Datafield conventions: first name / last name / full name

We recently received the following question from a user and wanted to share our answer with the rest of the ClauseBase Community:

When using names, is it best practice to define a datafield for the entire name in one string, or to separate firstname, lastname, and initial?

If you already know you are going to refer to a party by their last name (e.g.: “Ms Stevens”), then it would make more sense to split up the firstname and lastname datafields. If you are unsure whether this situation would ever pop up for you, then it may still be better to err on the side of caution and separate the datafields instead of using a single text datafield.

@sarah.verbeke Any thoughts on this topic? I imagine this issue must have popped up for you in the past.

I always separate them. Like that you have more flexibility in working with it.
Even for the adresses I separate street-housenumber-mailbox-postal code-city.

You can always put them together if you need to, just by summing up the different datafields.
If you need only one of them, then it’s so easy.
Or for example: in apartments you have mailboxes, in a separate house normally not. So you can make a condition that when it hasn’t been filled in, it can be left out:

#house^street #house^number {#house^box: box #house^box}, #house^postal #house^city

This concept with datafields can be re-used in different clauses and documents. So I’ld choose for flexibility and a little extra datafields.

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Thank you @senne.mennes and @sarah.verbeke . Given the suggestion to break up the name into components (and similar for address), which makes sense, then this implies – consistent with this article – that one should create different datafields for an individual name and a company name, right?

Thanks again.

Typically I would avoid “sharing” the company name and a natural person’s name — so indeed putting them into different fields.

However, there are always exceptions, e.g. when you do not care for the rest about a party’s details and you are mostly interested in the name of the party. In such situation, the ease-of-use of not having to switch between the two datafields, would be a benefit that probably outweighs the rest.

I keep them separated. I don’t like to create possibilities to confuse myself.