What's Another Word for "Code?"

What is another word for “code?”  That’s a question one needs to answer for best results with GoldMine software.  The concept of “coding” shows up many times in GoldMine.  Generally speaking, the GoldMine Administrator sets up your look-up list of “codes” and the users simply select the most appropriate choice.

You will see it applied to:

  • Merge Code
  • Activity Code
  • Result Code
  • Forecast Sale Code
  • Opportunity Code
  • Project Code
  • Automated Process Code
  • Group Code
  • Database Code

There was a time when the “codes” were a practical solution for keeping field lengths shorter.  In the days when computer operating systems and software applications needed to use up disk and hard drive space very sparingly (remember DOS and 10 meg. floppies) using “codes” was a means to shorten field lengths.  Those days are long gone but GoldMine still has fields where the intention is to use codes.   This is partly a legacy issue and partly because there is another way to look at the meaning and usefulness of codes that is relevant today. Which leads us back to the name of this post.  “What’s another word for “code?”

A “code” or “coding” something is another way to say “categorizing” something.  And that’s a concept that is extremely relevant when it comes to a data set.  Categorizing, or let’s just say coding is because it is shorter, enables you to more quickly sort, group, filter, and even read your data.  Perhaps a few examples will help you to see better what I mean.

In the first column is the area in GoldMine where a Code is used.  In the second column I’ve used a typical description.  And, in the third column is a possible code that could be substituted for that value.

Area in GoldMine        Description  –  Code
Activity Code                      Prospecting Call  –  PC
Result                                   Left Message  –  LM
Project Code                       New Installation  –  NI
Group Code                        Event Attendee List  –  EAL

In the look-up lists for the fields where you find codes the choices are typically displayed with 2-3 characters followed by two slashes “//” and then a very short (2-3 word) description of what the code stands for.  More often than not the code is simply an abbreviation or acronym of the description.

It is best for the GoldMine Administrator to “lock-down” the choices in the list within the field “look-up set-up.”  If you allow users to “add, edit, and delete” from the list you’re virtually guaranteed to find a mess in the look-up as users who don’t know any better change the list.

There are many benefits that come from the planning, implementation, and usage of codes.  Here are three biggies:

  1. Faster data entry
  2. Consistent terminology
  3. Filtering, sorting, and analyzing data is improved

The key to being successful with coding is planning for the use of them.  This is one of those areas of a database that requires a strong sense of purpose, intelligent choices, and centralize administration and control of the look-up list of codes.  It takes a team effort for an organization to come up with a good and effective system for their codes.  And even after you do, it is never done!   Because if it’s not managed and kept up with, the list becomes outdated and less useful or even frustrating to users!

This is also an area of your GoldMine database that an expert with years of practical experience can be very helpful.  Fixing a look-up list of codes isn’t so terrible, but after it’s been in use for any period of time the real hard part is fixing that data that’s been entered in a less suitable way.  Sometimes it is too much trouble to even fix the old data and you just have to draw a line and start from that point forward.

For input or guidance contact your GoldMine expert – or First Direct!