Uexplore / Dexter Tutorials

Tools for Accessing the Missouri Census Data Center Data Archive

If you are new to these tools you may want to start by looking at the What is Uexplore/Dexter? introduction and overview page.

Dexter Quick Start Guide

A brief introduction to the basics of the Dexter data extraction module. Good for users who are just getting started. Includes a link to the video-based alternative module that does more than just tell you how it works, it actually shows you.

Dexter Online Help

This is the ultimate reference resource for using the Dexter module. It is readily accessible from the Dexter query form (where the section header lines double as hyperlinks to the section of the Online help module related to that section.)

Dexter Annotated Examples Library ("xsamples")

For those who, like us, prefer to learn mostly by looking at examples of how something works the xsamples collection of Dexter extraction examples may be the best place to start. These mini-tutorials are uniformly structured, displayed and explained. They include links to sample output as well as to the relevant data directories (using Uexplore), data sets, metadata and saved queries. The directory page provides an overview to help you find an example that deals with a specific kind of data set or Dexter feature that may be of interest. The 2010 subcollection takes a more sophisticated approach using a frames-based display and many more links. Highly recommended.

Rankster Video-based Tutorial

The Rankster post-processer module makes it relatively easy to produce files and reports with rankings assigned. The tutorial is mostly just video examples of typical rankster runs.

Ten Things to Know About the MCDC Data Archive

This is a good introductory module that provides useful information about key aspects of the data archive. Recommended reading for anyone trying to get a handle on what data are available and how they are organized and named.

PowerPoint Modules

These are helpful and important resources. But they were created (circa 2005-2007) primarily for use in a workshop setting where they would be augmented with instructor comments and hands-on practice sessions. Be sure to view the presenter notes.

Note: These modules can be easily transormed into pdf files for users who do not have Powerpoint or would like to avoid the overhead of downloading such large modules. Please contact the author (link at bottom of page) to request the pdf format.

  1. Dexter: The Missouri Census Data Center's Data Extraction Utility This is the largest and most important of the modules. It covers the basics of the data archive and using dexter to access it. This is the module that forms the basis of our workshops on how to use dexter. Around 60 slides.
  2. Dexter Tutorial, Part 2: More Advanced Topics And Exercises A continuation of the previous module that deals with more advanced options, especially those contained in Section V of the Dexter query form. Around 45 slides.
  3. Accessing Large Table Files With Dexter This used to be part of the main tutorial but was split off as a separate module in 2007. It deals with special considerations when using Dexter to access data sets where the variables are organized into logical tables This means the Census Bureau Summary (Tape) Files and the various base tables data sets from the American Community Survey. Around 31 slides.
  4. The MCDC Data Archive This module focuses on the underlying collection of public data files comprising the data archive. It provides a brief historical perspective on how the collection came to be. It also deals with various naming conventions, directory structures, common geographic and other identifier variables, etc. Some of this material also appears in the base Dexter tutorial, but this one has much more depth. Around 59 slides. Interesting module, but the Ten Things to Know... module cited above is probably a better place to start.

Unless otherwise noted all tutorials and help modules are written by John Blodgett, OSEDA, U of Missouri Columbia.