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Fedora relys on a database to speed lookups of information from the filesystem. Here's a brief overview of the database structure that Ross Wayland posted to the Fedora mailing list:

The MySQL database has numerous tables that can be divided up into the
following groups.
Here's a brief overview.

Additional comments can also be found in the database specification file
found in source distribution in:

fedora-2.1.1-src/src/dbspec/server/fedora/server/storage/resources/DefaultDOManager.dbspec

Dissemination cache - tables that function as a kind of "dissemination
cache" to enhance dissemination performance when using custom,
user-defined disseminators. When using the Fedora built-in default
disseminator or when requesting versioned(timestamped) dissemination
requests, these requests bypass the sql cache and go directly against
the xml representation of the objects that are stored on disk in LLStore.

bDef
bMech
diss
do
doDissAssoc
doRepJob
dsBind
dsBindMap
dsBindSpec
dsMIME
mechDefParm
mechImpl
method
parm
policy

LLStore - tables that track physical storage locations of xml-encoded
objects and Managed Content datastreams

datastreamPaths
objectPaths

PID generator - table that keeps track of highest known ID for each PID
namespace

pidGen

Registry - table containing object registry for all objects in the
repository

doRegistry

FieldSearch - tables related to simple FieldSearch index

dcDates
doFields

ResourceIndex - tables related to the ResourceIndex

riMethodImplBinding
riMethodMimeType
riMethodPermutation

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