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Changing the Past


Changing the Past

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steven.malone
steven.malone
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It depends on who is asking what question. For example: a wrongfully terminated employee (Bob) is reinstated and his personnel record is supposed to be "cleared". If someone runs a report of employees with negative actions, Bob should not appear on report. If someone else runs a report to determine staffing levels on a date between Bob's firing and reinstatement then Bob should not be on the list. If someone wants to run a report of wrongfully terminated employees then like duh, Bob should be on that list.

Some things are done on a timely basis and some are not. Hiring is usually done in real time but separations frequently are not. Before the final check can be cut their leave has to be audited to be sure of how many hours of unused leave must be paid; some companies do not pay final commissions until 30 days later in case a big purchase is returned.

Most times and places preserving the "raw" data in the "historical ODS" but having "corrected" data in the Data Marts works pretty well.
DavidAlanSousa
DavidAlanSousa
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My answer? NEVER, well, ALMOST never.

I recently had a very interesting case where changing past data was required. Without going into to many details, the college decided to change all classes from a QUARTER credit system to a SEMESTER credit system. This change was able to be done with no issues EXCEPT for the student transcript details and GPA summaries. Those would have been either very complicated, or downright impossible to correct given that they are generated by a third party software.

Bottom line? We followed suit done by other colleges and changed our historic data so that everything was in semester credits, recording exactly what records were changed along with the original and corrected values. We then put a notation on ALL of our transcripts (bold in a red box) stating that we had made this change as a college and that earlier transcripts would reflect quarter credits instead of semester.

My goal is to avoid historic changes if at all possible. If not, make sure that every change is fully documented, preferably in a table inside the database, so that the change log stays with the database, for the life of the database.


David A. Sousa
Database Administrator
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