What is Super Key In DBMS ?

What is Super Key In DBMS ?

Cover Image Of What is Super Key In DBMS ?
Cover Image Of What is Super Key In DBMS ?

In a relational database, a super key is a set of one or more attributes (columns) that uniquely identifies each row (tuple) in a table.  Think of it as a way to pinpoint a specific record without any ambiguity.

Here's a breakdown of the key concept:


The core idea is that the values in the super key combination must be distinct for every row in the table. No two rows can have the same combination of values for the super key attributes.

Subset relationship: 

Super keys encompass a broader category compared to other key types like candidate keys. A candidate key is a minimal super key, meaning it's a subset of a super key that also uniquely identifies rows, but with no unnecessary attributes.

Multiple possibilities: 

A table can have several super keys. There can be different combinations of attributes that all uniquely identify each row.

For instance, consider a table storing customer information with columns for customer ID, name, email, and phone number.

* The customer ID alone qualifies as a super key because it's unique for each customer.

* Combining customer ID and name would also be a super key, even though the name itself might not be unique (think siblings with the same name).

In essence, super keys provide flexibility in identifying data within a table. While they aren't directly enforced by the database like primary keys, understanding super keys is crucial for data integrity and efficient database design.

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