I've downloaded the past 6 years of data from the NVSS for Mortality Multiple Cause-of-Death files. I'm a bit perplexed however, because the user's guide does not seem to provide any understandable mapping between the columns of data in the data set and the values mentioned in the guide.
It seems to refer to "Tape Locations" (?) instead of the columns of the data set, e.g.:
whereas the actual data looks like this:
Not only do the "Tape Locations" not seem to correspond to columns, the actual values in the columns are not mentioned anywhere in the guide that I can determine. How can one understand this?
Since this guide seems to be the only resource for interpreting the data, I tried searching on GitHub and Stack Overflow for past researchers facing the same problem.
I found a couple of things, but they are a number of years old (2013, 2014 mostly) and it seems that the data format must've changed since then. For example the data read in by these files was not the
.txt files you can now download in a compressed format, rather it was something called
FILENAMES = [ 'VS09MORT.DUSMCPUB', 'VS10MORT.DUSMCPUB', 'VS11MORT.DUSMCPUB', 'VS12MORT.DUSMCPUB', 'VS13MORT.DUSMCPUB', 'VS14MORT.DUSMCPUB', 'VS15MORT.DUSMCPUB' ]
There also seems to have been some sort of pre-processing before the data was read in by the Python code I found on GitHub...