The Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) standard is a common application programming interface for accessing data files. In other words, ODBC allows you to move data back and forth easily between ODBC compliant applications. So, for example, you can easily extract data from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or Paradox database using SAS or SPSS without having to go through any tedious translation procedure. With ODBC, all you have to do is specify the type of file you are accessing and the data you want, and the ODBC driver will do the rest of the work.
This document is designed to show you some of the ways that you can take advantage of ODBC when using SAS and SPSS. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with SAS and/or SPSS and has access to an ODBC compliant data file. An ODBC compliant data file is a file created by a software package that conforms to the ODBC standard (e.g. Microsoft Access, Excel, Paradox, FoxPro, etc.) and has the necessary ODBC driver(s) installed. It is also assumed that the reader is going to use ODBC and SAS or SPSS on a personal computer running Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP.
ODBC is composed of four main components: the client application, ODBC driver manager, ODBC drivers, and the ODBC data source. The client application in this discussion will be either SAS or SPSS, and is the computer package that you will be using for your data manipulation or analysis. The ODBC driver manager is a program used to manage the links between the various applications and to configure data transfer settings. The ODBC drivers serve as the link between the client and ODBC data, and must be installed for each application. These drivers might also be composed of a network component that could be used to transfer data from a remote server. Finally, an ODBC data source is a user-generated configuration of a particular data file created using the ODBC driver manager for access by client applications.
Most ODBC applications, such as Microsoft Excel (spreadsheet program) and Microsoft Access (database program) do not automatically install the ODBC drivers. The ODBC drivers and driver managers are not usually included with a typical software installation and you must consult your software manual or local computer support person as to how to install ODBC for your applications.
For help with questions relating to ODBC and statistical applications please consult the Stat/Math Center (812/855-4724, firstname.lastname@example.org) The Center is responsible for supporting all statistical and mathematical software packages on campus and will be able to help you with ODBC statistical issues.
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