Spreadsheets, XML, and Specialty Data Formats

By Meta S. Brown

You may need to use data that’s in a spreadsheet, XML (extensible markup language), or any of dozens of less common formats. The key question will always be: Does your data-mining application import data in that format?

As long as your data-mining application has a tool to read the data format you need, the process will be straightforward — just a small variation depending on your data source. You may need to select a different data import tool or change a few settings, but the process will be very similar.

When your data-mining application can’t import data in a particular format, try these alternative approaches:

  • Check your data source for other formats. Many sources offer choices.

  • Convert the data format yourself. Some conversions are easy, and some are difficult.

  • Use a different data-mining application. Data import capability is an important factor in your choice of data-mining software, but if you’re already committed to a particular product, it may not be practical to change.