Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

A novel navigation paradigm for XML repositories

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The advances in storage and communications enable users to store massive amounts of data, and to share it seamlessly with their peers. With the advent of XML, we expect a significant portion of this data to be in XML format. We describe here the architecture and implementation of an XML repository that promotes a novel navigation parading for XML documents based on content and context. Support for these capabilities is achieved by bringing to bear the organizational power of information retrieval to the domain of semistructured documents. File systems remain the preferred storage infrastructure for the home and business desktop environments. We have built a system, XMLFS, based on the idea stated above. XMLFS presents a storage abstraction that manifests itself to the client as a familiar file system. However, it breaks the tight coupling between the directory hierarchical structure and the file system. XMLFS creates automatically a directory organization of and XML document collection based on content and context. Each user can navigate through the file system according to her/his domain of interest at the point in time. Our result is a first step towards a solution to the discovery and navigation problems presented by the collective repositories of XML documents in peer-to-peer environments.