CSC 560: Topics in Database Systems: XML Data Management
Fall 2007

Instructor: Alexander Dekhtyar, dekhtyar at, 14-209

About the Course

This quater's database topics course will be devoted to XML, its uses in the field of databases and data management and various aspects of working with XML data. We will try to concentrate on two things: (a) studying the ways of storing XML data in various kinds of databases (relational, native XML) and (b) querying XML data using XPath and XQuery. Hands-on experience with building software for management of XML data and for working with XML-supported applications will be provided throughout the course.

XML, or eXtensible Markup Language emerged in late 1990s as the standard for document encoding. At the same time an emerging host of database applications demanded a new data model, more flexible than the relational and object-oriented models available at that time. Semistructured data model was proposed for such applications. The database community noticed that XML can serve as the means of encoding the semistructured data, and has adopted (and to some degree adapted) XML and related emerging standards as the lingua franca of the generation of data management applications.

These days, XML is becoming ubiquitous as the means of storing and passing information. Management of XML data is moving from the realm of exotic theoretical research and proof-of-concept software into the mainstream of software development. The three major commercial database vendors (Oracle, Microsoft, IBM) all have announced their support for full-scale XML data management in their relational DBMS.

In the course of the quater you will learn what XML is and what it isn't. You will study the methodology for storing XML data in various environments: from "shredding" XML data into relational databases to native secondary storage indexing. You will also learn the standard query languages for XML data: XPath - a simple expression language for navigating the XML and XQuery - a full-scale, SQL-like query language designed for large-scale applications.

More information about the course will become available throughout this week at the course web page at

(please, note, due to on-going work on dept. servers, the page may not be available at all times)

Email inquiries about the course should be sent to Alex Dekhtyar at dekhtyar at

Hope to see you in class!


PS. There will be no texbook for the class. However, there will be a reading list, mostly consisting of conference and journal papers. Other reading materials will be distributed by the instructor in class. I would recommend finding a good book on XQuery - some suggestions will be forthcoming once the class starts.

August 28, 2007 dekhtyar at