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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.

Corresponding Author

Kristin Briney, Data Services Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2311 E Hartford Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53211; briney@uwm.edu

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Copyright Briney © 2018

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.