I have been well upbraided and justly so by Professor Robert M. Hauser for my comments about the WLS codebooks not being available in digital form. What I should have said is that they are not in any simple digital form that anyone can use, such as the CSV format in which their actual response data is made available.
I do have a problem with using the codebook data, which is not in any easy to use format, but I should have been more careful how I said it. What I meant by my comment was that the PDF and HTML files are not in an easily machine readable format, and there was not much I could do with the the codebooks available on the site in those files print them out.
I did ignore the existence of large statistical packages that would give me access to the codebook data along with the rest of the data. I can’t affort to spend a lot of money on a package whose only purpose would be to translate the codebook data into the kind of simple digital format I could use directly.
I did indeed mention one of those packages, Stata, in the immediately previous post, where I noted my hope that if the freely available stats package R could import Stata files, I might be able to get what I wanted, since from R it is easy enough to export it in a format that I can read and manipulate using Python.
I should have spelled out my frustration at finding only PDF and HTML files, useless as data for my intended Python program, though I did that more clearly in the previous post, which did outline that plan for getting codebook data from Stata files via R.
Even that now seems futile, because the R which I used to use will not run only the only machine I have now, a 64-bit one. If anyone knows of an inexpensive package which will run on a 64-bit AMD machine and read the files which are available, please let me know.
My real problem is trying to start a project which has no budget for big statistical packages like SAS, SPSS or Stata. This would have been so simple to do if they had made codebook data available in something as simple the CSV format used for the tabular data itself. As it stands, I find myself sitting here with a powerful computer and a good programming language which runs on it, but no way of accessing the codebook data.
That was the the source of the rather severe frustration which led me to say the wrong thing about the WLS codebooks — for which I am very sorry. Yes, they are in a digital format, though not one useful to me. — dpw