Entity integrity is a basic constraint of database relational model (abbreviated RM) that refers to the morphology of the primary key but afterwords, the same format is applied to the foreign key and, also to any of simple components of any of two. The relational model states that every relation (or table) must have an identifier, called the primary key (abbreviated PK), in such a way that every row of the same relation be identifiable by its content, that is, by a unique and minimal value. The PK is a not empty set of attributes (or columns). The same format applies to the foreign key (abbreviated FK) because each FK matches a preexistent PK. Each of attributes being part of a PK (or of a FK) must have data values (such as numbers, letters or typographic symbols) but not data marks (also known as NULL marks in SQL world). Morphologically, a composite primary key is in a "steady state": If it is reduced, PK will lose its property of identifying every row of its relation but if it is extended, PK will be redundant. Then, primary key is irreducible and inextendable.
- Codd, E. F., The RELATIONAL MODEL for DATABASE MANAGEMENT VERSION 2, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts et alia, 1990.
- Date, C. J., RELATIONAL DATABASE --Selected Writings--. Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts et alia, 1986.
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