Slate provides the ability to add custom fields that are unique to a dataset. These fields can be configured to be unique for merging and be used to merge records upon import or form submission.
The default unique for merging setting for a text field is Do not use value for merging. When set to Value contains a unique ID which identifies a single record for merging, Slate will use the value of the custom field to automatically attempt to match onto records in the dataset.
Example Unique for Merging Fields
A nine-character text field could be set as a Unique ID. If a record has the value 123456789 in this field, no other record in that dataset could have that same value. If another record were to be added to the Dataset with the value123456789 in this field, Slate would merge the existing and the incoming records together.
Slate’s Consolidate Records tool will also use this field to find potential matching records. Configuring unique fields is important when uploading data from external systems (for example, unique system IDs) into Slate.
A custom field should only be configured as unique if each record is guaranteed to have a unique value for the field. Examples of unique custom fields include:
- SIS ID
- Banner ID
- CommonApp ID
- Questbridge ID
Be careful when mapping a data import to multiple unique for merging fields: the import may use any of the unique for merging fields to match a candidate application or person.
Similarly, collecting values publicly (that is, through a public-facing form) to unique for merging fields can result in record collisions if transcription errors occur.
Please refer to the following articles for further information on how matching criteria and ordering works: