Entity Identification in Database Integration

Ee Peng Lim, Jaideep Srivastava, Satya Prabhakar, James Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The objective of entity identification is to determine the correspondence between objective instances from more than one database. This paper examines the problem at the instance level assuming that schema level heterogeneity has been resolved a priori. Soundness and completeness are defined as the desired properties of any entity-identification technique. To achieve soundness, a set of identity and distinctness rules have to be established for the entities in the integrated world. We then propose the use of extended key, which is the union of keys (and possibly other attributes) from the relations to be matched, and its corresponding identity rule to determine the equivalence between tuples from relations that may not share any common key. Instance level functional dependencies (ILFD), a form of semantic constraint information about the real-world entities, are used to derive the missing extended key attribute values of a tuple. Formal properties of ILFDs are derived. Results from a Prolog-based prototype entity-identification system are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalInformation Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
in part by contract F30602-91-C-0128 from Rome Laboratory of the U.S.


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