6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 26, 2016 10:29 AM by richardsrussell

    Delete a record or just flag as inactive?


      Just a rookie question - I have a client with an inventory file and other files that go all the way back to 1995.  The question is whether it's better as a general philosophy to delete records that no longer are meaningful or just flag them as inactive.


      My thinking is that it's better to flag records as inactive and then modify reports to only pick up active records and create some new reports that only select inactive.


      You thoughts on the general approach are appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Delete a record or just flag as inactive?

          All depends on the business requirements and the industry they (the business) server.

          Record retention is sometimes mandated by the industry you are in or by your employer if they have a sound thoughtful IT department and associated governance policies.

          Shipping old records off to a storage table is also a solution when records must be retained for a long time.

          This is not something i would guess about because it can have significant legal implications for the business.

          Good thing is that your asking the right questions.

          • 2. Re: Delete a record or just flag as inactive?

            My mantra? - 'Never delete.  Ever.'


            The reasons to delete are 'Storage space', 'Memory', 'Processing speed', 'Clarity', 'Whatever'...  All of them progress far, far, faster than anybody's needs to even occasionally want to 'look back on/report on/show the solicitor/prove that actually we have changed a lot since I took over' Reports.


            Tag all 'Deletions' as 'deleted' rather than actually delete them, and make anyone with a counter-argument go through hell and high water to reverse that.


            Just sayin'.

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Delete a record or just flag as inactive?

              Whole-heartedly agree.

              • 4. Re: Delete a record or just flag as inactive?

                Actually, there are at least a few reasons to use an archiving strategy instead of holding everything in one database.


                1) Speed.

                2) Backups

                3) Recovery / migration to a new version


                Note I said, "archiving strategy", not deletion. If anyone wants to look through the archives for a previous year (or other appropriate period), they can. Just keep a separate data file with those records in it and point an interface layout to it.


                Is it always appropriate to archive rather than keep? Nah. Is it never appropriate to delete? Nah. Again, depends on the business rules and needs. I don't care if I delete records off of my shopping list. But the Inspector General might care a lot if you delete records of correspondence that are involved in a lawsuit.   

                • 5. Re: Delete a record or just flag as inactive?

                  Agreed.  "the Inspector General" = "Hell or High Water"

                  • 6. Re: Delete a record or just flag as inactive?

                    I don't just tag a record as "inactive" (or "deleted"), I have a field in every table I create called "Obsolete". It's a Date-type field, and it immediately follows its siblings "Created" and "Updated" in my field list. I've got a standard script that enters the current date in "Obsolete" at the click of a button (or deletes it at the click of that same button + modifier key). And there's another Calculation field with Number result called "Active" that's empty whenever "Obsolete" has a date in it or displays "1" (formatted as a checkmark) if "Obsolete" is empty. This lets you easily find active records and also lets you know when each inactive record was declared obsolete.


                    If you'd like, you can go a step further and create an "Obsoleter" field into which that same button can enter the Account Name of the person who declared the record obsolete.