Continuing from IRC discussion here.
Sometimes a release will give several specific dates on which the release was recorded, for example Carousel (1945 Original Broadway Cast) which was "Recorded: May 11, 16, & 21, 1945". I take this to mean that some of the tracks were recorded on each date, and it is possible or perhaps likely (but not certain) that each individual track was recorded on a single date.
Assuming that the inclusion of dates on performance ARs is acceptable, does the date range in "John Raitt performed vocal on Soliloquy from 1945-05-11 until 1945-05-21" imply something which is (probably) incorrect when it is applied to a track, namely that the track was recorded over all eleven days?
On first glance, it does make that implication to me: "It took him from the 11th until the 21st to perform it?" For some reason, a more vague date indication, such as "in 1945-05" or just "in 1945", makes no such false implication. It is understood that we mean a subset of that month or year, probably just a day or two somewhere in there.
But then I think: We don't mean it took all year long when we say it was recorded in 1945, and we don't mean it took all 24 hours if we say it was recorded (e.g.) on 1945-05-16. So why shouldn't a date range work the same way: it means the performance took place sometime in that range, but we don't know exactly when.
I think ARs should be as specific as possible. If we know the track was recorded between 1945-05-11 and 1945-05-21 we are excluding some of our knowledge from the database if we simply say it was recorded in 1945-05.
A possible solution: Change "from...until" to "between...and" in Artist-Track ARs. "John Raitt performed vocal on Soliloquy between 1945-05-11 and 1945-05-21" could mean that he took all eleven days to perform it, but it can also be read as "he performed it sometime in between those dates".
(Question: With this wording, is it clear enough that the range is inclusive of the start and end dates?)
Thanks for reading this! Comments welcomed: post them here, on the mailing lists, or wherever.
Personally, I'd prefer to keep "from", as it implies a continuing basis. However, I do agree that we need to be able to set more than one date, so we could have (phrasing would be awkward) "from 1945-05-11 until 1945-05-12, 1945-05-16, 1945-05-23, 1976-10-01". Between seems to get more vague than we have to be. I'd also like to be able to actually distinguish between "end/start date unknown" and "present" - "Composer foo from 1845-10-09 through the present" aways reads very strangely, and is normally wrong. -- BrianSchweitzer 05:13, 09 February 2008 (UTC)