Thank you, Robert.  I was unaware of both the csv module and the Ruby 
Cookbook.  I got this far with String#split but couldn't get rid of the quote 
in element 0 and how to force empty strings for the trailing commas:

irb(main):048:0> x
"\"aaa\",,\"ccc\",,,\"fff\",,,"
irb(main):049:0> y = x.split(/\"\s*,\s*\"|\"\s*,|\s*,\s*\"|\s*,|\s*\z/)
["\"aaa", "", "ccc", "", "", "fff"



On Saturday 13 October 2001 04:05 pm, you wrote:
> Check out http://ruby.yi.org/raa/en/all.html
> there is a module called 'csv'.
> You can also look at Ruby's Cookbook at
> http://www.rubycookbook.org/recipes.rb
> for help
>
> --- Albert Wagner <alwagner / tcac.net> wrote:
> > What is the simplist way to extract fields from
> > standard quoted, comma
> > delimited text files such as are commonly exported
> > from database programs?
> > Are there already  classes/modules written?  Or is
> > this normally just done
> > with the standard String methods?  I don't yet know
> > enough about regular
> > expressions to make String.split do what I want.
> > Any help is appreciated.
> > Thanks ahead.
> >
> > Albert