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# Re: st: Comparing strings

 From Eric Booth <[email protected]> To [email protected] Subject Re: st: Comparing strings Date Mon, 26 Mar 2012 11:36:28 -0500

```<>

Take a look at: -findit reclink-

- Eric

__
Eric A. Booth
Public Policy Research Institute
Texas A&M University
[email protected]
+979.845.6754

On Mar 26, 2012, at 11:34 AM, jo la frite wrote:

> dear
> Nick,
>
> Thanks
> for your reply and sorry for being too cryptic with my question.
>
> I am
> trying to merge 2 datasets, in which observations (firms) are identified by
> their names. The names do not match exactly in the 2 datasets so I am doing a
> "fuzzy match". My idea is to match 2 names if a large enough fraction
> of a name from dataset 1 (say name1) is in a name from dataset 2 (name 2). For
> example, "abcde" could be matched with "abcdtyuk" because
> the FIRST 4 letters are in common out of an average of (5+8)/2=6.5. It is
> important that the comparison sticks to the ordering of the letters. So
> "abcde" is not matched with "edcba" or "bacde",
> even though the letters are the same but in a different order. Does that make
> any sense? thanks again for your help.
>
> Jo
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Nick Cox <[email protected]>
> To: [email protected]
> Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 11:30 AM
> Subject: Re: st: Comparing strings
>
> This is a bit better:
>
> mata :
>
> string scalar strscalarsort(string scalar mystring) {
>
> real scalar len, i
> string colvector work
> len = strlen(mystring)
> work = J(len, 1, "")
> for(i = 1; i <= len; i++) work[i] = substr(mystring, i, 1)
> _sort(work, 1)
> return(invtokens(work', ""))
> }
>
> end
>
> I still don't know what the real problem is, so I am just playing. But
> if you wanted to compare strings regardless of order of characters
> something like this would seem needed as a first step.
>
> On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 1:51 AM, Nick Cox <[email protected]> wrote:
>> -indexnot()- is a function, not a command.
>>
>> It's not clear to me what you want, but you can check for whether the
>> same letters occur in two strings, at the cost of some programming.
>> For example, a Mata function can be written to sort the characters of
>> a string scalar into alphabetical order. Here is one:
>>
>> mata :
>>
>> string scalar deorst(string scalar mystring) {
>>
>> real scalar len
>> string vector work
>> len = strlen(mystring)
>> work = J(len, 1, "")
>> for(i = 1; i <= len; i++) work[i] = substr(mystring, i, 1)
>> _sort(work, 1)
>> mystring = ""
>> for(i = 1; i <= len; i++) mystring = mystring + work[i]
>> return(mystring)
>> }
>>
>> end
>>
>> . mata : deorst("sorted")
>>  deorst
>>
>> . mata : deorst("backwards")
>>  aabcdkrsw
>>
>> On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 10:20 PM, jo la frite <[email protected]> wrote:
>>> thanks Nick and Eric. As far as I understand, the indexnot command compares strings regardless of the ordering of the characters in the string. for example, "frog" and "ogfr" are viewed as identical by indexnot.
>>>
>>>
>>> Is there a way of controling for the ordering of the characters. So for example, "comparing "frog" and "fragro" retuns 3 (position of the first character from "frog" not in "fragro").
>>
>> From: Nick Cox <[email protected]>
>>
>>> Stata naturally does have a concept of alphanumeric order for strings;
>>> otherwise it could not -sort- them. Consider
>>>
>>> . di ("frog" < "toad")
>>> 1
>>>
>>> . di ("frog" < "foo")
>>> 0
>>>
>>> The first statement is true and the second false. Otherwise put, with
>>> strings < means "precedes" and > means "follows" in alphanumeric
>>> order.
>>>
>>> This allows one step further forwards:
>>>
>>> gen compare = cond(str1 > str2, indexnot(str1, str2), -indexnot(str1, str2))
>>>
>>> If strings are identical, this yields 0. Jo did not make explicit that
>>> this is what SAS does too, but either way it seems logical to me.
>>>
>>> Nick
>>>
>>> On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 10:47 PM, Eric Booth <[email protected]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Take a look at the string function (-help string_functions-) indexnot() (e.g., "gen x = indexnot(string1, string2)" )  which will give you the leftmost position where the two strings differ.
>>>> This Stata string function does not assign the positive/negative sign like the sas function you describe, but you can code those yourself by using other string functions to find how they differ in order/sequence/length.
>>>
>>> On Mar 24, 2012, at 5:12 PM, jo la frite wrote:
>>>
>>>>> Is there a Stata function that correspondons to the Sas function "COMPARE". It allows to compare strings. Specifically, in Sas COMPARE(string-1, string-2) returns a numeric value. The sign of the result is negative if string-1 precedes string-2 in a sort sequence, and positive if string-1 follows string-2 in a sort sequence. The magnitude of the result is equal to the position of the leftmost character at which the strings differ.
>
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```