Date field excludes Accessed date/Chicago Manual of Style 17

I need to include both the copyright date of a website and the date I accessed the page, using the Chicago Manual of Style (full note) style, the Book Section format. But the Accessed date doesn't get pulled into bibliographic data if the "Date" field has a value. I haven't found a rule in CMOS that makes these two dates mutually exclusive. Is this a bug or is it working as designed on purpose?

  • I don't have the manual here right now, but they essentially say not to use access date unless you don't have any other date, which is what we do (I think you'll find this if you search the manual for access date. I've also quoted the section a couple of times here on the forums).
  • Thank, Adam. I did see that reference in CMOS. I do wish we could be given the option here to use both, if desired. A growing number of us are using Zotero for genealogical research, and doing the best we can to adapt it to the "Evidence Explained" standard. Is is possible to have a flag that allows it? Thanks!
  • No, not possible with a flag (there are simply too many options for a flag here - it's not like Chicago in its current version never wants accessed dates, for example). The only way to go would be to modify a copy of the style to add accessed dates -- that said, I understand the utility for EE for primary sources, but why bother with any of its rules for secondary sources? Just follow CMoS -- or am I misunderstanding what you're after?
  • It's for primary sources, indirectly, but I'm having to use the Book Sections to come close to reaching EE guidelines when the primary source is coming through multiple layers--like a folder called "Bennett, Mardecia, S. Perry Co. Est. 53-002-0093" (layer 1) in the Perry County Alabama probate courthouse records (layer 2), digitized as a collection called "Estate Papers, Bennett, Alexander R - Black, William, 1822-1914" (layer 3), within a major database called "Alabama Wills and Probate Records, 1753-1999" (layer 4). EE demands every layer be recorded. Less complex sources, like a traditional book or the original courthouse materials, can more easily use the regular CMOS formats. But for genealogists, a huge portion of our material comes through online databases, very often databases within databases.

    In looking more closely at this change in CMOS regarding the Access Date, it makes more sense to me that EE needs to modify its requirements to reflect CMOS. But I also think a custom format would be desirable to handle these databases within databases borrowed from primary records. At the very least, the ability to have a comment field like "Extra" included when you extract the bibliographic source text could open it up for us. We could use that to add the extreme detail EE demands, though I don't have much hope that we'll ever be able to have it dump the citations within perfect EE format. And while I'd love perfect form, I'm OK with just being sure I have a place to put all the layers.

    Here's how I'm using the Book Section format to come close to EE on the situation above. The citation looks like this:

    Alabama. Perry County. Probate Court, “Estate Papers, Bennett, Alexander R - Black, William, 1822-1914, ‘Bennett, Mardecia, S. [Mordecai S.] Perry Co. Est. 53-002-0093,’” in Alabama, Wills and Probate Records, 1753-1999, database with images (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015), Images 316-339, unpaginated; from Perry County (Alabama) records,

    It's set up in Zotero this way:

    Item Type: Book Section
    Title: Estate Papers, Bennett, Alexander R - Black, William, 1822-1914, "Bennett, Mardecia, S. [Mordecai S.] Perry Co. Est. 53-002-0093"
    Author: Alabama. Perry County. Probate Court [all in last name field]
    Edition: database with images
    Place: Provo, UT, USA
    Publisher: Operations, Inc.
    Date: 2015
    Pages: Images 316-339, unpaginated; from Perry County (Alabama) records

    It's awkward--not as intuitive as I'd like. It would be very helpful to have a freeform note field after the URL, to put that original layer "from Perry County (Alabama) records," rather than tacking it to the page field (very non-intuitive).

    Anyway--way more than you asked. But I'd like to perfect the best EE options within Zotero, because I think genealogists will find Zotero their best friend, as it has been for me. I appreciate any advice you can offer.

    Donna Baker
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