I recently experienced an example of the difference between validity and accuracy. After I sent a late notice about an outstanding invoice to a third-party firm I sub-contract for, we discovered that while the check was indeed in the mail, unfortunately it was mailed to the wrong address—a valid but inaccurate address.
As the above picture shows, I live at 2032 SW 35th Street. When my address was entered into the billing system, the 3 was dropped from the street name and my address became 2032 SW 5th Street. Their billing system used a postal validation service, which confirmed 2032 SW 5th Street is a valid postal address. However, it’s not an accurate postal address for me. It’s pretty close, not only one numeric character off but, as shown above, the inaccurate address is only a 48 minute, 2.5 mile walk from my house.
As this example shows, while the use of a postal validation service is a highly recommended best practice for ensuring valid addresses are entered when data is created, just because you have valid data doesn’t guarantee that you have accurate data.
What examples of valid but inaccurate data have you encountered? Please share them by posting a comment below.