Analytical Processing of XML Documents: Opportunities and Challenges

Copyright © (2005) by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distrubuted for profit or commericial advantage. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) has been a valuable tool for analyzing trends in business information. While the multi-dimensional cube model used by OLAP is ideal for analyzing structured business data, it is not suitable for representing and analyzing complex semi-structured data, such as XML documents. Need for analyzing XML documents is gaining urgency as XML has become the language of choice for data representation across a wide range of application domains. This paper describes a proposal for analyzing XML documents using the abstract XML tree model. We argue that OLAP's multi-dimensional aggregation operators can not express structurally complex analytical operations on XML documents. Hence, we outline new extensions to XQuery for supporting such complex analytical operations. Finally, we discuss various challenges in implementing XML analysis in a real system.

By: Rajesh R. Bordawekar; Christian A. Lang

Published in: SIGMOD Record, volume 34, (no 2), pages 27-32 in 2005


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to .