Assisted Search of XML document collections

Arved Sandstrom Arved_37 at
Sat May 22 07:53:34 BST 1999

Hi, all

There is a modest effort being assembled to look at this prototypical

PROBLEM - multitudes of XML documents. The collection is not necessarily
static, but if dynamic only incrementally so. The business case that would
apply is that it makes sense to markup the original documents using XML;
it also makes sense to search a file which is a description of the
document collection rather than the whole document collection. The
derivative file is the "index" - we are not assuming that it itself need
be XML.

I am choosing my language carefully as there seems to be an equal mixture
of enthusiasm and coolness displayed towards an XML document collection
indexing scheme. The fact of the matter is that so far we have identified
a number of problems which are amenable to assisted search. We are not
particularly concerned, at this point, in breaking any new ground in XML -
rather, this is a project designed to address a subset of XML "usage"

Although I have announced this project on the perl-xml list, and it will
concentrate on Perl, with and without XS, there is no reason that Java
and/or C/C++ viewpoints are not welcome. We are primarily interested in
exploring issues pertaining to the construction of a file that describes a
collection of XML documents in a succinct fashion, most likely with a
moderate to high degree of application specificity - i.e. there may not be
a lot of defaults that make sense.

We also wish to supply a useful API that search engine writers can use.

This is really at an early stage. I'm announcing it here to get some
feedback. If there is fundamental agreement about one thing, it's that
there are going to be cases to be made for collections of XML documents,
the problem will involve searching them, there will be too many files to
be searched by brute force, and we are proposing that a document can be
constructed which summarizes some desired knowledge about the collection
(we're not even saying - yet - that the index itself need be sorted), and
in the simplest sense, because it happens to be much smaller can be
searched instead, supplies fast pointers to individual XML files, and you
take it from there.

Whew! :-)

Anyway, feedback welcome. If you wish to contribute please contact me. I
will be posting a formal note concerning folks involved within the week.


Arved Sandstrom

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