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How does Origins work?

Whether delivered as a desktop application or as a web service, the product has three key elements – the Origins Software, the Origins Database and the Origins Classification.
The Origins Software
The Origins software application runs on standard platforms running any version of Microsoft Windows since Windows98. It is a stand-alone application but, if required, Origins can be embedded within an existing database environment, using API documentation available from OriginsInfo.
Updates of the software and databases are released regularly and supplied by email, or by physical delivery of recorded media.  All updates are free to licensed users.
The following chart summarises the process flow used to append a code to a name record:

Whether delivered as a desktop application or as a web service, the product has three key elements:

    The Origins Software 

    The Origins software application runs on standard platforms running any version of Microsoft Windows since Windows98. It is a stand-alone application but, if required, Origins can be embedded within an existing database environment, using API documentation available from OriginsInfo.

    Updates of the software and databases are released regularly and supplied by email, or by physical delivery of recorded media.  All updates are free to licensed users.

    The following chart summarises the process flow used to append a code to a name record:

    The Origins Database

    Data has been sourced from a range of publicly available near-universal files of personal and family names from countries all over the world.  These files reflect the names of around 1.2 billion individuals.

    From this data, OriginsInfo has compiled two databases – one contains over 2.5 million unique family names; the other contains over 870,000 unique personal, or given names. The coverage of the data means that a user will code a minimum of 99 percent of their customers and classify them to their most likely ancestral origin.

    The Origins database contains sufficient information about the location of where names are found to enable OriginsInfo to calculate an incidence rate for each name in different geographical locations.  This incidence rate, coupled with substantial amount of research about names from parts of the world where there are gaps in our data (mainly Africa and parts of Asia), allows us to classify each name into its most likely origin.  The incidence rate provides us with a mathematical way of establishing a confidence level for each name and its allocation.

    The Origins Classification 

    All names are classified to indicate the most likely cultural origin of an individual’s name.  The classification is a critical part of creating an analysis and decisioning solution.

    Currently, there are 257 different CEL (Cultural, Ethnic and Linguistic) codes reflecting the world’s most distinctive cultural identities.  The label for each CEL reflects the most diagnostic characteristic associated with the origin of a name.  In some cases this is geography (a country, a region within a country, or a group of countries sharing similar name origins); in others it is language (eg Flemish/Walloon, or Mandarin/Cantonese); or in other cases it is religion (eg Islamic, Sikh or Jewish). See the full CEL level classification.

    For convenience, and preliminary analysis these detailed codes are grouped into standard aggregations of 27 Origins Types  and 16 Origins Groups.

    In fact, the 257 CEL codes can be aggregated in ways that suit the specific needs of individual users.  Even within the same organisation it may be appropriate for one purpose to customise by key target market, but for another purpose it may be appropriate to customise in a way that reflects customer service resources or objectives in the call centre.

    To find out more information about how Origins works watch our series of small videos here.











  • Origins runs on many standard computer platforms







  • Updates are regular and free


































  • Massive data resources produce accuracy rates of more than 99%






  • Name combinations help calculate confidence levels

 














  • 257 detailed CEL codes aggregate to 27 types and 16 broad cultural groups

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Australia and New Zealand

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Europe and USA

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