This tenth Data Quality World Tour blog post is about South Sudan, a new country born today the 9th July 2011.
The term “reference data” is often used to describe small collections of data that are basically maintained outside an enterprise and being common to all organizations. A list of countries is a good example of what is reference data.
Sometimes the terms “reference data” and “master data” are used interchangeable. I started a discussion on that subject on the mdm community some time ago.
One problem with reference data as a country list is if you are able to keep such a list updated. A country list doesn’t change every day, but sometimes it actually does like today with South Sudan as a new country.
Suddenly changing dimensions
If you have master data entities linking to reference data like a country list it is not that simple when the reference data changes. If you have a customer placed in what is South Sudan today that entity should rightfully link to Sudan regarding yesterday’s transactions, but you may also have changed the name of Sudan to North Sudan which is the continuing part of the former Sudan.
We call that kind of challenge “slowly changing dimensions” but it actually looks like “suddenly changing dimensions” when we have to figure out who belongs to where at a certain time.
Previous Data Quality World Tour blog posts: