Schema Evolution and Integration

Stewart M. Clamen
Appeared in Distributed and Parallel Databases, 2(1):101-126, January 1994.


Providing support for schema evolution allows existing databases to be adjusted for varying roles over time. This paper reflects on existing evolution support schemes and introduces a more general and functional mechanism to support schema evolution and instance adaptation for centralized and distributed object-oriented database systems. Our evolution support scheme is distinguished from previous mechanisms in that it is primarily concerned with preserving existing database objects and maintaining compatibility for old applications, while permitting a wider range of evolution operations. It achieves this by supporting schema versioning, allowing multiple representations of instances to persist simultaneously, and providing for programmer specification of how to adapt existing instances. The mechanism is general enough to provide much of the support necessarily for heterogeneous schema integration, as well as incorporating much of the features of object migration and replication.


schema evolution, heterogeneous schema integration, object-oriented database systems, instance adaptation.