is a committee of the larger fonds-creating body.

Note that steps 5 and 6 reflect the way ICA-AtoM handles dates. These are registered as events in the Event table (creation events), associating an actor with a unit of material over a period of time. If the Creator field is blank, the event inherits its creator from the higher level of description.

Exceptions / variations

Scenario B:

An institution records multiple types of dates at the item level, depending on medium / format (e.g. for moving-image material: date of creation, date of broadcast, date of re-broadcast).

  • The archivist registers multiple dates and uses the Date display field to qualify the type of date.

Scenario C:

A file was opened on a certain date (e.g. 1965) but accumulated documents that are older than the file (e.g. 1865).

  • The archivist registers separate Dates of creation and Dates of accumulation, using the Date display field to qualify the type of date.
  • The archivist will have to repeat this manually at the relevant higher levels (.e.g series, fonds).

Scenario D:

The dates of a file or item are uncertain or unknown.

  • The archivist enters a year in the Creation year and End year fields, but uses the Date display field to qualify the dates (e.g. "196-").
  • The archivist will have to repeat this manually at the relevant higher levels (.e.g series, fonds).
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