The Hyperdatabase Project – From the Vision to Realizations
Hans-Jörg Schek and Heiko Schuldt
In:Proceedings of the 25th British National Conference on Databases (BNCOD)
Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
In the future we expect an ever increasing number of data sources, reaching from traditional databases and large document and multimedia collections and information sources from the web, down to embedded information sources in mobile “smart” objects as they occur in a pervasive computing environment. Therefore not only the immense amount of information demands new thoughts but also the number of different information sources and their coordination poses a great challenge for the development of an appropriate information infrastructure. This was the starting point for the creation of the hyperdatabase project at ETH Zurich, almost 10 years ago. In view of this continuous, almost infinite “information space” that is distributed, heterogeneous, and changes continuously, the challenges for a new infrastructure for the information space were the following:First, it should provide convenient tools for accessing information via sophisticated search facilities and for combining or integrating search results from different sources. Second, the new infrastructure should facilitate distributed application development for analyzing and processing information. Third, transactional (workflow) processes should ensure consistent propagation of information changes and simultaneous invocations of several (web) services and data stream operations. Finally, the implementation of such an infrastructure should provide functions for recoverability, scalability, and availability by avoiding central global components and by self-configuration and adaptation features. In this paper we will elaborate some of the aspects in these areas and report on our hyperdatabase research and experiences with realizations in several projects such as ETHWorld. OSIRIS, PowerDB, and Digital Libraries started at ETH and are continued at the University of Basel.