packageDescription {utils}R Documentation

Package Description


Parses and returns the ‘DESCRIPTION’ file of a package.


packageDescription(pkg, lib.loc = NULL, fields = NULL, drop = TRUE)


pkg a character string with the package name.
lib.loc a character vector of directory names of R libraries, or NULL. The default value of NULL corresponds to all libraries currently known. If the default is used, the loaded packages are searched before the libraries.
fields a character vector giving the tags of fields to return (if other fields occur in the file they are ignored).
drop If TRUE and the length of fields is 1, then a single character string with the value of the respective field is returned instead of an object of class "packageDescription".


A package will not be ‘found’ unless it has a ‘DESCRIPTION’ file which contains a valid Version field. Different warnings are given when no package directory is found and when there is a suitable directory but no valid ‘DESCRIPTION’ file.


If a ‘DESCRIPTION’ file for the given package is found and can successfully be read, packageDescription returns an object of class "packageDescription", which is a named list with the values of the (given) fields as elements and the tags as names, unless drop = TRUE.
If parsing the ‘DESCRIPTION’ file was not successful, it returns a named list of NAs with the field tags as names if fields is not null, and NA otherwise.

See Also



packageDescription("stats", fields = c("Package", "Version"))

packageDescription("stats", fields = "Version")
packageDescription("stats", fields = "Version", drop = FALSE)

[Package utils version 2.1.0 Index]