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Oracle Regular Expressions for date address and telephone number formats

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Oracle Data Unification

See also: Oracle Regular expressions indexes as a tuning tool

In a nutshell, data unification is the process of standardizing internal data formats, changing the values to a standard format "mask":

phone_number                  char(14)    (999) 999-9999
social_Security_Number        char(11)     999-99-9999

More complex unification involved standardizing formats of more complex columns like full_name and street_address.  These have lots of "rules", such as the standard way to reference a P.O. Box, standard abbreviations for streets, avenues and boulevards, and so on.  This type of internal data unification is the perfect application for regular expressions:

  • Date Format - A valid date might have a regular expression pattern that looks like this:

              (19|20)\d\d[- /.](0[1-9]|1[012])[- /.](0[1-9]|[12][0-9]|3[01])

  • P.O. Box Format - Here is another example of using Oracle regular expression syntax to match a P/O. Box:
   ,'BOX[([:space:]?\.?,?)]*+[[:digit:]]+' -- pattern
   , 1 -- position
   , 1 -- occurrence
   , 'i' ) -- modifier
  • Credit card Format - Here is a validation for a credit card number:
   , '(([[:digit:]]{4})
       ([[:space:]]|[[:punct:]]|)*){4}' ) acceptable

Now, let's look at the real challenge, multi-column data cleansing.  This is where you have the challenge of replicating the decision processes of a human, namely the data quality professional who is changed with identifying and repairing incorrect data.  As we will learn, this is an iterative process, and we start with small, modest successes and move-on to complex decision-logic after we have built the foundation.  Remember "We eat the Elephant one bite at a time".

For expert Oracle data cleansing support and data scrubbing consulting, use an expert from BC.  We understand the powerful Oracle data unification tools, and we can aid in improving the data quality of any Oracle database, large or small.



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