On Chronological Order

I’m just going to put this out into the world, but in a place I can easily find it again. Dating archival material can get rather specific. Frequently, materials are then filed in chronological order and those specific and extensive dates can get a bit tricky to organize. So, with former colleagues from PACSCL (h/t to Annalise Berdini, among others), we’ve come up with this example list of what order these things go in, from most specific (or first) to least specific (or last). I find that I refer to it quite frequently when doing physical arrangement. Perhaps one day it will become ingrained in me and I can stop checking this list, but until that day comes, and perhaps as a small benefit to other archives processors out there, the list is as follows:

1931 January 1
1931 January
1931
circa 1931
1931, 1945
1931, 1945-1946
1931, undated
1931-1932
undated

One can then use this established sequence for further expansion. For example, something like “circa 1931, 1945” would go after  “1931, 1945”  and so on. I still sometimes have my qualms about the position of entries with circa dates, but I think this list is accurate and helpful. So, that’s it. Go put things in order!