Subject Re: [IBO] Default Field Lengths
Author Geoff Worboys
jwcane2003 wrote:
> Is there an authoritative listing of standard or recommended
> lengths of fields like first/last names, street, city, etc.

I don't know of any authoritative listing but, as Russell has
suggested, studying sample data can help. The other thing
that can help is to study where/how the data from your database
may be used.

For example a lot of my work relates to payroll in Australia
and this means producing electronic transfer data to send to
the tax office, banks and others. Looking at the field
definitions for these transfers can offer some insight - but
none of the ones I've used are very consistent.

Example 1: First Name (15)
Second Name (15)
Last Name (30)
Address Line 1 (38)
Address Line 2 (38)
Suburb (27)

Example 2: Surname (35)
First Name (35)
Other Names (35)
Address Line 1 (40)
Address Line 2 (40)
Address Line 3 (40)
Suburb (30)

And these are currently, effectively, ASCII-7 data because
most such transfers in Australia are still going with the
lowest common denominator.

The fields in my system were created before I got involved in
such transfers which means I've had to do things like write
procedures to translate a simple multi-line field used for
address into a two-line address for the first example above.
Similarly I only have a "first names" field that I have to
parse out into first and subsequent names for the fields above.

Geoff Worboys
Telesis Computing Pty Ltd