[R] retaining characters in a csv file

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Wed Sep 23 02:36:58 CEST 2015

On 22/09/2015 6:00 PM, Therneau, Terry M., Ph.D. wrote:
> I have a csv file from an automatic process (so this will happen thousands of times), for 
> which the first row is a vector of variable names and the second row often starts 
> something like this:
> 5724550,"000202075214",2005.02.17,2005.02.17,"F", .....
> Notice the second variable which is
>        a character string (note the quotation marks)
>        a sequence of numeric digits
>        leading zeros are significant
> The read.csv function insists on turning this into a numeric. 

No it doesn't.  All you need to do is specify colClasses and it will
follow your instructions.

 Is there any simple set of
> options that
> will turn this behavior off?  I'm looking for a way to tell it to "obey the bloody quotes" 
> -- I still want the first, third, etc columns to become numeric.  There can be more than 
> one variable like this, and not always in the second position.

No, because the bloody quotes are part of the "csv standard".  They
aren't meaningful.

If you don't know what the data is, that's your fault.  You shouldn't be
analyzing data when you are so ignorant.

Duncan Murdoch

> This happens deep inside the httr library; there is an easy way for me to add more options 
> to the read.csv call but it is not so easy to replace it with something else.
> Terry T
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