Re: persistent ids/hashes from strings?
I would suggest that this XSLT application maintains a separate xml document containing a unique element for every company.
Then, to give a hash to a company, it could use something as simple as its position (count(preceding-sibling::company) in the companies' xml document.
Whenever the lookup function fails to find a company (this means a new company has been specified or a typo), the lookup function will create a new Companies xml document, in which the missing company is appended at the end and return it as part of its result.
The end result of the transformation will be the required one with the addition of another file, containing the companies data, whenever new companies have been added.
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