Frustrating data research

For those of us who work with governmental data sets, it is absolutely essential that we have clear, clean, and happy data sets to work with. Dataferret used to work on some occasions, but much of the data on there is way out of date.

At minimum, any data files should be:

– In a universal format like .dat or .asc or even .txt.

– Have a clear databook to go with it

– And, it would be fantastic to have a script file like an .sas and .sps file to go with it.

It should not be taking me two full days for me to a) find the linked birth/death infant data, and b) try to figure out how to enter it into SPSS, and c) actually read it in SPSS by having some sorts of variables and a description. There are over 600 fields in the data file, it is nearly impossible to put everything by hand.

If anyone has some tips, please let me know.