My very first viral tweet, in fact. It turns out that many other people have strong feeling date formats.
There is one correct way to write a date and it's YYYY-MM-DD. https://t.co/HcpEUblwCE
— Kristin Briney (@KristinBriney) July 3, 2018
I think that the benefits of the YYYY-MM-DD format are obvious, but I’m also the oddball who has the international date standard number memorized (it’s ISO 8601, by the way). These benefits are likely not obvious to everyone else, even to my data librarian peers who regularly deal with consistency in data formatting. Thus the lament in a reply to my tweet:
I wish this were more obvious in our profession. https://t.co/9GYEKyJ0wL
— Yasmeen Shorish (@yasmeen_azadi) July 4, 2018
Yasmeen’s reply got me thinking about the small-but-significant number of times I’ve seen data librarian peers putting dates into non-YYYY-MM-DD formats. It also prompted me to go from occasionally grumping to myself about this issue to full-on ranting to others in the form of a commentary in one of my field’s journals.
All this is to say that you should check out my latest publication in the Journal of eScience Librarianship: “The Problem with Dates: Applying ISO 8601 to Research Data Management.” The redux is that I implore you to learn about the ISO 8601 standard and use it in your research data management. From experience I can say that it’s one of the best data tricks I know.
[PS. 10 points to anyone who catches the Harry Potter Easter egg in the article.]