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PostgreSQL 9.0 High Performance by Gregory Smith

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Chapter 9. Database Indexing

An index is simply an organized list of values that appear in one or more columns in a table. The idea is that if you only want a subset of the rows of that table, a query can use the index to determine which rows match, instead of examining every row. Because an index has an order to it, they can also be used to speed up situations where a section of a table has to be sorted in order to return its values.

Indexes help the database cut down on the amount of data it needs to look at in order to execute a query. It's hard to write about indexes without knowing how queries are executed, and it's hard to discuss query execution without knowing what indexes do. This chapter tries to break that explanation deadlock by using ...

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