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Dataset code

While Abacus contains the licensed data sets for you to work with, that is, the material provided by the publisher, what it doesn't contain is code written by the library and other researchers to work with this data.

The Dataset code section provides scripts, tools, and guidance for working with some datasets in Abacus:

Material in this section was created by UBC Library or contributed by the research community. If you've written code, queries, or other material that may help other researchers use an Abacus dataset please consider sharing it (contact Jeremy Buhler, Data Librarian, UBC Library at

Abacus Git repository

Computer code, unlike books or even licensed data sets, is notoriously changeable. Browser versions can change frequently; the same can be said for utilities used to analyse data. Because of this, software is often stored on systems which allow version control. More than just indicating the most current version of a piece of software, version control systems allow users to track changes in the software, allowing you to move not only forward and back over versions, but laterally over branched changes.

Utilities and code snippets for material in Abacus are stored in such a system, specifically using a version control system called Git. This is more suitable than storing them within Abacus itself, as the Git system is much more user-friendly for copying, modifying and reusing software than the built-in version control system in Abacus.

This website and the dataset code is based on files stored in a Git "repository." You don't need to understand Git to use this site, but users familiar with Git and GitHub may prefer to use that interface.

Take me to the abacus_resources repository

How to use Git

There are two possible ways to use Git: from the command line, or using a graphical user interface.

  • There is a (very) basic tutorial available for the command line interface at the [] (Git website). There is also no shortage of tutorials vaialble simpy by searching for "Git tutorial".

  • Graphical user interfaces will vary by designer and users will undoubtedly have opinions on which is better or worse. Searching for "Best Git GUI" will produce pages of users arguing on internet forums. Git has an "official" client, Github Desktop.

If you are completely new to the concept and prefer something hands on and less technically dry, there is a free game which teaches the basics of Git: Oh My Git.

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