[whatwg] Dates BCE

David Singer singer at apple.com
Thu Jul 30 09:34:29 PDT 2009

At 11:16  -0500 30/07/09, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>  > 1) Machine readability.
>This begs the question.

raises the question.  begging questions is assuming the answer in the 
premise of the question.

>Why do you need machine readability for the
>dates in the Darwin journals?  More specifically, why do you need
>machine readability in a standardized fashion currently expected to be
>used primarily for adding dates to calendars?

It allows you to build databases with timelines, that span documents 
on the web from diverse sources.

>>  2) Consistency across websites that mark up dates.
>What form of consistency?  Date format consistency?  This varies by
>use-case, region, and language.  Machine-format consistency?  You then
>have to answer why such consistency is important - what does it let
>you *do*?

It would allow you to determine that *this* event reported in an 
arabic text with a date referring to a caliphate was actually almost 
certainly *before* this *other* event reported in a byzantine text 
with a date that is on the indiction cycle.  The experts in arabic 
and byzantine texts individually might well have the skills to 
convert these dates to a uniform day-labelling system, whereas the 
interested reader might have the skills in one or the other, but 
maybe not both (or perhaps even, neither).
David Singer
Multimedia Standards, Apple Inc.

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