Implementation of a New Date/Time Standard in Digital Library Metadata
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Three years ago, the University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries Digital Projects Unit (DPU) chose to switch from the International Standards Organization (ISO) date standard to the Library of Congress' Extended Date Time Format (EDTF) as the authorized format for metadata in The Portal to Texas History and the UNT Digital Library. Since the standard was still being drafted at the time, complete and appropriate use of the EDTF in the digital library system has been inconsistent. Now that the EDTF is somewhat finalized (though still in draft state), the DPU has started implementing the date format in a more organized fashion, including the preliminary use of a validation program to flag dates that do not match the specifications. The EDTF is a date standard specifically intended to be machine-readable rather than formatted for usability by people, which means that there is occasionally a disconnect between the valid representation of dates according to standards and the ways in which partner institutions have previously expressed complex dates. This presentation would discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing the EDTF, such as: the pros/cons of choosing EDTF over ISO standards; difficulties in reconciling machine-readable date strings into dates that are understandable for users; challenges of fitting library-centric date paradigms (such as the use of square brackets) into a different standard; and making local cataloging decisions about how to implement the standard and at what level.