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XML documents schema design

Zainol, Zurinahni


Zurinahni Zainol


Bing (Computer scientist) Wang


The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is fast emerging as the dominant standard for storing, describing and interchanging data among various systems and databases on the intemet. It offers schema such as Document Type Definition (DTD) or XML Schema Definition (XSD) for defining the syntax and structure of XML documents. To enable efficient usage of XML documents in any application in large scale electronic environment, it is necessary to avoid data redundancies and update anomalies. Redundancy and anomalies in XML documents can lead not only to higher data storage cost but also to increased costs for data transfer and data manipulation.

To overcome this problem, this thesis proposes to establish a formal framework of XML document schema design. To achieve this aim, we propose a method to improve and simplify XML schema design by incorporating a conceptual model of the DTD with a theory of database normalization. A conceptual diagram, Graph-Document Type Definition (G-DTD) is proposed to describe the structure of XML documents at the schema level. For G- DTD itself, we define a structure which incorporates attributes, simple elements, complex elements, and relationship types among them. Furthermore, semantic constraints are also precisely defined in order to capture semantic meanings among the defined XML objects.

In addition, to provide a guideline to a well-designed schema for XML documents, we propose a set of normal forms for G-DTD on the basis of rules proposed by Arenas and Libkin and Lv. et al. The corresponding normalization rules to transform from a G- DTD into a normal form schema are also discussed. A case study is given to illustrate the applicability of the concept. As a result, we found that the new normal forms are more concise and practical, in particular as they allow the user to find an 'optimal' structure of XML elements/attributes at the schema level. To prove that our approach is applicable for the database designer, we develop a prototype of XML document schema design using a Z formal specification language. Finally, using the same case study, this formal specification is tested to check for correctness and consistency of the specification. Thus, this gives a confidence that our prototype can be implemented successfully to generate an automatic XML schema design.


Zainol, Z. (2012). XML documents schema design. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2014
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Computer science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Computer Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Jan 1, 2012


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© 2012 Zainol, Zurinahni. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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