Importing Phone Numbers

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Import New Numbers screen


All pertinent information from an ASCII list is imported into your system.  This can include First and Last Name, Street Address, City, State, Zip, and Phone Number.  Any ASCII list (from SSI, Donnelley, MetroMail or from your own station's database files, etc.) may be imported, PROVIDED THE CORRECT SPECIFICATIONS ARE OBSERVED!


HandThe ASCII file format must be in what's known as Fixed Length ASCII (as opposed to comma-delimited format).


The reason for this is quite simple; you must tell ComQuest the precise position that each field occurs for each record; such as the name starts at position 41 and is 24 characters long.  If the file is not fixed-length, then the location and length of the name field in each record will vary, and ComQuest will not know where to find that field's information!  This is, of course, vitally important in the case of the Area Code, Phone Prefix and Telephone 4-digit fields; they must be provided and in the same exact location on each line, for each respondent record. You can generally use Microsoft Excel to open many common file types, then save it as a text file (.PRN extension), so that it can be imported into ComQuest as a fixed-length ASCII file.


HandRecords with incomplete or incoherent phone number information will not be imported.


Before importing data, MAKE A BACKUP!!! You can use the Express Backup feature to make a quick backup of all the .DAT files onto the hard disk.  This way, if something doesn't import correctly, you can always revert to the backup you made prior to the import process. (ComQuest also copies your RESPONDE.DAT to RESPONDE.BAK as a precautionary matter should problems occur during the import process, if you leave this default set when you run the import.  However, as this RESPONDE.BAK is created each time you import, this backup will only serve to protect you against the most-recent import operation you perform.)


Here are some pointers about the file you will import:


The list must be in Fixed Length ASCII format, with one "respondent" per line.


Delimiting doesn't matter, as the conversion procedure is looking at specific locations within the line for the following fields.


The ASCII file can be named anything (DATA is the default) and should be placed in the same subdirectory as your ComQuest files (generally this will be the C:\COMQUEST folder on the Fileserver).


These are the defaults used by SSI lists.  You can produce your ASCII file to conform to these standards, or modify these settings to conform to the specs of your particular ASCII file.


Field               Starting At       Continuing For

Name              Position #         # Positions

---------------        -----------------       ----------------------

First Name        32                      28

Last Name        0                0

Address                  62                      28

City                      92                      15

State                      122                

Zip Code                  18                

Area Code            1                

Prefix                4

Phone Number          7                


If you are generating your own ASCII list in-house, or having another company make a list for you, the appropriate fields must be at the same locations within each line that you specify on this screen, and must not be any longer than the specified field length, OR ELSE THE CONVERSION PROCESS WILL SIMPLY NOT WORK.  If you have any questions, please call ComQuest Technical Support.


You can view the location of each field in the DATA file, by clicking on the View Data button.  The data file will be brought up in the DOS editor program.  Use the mouse or the left/right arrow keys on the keyboard to move along the line of data.  Using the incremented ruler along the bottom edge of the viewer, write down the starting position and length of each field you want to import. Be sure to close the editor's Window before returning to the Import procedure.


After importing, the DATA file is renamed DATA.BAK.  Your new respondents will be appended to the end of your current respondents file.  For example, if you had 10,000 respondents before importing another 5,000, the new respondents will be numbered 10,001 through 15,000.


Automatic shuffling of respondents occurs after the numbers are imported, if you have this option selected when you import numbers.  This process will randomize the order of all uncalled respondents in your file (generally randomizing the most-recently imported records).  Respondents that have previously been called are anchored; their order and respondent number will not be changed.


HandIt's critical that you not interrupt the shuffling process once it has begun!


The shuffling process literally renumbers the respondent ID number in all records that have never been called, in effect randomizing the order of these numbers.  If you were to interrupt this process, it's conceivable that some numbers would already be renumbered, and others might have no respondent ID number, rendering them unusable in your database.


Other Import Options


To the lower right of the Import ASCII Numbers screen, you'll see a small box with several additional options:



Other Import options


Backup Respondent File is automatically checked when your first go into the Import procedure.  You should backup your respondents once, before any session of importing new records.  If something goes wrong, or the data you're importing is not correct, you can always then revert to the most-recent backup of respondent data.  Only the respondent data file is backed up when this setting is checked; contact ComQuest Technical Support for assistance in restoring this backup, if necessary.


Shuffle when done should generally be checked by default whenever you are importing a new set of phone numbers.  Unless you're sure the phone numbers within the file you're importing are already in a somewhat random order, they should be shuffled after being imported.  Remember, ComQuest imports phone numbers sequentially, in the same order in which they are in the file you're importing, and unless you then shuffle them, they will be called by the interviewers in this same, sequential order.  The only time you should uncheck Shuffle when done, is when you are importing more than one file.  In that case, uncheck this setting until you're about to import the final file.  Then check it, so the entire database is shuffled.


Import Hispanic surnames only will be disabled on your system, unless we have activated this feature for you.  This feature is available to Hispanic radio stations that import a large number of general market names and phone numbers.  When this setting is activated, all respondent surnames will be cross-checked against a master list of 1,400 Hispanic surnames that are stored on your system.  Only those records with surnames that are found in that master list are then imported.


Select Phone comma-delimited is used only when you're importing a list of names and phone numbers directly from the Select Phone CD-ROM's.  Select Phone exports its data in a unique format, and activating this setting will assure you that the data is imported properly. Recently, Select Phone has placed a fixed limit on the number of records that can be exported from their databases, so this feature and the Select Phone databases are not as commonly used by ComQuest clients anymore.


Print any dupes not imported, will do just that!  If you want to see all the duplicate records that already exist in your ComQuest database while importing a new file, check this option.  However, only about 55 records will print per page, so if you have hundreds or even thousands of duplicates, be prepared for a lengthy report!  This report will however first be sent to a preview screen, so you will have a chance to view it on your monitor before making a final decision whether or not to send it to the printer.


More files to import after this one should be checked if you have multiple files you want to import in this session.  If this setting is not checked, ComQuest will import your current file, shuffle the records (if that option, above, is checked), and then exit from this procedure.  If you have other files with similar or same field starting positions and lengths, you would then have to go back into the Import Phone Numbers procedure, and re-enter all those settings again.  Turning this option on, will save the current settings and remain in this screen after the current file has been imported.


HandIf you're importing multiple files, you should uncheck More files to import... and check Shuffle records... options when you're ready to import the final file.


Schedule For Calling will automatically tag all respondent records you're adding to be called back, by adding a schedule record for each of them.  Assuming your interviewers are already caught up with pending call backs, this will make the new numbers you're importing come up right away (before respondents that are due to be called back tomorrow, or the next day, etc. will come up).


Clean up Names will make sure the first letter of each person's name is capitalized, and all other letters are saved in lower case.  It will also remove other formatting and punctuation from the name field, so if you have saved any coding numbers or letters along with the name field, you should uncheck this option when importing new names!