Data Integrity

Definition - What does Data Integrity mean?

Data integrity refers to the overall completeness, accuracy and consistency of data. This can be indicated by the absence of alteration between two instances or between two updates of a data record, meaning data is intact and unchanged. Data integrity is usually imposed during the database design phase through the use of standard procedures and rules. Data integrity can be maintained through the use of various error checking methods and validation procedures.


Techopedia explains Data Integrity

Data integrity is enforced in both hierarchical and relational database models. The following three integrity constraints are used in a relational database structure to achieve data integrity:

  • Entity Integrity: This is concerned with the concept of primary keys. The rule states that every table must have its own primary key and that each has to be unique and not null.
  • Referential Integrity: This is the concept of foreign keys. The rule states that the foreign key value can be in two states. The first state is that the foreign key value would refer to a primary key value of another table, or it can be null. Being null could simply mean that there are no relationships, or that the relationship is unknown.
  • Domain Integrity: This states that all columns in a relational database are in a defined domain.

The concept of data integrity ensures that all data in a database can be traced and connected to other data. This ensures that everything is recoverable and searchable. Having a single, well defined and well controlled data integrity system increases stability, performance, reusability and maintainability. If one of these features cannot be implemented in the database, it must be implemented through the software.

This definition was written in the context of Databases.
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