The tim field in a trace file is a timestamp. Pre-Oracle9i, the times recorded by Oracle only have a resolution of 1/100th of a second (10mS). As of Oracle9i some times are available to microsecond accuracy (1/1,000,000th of a second). The timestamp can be used to determine times between points in the trace file. The value is the value in V$TIMER when the line was written. If there are TIMESTAMPS in the file you can use the difference between 'tim' values to determine an absolute time.
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This was first published in January 2003