Cheshire for Archives provides a variety of date searching
Record containing exactly a given date
Records before/after given date
Records containing ranges that span a given date
Records containing exact dates, or ranges within a given range.
Cases of uncertainty (e.g. a year and month, or just a year) are also
handled, both in the record and the search.
As you suggest, date alone is unlikely to be sufficient to identify
records of interest, but it can be useful in narrowing down broad
searches in other area. Cheshire for Archives also allow keyword search
and searching within given tags. These can be combined with boolean
logic, so you can do something like:
Keywords matches all of "science fiction"
Personal name matches any of "Huxley Orwell Wyndham"
Date is before 1980
An example of the system can be seen at:
The system was developed, with extensive consultation with archivists,
as part of the Archive Hub (http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk) project, a
nationwide portal for higher education archival descriptions held in the
The open source software is available and free for use in academic
On Thu, 2009-01-15 at 11:46 -0500, Custer, Mark wrote:
> Yesterday’s post about “normalized dates” has me thinking once again
> about how dates are used (or not used) in EAD records. As far as I
> can tell, RLG’s ArchiveGrid doesn’t permit searching by date (I could
> be wrong on this, though, as I don’t have full access to it, but it
> does use Lucene to index its records; though I suppose that most of
> these records are just MARC records?) and Proquest’s Archive Finder
> does permit searching by date, but it doesn’t really allow you to do
> very much (i.e. there’s no way to rank your results by “relevancy”).
> This leads me to a question: what sort of back-end systems are
> archives using for their EAD records? (are there any surveys out there
> that has this information, or should we start one???)
> At ECU, we're using an XML database only, but we aren't doing any
> advanced searching by date (primarily because, at this time, if you
> did search for something like "1912", it's not going to limit your
> results very much; and then, really, you're just back at the whole
> "browse by collection name" situation). However, you can do a keyword
> search for "1912", and the results that are returned to you will be
> ordered by the number of hits in each document, which, in my mind, is
> only a small difference in functionality, but perhaps more useful (in
> most occasions) than simply limiting your results to any and all
> collection date ranges that contain the year "1912".
> This leads me to another set of questions: is anyone out there using
> the "bulk" attribute as part of your information retrieval process?...
> is anyone using dates beyond the collection range (those dates
> associated with a series, folder, even an item) in the information
> retrieval process?... has anyone attempted to test their corpus of
> EAD records with their current search operations vs. indexing and
> searching those records by means of different models of IR, such as
> Nutch, INDRI, Solr, or even just Google Custom Search???
> I think it's great that we're encoding our documents so well, but I
> keep wondering if we're harnessing that information in the best
> possible ways yet (and perhaps the best solutions won't be tied to our
> encoding practices at all).
> Mark Custer
> Text & Markup Coordinator
> ECU Digital Collections
School of English
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