On 19 January 2011 15:57, C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> [...]
> It depends, I guess, on whether you are seeking to
> define a format for user input or for interchange among
> parties.  It's often quite useful to accept a lot of forms
> in user input that one does not want in a database or
> document to be stored and interchanged.
> Users may well type "19.01.2011" or "1/19/2011" or
> "18 Jan 2011" or "on the 19th of this month", all meaning
> the same thing.  But in metadata (as opposed to the
> transcription of historical or legal documents), is there
> an important goal to be achieved by preserving the differences
> among those forms, given that (by hypothesis) they all
> mean the same thing?

The potential requirement in my field is definitely the interchange of
information, and not the user input. For e-portfolio systems, or indeed any
system on which individuals may record their personal history, the interface
will take care of the user input in whatever form is appropriate for that
set of users. However, what would be really useful would be to be able to
represent uncertain or approximate dates in information sent between
different systems. Many people, particularly when recalling dates in the
more distant past, cannot recall exactly when they happened, however they
can either recall or work out some range within which the event must have
happened. It would be useful to represent this in a machine-readable way.

As I have indicated before, the main thing that interests me here is how
much clarity and simplicity we can get into a spec that is based on ISO
8601, taking away awkward things that are not used, and adding a general,
clean and, to the extent that it is possible, intuitive representation of
uncertainty. I don't think the draft is there yet, but it seems to be
getting closer... :-)


Simon Grant
+44 7710031657