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NAACCR Fixed-Width data exchange format going away in 2020

  • 1.  NAACCR Fixed-Width data exchange format going away in 2020

    Posted 05-06-2021 03:18 PM
    Isaac Hands

    NAACCR is planning to phase-out the fixed-width data exchange format and phase-in the XML data exchange format by 2020. Read about the milestones in the XML transition timeline and post questions or topics of conversation about NAACCR XML in this forum.

    Find software, tools, and documentation about the NAACCR XML data exchange standard here:

    Fabian Depry

    Will the XML standard stay "compatible" with the fixed-column format until that date? Or are there plans for adding features to the XML that would break that compatibility before the fixed-column retirement date?

    Isaac Hands

    Great questions Fabian, thanks for asking.

    – Yes, our current plan is for the XML standard to be backward and forward compatible with the fixed-width format until the 2020 Volume II changes. However, from now until then is a transitional period where the NAACCR community should be updating software and processes to use XML so that the retirement of the fixed-width format in 2020 will not cause any problems.

    Fabian Depry

    That all makes sense, thanks for the reply!

    Fabian Depry

    Just to clarify, the main side effect of the flat file format going away will be that NAACCR will stop defining start column positions for any data items.

    Another side effect will be that the State/Requestor Items field will go away (States and Registries will need to use regular variables defined in a user-defined dictionary instead of plugging those variable into one long text field).

    There will probably be other side effects, but I think those are the biggest ones.

    Jovanka Harrison

    How is this transition going? Are we according to schedule for transitioning?

    Jovanka Harrison

    Please ignore my question from previous post. I will attend the NAACCR webinar on March 27th and get an update that way.

    Fabian Depry

    Note that the timeline was pushed from 2020 to 2021 to give more time to vendors and registries.

    NAACCR did survey the readiness of the registry recently and provided the results in a ListServ email; here is the link to the archive (the survey was about 2018 readiness, but there were a few XML questions at the end):

    There was also another ListServ email sent recently to remind everyone of the available resources for the transition: