In Support of Mesodata in Database Management Systems
In traditional relational database modelling there is a strict separation between the definition of the relational schema and the data itself. This simple two level architecture works well when the domains over which attributes are required to be defined are relatively simple. However, in cases where attributes need to be defined over more complex domain structures, such as graphs, hierarchies, circular lists and so on, the aggregation of domain and relational definition becomes confused and a separation of the specification of domain definition from relational structure is appropriate. This aggregation of domain definition with relational structure also occurs in XMLS and ontology definitions. In this paper we argue for a three level architecture when considering the design and development of domains for relational and semi-structured data models. The additional level facilitating more complete domain definition – mesodata – allows domains to be engineered so that attributes can be defined to possess additional intelligence and structure and thus reflect more accurately ontological considerations. We argue that the embedding of this capability within the modelling process augments, but lies outside of, current schema definition methods and thus is most appropriately considered separately.
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