Network Bulletin No.:   04-26

         Date:   April 30, 2004

         Subject:   CMLS
         Index term: Patron birth year entries

        From birth year entries in the CMLS database, it appears that libraries use local
        convention when the patron's birth year is unknown.  Some libraries leave the birth
        year blank; some libraries use impossible dates, such as 1850 or 1066.  To be able to
        compile accurate statistical information, NLS requests that libraries adopt a
        consistent date entry when the birth year is not known.

        If you cannot determine the birth year from your records or if the patron does not
        give you the birth year, please use 1809, Louis Braille's birth year.  Recently some
        network libraries were asked to enter four zeros for a patron's birth year if the year
        could not be determined or was not available.  NLS has learned that four zeros will
        not be accepted in some library systems, so the year 1809 was selected instead.  The
        birth year 1809 will be the default indicator to show that birth year information is not

        For further information contact:

        Sylvia H. Dye
        CMLS Coordinator
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