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Chapter 1. Planning and Designing Your A... > Consider Your Data Before Designing ...

Consider Your Data Before Designing Your Database

When this book speaks of obtaining data from outside sources, it is referring to a broader scope than customers, clients, WAN, e-mail, external mainframe, or Internet sources. Outside sources can be within your company or even within your department. The term “outside” refers to anything outside of Microsoft Access. What do you do with data that you have not personally tested for consistency, accuracy, and integrity? Even if you created the data yourself with a program like Microsoft Excel, how do you know that it conforms to the rules of “database normalization” (discussed in “Avoiding Duplicate Data” later in this chapter) for database design when imported into Access?

More specifically, are the ZIP Codes complete and accurate? Does a comma always separate the city and state? Does the data need to be parsed (separated) into separate fields? Has the data been validated? For example, do all the social security numbers have the same number of characters? Microsoft Access provides validation for data that has been input into Access databases, but what about data that has been input in other software packages?


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