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datatools is a rich collection of command line programs targetting data conversion, cleanup and analysis directly from your favorite POSIX shell. It has proven useful for data collaberations where individual members of a project may prefer different toolsets in their analysis (e.g. Julia, R, Python) but want to work from a common baseline. It also has been used intensively for internal reporting from various Caltech Library metadata sources.

The tools fall into three broad categories

See user manual for a complete list of the command line programs. The data transformation tools include support for formats such as Excel XML, csv, tab delimited files, json, yaml and toml.

Compiled versions of the datatools collection are provided for Linux (amd64), Mac OS X (amd64), Windows 10 (amd64) and Raspbian (ARM7). See

Use “-help” option for a full list of options for each utility (e.g. csv2json -help).

Data transformation

The tooling around transformation includes data conversion. These include tools that work with CSV, tab delimited, JSON, TOML, YAML and Excel XML.

There is also tooling to change data shapes using JSON as the intermediate data format.

For the shell

Various utilities for simplifying work on the command line.

For strings

datatools provides the string command for working with text strings (limited to memory available). This is commonly needed when cleanup data for analysis. The string command was created for when the old Unix standbys- grep, awk, sed, tr are unwieldly or inconvient. string provides operations are common in most language like, trimming, spliting, and transforming letter case. The string command also makes it easy to join JSON string arrays into single a string using a delimiter or split a string into a JSON array based on a delimiter. The form of the command is string [OPTIONS] [ACTION] [ARCTION_PARAMETERS...]

    string toupper "one two three"

Would yield “ONE TWO THREE”.

Some of the features included

See string for full details


See for details for installing pre-compiled versions of the programs.