[time-nuts] time-nuts Digest, Vol 63, Issue 52

Magnus Danielson magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org
Sun Oct 11 16:49:22 UTC 2009

Mike S wrote:
> At 11:35 AM 10/11/2009, Magnus Danielson wrote...
>> The carefull reader will discover my use of the "," for decimal place 
>> and "." for digit separation. The US convention works the other way 
>> around. It is also part of the US adaptation of the SI standard, so 
>> care should be taken not to interprent the NIST publication as 
>> conveying the correct detail for certain things, they are only to be 
>> viewed as local interpretation to the USA, possibly only recommended use.
> No, It's not a "US adaptation," it is part of the SI (ref: 
> http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8.pdf ), which BTW 
> doesn't allow a glyph to be used for "digit separation," so there can be 
> no ambiguity:
> "5.3.4 Formatting numbers, and the decimal marker
> "The symbol used to separate the integral part of a number from its 
> decimal part is called the decimal marker. Following the 22nd CGPM 
> (2003, Resolution 10), the decimal marker "shall be either the point on 
> the line or the comma on the line." The decimal marker chosen should be 
> that which is customary in the context concerned.
> "If the number is between +1 and -1, then the decimal marker is always 
> preceded by a zero. Following the 9th CGPM (1948, Resolution 7) and the 
> 22nd CGPM (2003, Resolution 10), for numbers with many digits the digits 
> may be divided into groups of three by a thin space, in order to 
> facilitate reading. Neither dots nor commas are inserted in the spaces 
> between groups of three..."

I stand corrected... the 2001 version of SP330 had this type of 
limitation as I recall it where as the 2008 version does not.

 From the foreword of NIST SP330-2001:

"Thus, this USA edition differs from the English-language version in the 
BIPM publication in the following
details: (1) the dot is used instead of the comma as the decimal marker; 
(2) the American spellings ‘‘meter,’’
‘‘liter,’’ and ‘‘deka’’ are used instead of ‘‘metre,’’ ‘‘litre,’’ and 
‘‘deca’’; (3) a small number of footnotes are
added for explanatory purposes and to identify USA practices that differ 
from those suggested in the BIPM
publication; (4) in a few instances, American rather than British 
spelling or usage is followed for a few
common words; and (5) the index has been moderately expanded.

 From the foreword of NIST SP33-2008:

"Like its 2001 predecessor, the 2008 edition of NIST SP 330 conforms 
with the English text in the
BIPM SI Brochure but contains a few minor differences to reflect the 
most recent interpretation of the
SI for the United States by the Secretary of Commerce, as published in 
the Federal Register of July
28, 1998, 63 FR 40334-40340. (The Metric Conversion Act of 1975 gives 
the Secretary of Commerce
the responsibility of interpreting or modifying the SI for use in the 
United States. A slightly updated
version of the 1998 interpretation is expected to be published in the 
Federal Register in 2008.) These
differences include the following: (i) The spelling of English words is 
in accordance with the United
States Government Printing Office Style Manual, which follows Webster's 
Third New International
Dictionary rather than the Oxford Dictionary. Thus the spellings 
“meter,” “liter,” and “deka” are used
rather than “metre,” “litre,” and “deca” as in the original BIPM English 
text; (ii) the name of the unit
with symbol t and defined according to 1 t = 10³ kg is called “metric 
ton” rather than "tonne"; (iii) the
four units curie, roentgen, rad, and rem are given in Table 10, p. 38; 
(iv) a number of "Editors’ notes"
are added in order to indicate such differences where significant 
(except spelling differences) and to
clarify the text; and (v) a few very minor editorial changes are made in 
order to “Americanize” some

Notice that the "dot" rather than "comma" change have been removed.

I recalled correctly, but the reality changed from when I last checked.


More information about the time-nuts mailing list