> More to the point, I don’t think century is well-defined, even in ISO 8601. Sure "20th century" refers roughly to years in the 1900s. But we had debate and disagreement over when a century begins and ends. (Somewhere in the discussion archive.) Which surprised me, as I had grown up to believe that the 20th century covered the years 1901 through 2000. But
> there are some who think it is years 1900 through 1999. In the end, I think we decided not to assume a precise definition.
This topic was discussed a few years ago. As I remember it, we chose to avoid a definition of the term "century". On the other hand, we can define precise time periods anyway. Here, I summarize my Feb-2011 suggestions:
We can use the term "century" to apply ONLY when the source uses the term "century" (or its equivalent in another language) without defining it exactly. Thus, we can avoid any "wrong" definition of the the term "century". To express all the hundred years from 1900 (inclusive) to 1999 (inclusive), we can use "1900-01-01/P100Y". To express all the hundred years
from 1901 (inclusive) to 2000 (inclusive) are we can use "1901-01-01/P100Y". This notation makes what we mean really obvious.
> As I understand it, Swedish doesn’t have a word for century in this sense. You can only say “1900-talet”.
This (slightly off-)topic was also discussed a few years ago. In Swedish, "1900-talet" is "1900-01-01/P100Y". To express "1901-01-01/P100Y" in Swedish, I would write "Det tjugonde århundradet": I consider this is accurate (but not as frequent as "1900-talet"). Similar problems probably occur in other languages (not only Swedish) and we should be aware of that.