[uf-discuss] Date of Death in hCard

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Mon Jun 11 10:51:11 PDT 2007

There has been some previous discussion:


of adding a "Date of Death (DoD)" field to hCard, but no development

I propose that we adopt one, immediately.


Date of death is important in many ways:

   *    It is a flag that the subject is deceased - but is more specific
        than a "deceased", "dead" or other tag (which may not even be in

   *    It is significant in genealogy

   *    It differentiates between two people of the same name, born on
        the same day.

   *    When a user agent offers the ability to generate an iCal for the
        subject's birthday, it will allow the user-agent to warn that
        the birthdays will not occur or to simply decline to do so; or
        to alternatively generate a differently-worded "anniversary of
        birth" iCal.

   *    It allows user agents to calculate the subject's age at death
        (where Date of Birth, DoB, is known)

In short, it offers additional semantic richness.


There are a plethora of DoDs published on the web; not least in almost
every Wikipedia biography for a dead person; Google finds about
1,520,000 for "died on" alo.


The hCard DoB property is called "bday". A DoD property could therefore
be called "dday", or perhaps "dod", "death" or "died".


   *    The addition of DoD would be fully backwards- compatible.
        Parsers (and publishers) may simply ignore it. Parsers which
        recognise it would simply ignore it when exporting vCards.

   *    Its use would require a small change to the existing boilerplate

                using a 1:1 representation of vCard (RFC2426 [URL)
                properties and values in semantic XHTML.

        to something like:

                using a 1:1 representation of vCard (RFC2426 [URL)
                properties and values, with additional properties, in
                semantic XHTML.
                using a 1:1 representation of vCard (RFC2426 [URL])
                properties and values, with an additional property for
                date of death, in semantic XHTML.

        (A future modification of vCard may choose to implement a
        matching DoD field; however, this is outside the control of the
        microformats community, and vCard development appears to be
        stagnant. )

   *    All current hCard documentation would remain valid, even before
        being updated.


The field's properties should be identical to those for "bday".


Is there any reason why DoD should not be included in hCard?

Are there any preferences for the property name?

Are there any preferences for the boilerplate wording?


As soon as a property-name is agreed, I propose to ask Mike Kaply to
kindly parse an hCard DoD field in Operator, and to seek agreement on
Wikipedia-EN to include DoD in biographical infobox templates (such as
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Infobox_biography>, of which
there are already over 5,000 deployments alone).

Parser authors may then wish to write code to calculate a subject's age
at death (and, indeed, the age of living subjects); and to export
"anniversary of birth" iCals (and, indeed, iCals for birthdays for
living people)

Andy Mabbett

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