Free On-line Dictionary of Computing:
A series of steps followed to obtain a
design that allows for efficient access and
. These steps reduce data
redundancy and the chances of data becoming inconsistent.
is said to be in normal
form if it satisfies certain constraints. Codd's original
work defined three such forms but there are now five generally
accepted steps of normalisation. The output of the first step
is called First Normal Form (1NF), the output of the second
step is Second Normal Form (2NF), etc.
First Normal Form eliminates repeating groups by putting
each value of a multi-valued attribute into a new row.
Second Normal Form eliminates functional dependencies on a
by putting the fields in a separate table from
those that are dependent on the whole
Third Normal Form eliminates functional dependencies on
non-key fields by putting them in a separate table. At this
stage, all non-key fields are dependent on the key, the whole
key and nothing but the key.
Fourth Normal Form separates independent multi-valued facts
stored in one table into separate tables.
Fifth Normal Form breaks out data redundancy that is not
covered by any of the previous normal forms.
[What about non-relational databases?]