[uf-discuss] Human and machine readable data format

Guillaume Lebleu guillaume at lebleu.org
Thu Jul 3 09:54:51 PDT 2008

Bob Jonkman wrote:
>    <span class="dtstart">
>     <span class="value" title="2008-07-03">
>      <abbr title="July 3rd, 2008">
>        tomorrow
>      </abbr>
>     </span>
Bob, assuming that screen readers only read out the content of abbr's 
@title, this solution looks promising (I've tried with VoiceOver, but 
the title content is ignored.)

The only problem of course is for human content authors who are 
effectively asked to write the same information 3 times in 3 different 
formats (not very DRY)! I just don't see myself doing that manually. For 
this to work, I'd expect at least an extra button in my HTML editor to 
tag "tomorrow" as 2008-07-23 by selecting a date in a calendar widget, 
or better, for my HTML editor to detect some of these date shortcuts 
automatically for me, and suggest machine data for them, which I can 
confirm before publishing, something similar to [1]. It seems to me that 
it would be a practical way to distribute the CPU-intensive task of 
semantically tagging Web content [3].

BTW, on the use of abbr for dates, I've researched a number of style 
guides such as [2]. It seems that "2/03/2005" is legitimate as an 
abbreviated form of the inline format "February 3, 2005".

So, <abbr title="February 3, 2005">2/03/2005</abbr> seems correct, but 
<abbr title="2005-02-03">February 3, 2005</abbr> isn't (at least 
according to the style guide below).


[1] http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/yahoo-shortcuts/
[2] http://web.mit.edu/comdor/editguide/style-matters/date_time.html#dates
[3] http://gigaom.com/2008/07/02/the-real-reason-powerset-sold-out/

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