TMG-L Archives

Archiver > TMG > 2011-03 > 1300037335

From: Richard Damon <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] B.C. date/years
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2011 13:28:55 -0400
References: <F7C7DB382F2E4727A433F7FF8EF45C6D@Davismain1> <><672600A983F2440892D7F8EED50944C8@Davismain1>
In-Reply-To: <672600A983F2440892D7F8EED50944C8@Davismain1>

On 3/13/11 3:25 AM, John Davis wrote:
> It would be great if the underlying database would allow a user selection
> between standard A.D. years and *any* 1-to-4 digit entries to be entered in
> a date field, starting the year "1" (or "0001" for that matter) at a point
> in time known only the user. And, if and when minus values are allowed,
> problem pretty much solved. I don't think people such as you and I are all
> that rare, even though much of ancient history may be considered as mostly
> speculative there are folks that deal with it as a matter of course, and
> would most likely welcome a nifty tool to automate and correlate their work.
> If somebody has already come up with a program that does this, perhaps they
> will mention it here.
> John
The current database format should allow dates from year 0 to year 9999
as there is 4 digit field for the year. The year 3000 cut off is
basically arbitrary. To handle years below 32, would require something
in the User Interface as a date of "20" is sort of ambiguous, you can't
tell if it is a year or a day of the month. For just that it might make
sense to call it a year, as how useful is recording that an event took
place of the 5th of an unknown month in an unknown year. What is harder
are dates like mar 15, as that could just as easily be mar in the year
15, or the 15th day of march in an unknown year (and data like that DOES
occur). I suppose the solution to that would be to require years to
always be entered with at least 3 digits, Mar 015 is almost surely a
year, and that leave Mar 15 for the date with an unknown year.

What might have a bigger demand than BC dates (but could probably end up
supporting BC dates with just a little extra work) would be support for
additional calendars. Being able to record dates in the Jewish, Muslim,
Chinese, etc calendar systems could be a selling point, and should be
able to be supported with just a minor change in the database format,
changing the current Regular/Irregular flag to a date system flag, with
0 being for irregular dates. The simple system wouldn't properly sort
dates in different system, that would require "smarts" to convert the
other calendars to a Gregorian sort date. I would add a "Calendar
System" to support things like the Quaker 10th Month system, and include
both Gregorian and Julian as distinct systems (and maybe another generic
system for dates you don't really know which system they are in). It
might be nice to be able to define your own systems, so someone doing,
for example, an analysis of Tolkien's writing could set up dates FA, SA,
and TA (First, Second, and Third Age), as well as ways to indicate which
system a date is recorded in.

Richard Damon

This thread: