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st: Preventing -infix- from trimming string variables


From   Ronán Conroy <rconroy@rcsi.ie>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: Preventing -infix- from trimming string variables
Date   Wed, 02 Mar 2005 20:08:49 +0000

I am doing a nightmare task, which entails cleaning up almost 3,000 individual files, each one of which represents data on a single study participant. The datafiles contain a myriad of oddities, some of which appears to be corruption, which I have gradually winnowed out (OS X users might like to know that Textalchemy is free, and does a splendid job of cleaning corrupted text files...)

However, my next step is to read the files, one at a time, into Stata, do some more polishing and write ASCII files. There is a reason for this intermediate step, and it's too tedious to explain, but basically I'm reading the participant's data file as if it were a series of one-line records, eliminating blank lines and trimming duplicate information.

But here's the problem: I'm using a simple dictionary file

infix dictionary {
str var1 1-80
}

However, when Stata reads in the data, it trims trailing spaces off the lines. Actually, leading and trailing spaces are important, as this is fixed format data, with varying line lengths. But try as I may, I cannot get Stata to read the entire line including leading and trailing blanks. Any ideas?

The website of the group which developed the original package was last updated in 1999, and I'm told they don't answer email any more, which is why I have been landed with this pack of puppies...

--

Ronan M Conroy (rconroy@rcsi.ie) Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics Royal College of Surgeons Dublin 2, Ireland +353 1 402 2431 (fax 2764) -------------------- Just say no to drug reps http://www.nofreelunch.org/

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