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This page describes how to use IDSS.


IDSS - the latest version is always available via the Sourceforge download system.

An HTML editor - IDSS analyzes HTML survey forms. A good option is to use NVU or KOMPOZER, available on Sourceforge or on the KOMPOZER web site

Using a general purpose editor like Microsoft Word (R) is also possible. A .doc document can be saved as an .htm file, which will be valid input to IDSS. This option is not advised, however, as the HTML code created by Word is far in excess of what is strictly necessary for good browsing.

A flat data base in simple mode - If you have a so-called 'flat' data base (without any separators) back from keyboarding operations, you are running IDSS in simple mode as opposed to running in recursive mode (R-mode)

A folder with filled-in forms in R-mode - All HTML forms sent back by persons surveyed should be gathered into a single folder.

Step 1 - create the survey form

Forms should follow the specifications given on the form specs page.

Step 2 - OPTIONAL - create auxiliary tools

  • correspondence table
  • The correspondence table gives the names, the labels and the informats of the variables, for each line (or question number, or variable rank).

  • formatted survey
  • The survey form layout can be fine-tuned, either to beautify it before distribution, or to use it as a reference tool for analysis.

IDSS -o survey_out.htm -i survey_in.htm -t [-tp path/to/table/folder] [formatting options]

table output will be table_1.txt in default folder ./DATA/TABLE unless folder path is specified by the -tp option.

Step 3 (i)- RUN in simple mode

To run in simple mode,a simple command line is:

IDSS  -i survey_in.htm -B -e /path/to/base_infile/ -s /path/to/base_outfile/ [-$ separator]

-e is followed by the path to the 'flat' data base and -s specifies the path to the new base with separators. By default, tabulations are used to separate fields. Other separators may optionally be indicated by the -$ switch (e.g. -$ ; )

Step 3 (ii) - OR RUN in R-mode

In R-mode, IDSS applies recursively to all survey forms in the folder, from the first file in the folder list to the last one. Switch -ir indicates the recursive status of input data parsing. A typical command line will be:

IDSS -ir survey_folder_in.htm -fb 
-B -e /path/to/base_infile/ -s path/to/base_outfile/

Step 4 - OPTIONAL - create a SAS DATA step program

If you own a SAS(R) license, you may wish to import your database to SAS format directly. Then the following options should be used:

IDSS -i survey_in.htm -Te /path/to/flat database/  -To "SAS DATA step options"

-Ts /path/to/SAS database/ -T path/to/DATA step .sas program/

You can combine steps 2 to 4 as follows to gain time. In simple mode, this gives:

IDSS -o survey_out.htm -i survey_in.htm -t [-tp /path/to/table/folder/] 

-B -e /path/to/base_infile/ -s /path/to/base_outfile/ [-$ separator]
-Te /path/to/flat database/ -To "SAS DATA step options"
-Ts /path/to/SAS database/ -T path/to/DATA step .sas program/