Surrogate Key In Database Design

In database design, it is a good practice to have a primary key for each table. There are two ways to specify a primary key: The first is to use part of the data as the primary key. For example, a table that includes information on employees may use Social Security Number as the primary key. This type of key is called a natural key. The second is to use a new field with artificially-generated values whose sole purpose is to be used as a primary key. This is called a surrogate key.

A surrogate key has the following characteristics:

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