[EpiData-list] READ statement / Invalid dates / How to handle dates in analysis

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Mon Mar 12 03:53:30 CDT 2007

READ statement / Invalid dates / How to handle dates in analysis

1.  I submitted my previous email concerning the READ statement because:
- on reading a particular file, a list of some 20+ invalid dates was produced
- followed by a message that there were x valid records and 10 records
excluded from analysis.
I assumed that the 10 records were excluded because of the invalid
dates.  Subsequently, I have discovered that there was no connection
between the invalid dates and the excluded records!  In fact, the
invalid records were records which had been deleted.  SUGGESTION: When
records are excluded because they are deleted records, could the
message use the words "Deleted records" rather than "Excluded
records".  Just to avoid any confusion!

2.  To respond to Jamie's email (Invalid dates), some of the invalid
dates had been entered by EpiInfo, but about half had been entered
using EpiData.  EpiData Entry has no problems accepting a date such as
12/03/206.  (I have also tried 12/03/0206 which just immediately
reverts to 12/03/206).  Yet EpiData Analysis sees such a date as
invalid. SUGGESTION: EpiData Entry and Analysis should be consistent
with their interpretation of invalid dates.

3.  To respond to Jens' email (How to handle dates in analysis),
illegal dates are not the issue I am addressing.  Illegal dates are
not accepted by EpiData and will therefore not be an issue in
Analysis.  I am addressing legal dates which may have been entered
incorrectly, e.g. 12/03/2006 inadvertently entered as 12/03/206.
EpiData accepts this date.  But Analysis does not accept it as a valid

4.  Once the dataset with invalid dates has been read in Analysis, it
is not possible to carry out any commands which might include such
dates.  BROWSE, LIST, SAVEDATA for example will not operate (unless
one specifies variables excluding those which have invalid values).
SUGGESTION: Would it not be possible for Analysis to assign a standard
valid value (e.g. 01/01/1900) to any invalid dates it comes across
during the read process.  A message to this effect could be added to
the list of invalid dates (with their variable names and record
numbers).  It is then up to the user to edit the invalid dates.  But
then at least Analysis will be able to carry out all commands.

Many thanks,
Annemieke van Middelkoop
Pretoria, South Africa

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