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importing replacement records


mbeckelman
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I have a database of direct mail contacts from which I do mailings and phone follow-ups (basic contact information plus misc. info like dates of phone contact and mailer information). I subscribe to a mailing list that allows me to download updated contact information (just name, address information). Before mailing each month, I would like to be able to update my current list, as corrections may have been made to spellings of names or changes in address, while still retaining the supplementary info I've entered (like what mailings were done when and content of phone conversations). Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Import you update information into a separate FM file designed for that purpose. Update the data in you main file via a relookup from this separate file. The trick is to find something to use in linking the two files (phone number?) which is absolutely unique and only matches for truly identical entries.

-bd

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The problem is if there is no definitive way to match records, you are kind of out of luck. The state of the art in artificial intelligence is such that software isn't anywhere close to as bright as the dumbest database entry temp you have ever seen. Even a temp can't tell if Rob Smith is Bob Smith if his address and phone number have changed! Ain't no magic here.

I just wrote a similar solution for a customer. It used email addresses to perform the match. The key is you HAVE to pick SOMETHING to use in matching records if you want to automate the solution. How do YOU tell if two records are the same?

Once you have something to relate the two files, you can perform a find in the main file based upon a related flag in the import file, do a show omitted, delete the found set, and do a relookup of the imported data into the main file.

-bd

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  • Newbies

Thanks for the reply. The problem is that the industry I have the mailing list for is changing constantly. Contacts leave their companies, and phone numbers sometimes change. While I could tie the records to their phone numbers, it wouldn't be a perfect solution. And the mailing list company does not give each contact a unique number.

I would also want to make sure I delete a contact that is no longer on the updated list.

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