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Trying to determine what the codes in a text file mean on UNIX

Posted on 2014-07-24
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Last Modified: 2014-07-25
Hi all-

I'm looking at a series of UNIX files that contain sequences such as:

\\12PI
\MRLo\
.1532.LEC.

They're flat text and appear to be some kind of report.  I'm trying to determine what source type (i.e. LaTeX, groff, etc.) they might be?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Question by:noirfan
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7 Comments
 
LVL 79

Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 40217320
Is this an old file, or does it get updated regularly.

Try cat -v filename
To see whether there are any control..

It is difficult based on very small data set to determine.
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Author Comment

by:noirfan
ID: 40217570
@arnold: These are old files - dates around 2001/2000.  cat -v produces the same output as I'm seeing in vi.  Here's the full string from the top of the file (before the text body begins):

\TM00\\12PI\\DRAo\\BM09\
\MRLo\
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 40217627
You can try the file command to see if it will give you the filetype.

file filename

You can also try to view the printable strings

strings filename
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
ID: 40218176
Do these files have an extension? If so: what is it?

Can you find references on your system of something that actually uses these files? Like <program name> <one of your UNIX files>
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LVL 30

Accepted Solution

by:
serialband earned 2000 total points
ID: 40218238
This might lead to a clue about what your documents are:

http://cphelp.cpsi.com/v19/clinical/ancilref/iPad/mrhead.htm


I just googled for the header string you provided and it looks like some sort of Medical Record Header
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 40218469
As serialband suggests, it looks like these files are input to an ASCII/Terminal type medical application/interface.

You should archive/tar-gzip these files and any others onto a tape and store it with notation in a safe place.
Is your firm in pharmaceutical/research.
Presumably, you are tasked at either repurposing this system or it is a upgrade cycle.....
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Author Closing Comment

by:noirfan
ID: 40219555
@serialband: That looks exactly like what I was looking for.   Looks like I should've tried googling the entire string with a word in front of it, instead of pieces of the syntax.  Thanks!
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