Information systems for application areas like office automation, customer service or computer aided manufacturing are usually highly interactive and deal with complex document structures composed of multiple media formats. For the realization of these systems, nonstandard database systems, which we call document databases, need to handle different types of coarse-and fine-grained document objects(like full-text documents, graphics and images), hierarchical and non-hierarchical relationships between objects(like composition-links and cross-references using hypertext structures) and document attributes of different types such as formatting/presentation information and access control. In this paper, we present the underlying data model for document databases based on descriptive markup languages that provide mechanisms for specifying the logical structure(or schema) of individual documents stored in the database. We then describe extensions to the data model for supporting notion of composite structures("join" operators for documents) --composition and hyperlinking mechanisms for representing compound documents and inter-linked documents as unique entites separate from their components. Furthermore, due to the interactive nature of the application domains, the database system in conjunction with clients(or browsers) has to support visual navigation and graphical query mechanisms. We describe the functionality of a new user interface paradigm called HyBrow for meeting the above mentioned requirements. The underlying implementation strategy is also discussed.discussed.
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