[XML4LIB] Databases or XML

Larry Schankman lschankm at mnsfld.edu
Thu Feb 7 14:31:07 EST 2002



I also wish to pardon myself with the same question as Andrew (and a
comment). Though I'm a rank amateur, I've had fair success with building
database-enabled applications and web pages using ASP and Microsoft Access
(though I hope to soon upgrade to SQL Server). I recently took a 2-day
workshop on integrating XML and ASP and I'm still not certain what the
benefits are of using XML to do what already works with ASP databases. I
signed up for this list in the hopes that I'd gain insights into the bigger
picture of XML and "feel the love" (of XML), so to speak.

Sadly, I delete most posts since they seem to focus on rather tedious,
technical issues. I do believe that XML holds great promise for libraries
(especially since I like working with styles), but I haven't been inspired
by current applications yet to rush to adaptation. I'm excited about the
possibilities (viz. the ability to link entire web pages inside of another
web page, which I think has awesome potential for library instruction and

Judging from this list, it seems like most librarians who are into XML
programming are tech services folks who are primarily concerned with MARC
and cataloging issues. What I'd really like to hear more about are all of
the other applications librarians are developing for their libraries. Has
anyone developed a list of practical uses for XML for libraries? I see
tremendous publishing opportunities for those of you who really understand
XML and know how to develop with it.  Since I'm relatively new to the list
(3 weeks), I wonder if these discussions have already taken place. If XML
will be part of the new revolution in web programming, then I definitely
want in...but I need motivation to take the time to master it.


Larry Schankman
Remote Services Librarian
North Hall Library
Mansfield University
Mansfield, PA 16933
lschankm at mnsfld.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: xml4lib at sunsite.berkeley.edu
[mailto:xml4lib at sunsite.berkeley.edu]On Behalf Of A. Bullen
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 1:20 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [XML4LIB] Databases or XML

Dear all,

At the urging of Roy Tennant, I am asking you all the same question that
I asked him.

Please pardon a rather naive question. I am a database programmer; that
is, I put library SQL/ODBC connected databases on Internet-accesible
platforms and build Web interfaces to them using Perl and Java. I have,
of course, heard a great deal about XML and the revolution in
information presentation. My question to use is: why do I need to work
in XML when I can do everything in a sense better by using a database? I
can replace XSLT/DTDs etc. with server side includes that detect browser
types, and present the screen to the client accordingly by having a
series of if/then statements in my presentation code. In short, I can
build dynamically presented pages 'til the cows come home. What am I

I appreciate any comments or thoughts you might have on my dilemna.

Andrew Bullen
Illinois State Library

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