Dates appear regularly in research data and metadata but are a problematic data type to normalize due to a variety of potential formats. This suggests an opportunity for data librarians to assist with formatting dates, yet there are frequent examples of data librarians using diverse strategies for this purpose. Instead, data librarians should adopt the international date standard ISO 8601. This standard provides needed consistency in date formatting, allows for inclusion of several types of date-time information, and can sort dates chronologically. As regular advocates for standardization in research data, data librarians must adopt ISO 8601 and push for its use as a data management best practice.
standards, data information literacy, date-time formatting, data standards
The author thanks Yasmeen Shorish for her valuable feedback on a draft of this commentary.
Briney KA. The Problem with Dates: Applying ISO 8601 to Research Data Management. Journal of eScience Librarianship 2018;7(2): e1147. https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2018.1147. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/jeslib/vol7/iss2/7
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