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What is the date on this picture (1129 2010100212 Walgreens)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note that the note has been transcribed incorrectly: the picture says "20100212" and the written annotation says "2010100212" with the "10" repeated. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 16, 2020 at 10:42

2 Answers 2


When dates are in the form using a trailing year such as 02/12/2010 there is an ambiguity between U.S. usage of month/day/year (Feb 12) and most of the rest of the world which uses day/month/year (Dec 2) in ascending order.

With a leading year such as 20100212, I have never seen an interpretation other than Year Month Day. So I would say Feb 12.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For the record format YYYYMMDD is used in Japan \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2020 at 1:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking the same thing, about the format, it was printed in the here US. so wouldn’t they stick to an American format. But it makes sense as I read it out loud. But that’s strange the only photo I have in the format. Thank you so much. \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor
    Dec 12, 2020 at 2:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It could also be 20 October, 0212. ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 12, 2020 at 3:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ The American and European formats are complicated to sort. With the ISO format (leading year) sorting dates alphabetically also sorts them in time order. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Dec 13, 2020 at 1:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I too hope that this is ISO 8601 date format: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601 because any other date format is unscientific. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2020 at 12:03

The usual (and ISO standard) is that it would be yyyymmdd.

However I've been burned enough times, that it's worth going through the images and look for numbers greater than 12 in the last 2 pairs. This will confirm it for that particular processor. If you are faced with a single image from a shoebox, lean toward mm being the 5th and 6th characters.

Date strings on cameras where they are on the image are more problematic. I've seen

  • 'yy mm d
  • 'yy dd mm
  • dd/mm/yy
  • mm/dd/yy
  • dd hh:mm

Again, look at a bunch, and try to deduce it. Don't forget that the pouch that the images came back from the processor may have date information on it it.

This is one of the dangers of 'scanning originals and chucking the paper copies.'

You have to develop the mindset of a packrat.


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