I am in the process of changing the character set for our database. I have a couple questions with regard to the in-place migration using the CSALTER script and performing the full import/export. According to the Oracle documentation, the use of the CSALTER script requires that

it can be used only if all of the schema data is a strict subset of the new character set

Source:Changing the Database Character Set of an Existing Databasee

The current character set is WE8ISO8859P1. However, I want to change it to AL32UTF8. Is WE8ISO8859P1 a subset of AL32UTF8? And judging by experience, is it preferable to perform the migration using the CSALTER script as opposed to doing a full export/import?

  • Voted to migrate to Database Administrators
    – Ollie
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 13:07
  • Didn't realize there was a DBA stackoverflow. That is the place my question should be posted at. Can I move it over there or does someone else need to do it?
    – John F.
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 13:49
  • @JohnF., you can flag your question for a moderator to move it for you.
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Yes, WE8ISO8859P1 is a subset of AL32UTF8, though a small bit of conversion might be needed (which CSALTER will deal with & CSSCAN will inform you of when you do a preliminary scan).

A must-read for Oracle 10.2 is here.

Doing a full export/import will be more time-consuming than using csscan/csalter.

Another good, albeit old, read is the Oracle Character Migration Best Practices white paper.

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