I can summarize the answer to the above titled question in one word - control. For as long as court case management systems have existed, there has been a continual struggle between the need for more data to be added and the time it takes for a programmer and database administrator to add it to the system. XML documents can give court staff an additional tool to add and control their own data collection instruments, just like they could in the "paper world." Now there are currently significant issues as to whether the court case management system being used in a particular court can store or link to documents. But once that is in place, and there is an upgrade to new XML-enabled databases, court staff will be able to use documents as an integral part of their system. Mr. Ronald Bourret has written a general tutorial about XML and Databases that may be of help in explaining this concept further. In addition, there are a few InfoWorld articles on Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2 databases that, while rather technical, can provide addition illumination of the new database capabilities and hence, new thinking that needs to be applied to our situation in the courts.
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