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Thanks SO much, Michelle, for your clear and very helpful thoughts.  I
really appreciate the input, which will help me argue my case to
management.

Deena Schwimmer

Associate Archivist

Yeshiva University Archives

Mendel Gottesman Library

500 W. 185th St.

New York, NY  10033

[log in to unmask]

(212) 960-5451
-----Original Message-----
From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Michele Combs
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 2:58 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Normalization of Dates - clarification

As far as the way the visible date is written, I would think that you
need not bother changing that at all unless you have more time and money
than you know what to do with; we don't usually alter the way the dates
appear in legacy finding aids when we do conversion, unless for some
reason it affects the usefulness of the finding aid (e.g. if the format
is so vague as to be uninterpretable or ambiguous enough to lead to more
than one interpretation).

As far as using the unitdate tag, I'd be strongly inclined to include
that in the conversion process if at all possible; it's a pretty basic
and highly useful tag that you know you'll be using someday, even if not
at the moment.  If you're doing the conversion in-house, or if the files
are already in EAD but missing some unitdate elements (which it sounds
like they may be), you may want to have a conversation with one of your
techie folks to see if they could write some kind of script that would
automate the unitdate tagging.

As far as not using the normal attribute, since you don't have a way to
search them at the moment you won't be missing anything, but a couple of
other considerations do come to mind.  For one thing, while you may not
be able to search the normal attribute you may want to contributing your
files to some other database / project / consortium that does understand
and use it.  Also, if you're outsourcing the conversion, it makes more
sense to include that in the tasking and get it done as part of the
process to save time/money.   If you're doing the conversion in-house,
or if the files are already in EAD, again maybe your techie folks could
write some kind of script that would automatically fill in the normal
attribute.

Should you let this hold you up from publishing the finding aid?  That
depends on how you're publishing them.  If you're just putting flat
files out on a server someplace, I'd say go ahead because you can always
replace them with updated versions of the files that have the
unitdate/normal problems corrected.  On the other hand, if you're
putting your files into a database of some sort, you will probably want
to investigate how easy it will be to either (a) add the unitdate
information to the database records later or (b) reimport corrected
versions of the files into the database.

Michele C.


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Michele R. Combs
Librarian for Manuscripts and Archives Processing
Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Library
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-9758
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>>> [log in to unmask] 7/10/2007 2:08:44 PM >>>
  

Thanks for asking for clarification.

I had initially meant using the "normal" attribute, but I would
appreciate thoughts on the former as well.  I see that our legacy
finding aids have dates in a variety of formats, and many <unitdates>
aren't even defined as such.  I would prefer not to hold off
publishing
our EADs until all this is fixed, unless I'd be running some serious
risks.

 

Deena M. Schwimmer, Associate Archivist 

Yeshiva University Archives / 500 W. 185th St. / 6th Floor / New York,

NY 10033

email: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>  / phone: (212)

960-5451 / fax: (212) 960-0066

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Michele Combs
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 1:09 PM
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Normalization of Dates

 

Clarification: when you say "normalizing" do you mean "changing the
way

the date is written to be in a consistent format" or do you mean
"using

the normal attribute in the unitdate element" ?  

 

Michele C.

 

-=|=--=|=---=|=---=|=---=|=---=|=---=|=---=|=--

Michele R. Combs

Librarian for Manuscripts and Archives Processing

Special Collections Research Center

Syracuse University Library

222 Waverly Avenue

Syracuse, NY 13244

(315) 443-9758

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>>> [log in to unmask] 7/9/2007 4:00:01 PM >>>

  I would appreciate thoughts on risks of not normalizing the dates of

legacy EADs before publishing them, at least in the short term, while
we

don't have a facility to search across them.  

Thanks in advance,

Deena Schwimmer

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