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.
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 Software Development 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