Good question. I hear about them, but I don't talk to people that are regularly using them. The idea is that a record in a relational database can be some type of definable data object, as opposed to being an alphanumeric value. For instance, an object-oriented database could be used to store multimedia data.
My guess is that the news and entertainment industries use them, but I'm not sure about that. It would make sense for the medical imaging industries to use them too, but again - I don't know that for certain.
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This was first published in January 2002