[whatwg] Dates BCE

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Thu Jul 30 09:57:01 PDT 2009

On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 11:36 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 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.

Within a single project, it seems like you would use a database
search.  This is completely independent of how it gets marked up in
the HTML.

APIs especially will depend on data returned from a database.  <time>
is only relevant in these cases if you're screen-scraping.

>> > 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.
> [1]http://www.simile-widgets.org/timeline/
> [2]http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F1925&viewtype=text&pageseq=1

Nice combination of use-cases here: You want to have an app that can
aggregate arbitrary historical data from multiple sources to produce,
for example, timelines.


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