Cataloging records on AtoM

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Daniela Moneta

Oct 19, 2016, 3:31:34 PM10/19/16
to AtoM Users
AtoM works really well for most things we are entering in the database. I know that the date field is required but sometimes I have to leave it off. For example, when I am doing a series records on a group of documents that have no end date, i.e., membership reports, census records, membership directories, some periodicals that continue to come out with no end date in sight. I am also bringing some of my cataloging skills as I am a former librarian. When we have serials (publications that do not have an end date and continue to be published, in library work we call them continuations and write the date as, for example, 1963- . The dash means that it is still an active publication. The same would go for census records or membership records that come out each year. I can give the individual census records a year, i.e., 1983-1983.

Can the developers allow us to create a series record for things that continue to be produced and make the date open, like 1991 -     ? Or is this something that I an do myself? 

Daniela Moneta, MLIS, Archivist
World Subud Association

Dan Gillean

Oct 19, 2016, 3:54:23 PM10/19/16
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Daniela,

You should be able to do this already! There are 3 date fields - the display date, which public users see, and the controlled start and end dates, used internally for date sorting and searching by date ranges, which require the ISO 8601 format (YYYY, YYYY-MM, or YYYY-MM-DD).

With the display date, you can certainly enter whatever you wish - this field is simple text, so it allows you to use typographical marks to indicate approximation, uncertainty, based on the conventions used locally or in your regional/national standard. For example, in the Canadian RAD standard, we often convey approximation as [199-?] or [ca. 1990]. If you want to enter a date as "1983 - " you can do this.

As for the controlled fields, AtoM will attempt to populate them based on what you enter in the display date field, but you can edit these values as needed - including removing one or both of them.

In the documentation examples for how date range search works in the 2.3 version, I've included a number of examples for open start and open end date ranges. See:

If you are finding that this is not working in your AtoM instance, let me know exactly what behavior you are seeing and I will try to reproduce it - it's possible that you might have found a bug. I'm currently traveling, so my apologies if it takes me a while to test and report back, but I will try when I have access to keep an eye on this.


Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.

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Daniela Moneta

Oct 27, 2016, 5:21:35 PM10/27/16
to AtoM Users
Thanks, Dan, for your help.  I know that I have to keep reading the documentation. I work at home for a small non-profit and have never been to a training session. I love AtoM, everything is there. For me, it is like building a car using the manufacturer's how-to manual. It is taking quite a while but you are always there to answer my questions.
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