[EpiData-list] How to read CSV files (missing versus zero)

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Tue Mar 14 10:17:01 CST 2006

As the discussion has rolled out I am sure we can all agree that
"Missing data and zero are two totally different things and should never
be interchanged.  "

Obviously I never intended to have a meaning other than stated with the
sentence above. The problem which arose is however that when creating
comma separated files it turns out that the contents of the files varies a
lot depending on which system is creating the data files.

Therefore I asked :

> In other words the question is how to read ",.," should it be:
> Option 1: as 0.0                  (which is current behaviour)
> or Option 2: .

My worry was that around the world in some places some systems export a
zero as ",.," whereas in other areas as ",,"

>From the messages added by users I decided to implement the latter option.
That is in one of the next builds you will see that:

Any content of a comma separated file will be imported as :
missing if the content of the csv file is: ,., or ,, for a given field.

A similar question is related to reading of "empty" boolean fields. E.g.
access exports these as "FALSE" or "NO", not as "no value".

There is only one cure to this type of problem: The software should not be
given control of standards. The standard should be settled by the user or
the user community.


Jens Lauritsen.
EpiData Association

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