[uf-new] Measurement brainstorming

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Fri Sep 28 09:42:05 PDT 2007

In message <46FD275D.3060109 at brixlogic.com>, Guillaume Lebleu
<gl at brixlogic.com> writes

>There has been already a lot of work in researching measurement
>examples, existing practices and brainstorming. http://microformats.org

Indeed; I referred to it before posting on the subject in the last few

>One of the main issue that I remember we could not agree on was how to
>deal with composite measure units.
>The simplest approach is to mark up composite measure units as if they
>were elementary units. For instance a gram is really a composite unit
>(1/1000 * 1 kg), but we would nonetheless mark up "500 g" as "500<abbr
>class="unit" title="gram">g</abbr>" for simplicity purpose. The problem
>is the large amount of units that would result from this (see UNECE
>list http://www.unece.org/etrades/units.htm) and the difficulty of a
>program to do conversion.

With microformats, we try to make publishing as simple as possible, and
put the responsibility for performing complex tasks with the parser.

>One way I see that may allow to resolve this conflict would be to
>follow the XBRL approach and have both a microformat for:
>   * defining elementary/atomic units. ex. "kg is the SI unit of mass".
>   * defining composite units as composition of other units and scaling
>     factors, for instance to mark up "One gram (g) is 1/1000th of a kg".
>   * referring to these definitions when marking up content such as
>     "500 g".

Microformats to not "define" such things. However, it may be possible
for the profile to include (the URL of) a list of relationships which
parsers could check periodically or on command.

Andy Mabbett
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