The process of bringing together information (data) from different databases faces a variety of practical challenges. These make it difficult to readily access, merge, and present data collected and maintained by different researchers and organizations. Practical challenges range from the need for matching “keys” on which to merge information in an automated manner, to different data organizational structures in different databases, to issues of obtaining permission to link data through a single source. A wide range of users (e.g. journalists, military analysts, laypeople, quantitative data analysts) also want to access information in different formats, display modes, and with varying levels of precision. This paper discusses some of these practical issues with meshing data from different sources. It will also discuss the EUGene software program. This software was designed for (typically academic) analysts, and pulls together data from a number of widely-used international relations data bases and makes data merging and access to the resulting data easy for end users. EUGene has confronted some of these issues, and the solutions suggested by that experience are presented.
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