Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links


Previous | Table of Contents | Next

8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.35 Record Date




Identifying Attributes




Record Date

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - recordDate

Element URI

[To be actioned by Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat before publication]

Definitional Attributes


A date that best represents the record.


Used in life cycle management of the record.

To assist in identifying the record.

To limit search result sets to records of a particular date or date range.


"A useable record is one that can be located, retrieved, presented and interpreted." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 7.2.5

"The primary purpose of registration is to provide evidence that a record has been created or captured in a records system, and an additional benefit is that it facilitates retrieval. It involves recording brief descriptive information or metadata about the record and assigning the record an identifier, unique within the system." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.4

"Metadata should be used to identify records and facilitate their retrievability and usability in records systems. A records system should provide ready access to all relevant records and their related metadata." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.2.3

"Ongoing description is necessary to keep the records meaningful for use." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s.

Value Domain

A range of dates expressed using the Gregorian calendar.

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level only.


Mandatory at record level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

ISO International Standard 8601 [W3CDTF] as adopted by TBITS 39: Treasury Board Information Management Standard, Part 1: Government On-Line Metadata Standard


Container To Date; Retention Period

Conditions of Application - Record




Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked




Not repeatable

Conditions of Application - File









Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

A record date is essential for the processing of each individual record. The record date determines when actions will be taken on records no longer needed for current government business. These actions include destruction, alienation or transfer of records to the Library and Archives Canada.

b) Best Practices

Records are filed in chronological order by date in a container with the most current record on top. If a record does not have a record date one must be applied. Examine the record to identify an appropriate date. Examples include the date that appears on the title page or header/footer of the record, or the date of the minutes of a meeting. If no date is mentioned, use the date the record was received as the record date.

The sent date of an email should be used for the value of Record Date.

Recommended best practise is to express the date as YYYY-MM-DD. If only the year and month are known, enter "01" for the day, e.g. 2003-04-01. If only the year is known, enter "01" for both the month and the day, e.g. 2003-01-01.

To preserve the authenticity of the record, once it is declared locked, the value of this element must not be changed.

c) Obligation

This element is mandatory in order to determine the Retention Trigger Date. This will then affect the countdown of the Retention Period.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

For email records, the value of Record Date may be auto-populate with the "Date:" field (i.e. date sent). Institutions may wish to create business rules to accommodate auto-population for other records (e.g. date profiled, date created, date modified, etc.)

e) Linkages

This element is linked to the element Container To Date because the Record Date will have a direct affect on this element. As newer records are entered into the file, the Container To Date will be updated. It is also linked to the retention elements through the Retention Period element. This is necessary in order to ensure that the Retention Trigger Date is accurate. A record does not necessarily need to be in a container, but is does require a Retention Trigger Date.

f) Examples

  1. "2005-11-29" - Date that an email was sent and is recorded in the transmission information of the record.

  2. "1995-05-06" - Date that appears on the title page of a report.

Previous | Table of Contents | Next