[R] change in read.spss, package foreign?

Heinz Tuechler tuechler at gmx.at
Fri Sep 9 18:47:46 CEST 2005

Dear Thomas,
Thanks a lot for your extensive answer.

At 08:53 09.09.2005 -0700, Thomas Lumley wrote:
>On Fri, 9 Sep 2005, Heinz Tuechler wrote:
>> Dear Martin,
>> Thank you for your answer. As I said, I appreciate this change. The
>> documentation does not explain precisely, how variables with labels are
>> treated now. It only tells "If SPSS value labels are converted to factors
>> the underlying numerical codes will not in general be the same as the SPSS
>> numerical values, since the numerical codes in R are always 1,2,3,...".
>> Will now the created factor levels in any case be ordered according to the
>> order of the original numerical codes in SPSS?
>We don't know. We think so, based on a reasonable amount of 
>experimentation, but the file format isn't documented.  We do know that 
>the numerical codes R uses will always be 1,2,3,... so that there is no 
>hope for having the same codes as SPSS unless the SPSS codes were also 
>> In general I wonder, how I could get to know such critical changes before I
>> update a package instead of finding it out by chance. Is there a place,
>> where a responsible R-user should look, when updating the program?
>Many packages have a NEWS or ChangeLog file describing changes.  You would 
>typically have to look at the source package to find them, since by Unix 
>tradition they are usually in the top-level directory and so are not 
>included in the binary build.
>The foreign package is on svn.r-project.org, so you can see its Changelog 
>there. There have been suggestions to extract these files and put them in 
>the CRAN listing, but one obstacle is the lack of standardisation.
> 	-thomas

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