Time

time diary/journal phrase-level encoding
time

Encoding of time using time and the value attribute; our recommended usage limited to cases which are used to structure a set of entries in a journal or log

Although the TEI does provide a method for encoding references to time (i.e. specific times of day), for most text encoding projects it is not particularly useful to do so unless you plan to make some particular use of the encoding. This will be rare except in cases where the text uses time as a structuring feature or provides systematic references to times of day, as in the case of a diary or series of letters where the time of writing is given. Even in these cases, unless you plan to use this information for searching or analysis it is unlikely to repay the effort of encoding, since the entries are probably already sorted by time (by virtue of their order in the document).

The TEI time element is very similar, structurally, to the date element, and like date it carries a value attribute. If you are going to use the value for processing (e.g. searching for all events that happen at a certain time of day, or plotting several different documents on the same timeline to establish concurrencies), then you should use the ISO 8601 format for times, which is intuitive and unambiguous:

If you know the whole time, precise to the second (which is very unlikely or impossible for the texts covered by this Guide): 03:25:30

If your time is precise only to the minute (probably the most common case, e.g. twenty-five past three): 03:25

If your time is precise only the hour (e.g. the baby woke up in the middle of the night — around three): 03

Note that midnight is the first second (or minute, depending on your precision) of the day. Thus the second following 1997-09-19T23:59:59 is 1997-09-20T00:00:00.

For information on encoding combined date and time values, see Combining date and time values.