TXT2ISO

1. Background and documentation

TXT2ISO was written by J.L. Haravu (India). It can only convert one type of input material, which is not conform to any download. Probably, it was meant to convert material typed with an editor or a word processor by people who were not able to enter data into a CDS/ISIS database. Although the program was probably written for a specific purpose and is not useful for normal downloads, it may be mentioned in some publications. We will explain it here in detail, in order to give the reader the opportunity to evaluate it.

The program comes with a manual, called readme.iso.

2. General appreciation

Plus Minus

3. Preliminary work

As the program only allows one type of input, you probably will have to edit the input file until it has the right format. Here is an example of an acceptable input file, which I take from the manual:
001 ^lHaravu^fL.J.%^lVenkatesan^fV.
100 A time-series numeric database for ICRISAT
200 International Association for Agricultural
Librarians and
     Documentalists (IAALD) Quarterly Bulletin
220 ^v24^i1^p23-34
260 1992
270 Describes the project to create a time-series database
    on crops and resources of interest to ICRISAT. The application
    uses published sources to capture useful numeric data. 
##
  1. The input file must have tags of 3 digits.
  2. The tags must begin on the same position of the line (e.g. position 0).
  3. The data must begin on the same position (here position 5) and continue on the same position, taking into account leading spaces before every continuing line.
  4. Subfields and repeated fields must be signaled by in the CDS/ISIS way, i.e. ^a etc. for subfields; % for occurrences of a repeated field.
  5. Each record must end with ##.

4. Executing the program

The program starts with the command
               txt2iso
This will produce a black screen with an inverted box in the middle. In this box you can see this text:

This program permits conversion of a structured text
file into a Micro CDS/ISIS ISO-2709 file

Position of the first digit of Field Numbers
or Tags in the FORMS file?

You will be asked a few questions before the program starts the conversion:

  1. At what position do the tags start; or: how many spaces are there before the tags?
  2. At what position do the texts of the fields start?
  3. What is the name of the input file? Path statements are supported.
This program permits conversion of a structured text              
             file into a Micro CDS/ISIS ISO-2709 file                      
                                                         
                      
                                                         
                      
              Position of the first digit of Field Numbers                      
              or Tags in the FORMS file? 1
                                                         
                      
              Position of the first character of                               
              data in the text file? 5                   
                      
                                                         
                      
              Enter name of text File c:\conv\downl.txt  
                      

After this, TXT2ISO will indicate how many records are converted and it will tell you that the ISO 2709 file is called ISO.MST:


                 RECORDS OUTPUT = 100
                                                         
                      
 
                                                               
               
                                                               
                
                                                         
                      
                                                         
                      
                                                         
                      
                  OUTPUT ISO FILE IS IN THE FILE ISO.MST 
C:\conv

5. Pitfalls

There can be no pittfalls if the input file is made strictly according the demands of the program, but this is the biggest pitfall of all...

6. Recommandations

Do not try to use TXT2ISO, unless you can program an output of some database in the exact format the program requires.
© Piet de Keyser, 1998

Piet de Keyser's Manual Collection