[whatwg] <time>

Jim O'Donnell jim at eatyourgreens.org.uk
Wed Mar 11 15:13:57 PDT 2009

On 11 Mar 2009, at 08:54, Robert J Burns wrote:

>>> Authoring tools can be used to convert from other formats to  
>>> Gregorian.
>> And in that regard, it should be very relevant to have a calendar  
>> attribute.
> Or reuse the RDFa datatype attribute with new calendar system  
> keywords.

I'm not sure that would work, or rather that you would need the  
complexity of RDFa for something as simple as a change of calendar.  
My example of a Julian date in 1732
<time calendar="Julian" datetime="1732-02-22">Feb. 11 1731</time>,
(from http://www.tei-c.org/Guidelines/P4/html/ref-DATE.html)
would then be, I think, in RDFa
<time datatype="GregorianDate" content="1732-02-22">Feb. 11 1731</time>
since datatype describes the format of the content attribute, which  
is always a proleptic Gregorian date. So you'd lose the semantic  
information that the marked-up date is in the Julian calendar.

I'm proposing that datetime accept ISO8601 dates as per the existing  
W3C datetime profile. ISO8601 dates may only use the Gregorian  
calendar. In addition, it would be useful, but not essential, in  
describing the semantics of historical dates to have an attribute, as  
per TEI, identifying the calendar in use in the text itself. That  
shouldn't add any extra load to datetime parsers - they only need to  
be able to understand Gregorian ISO8601 dates.

Expanding the datetime or RDFa content attributes to contain non- 
Gregorian dates would be an unnecessary headache and, frankly, more  
trouble than it's worth.


Jim O'Donnell
jim at eatyourgreens.org.uk

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