Single source of truth (SSOT)

Single source of truth (SSOT) is the practice of structuring information models and associated data schema such that every data element is mastered (or edited) in only one place.

Snippet from Wikipedia: Single source of truth

In information systems design and theory, single source of truth (SSOT) is the practice of structuring information models and associated data schema such that every data element is mastered (or edited) in only one place. Any possible linkages to this data element (possibly in other areas of the relational schema or even in distant federated databases) are by reference only. Because all other locations of the data just refer back to the primary "source of truth" location, updates to the data element in the primary location propagate to the entire system without the possibility of a duplicate value somewhere being forgotten.

Deployment of an SSOT architecture is becoming increasingly important in enterprise settings where incorrectly linked duplicate or de-normalized data elements (a direct consequence of intentional or unintentional denormalization of any explicit data model) pose a risk for retrieval of outdated, and therefore incorrect, information. A common example would be the electronic health record, where it is imperative to accurately validate patient identity against a single referential repository, which serves as the SSOT. Duplicate representations of data within the enterprise would be implemented by the use of pointers rather than duplicate database tables, rows, or cells. This ensures that data updates to elements in the authoritative location are comprehensively distributed to all federated database constituencies in the larger overall enterprise architecture.

SSOT systems provide data that are authentic, relevant, and referable.