The Problem with Dates: Applying ISO 8601 to Research Data Management

  • Kristin A Briney (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)


Dates appear regularly in research data and metadata but are a problematic data type to normalize due to a variety of potential formats. This suggests an opportunity for data librarians to assist with formatting dates, yet there are frequent examples of data librarians using diverse strategies for this purpose. Instead, data librarians should adopt the international date standard ISO 8601. This standard provides needed consistency in date formatting, allows for inclusion of several types of date-time information, and can sort dates chronologically. As regular advocates for standardization in research data, data librarians must adopt ISO 8601 and push for its use as a data management best practice.

Keywords: standards, data information literacy, date-time formatting, data standards

How to Cite:

Briney, K. A., (2018) “The Problem with Dates: Applying ISO 8601 to Research Data Management”, Journal of eScience Librarianship 7(2), e1147. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Published on
06 Sep 2018