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Entities are the basic units used in modelling classes of concrete or abstract o bjects.

An Entity Set is a group of similar objects of concern to an organisation for wh ich it maintains data. The properties that characterise an entity set are called its attributes. The set of possible values that a given attribute can have is called its domain. A key is a single attribute or combination of two or more attributes of an entit y set that is used to identify one or more instances of the set. primary key, super key and foreign key. There may be two or more attributes or combinations that uniquely identify an in stance of an entity set. These attributes or combinations of attributes are call ed candidate keys. A secondary key is an attribute or combination of attributes that may not be a c andidate key but classifies the entity set on a particular characteristic. A relationship set is used in data modelling to represent an association between entity sets. The physical representation of an entity set is made by aggregating the attribut es used to model the entity set. Such a representation is called a record type. An instance of a record type is called record occurence. A file is a collection of identical record type occurences pertaining to an enti ty set and is labeled to identify the entity set. Relational algebra is a procedural language , it is a collection of operations t o maipulate relations. An attribute A in a relation scheme R is a prime attribute if A is part of any candidate key of the relation. else it is a non-prime . A relation scheme is said to be in 1nf if the values in the domain of each attri bute of the relation are atomic. A relation scheme is said to be in 2nf if it is in 1nf and if all the nonprime a ttributes are fully functionally dependent on the relation key. A relation scheme is said to be in 3nf if for all non-trivial f.d.s in F+ of the form X->A, either X contains a key or A is a prime attribute. A normalized relation scheme is said to be in bcnf if for every nontrivial f.d. in F+ of the form X->A where X is a subset of A and A belongs to S, X is a super key of R.

The primary key of a relational table uniquely identifies each record in the ta ble. It can either be a normal attribute that is guaranteed to be unique (such a s Social Security Number in a table with no more than one record per person) or it can be generated by the DBMS (such as a globally unique identifier, or GUID, in Microsoft SQL Server). Primary keys may consist of a single attribute or mult iple attributes in combination.