Dates are a very important metadata element. The application requires dates to be complete and accurate before they can be accepted into the database. This requires a disciplined format and data capture. The recording of dates has been designed to make it both easy and fast to accurately record dates, with sufficient flexibility when needed for data entry staff to record special date attributes.
There are two types of Date field, "Date" and "Complex Date":
Date field: This is referred to as a simple date field. It is used for specific dates such as 21 January 2015, but not for partial dates.
Complex Date: This includes not only the specific date, but also caters for circa, ongoing and no date entries, date ranges and allows for partial dates to be entered.
A Date field appears as follows:
Click on the drop down box and a calendar appears:
Use the navigation arrows to switch between months and years.
Choose a date and click on it.
The date appears in the drop down box in the format 21/01/2015 (Day Month Year)
To move between years quickly, click into the year header and a list of possible years is shown with the ability to navigate quickly to earlier years. Selecting one displays the calendar for that year.
To delete the entry, click on the drop-down to bring up the calendar.
Click on the Clear button at the bottom.
A Complex Date field appears as follows in the data entry form:
To enter a date:
Alternatively add only a year, or a month and year.
Alternatively, add a specific date, click on the calendar icon to the right of the boxes, and a calendar appears:
Use the navigation arrows to switch between months and years. Choose a date and click on it.
The date then appears above the drop-down boxes.
Designate a date as approximate. The symbols used to show a Circa date can be defined in System Configuration Maintenance. The default is the ~ symbol either side of the date. This means that a record will be retrieved in any search where x years either side of the Date entered, where x is the number of years set up in System Configuration: the default is 6 years.
Tick the Circa checkbox under the field in order to activate this function.
To mark the date as ongoing, tick the Ongoing tick box and the date already entered shown in top of the field will be shown with a hyphen, i.e. 2007 -.
A record thus entered would be found in searches from 2007 to the present day.
Define the date entry as "No Date" to indicate that there is "no date" and it has not been forgotten!
The default setting is "No Date" but this can be changed in System Configuration Maintenance.
To mark the record as having no date, tick the No Date box.
To delete the entry, click on the Clear link to the right of the date.
A date range can be recorded. This requires the "Range Date" tick box to clicked on and the form expands to include a second date thus allowing a From date and a To date to be recorded.
A date can be given a descriptor to both record the item being added to the database as belonging to a period in time, as well as allowing a search to be described by a description. This is especially useful in Archive applications where materials may "belong" to a period.
The set up of this facility is carried out using the menu: System Management >> Field Maintenance. It is necessary to select the Complex Date field to enable the Date Description option. Within the Date Field set up there are several elements but two in particular are needed to effect this function
Only when the Complex Date field type has been selected does the "Enable date description" option to appear.
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