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OIS Tables of Contents: 8284868890

Proceedings of the Conference on Office Automation Systems

Fullname:Proceedings of the Third ACM-SIGOIS Conference on Office Information Systems
Editors:Carl Hewitt; Stanley Zdonik
Location:Providence, Rhode Island
Dates:1986-Oct-06 to 1986-Oct-08
Standard No:ISBN 0-89791-210-1; ACM Order Number 611860; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: OIS86
  1. Models of the Distributed Office
  2. Organizational Analysis: Due Process
  3. Interfaces: Database
  4. Interfaces
  5. Organizational Analysis: Organizational Ecology
  6. Advanced Computational Models
  7. Interfaces: Database

Models of the Distributed Office

Supporting Distributed Office Problem Solving in Organizations BIBAK 1
  Carson C. Woo; Frederick H. Lochovsky
To improve the effectiveness of office workers in their decision making, office systems have been built to support (rather than replace) their judgment. However, these systems model office work in a centralized environment, and/or they can only support a single office worker. Office work that is divided into specialized domains handled by different office workers (where cooperation is needed in order to accomplish the work) is not supported. In this paper, we will present a model that supports office problem solving in a logically distributed environment. In particular, we will discuss cooperative tools that can be used to support office workers during the process of their problem solving.
Keywords: Managerial office work, Office communication, Cooperative tools, Object-oriented environment
Note: Appears in ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, 4:3, 1986, 185-204
Envoys in Electronic Mail Systems BIBA 2-10
  Eric Gold
Envoys are electronic mail messages that make requests at remote electronic mailers. Envoys differ from conventional messages in that they might be routed to recipients that have not been specified, their requests can often be carried out with no human intervention, they can be modified as they move from mailer to mailer, and they return to the original sender to inform her what actions have been taken. An electronic mailer that supports envoys needs reasoning systems to determine the recipients of the envoy and handle the requests.
The Organizational Consequences of Inter-Organization Computer Networks BIBAK 11-20
  Deborah Estrin
When two or more organizations interconnect their internal computer networks they form an Inter-Organization Network (ION). This paper analyzes how this new medium changes the economics of inter-organization communication and interchange and can thereby support communications of greater intensity and scope. Furthermore, in the spirit of transaction cost theory [15], we analyze how the new communication patterns can in turn support changes in the organization of work and industrial activities; in particular, by allowing participants to carry out greater numbers of activities across their organization boundaries, and to do so with greater numbers of interchange partners. However, at the same time ION communications may be more penetrating and segmented and thereby encourage participants to impose restrictions on cross-boundary flows and interchange partners. To benefit from ION use organizations will have to balance these opportunities and risks. We demonstrate our model with examples of commercial buyer-supplier relationships and an investigation of peer relationships among research and development (R&D) laboratories. The model and study demonstrate that technical analysis can inform organizational analysis of new technologies without being technologically deterministic. Moreover, our organizational analysis has implications for the technical design of IONs as described in [4].
Keywords: Organizational impacts, Computer networks, Electronic mail, Management of computing and information systems, Inter-organizational systems

Organizational Analysis: Due Process

On the Malleability of People and Computers: Why the PC is Not a Projectile BIB 21-32
  John Law; John Whittaker
The Costs of Personal Computing in a Complex Organization: A Comparative Study BIBA 33-42
  Sonia Nayle; Walt Scacchi
The widespread adoption of personal computers (PCs) may be attributable to their apparent low purchase and operational costs. However, significant procedural costs arise in fitting a PC application into a work setting. Our investigation of the adoption and use of PCs in several departments of a complex organization reveals a large number of unanticipated costs. These indirect, deferred, and governance costs are chiefly borne by users not responsible for acquiring PCs. These costs represent additional demands for users' time, skill, expertise, and attention as well as money. We find that the distribution of deferred costs determines the viability of PC systems. We also find that the integration of PCs can alter the way people do their jobs. These changes in turn give rise to additional social and political costs within the organization. Subsequently, we find that the true costs of personal computing are typically underestimated and unaccounted.
Mappings between Office Work and Office Technology BIBA 43-51
  William C. Sasso; Sung K. Kim
While several procedures designed to facilitate office analysis have achieved success with respect to describing what happens in the office, they have contributed far less with respect to prescribing how computer-based technologies can support the office. Here we present TEMO (TEchnological Mapping of Office-work), a procedure which aids the analyst in determining the feasibility of supporting a given office task and suggests which specific software packages might improve performance of that task. In order to illustrate the procedure's application, we present a case in which TEMO is applied, in step-by-step fashion, in order to assess the feasibility of automating a simple set of tasks and to assist in the selection of an appropriate software package. Directions of continuing work in the procedure's extension, enhancement, and evaluation are also described.

Interfaces: Database

A Visual Interface for a Database with Version Management BIBAK 52
  Jay W. Davison; Stanley B. Zdonik
This paper describes a graphical interface to an experimental database system which incorporates a built-in version control mechanism that maintains a history of the database development and changes. The system is an extension of ISIS [GGKZ] -- Interface for a Semantic Information System, a workstation-based, graphical database programming tool developed at Brown University. ISIS supports a graphical interface to a modified subset of the Semantic Data Model, SDM [HM]. The ISIS extension introduces a transaction mechanism that interacts with the version control facilities.
   A series of version control support tools have been added to ISIS to provide a notion of history to user-created databases. The user can form new versions of three types of ISIS objects -- a class definition object (a type), the set of instances of a class (the content), and an entity. A version viewing mechanism is provided to allow for the comparison of various object versions. Database operations are grouped together in atomic units to form transactions, which are stored as entities in the database. A sample session demonstrates the capabilities of version and transaction control during the creation and manipulation of database objects.
Keywords: Historical database, Semantic data model, Transaction processing, Version control, Visual interfaces
Note: Appears in ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, 4:3, 1986, 226-256


Adaptive Interface Design: A Symmetric Model and a Knowledge-Based Implementation BIBAK 53-60
  Sherman W. Tyler; Siegfried Treu
Adaptation in the user-system interface can be designed to benefit either the system or the user. This paper presents a general model to portray that symmetry and to describe the essential components of the user-oriented version of an adaptive interface system. A function-based interpretation of the process is also characterized. Finally, the types of knowledge bases upon which the adaptation is dependent are described with reference to a prototype system being implemented. Especially those users who have limited understanding of computer technology, such as the numerous workers in offices, are expected to be future beneficiaries of adaptive interface research.
Keywords: Adaptive interface systems, User-computer interaction, Knowledge representation, Intelligent systems, Design methodology
Automating Review of Forms for International Trade Transactions: A Natural Language Processing Approach BIBAK 61-69
  Vasant Dhar; Padmanabhan Ranganathan
A major challenge in Office Automation is one of automating routine jobs that involve large-scale processing of ill-formed natural language data. Such data are often present in documents such as forms where it is necessary and/or practical to allow latitude in how the forms may be filled. In this paper, we describe a computational model designed to process free-form textual data in application forms for Letter of Credit (LC), which represent a common vehicle for initiating international trade transactions. The model is based on a variation of the case-frame or thematic-role frame instantiation methods. We describe the implementation of the model, report empirical results with real LC applications, and indicate directions we are currently pursuing to improve its performance.
Keywords: Office automation, Forms processing, Natural language processing, Artificial intelligence

Organizational Analysis: Organizational Ecology

Analyzing Due Process in the Workplace BIB 70-78
  Elihu M. Gerson; Susan Leigh Star
The Integration of Computing and Routine Work BIBAK 79
  Les Gasser
Most computing serves as a resource or tool to support other work: performing complex analyses for engineering projects, preparing documents or sending electronic mail using office automation equipment, etc. To improve the character, quality, and ease of computing work, we must understand how automated systems actually are integrated into the work they support. How do people actually adapt to computing as a resource? How do they deal with the unreliability in hardware, software, or operations, data inaccuracy, system changes, poor documentation, inappropriate design, etc. which are present in almost every computing milieu, even where computing is widely used and considered highly successful?
   This paper presents some results of a detailed empirical study of routine computer use in several organizations. We present a theoretical account of computing work, and use it to explain a number of observed phenomena, such as:
  • How people knowingly use "false" data to obtain desired analytical results by
       tricking their systems.
  • How organizations come to rely upon complex, critical computer systems
       despite significant, recurrent, known errors and inaccurate data.
  • How people work around inadequate computing systems by using manual or
       duplicate systems, rather than changing their systems via maintenance or
       enhancement. In addition, the framework for analyzing computing and routine work presented here proves useful for representing and reasoning about activity in multi-actor systems in general, and in understanding how better to integrate organizations of people and computers which in which work is coordinated.
    Keywords: Integration of computing, Computing and work, Multi-agent systems, Workarounds, Articulation work, Social analysis of computing, Computing in organizations
    Note: Appears in ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, 4:3, 1986, 205-225
  • Offices are Open Systems BIBA 80
      Carl Hewitt
    This paper is intended as a contribution to analyzing the implications of viewing offices as open systems. It takes a prescriptive stance on how to establish the information processing foundations for taking actions and making decisions in office work from an open systems perspective. We propose due process as a central activity in organizational information processing. Computer systems are beginning to play important roles in mediating the ongoing activities of organizations. We expect that these roles will gradually increase in importance as computer systems undertake more of the authority and responsibility for ongoing activities. At the same time we expect computer systems to take on more of the characteristics and structure of human organizations.
    Note: Appears in ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, 4:3, 1986, 271-287

    Advanced Computational Models

    Decision Support for Coordinated Multi-Agent Planning BIBAK 81-91
      Thomas L. Dean
    An important component of planning involves keeping track of what various agents intend to do and recognizing situations in which certain planned-for activities are likely to interfere with one another. In planning situations involving several agents participating in a cooperative endeavor, this process can be automated to a high degree thereby facilitating coordination between agents. The more difficult aspects of planning, how to choose what activities to perform and what to do when those choices lead to problems, are left to the agents themselves. This paper demonstrates how the use of an interactive temporal data base management system can direct the inter-agent communication necessary to coordinate the use of shared resources and deal with complex scheduling problems. It is argued that much of the paper work normally associated with routine office transactions can be eliminated through the use of this temporal data base.
    Keywords: Planning, Temporal reasoning, Reason maintenance
    Language Constructs for Programming by Example BIBA 92-103
      Robert V. Rubin
    Systems for programming by example permit the specification of algorithms through the use of demonstrations that manipulate examples. This paper analyzes systems for programming by example from a language point of view. Examples are analyzed as data abstractions, and demonstrations as abstractions for evaluation and control. Criteria are introduced for evaluating both the computational power and the expressiveness of the abstractions. The analysis demonstrates the existence of several previously unconsidered approaches to the more difficult problems associated with programming by example.
    Providing Intelligent Assistance in Distributed Office Environments BIBA 104-112
      Sergei Nirenburg; Victor Lesser
    We argue that a task-centered, an agent-centered and a cognition-oriented perspective are all needed for providing intelligent assistance in distributed office environments. We present the architecture for a system called OFFICE that combines these three perspectives. We illustrate this architecture through an example.

    Interfaces: Database

    Graphical Database Browsing BIBAK 113-121
      Michael Caplinger
    The knowledge stored in the information networks of the near future will not resemble that in today's conventional database systems. Instead, systems will look more like electronic libraries, with millions of items in many different media and with widely varying formats and levels of detail. Using foreseeable searching mechanisms, the results of queries will often be very coarse, containing a large fraction of all the items in storage. To make up for this coarseness, users must be able to browse the database, discarding unneeded items rapidly -- but the sheer size of the result sets will make textual presentation useless. As an alternative, we have investigated ways to arrange the data into information spaces that can be presented graphically. Users browse the space simply by moving their viewpoints within it, selecting interesting features of the "information landscape" for closer examination.
    Keywords: Information retrieval, Spatial data management, Computer graphics, Very large databases Content analysis and indexing, Information search and retrieval, Computer graphics