19.454 relational database and TEI

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 07:02:20 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 454.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 06:52:59 +0000
         From: David Sewell <dsewell_at_virginia.edu>
         Subject: Re: 19.451 relational database and TEI

Joris van Zundert writes:
[quoting from a Slashdot post]
> >Re:XML database
> >(Score:4, Insightful)
> >by Oscaro (153645) on Wednesday November 23, @08:05AM (#14099406)
> >Talking about native XML databases... My company can't find a decent
> >one, preferably open source.
> >
> >>That's probably because an XML database is NOT a decent idea. XML is NOT
> >>meant to be used as a way to store data! Rather, it's a way to
> >>communicate data between entities.
> >>
> >>Sadly, XML is a one of those words that have the magic power to make
> >>marketing people happy. So they put it everywhere. If that doesn't work,
> >>hey just put more.
>I agree. I used both XML- and object-databases. They barely work...
>I'd almost say they don't, And they certainly have lousy performance.

Slashdot readers, in my experience, are notoriously anti-XML (as well as
anti humanities computing--or maybe not so much "anti" as clueless about
its existence). Now that XQuery 1.0 is a Candidate Recommendation from
the W3C, we are likely to see increased commitment to native XML
database software. And there are already several commercial products
that are robust and powerful (e.g. MarkLogic Server, which we use at UVa
Press and which Oxford and Elsevier also use). It's true that they are
quite expensive (we couldn't possibly have acquired it without
dedicated grant money) and that the open-source offerings are still far
from being production-quality. But that situation should be changing.
In any case I would argue that XML is an appropriate data storage format
for many archival and publishing projects in humanities computing.

David Sewell

David Sewell, Editorial and Technical Manager
Electronic Imprint, The University of Virginia Press
PO Box 400318, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4318 USA
Courier: 310 Old Ivy Way, Suite 302, Charlottesville VA 22903
Email: dsewell_at_virginia.edu   Tel: +1 434 924 9973
Web: http://www.ei.virginia.edu/
Received on Tue Nov 29 2005 - 02:27:17 EST

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