At present, Zotero’s “date” field doesn’t properly handle publications made over a range of years (e.g., 1950–1960). Instead of including the full range in the corresponding note or bibliography entry, only the first year of the range would be presented (e.g., 1950).

If the Range Has an End

There is, however, a workaround that depends on entering the following syntax in an item’s “extra” field: issued: [first year]/[last year]. Thus, for example, if the extra field has issued: 1950/1960, Zotero would properly output a range of publication dates (thus: “1950–1960”).

If the Range Is Open-ended

If you need to reference a series or multivolume work that isn’t yet complete, SBL style defers to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., §14.144. In such cases, this requires a trailing en dash (thus, e.g.: “1931–”).

The proper input for this use case is adding the following to the appropriate resource’s “Extra” field: issued: "[first year]–". Note the quotation marks carefully. Those are important to get Zotero to provide exactly the output you’ve specified and prevent the processor from removing the trailing en dash as it generates your output.

So, for example, if the extra field has issued: "1931–", Zotero would properly output a range of publication dates with no end year and a trailing en dash (thus: “1931–”).

Conclusion

According to the Zotero forums, “better support for various date formats in the Date field itself is planned,” but there hasn’t been any indication of when this might be forthcoming. Until then, these workarounds should prove immensely useful for these kinds of situations.

For other discussion of Zotero, see these posts.

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