Dates: general [050]

Abstract

Encoding dates using <date> and the value= attribute, including detailed instructions on the ISO8601 standard for date values

Discussion

The WWP includes the TEI tag set on names and dates (teind2.dtd, described in TEI Chapter 20) in the WWP storage DTD.

The WWP uses <date> with the following attributes:

calendar= (defaults to Gregorian; specified only if different)

value= (required for all dates)

certainty= (discussion deferred).

For the date of publication printed on the title page or in the colophon, we use <docDate>

We do not use <dateStruct> or <dateRange>.

The TEI encoding of dates provides for a great deal of detail (as described below), but the WWP does not capture all references to dates with the maximum detail possible. We do not encode dates for which the year cannot be determined, and we do not encode dates in running prose which are simply a reference to a month, even if the year can be determined. Thus “He left the country that October” would not use <date> even if we know which October it was.

The value= attribute will be specified using ISO 8601. Below are instructions for encoding the value= attribute of ordinary dates (AD dates, using the Gregorian calendar) using this standard. The WWP’s rules on which dates should be encoded should be observed.

For information on encoding BC dates and Julian calendar dates, see 221 on BC dates and 138 on the Julian calendar.

Within the value= attribute, date components are listed from general to specific (year-month-day) with hyphens separating each component. Date components can be omitted according to the pattern shown below (replacing omissions with hyphens only if more specific information remains):

Whole date (note that two digits are required for both month and day):

--If the date is precise to the day: 1996-09-24

For omission of the most specific information, there is no need for hyphens to mark omission:

--If the date is precise to the month (e.g. “Due in Sep 96”): 1996-09

--If the date is precise to the year (e.g. “The 1996 campaign”): 1996

--If the date is precise to the century (e.g. “The 20th century”): 19

For omission of the most general information, you need to use hyphens as place-holders to mark omission; one hyphen per omitted component:

--If you don’t know the year (e.g. “24 Sep”): --09-24

--If you know the month but not the year (e.g. “Sep”): --09 (only in cases such as diary entries where the month is referenced as an actual date rather than a general reference to that time of year)

--If you don’t know the year or month (e.g. “24th of the month”): ---24

An ordinal date; i.e. year and day number of the year (e.g. “268th day of 1996”):

We convert this to the correct complete representation, extended format (1996-09-26), rather than use the complete ordinal date representation (1996-268) which 8601 allows (in section 5.2.2.1).

In cases where the text uses an ordinal date “And on the 268th day”) rather than a conventional date, we will use the ISO method of encoding ordinal dates:

The 268th day of an unspecified year: -268

In cases where the text provides a calendar week and day number (“2nd day of the 39th week of 1996”), we will convert this to the correct complete representation, extended format (1996-09-24), rather than use the complete calendar week and day number representation (1996-W39-2) which 8601 allows (section 5.2.3.1).[9]

In cases where the text provides a calendar week w/o day number (e.g., “For the 39th week of 1996, my...”): 1996-W39

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