Concepts - Parameters and Aliases

When working with chemistry data in particular, the situation of differing parameter spellings from different labs, or even the same lab at different points in time is very common.  The following example from an actual project illustrates this point precisely – alias names for the parameter ‘m&p-xylene’ are listed below:

 

m-&p-Xylenes

M&p-xylenes

m,p-Xylenes

m/p-Xylene

m+p-Xylene

m-Xylene +p-Xylene

p+m Xylene

p+m-Xylene

p+mXylenes

Xylenes (m- & p-)

 

SiteFX and the database allow for parameter aliases to be managed.  All chemistry records in the database retain the original parameter name as it was provided by the lab (or other source) AND a consistent or ‘reporting’ parameter name. Parameter alias names are stored in the R_READING_NAME_ALIAS table in the database.

Concepts – Parameters and Aliases – Existing Data

Parameters and aliases are managed from the ‘Edit Parameters & Criteria’ menu as discussed in the section ‘Parameters / Criteria’ in the Tools chapter. Use this tool to add or delete ‘reporting’ parameter names and alias names. To apply your changes throughout the database you must run conversions on the database from the ‘Perform Conversions’ menu. Choose ‘Reconvert All Data’ from the ‘Parameter and Reading Names’ section and allow the conversions to proceed.

It is not necessary to populate these lists with all parameter and alias names possible before adding new data to the database (e.g. with the data loader). After loading new data, the Data Validation tool will show you if there are any outstanding alias matchings that need to be made.

Concepts – Parameters and Aliases – Prompts during Parameter Conversion

Whenever SiteFX runs parameter name conversions on the data (e.g. after loading new data with the data loader if this option is turned on) SiteFX will search for each parameter in the master parameter list (i.e. the ‘reporting’ names) and the alias list. If no match is found, you will be prompted to answer whether this is a new parameter for the database or an alternate spelling of an existing parameter. If you answer ‘new parameter’ then it is automatically added to the master list and you will not be asked again. If you answer ‘alias’ then SiteFX will leave the parameter as is and you will have to pick which parameter it is the alias of using the Data Validation tool.

Concepts – Parameters and Aliases – Setting Aliases using the Data Validation Tool

When you run the Data Validation tool, SiteFX checks to see if each parameter in the database has been matched to a parameter in the master parameter list.  It is a good idea to make sure you have run the parameter name conversions on your database before using this tool. After pressing the ‘Check for Errors’ button it is common to see parameter name aliases listed that need to be matched to a master parameter name. At this point, you need to instruct SiteFX to make the alias name to reporting name matches as required. These mappings are stored in the database and will not have to be repeated again for future data.