What is normalization?

Question:
Will you please help me in locating a definition of the term “normalizeddatabase”?

Answer:
Normalization of relational databases is the process of ensuring that thedatabase does not contain redundant information.

A simple example is thecase of a customer, whose name and address should appear in only one tablebecause its appearance elsewhere could easily become contradictory.However, normalization is much more complex than just setting up a goodcustomer table. The normal forms of the relational model provide a set ofrules that allow you to stringently test your database design.

Normalization for relational databases was introduced by Dr. E. F. Coddback in 1970 when he wrote his original paper. The concept has since beenexpounded upon by other experts in the field. Normalized databases aresaid to be in first normal form (1nf), second normal form (2nf), thirdnormal form (3nf), and so on. (There are a few that don’t follow thatnaming convention.) Most databases are in third normal form after theyhave been normalized.

The details of how to normalize a database are beyond the scope of thisformat. There are a number of CASE tools on the market to help automatethe process, and several books cover the topic in varying degrees of detail.

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