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DATETIME  December 2010

DATETIME December 2010

Subject:

Re: unknown/questionable/uncertain/approximate

From:

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

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 8 Dec 2010 11:25:16 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (109 lines)

On Tue, 7 Dec 2010 14:18:18 -0500, Ray Denenberg, Library of Congress wrote

> There is a further distinction necessary. In the case of "all the 
> dates" and let's say more specifically "all the years" and even more 
> specifically than that when they are consecutive - so lets say we 
> have {1960,1961,1962,1963} - this means in effect "all of the 
> (discrete) years, 1960 through 1963".  It DOES NOT mean "the 

This is a good point.

> (continuous) interval 1960 through 1963", and we need to make that 

But it is, in fact, the continuous interval 1960 through 1963 with
precision of year.

The series 1960-01, 1960-2, .. , 1963-10, 1963-11, 1963-12 
viewed as (using your language) the "all of the (discrete) months in the
discrete years 1960 through 1963" is little different from the continuous
interval 1960 through 1963 with precision of month.

> distinction. So an interval is a continous period, as opposed to a 
> set of consecutive dates. (Point is, when we use the curly brackets 
> to enclose a set of dates, they do not need to be consecutive, but 
> if they are, it does not constitute an interval; I think this has 
> been a point of confusion.)

The use of discrete sets is fine but I think for the typical cases
(discrete consecutive years, months etc.) we'd be better off (and more
compact) by using (as I've suggested) some precision specification.

Precision of year applied to the range 1960 through 1963
Precision of month applied to the range 1960 through 1963
Precision of day applied to the range 1960 through 1963

We would need to discuss what the default precision is of an interval
specified without a precision. 

1960--01/1965 <--- Are these month precision?
1960--1965-12 <--/

I would suggest it makes the most logical sense to use the finer of the
two precisions--- even if I can also give reasons for using the less finer.

1960--1965 would be effectively {1960,1961,1962,1963,1964,1965}
1960-01--1962 would be effectively {1960-01, 1960-02, ...  1962-11, 1962-12}

Compactness, I think, should be a priority.

>
> (4) For a decade, as a special case of "all of the years", to denote 
> all of the years of a decade (as opposed to a single, unspecified 
> year from the decade), as an alternative to (1) and (2) the x 
> notation may be used, e.g. 196x denotes all of the years of the 
> 1960s (similary xx for all the years of a century, etc.)


I like the xx notation. 195x for the decade of the 1950s. 19xx for the
20th century etc.
I don't, however, like the semantics "all of the years". I would like
to see 195x not as an interval with precision of year but as a date with
the precision of decade.

If we follow this path we see an alignment with u.
If 195x means the decade of the 1950s the only possible semantic difference
between 195x and 195u is:
  throughout 
versus
  in.
If, however, our precision is limited to decade they are effectively the
same since we explicitly can't observe the span.

I would suggest then that 195u is year precision versus 195x which is
decade precision.
19uu too would be year precision.
19xx, by contrast, is century precision.

Interesting combinations:
19ux <--- This is, following my syntax, a precision of decade with an
unspecified decade--- one decade within the 20th century.

1uxx <--- This could be a precision of century with an unspecified century
within the 2nd millennium.. 

> (5) For the special case of a decade, where it is intended to denote 
> "one year, unspecified, within the decade" the 'u' notation may 
> alternatively be used. i.e. "196u" means one year, unspecified,
>  within the 1960s.     Note: If the 'u' character in this usage is 
> still offensive then we need to continue to discuss an alternative 
> character. But note that 'u' now stands for "unspecified" not "unknown".
> 
> I would like feedback on these few proposals and then I will follow with
> additional suggestions addressing terminology issues that we have 
> been discussing.
> 
> But please focus on these for the moment.
> 
> --Ray


--

Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB
Basis Systeme netzwerk, Munich Ges. des buergerl. Rechts
Office Leo (R&D):
  Leopoldstrasse 53-55, D-80802 Munich,
  Federal Republic of Germany
http://www.nonmonotonic.net
Umsatz-St-ID: DE130492967

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