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RE: Strategies in XML storage and display interaction

I work for a major publishing company and we are storing content as an xml clob, which we are indexing with oracle 8i.  The clob is called from the application and xsl is used to display it.  My questions are as follows:
1) Is this a good strategy 
You might at least consider the alternative of using one of the new generation of databases built from the ground up to support XML.  See Ron Bouret's web pages devoted to XML and databases: http://www.rpbourret.com/xml/XMLAndDatabases.htm and http://www.rpbourret.com/xml/XMLDatabaseProds.htm
2) Should character references be stored for special characters or should it just be pure characters (ie. should we store — for an emdash character or should we store actual utf-8 encoded characters only) 
Store the Unicode value, otherwise it will be hard to search for values that might be encoded as entity references.  Or whatever you do, just be consistent so that some processing layer can know what to look for in searching and displaying the text.