Tinderbox Forum

Is there a "Fuzzy Date" attribute?

Quick question: Does Tinderbox have anything like a “fuzzy date”? I am building a set of Event notes, and while some of the events have definite dates (or date ranges), some of them are fuzzy, such as “June 2019.”

Obviously, I’m going to want to search on these, so I thought I’d ask.

There are two parts to this.

The source attributes. The only date-type attribute in Tinderbox is a Date-time field. as the underlying value is a millisecond offset from the Unix epoch, there is no fuzzy setting per se. I generally use the first of the month is wanting a generic date and a specific time too (e.g. “12:00”) so it’s a reminder to myself that this is likely a fuzzy date even if the data makes it appear otherwise.

Querying. A dat-ime attribute can be queried discretely for its month (and year, day, etc…) so you could, for instance ask for $StartDate.month==11 to find a fuzzy month of November. See date.month().

So even if you need to set a notional day & month (indeed time too) you can still query on a moth or year (or both). So you might see “1/12/1773 12:52” (or “12/1/1773 12:52” in in the US) as a Date-type attribute value but you can still query for $DateAttribute.year==1773 & $DateAttribute.month==12 and get matches to all notes where the attribute $DateAttribute has a fuzzy date of December 1773.

When I work in history I don’t use the built-in date field as I find it too inconvenient. Too many of the dates I use are either “incomplete”, or sometimes I need to use periods of time like January to March, or 1815 to 1830. So basically I roll my own. I define a year field, a month field, and so forth. I even have a modifier field which has items like “before” or “circa” and so on. This gives me a lot of flexibility.

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This makes a lot of sense. Dates get complicated quite quickly.