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DATETIME  September 2011

DATETIME September 2011

Subject:

Re: Internal unspecified

From:

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

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 9 Sep 2011 12:19:15 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (90 lines)

On Thu, 8 Sep 2011 12:00:15 -0400, Ray Denenberg, Library of Congress wrote
> From: Edward C. Zimmermann
> > Imagine I want to document a date I know took place at the start of Dec.
> > 1990 but I'm not sure if it was the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of the month.. and
> > I
> > want to check.. The expression "1990-12-0u" seems fine and dandy...
> > later
> > when I've checked that it was the 3rd I'd fill it in.. That's why I
> > might
> > write "1990-12-0u" and not "1990-12"
> 
> Yes, we understand, month vs. year precision. But you achieve month
> precision with "1990-12-uu".

No. Its an expression of day precision. The month is known and the day is 
not yet announced but the difference between
  1990-12   and
  1990-12-uu
is that the later is saying "the date is known (measurable) and shall be 
supplied at a later time".


>  And really, the actual theoretical precision
> you would want to achieve (for your example) is to narrow it to months 1-3,
> which "1990-12-0u" doesn't do anyway. "1990-12-0u" would match the 
precision
> you want only if your use case was "I know it was one of the first ten
> months."  If you really had a practical use case where you know it was
> during the first ten months, then the argument for "1990-12-0u" would be
> stronger.

Week precision would probably be better, e.g. 1990-W50, but I don't want to 
be a party pooper...



> 
> > I would argue that u as blanks to be filled in.. should be allowed
> > wherever
> > anyone might see fit to use them. I personally might not ever see the
> > need
> > for an expression such as "uuu2-12-22" but who am I to say "no no"..?
> 
> I thought there is general consensus that we don't want to be creating
> unecessary complexity by adding features that nobody has asked for but that
> someone might need someday.

Restricting where u can be used is "creating" complexity. If we just "u" as 
a kind of wildcard in matching, I think, things get quite simple. The rule 
should, I think, be "u" can be used anywhere where a digit is normally used, 
in lieu of that digit. Sure many expression perhaps don't make semantic 
sense, don't tell a good story, but I do not think its our job to define 
narratives. While I might use "uuu2-12-22" I think its should be perfectly 
OK to have such expressions... From an implementation perspective its less 
effort to accept u anywhere than to have "rules". In contract to x 
(precision masking where a <floating point, integer exponent> can be used to 
internally store things) the u expression I think will always need to be 
stored as strings... If someone can provide an alternative data storage 
model.. and one will restrictions make sense.. I could change my mind.. but 
as long as I think it'll be strings.. I see nothing to gain by adding more 
rules..

> 
> > > 3. Year and month specified, day unspecified (And similarly no
> > provision
> > for just one digit of the day unspecified, as in 1990-12-0u.)
> > 
> > Beware the use of the predicate "unspecified". In the date "1990"
> > neither
> > the month or day are specified but its something quite different from
> > "1990-
> > uu-uu". If one can specify the month of a date that is expressed in
> > years
> > then the date has at least month precision.. similarly if one specify
> > the
> > month and day it has day precision.. "can specify" and "specify" are
> > not, I
> > must stress, the same. With "1990-12-uu" I explicitly state that I "can
> > specify" the day but has not yet--- I plan on filling in the blanks..
> > With "1990-12" I say that I can't--- obviously with more information....
> 
> Ok, I will try to tighten up the prose is this area.
> 
> --Ray


--

Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB

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