Ask the Expert

Benefits of a 3NF level of normalization

What is your general opinion regarding normalizing data in an Oracle database? Do you advocate many smallish tables that are simple and specialized, or fewer larger tables that are generalized and complex? How do you determine the appropriate level of data normalization in your designs?

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My level of normalization tends toward 3NF. Anything less than 3NF can incur data anomalies that 3NF is supposed to protect. One can decompose tables further than 3NF. In fact, other normal forms have been created to take 3NF further and further to protect even more data anomalies. But it has been my experience that 3NF is fine for database design. Notice that none of this has anything to do with the size of the table.

This was first published in May 2008

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