Re: Newbie question about db normalization theory: redundant keys OK?

From: Dr. Dweeb <>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 22:08:02 +0100
Message-ID: <476593b3$0$21933$>

Tony Rogerson wrote:
>> If teachers are permitted to change their names, then names are not
>> appropriate keys for teachers. They are (excuse me if I get the
>> language wrong) mutable attributes of these entities. "Ms. Fred"
>> *isn't* exactly the same person as "Mrs. Sid" -- she's married now,
>> she has a fancy new diamond ring, new taxable status, etc., etc. She
>> shares history with Mrs. Sid -- but an omelet shares history with an
>> egg, too.
> From my perspective as a student she is the same person, to say
> otherwise is actually changing the scenario modelled but you are
> heading in the right direction.
>> If marital status is not significant to your model of teachers and
>> classes, then you should choose a key that is not affected by a
>> change of marital status. As another example in the USA, the SSN is
>> not affected by a change of name, but the driver's license number
>> generally is!
> SSN is illegal so you can't do that in the USA.
> So, what would you use if that is not and nothing else is available
> to you?
> Would you a) tell the university that the data cannot be modelled and
> you can't hold it in a database or b) use an artificial key?

This makes my student number 7613861 artifical? This makes my employee number 644923 artificial?

One is used by my university, the other by my employer. They may be arbitrarily assigned, but they are unique and indicate me alone.

No need to make up GUIDs or whatever, the real world has been aware of the reuirement to uniquely identify humans by other than their names for a long time (since somewhere near the beginning of written record keeping I suspect) and these are generally adequate.

(tiring of the wanking so pervasive in this group)

> My choice is b) and it's what I've been talking about.
Received on Sun Dec 16 2007 - 22:08:02 CET

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