troubleshooting Question

database operation big-O complexity

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twobitadder asked on
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I see databases use unique keys to access the data comprising a record.  This provides O(1) access/insertion/deletion when the key is known, but say the key isn't known and you need to get the key (or a list of keys) from a field eg. from the supplier.

Do current databases just do a linear search with O(n) to return this list?
or do they maintain a list for each field, the keys sorted in order in relation to the field?

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