Re: CLDR: 2 vs. 4 digit years in US?

From: Jukka K. Korpela (
Date: Wed Dec 07 2005 - 07:52:19 CST

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    On Wed, 7 Dec 2005, Michael Everson wrote:

    >> Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS)
    >> Publication 4-1
    - -
    > Namely:
    > "For purposes of electronic data interchange in any recorded form among U.S.
    > Government agencies, NIST highly recommends that four-digit year elements be
    > used.

    The discussion would be easier if people wrote what they mean, then cited
    or quoted something to support it. A mere citation or quotation is not
    convenient to other participants and, moreover, it is often very

    Do you wish to make a point about the recommendation to use four digits
    for year or about scope of applicability of such a recommendation?
    The phrase "electronic data interchange" refers to transmission of data in
    machine-processable format (and we'd prefer having internationalized
    format used there), rather than presentation of data to human readers in
    visible (or audible) form.

    Most West European countries have a national standard that imposes the
    ISO 8601 format on dates - for "electronic data interchange" or something
    like that. (They must have it, since it's a European standard, as
    EN 28601.) Yet, few countries use it much in printed or online documents,
    and there might even be a national standard that specifies a different
    format for use in normal text.

    My point is that the existence of a standard does not imply a national
    practice, and the standard itself might define its scope as narrower
    than many people think (or like).

    Maybe a reasonable compromise might be found by defining things so that
    the _shortest possible_ date format in CLDR is meant for use when saving
    space is crucial, even at the expense of unambiguity, and this format may
    contain a two-digit denotation of a year in the Gregorian calendar.
    The next longer format would be what is generally recommended for use as a
    short date notation, and it would be required to contain the Gregorian
    year in full.

    Jukka "Yucca" Korpela,

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