Leeds University Library

Searching using dates

Searching using dates can be tricky.

Why does the online catalogue have earliest dates and latest dates?

Our online catalogue search uses filters and advanced search options that include earliest and latest dates, rather than a simple 'date'. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Many of our records describe more than one item (see What is an archives hierarchy) that may have been created at different times, eg "1822, 1825" or "1964-1969". So in these cases the earliest and latest dates reflect the first date and the last date of the material.
  • Many of our records have uncertain dates, so their dates are recorded as eg 'circa' 1964. In these cases the earliest and last dates reflect the likely period in which the material was actually created.

A search example

Say you want to find all materials that were created during the seventeenth century: 1600-1699(*).

There is a record with a date of circa 1595, and earliest and latest dates of 1585 and 1605. Should that be included in the list of all materials created in the seventeenth century?

  • To include circa 1595: