[R] read.spss Error reading system-file header

Baize, Harold HBaize at buttecounty.net
Tue Oct 26 19:17:10 CEST 2004

Bj?rn Stollenwerk <b.stollenwerk at gmx.de> wrote:

> I had and still have got the same problem. There were two columns in the 
> data frame which contain just missing values. When I deleted those the 
> impord seemed to work, but there is still a warning message.

> Warning message:
> C:\test.sav: Unrecognized record type 7, subtype 13 encountered in 
> system file.

This warning message has been discussed a few times. It occurs when read.spss 
reads a file from SPSS 12.0 or higher. Beginning with SPSS 12 the file format 
was changed to accommodate long variable names. It seems logical that SPSS 
added a record to their file format to hold the long variable names, while 
keeping the short (eight character) variable names to be compatible with older 
versions. The read.spss function has not been updated. It reads the short names, 
ignores the long names, and produces the warning you cite. There does not seem 
to be any error in reading the data, other than the warning and continued use of 
short variable names. I brought this up more than a year ago, just after SPSS 12 
was released. I e-mailed the author (Saikat DebRoy) of the read.spss function, 
but did not get a response, I don't know if he got the message. It would be 
nice to update the function to read the longer variable names and be rid of 
the warning.   


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