XML Search Engine Holy War - Attributes vs. Elements

Ken North ken_north at compuserve.com
Sat Oct 16 23:37:53 BST 1999

DuCharme, Robert wrote:
> The sole purpose of ID type attributes is to uniquely
> identify elements, and unique identifiers ought to be pretty handy when
> searching for information. A system that can quickly locate elements with
> particular value in an IDREF type attribute would be very useful in link
> maintenance and implementation.
> Come to think of it, a system that left out element content might be more
> useful than one that left out attributes. Of course I'm kidding, but a
> thing about implementing storage of attributes is that they map more
> to relational databases where ID and IDREF attributes can be easily
> for searching.

It's probably appropriate to make a distinction between precise matches and
similarity searching. Using unique identifiers and indexing attributes will
improve performance of the former. On the other hand, a search engine such
as AT&T Whirl can recognize patterns in data. That enables it to do
similarity matches, even in the absence of unique identifiers.

================== Ken North =============================
knorth at my-deja.com   ken_north at compuserve.com

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