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I was looking for a hierarchical database management system and the only one i came across was IBM's ims.Are there opensource systems that one can use?.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Since XML databases are hierarchical, you could look at those. I recently used BaseX and liked it a lot.

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Assuming your entire database can be represented as a single huge XML document! – Gaius Feb 27 '11 at 21:37
Of course you can split your data over several documents... – Kim Feb 28 '11 at 6:07
@objectiveME: this should be an answer, not a comment – Kim Mar 1 '11 at 11:18
i made the change (from comment to answer). – Gandalf Mar 1 '11 at 11:49

Any LDAP implementation is going to be hierarchical, or at least exposed as such, even if the backend's something else.

(There's likely others, and even Apple's Open Directory, but I don't know if that one has a dedicated project page)

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I found mumps and its GPL licensed.*Mumps (also referred to as M) is a general purpose programming language that supports a unique, hierarchical (or multidimensional) database facility *


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MongoDB is a document-oriented database that stores binary JSON. It's an open-source database with actual corporate backing.

In terms of hierarchical, it stores "documents" instead of "records" in "collections" instead of "tables". Using JSON, it's easy to create objects that represent hierarchical data. It also supports indexing and querying "into" these documents.

If you're thinking of XML databases, JSON should be competitive.

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XML and JSON are nothing like IMS... – Gaius Feb 27 '11 at 21:36

It is not open source, but Microsoft SQL 2008 Management Studio Express is free and allows XML datatypes starting with SQL Server 2005. If you are not familiar with using the XML datatype to store heirarchies, I am currently reading a book by Michael Coles called Pro SQL Server 2008 XML which introduces using XML in SQL.

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