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Date:         Tue, 27 Sep 2005 14:37:45 -0400
Reply-To:     Richard Ristow <wrristow@mindspring.com>
Sender:       "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Richard Ristow <wrristow@mindspring.com>
Subject:      Re: Double save data file
Comments: To: RalphG2703@aol.com
In-Reply-To:  <7e.721740ea.3068178e@aol.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

At 11:09 AM 9/25/2005, Ralph Grubb wrote:

>Does anyone know of an add-in to SPSS that permits a one-click save to >two different file locations? Wordtoys <URLS omitted> has a great >add-in program for MS Word that does this and far more. I am >constantly saving data files to two locations for back-up purposes >and really need a toolbar feature to do this. Thanks. Ralph

Two points here: How to do it, and why to consider seriously doing something else.

How to do it: Marta's given you a good solution. This is similar, even simpler and ALMOST a toolbar feature. DRAWBACK: you must create a separate "SAVE" file for each data file you're working on. You must be ABSOLUTELY SURE you use the right one, or your "save" will overwrite another of your data files.

A. If your data file is named "myfile.sav", create a file "myfile SAV.SPS" in your primary directory. (This is an SPSS syntax file.) Following Marta's conventions, it should contain the lines,

* Location #1 is C:\My Documents\ *. SAVE OUTFILE='c:\My Documents\myfile.sav'. * Location #2 is D:\Backup\ * SAVE OUTFILE='c:\My Documents\myfile.sav'.

B. When you open the data file, open the corresponding "SAVE" file as well. I've suggested giving the "SAVE" file a name that alphabetizes with the data file, so it's easy to highlight them together and open them together. The data file will open in the data editor; the syntax file, in its own syntax window. Make the syntax window as small as you like.

C. To double-save, on the syntax window's menu, click "Run" and select "All" ............................ SECOND point: why, often, to consider doing something else.

You're treating your SPSS data file as you would a Microsoft Word document: you open it, edit it as seems best, and save it.

For a Word document, that's fine. Usually, you don't care about history of the document; you just want to the latest version. You certainly don't need a record of your editing operations to create the document.

For an SPSS data file, it's fine as long as you're doing nothing but entering raw data from your source.

But when complete, an SPSS data file represents the data from a study, the records of related events, or the like. The most important version to keep is the very first one, with the most accurate representation of that raw data. If you are data-entering into an SPSS data file, once you've completed the entry you need to 'freeze' the file: minimally, make all copies read-only. Highly recommended, make backups; ideally, store one set of backups at another location.

If you're then transforming your data for analysis by modifying variables (STRONGLY recommended against) or creating new ones, you need an exact record of what you've done, so you can do it again. That is, you need the SPSS syntax that did the transformations; and you need it much, much more than you need the final transformed version of the data.

With the original data and the transformation syntax, you can re-create the transformed data very easily. If you have the final transformed version but not the syntax that created it, you have no firm record of how the transformed version was derived from the original.

If you like making transformations interactively, you can save the syntax by having SPSS keep a journal file, which will record the syntax for the transformations you make. (Menu Edit/Options/General, check "Record syntax in journal" and "Append".) You can put the journal file in any directory, and give it any name you like. But,

. You must save the journal file. As I've said, it, not the transformed data, is crucial. . You must not, at this stage, edit data values directly. There will be no record of those changes and you'll have a data file that can't be traced back to its source.

Dog show rules: Data, like dogs, can't be shown unless they have a pedigree.

-Good luck! Richard Ristow


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