quality of historical zone information

Joseph S. Myers jsm28 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Jan 29 19:23:04 UTC 2001

On Mon, 29 Jan 2001, Gwillim Law wrote:

> Too much work is involved to expect any one person, especially a volunteer,
> to do it all.  There's a natural way to subdivide it:  by countries.  In
> general, time zones are determined by legislation which applies throughout a
> jurisdiction, almost always a whole country.  In many cases, a volunteer
> could take responsibility for several countries or a whole region.  On the
> other hand, a country with a very complex time zone history, such as the
> United States, might be divided up among several volunteers.  Ideally, each
> volunteer would be acquainted with the languages and culture of the region
> he or she is responsible for.  Uniform guidelines should be drawn up,
> covering things like database design, data authentication, and update
> notification.

We also should be working with Shanks, ACS, le Corre etc. on such a common
database, rather than irregularly taking updates from each other.

> may have to be reconsidered.  What we need is a file containing every
> available document that has clues to historical time zone data.  This file
> could be partitioned by country or region, so that each time zone volunteer
> saves only those documents pertaining to his or her specific area.

A paper or an electronic file?  My file of papers relating to time zone
history in the UK is about four centimetres thick - and this is mostly
just copies of the relevant laws.  A file that also included all relevant
extracts from Hansard, etc., would be somewhat thicker; and if all the
archive material in the Public Record Office were added - providing much
of the colour behind the bare details of the dates and times (and also
including miscellaneous papers relating to other European countries) then
there could be a metre or more thickness of papers.  Such a collection of
"every available document that has clues" seems rather ambitious.

Joseph S. Myers
jsm28 at cam.ac.uk

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