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Data quality and data cleaning in database applications

Li, Lin


Lin Li


Today, data plays an important role in people’s daily activities. With the help of some database applications such as decision support systems and customer relationship management systems (CRM), useful information or knowledge could be derived from large quantities of data. However, investigations show that many such applications fail to work successfully. There are many reasons to cause the failure, such as poor system infrastructure design or query performance. But nothing is more certain to yield failure than lack of concern for the issue of data quality. High quality of data is a key to today’s business success. The quality of any large real world data set depends on a number of factors among which the source of the data is often the crucial factor. It has now been recognized that an inordinate proportion of data in most data sources is dirty. Obviously, a database application with a high proportion of dirty data is not reliable for the purpose of data mining or deriving business intelligence and the quality of decisions made on the basis of such business intelligence is also unreliable. In order to ensure high quality of data, enterprises need to have a process, methodologies and resources to monitor and analyze the quality of data, methodologies for preventing and/or detecting and repairing dirty data. This thesis is focusing on the improvement of data quality in database applications with the help of current data cleaning methods. It provides a systematic and comparative description of the research issues related to the improvement of the quality of data, and has addressed a number of research issues related to data cleaning.

In the first part of the thesis, related literature of data cleaning and data quality are reviewed and discussed. Building on this research, a rule-based taxonomy of dirty data is proposed in the second part of the thesis. The proposed taxonomy not only summarizes the most dirty data types but is the basis on which the proposed method for solving the Dirty Data Selection (DDS) problem during the data cleaning process was developed. This helps us to design the DDS process in the proposed data cleaning framework described in the third part of the thesis. This framework retains the most appealing characteristics of existing data cleaning approaches, and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of data cleaning as well as the degree of automation during the data cleaning process.

Finally, a set of approximate string matching algorithms are studied and experimental work has been undertaken. Approximate string matching is an important part in many data cleaning approaches which has been well studied for many years. The experimental work in the thesis confirmed the statement that there is no clear best technique. It shows that the characteristics of data such as the size of a dataset, the error rate in a dataset, the type of strings in a dataset and even the type of typo in a string will have significant effect on the performance of the selected techniques. In addition, the characteristics of data also have effect on the selection of suitable threshold values for the selected matching algorithms. The achievements based on these experimental results provide the fundamental improvement in the design of ‘algorithm selection mechanism’ in the data cleaning framework, which enhances the performance of data cleaning system in database applications.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2012
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Data; database design; quality; information management; data mining; business intelligence;
Public URL
Contract Date Dec 21, 2012
Award Date 2012-09


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