Chapter 4
Data management and software selection
4.1 Introduction
Price analysis will be greatly facilitated by a well thought through and documented data and
file management system for price data.   Also, selecting an appropriate software program for
the storage, analysis, and presentation of price data is also important.
4.2 Data management and verification
Data management
It is important to have solid data management concepts in mind when preparing to
incorporate price monitoring into one's early warning activities.  Although specific
suggestions are provided below, the important concept is that the data management system
be logical, consistent, and well documented.  Spending some time thinking through a
functional management system can save a lot of time later.
The first task is to establish 
a logical structure of subdirectories
 for data and outputs.  The
names of subdirectories should describe the contents of the subdirectory
5
.  It is important
that data, analysis outputs, reports, and computer programs not be mixed together within the
same subdirectory.  This will make it easier to retrieve data or document files.
Again, there are many structures that can be developed, but an easy and useful is presented
below (Figure 4.1).
Figure 4.1: Proposed subdirectory structure
|    BACKUPS
|
C:    |    DATA      |    HEALTH             
 |   ANALYSIS OUTPUT
|                   
|                                  
 |
|                 
|      PRICES                       |    PROCESSED DATA
|                   
|                                     
 |
|                  
|      PRODUCTION 
 |    RAW DATA
|      
          |
|                   
|    RAINFALL
|
|    EXCEL
|
|    LOTUS
|
|    PRICEMAN
|
                        
|    REPORTS
                                                
5
 In Windows 95 the length of the subdirectory and file names is not limited to eight characters as it was in
DOS and Windows 3.1.  A subdirectory called  Nominal prices  is now possible.
26
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