Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

TIMBER: A Native XML Database System

Technology #2780

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Hosagrahar V. Jagadish
Managed By
Drew Bennett
Associate Director - Software Licensing 734-615-4004


XML has become standard for sharing information. With regards to management of XML data in databases, the current standard is to map XML data into relational tables and store this information in a relational database. Commercial databases have been optimized to store XML data into relational tables, but the data must be ‰܏shredded‰ٿ to fit within the constraints of the relational table. As an alternative, databases designed specifically for storing and querying XML are in development. However, many such databases have not been able to address future implementations.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed Timber, a native XML database system, along with an overall modular architecture with modules that correspond to a traditional relational database. The system allows reuse of modules where there is little change, such as transaction management, while using new modules for query processing and optimization. The modular algebraic approach enables easy incorporation of new ideas in the context of Timber code. This software database will be available under an OpenSource agreement. To access/download, visit:

Applications and Advantages


‰ۢ XML storage/ database system


‰ۢ Modular architecture for flexibility