Date Field

Field name: Your choice (default = "Date")

DC Element: Date

Dublin Core defines the element Date as "a date associated with an event in the life cycle of the resource." Most often this will be the date that the resource was created. Technically this should be the date the current form of the resource was created, but in most UW Libraries projects we have not used the Date element for the date the image was scanned, but rather for the date the resource was originally created. Choosing a more specific field name will help to make clear what the date is referring to for searches within your collection.

Examples of field names:

  • Date
  • Image Date
  • Date of Publication
  • Event Date
  • Date of Photograph

Examples of data:

  • 1985
  • 1974-01-25

Recommended format:

  • YYYY-MM-DD (ISO 8601)

A word about date ranges and circa dates:

General advice: Ideally you want to avoid distorting your data formatting as a workaround for software limitations. Software packages like CONTENT could change through further development, or you could at some point want to migrate your data to a completely new software package. On the other hand, the search and display capabilities of the software package that your users will use for access is a reality you may need to take into account. There are no easy answers here.

Case in point: Right now CONTENT handles dates as if they were text keywords. Date ranges and circa dates can only be searched in a very literal sense.

  • Date of Photograph: ca. 1908 (can only be retrieved by a search for "1908")
  • Date of Publication: 1938-1945 (can only be retrieved by a search for "1938" or "1945"; a search for "1940" will NOT retrieve this record)

UW Libraries projects have created an interim solution (or "kludge") for circa dates and other small date ranges. In these cases we have created 2 fields. Below is an example:

Field name

DC mapping



Example data

Date of Photograph




ca. 1905





1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913

In the above example, a search for any year in the range 1903-1913 will retrieve the record, though only the field "Date of Photograph: ca. 1905" will display to users.

Please note that we have not used this "kludge" in all projects. Some date ranges are so large that this solution is not practical.