n.d. is the date, and should go in the <unitdate> element, insofar as it is the
"date" you are assigning to the document. However, you might like to consider a
In my retrospective conversion of paper lists, I found a lot of documents where
the date was implied by the context. For example, documents divided into decade
sequences often had a batch at the end of each that were undated, but because
you found them in the section "Dairies, 1850-1860" you assume them to be within
that date range. In an online list it is more dangerous to make that assumption.
To broaden the example, if your entire finding aid relates to the papers of a
20th century scientist, you assume an undated letter from them must be at least
from the period they were alive (narrowed down even to when they were old enough
to write?). However, can your EAD setup perform this same process?
There are several possibilities. First, it is a good idea to narrow down the
"n.d." usage, e.g. [n.d. 1930s?]. This may help if some future data harvester
extracts your record from its EAD context. To make the EAD understand your
dating methods depends on how you implement it. It is a good idea to normalize
your dates using the normal attribute - <unitdate normal="193xxxxx">[n.d.
1930s]</unitdate> - indeed if you use the normal attribute it should be used on
all occasions or you will never achieve a satisfactory search across all
documents (even <unitdate normal="18xxxxxx">[n.d. 19th century]</unitdate> can
be helpful. The other more complex alternative is to set up your EAD environment
so that it uses some form of inheritance whereby the <unitdate> for the
collection or series is inherited by the undated file level items within the
subordinate <c0?> elements - I am not aware of any system doing this but it
would use the EAD (and ISAD(G)) principal of inheritance.
Durham University Library
Archives & Special Collections
On Tue, 23 Apr 2002, Stephanie Ashley wrote:
>How are people encoding "n.d." or "undated" for undated material? Do you enclose it in <unitdate> tags (even though it's not a date), or make it part of the <unittitle>. I've consulted several best practice guidelines, and the list archives, but can't find anything that addresses this specifically. Thanks for any input,
>Archives of American Art
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