Clean up: Instructions for accession date in accession records

Every accession record requires an accession date. ArchivesSpace requires this to save a record. Our processing manual instructs to include the date the materials arrived at UMD, but it’s buried in the Beast documentation as opposed to a policy/requirement. About 70% of the time there is a decent accession date in the Beast. We actually ended up checking our paper files and adding accession dates too. We weren’t going to do this originally, but ended up checking the paper for some other issues so went ahead and added an accession date when found.

Actions:

Every accession requires an accession date in YYYY-MM-DD format.

We have two date fields related to accession records. The “acqdate” field from the “source’ table that SHOULD specify the accession date of the materials. We also have the “dateoffirstentry” from the “archdesc” table that is the date the form in the Beast was entered. Usually, this date is later than the acqdate and pretty regularly it is much, much later.

If date in “acqdate” seems to be the same fiscal year as the accession number use this date.

When “acqdate” and “dateoffirstentry” both have similar dates, choose the earliest date, which will usually be in “acqdate”.

  • ex: “dateoffirstentry” is 6/18/2003 and “acqdate” is 06/11/2003. Use acqdate.

If no, “acqdate”, check “dateoffirstentry”. If this date seems to be the same fiscal year, use this date. If this field was obviously entered much later, do not use this date.

  • ex:  “dateoffirstentry” is 1/19/2003, no “acqdate”, accession number is 2003-19. Use dateoffirstentry.
  • ex: “dateoffirstentry” is 1/19/2003, no “acqdate”, accession number is 92-86. Do not use dateoffirstentry.

If you have a partial date:

  • Year and Month (August 2002)
    • Use 01 as the day value: 2002-08-01
    • (used first day of month to avoid different number of days in a month)
  • Season (Fall 2005 or Spring 2006)
    • Choose the end of the fiscal year or calendar year
    • Summer and Fall go to December 31, 2005
    • Winter and Spring go to June 30, 2006
  • Year only (2002, 1985)
    • Using the accession number, try to determine the fiscal year the materials came in.
    • If you can determine the fiscal year pick either the end of the fiscal year (June 30) or end of calendar year (December 31). This will help maintain that this accession came in during that fiscal year, but also attempt to ensure we know the calendar year the materials came in.
    • If the year matches the first part of the accession number, materials came in during the second half of the fiscal year, but the first half of the calendar year: January-June XXXX
      • Use June 30, XXXX
      • ex: 2002 with accession number 2002-172 is FY2002
        • FY2002 includes Jan-June 2002, use June 30, 2002
      • (used end of month to account for whole period)
    • If the year is one higher than the accession number, materials came in during the first half of the fiscal year, but the second half of the calendar year: July-December XXXX
      • Use December 31, XXXX
      • ex: 2003 with accession number 2002-267 is FY2003
        • FY2003 includes July-Dec 2002, use December 31, 2002
      • (used end of month to account for whole period)

If there is no date:

  • Use default date of 1856-01-01
    • Selected as the year of the charter of the Maryland Agricultural College.
    • Debated using the year of the accession number and selecting dummy months and days, but decided not to do this as it would negatively impact calendar year reporting.

What date to pick if there are multiple dates:

  • Unfortunately, a very common practice was to add new materials arriving to a recent accession instead of documenting each discreet group as their own accessions. There is no way to tell which materials arrived on which date so we can’t split this into two accession records.
    • Examples include:
      • September 11, 1990 and September 28, 1990
      • 7/27/2006 and 8/20/2006
    • Use the earliest date for the accession date.
    • In a general note state “Portions of this accession also arrived on [dates].”
  • Other times collections were not documented at the point of accession, so dates are generalized such as: circa 1990s.
    • Use default accession date of 1856-01-01
    • In a general note state “Accession date of materials may be [dates].”

 

 

 

 

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