Hi Victoria --

If you're referring to the script that's
available at , that's
true that it only works if there's nothing in your normal attribute, but
it can *very* easily be modified so that it does replace whatever's in
there as follows.  All you have to do is comment out the 2 lines in the
date_norm subprocedure that comprise the "if' statement that checks that
the norm attribute is empty, and it will then happily replace whatever
is currently in the normal attribute.  For the version that's currently
on the website above, that's lines 559 and 569.  

You may find also that it doesn't understand some of your human-readable
dates; for example I tested your examples and it didn't understand "1953
Aug 17-1964 July 8."  But if you have someone on staff who'e
perl-knowledgeable that can easily be tweaked.  Or you could check with
Jason Casden who wrote the script -- he was kind enough to modify it
slightly for me and I'm sure he could do the same for you.


Michele Combs.
Librarian for Manuscripts and Archives Processing.
Special Collections Research Center.
Syracuse University Library.
222 Waverly Avenue.
Syracuse, NY   13244
-----Original Message-----
From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Victoria West
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 8:15 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Normalizing dates


I'm looking for some advice regarding normalizing dates.  We are
currently updating our EAD catalogues to v2002 and thought it would be a
good opportunity to normalize our dates too.  I've seen from previous
messages on this list last year that there are scripts available to do
this, and I think that we will be able to use these.  The problem is
that we already have non-ISO8601 dates normalized dates in the following

<unitdate normal="19530817-19640708">1953 Aug 17-1964 July 8</unitdate>
<unitdate normal="1951xxxx-1962xxxx">1951-1975</unitdate>
<unitdate normal="1970xxxx">1970</unitdate>

The way I understand it the script will only work if you do not already
have anything normalized in the tags.  Can anyone recommend an easy way
of stripping out these dates so that we can then use the script to
insert new ISO8601 ones.

Many thanks in advance

Victoria West

Archivist - V&A Archive
Word and Image Department
Victoria and Albert Museum
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