Structure-Aware Query for Digital Libraries: Use Cases and Challenges for the Humanities

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Abstract

Much recent research in database design focuses on persistence models for semistructured data similar to the SGML and XML that humanities digital libraries have long used to encode digital editions of texts. Structure-aware querying promises to simplify the design of such digital repositories by allowing them to store and query texts using a single, unified information model. Using content the Perseus Project has acquired over the past ten years as a test case, we describe the advantages and delimit the problems in managing structure-aware queries over multiple or ambiguous schemas, evaluate the place of markup in digital libraries where much content is automatically generated, and examine the uses for structure-aware query in a system that stores both semistructured content and graph-structured metadata.