[EpiData-list] Time and time differences - recording of time variables

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Wed Nov 25 06:12:01 CST 2009

As part of current development there is an issue of how time is best
represented in data.

Recent years have added a date-time field to some database systems. In
most cases for entry these are rather cumbersome to work with in practice
in my experience.

The suggestion is to add one time field:
hh.mm.ss        that is a time field with 6 digits.
Entered             recorded
1            01.00.00   (one o'clock at night)
122        12.20.00   (20 minutes past twelwe)
182045   18.20.45   (20 minutes,45 seconds after 18 hours)

Functions will be needed e.g. to calculate time in hours, minutes or
seconds from day1 time1 to day2 time2. Or conversion of an imported
date-time value to separate the date into one field and the time into

Users are encouraged to give examples and discuss here on the list regarding:
a. Needs for recording of time
b. Examples of practical situations where this was needed
c. In what format would users prefer recording.

Also whether there seems to be a need for a combined date-time field.

Jens Lauritsen
EpiData Association

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