Full Name as Composite Attribute

From: David Cressey <david.cressey_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 16:38:48 GMT
Message-ID: <sqW1e.10602$S46.7711_at_newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net>

Recently a discussion came up in another thread about whether the term
"composite attribute" is acceptable and meaningful terminology. I think
that other thread answered that question in the affirmative, to most peoples' satisfaction.

This thread is an attempt to provide an illustration of why "Composite Attribute" might or might not be a useful (!) concept to add to the fundamental data modeling tools one uses.

I'd like to suggest that "Full Name" is a good candidate for such a discussion. My "Full Name" as it appears on my credit card is the same as my name in this NG, except that I have a middle initial.

"Full Name", as one attribute of a person, even though it is composed of
smaller attributes, makes a lot of sense.

When would you want to decompose the name into subcomponents?

Well, for example, if your were alphabetizing a list of authors, you might want to sort "Samuel Clemens" under
"Clemens, Samuel". In order to compute the sort key from the full name,
you have to know a little bit about the
components of the full name.

When you go multicultural, it gets more complicated. Some cultures include mother's maiden name, others put the family name first etc. I'm not really interested in such complexities. I'm interested in whether the concept of
"Composite attribute" as illustrated by "full name" in fact simplifies
data analysis or in fact makes things more difficult by hiding complexity that should not be hidden.

I realize that this is a subjective judgement. But I'm interested in responses. Received on Mon Mar 28 2005 - 18:38:48 CEST

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