in reply to XML for databases?!?! Is it just me or is the rest of the world nutz?

IMHO XML is not the best and most briliant solution for everything aroud. That is true - you can describe anything you want - even create a really powerfull database, but first you have to convince me :-) to do that :-)
IMHO if I wanted to have an XML database (in my meaning of database) - with unique keys, indexes, etc. I would have a lot of code to write. Sure - I can do that, but is it worth of my time?! I don't think so... I'll use some SQL database then.
Anyway - if we are talking about the simple database (how about DB?!), then you can always use plain-text ASCII files with fields of some format.
Which one is faster - read whole database checking for specified conditions or load everything into memory and then check/select/whatever? I don't know, but I know, that XML is the best commonly used glue to exchange data of any format! It's simple, it's universal, but writing an XML database larger than a few records is a mistake (IMvHO).

Greetz, Tom.