Contacts database

We run an online contacts database that can export in csv format. The online database allows users to update their details. I need a copy of those details in a PanX database. What’s the best way to set up the PanX database so I can easily overwrite the contacts from the online export? I want to be able to refresh the contacts information every couple of months.

The PanX database does more than the online database, it’s a HR database and needs the core information from the online database. In building out the PanX HR database I want a simple and easy mechanism to refresh the contacts data and update/add/delete data from the online source.

A key element is being able to positively match the records that are in the Contacts database with their corresponding record in the csv file. If you have some ID number, that’s great. Otherwise names, companies or better still name+company, or the email address, phone number… I’ve often had an extra field just for such purposes, where I could add name+company or perform other temporary text manipulations.

As long as you can match them, you can import the csv file into a duplicate of the Contacts database, loading data into the appropriate fields. Then use your matched fields to perform lookups from within the Contacts file to the duplicate file for updating the specific fields you’re interested in, such as Details. Once you’re done just dump the csv data.

There are numerous enhancements that can be added, such as stashing the current info in another field as a historic reference. Or the lookup can add it’s results to the Details.

You can also scan the imported data to find any that don’t match with existing contacts. These would be either new entries that can be added to Contacts, or mismatches of existing entries that may need some manual intervention.