no spaces between words

I am a new and confused user.
I put a number of files (word and html mostly) into a new data base.
Most, if not all, are now unreadable because the spaces between words have been deleted.

Is there a way to recover from this?

Probably not. Looks like data corruption for some reason. Do you have any haxies installed? Was there perhaps a power failure (or forced quit) while data was being written to disk? Or perhaps one of the files you imported was seriously damaged and caused memory errors.

Have you made a recent backup? If so, try running Tools > Backup & Optimize. That can restore the database to a previous and hopefully good state. You will have lost any information added since the last backup.

If you haven’t done a backup yet on your new database, try running Tools > Verify & Repair. If that routine is able to correct errors (perhaps running it more than once) the database may have been saved.

If, however, there are remaining errors (and you had not had a good backup to recover) try running Tools > Rebuild Database. This may or may not work for you, depending on the type of corruption, and you will likely lose some files (check the log for files with errors).

In any case, as this is your first database you probably still have the files on your drive that had been captured into your database, and can try again.

But before you create another database, or continue using the database that you may have saved from corruption, I strongly recommend running maintenance on your operating system, files and disk directory. Something was wrong. If the root cause of problems isn’t corrected problems can recur.

I would regard haxies (which modify the operating system) and third-party QuickTime plugins with suspicion and would remove them. Another possibility to check would be font errors, which can cause numerous problems.

I would run some maintenance utilities to try to get the operating system and disk directory in good shape. I use AppleJack for a number of routine chores, including permissions repair, disk repair, removing bad preference files and cleaning caches. I swear by DiskWarrior for an additional level of catching and correcting directory errors and some file errors. The cron scripts and some (but not all) of the tasks run by AppleJack can be done using OnyX or Cocktail.

Make sure that you have enough free space on your hard drive. Apple engineers recommend about 15-20% of the hard drive space should be left free to permit the operating system and applications to write temporary and swap files. If the operating system runs out of free space, it can start overwriting existing files and data corruption will result.

Once you get a properly working database, back it up. See my comments on backup in another post today.