What is Record Linkage?
Record linkage is the process of identifying and merging records that refer to the same entity in different databases or data sources. This process is often used to combine data from different sources to create a more comprehensive record of an individual or entity.
Record linkage is typically performed by comparing the information contained in the records and using algorithms to determine the likelihood that the records refer to the same entity. The comparison may be based on common variables such as name, address, date of birth, or other identifying information.
Record linkage can be useful in a variety of applications, including public health, marketing, and research. For example, record linkage can be used to identify and merge records from different databases to create a more complete record of an individual's health history, or to merge records from different marketing databases to create a more complete record of an individual's purchasing behavior.
There are several challenges associated with record linkage, including the need to accurately match records that may contain errors or discrepancies, and the need to protect the privacy of individuals whose records are being linked. To address these challenges, researchers and practitioners have developed a variety of techniques and algorithms for record linkage, including probabilistic, deterministic, and machine learning-based approaches.