[whatwg] Dates BCE

Sam Kuper sam.kuper at uclmail.net
Thu Jul 30 09:36:12 PDT 2009

2009/7/30 Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage at gmail.com>
> On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 11:12 AM, Sam Kuper<sam.kuper at uclmail.net> wrote:
> > 2009/7/30 Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage at gmail.com>
> >> On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 10:34 AM, Sam Kuper<sam.kuper at uclmail.net> wrote:
> >> > Not for BCE; I'm not working on that period at the moment, but excepting
> >> > that, here are a couple of good examples with ranges:
> >> > http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwinletters/calendar/entry-10762.html
> >> > http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwinletters/calendar/entry-295.html
> >> > http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/darwinletters/calendar/entry-6611f.html
> >> > Now, either there should be markup available for ranges, or it should at
> >> > least be possible to specify components of a date independently of each
> >> > other, and to imply (at least for humans) a "range" spanning these
> >> > different
> >> > date elements as appropriate.
> >>
> >> Now, here's the million-dollar question: Why do you need <time> or
> >> something like it for these dates?  You seem to have them marked up
> >> quite fine as it is.
> >
> > 1) Machine readability.
> This begs 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?

For projects like the Darwin Correspondence Project, machine readable
HTML markup of dates might well simplify the various rather fragile
and complex custom date search mechanisms these projects have
historically tended to use, allowing users to access materials more
easily and making APIs to such online corpora easier to create.

> > 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*?

Suppose you wanted to mash up the Darwin correspondence data with a
SIMILE Timeline[1], it would help if the correspondence data was
(more) machine-readable. Now suppose you also wanted to add some diary
entries[1] to the same timeline, so that you could instantly visualise
when letters were written vs when diary entries were written. This
would be much easier if both the two websites from which you were
sourcing your data used a consistent, machine-readable date format.


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