character key ==>
1. <database> A value used to identify a record in a database, derived by
applying some fixed function to the record. The key is often simply one of the
fields (a column if the database is considered as a table with records being
rows, see "key field"). Alternatively the key may be obtained by applying some
function, e.g. a hash function, to one or more of the fields. The set of keys
for all records forms an index. Multiple indexes may be built for one database
depending on how it is to be searched.
2. <cryptography> A value which must be fed into the algorithm used to
decode an encrypted message in order to reproduce the original plain text. Some
encryption schemes use the same (secret) key to encrypt and decrypt a message,
but public key encryption uses a "private" (secret) key and a "public" key which
is known by all parties.
3. <hardware> An electromechanical keyboard button.
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