Different kinds of objects containing data are found on the Internet, including structured (e.g., relational) databases, collections of documents, and search engines. On the one hand, creating, storing, manipulating, and retrieving Internet documents can benefit from techniques known from the databases and data modeling area. On the other hand, databases and data modeling can benefit from the networked retrieval environment the Internet offers. However, most collections of hyperdocuments have one or more of the following problems:
A structured search for documents is not sufficiently supported.
Proving properties (e.g., correctness criteria or integrity constraints) is difficult or impossible.
Maintenance is not supported by formal mechanisms.
Personalization of information, or adaptation to user groups, is difficult or impossible.
These problems are mainly caused by the lack of suitable modeling techniques. In this preface, we consider a generic approach, based on linked structures, a type-instance dichotomy, and an underlying data schema. Also, we give an overview of the three parts of this book, containing 14 chapters. In the different chapters of this book, all aspects will be treated in more detail.
Information Modeling for Internet Applications considers the fundamentals of web site modeling. It gives theoretical background as well as practical modeling techniques, which assist in the planning and development of web sites, other collections of hyperdocument and web-based information systems in general. Besides the modeling of page structures, navigation paths, and presentation functions, this will help to perform a variety of additional tasks, such as adaptation to user groups.