WO2002044941A2 - Method of marking a database relating to updates - Google Patents

Method of marking a database relating to updates Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2002044941A2
WO2002044941A2 PCT/GB2001/005270 GB0105270W WO0244941A2 WO 2002044941 A2 WO2002044941 A2 WO 2002044941A2 GB 0105270 W GB0105270 W GB 0105270W WO 0244941 A2 WO0244941 A2 WO 0244941A2
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WO
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
database
method
data
world wide
wide web
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB2001/005270
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2002044941A3 (en )
Inventor
Raymond Cunliffe
Original Assignee
Raymond Cunliffe
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F17/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific functions
    • G06F17/30Information retrieval; Database structures therefor ; File system structures therefor
    • G06F17/30861Retrieval from the Internet, e.g. browsers
    • G06F17/3089Web site content organization and management, e.g. publishing, automatic linking or maintaining pages

Abstract

A method of tagging or otherwise marking parts of a database or world wide web site which may or may not be distributed across several apparatus or programmed computers. The marking or tagging enables the database or world wide web site to automatically be searched thereby facilitating the manual updating of the database or world wide web site or alternatively enabling the database or world wide web site to be updated automatically from one or more pre defined data source receptacles.

Description

IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO DATABASES AND WORLD WIDE WEB SITES

The present invention relates to databases, particularly although not

exclusively computer databases.

Computer databases are widely employed for the storage and

management of data. There are many different types of databases including

relational databases, object databases and web sites on the internet which

can be considered to be databases. A typical web site comprises the software

files in which the site has been written and a back end database.

A web site software and associated files including world wide web pages are

defined here as one particular application of a computer database.

In order to maintain their accuracy and usefulness the data stored on

databases must be updated when necessary. This is conventionally achieved

by a user manually interrogating a database to identify data that requires

updating, and then updating that data or by generating a file of sql (or similar)

commands to be run against the database. A mechanism is needed which

can automate the process of identifying when data in the database needs to

be updated. Currently it can be a very time consuming process to identify

data that needs updating, especially where a large amount of data is stored

in a database. There is also the possibility that a user might overlook some

data that requires updating.

The present invention has been made in consideration of these

problems which it seeks to overcome, or at least reduce. A solution which is

provided here is a mechanism to efficiently organise and automate the identification of when data in the database needs to be checked to see if it

needs updating.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a

method of creating a database comprising the steps of: storing a plurality of

data elements and storing a plurality of descriptive data tags each associated

with one or more of the data elements and each providing information relating

to updating of the data element or elements with which it is associated.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is

provided a method of updating a database comprising a plurality of data

elements and a plurality of descriptive data tags each associated with one or

more of the data elements and each providing information relating to updating

of the data element or elements with which it is associated comprising the

steps of: searching through the descriptive data tags to identify tags meeting

predetermined criteria; and identifying data elements associated with the

identified tags; and updating those data elements and / or those descriptive

data tags which are deemed necessary for updating.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided

database apparatus comprising means for storing a plurality of data elements

and a plurality of descriptive data tags each associated with one or more of

the data elements and each descriptive data tag providing information

relating to updating of the data element or elements with which it is

associated. Provision of descriptive data tags providing information relating to

updating of associated data elements facilitates updating of the data

elements.

Preferably each descriptive data tag is associated with a respective

data element. The descriptive data tag may include any or all of the following

criteria or some other criteria related to updating data elements: a time when updating is required (including a date), a group identifier which indicates that

the data element is part of a group for updating purposes, a unique identifier which identifies the data element and a source identifier which identifies a

data source to use to update the data element.

The method of updating preferably includes, and the apparatus is

preferably arranged to perform, the step of searching through the descriptive

data tags to identify tags meeting predetermined criteria thereby identifying associated data elements having predetermined updating requirements. For example a search could be conducted to identify all data elements due to be

updated by a particular date or time. A search could also be conducted to identify groups of data elements with similar or related updating

requirements. Such data elements may be in the same database, in a

different database in the same apparatus or in several distributed databases in different apparatus.

Once identified, relevant data elements can be updated. The

respective descriptive data tags may also be updated to manage the next

update of the data elements. The apparatus preferably includes an input means to enable a user to input information. In particular a user may input criteria upon which a search

of descriptive data tags is to be made.

The apparatus may also be arranged to conduct searches

automatically on the instructions of a user. For example the apparatus may continually check whether a date or time comprised in a descriptive data tag

corresponds to the current date or time as represented by a calendar or clock

comprised in the apparatus.

The apparatus preferably also comprises a means for displaying information. The apparatus is preferably arranged to display details of data

elements associated with any descriptive data tags identified by a search and to enable a user to selectively update those data elements and / or the descriptive data tags using the input device. Updating may involve modifying

or replacing data comprised in a data element or in a descriptive data tag.

The apparatus may also allow a user to update the descriptive data tag associated with a selected data element.

New data for updating each data element may be stored by the apparatus or be available to the apparatus, from one or more separate new

data sources. Where descriptive data tags include information relating to new data sources the apparatus is preferably arranged in accordance with

predetermined instructions to either give the user the option of updating one or more selected data elements with data from the new data sources or alternatively without user intervention to automatically update one or more selected data elements subject to the appropriate selection criteria which is

contained in the descriptive data tags being met (e.g. a particular date and

time has been reached) and the associated descriptive data tag(s) being

marked for automatic update.

The database may be comprised in or associated with a world wide

web site. A world wide web site may be comprised in or associated with

software, files and databases which reside on the same or one or more

different apparatus or programmed computers.

The apparatus preferably comprises a programmed computer together

with the appropriate software for causing the computer to perform the

methods according to the invention including any or all of the recited optional

features.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided

a computer program comprising program instructions for causing a computer

to perform the methods according to the invention including any or all of the

recited optional features.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided a

computer program comprising program instructions which, when loaded onto

a computer, constitute the apparatus according to the invention including any

or all of its optional features.

In order that the invention may be more clearly understood

embodiments thereof will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings of which:

Figure 1 is a schematic block diagram of a computer; and Figure 2 is a schematic block diagram of the arrangement of data in a relational (or similar) database.

Figure 3 is a schematic block diagram of the arrangement of data in a

relational (or similar) database where there is no separate

descriptive data tag. The information that would normally be

contained in the descriptive data tag related to updating of the database is incorporated in the data element 8.

Figure 4 is a schematic block diagram of the arrangement of data in a

world wide web site (world wide web database). Figure 1 shows a programmed computer. Referring to the Figure the

computer comprises a processor 1 for implementing program instructions, a

memory 2 comprising a working memory 3 (random access memory) and a longer term memory 4, for example a magnetic disk. The computer further

comprises user input means 5 comprising a keyboard 5a and mouse 5b, any

other suitable user input means could, however, be provided. The computer further comprises a display 6 for outputting information to a user, although,

again, any other suitable output means could be provided. Computer hardware as represented in Figure 1 is of course readily available. Figure 2 shows an embodiment of the invention with reference to a

relational database however some of the techniques can be applied to other

types of databases including object databases and world wide web sites. Computer software which is an embodiment of the invention comprising

appropriate program instructions is stored in the memory 2 of the computer.

The software enables the computer to operate to provide a database for the storage, management and retrieval of data. The software causes the

computer to perform the methods according to the invention including any or

all of the recited optional features. The software when running on the computer enables a user to input a

plurality of what shall be termed here "complete data elements" into the computer for storage in the memory 2 of the computer. Each complete data

element may comprise two or more sub-elements, in particular (a) the data that a user wishes to store ("user data") for example text, numbers, images

and objects and (b) a descriptive sub-element ("meta data") which describes the user data. The descriptive sub-element may describe the length, type or

other characteristic of the user data being stored, for example numeric, decimal to three places, object, text.

Two or more complete data elements may be associated together in the computer's memory. In particular a number of complete data elements

may be associated to form a group. The group thus comprises two or more complete data elements each element comprising two sub-elements these being user data and associated meta data. In common with existing data base software, the software enables a user to manage and retrieve stored user data using the computer. Management and retrieval of user data may be achieved by causing the

computer to search through stored user data elements and to retrieve user

data elements having a certain characteristic, and/or by sorting user data elements into a particular order, again according to some characteristic. For

example a database comprising a plurality of user data elements comprising

customer's names could be searched to identify all customers having the name "Brown" or sorted so that the names can be displayed in alphabetical order.

The software additionally allows each complete data element to be associated with a descriptive data tag providing information relating to

updating of the complete data element. The computer may then be used to select manage and update complete data elements (for example the user

data portion) in accordance with information stored in the descriptive data

tag, making the task of keeping the database up to date considerably easier

and more efficient than hitherto.

Figure 2 shows, schematically, how data may be stored in the database. There are a number of complete data elements 8. Each complete

data element 8 comprises two sub-elements 9,10. The first sub-element 9 comprises user data and the second sub-element 10 meta data describing the user data. Each data element 8 is associated with a descriptive data tag

11 comprising information relating to updating of the data comprised in the complete data element (for example the user data portion)or elements with

which it is associated. More than one complete data element 8 may be

associated with a single descriptive data tag 11, however it would be more usual to have a single complete data tag 8 associated with a single

descriptive data tag 11. It is also possible to incorporate the descriptive data

tag 11 into the complete data element 8 so that they are not separate items. This is achieved by placing the information relating to updating the complete data element 8 (for example a date/time to update the user data) which would

be contained in the descriptive data tag 11 into the complete data element

(for example into the user data 9). This scenario is shown in Figure 3. As can

be seen the separate descriptive data tag shown in Figure 2 is no longer needed as shown in Figure 3.

One or more data elements may be associated to form a group 12 (see

figure 2 and figure 3). The descriptive data tags 11 (or the complete data element, when it

contains information relating to the updating of the complete data element) may include any information relating to the updating of the complete data

elements with which they are associated. Examples include (but are not

limited by) the following including any combination thereof: a data and/or time date/time at which the user data element requires

updating or examination to determine if updating is required a unique identifier to uniquely identify the user data element, also

helps to group and to avoid duplication of user

data

a group identifier to identify this user data element as part of a

group; for example a group to which the user data

element belongs all of which do/may require to be

updated at the same time, or have the same or

similar updating requirements

a source identifier to identify a source of data to be used to update

this user data element

automatic update to instruct the computer to update the user data

indicator element automatically (see below)

Descriptive data tags may also include other types of information as

desired or as appropriate.

Descriptive data tags may be input by a user when initially setting up a

database or inputting data into a database, alternatively descriptive data tags

may be added to an existing database.

The software enables the data elements to be identified and

processed according to the information stored in a descriptive data tag, in

accordance with instructions given by a user.

A user may instruct the computer to automatically identify and bring to

his attention all user data elements where the associated descriptive data tag contains a particular time/date. The user is then able to update those user

data elements as required and also to update the relevant descriptive data

tags for the next user data update. By careful selection of the inputted

time/date the user is able to instruct the computer to find and notify to the

user those descriptive data tags, and therefore the associated user data,

where the user data is overdue for update or is now due for update or will be

due for update at a particular time/date in the future.

A user may also cause the computer to search amongst stored

descriptive data tags to identify tags having specific characteristics, for

example all tags containing a group description to identify all data elements

which form a group of data elements having similar updating requirements.

A user may also cause the computer to sort user data elements

according to characteristics of their associated descriptive data tags, for

example to display them in date order in which they need updating.

Once a list of user data elements for updating has been produced a

user can choose which elements to update. The user may update either user

data and/or meta data comprised in the data element and may also update

the associated descriptive data tag for example to replace an existing date

for updating with a new date for updating the data element.

The software may also be instructed to cause the computer to

automatically update one or more user data elements. To achieve this a user

must specify in a descriptive data tag that the associated user data element is

to be automatically updated, the location of a source of data from which it is to be automatically updated and a date and/or time for updating or some other criteria as to when updating is to take place, for example when a

specified source of data becomes available. At the relevant time when the specified criteria is met the computer will automatically replace the data

comprised in the user data element with data from the specified data source.

As an alternative the software may request confirmation from a user

prior to automatic updating of the identified user data elements.

To facilitate addition of descriptive data tags to existing databases the

software includes instructions operative to cause the computer to search

through an existing database to identify all data elements 8 and then to

enable a user to review the data elements 8 and add a descriptive data tag 11 to each data element 8.

The invention applies to many types of database including but not

limited to relational databases, object databases and world wide web sites. It is particularly useful, however, in relation to the management of world wide

web sites. Such sites typically comprise software and associated files,

objects, images, text, video and relational databases. Taken together all of these can be considered to comprise the database of all the data which is

used and / or displayed on the site. Reviewing a large web site to determine which data, if any, requires updating is particularly tedious and error prone.

The invention may be applied to a web site as described below,

(refer to Figure 4). For an existing web site without descriptive data tags 11 the site is first

searched using the software embodiment of the present invention to identify all the web data elements 13 and to input a descriptive data tag 11 to

associate with each web data element 13. Part of the descriptive data tag 11 is an index (or a unique identifier). The index can be a URL (uniform

resource locator) or URI (uniform resource identifier) or some other index. The index will provide a unique reference (in the requisite name-space, to

each and every web data element 13. Descriptive data tags 11 can have

some, or all, or alternate values, properties and characteristics of descriptive data tagsl 1 portrayed elsewhere in this document, which describe how and

when the web data element 13 should be updated.

Each web data element 13 (for example page, file, image, object, text block or other unit of data) is now associated with a descriptive data tag 11

relating to how and when the web data element 13 should be updated or modified.

A new web site can be constructed including descriptive data tags 11 from the start.

To update the web site a user inputs criteria as defined in the descriptive data tags 11 describing which web data elements 13 are to be updated and the criteria for updating (for example a date/time, or as part of a

group). The computer then searches through the descriptive data tags 13 and returns and displays a list of web data elements 13 to be updated where

the criteria input by the user matches or relates in some way to the value(s) in the descriptive data tags 11. The user may then view the list on the display

and select the web data elements 13 to be updated.

If the descriptive data tag 11 defines only the data/time for updating then the search can return a list of web data elements 13 which are to be

updated or are to be checked to verify if they need updating by the date/time which was input by the user. Alternatively the apparatus can select and

display for the user those web data elements which are overdue for updating or will need to be updated at a particular date/time in the future. Each web

data element can then either be reviewed, marked for update at some

alternative date/time or actually updated manually. If the descriptive data tag

11 defines the date/time and a new data source then the search can return a

list of web data elements which are to be modified by that date/time (or are overdue for modification). Each element can then be updated automatically

without further user intervention or selectively at the option of the user using

the new data source as the update element. The descriptive data tag 11 can be defined so that when used in conjunction with the selection criteria routine

a list is returned of web data elements 13 to be updated in accordance with the wishes of the user. As each web data element 13 is updated an option

can be given to update the descriptive data tag 11 associated with the web data element 13 to control the next update.

The apparatus could additionally be arranged to perform automatic

updating of some or all web data elements 13 without further reference to the user, as described above. The incorporation of web data tags 11 relating to updates in a database or web site considerably facilitates updating of the databases and web sites.

The above embodiments are described by way of example only. Many variations are possible without departing from the invention.

Claims

1. A method of marking any type of database so that criteria for updating the database can be marked against any part or parts of the database in order that criteria for updating the database can be defined and the database searched to identify those parts of the database whose marks match the defined criteria thereby enabling the database to be updated.
2. A method of marking any type of world wide web site so that criteria for updating the world wide web site can be marked against any part or parts of the world wide web site in order that criteria for updating the world wide web site can be defined and the world wide web site searched to identify those parts of the world wide web site whose marks match the defined criteria thereby enabling the world wide web site to be updated.
3. A method of marking any type of database as claimed in Claim 1 wherein the method of marking is one or more tags which indicate the criteria for updating the database.
4. A method of marking any type of world wide web site as claimed in Claim 2 wherein the method of marking is one or more tags which indicate the criteria for updating the world wide web site.
5. A method of marking any type of database as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 3 wherein the method enables the database to be updated automatically or alternatively the method facilitates the manual updating of the database.
6. A method of marking any type of world wide web site as claimed in Claim 2 or Claim 4 wherein the method enables the world wide web site to be updated automatically or alternatively the method facilitates the manual updating of the world wide web site.
7. A method of marking any type of database as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 3 or Claim 5 wherein means is provided to automatically update the database by providing one or more receptacles of sources of data from which to automatically effect the update.
8. A method of marking any type of world wide web site as claimed in Claim 2 or Claim 4 or Claim 6 wherein means is provided to automatically update the world wide web site by providing one or more receptacles of sources of data from which to automatically effect the update.
9. A method of marking any type of database as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 3 or Claim 5 or Claim 7 wherein the method may be used for one or more databases wherein each database may be held on the same apparatus or spread across several apparatus.
10. A method of marking any type of world wide web site as claimed in Claim 2 or Claim 4 or Claim 6 or Claim 8 wherein the method may be used for one or more world wide web sites wherein each world wide web site may be held on the same apparatus or spread across several apparatus.
11. A method of marking any type of database as claimed in Claim 9 wherein the apparatus comprises a programmed computer.
12. A method of marking any type of world wide web site as claimed in Claim 10 wherein the apparatus comprises a programmed computer.
13. A method of tagging or marking any type of database substantially as described herein with reference to Figures 1-4 of the accompanying drawing.
14. A method of tagging or marking world wide web sites substantially as described herein with reference to Figures 1-4 of the accompanying drawing.
PCT/GB2001/005270 2000-12-01 2001-12-03 Method of marking a database relating to updates WO2002044941A3 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0029266.4 2000-12-01
GB0029266A GB0029266D0 (en) 2000-12-01 2000-12-01 Improvements in or relating to databases

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WO2002044941A3 true WO2002044941A3 (en) 2003-05-22

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Citations (4)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO1997042584A1 (en) * 1996-05-03 1997-11-13 Webmate Technologies, Inc. Client-server application development and deployment system and methods
US5765171A (en) * 1995-12-29 1998-06-09 Lucent Technologies Inc. Maintaining consistency of database replicas
US5924096A (en) * 1997-10-15 1999-07-13 Novell, Inc. Distributed database using indexed into tags to tracks events according to type, update cache, create virtual update log on demand
US5978828A (en) * 1997-06-13 1999-11-02 Intel Corporation URL bookmark update notification of page content or location changes

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5765171A (en) * 1995-12-29 1998-06-09 Lucent Technologies Inc. Maintaining consistency of database replicas
WO1997042584A1 (en) * 1996-05-03 1997-11-13 Webmate Technologies, Inc. Client-server application development and deployment system and methods
US5978828A (en) * 1997-06-13 1999-11-02 Intel Corporation URL bookmark update notification of page content or location changes
US5924096A (en) * 1997-10-15 1999-07-13 Novell, Inc. Distributed database using indexed into tags to tracks events according to type, update cache, create virtual update log on demand

Non-Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
DOUGLIS F ET AL: "WebGUIDE: Querying and navigating changes in Web repositories" COMPUTER NETWORKS AND ISDN SYSTEMS, NORTH HOLLAND PUBLISHING. AMSTERDAM, NL, vol. 28, no. 11, 1 May 1996 (1996-05-01), pages 1335-1344, XP004018231 ISSN: 0169-7552 *

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB0029266D0 (en) 2001-01-17 grant
WO2002044941A3 (en) 2003-05-22 application

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