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Re: [whatwg] <time>

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 15:03:43 +0100
Message-ID: <49BA67BF.2030409@malform.no>
To: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
CC: whatwg@lists.whatwg.org, public-html@w3.org
Mikko Rantalainen 2009-03-13 11.33:
> Andy Mabbett wrote:
>> In message <CC3986D1-6DDC-4007-8BBA-42A5D4E398CA@eatyourgreens.org.uk>, 
>> Jim O'Donnell <jim@eatyourgreens.org.uk> writes

>>> eg. from the TEI docs for dates and times
>>> <date calendar="Julian" value="1732-02-22">Feb. 11, 1731.</date>
>>> I suggested that the calendar attribute be adopted in HTML5, as it 
>>> would be useful to those of us who mark up historical texts in HTML.
>> That's one possible solution - better than none - but I do wonder why 
>> we'd force authors to manually convert dates, when we all have machines 
>> which can do that.
> The author can use machine to convert the date. You cannot expect all
> users (the readers of the output of said author) to have machines to
> convert any date from any calendar to another calendar.
> I think that we can expect the user (reader) to have machine that can
> convert from Proleptic Gregorian calendar to user's own calendar system.
> (There's still the issue if the day before 0001-01-01 is 0000-12-31 or
> -0001-12-31 and it must be defined in the spec if years less than 1 are
> ever allowed.)

I think we all agree that this is fine for the day of today and of 
tomorrow. But when we write about history or output historical 
texts, then this becomes wrong.

There are lots of misunderstandings w.r.t. the accessibility 
features of HTML - @longdesc used as plain text attribute, 
@summary not used for the right reasons etc. One thinks one does 
something good - automatically - just by using them.

And <time> is also touted as an accessibilty feature. And this 
Proleptic Gregorian calendar is, I hear, supposed to - 
automatically - make everything good.

I am concerned of the authors. And I am concerned that they do not 
get a way to record what they need to record. I am concerned that 
they will convert dates to Proleptic Gregorian, not realising that 
readeres will read/hear that date in his modern day calender. I am 
also concerned about how complicated it becomes for the author to 
link the (proleptic) day he has recorded to the (julian) day in 
history he is writing about.

I think, however, that even authors need - and are interested in - 
linking historic dates to the modern calendar. And that it 
therefore could work, if authors could record the date according 
to the historic (aka Julian) calendar, noting in a second 
attribute, how that date differs/relates to the One True calendar.

So for example, Andy's date above

>>> <date calendar="Julian" value="1732-02-22">Feb. 11, 1731.</date>

could be noted like this:

<date schema="11,1732" datetime="1731-02-11">Feb. 11, 1731.</date>

Where the purpose of @datetime is to note the date in a format 
that is universally recognisable, and where the purpose of @schema 
is to note a) how many days this date differs from modern 
calendar and b) if there is a year correction (because the 
historic calendar considered another day the beginning of that year.

This could work for the all calendars based on the Julian 
calendar. I think that historians and hobby historians are quite 
familiar with using lists that equiate historic dates to modern 
dates. And it would, be very simple to maintain such lists.
leif halvard silli
Received on Friday, 13 March 2009 14:04:40 UTC

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