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I understand most of BCNF and have been able to complete numerous problems with it, I'm just having trouble applying it to the following situation:

R(A,B,C,D,E) FDs: { A->D; BE->A; CD->E }

Here's what I have so far:

Relationship1: (A,D)
Relationship2: (A,B,E)
Relationship3: (B,C,E)

However with this setup the CD->E functional dependency isn't considered. Should that be taken into account in a new relationship, or should D (or maybe even A?) be added to Relationship 3?

For what it's worth, I determined that:


I'm just not sure where to go from here. Thanks in advance for the help.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Look up "dependency preservation".

It is a known phenomenon that when decomposing relation schemas (along some given FD), certain other FD's can become inexpressible.

In a complete logical design, they have to be reinstated as a constraint on the database. However, normalization theory does not cover constraints. Normalization theory deals only with relation schemas, not with constraints between them.

If you first decompose over CD->E (leaving ABCD / CDE), you can still further decompose over A->D (leaving AD / ABC / CDE), but you will now have "lost" the BE->A dependency.

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That was the other thing I ended up doing after posting (starting from CD->E). So you're saying my original answer would be correct? Would I be just as correct saying R1(A,D), R2(A,B,E), R3(B,C,E) as I would be saying R1(C,D,E), R2(A,D), R3(A,B,C) since neither of them have any FDs that are not keys? – Cabloo Feb 19 '13 at 23:11
As far as normal forms theory is concerned, yes. As far as logical database design is concerned, remember that xNF is not where the story ends. – Erwin Smout Feb 20 '13 at 20:16
Thanks for the clarification, Erwin. This was just a practice exam for my database exam asking to convert to BCNF, so I don't have to worry about anything past that for this question. – Cabloo Feb 20 '13 at 22:47

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