Friday, July 9, 2010

The Book of Life

I found a very interesting paper on record matching in my research for my own upcoming white paper. The paper was written by Chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics for the U. S. Public Health Service. The paper describes in almost poetic fashion of a person’s “book of life”.  It describes how a person leaves a data trail as they go through life.  It describes how hard it is to put together the pages of your book of life as you get born, get married, change homes, earn degrees and certifications.

Naturally, there are benefits to society for each person having their own book of life. In the case of the bureau chief, he cited the need to understand what factors influence health and longevity. The tricky part, he said was to “bind the book of life” despite its tendency to be misalign, non-standard and incoherent.

It sounds like the good Doctor is describing record matching and data cleansing, and to some degree a national ID. But the most interesting and amazing thing about this is that the paper was written in 1946. Even back then, there were smart people who knew what we had to do to bring benefit to society.

1 comment:

Henrik Liliendahl said...

Good find Steve. My guess is that every country will have a national ID sooner or later. The Swedish national ID was implemented in 1947.

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