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st: DTA File Format


From   Stephen McKay <S.McKay@bristol.ac.uk>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: DTA File Format
Date   Tue, 2 Dec 2003 09:37:09 +0000

I would hazard a guess that this data file is in IBM 360 'column 
binary' format.  You don't see them very often these days - based on 
punch-card formatting ideas - though it is still sometimes used with 
market research data (eg Quantime software).

You should get in touch with the supplier, as a paying customer, to get
something else.  Otherwise, both SPSS and SAS are supposedly able to 
read such formats (with SPSS you need to specify a FILE HANDLE with 
option 'mode=multipunch').

Regards - Steve


# Amnon Melzer (amnon@eighty20.co.za) wrote
# > I'm hoping someone on this list can help me.
# > 
# > I have just purchased a data set from a data provider, in DTA format. I am
# > not a STATA user, so I need some help interpreting it.
# > 
# > I wish to load the data up into a MySQL database. However, I do not
# > understand how to interpret the DTA file. Most of the rows are fine, I
# > understand them fully. But when a respondent has a multiple answer to a
# > particular question, a * is put there and there are some extra characters at
# > the end of the line. See below for an example. Look at the third row:
# >
# > ...
# > 710001  494949
# > 032
# > 710001                                                1              27
# > 036
# > 710001  *        9*        9*        952            111314120000001000060
# > 038^?@L@L@L
# > ...
# 
# 
# This does not appear to be a Stata-format .dta file.  There is no
# centralized registry of file extensions, so application developers
# are free to choose any extension they wish.  The data above, while
# named .dta, does not appear to be Stata .dta.
# 
# My advice is to talk to the data provider about the source of the
# data and the program they used to export it.  Stata-format .dta files
# are binary and are not human-readable in a text editor.
# - --Alan Riley

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