On the Notion of an XML Key

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Executive Summary

Ongoing efforts in academia and industry to advance the management of XML data have created an increasing interest in research on integrity constraints for XML. In particular keys have recently gained much attention. Keys help to discover and capture relevant semantics of XML data, and are crucial for developing better methods and tools for storing, querying and manipulating XML data. Various notions of keys have been proposed and investigated over the past few years. Due to the different ways of picking and comparing data items involved, these proposals give rise to constraint classes that differ in their expressive power and tractability of the associated decision problems. This paper provides an overview of XML key proposals that enjoy popularity in the research literature.

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