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Automate finding duplicate contact/member records

Is it possible to have a "check for duplicates" button? The only way I've been able to find them is to manually scan the contact list one by one, transfer info, and archive and delete the dupe.

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    KarenKKarenK shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    18 comments

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      • RuthiRuthi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please, please give us a way to find/merge/remove duplicates. At least on the admin side. Swansea and sysadmin seem to be on the right track.

        At the moment I'm trying to do it with our 2500+ contacts by exporting to Excel and finding them there. Not happy...

      • MarthaMartha commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As part of this feature, would like it to be possible to be able to import from excel, contacts that do not have email addresses but do not want to create a new record every
        time we do an import.

      • James BradleyJames Bradley commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This would be a great addition. Might it be possible to have a "duplication preventer" as part of the database? This would be automatic when someone attempts to join, the system would scan for that person using the Last Name, First Name and give the person a note that says someone with that Name has membership and tell them to contact the administrator guru for advise. I have a lot of members that have changed their email address and didn't/don't change their profile, which leads to re-joining and a duplicate membership.

      • MelissaWMelissaW commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Agreed. A way to filter duplicate contacts would be incredibly beneficial. The website I run is as a volunteer board member for a professional association. So, it is not part of my job and determining duplicates that are putting our site over our paid limit greatly inhibits effective use of time.

      • GregGreg commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Helping an admin check for duplicate records is essential. It would be great to have several methods for searching for possible duplicates, followed by the "Merge?" option.

        From past experience, we have never found a foolproof method to stop people from re-joining as new members and thereby creating duplicate records. So, we recommend having WA work on the admin-oriented deduplication feature, and not work on related user-oriented potential features.

      • SwanseaSwansea commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This was easily solved in our previous Excel database and I agree with sysadmin@nwmaf.org:

        Possibly break it down into multiple options:

        Show me a list of contacts who have the same last name

        Show me a list of contacts who have the same first and last name

        Show me a list of contacts who have the same address (peel the first 3 characters of the address field, say) and postal code...

        These are the things I manually do in Excel using conditional formatting to find duplicates. If I had the time I would probably tackle it with queries, but we're only dealing with 1500 or so profiles

      • CCDACCDA commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Any progress on this? As with over 1000 members in our system, and dealing with people who are better at fabrication than they are with computers and remembering their own email address, this would greatly help me to consolidate our membership database.

      • sysadmin@nwmaf.orgsysadmin@nwmaf.org commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Possibly break it down into multiple options:

        Show me a list of contacts who have the same last name

        Show me a list of contacts who have the same first and last name

        Show me a list of contacts who have the same address (peel the first 3 characters of the address field, say) and postal code...

        These are the things I manually do in Excel using conditional formatting to find duplicates. If I had the time I would probably tackle it with queries, but we're only dealing with 1500 or so profiles

      • sysadmin@nwmaf.orgsysadmin@nwmaf.org commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yes!!! I think my members would be ok with this scenario. Need to be able to contact the administrator and need to be able to sign up anyway.

      • gljudsongljudson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Really? I find it reassuring when a system won't reveal information that I know I'd want kept private.

        The frustration level would depend, I should think, on what came after the "are you already registered" message. Some ability to enter what the user thinks could be the right email would be needed.

        I can see myself thinking, Oh, yeah, I did use a different email here before - let me try that...and if I don't remember the password, let me ask it to send the password - and if I no longer have access to that email, then there needs to be a way to send a message to the administrator.

        Just thinking onto the page here... :-)

      • Dmitry ButerinDmitry Buterin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Would this solve anything for them/would they find this message useful? If it were me, I would be just more frustrated - tell me at least the email I am registered with!

      • gljudsongljudson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Also ... yes, security and privacy are an issue.

        But what about having the system say, "We notice there's someone else with the same name registered in our system. Is it possible you may have registered before with a different email address?"

        ???

      • gljudsongljudson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Good point on the privacy/security thing!

        And yes, I'm aware the matching isn't necessarily easy. But still, to start with the simplest (if the name matches 100%) would still be helpful, and then grow it from there.

      • Dmitry ButerinDmitry Buterin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Your second point is understood - the key challenge is the matching algorithm. (To find close but imperfect matches it has to be really smart)

        The first point has privacy and security considerations:
        1) There is a potential privacy breach as people can enter anyone's name to find out if that person is in your database

        2) Furthermore, let's say we found the match - how do we know it is indeed the same person and what do we show to them? E.g. displaying the email of the existing record would violate privacy/security.

      • gljudsongljudson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Would be great if the system somehow alerted the member/contact when they're signing up that someone with the same name is already in the system, and queried them as to whether that "someone" is them, or not.

        Would also be great to be able to run a report showing potential duplicates, matched on name, maybe address, phone number, that sort of thing.

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