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Definition: normalization

In relational database management, a process that breaks down data into record groups for efficient processing. There are six normalization stages. By the third stage (third normal form), data are identified only by the key field in their record. For example, ordering information is identified by order number, and customer information by customer number. A major goal of normalization is to eliminate redundancy by having a data element represented in only one place. See relational database, functional dependency and denormalization.