Deduping is the process of eliminating duplicates from your list so each record is unique. This is commonly used for removing duplicates from a mailing list so you would mail to each record only once.
You can have your list deduped in various methods.
Regardless of which format used above, the fields used in deduping can NOT be blank. For instance, if you're deduping by phone number, all records must have that field populated in order to be deduped. If a record is missing this key field, it will simply be ignored in the process. Variations in the name: In a name dedup scenario, names must be exactly the same to be considered duplicates. For instance "John L. Smith" is not the same as "John L Smith"; therefore punctuation is taken into consideration but this process is case insensitive.