The Center for Advanced Research in Entity Resolution and Information Quality (ERIQ) was established to advance research and best practices in the areas of entity and identity resolution and information quality. Housed in the George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock), the Center was established in 2006 to support research and advanced studies by the faculty, students, and research partners of the UA Little Rock Information Quality Graduate Program. In 2009, the Center was designated as a statewide research center by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Entity Resolution (ER) is the process of determining whether two references to real-world objects in an information system are referring to the same object or to different objects. ER is not just an academic exercise. Without ER hospital care can suffer because records created by different health care providers are not brought together into a single patient history, law enforcement efforts can fail because prior arrest records and incident reports for a suspect have not been properly linked together, and companies lose millions of dollars each day in opportunity costs, poor customer relations, and fraud because they fail to bring together a complete picture of interactions with their customers and suppliers.
ER is the key to successful master data management (MDM) and entity-based data integration (EBDI). ER also falls within the discipline of information quality (IQ). IQ is about maximizing the value and minimizing the risks of an organization’s information assets and assuring the information products produced by the organization will create value for the customers who use them. Without effective IQ management, ER processes are less effective because of inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent entity reference information. Conversely, ER is a critical step in producing trusted, high-quality information products.