Inaccurately Accurate

The public administrative practice for keeping track of the citizens within a country is very different between my former country of living being Denmark and my current country of living being the United Kingdom.

In Denmark there is an all-purpose citizen registry where you are registered “once and for all” seconds after you are born as told in the post Citizen ID within Seconds.

In the United Kingdom there are separate registries for different purposes. For example there is a registry dealing with your health care master data and there is a registry, called the electoral roll, dealing with your master data as a voter.

Today I was reading a recent report about data quality within the British electoral roll. The report is called Great Britain’s electoral registers 2011

The report revolves around the two data quality dimensions: Accuracy and completeness.

In doing so, these two bespoke definitions are used:

There is a note about accuracy saying:


This is a very interesting precision, so to speak. Having fitness for the purpose of use is indeed the most common approach to data quality.

This does of course create issues when such data are used for other purposes. For example credit risk agencies here in the UK use appearance on the electoral roll as a parameter for their assessment of credit risk related to individuals.

Surely, often there isn’t a single source of the truth as pondered in the post The Big ABC of Reference Data.

However, this mustn’t make us stop in the search for getting high quality data. We just have to realize that we may look in different places in order to mash up a best picture of the real world as explained in the post Reference Data at Work in the Cloud.  

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