Each input file is a mixture of these kinds of lines:
A day line starts with a bang
!”) character and
defines the date, state code, and default locality for
the lines that follow it, up to the next day line or
to the end of the file. See Section 4.1, “Syntax of the day line”.
A locality definition line
starts with an at-sign (“
@”) character and defines a new locality code
that applies to following lines up to the next locality
line, day line, or end of file. See Section 4.2, “The locality definition line”.
If the observer leaves a particular locality but then returns to that locality later in the same day, a locality back reference line specifies the locality that applies to following lines up to the next locality line, day line, or to the end of the file, whichever comes first. See Section 4.3, “The locality back-reference line”.
A census line describes the sighting of one or more kinds of birds. See Section 4.4, “The census line”.
The reader may wish at this time to review the schema, since the output of the shorthanding system is destined for an XML file conforming to that schema. We will use names from the schema to indicate where shorthand items will go in the output.