[R] R package creation: Confused about how to handle text data

Marine Rohmer Marine.Rohmer at mgx.cnrs.fr
Fri Jan 9 09:32:23 CET 2015

Dear R team,

I am currently creating my first R package and I am getting confused 
with the way to handle text data.
I've well understood that datasets have to be placed in the ./data 
subdirectory, saved into one of the .rda, .txt or .csv format, and then 
can be loaded with the data() function.

However, the data() function is the same as the read.table() function, 
that is to say it reads the text file (.txt or .csv) and loads it into a 
That is not what I want : I just want to access to my text file (.txt or 
.csv) and load it with my own reading function that I developped in my R 
source code of the package. (it's a special reading function with 
special checks according to what the package expects).

After reading plenty of topics on the web, I found the system.file() 
function useful and used it in this way, in my test file:

# Then I use my own function to load it:

This worked fine and my "R CMD check" went well.... Until I follow the 
advise of the R CMD check log:
"Note: significantly better compression could be obtained by using R CMD 
build --resave-data"
Tiping "R CMD build --resave-data" before "R CMD check" moves my .csv 
files into .csv.bz2 and .csv.xz!
So that what I wrote in my test file (see above) now does not work.

Of course I guess I could, for example, change it by:

But I really wonder if this is the good way to handle text files in a R 
package. This seems to me a little "tricky".
Is this a "good practice"?
Isn't another way to simply access to text files without loading it? 
Have someone already had the same situation?

Bonus question: why doesn't "R CMD build --resave data" use the same 
compression for my two .csv files? (that is: .bz2 and .xz)

Thank you in advance for your advices,
Kind regards,


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