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Re: Dates and times

From: Misha Wolf <misha.wolf@reuters.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 19:58:35 +0000 (GMT)
To: meta2 <meta2@mrrl.lut.ac.uk>, www-international <www-international@w3.org>, Unicode <unicode@unicode.org>
Message-Id: <4435581921021997/A03626/REDMS2/11B2ACFA2300*@MHS>
Andrew wrote (to the meta2 list):

>How about using one of the HTTP formats such as RFC1123 ?
>All agent software can understand it, and so can people
>(Coming from Europe, I have trouble knowing whether someone writing 
>03/05/04 means March 5 2004, May 3 2004 or ...).
>Incidentally, much WWW software can understand a variety
>of formats (ctime, RFC850, RFC822 etc.)

and Lee wrote (to the same list):

>The HTTP/HTML/IETF date format is the obvious one to use for a standard
>intended to be employed on the internet; I see no reason to allow any
>others.  Provide conversion software where needed.

Indeed, we should review the relevant RFCs.  One note of caution, though.  
RFC 822 says:


     5.1.  SYNTAX

     date-time   =  [ day "," ] date time        ; dd mm yy
                                                 ;  hh:mm:ss zzz

     day         =  "Mon"  / "Tue" /  "Wed"  / "Thu"
                 /  "Fri"  / "Sat" /  "Sun"

     date        =  1*2DIGIT month 2DIGIT        ; day month year
                                                 ;  e.g. 20 Jun 82

     month       =  "Jan"  /  "Feb" /  "Mar"  /  "Apr"
                 /  "May"  /  "Jun" /  "Jul"  /  "Aug"
                 /  "Sep"  /  "Oct" /  "Nov"  /  "Dec"


Though the (English) name of the day is optional, the (English) name of the 
month is not.  This, IMO, rules out the use of RFC 822 for metadata.

Let us remember that a lot of HTML is generated by hand rather than via 
fancy tools.  Similarly, a lot of metadata will be entered by hand rather 
than via tools.  The compulsory use of English is reasonable in the case of 
keywords, such as "DC.DATE", but would be quite unreasonable in the case of 
the values themselves.

Email headers are a different story.  The mail client has the opportunity to 
display the date in a user-friendly form.  I don't know any users who read 
their mail 'raw', ie not via some kind of client.

Oh, I just spotted another reason why RFC 822 is out.  It isn't Millenium 

Received on Friday, 21 February 1997 14:57:33 UTC

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