RightFielder Object:Config Example

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mdRightFielder.cfg Case Studies

The mdRightFielder.cfg file is a plain text file that users can use to override the default entries contained in the mdRightFielder.dat data file.

For complete instructions of available tables and types which can be overridden, as well as syntax and examples, open the mdRightFielder.cfg in a text editor and follow the instructions.

This article discusses the different types of modifications that can be made in mdRightFielder.cfg:

Lookup Table Overrides

This is the addition or removal of words (and phrases) to the Object’s dictionaries. This essentially expands (or limits) Right Fielder’s vocabulary.

There are three lookup tables in Right Fielder Object:

  • LeftToken – used to recognize words and phrases that usually appear at the start of data (name, company, titles)
  • MiddleToken – used to recognize words and phrases that usually appear at the middle of the data (addresses, apartments, PO Boxes, etc)
  • RightToken – used to recognize words and phrases that usually appear at the end of data (city, state, country)

Example: You're processing a database of car dealerships and the company recognition isn’t fielding car companies correctly. Processing might be a lot more accurate if you would modify the LeftToken table in this way:



  • It is not necessary for the entries to be sorted.
  • These entries will override any existing dictionary entries (for example, ‘LINCOLN’ is by default a First Name indicator). The second field, containing the ‘C’ indicates what kind of word is being described (it’s ‘token’).
  • Only one token can be used per entry. Each table has different tokens that can be used in it, see the mdRightFielder.cfg for details.

Regular Expression Overrides for Defined DataTypes

The addition of regular expressions that are used to recognize specific character patterns (for example, phone numbers, e-mails, etc).

Regular expression are used to recognize postal codes, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and URLs. These are types of data that can’t well be recognized using a dictionary, but the actual pattern of numbers, letters and punctuation is very useful in identifying the data. For example, Canadian Postal Codes always follow the pattern alpha-digit-alpha-digit-alpha-digit. They are recognized with the regular expression:

(?<=^| ) [a-z][0-9][a-z] [- ]? [0-9][a-z][0-9] (?= |$) (?= |$)

  • Start with simple expressions and gradually add complexity,
  • Test each addition before moving on.
  • Use third party Regex builder tools to greatly ease this trial and error process.

Say, for example, you have data that was run through OCR software. Unfortunately, in many cases 0’s and 1’s were accidentally recognized as O’s and l’s. We can enhance Right Fielder’s recognition of abominations such as “Ol234” with this expression:

(?<=^| ) [0-9Ol]{5} [- ]? ([0-9Ol]{4})? (?= |$)

This regular expression can be broken up into 5 parts:

(?<=^| ) Like the preamble, this indicates that a break or delimiter of some sort must follow the zip code.
[0-9Ol]{5} This indicates that we need to see any number, an uppercase O or a lowercase l. And we need to see 5 of them in a row.
[- ]? This indicates that we might see a dash, a space (but we may not see either). The? quantifier means that we can see 0 or exactly 1 iterations of the character.
([0-9Ol]{4})? This indicates that we need to see any number, an uppercase O or a lowercase l. We need to see 4 of them in a row. However, there’s catch here, because sometimes people omit the Plus 4, so the sub-expression is surrounded by parentheses and followed by the ? quantifier.
(?= |$) Like the preamble, this indicates that a break or delimiter of some sort must follow the zip code.

Now that we designed our regular expression, we need to add it to the PostalCodeRegEx table:

5,(?<=^| )[0-9Ol]{5}[- ]?([0-9Ol]{4})?(?= |$)

When a regular expression finds a match, the match is removed from the input data, so a later expression (which may be more fitting) will not find the match. Thus, processing order is important. However, we can’t simply sort regular expressions like we do with lookup tables. Instead, you must provide a number (the 5 in our example) which will indicate it’s place in the regular expression processing order. The lower the number, the sooner it is processed.

Generally, you want expressions that capture larger amounts of data to precede expressions that capture smaller amounts. Our ‘canned’ expressions start at 10 and increment by 10. There are usually not more than 5 or so expressions per table. This example ensures that this expression is the first to be evaluated. However, in this case, it is not likely that order would have made a difference, as it does not conflict with any of the existing expressions.

Experienced reg-exers may be concerned about the preamble and post amble, as it would appear that we’ve forgotten to include many delimiters (ie, tab, pipe, carriage returns, etc). For the purposes of regular expression processing, all delimiters are temporarily transformed into spaces, so the only things that your regular expression really need to be looking for are spaces and the ‘start of string’ and ‘end of string’ indicators. There is one exception to this rule, and that is for the PreProcessRegEx table. Regular expressions in this table are processed on the raw data, before any transforms are done.

Regular Expression Overrides for general Data Patterns

We briefly mentioned the PreProcessRegEx table in the previous example. This can be one of the most powerful tables at your disposal, as it allows you to address many character-based anomalies that you may see in your data. In addition, it is the only table that allows you to perform regular expression-based replacements.

Say your data sometimes contains a dash between the state and zip code (for example, “Braintree, MA-02184”). This data anomaly will befuddle Right Fielder’s state and zip code recognition abilities. However, we can easily fix this with an entry in the PreProcessRegEx table:

5,(?<=^| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n)([a-z]{2,3})(?:[-]?)(\d{5}(?:-\d{4})?)(?=$| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n),$1 $2

The regular expression can be broken up into these parts: (?<=^| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n) The regular expression’s preamble. Unlike the other tables, we must search for all sorts of delimiters and breaks, as pre-process regular expressions are matched to the raw input data. ([a-z]{2}) A two-letter sequence (ie, the state). Note that regular expressions are processed case-insensitive (though you can override with the ?-i: option). (?:[-]) The offending dash. We’ve attached the non-capturing group construct (?:, as we’ll be throwing this group away. (\d{5}(?:-\d{4})?) The Zip Code (and optional Plus 4). (?=$| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n) The post amble.

Pattern Table Overrides

The addition or removal of patterns of words and phrases. Words and phrases are first identified via Lookup Tables and assigned tokens (specified in the Lookup Table itself). Sequences of tokens (patterns) are matched to entries in this table and transformed into output data.

This type of override is more complex and should only be attempted with the help of a Melissa Data support engineer. While the other .cfg file overrides can affect how the token is identified, editing this type can affect how other adjoining tokens are identified, making it possible for RightFielder to inconsistently identify tokens you did not intend to edit.

Example mdRightFielder.cfg Overrides

4,(?<=^| |[|]|\t|\r|\n)(.*)(a/o|A/O|c/o|C/O)(.*)(?=$| |[|]|\t|\r|\n),$1 | $3

The above expression will allow you to identify ‘XYZ Corporation a/o Billy McMailreceiver’ as

Name1: Billy McMailreceiver
Company1: XYZ Corporation

Without this expression the output will be…

Company1: XYZ Corporation a/o Billy McMailreceiver

;these entries help uncommon names get recognized as names

; many tokens which appear to identify departments are actually entered as Company identifiers by default.
; the following entries create distinct department identifiers , overriding tokens sometimes present in companies

; this expands identification of unheard of, changed, or vanity city names
; alternate spelling or fictional country

; yesterdays or tomorrows phone identifiers

NOTES on cfg overrides

When creating and writing a regular expression in the cfg file, the only commas allowed are the instances which delimit the <id> the <regEx> and the <replace>. This is how RightFielder parses the cfg file edits.

Example of a valid entry ….

5,(?<=^| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n)([a-z]{2,3})(?:[-]?)(\d{5}(?:-\d{4})?)(?=$| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n),$1 $2

Example of an invalid entry (expression will be ignored….

5,(?<=^| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n)([a-z]{2,3})(?:[-]?)(\d{5}(?:-\d{4})?)(?=$| |,|[|]|\t|\r|\n),$1 $2

The <id> in the above example must be unique. If you create new expressions with the same <id> as another cfg edit or an existing mdRightFielder.dat entry, it will be ignored.
Existing pattern <id>s in mdRightFielder.dat file start with id=10 and imcrement by 10, so to override and existing pattern, use a single digit <id>, to add a lower priority use a higher multiple