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Superkey

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Definition: A superkey is a combination of attributes that can be uniquely used to identify a database record. A table might have many superkeys. Candidate keys are a special subset of superkeys that do not have any extraneous information in them.

Examples: Imagine a table with the fields <Name>, <Age>, <SSN> and <Phone Extension>. This table has many possible superkeys. Three of these are <SSN>, <Phone Extension, Name> and <SSN, Name>. Of those listed, only <SSN> is a candidate key, as the others contain information not necessary to uniquely identify records.

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