The aim of object matching (more commonly known as record linkage or as record matching) is to match the same units that are represented by records in two different files. This is to be contrasted with synthetic (or statistical) matching where the aim is to match similar, but usually different, units. Depending on the kind and quality of the information available a suitable matching method should be identified. In case object identifiers of good quality are available in both files, it is quite straightforward to use these to find the records matching on this key. Complications may arise when such object identifiers are not present. In that case one should investigate if object characteristics are present in both files that can be used for finding matches. Several methods exist that deal with this situation. The aim of the present module is to provide a context and overview of the various matching methods, and to give pointers to the specialised method modules in this handbook dealing with these methods.
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