[R] year extraction over a list

jimi adams jimi.adams at gmail.com
Tue Jul 31 17:33:09 CEST 2012

I have a data frame, one element in that data frame is a LIST, with each element being a character string. I am trying to extract the first year listed in each of those character strings. The character elements are typically csv, but the position of the year can vary (think citations with varying citation standards). I.e., 

[1] text, text, 2001, text
[2] text, 2000, text
[3] 1999, text, text, text, …

I'm trying to figure out how to create a new list such that each element is that year, i.e., the result on the above would be:
[1] 2001
[2] 2000 
[3] 1999

For some reason i'm not figuring out how to properly get lapply and strsplit (or other alternatives) to play nicely together. Any help greatly appreciated.


jimi adams
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
American University
e: jadams at american.edu
w: jimiadams.com

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