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In order to develop a cost-effective method of injury surveillance and trauma system evaluation in a rural state, computer programs were written linking records from two major hospital trauma registries, a statewide trauma tracking study, hospital discharge abstracts, death certificates, and ambulance run reports. A general-purpose database management system, programming language, and operating system were used. Data from 1991 appeared to be successfully linked using only indirect identifying information. Familiarity with local geography and the idiosyncracies of each data source were helpful in programming for effective matching of records. For each individual case identified in this way, data from all available sources were then merged and imported into a standard database format. This inexpensive, population-based approach, maintaining flexibility for end-users with some database training, may be adaptable for other regions. There is a need for further improvement and simplification of the record-linkage process for this and similar purposes.