#249 What does cert="unknown" mean?


The 'cert' attribute used by tei:date (among other elements) takes values from the enumeration data.certainty. At http://www.tei-c.org/release/doc/tei-p5-doc/en/html/ref-data.certainty.html that enumeration is documented as containing the values "high", "medium", "low", and "unknown". As far as I can tell, however, nothing in the reference material says what those values mean. For high, medium, and low it seems to be passably obvious, but does cert="uinknown" mean

(a) Lower than "low": the certainty of this value is nil; the value is not known at all.

(b) Not saying: the certainty of this value may be high, or medium, or low; we don't know how certain it is.

Both (a) and (b) seem to me to be things one might wish to say, in different circumstances, so neither seems a priori impossible as an interpretation. I think the Guidelines should say what the value means.


  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2011-01-03
    • milestone: --> GREEN
  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2011-01-03

    I am pretty certain (ha) that "unknown" is for your case (b) -- i.e. we don't know what value is appropriate so we're not making any claim at all -- since this is how we use "unknown" in other enumerations. I will update the doc accordingly unless anyone wishes to argue otherwise.

  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2011-02-26
    • assigned_to: nobody --> louburnard
    • status: open --> closed-accepted
  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2011-02-26

    Added "The value
    <val>unknown</val> should be used in cases where the encoder
    does not wish to assert an opinion about the matter" to remarks in tagdoc to clarify this.


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