Enclosing in unitdate. All of our finding-aids will eventually have
normalized dates, and we're in the process of normalizing dates on
legacy/conversion finding-aids.

For finding aids created from scratch, I use the normal
attribute as the means of tracking and sorting items by date. As a matter
of convenience [and as we all wait for things like content
standards to completely shake out through CUSTARD],  I've been
using the letter x for unknown digits and using the 8 digit date in the
"normal" attribute. Placed in a text column in a database, the description
sorts as our files are arranged.

Another part of the idea is to produce normalized dates that might, after
a quick global search and replace on the "x" crosswalk to something
like an 045 MARC field (allowing for good sorting and retrieval). Also
necessary is the flexibility to use brackets and question marks
perhaps offered by a title date (sometimes offering information that
normalized dates can't). A doubtful date (for example [1957?] will get
normalized to 1957xxxx, but the dubiety of the date remains in the title
date (say something like a 245f MARC field). A retrieval system might
retrieve based on the normalized date (045) while displaying the
orthographic information from the title date (245f)

So, to make a long story short <unitdate normal="xxxxxxxx">n.d.</unitdate>

Chatham Ewing
Curator of Manuscripts/Modern Literature
Washington University
Campus Box 1061                 Phone:  (314)935-5413
One Brookings Drive             Fax:    (314)935-4045
St. Louis, MO   63130-4899      e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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,
> Stephanie
> Stephanie Ashley
> Project Archivist
> Archives of American Art
> Smithsonian Institution
> 202-275-1672
> [log in to unmask]