Date in [ ] for publications where no date is given

Is there any way to distinguish dates for publication with or without [ ] brackets?

Here is the situation: For musical scores very often the date is not given in the publication itself, while it might still be known. Since I am using my own style, is there any way I can make a distinction between given and not given dates, a field that could be used, so I can include an conditional?

Entering the date in brackets does not seem to have any effect on the json output, so nothing I can use in the style as as I can see.
  • Just found the answer: include

    issued: circa 1901

    in the Extra field. I have added the conditional to the style. Seems to work.
  • Just one more on this:
    Is there any way to optionally have:

    [ca. 1901]?
    There are editions where we know the exact date, and others where we don't. Any way to make the ca. render in the output? I cannot get this to work, it will always display [1901].
  • This is controlled by the citation style. What style are you using?
  • As I wrote, it is a custom style.

    Whenever there is a four-digit number in that feels it thinks it is a date, and drops anything else. Is there any other way to read the date field than with the date function? Can I check whether there is anything else in the issued field than a date?
  • Okay, you need to test for is-uncertain-date="issued" and then insert the text term="circa". See apa.csl for an example.
  • I have already got that far, but:

    This works well for only one of the two:
    1) date not given but known: [date]
    2) date not given and only approximately guessed: [ca. date]

    But not for both. Ideally I would write into the extra field:
    issued:circa 1901
    for 1), and
    issued:circa ca. 1901
    for 2).
    I could also put
    ca. 1901
    into the date field. However, I cannot get the style to use the full entry, it will only display "1901", regardless whether there is "ca. 1901" in the field.

    Am I being clear?

  • The date field can’t currently parse approximate dates, so you need to use Extra like you describe.

    I believe to indicate the date is uncertain, you should enter it as:
    ~1801 or 1801?

    For date not given but known, that’s not a category that’s supported by CSL currently (it’s a rather unnecessary requirement in my opinion). Enter it in Extra but with the brackets and in quotes to treat it as a “literal” string that should just be printed and not parsed:
  • edited November 3, 2018
    Another option would be to use another variable field to indicate known but not given dates. Enter these in Extra:

    Original date: 1801
    Submitted: 1801
  • entering

    issued: "ca. 1867"

    results in
    ca 1867

    The ~date only works in the extra field, not the date field

    (For music scores it is actually a very much needed distinction.)
  • I know that known but not given is commonly used in cataloging with brackets, but I have never seen it in a citation style including for historical materials for which this is regularly the case. E.g. Chicago manual is pretty clear that the brackets (plus question mark) are only to be used when a date cannot be ascertained.

    I'm not sure why this would be different for music scores?
  • No, this particular bit is not different for music scores, but for the German way of handling citations. Normally, if no year is given but the year is known with some certainty, the format is:

    o. J. [1901]

    If the year is not known with some certainty, but can be guessed:

    o. J. [ca. 1901]

    If no date can be determined:

    o. J.

    The only difference with music scores is that they hardly ever had dates given before the 1920s. With books this is rarely the case, with music scores it is normality. On the other hand there are some rather exact tools for dating music scores, either by plate number or by the Hofmeister catalogues (which are online searchable) or some other means. So the cases of no date and known or no date but guessed appear rather often.

    My problem is this: The styles seem to lose full stops even when the date is in "…" – why is this, and can this be avoided?
  • Like I said above, to indicate circa dates, you need to enter them in Extra with ~ or ?. The date parser in the Date field is more limited than the parser that is available via Extra.
  • edited November 3, 2018
    I think the only way to get the formatting you want for date known but not given would be to use an alternative date variable, such as Submitted.

    So, test if there is issued, then test if issued is uncertain. If uncertain, print the circa format. If not uncertain, print the normal format. Then test if there is submitted and print with the desired format if so. Finally, failing any of the above, just print no-date.

    Can you link to some publications using the brackets notation for known but not given dates?
  • That seems to work well enough, thanks.
    Why are there so many field types which do not have entry fields in Zotero?
  • If every item in Zotero had every field, that'd be completely unmanageable. It'd also make writing citation styles much harder. "submitted", for example, does exist for patents -- it doesn't make a lot of sense for books, except as a workaround such as here.
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