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DATETIME  January 2010

DATETIME January 2010

Subject:

Date Precision, ambiguous dates and ..

From:

"Edward C. Zimmermann" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion of the Developing Date/Time Standards <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 28 Jan 2010 12:50:00 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (59 lines)

Picking up on the substance of ambiguous dates the current problems with ISO
Date is that its limited to at worst year precision.
  The date 1900 can mean the YEAR 1900 but not the 20th century.
  Workaround: its really a date range.

  But what about ca. 19th century? Is 1790 an element of that set? 

  First Step: Think of ways to extend an encoding to include its precision.

  Dates like    2007-12-11   have implicitly day precision
                2007-12      " month precision
                2007         year precision
  But how to encode century precision? Or other even more coarse sieves?

  Second step; Think of ways to extend the encoding to include its qualitative
  certainty or authority. This goes hand in hand with precision.

  Example:
      The reign of Horus Nynetjer-- thought to have been the third ruler of
      the Second Egyptian Dynasty. Some scholars place him before Weneg and
      ofter after. He seemed to have ruled for at least 35 years but may have
      ruled for 47 years.

This may be tied into the thought of allowing alternative calendars such
as Chinese, Hebrew or Egyptian calendars perhaps even Dynastic. Alone the
issue of the start of a day between Hebrew and Julian is significant---
Hebrew starts at local Sundown (worse still Sundown as per a given local
authority and there are often more one with differences of 5 min. or more)
while Julian starts at 00:00 (Midnight). In the Hebrew calendar hours are
divided into 1080 halakim (corresponding to a 1/72 degree of celestial
rotation) and so we also have a non-decimal unit of precision. 

I think a solution would provide the mechanism also to address those
specifications where the the endpoint of a range is another range. Using
the proposal example:
 "The festival will begin 12th March, 2003, and end between 19 March and 20
  March, 2003."

Here we have a range where the start is well defined with day precision
but the end well defined within 2-day precision.

Alternatively we define dates as ranges with well defined implicit
precision as reduced to the single date, e.g. the date range
"During 12 Sept 1952" reduces to the date 12 Sept 1952 with day precision
or 19520912 (which is implicitly day precise).

Date := {DateStart,DateEnd[,Precision:DataQuality]}

My first instinct would be to suspect that viewing dates as temporal ranges
with precision and data quality MIGHT be the most pragmatic approach.

     1
--

Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB
Basis Systeme netzwerk, Munich Ges. des buergerl. Rechts
http://www.nonmonotonic.net
Umsatz-St-ID: DE130492967

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