The problem that motivated this work was one of analyzing hundreds of thousands of records of historical problem failure reports (aka, problem reports and corrective actions — PRACA) for improved mission safety. Whenever there is an anomaly in mission design or operations, the anomaly gets entered into a problem failure reporting database for tracking purposes. The objective of the research was to make this data queryable and analyzable using the NETMARK XML database.

NETMARK’s schema-less integration technique converts information from many different data types into a universal data type for unprecedented information assimilation and retrieval across the enterprise.

NETMARK software is a unique innovation designed to seamlessly integrate structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data and documents across enterprise organizations. Originally developed to integrate the vast quantities of complex, heterogeneous documents existing within NASA, this schema-less integration technique and framework offers a highly scalable, open enterprise database architecture that eliminates or reduces the need for database design and administration, and converts information from a wide range of data types into a single, universal data type for storage, retrieval, and content and context-sensitive query and search. A production-ready, enterprise-level application, NETMARK rapidly assimilates and retrieves gigabytes of disparate information, and can be easily integrated with existing applications as well as accommodate new data formats fitting into the legacy data network, while growing with evolving technologies and business practices.

NETMARK takes advantage of an object-relational model and the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) standard, along with an open, extensible database framework to dynamically generate arbitrary schema stored within relational databases and an object relational database management system. NETMARK maps XML-encoded information into a true data model by employing a customizable data type definition structure, defined by an SGML parser to model the hierarchical structure of XML data regardless of any particular XML document schema representation.

By achieving a true XML data model, NETMARK can help enterprise organizations make better use of the information they need to make business decisions by converting Web pages, text documents, PDF files, spreadsheets, presentations, and other document types into a single, universal data type, then storing it in an object-relational database. Users can query this database with searches that are based on content or contextual associations. Query results then can be composed into different data types, including presentations, spreadsheets, and text documents, enabling rapid reuse of information and broadening the scope of data from which users can gain knowledge and make decisions.

Most traditional document management systems do not provide an easy and efficient mechanism to store, manage, and query relevant information from heterogeneous and complex data types. To do so, database management systems need a standard for common data and exchange. The industry standard, XML, places structure within documents. The traditional mapping model is limited because the hierarchy is different for each set of XML documents. In contrast, NETMARK’s SGML parser models the documents themselves and its structure is the same for all XML documents, providing independence of any particular XML document schemas.

This work was done by David Maluf and Chris Knight of Ames Research Center; and David Bell of USRA-RIACS. NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact Trupti Sanghani at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 650-604-6889 to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link for more information: http://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TOP2-119 . ARC-15722-1


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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