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One doesn't compare XML and the relational model.
One compares the Infoset and the relational model, yes?
From: Jonathan Robie [mailto:email@example.com]
The relational people said that relationships among data are so important
that they should be modeled as data so that they can be used as the basis
for queries and recombined in many ways. You may want to take the pieces of
many cars and put them together in some creative way. If all you want is
the original car, you don't need a real database.
XQuery says that both sides are right. It's important to be able to
maintain the original structure, and it's important to be able to do
queries based on that structure to create new structures.