Currently, relational database technology, in terms of product installations, is the dominant database technology. During the past several years, object-oriented database technology has been introduced, in part to address various deficiencies of the relational model of data. Although object-oriented database products have not had a significant success in the market, key aspects of it are certain to find their way into relational database products. The basis of the next-generation database technology is the combination of relations and objects. On that basis, database architecture will still need to be augmented to address at least four major problems. These include management of multimedia data, long-duration transactions, spatial data, and temporal data. These four problems have been subjects of extensive research during the past 10 to 20 years, and many worthy results have been reported. However, today very few commercial database products include solutions to any of these problems. The objective of this paper is to provide directions for short-term research and development with the view to establishing solutions to these four problems that can be implemented in commercial database systems. We will review the fundamental objectives of each of the four problems, and either offer a concrete proposal as the basis of implementation in commercial products or at least provide a short list of concrete short-term research issues.
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