I'm implementing a system for search and display
of EAD finding aids, and one feature that our
archivists have requested is a search or limit by
date. It's not easy, so I looked for examples of
how other sites might do it. I have found only
one site that has actually implemented a date search:
Archival Resources (and it's a little misleading,
since it seems to be only searching for dates that
might explicitly appear in finding aids, and not
for dates within ranges).
I don't find any other site that uses dates at all,
which raises a few questions for me. I had advised the
archivists to encode dates and to use the "normal"
attribute, and they're dutifully following directions.
However, if we're not going to use them, why encode them?
I realize that there might be a future payoff, but there
are costs associated with encoding decisions today.
Do people want to use dates in searching? If so, how?
Why do no systems use them?
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