Normalization is the process of organizing data in your database into tables and columns. The idea behind normalization is that a table should be about a specific topic, and the columns should support that topic. When you limit a table to a single purpose, it prevents duplicate data from showing up in your database.
Let’s learn more about the reasons for database normalization and why it’s important for your data quality and accuracy.
Overview of Database Tables
A database consists of one or more tables. Each table is made up of rows and columns, with data being entered into the columns. The data has to be specific, such as a number or date. Each row is identified by a primary key.
The idea of database normalization is that each table is limited to one purpose, thus avoiding duplicate and redundant data. When you need to generate reports or compare numbers, you can refer to the specific tables you need and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about related numbers trickling in from other tables.
Reasons for Database Normalization
There are three main reasons to normalize your database:
- Avoid duplicate data. If you have duplicate data in your database, it becomes tedious and time-consuming to manage data changes. Redundant data also increases storage and decreases database performance. To fix this, database normalization is used.
- Fix anomalies. When a database is normalized, anomalies are corrected. Anomalies can occur when data is accidentally inserted, deleted or left blank.
- Simplify search queries. Database normalization makes it easier to search and sort your data. Once a database is normalized and anomalies are corrected, you can perform simpler queries.
Types of Database Normalization
There are three types of database normalization:
- First normal form. Information is stored in a relational table. Each column has atomic values, and there are no repeating groups.
- Second normal form. This table is in first normal form and all columns depend on the table’s primary key.
- Third normal form. This table is in second normal form with columns that are non-transitively dependent on the primary key.
Databases are an asset to today’s organizations, but they can also come with a major learning curve. Before you invest time and money into learning a database, make sure that you are using the proper database solution. For a review of your organization’s current database, contact Arkware today.