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st: Are Stata datasets platform-dependent?


From   Rieza Soelaeman <rsoelaeman@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: Are Stata datasets platform-dependent?
Date   Sat, 8 Oct 2011 11:57:52 -0500

Dear Stata list,
SAS programmer here new to Stata [waves at the crowd in the room].
I'm thinking about getting Stata for my personal computer (a mac) so I
can do analysis of Measure DHS data (http://www.measuredhs.com) at
home, and I was wondering whether it is true that Stata system files
are platform dependent, as stated on the datasets description part of
the DHS website (copied and pasted below, see *_*_*_* ).  DHS data are
available as SAS, SPSS, Stata, and flat file format.  If the *_*_*_*
part is true, would you then recommend using the flat file instead?

Thanks,
RHS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
System File Formats (SPSS, SAS, STATA)

The System File is a binary file that can be read quickly by the
relevant statistical package.  We provide system files for three
popular statistical analysis software packages: SPSS (SAV), SAS (SD2),
and STATA (DTA). Each system file contains all the data and
descriptive information required to define and use the data, including
variable names, variable labels, value labels, missing values, etc.
System files are the preferred format for these data files,
particularly if the file is large, and if repeated analysis will be
run using the same data file.

The main advantages of using the system file (rather than an ASCII
data file in conjunction with a syntax file) include faster processing
time, not having to modify the syntax file to refer to the correct
path of the data file, and the ease of saving changes. The main
disadvantage is that system files are platform dependent.  *_*_*_* For
example, the system files that we provide probably cannot be used on a
Macintosh computer *_*_*_*.  While these have not been tested, it is
more likely that the ASCII data and syntax files can be accessed on
different platforms, but will probably require some modification by
the user.

Software packages:       SPSS Version 13 (SAV files)
                                    SAS Version 6 (SD2)
                                    STATA SE Version 7 (DTA)

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