I'm trying to name a database attribute that might take the value "new" or "existing". What is an appropriate name? Something like "newity"? What is the relevant concept?
An earlier answer suggests that the concept behind a database attribute with values “new” or “existing” is preexistence. This word refers to “The condition of existing prior to the current time”. By contrast, existence is “The state of being, existing, or occurring; beinghood”. You could use either term, depending on what you want to emphasize; but I suppose ideally the term should give equal play or emphasis to both of the possible values:
• Preexistence, isNew or New?, newness give more emphasis to the “new” aspect, and less to “existing”.
• Existence, isExtant or Extant?, extancy more-emphasize “existing”.
• Vintage (“The year or place in which something is produced”) or revision (eg a version number), and previously-mentioned status (“A situation or state of affairs”) seem neutral, but may be too general or may have meanings you don't want.
As an ex-database person myself, I racked my brain (gently, no injuries yet) to remember how I would have handled this situation. Depending on the naming convention, you may need to add or remove capitals, add underscores, etc., but here are my suggestions:
StatusID (keyed to a separate table; good suggestion by Andwer Leach)
CreationDate (or similar date-time field)
IsLatest (if version tracking)
It depends on your goal. If new items just need processing to flip from new to not-new status, use a boolean or similar two-state type of field and flip as indicated. Naming conventions for such types often begin with "is", to indicate a two-state value. If you have multiple statuses, of which "new" is only one (either now or anticipated-- planning ahead is never a bad idea with a database) then use statuses and make "new" one of them. If you just need to create some sort of view of the recent additions, track by date/time. And, of course, if you're doing version tracking, something like IsLatest might be appropriate to indicate the latest version of an item. Finally, don't forget to check naming conventions in use wherever the database is being implemented, or evident elsewhere within the same system.
I think what you're looking for is preexistence. This deals with the temporal nature of the existence — in other words, instead of just recording whether or not something exists, it records whether something existed before a particular event or moment in time.
Another option (as mentioned in the comments to your question) is "status" but that's a bit generic.