Note about Codebook Digitization

I got into great trouble for my post about codebook digitization for the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, (WLS), by which I should have said that this information was not in a digital format I could actually use.   The WLS staff were kind enough to send me codebook information in a supposedly useful form, a 2 megabyte XML file. 

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

 If you have ever tried to pull data out of an XML file you can imagine my dismay.  I’ll still try to get the information I need, but I am running out of optimism, especially since I now realize that the R package I hoped to use to read their Stata file will not run on my 64-bit AMD machine.  I don’t know if I am brave enough to try recompiling the R source under the beta 64-bit version of Cygwin or the beta MingW64.   I somehow doubt it will compile correctly, but its worth a try.  Anyone braver who’d like to do this, please do.

On my software development blog at http://SoftwareDevelopment.SocialTechnology.ca/sdwp/ I was bold enough to list proposed standards for social surveys, which I expect will outrage the academics and professionals, though I don’t think them unreasonable.   See what you think.   Adherence to those standards would make everyone’s life easier, most especially anyone who takes the development of social technology software seriously — that is to say me.  I do have some evidence people read the blog, but so far nobodies jumped on the bandwagon.   Perhaps that is because they don’t want to go where I want to go.   Actually I don’t really want to drive the wagon, I’d be very content to be a passenger or better yet, one of the horses.  — dpw

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