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Going open source: some lessons learned from the development of OpenRecLink.

Record linkage is the process of identifying and merging records across different databases belonging to the same entity. The health sector is one of the pioneering areas of record linkage techniques applications. In 1998 we began the development of a software package, called RecLink that implemented probabilistic record linkage techniques. In this article we report the development of a new, open-source version of that program, now named OpenRecLink. The aim of this article is to present the main characteristics of the new version and some of the lessons learned during its development. The new version is a total rewrite of the program, based on three goals: (1) to migrate to a free and open source software (FOSS) platform; (2) to implement a multiplatform version; (3) to implement the support for internationalization. We describe the tools that we adopted, the process of development and some of the problems encountered.


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