IDAMS News - Issue No 21 June 1999
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     Arabization of IDAMS
     Training in the use of IDAMS
     IDAMS for Windows is taking off


     Arabization of IDAMS
The first workshop aimed at the development of the Arabic version of IDAMS took place at Cairo University from 15 through 19 May 1999 in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop, in accordance with the agreement between UNESCO and ALECSO concerning the dissemination and development of IDAMS in the Arab region, was organized and financed by ALECSO and hosted by the Institute of Statistical Studies and Research (ISSR) and the Faculty of Computers and Information which constitute an integrated unit within Cairo University.

Two professionals from ALECSO, six professionals (a team of competent statisticians and computer specialists in charge of the Arabization of IDAMS) from Cairo University, one representative of the ALDOC ISIS group and two UNESCO staff members participated in this workshop, which was closely followed by the Dean of ISSR and the Faculty. The work was concentrated on technical and organizational aspects of the Arabization of IDAMS software and its documentation.

At the beginning, all participants, and particularly those from ISSR and the Faculty who will be involved in the work of translation, were introduced to IDAMS itself, to the structure and contents of IDAMS text files and to the use of the translation tools. The software was received and installed at ISSR before the workshop, and this enabled the University team to become familiar with IDAMS in advance. A series of systematic translation tests were successfully performed. The purpose of these tests was to study and confirm the applicability and efficiency of the translation tools and methods in a new non-Latin language environment. The results obtained were very positive: many small parts of IDAMS started "speaking" Arabic.

The whole operation should be terminated in the year 2000. IDAMS will become then the first comprehensive statistical software package in Arabic. The work starts with the translation of the documentation, which is an indispensable prerequisite of the regional training seminar in the use of IDAMS. This seminar, foreseen to take place in the first trimester of 2000, will be based at Cairo University, organized and financed by ALECSO, and will cover the whole Arab region. The translation of the software will follow that of the documentation.


     Training in the use of IDAMS
Training Course in Philippines

A one week course on IDAMS was organized by the Institute of Library Sciences, University of the Philippines, and took place in the computer training room at the Institute of Library Sciences, Quezon City, Philippines, from 1 to 5 March 1999. 14 participants from various Colleges of the University and 3 participants from other institutions attended this course.

The programme covered all topics closely connected to IDAMS such as: data management and data analysis techniques included in IDAMS, the editors, graphical facilities, etc. and the interface between IDAMS and CDS/ISIS. Each participant had a PC for individual work. A large part of the time was devoted to doing exercises and gaining practical experience.

The participants were highly motivated and gained a good understanding of the basics of IDAMS, and some of them analyzed their own data during the workshop.

Regional Training Seminar in Ethiopia

The Regional Training Seminar on IDAMS was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and took place at the UN Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 24 to 28 May 1999. The Seminar was co-sponsored by UNESCO. 9 researchers from various institutions in Ethiopia and 6 from other African countries attended all the sessions of the seminar and about 15 professionals, mainly from UNECA, attended the general presentation of the IDAMS software.

The training comprised 9 sessions (4 sessions of lectures and 5 sessions of practice) of about 4 hours each. Its purpose was to introduce participants to the overall structure of IDAMS, the editors, graphical facilities and other utilities offered by the package, and also to selected data management and data analysis programs. Moreover, the interface with micro CDS/ISIS was briefly presented. The participants had at their disposal 12 micro-computers. IDAMS, CDS/ISIS and the Interface between ISIS and IDAMS were available.

The Training Seminar was successful thanks to competent participants, very good working conditions and an excellent working climate. All participants expressed their great interest in the IDAMS software and its importance in their professional activities. They are also very interested in the forthcoming Windows version.

UNESCO International Training Seminar in 1999 (reminder)

The basic part of the International Training Seminar: "Introduction to IDAMS" will take place from Monday 29 November through Wednesday 1 December 1999 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. Its purpose is to present the overall structure of IDAMS, the editors, graphical facilities and other utilities offered by the package, and also the interface with micro CDS/ISIS. The Seminar is not meant to train participants in statistical techniques. Participants willing to extend their knowledge and/or perform more exercises could continue individual work on 2 and 3 December. English will be the main language of this Seminar although explanations in French can also be provided. Training material will be available in both English and French.

There is no registration fee, but all other costs (travel, board, lodging) are at the charge of participants. Applications submitted after the end of August 1999 will not be considered.


     IDAMS for Windows is taking off
Development of IDAMS for Windows 9x/NT is in progress and the beta version of the first release is scheduled to be available near the end of 1999. WinIDAMS will include, with extended and enhanced features, all components known from the DOS version as well as a series of new services:

  • standard graphical user interface and on-line user manual,
  • renewed dictionary and data editing,
  • complete data management and statistical analysis engine,
  • fully interactive specification of data management and analysis,
  • advanced text editing, structured result/output management,
  • redesigned graphical module and time series analysis facility.
When entering WinIDAMS, the main IDAMS frame and the menus will allow to select, create, modify or delete an IDAMS application. Once an application is opened, you can work with IDAMS documents (dictionary, data, setup, output, free text, HTML documents, etc.), which can be displayed in separate windows for further operations. Several documents, even of the same type, may be opened simultaneously.

The dictionary editing facility allows to create a new dictionary or to edit an existing one, in a window with two panes. The top pane displays a tabular list of variables, and the bottom one displays the related code labels. The data editing facility allows to create and manipulate data files. In the data editor window only the data pane can be edited, two other ones just display the relevant dictionary part and the associated code labels. New features like sorting and importing, as well as data export are also provided.

Further to the inclusion of an advanced Rich Text Format word processor facility, another new component for structured printout management has also been elaborated. Printouts will be presented with a table of contents, which helps navigation throughout results and allows the selection of parts to be displayed in full text. Errors, warnings and messages are shown in a separate pane. Full-featured reports can be presented and edited within WinIDAMS.

A clearly guided dialogue will assist the user in preparing and executing data management and analysis operations, offering defaults wherever applicable. This assistance will help the selection of input/output datasets, operations to be executed, options and variables to be used. Interactive syntax checking will facilitate writing filters and recode statements. All parameters specified in a dialogue can be passed to the IDAMS engine for execution and/or can be saved in a setup object for future use, eventually after modification. Traditional setup editing, like in the DOS version, will also be possible.

The graphical component for data and result presentation contains all usual basic and advanced graphical objects. User interface scenarios will include facilities for displaying interlinked diagrams, regression lines, dynamic rotations, highlighting selected points in interlinked windows, identification of objects, masking, jittering, and directed mode. The time-series analysis facility provides features like analysis of trends, analysis of auto- and cross-correlations, statistical and graphical analysis of time series values, tests of randomness and trends, short and long term forecasting. Time-series data can be transformed by calculating differences, smoothing, trend suppression, functional transformation, etc.



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