How to add "year published" metadata/tags to enable searching by *ranges* of years?

My database includes many historical documents going back centuries. I would really like to be able to limit my searches (or smart folders) to particular eras. The goal would be able to search quickly for, like, “all pamphlets that appeared between 1600-1700 and that discuss American independence.”

I thought I’d figured this out by creating a tag for each individual year…but it turns out that would be horrendously tedious for searching if I wanted to look at more than a few years at once. Reading up on the options, I tried but failed to make this happen with two approaches:

  1. This thread seemed promising, and led me to the Search Prefix section of the Help Appendix. But I don’t see a “Date of Publication” prefix, and the other date prefixed all appear to be dynamically linked to the life of the actual file itself.

  2. I found the Custom Metadata section, and activated the “Date” one. But the date requires extremely specific month/day/time, not just Year:

And more to the point, it doesn’t look like the Metadata filter for search/Smart Folder is built to search ranges:

I’m showing my homework because I know I’ve asked a bunch of questions in the last week and am hoping not to seem too needy : )

Any idea – working backwards from the use case described at the beginning of this post – how I can add a Date tag/metadata/something to my files that will enable me to search along large date ranges?

Date of Publication ” prefix

No there is no such prefix as that’s not a natural attribute of a file. It’s a contextual bit of metadata for human purposes.
You’d need custom metadata to assign this value and its meaning to you.

I found the Custom Metadata section, and activated the “Date” one. But the date requires extremely specific month/day/time, not just Year:

Don’t use a Date data type unless you need a full date.
Use an Integer Number data type if you just want to input the year… or the month or day number.


It doesn’t help with your actual question but you could use Script: Create custom date register to create an empty group structure. Moving (or replicating) records into it must be done manually (although it should be possible to write a script once your records got Custom Meta Data).

1 Like

Oh man!! It worked!!! I’m going to include screen shots here just in case someone else is following along, or digs this thread up with a similar question later. But I created the Custom Metadata as “Document Date”, set its type to Integer Number, and then added year tags to a couple of documents. And made a Smart Folder to search in a date range–and it found them, and only them! This is hugely helpful, and I think would not get lost based on any Tags issue (since metadata is different from Tags)–right?

For anyone following along at home, here’s what I did

  1. Create “Document Date” custom metadata

  2. Added a “Document Date” for a few files

  3. Created a smart folder with range search

  4. And voila, the three documents I tagged appeared, and no others!

Yes the fact that I’m this excited about this is testimony to how bad I am at this stuff : )

1 Like

oh that looks powerful – and very useful. Thank you!

1 Like

You have to start somewhere. We were all bad at something at some points in our lives :heart: :slight_smile:

1 Like

ain’t that the truth : )

Some of us still are!

1 Like

You should see me dance…



1 Like