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Managing the consistency of distributed documents.

Nentwich, C.; (2005) Managing the consistency of distributed documents. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

In many coordinated activities documents are produced and maintained in a distributed fashion, without the use of a single central repository or file store. The complex relationships between documents in such a setting can frequently become hard to identify and track. This thesis addresses the problem of managing the consistency of a set of distributed and possibly heterogeneous documents. Prom the user perspective, the process of consistency management encompasses checking for consistency, obtaining diagnostic reports, and optionally taking action to remove inconsistency. We describe an approach to execute checks between documents and providing diagnostics, and demonstrate its validity in a number of practical case studies. In order to be able to check the consistency of a set of distributed and heterogeneous documents we must provide mechanisms to bridge the heterogeneity gap, to organise documents, to find a way of expressing consistency constraints and to return appropriate diagnostic information as the result of a check. We specify a novel semantics for a first order logic constraint language that maps constraints to hyperlinks that connect inconsistent elements. We present an implementation of the semantics in a working check engine, and a supporting document management mechanism that can include heterogeneous data sources into a check. The implementation has been applied in a number of significant case studies and we discuss the results of these evaluations. As part of our practical evaluation, we have also considered the problem of scalability. We provide an analysis of the scalability factors involved in consistency checking and demonstrate how each of these factors can play a crucial role in practice. This is followed by a discussion of a number of solutions for extending the centralised check engine and an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their inherent complexities and architectural impact. The thesis concludes with an outlook towards future work and a summary of our contributions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Managing the consistency of distributed documents.
Identifier: PQ ETD:592176
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1444866
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