Boolean Query DTD?

Dan Brickley Daniel.Brickley at
Sun Mar 14 10:13:07 GMT 1999

On Sat, 13 Mar 1999, Avi Rappoport wrote:

> I have a consulting client who is shipping around Boolean queries. 
> The documents are not XML, but they are using XML for data transfer 
> between the search form and the back-end search engine, and in the 
> results listings.  We would like to replace their proprietary query 
> language (it looks like AltaVista's + and - system) with XML markup, 
> because it seems cleaner and could be parsed with the rest of the 
> document.
> I have read all 66 position papers at the QL '98 site 
> <> and think that the proposed 
> languages, such as XQL or XML-Query, are overkill for our needs.   Do 
> we have to go the whole query route or is there something lightweight 
> that might handle it for us?

There's a different between using XML to ship queries around, and
querying XML. The majority of the XML-oriented position papers at the
Boston QL workshop were concerned with the latter, ie. finding things
within a real or hypothetical XML document or document set. For these to
be useful for your application, you'd need to 'pretend' that the
database queried by your back-end search engine was an XML document or
document collection. Which as you say might be overkill. 

I'm not aware of anything lightweight that'd do what's needed here.
Maybe there's a document out there somewhere that describes the
Altavista-esque +/- format adopted by the various engines objectively
enough for it to be useful to ship queries around marked up as being of
that type...? 


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