The National Archives Catalog


Inclusive Start Date

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Level Available A/V Only Public Element
Yes No Date None Record Group
Collection
Series
No Yes
Definition:

The beginning date on which the record group, collection, series, or item was created, maintained, or accumulated by the creator.

Purpose: Identifies the beginning date of the record group, collection, series or item's creation, maintenance, or accumulation and serves as a primary access point to allow users to retrieve or sort by time period.
Relationship: This element and Inclusive End Date are dependent on each other. If Inclusive Start Date is specified, then Inclusive End Date must be created. Inclusive Start Date Qualifier is dependent on this element. To have Inclusive Start Date Qualifier, Inclusive Start Date must be created.
Guidance:

Enter the beginning date on which the record group, collection, or series was created, maintained, or accumulated by the creator.

For preliminary descriptions, Inclusive Start Date may fall outside the dates of the creating organization.

Inclusive Dates Versus Coverage Dates
Inclusive dates are those that comprise the time period during which the record group, collection, or series was created, maintained, or accumulated as a unified filing system by the creator because of some relationship arising out of the records creation, receipt, or use. Coverage dates are those that comprise the subject time period covered by the record group, collection, or archival materials. Normally, the subject dates are the same as the inclusive dates. However, if the dates are different, use the coverage dates as appropriate.

Active Accretions
If accretions to the record group, collection, or archival materials are still being sent to NARA, Inclusive Start Date and Inclusive End Date should define the time span for which the repository has holdings. For record groups, collections, or series that have yearly accretions, update Inclusive End Date when the record group, collection, or archival materials are accessioned.

Unknown Date
If you do not know the dates of a record group, collection, or series, estimate the century in which the record group, collection, or archival materials were created. Enter the first year of the century (1700) in Inclusive Start Date, enter the last year of the century (1799) in Inclusive End Date, and use the "?" in Inclusive Start Date Qualifier and Inclusive End Date Qualifier.

For donated materials, estimate the dates based on the person or organization that created the materials. If you know the birth and death dates of the Creating Individual or the establish and abolish dates of the Creating Organization, use those as Inclusive Start Date and Inclusive End Date. If the birth date or establish date is unknown, enter the first year of the century in which the collection or series was known to exist in the Inclusive Start Date. If the death date or abolish date is unknown, use the donation date as Inclusive End Date. In all cases, use the ca. qualifier to indicate uncertainty.

When the Date Span is Only One Date
If the date is a specific day (02/11/1969), month (02/1969), or year (1969), enter the date in Inclusive Start Date and then repeat the same specific date in Inclusive End Date.

When the Date Span is One of Two Years
If the date is one of two years (1953 or 1954), then enter the first year (1953) in Inclusive Start Date, enter the second year (1954) in Inclusive End Date, and use the "ca." in Inclusive Start Date Qualifier and Inclusive End Date Qualifier.

When the Date Span is Several Years
If the dates fall between several years (1826-1835), then enter the earliest possible date (1826) in Inclusive Start Date, enter the latest possible date (1835) in Inclusive End Date, and use the "ca." in Inclusive Start Date Qualifier and Inclusive End Date Qualifier.

When the Date Span is a Decade
When describing a decade as a date span, enter the first year of the decade (1920) in Inclusive Start Date, enter the last year of the decade (1929) in Inclusive End Date, and use the "ca." in Inclusive Start Date Qualifier and Inclusive End Date Qualifier.

When the Date Span is a Century
When describing a century as a date span, enter the first year of the century (1700) in Inclusive Start Date, enter the last year of the century (1799) in Inclusive End Date, and use the "ca." in Inclusive Start Date Qualifier and Inclusive End Date Qualifier.

Date Form
Enter the date in MM/DD/YYYY form.
If the day is unknown, enter the month and year in the MM/YYYY form.
If the month is unknown, enter the year in the YYYY form.
Do not use 00 as a month or day.

Multiple Dates
If multiple date elements are used in a description at the Record Group, Collection, or Series Level, explain the distinctions in Date Note. For example, if a series has both inclusive dates and coverage dates, then explain the different dates in Date Note. At the File Unit and Item Level, it is not necessary to explain the distinctions between multiple date elements.

Examples:
Inclusive Start Date - 1970
Inclusive End Date - 1979
Coverage Start Date - 1939
Coverage End Date - 1979
[Between 1970 and 1979 the Justice Department created (through accumulation) a series of historical photographs, some of which were taken as early as 1939.]
Inclusive Start Date - 1864
Inclusive Start Date Qualifier - ca.
Inclusive End Date - 1874
Inclusive End Date Qualifier - ca.
Date Note - Though some documents in this series are not clearly dated, it appears to have been created in a period following the Civil War.


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