Viewing Documents Chronologically?

Hi all,

Apologies if this is an extremely noob question, but I am having issues figuring out exactly how the list view is effected by the “date” column. Is there a way that I can set up my list to show all documents chronologically by the date I’ve assigned to them - i.e 1 April 1991 - or is the date column only linked to the time and date that the photos were taken, or added to Tropy, etc? If there is a way to use the date entry this way, what date format should I be using?

Thanks in advance for any help - technology is not really my thing!

You can use the ‘Date Added’ column to sort your items based on the time you added them into Tropy; you cannot modify this property as it is set automatically.

You can use the ‘Date’ / dc:date column (or any other column) to sort by dates you assign yourself. At the moment Tropy supports only string values, but will support more types, including dates in the future. For the date field in particular, it is best to record your values using the ISO standard (including the upcoming extended format). Here are a couple of examples for normal dates:


Or for uncertain/approximate dates:


If you record dates in ISO you can be sure that Tropy will convert them properly into real date values once we add support for them; additionally, since all values are currently sorted as strings, using ISO format for dates generally gives you the correct chronological order.


Excellent. This is exactly what I was looking for - thank you for the quick reply! I was formatting the dates incorrectly, as I suspected.

My first day using Tropy and I’m optimistic. I really like the idea and what’s been done so far.
The date sort is driving me a little nuts, though.

As a test set I’m using a few dozen images of newspapers from the 1800s. I know the exact date of each one, so I put that in the date field in the metadata tab.
I always use the 1880-06-30 format.
When I put that in Tropy’s date field (in the metadata tab), it USUALLY changes automatically to Jun 30, 1880. (Which I don’t want.) (But apparently not always.)
If I click in the date space in the date column in list view and type it my way, it USUALLY does not change it.
I had some that had only the year in the date field. Sometimes when I type in the rest (in the date column in list view) it changes to Mon ##, YYYY. Other times it does not. I can’t see anything in the files that would cause it to treat them differently. The ones I just did were 2 almost identical images created seconds apart, with the same date. One of them it changed to the format I don’t want, the other it left as typed.
Also, when I paste the date in ISO format into either date field (in metadata tab or in date column) it seems to leave as is. So far.

I expected to find a place in preferences where I could select a date format, but did not.

I don’t really want to retype all the dates as just years, but since it can’t figure out how to sort them properly in the format it has chosen, I might have to.

Just found the post about dates sorting in Feature Requests and it answers some (or maybe all?) of my concerns. I didn’t realize the displayed date (Jun 30, 1888) wasn’t how it is actually stored (1888-06-30). Makes me feel a little better.
Still don’t know why it changes how it’s displayed only some of the time.

And still curious why a date pasted in ISO format is apparently not treated the same way as if the same date was typed in.

The date values are still a work in progress. My apologies that this is far from obvious and you had to do quite a bit of reverse engineering here!

Basically, the date values are always stored exactly the way you input them (and that’s how they will be sorted too). If the input can be parsed using the extended ISO 8601 / EDTF syntax then it will be displayed formatted based on the current locale. For example, “2019-02” would be displayed as “Feb 2019” in English; “2019-01-06T12:37:49” as “Jan 6, 2019, 12:37 PM”, “2019-01~” as “ca. Jan 2019” and so on. If the input cannot be parsed correctly, it will be displayed as is.

As you’ve noticed, this only works if you enter the date in the metadata panel. If you create a value in the table it will always be created as a string. Once a value exists, it will keep its initial data type, therefore, if you first enter a date in the table, then later change it in the panel, it will stay a ‘string’ value, without any formatting applied. This is unfortunate and the reason for the confusing behaviour you’ve noticed. We’ll definitely improve on this soon.

In the meantime, I can help you convert all your values to dates (if you prefer the formatted display) or to strings (and you could create a custom template which sets the date’s type to string).

I don’t mind doing some reverse engineering and testing when I find a piece of software that is going to improve my life!
I plan to create my own template eventually, but don’t know when I’ll have time for that.
It would be cool to have the option of entering dates in 3 fields (year, month, day) and have the software combine them, but then you’d have to have fields for time, time zone, etc.

Yes, you’re right: when we roll-out full support for date/time value types, we will need a dedicated widget which allows you to pick a date and time quickly (‘normal’ date pickers may not be that suitable, because we’ll want to be able to pick dates across different centuries quickly and make use of extended features like uncertain, partial, or approximate dates or ranges).