The Impact of XML on Databases and Data Sharing

March 2000
Dr. Len J. Seligman, The MITRE Corporation|
Dr. Arnon S. Rosenthal, The MITRE Corporation
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XML (eXtensible Markup Language) has received a great deal of attention as the likely successor to HTML for expressing much of the content of the Web. However, XML also has the potential to benefit databases and data sharing by providing a common format in which to express data structure and content. By describing the broad challenges presented by data access and (especially) data interoperability, we highlight both the potential contributions of XML technologies to databases and data sharing, and the problems that remain to be solved. In some areas, XML promises to provide significant and revolutionary improvements, such as by increasing the availability of database outputs across diverse types of systems, and by extending data management to include semi-structured data. While some of the benefits of XML are already becoming apparent, others will require years of development of new database technologies and associated standards.

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