Dates That Are Not Data
Dates that are not Data
Possibly no idiosyncrasy of the collector causes more trouble than the habit of abbreviating dates on labels, for instance 1. 2. 07, or better still, 1 | 2 | 07. Does this mean, January 2nd, 1907? In some cases it does; but it may mean February 1st 1907, and the only way for the unfortunate ornithologist to guess the meaning is to have skins from the same collector having the day higher than twelve, thus 13. 2. 07. Even this is not certainty; for the collector sometimes changes his formula and it requires an expert in plumage cycles to decide which is which.
There are variations to this that once understood are not so confusing; 1. II. 07 means February 1st, 1907, but how about 19. 1-11. 00? This is happily confined to Russian collectors as far as I know and I think should read November 1st, 1900, but whether old style or new style is not for me to say.
Moral: Write the month plainly in letters of ink that fade not, forgetting not the day and year of reckoning.
J. H. FLEMING