Working with ODBC data sources in Stata--tips and techniques
With its suite of ODBC-related commands, Stata may now be used directly with many popular database management systems (DBMSs) and other ODBC data sources. Stat/Transfer's ODBC capabilities have permitted indirect access for some time. ODBC has advantages over copy-and-paste or save-as/insheet operations for reproducibility of the analysis and for documentation of its trail of events. The suite's ability to use Structured Query Language statements also facilitates use of DBMSs for storage and organization of massive sets of data, while economizing on memory during analysis with Stata by limiting what is loaded into the active dataset to only pertinent rows and columns. This presentation will briefly review the suite, and then, using a case study approach, it will illustrate the use of this suite in solutions to selected data management problems, for example, when clients deliver data for analysis in spreadsheets laid out in an unfavorable manner, or when datasets are delivered in ill-designed relational databases or in those that are subject to frequent updating. The presentation will also share tips and precautions from experience with its use with two popular spreadsheet and database packages, and give pointers on using ODBC data sources that contain text in double-byte character sets (Unicode).
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