I want to create a database listing characters in each book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, listing the name of the character and the page in which they appear. I could just use three fields (not including the primary key,) Name, PageIntroduced, and BookIntroduced, but the Name field isn't atomic; I could be subdivide it quite a bit. Some characters have titles (Maester, Lord, Ser,) some characters have house names (Stark, Lannister, Baratheon,) plenty have nicknames (Bull, Ned, Arry,) and there are quite a few kings differentiated by regnal numbers (there are five Aegon's!) So my table might look like the following:
CHARACTER ( ForeName HouseName Title NickName RegnalNumber PageIntroduced BookIntroduced )
The question is: is this complete overkill, or should I use a single "Name" field encompassing all five attributes, even if it's non-atomic? I'm sure it's neater, especially for "King Aegon V "the Fortunate" Targaryen", but it would lead to a lot of fields not being used - many characters have only one name and nothing else, such as "Rorge", "Biter" and "Hot Pie". Is this a problem in databases? Does it matter if fields are left blank in databases?