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Chapter 4. Exploring Relational Database... > Conforming to Table Design Rules

Conforming to Table Design Rules

Designing tables for relational databases follows a formalized procedure called normalization. Dr. Codd described the complete normalization process in his 1972 paper, “Further Normalization of the Data Base Relational Model.” This paper isn’t an easy read; it’s steeped in the language of set theory and relational algebra. The sections that follow explain in common English the application of the normalization process to Access’s Northwind database.

You normalize tables in a series of steps called normal forms. Applying the normalization process is necessary to move spreadsheet-style data to relational tables. You also employ the normalization rules when designing a new database or analyzing existing databases. In specific cases, however, you might need to depart from strict adherence to normalization rules to retain a history of data values that change over time or to improve performance of a large database.


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