The ALTERNATE RECORD KEY clause (Format 2) specifies a data item within the record that provides an alternative path to the data in an indexed file.
Data-name-3 must not reference a group item that contains a variable occurrence data item. Data-name-3 can be qualified.
If the file has more than one record description entry, data-name-3 need be described in only one of these record description entries. The identical character positions referenced by data-name-3 in any one record description entry are implicitly referenced as keys for all other record description entries of that file.
The data description of data-name-3 and its relative location within the record must be the same as those used when the file was defined. The number of alternate record keys for the file must also be the same as that used when the file was created.
The leftmost character position of data-name-3 must not be the same as the leftmost character position of the RECORD KEY or of any other ALTERNATE RECORD KEY.
If the DUPLICATES phrase is specified, the values contained in the ALTERNATE RECORD KEY data item can be duplicated within any records in the file. In sequential access, the records with duplicate keys are retrieved in the order in which they were placed in the file. In random access, only the first record written of a series of records with duplicate keys can be retrieved.
For EXTERNAL files, all file description entries in the run unit that are associated with the EXTERNAL file must specify the same data description entry for data-name-3, the same relative location within the associated record, the same number of alternate record keys, and the same DUPLICATES phrase.
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