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Q: Database Design Standard for Column Sizes ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Database Design Standard for Column Sizes
Category: Computers > Programming
Asked by: climbon6-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 07 Nov 2002 11:40 PST
Expires: 07 Dec 2002 11:40 PST
Question ID: 102056
Is there a database design standard or guideline for column sizes of
standard (United States) fields like First Name, Last Name, Street
Address, and City?
Subject: Re: Database Design Standard for Column Sizes
Answered By: bikerman-ga on 08 Nov 2002 04:33 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

The only reference I could find which gives any guidelines of this
type is RFC 2218, "A Common Schema for the Internet White Pages
Service."  Although RFC 2218 has a very specific application, the
size recommendations set forth should be useful in other
applications using the same types of data.  Here is an excerpt
from the RFC giving the sizes of various attributes:

"--General Attributes --

         Field Name             Size         Syntax          Email    
              360         Mailbox

         Cert                   4000         Certificate
         Home Page               128         URI
         Common Name              64         WhitepageString
         Given Name               48         WhitepageString
         Surname                  48         WhitepageString
         Organization             64         WhitepageString
         Locality                 20         WhitepageString
         Country                   2         WhitepageString (ISO
         Language Spoken         128         WhitepageString (RFC
--Personal Attributes

         Personal Phone           30         PrintableString
         Personal Fax             30         PrintableString
         Personal Mobile Phone    30         PrintableString
         Personal Pager Number    30         PrintableString
         Personal Postal Address 255         Address
         Description             255         WhitepageString

--Organizational Attributes

         Title                    64         WhitepageString
         Office Phone             30         PrintableString
         Office Fax               30         PrintableString
         Office Mobile Phone      30         PrintableString
         Office Pager             30         PrintableString
         Office Postal Address   255         Address

         Creation Date            24         GeneralizedTime
         Creator Name            255         URI
         Modified Date            24         GeneralizedTime
         Modifier Name           255         URI"

See the RFC for more information.  It can be found at this URL:

Modeling this type of data is so common that it seems that there
would be an ISO standard for it, but I was unable to find it.  RFC
2218 doesn't make any reference to similar standards, either.

Additional Links:

"Database Journal: Daily Database News and Information for the
Database Professional"

"DevShed - The Open Source Web Development Site"

Search Strategy:

Google terms: database field size standards address name

About a dozen other searches not listed because they didn't return
any results.

Hope this helps,
climbon6-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thank you for your answer. I get frustrated looking for this answer
because I am convinced that there should be a standard for this common
type of data modeling. I'm glad to know there isn't something obvious
that I've missed.

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