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Hi Jennifer:
Here is the section of the NWDA Best Practices (http://orbiscascade.org/index/cms-filesystem-action?file=nwda/tools/nwdabpg%20version%203.4%2020080130.pdf) that deals with normalizing dates:

NWDA Best Practice Encoding Guidelines for EAD, version 3.4, January 2008, p. 8 
Examples: 
Single Dates (DACS 2.4.13-2.4.15) 
If the collection falls within a single year, use “inclusive” in the TYPE attribute and enter that year (or a more specific date if known) in the 
<unitdate> element. For exact dates, the format year-month-day is preferred but not required. 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”1934”>1934</unitdate> 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”19340326”>1934 March 26</unitdate> 

 Date Ranges (DACS 2.4.7-2.4.9) 

In the NORMAL attribute (if used), state the date range in ISO 8601 date intervals format (separate the beginning and ending dates with a 
slash). 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”195601/195607”>January 1956-July 
1956</unitdate> 
<unitdate type=”bulk” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”1900/1950”>bulk 1900-1950</unitdate> 
 
Broken Date Ranges (e.g., “1924, 1956-1975”) (DACS 2.4.11) 
Encode dates in separate <unitdate> tags. 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”1924”>1924</unitdate>,  
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”1956/1975”>1956-1975</unitdate> 
 
Open Date Ranges (DACS 2.4.8) 
Open dates are not permitted by DACS. If additional material is expected, record the inclusive dates pertaining to the current holdings 
(using the <accruals> element to describe expected accruals). When the accruals are received, the dates should be revised accordingly. 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”1911/1953”>1911-1953</unitdate>  [not 1911-  or 
1911-(ongoing)] 

 

Approximate Dates (e.g., “circa 1950”) (DACS 2.4.12, 2.4.15)  
Use either “circa” or “approximate” (either is acceptable) in the CERTAINTY attribute. Approximate dates should be normalized using an 
interval to express the earliest and latest dates in the range. 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” certainty=”approximate” normal=”1945/1955”>circa 
1950</unitdate>  [normalize as an interval to express an appropriate date range] 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” certainty =”approximate” 
normal=”1980/1989”>1980s</unitdate>  [use an interval to indicate every year of the decade] 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” certainty =”approximate” normal=”1801/1900”>19th 
century</unitdate> 

Undated Material (DACS 2.4.16)  
If a date for the described material is not available, and recording an estimated date is not desired (or would be misleading), use “undated” 
in the <unitdate> element. Do not use the abbreviations “n.d.” or “s.d.” Normalize as a date range (as with approximate dates), perhaps 
using the collection dates, or life of creator, etc. 
<unitdate type=”inclusive” datechar=”creation” era=”ce” calendar=”gregorian” normal=”1936/1999”>undated</unitdate> 

Best, Jodi

On Jan 14, 2009, at 8:10 AM, Betts, Jennifer wrote:

Dear colleagues,
 
I am conducting an informal poll as to how organizations are using normalized dates.
 
Brown University and members of the Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online consortium (RIAMCO) have switched from dtd to schema so our prior normalized format for undated materials is no longer valid:
 
<unitdate encodinganalog="245$f" type="inclusive" normal="">undated</unitdate>
 
 
Using the schema, the following two examples will validate:
 
1. <unitdate encodinganalog="245$f" type="inclusive">undated</unitdate>
 
2. <unitdate encodinganalog="245$f" type="inclusive" normal="0000">undated</unitdate>
 
 
-          How are other organizations formatting the normalized for undated materials?  Right now we are leaning towards option 1 for undated materials.
 
-          Regarding normalized dates in general, what do organizations use as their rationale for using or not using normalized dates?  Our current plan is to keep using the normalized format for all dated materials but we are most curious as to what might be the argument against using normalized dates.
 
Thanks in advance!
 
 - Jennifer
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Jennifer J. Betts
RIAMCO Project Manager
John Hay Library, Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI  02912
TEL:  (401) 863-2148
CELL: (401) 480-1173
FAX:  (401) 863-2093 
 

Jodi Allison-Bunnell
Program Manager, Northwest Digital Archives
Orbis Cascade Alliance
418 Woodford
Missoula, MT 59801
(406) 829-6528
fax (860) 540-8281
Researcher website:http://nwda.wsulibs.wsu.edu/