Tim Finney wrote
> There is a big problem here as the humanities doesn't have anything 
> like
physical standards against which to measure accuracy.

And that is why I think that this category is not particularly helpful for our discussion.

Concerning the other categories, Gabby has listed enough examples to illustrate that what is needed is the capability to express dates and date ranges, the certitude with which this assertion can be made, _and_ the precision of their numerical values. Precision is here a sine qua non and I am not sure how even the ISO standard can express the kind of imprecise dating needed on the grounds often provided by manuscript evidence. This imprecision and certitude is not necessarily related to a non-committal "sitting-on-the-fence" attitude, but more often a scholarly responsible way of expressing what can be reasonably expressed. Pushing towards precision and/or certitude in these cases would be utterly irresponsible in scholarly terms.



Dr Juan Garcés
Curator, Codex Sinaiticus Project
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB
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-----Original Message-----
From: TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) public discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gabriel BODARD
Sent: 30 January 2008 10:01
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Whatever happened to @precision?

Sebastian Rahtz a écrit :
> Your examples are all good, Gabriel, and I would probably concur that 
> some feature is missing. But I do inevitably come back to asking what 
> the purpose of your encoding is. If the normalized date is so hedged 
> around with fear and uncertainty, does it need treating in the formal 
> way which @when, @notBefore and @notAfter propose?

Well, we may still want to: sort texts by date; identify all texts that are likely to be/at all possible to be second century in date; search for all texts that could fall in the range 145-155. (These are not for the sake of argument, these are all things we use the TEI markup to generate for the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias.)

>> "17th July (definitely and precisely). Don't know which year, but 
>> almost certainly mid-sixteenth century."?
> <date>17th July<note type="editorial">Don't know which year, but 
> almost certainly mid-sixteenth century.</note></date>

Right, I think what you're saying is that we could treat these two dating statements as separate elements:

<date evidence="internal" notBefore="-07-17" notAfter="-07017">July 17th</date>, almost certainly <date evidence="palaeographic" 
notBefore="1525" notAfter="1575">mid-sixteenth century</date>.

With the addition of @exact="none" vel sim. I'd be happy enough that this allows us to do all the kinds of processing on date that we need to. (There may be clever ways to do this. And it may be that this is in fact only adequate for my purposes because exact dates to the day are relatively rare in my texts. They aren't for everyone.)


Dr Gabriel BODARD
(Epigrapher & Digital Classicist)

Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

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