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The standard ISO 8601 concerns dates, a common type of information used for data and documentation.

To understand why this standard is important, consider the following dates: All of these represent the same date but are expressed in different formats.

The committee’s membership changes each calendar year and it was hard to find specific files from previous committees.

My solution was to make all the file names start with a date.

For example, all of my presentation files live in folders labeled by date. “2014-04-30_Data Management Webinar”, while presentations that I give multiple times are only given a year, eg. I also have files that end up with just a year and a month, eg. No matter the specificity of the date, all of these files sort chronologically. I highly recommend using ISO 8601 as the way you write dates in your research.

It’s a trivially small change, but can have a huge impact in terms of how easy it is to find and use your content.

I’m going to come right out an admit something terribly nerdy: I have a favorite standard. My having a favorite standard probably doesn’t surprise you, as I am a person who writes a blog on data management for fun. But my having a favorite standard isn’t something for me alone (though I do use the standard often), it’s because ISO 8601 is incredibly useful for data management.

This provides you with a consistent format for all of your dates.Such consistency allows you to more easily find and organize your data, the hallmark of good data management.ISO 8601’s consistency is nice in and of itself, but here’s where things get really awesome: when you use ISO 8601 dates at the beginning of file names.We have helped thousands of millionaires find their match, and we're proud that we have 3 million active members as of today.Millionaire Match is voted "Best of the web" by Forbes and highlighted on Wall Street Journal.The problem is that if I use all of these formats in my notes, how will I ever find everything that happened on March 5th?It’s simply too much work to search for all the possible variations. ISO dictates that all dates should use the format “YYYYMMDD” or “YYYY-MM-DD”.The most widely used epoch is a conventional birthdate of Jesus (which was established by Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century).A date without the year part may also be referred to as a date or calendar date (such as "25 February" rather than "25 February 2018").This makes everything super easy to find and I can now simply ignore content from years I don’t need.The other great thing about using the “YYYY-MM-DD” format is that you can mix and match how specific your dates are.

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