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DATETIME  January 2018

DATETIME January 2018

Subject:

Re: Division of Year codes

From:

Christoph Päper <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 14:51:29 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (27 lines)

Tony Benedetti <[log in to unmask]>:
>
> 2. The real problem is that the codes for the other divisions provide no mnemonic value to a human user while either constructing or deciphering a date "by hand".
> 3. I believe that the codes for the remaining divisions (half, third, quarter and season) should suggest (as a mnemonic measure) the type of division to a human user.

All your points are valid and I share them. Actually, I have send similar notes to this list and to my NSB last year, ending up with similar but slightly different codes:

  <https://listserv.loc.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1702&L=DATETIME&P=61> through <https://listserv.loc.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1703&L=DATETIME&P=58>

I still prefer letter prefixes like "W" for "week", though, because at least "Q" for "quarter (year)" is already established in many places.

> 4. Omission of a "Northern/Southern" qualifier for the seasons can lead to confusion (or worse, inaccuracy).

For dating publications, it probably does not matter at all, but we have multiple definitions for the start of seasons, too: Astrological seasons begin at the the equinoxes and solstices, thus align with the tropical zodiac, whereas cultural or meteorological seasons in some places start on the 1st of the respective months or have the Sun's extreme points in the middle of the seasons. Many places closer to the equator do not recognize four seasons or their seasons are of uneven lengths.

If reusing and overloading the month field MM, it makes some sense to have all additional periods cover full months, i.e. astronomical seasons would not qualify.

For seasons in particular, there is the issue which one should be the first of the year. Traditionally, the astronomical year begins with the March equinox and thus (Northern) spring, but (ever since the start of the year was shifted to January) the majority of (Northern) winter lies within the later year and reapplying the Thursday rule from ISO weeks, winter should therefore be the first season of the year. Either way, years would get a third meaning in ISO 8601:

1. 12 months or 365 (366) days, starting -01-01 (1 January)
2. 52 (53) weeks or 364 (371) days, starting -W01-1
3. 4 seasons or 365 (366) days, starting ??

> 5. The terminology for the divisions in section 4.7.2 should also be revised. The currently used nomenclature is a mixture of both common and more "academic" terms. In addition, the terms are an inconsistent mix of nouns and adjectives.

Note that "semester" and "semestral" do not derive from "semi" for "half (year)" but from the Latin for "six months". In a pregnancy, a "trimester" is both, 3 months and a third of the full term, and in academics it may approximate both. Anyway, unless they are used to inform letter codes like "Q" mentioned above, the actual terminology used in the standard is of little consequence for most of its users, but I agree it should be as unambiguous and consistent as possible.

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