I'm  glad you clarified this. It seems to me publication/printing dates on printed books are excellent for activity dates for printers and publishers, since the activity in question is the production of the book itself. For authors/contributors whose works/expressions are contained in published resources, however, the activity (creation of the work or expression) took place at a different time from the publication of the book, sometimes quite a long time previously. I'm not saying publication dates can't be used as evidence for activity dates of authors/contributors, just that we need to be careful about it and think about what the "activity" was.

As for whether to change activity dates in authorized access points when new evidence arises expanding the period of activity, in my opinion it's fine, though I probably wouldn't if the change was only a year or two either way. I do think that if evidence for a birth or death date surfaces, then the activity dates should be replaced by that.


Robert L. Maxwell
Ancient Languages and Special Collections Cataloger
6728 Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

"We should set an example for all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course which has been heretofore pursued"--Eliza R. Snow, 1842.

From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ted P Gemberling
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: "Active" dates

It just occurred to me that I should disclose something. The authority I'm creating now is for a publisher. Maybe that's a peculiar instance where the uncertainty of dates would be higher than with authors. Perhaps we can often be fairly confident an author wrote only one thing in one year, even without a reference source.

From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ted P Gemberling
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:17 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [PCCLIST] "Active" dates

I wanted to run this by people to see if they agree.

It seems to me that if we are basing an "active" date on the bibliographic records in OCLC, rather than some reference source, they should always be "approximately." It would seem risky to do otherwise since it may be that an item with a date before or after the date range may not be cataloged yet.

On the other hand, I have revised "active" dates when I cataloged a book one year later than the ending date. Do you think that if "approximately" is included, that's unnecessary? I can believe it might be for a difference of one year, but a difference of 5 would seem to call for revision. It gives a seriously misleading impression of the person's work.

Ted P. Gemberling
Historical Collections Cataloger
UAB Lister Hill Library, rm. 234B
1720 Second Ave. South
Birmingham, Ala. 35294-0013
Phone: (205)934-2461
Fax: (205)934-3545