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Citation Software Inc.
 Specialists in variable-data publishing since 1986

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QUESTION: What is data hygiene?

ANSWER: The term "data hygiene" refers to a set of procedures for keeping a database in good shape. When we talk about data hygiene on this Web site, we normally discuss it in connection with databases that contain names and addresses. However, the concept of data hygiene is important for any kind of data.

For name-and-address data, data-hygiene procedures normally entail:
  • Ensuring that the database doesn't contain duplicate records.

  • Maintaining the addresses in the U.S. Postal Service's standard format.
Depending upon the needs of the company or organization that maintains the database, data-hygiene procedures might also include:
  • Querying the U.S. Postal Service's National Change of Address (NCOA) database to determine if any of the individuals or companies/organizations in the database have relocated, and updating the database with new addresses as needed.

  • Making sure each address in the database is actually a valid address to which the U.S. Postal Service will deliver mail.
Other terms for data hygiene are "data cleanup" and "data scrubbing."

Citation Software offers a number of software products that facilitate data-hygiene procedures. To learn about them, click here.
See also CASS.
See also data enhancement.
See also PAVE.

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