Importing data (general instructions)

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This section describes the import and update processes for data tables in IFsHistSeries.Mdb. Updating World Value Survey data (IFsWVSCohort.MDB) requires following a slightly different procedure.

Data import for IFs is a three step process:

  1. Extraction, preparation and blending of source data (and meta-data) into MS Access tables formatted for IFs database. This step might involve a blending process when data is updated.
  2. Vetting of MS Access tables containing extracted data (and meta-data)
  3. Merging of the MS Access table (and meta-data) to IFs master database (IFsHistSeries.Mdb   and Datadict.mdb)

Extraction, Preparation and Blending of Source Data

In this section we shall discuss how to extract data from external sources, prepare extracted data for IFs database and blend extracted data with existing data. When updating an existing data table we usually preserve data not reported in the more recent source to maintain consistency between old and new data, a process we call blending.

There are three ways to import data from external sources and prepare it for IFs as a new series or as an update of an existing series:

  1. Manual import, which basically involves reorganizing external data into an IFs template spreadsheet and copying that data to an MS Access table   
  2. Automated import that uses IFs software application to extract data from Excel spreadsheets and prepare Access tables using a Country Concordance table between external data source and IFs.
  3. Batch update, another IFs application feature that automates updating all IFs tables from the same external source as long as external data is available in a required format.

Manual Import Using IFs Template Spreadsheet

The steps for the manual import are:

  1. Enter or reorganize external data into IFs template spreadsheet. The IFs team uses an Excel spreadsheet template containing 186 IFs countries, country FIPS code and year columns going from 1960 to 2014. The name of the Excel file is "Template Data Form 6.XLS." This file can be found in the IFs\Data folder. (Template spreadsheets can also be generated from IFs application's import screen)
  2. Delete year column in the template spreadsheet which do not have any data.
  3. Create an MS Access table with the same structure (i.e., containing the same year columns) as the template spreadsheet. This new Access table needs to be created inside "IFsDataImport.Mdb" file in the IFs\Data folder. If you are updating an existing table, you should give the table the same name as the existing table. For a new table, prefix the table name with "Series" and follow the naming convention described in section 2.2.

Tip: Rather than creating an altogether new Access table, take an existing data table, i.e., any of the IFsHistSeries.mdb tables, copy it to a new name and change the structure by going to "Design View" in MS Access. In fact, it is best to start from an existing table so that the data field specifications are strictly followed. To add a year to the new table, insert an empty column (in the design view), copy an existing year column, paste it on the empty column and change the column (or field) name to the label of the year you need. (If you are using an existing Access table to create a new table, please delete the Earliest and MostRecent columns from the Access table as this will be populated automatically by IFs application.)

  1. Copy and paste the data from Excel template spreadsheet to Access table. Make sure you sort both the spreadsheet and the Access table alphabetically by country name before you copy and paste.
  2. Add a row to the Datadict table inside IFsDataImport.Mdb file. If you are importing new data, create an empty row and add meta-data (please be as complete as possible). If you are updating data, copy the row from master copy of Datadict (DataDict.Mdb) and edit as needed (you must edit last IFs update)

Tip: You can skip steps iii, iv and v and use IFs' automated import (see next section for description) feature instead

Passing Extracted Data for Vetting

Extracted data, saved in Data\IFsDataImport.Mdb, need to be sent to the person who will do the vetting. Please also pass all source information (Excel spreadsheet data or pdf file/s or the website from which data is taken). Some initial scrutiny of the data before it is sent for vetting is recommended.

Automated Import Using ImportXLS: Single Import

External data available in Excel format known to IFs can be extracted into Access tables using IFs application's automated ImportXLS (the process works only for Excel files and hence the name) feature that work by importing one time series at a time.

This feature can be accessed through IFs menu system:

IFs -> MainMenu->Extended Features -> Manage Country Data->Historic Data File Processing-> Import Data from XLS File.

Test 3