Case Study 1: Metadata Recovery

(continued from the FAQ page)

We lost our column headings. We don’t know what our numbers mean. Can you help us?
Yes, probably. We’ve had customers who were in your same boat.
One of our clients sent us this mystery data. It looked pretty random:


After running our statistical analysis software and drinking a lot of coffee and staring at the output late at night,
we figured out where the natural field boundaries are:


The fields (from left to right) turned out to be:

  a patient ID number;
a six-digit date;
a gender code (0 = male, 1 = female);
body mass in pounds;
age in years;
six columns we’re not sure about, but they may be answers to multiple choice questions;
and in red, a pair of milligram dosages. (These data come from a clinical drug trial.)

Because the results were published in a medical journal, we were able to match the means and variances in the article with those in the punch data, to deduce the punch field names.

;^) So we’re no longer afraid of random numbers. We may be able to help you with yours.



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