Fw: Time Zone Names

Canaglobe International Inc. mpereira at istar.ca
Tue Oct 6 16:38:46 UTC 1998

 The 3-digit time zones are stable  they change only when there is a change
in jurisdiction (.e.g. the break-up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia,
Ethiopia, etc.) led to the creation of new jurisdictions. One key attribute
of these jurisdictions is that they now become the authority/source for
establishment/declaration of time zones, switches to daylight saving time,
etc. Consequently, changes in 3-digit numbers represent either additional
objects in the same object class or significant changes to existing objects
in the object class. The two and three alphas are merely human interface
attributes of each instance of an object. These human interface attributes
can and do change depending on the will of the authority/source as do the
associated names. However, the assignment of numeric codes is linked to
international recognition of changes in jusrisdictions and handled through
the United Nations. On this there is a liaison from the UN Statistical
Office to DIN the registration authority for ISO 3166. In short, the
following rule-base applies,

(1)  changes to the numeric codes in ISO3166-1 occur only when agreed to by
the UN where its member bodies collectively recognize the addition of a new
jurisdiction and/or changes in existing jurisdictions particularly where
these involve physical boundaries. 

(2) Time zones are physical boundary oriented and one needs to have
unambiguous identification and referencing in a linguistically neutral and
IT-enabled manner of of the authoritative sources stating the rules for
each disrcete time zones

(3) ISO 3166-1 countries identified through their numeric codes as assigned
via the UN and disseminated through DIN provide such unambiguous
identification and referencing

(4) ISO 3166-1 countries have the authority within this schema, i.e. UN +
ISO 3166 rules, to attach whatever names they wish to their entity
including 2 and 3-alpha codes as long as these have not already been taken
by other entities, i.e. instances of objects in the same class.

(5) ISO 3166-1 countries have the authority to identify and label their
3166-2 level object as they see fit including delegated authority, if they
so wish, with respect to jurisdiction over time zones in the physical
territory referenced through an 3166-2 code.

Personally, I find it surprising and a bit disconcerting that those who are
taking so much time and effort in identification of time zones, their
properties, etc. would take such a cavalier attitude to the unambiguous
identification and referencing of the authorities/sources of the same.

If we are ever to have a referenceable "database" on date/timezones as
Marcus Kuhn is thinking and I see David Keegel also sees as a long term
objective, we should take this matter a bit more seriously, i.e. the
IT-enabled and IT-interface API versus the multiple human interface
equivalents which it may have.

Enough said - Jake Knoppers <mpereira at istar.ca>

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