What time is it ... in RDA?

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18 Apr 2016

What time is it ... in RDA?


RDA is a global organisation working to develop and deploy standards that help us communicate better so we can solve big problems. RDA is also an organisation of humans who communicate in very informal and idiosyncratic ways. This diversity of communication styles makes our discourse very rich, but it can also be very confusing. You would think we could agree on some of the basics like date and time.


Therefore, in any communications related to RDA, all dates and times should be represented in a globally understandable manner.


Dates should be in standard ISO 8601 format: eg. 2016-04-16 (ref: https://xkcd.com/1179/) Or in an unambiguous human readable format using the names of the months, eg. 16 April 2016.


Times should also be in ISO 8601 format, i.e. 24-hour clock system, and be listed in UTC*. According to ISO this is expressed with a ‘Z’ immediately following, eg. 13:05Z, where Z or ‘zulu' is for 'zero offset’. You will probably be better understood if you just say ‘UTC’, eg. 13:05 UTC. Other time zones can also be included and links to clever sites like timeanddate.com are encouraged, but the UTC time must be prominently listed. For physical events, it makes sense to use local time, but UTC should always be included if there is any virtual participation.


Thank you all for harmonizing this small but important piece of communication.


Yours in standards,


Mark Parsons

RDA Secretary General

2016-04-16 19:05 UTC


*Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is often interchanged or confused with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), but GMT is a time zone and UTC is a time standard.