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Components

The deduplication workflow consists of 5 different module types. These module types have countless implementations from which you can compile your own specialised deduplication configurations.

Each module comes with it's own documentation, that is accessible from within the extensions's UI, so should get a clear picture about what would happen if you run your configuration.

Finders

Finders are modules that can provide an aspect of a contact (e.g. last name) where equality would indicate a potential duplicate. Usually, you'll have to combine a couple of those get to a certain precision.

Finders are used to generate a performant SQL query to identify potential duplicates.

Filters

Filter modules will help to narrow down the list of potential duplicates. They can either provide a SQL term to be added to the search query, or add a php routine to filter algorithmically - e.g. the name similarity filter is much more efficient this way.

Pickers

Once an x-tuple* has been identified, the master contact (i.e. the one that prevails in an upcoming merge) has to be picked from the tuple. CiviCRM simply uses the lowest contact ID, but some scenarios might call for other criteria. For example, someone implemented "most personalised activities", since that was an indicator that that contact's ID would've most likely been used in external communication. (Which should've been avoided in the first place, of course).

Resolvers

Resolvers will be called on an x-tuple* to be merged. Their job is to harmonise one aspect of the contacts (e.g. first name), so that CiviCRM's merge will merge without conflicts. This is attempted after all resolvers have applied and documented their changes. Obviously, those changes will be rolled back automatically should the merge fail.

*) An x-tuple is a group of two or more contacts that should be merged into 1.