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3. Address Hygiene
The same address may be entered into a database in a variety of ways, as shown in the example below. Therefore, the next step is to validate and standardize addresses.
Validation involves comparing a parsed address with official records and making corrections. In some countries, a location may have multiple designations or even names. Best practice would be to perform the following operations:
- Determine or validate the country
- Match to Postcode Address File (PAF) reference data for the specific country, which includes officially licensed sources such as the country’s postal authority, other government agencies, and third parties.
- Correct and standardize identified components
- Append/insert missing components
While licensed and up-to-date PAF data may cost more than other sources, they can vastly improve accuracy and quality. It is a good idea to ask vendors whether they use officially licensed sources.
In dense urban areas with multistory buildings, such as Hong Kong, many people may have the same name within the same premises. Sub-premises detail, such as floor numbers or block information, adds to the confidence in matching. Other less dense locations may use building names or route numbers without more specific address components.