Difference: DateFields (r3 vs. r2)

- SandraMcIntyre, 15 Oct 2008


Date Fields

When setting up the fields for your CONTENTdm collection and starting to enter values, remember to treat Date fields differently. Here are some tips about Fields Setup and about Date Formatting.

Fields Setup

You can establish several different kinds of dates, if you like. The metadata standard requires you to enter the Date (original date) and Date.Digital. Date.Digital (if different from the original date). We suggest you make the Date (original date) be searchable.

  • Searchable Date (original date): Want a Date field to be searchable as a date? Set its data type to "Date" and set its searchability to "Yes". The data type lets CONTENTdm know what sort of data to expect: text, date, or full text search. Go to "fields" on the "collections" tab in the CONTENTdm Administration interface, click "edit" next to the Date field and set its properties:
    • Field name: Date (or "Searchable Date" or "Date.Original" if you prefer)
    • Dublin Core mapping: Date
    • Data type: Date
      Note: Now you must enter metadata in one of the date formats that CONTENTdm allows.
    • Searchable: Yes
    • Hidden: No (or Yes if you want to display to the user another date field instead as described below)
  • A separate Display Date (optional): Have another Date field that you want to display instead, with more informal metadata in it? Some collection managers have created two Date fields -- one for searching (as described above), and another for display to the user. This is common when collections have a lot of dates that are formatted differently from the CONTENTdm standard date formats, such as "Circa 1980s" or "Undated, likely late 1800s". You can set up your fields to show the more informal date to the user but provide a date-formatted date to the search engine, if you like. Set the searchable date as described above, and also set its "Field name" to "Searchable date". Then create a second date field and edit its properties:
    • Field name: Display Date (or just "Date" if you are only displaying this one)
    • Dublin Core mapping: None (to prevent it being harvested and creating confusion downstream)
    • Data type: Text
    • Searchable: No
    • Hidden: No
  • Digital Date: Map "Digital Date" (Date.Digital) to "None" and set "Searchable" to "No". Only the original "Date" of the item should be mapped to Dublin Core "Date" and set to be searchable. The user expects to find the date of the material when searching by date, not the date of the digitization. Mapping the Date.Digital to "None" prevents it from being shared via OAI and therefore prevents the confusion from occurring in searches within OAI-harvested indexes such as the Mountain West Digital Library.
    • Field name: Date.Digital
    • Dublin Core mapping: None (to prevent it being harvested and creating confusion downstream)
    • Data type: Date
    • Searchable: No
    • Hidden: Yes or No (depending on whether you want the user to see it)

Date Formatting

Unsure how to format dates? You can look at the CONTENTdm Help page on "Entering Dates" at http://contentdm.com/help4/acq-station/entering4a.html. However, this is not quite a complete list. Here is a modified list that we think is more accurate for CONTENTdm 4.3:

  • Acceptable formats for import:
    • When using the Media Editor, the Project Spreadsheet, or the Template Creator:
      • yyyy
      • yyyy-mm
      • yyyy-mm-dd
      • mm/yyyy
      • mm/dd/yyyy
      • mm-yyyy
      • mm-dd-yyyy
      • dd-month yyyy
      • yyyy-yyyy
    • When using a tab-delimited file for multiple-file imports:
  • Stored formats: Dates are automatically converted in CONTENTdm to one of these storage formats when the record is imported or when the Media Editor is saved. This is also how the dates are shared via OAI (regardless of the display format chosen in CONTENTdm; see Display formats below). These formats are all compliant with the international standard for dates, ISO 8601.
    • yyyy
    • yyyy; yyyy; yyyy; yyyy [date ranges are converted to list of single years]
    • yyyy-mm
    • yyyy-mm-dd
  • Display formats within CONTENTdm viewers: How dates are displayed in the Web Templates can be configured. See "Editing the Style File" at http://contentdm.com/help4/custom/templates3.html http://contentdm.com/help5/custom/templates3.asp for more information on date display options. This does not affect the formats under which they are stored.

CONTENTdm 4.3 bug and workaround when importing a tab-delimited text file with date ranges: ranges (not tested yet in version 5.1):

  • Description of Bug: Some date ranges do not expand correctly when you do a multiple-file import with a tab-delimited file. CONTENTdm's import should expand most date ranges from the format yyyy-yyyy into the expanded list of years. For example, "1813-1815" is expanded automatically into "1813; 1814; 1815". However, when CONTENTdm encounters a date range that spans a century or more, it mangles it instead into an incorrect date. For example, "1898-1905" is converted to "1898-01-05".
  • Workaround: If you catch these errors before you have uploaded the items, you can correct them fairly easily:
    1. After importing the tab-delimited file into the Project Spreadsheet, carefully examine the Date column for any anomalies.
    2. Double-click the thumbnail of the problem item to open the item in the Media Editor.
    3. Re-type the date range in the format yyyy-yyyy.
    4. Click the "Save" button. The date range should now be expanded to the correct list of years in the Project Spreadsheet.

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