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OIS Tables of Contents: 8284868890

Proceedings of the Conference on Office Automation Systems

Fullname:Proceedings of the Conference on Office Information Systems
Editors:Robert B. Allen
Location:Palo Alto, California
Dates:1988-Mar-23 to 1988-Mar-25
Standard No:ISBN 0-89791-261-6; ACM Order Number 611880;; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: OIS88 IEEE Order number 848
  1. Collaborative Work
  2. Task Modeling, Planning, and Coordination
  3. Organizational Impact
  4. Social Research: Methods and Principles
  5. Hypertext and Information Retrieval
  6. Multimedia
  7. Object-Oriented and Distributed Databases
  8. Object-Oriented, Organizational, and Market Systems

Collaborative Work

The Rapport Multimedia Conferencing System BIBA 1-8
  S. R. Ahuja; J. Robert Ensor; David N. Horn
This paper describes the design and initial implementation of the Rapport multimedia conferencing system, which supports interactive, real-time, distributed conferences among two or more users. Using computers connected by data and voice networks, this system creates an environment in which many sorts of meetings can take place, including telephone conversations, discussions among colleagues, and lectures. Rapport provides new opportunities for meetings, allowing a user to interact with distant colleagues and to participate in several conferences concurrently at his or her workstation. The system allows many existing computer programs to be used, unmodified, within its conferencing environment. Thus computer-generated data and displays are available to the conferees for manipulation and editing, enhancing the exchange of information during meetings. Although Rapport does not encourage a particular methodology of meeting conduct, such specialized support can be built using Rapport.
   The paper outlines Rapport's conference abstraction and the model on which it is based -- the "virtual meeting room." It then presents an overview of Rapport's architecture, discusses the system's environmental requirements, and concludes by mentioning some of our plans for future work with Rapport.
Collaborative Modeling and Negotiation BIBA 9-21
  Dhanesh K. Samarasan
New problems in negotiation call for a new framework of solutions. Negotiation management, one such framework, has at its heart the application of computer models and related technology to a collaborative effort at dispute resolution. In this paradigm, negotiation is treated as a communicative and knowledge-intensive group problem-solving process. Easily accessible techniques are being developed for modeling both the process and substance of negotiation. In addition, tools are being designed for negotiators to use in risk and decision analysis, optimization, and precedent analysis. This paper outlines a synthesis of these elements in an integrated computer environment for negotiation management.
How Can Groups Communicate When They Use Different Languages? Translating between Partially Shared Type Hierarchies BIBA 22-29
  Jintae Lee; Thomas W. Malone
Many office systems are based on various types of messages, forms, or other documents. When users of such systems need to communicate with people who use different document types, some kind of translation is necessary. In this paper, we explore the space of general solutions to this translation problem and propose several specific solutions to it. After first illustrating the problem in the Information Lens electronic messaging system, we identify two partly conflicting objectives that any translation scheme should satisfy: preservation of meaning and autonomous evolution of group languages. Then we partition the space of possible solutions to this problem in terms of the set theoretic relations between group languages and a common language. This leads to four primary solution classes and we illustrate and evaluate each one. Finally, we describe a composite scheme that combines many of the best features of the other schemes. Even though our examples deal primarily with extensions to the Information Lens system, the analysis also suggests how other kinds of office systems might exploit specialization hierarchies of document types to simplify the translation problem.
Quilt: A Collaborative Tool for Cooperative Writing BIBA 30-37
  Robert S. Fish; Robert E. Kraut; Mary D. P. Leland
Quilt is a computer-based tool for collaborative writing, which provides annotation, messaging, computer conferencing, and notification facilities to support communication and information sharing among the collaborators on a document. In addition, extensible sets of social roles and communication types are used to provide views of a document tailored to individual collaborators or to other users of the document based upon their position in a permission hierarchy. This paper describes the rationale for and design of Quilt.

Task Modeling, Planning, and Coordination

Problems in Modelling Tasks and Task Views BIBA 38-45
  Murray S. Mazer
We present the rudiments of a new theory of tasks and task views. The motivating idea is essentially as follows: in an environment in which several organizational agents cooperate to accomplish a common task, each of the agents need only know its own part of the task -- this is the agent's task view. The underlying computer system may take responsibility for coordinating the actions among the different views. We discuss what task views are and why they are interesting. We also consider consistent task specification based on partial orderings of task actions and the problems involved. The major issues are the expressiveness of action conditions, tractable satisfaction of action conditions, and tractable testing for task consistency. Our notion of task consistency leads us to consider, among other things, the "expressiveness versus tractability" tradeoff encountered in knowledge representation, planning work, and a recent proposal for specification and refinement of office procedures.
OTM: Specifying Office Tasks BIBA 46-54
  F. H. Lochovsky; J. S. Hogg; S. P. Weiser; A. O. Mendelzon
While there are many difficulties in computerizing office tasks, two of the major ones are a lack of appropriate end-user facilities for specifying office tasks and inadequate system-level support for managing office tasks. We are investigating these two issues within the Office Task Manager (OTM) project at the University of Toronto. To address the user-level aspects of specifying office tasks, we believe that a programming-by-example approach to office task specification holds much promise for providing office workers with facilities to help them computerize their own office activities. We outline our approach to such a facility in this paper. To address the system-level aspects of managing office tasks, we believe that object-oriented environments, because of their ability to combine data and operations on the data, can provide the support required for managing office tasks. In this paper, we also outline how office data and tasks are encoded and managed as objects. Initially, we are addressing the problem of supporting structured office tasks and our approach to this problem is the emphasis of this paper.
Using a Planner to Support Office Work BIBA 55-62
  W. B. Croft; L. S. Lefkowitz
Supporting a wide range of activities in offices has been a major objective for designers of office systems. The complex nature of office work and the fact that there are no simple limits on the amount of domain knowledge required to do this work have made the achievement of this objective very difficult. Planning and representation techniques from artificial intelligence appear to have some advantages for this task in terms of flexibility and adaptability. In this paper we describe the POLYMER planning system and representation language. In particular, we point out the system components that are required to make planning useful in real environments. The operation of the system is illustrated using an example activity.
Customizing Cooperative Office Procedures by Planning BIBAK 63-77
  Rainer Lutze
Cooperative office procedures coordinate the flow of information in complex distributed work, in which several office workers are involved. An approach for planning cooperative office procedures is presented, focusing on the requirements, possibilities and limitations of planning activities. Special attention is given to the elaboration of a suitable office knowledge representation and a maintainable structure of the knowledge base, the electronic organization handbook (ELO).
Keywords: Cooperative office procedures, Planning, Office knowledge representation
AMS: A Knowledge-Based Approach to Tasks Representation, Organization and Coordination BIBA 78-87
  Michel Tueni; Jianzhong Li; Pascal Fares
Applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the study of Office Information Systems (OIS) remains a challenging area. In this paper, we will present a Knowledge Based approach to modelling office activities. We will focus both on the declarative representation of the office concepts and their relationships, and on the organization of office knowledge in abstract packets, at different levels of generalization. This organization will allow abstract knowledge to be reusable in different situations, and to process and construct concrete structures at different levels. The control structure that should model the behavior of office workers is also discussed.

Organizational Impact

Computers' Impact on Productivity and Work Life BIBA 88-95
  Susan Dumais; Robert Kraut; Susan Koch
Rapid spread of computer and telecommunication technologies throughout white-collar work has forced researchers to consider their impacts on the people who use them. The present study uses a multi-method, lagged, time-series design to examine the impact of a computerized record system on the work life of customer service representatives in a large utility company. Results show that the computer technology had mixed effects in terms of both productivity and quality of working life, and that these effects varied depending on local organizational culture, management quality, type of worker and their detailed work tasks. Furthermore, during the year in which the computer system was being introduced, the computer system itself, its methods of use, and the managerial goals that spawned it all evolved in response to workers and other factors. These results are used to illustrate the conceptual and methodological complexities involved in establishing the causal impact of computer technology, and to suggest alternate methods for thinking about and measuring technological impact.
The Impact of Electronic Mail on Managerial and Organizational Communications BIBA 96-109
  Mary Sumner
The primary objectives of this study were to determine how an electronic mail system was being used by managers and professionals in a business setting and to describe its cognitive, affective and behavioral impacts. The organizational impacts reported by the respondents were compared with research-based evidence reported by experts in an earlier study by Kerr and Hiltz. The results showed that electronic mail was used extensively to displace phone calls and memos particularly for "organizing" activities, such as scheduling events, asking questions, and providing feedback. The experiences of the users showed that electronic mail reduced lag times in distributing information, created more flexible working hours, and provided lateral linkages throughout the organization. More pervasive social impacts of electronic mail, such as changes in social structure, expansion in group size, and increase in span of control, were not experienced to a marked degree.
The Influence of Training on Use of End-User Software BIBAK 110-117
  Lorne Olfman; Robert P. Bostrom
Research in end-user software training has not addressed the issue of designing methods to influence use of software. The research reported here is based on a field experiment that compared two software training methods for Lotus 1-2-3. Applications-based training was designed to be more personally relevant than construct-based training with the expectation that personal relevance would lead to higher levels of use. Self-reported hours of use by applications-based trainees were higher, although only 38 of 70 trainees used the software after training. Post-training interviews were conducted to determine reasons for use and nonuse.
Keywords: End-user training, Novice users, Personal relevance
Disaligning Macro, Meso and Micro Due Process: A Case Study of Office Automation in Quebec Colleges BIBA 118-125
  Francois Blanchard; Alberto Cambrosio
By drawing on recent studies of computing in the interactionist tradition, and more particularly on the notion of due process, the paper presents a case study of the introduction of office automation in Quebec colleges. Failures to reach negotiated agreements about conflicting representations of ongoing work processes in software systems are categorized by actors as problems of "fitting", i.e. of achieving a satisfactory balance between needs and technology. Representations of what constitutes an "appropriate fit" are accompanied by representations of the appropriate organizational level at which a "good fit" may be attained. In our study, this has resulted in the displacement over time of the locus of software design. The disalignment of levels of work organization appears to be a central part of the work of achieving a temporary closure of the due process problem and should be taken into account when attempting to provide computational solutions to this problem.

Social Research: Methods and Principles

Cost Benefit Analysis of Information Systems: A Survey of Methodologies BIBA 126-133
  Peter G. Sassone
Cost justification has become one of the most important factors influencing the pace of business automation, particularly end user computing. The primary difficulty in cost justification is the evaluation of benefits. This paper identifies and discusses eight methodologies which have evolved to quantify the benefits of information systems. These are: decision analysis, cost displacement/avoidance, structural models, cost effectiveness analysis, breakeven analysis, subjective analysis, time savings times salary, and the work value model.
Collection and Analysis of Data from Communication System Networks BIBA 134-141
  Ronald E. Rice
This paper provides a brief overview of a new, limited and specific direction in the study of computer-based information systems: the study of communication networks by means of computer-monitored usage and content. This area of research is the result of the interaction of two foci in recent research: (1) the increasing use of computer-mediated communication systems in organizations, and (2) the conceptualization of communication as a process of convergence, or networks of relations.
Playing the Language-Games of Design and Use on Skill and Participation BIBAK 142-157
  Pelle Ehn
This paper deals with computers and cooperative work. Focus in not on applications for cooperative work, but on the cooperative process of designing such and other computer applications. Focus is on the role of skill and participation in design as a creative and communicative process.
   The paper suggests a need to go beyond the Cartesian philosophical assumptions of rationalistic reasoning as epistemology and dualism as ontology, so strongly embedded in traditional design methods.
   There are many philosophical candidates for such a reinterpretation. In this paper I have chosen to elaborate on language-games and the ordinary language philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Hence, focus is on the shift in design from language as description towards language as action.
   Some consequences of such a shift is illustrated with reflections on examples from UTOPIA (a research and development project for skill enhancing computer based tools for graphic workers), and with design ideas on an application simulator from a new research programme on Cooperative Design and Communication.
Keywords: Language-games, Cooperative work, Design process, Design methods, Design artifacts, Systems descriptions, Participation, Skill, Practice
Social Choice Theory and Distributed Decision Making BIBA 158-168
  Arnold B. Urken
Strategies of distributed decision making based on social choice theory can be used to create a balance between organizational complexity and uncertainty. Although Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS's) have included options for making human collective choices, their design has not been based on optimal rules. Social choice theory can also be used to improve the reliability of decisions made by nodes in distributed computer networks. Three examples illustrate the application of this theory: human computer-mediated distributed decision making, electing a coordinator to reorganize a failed distributed network, and using weighted votes to improve network reliability.

Hypertext and Information Retrieval

Document Query Processing Strategies: Cost Evaluation and Heuristics BIBA 169-181
  E. Bertino; S. Gibbs; F. Rabitti
This paper describes query processing strategies used in a system where queries are specified on formatted data and text components of documents. The system provides different access methods: indexes for formatted data and signature files for the text. Four basic document queries, representative of a wide range of queries, are examined in detail. Strategies for query processing are presented together with an evaluation of the costs of the various strategies. Finally, general heuristics are derived.
Automatic Generation of Hypertext Knowledge Bases BIBA 182-188
  Udo Hahn; Ulrich Reimer
A model of knowledge-based text condensation is presented which has been implemented as part of the text analysis system TOPIC. The condensation process transforms the text representation structures resulting from the text parse into a more abstract thematic description of what the text is about, filtering out irrelevant knowledge structures and preserving only the most salient concepts. The topical structure of a text, finally, is represented in a hierarchical text graph which supports variable degrees of abstraction for text summarization as well as content-oriented retrieval of text knowledge. Due to their non-linear organization, text graphs share a lot of similarities with hypertexts. Their contribution to this field incorporates a methodology for the automatic generation of hypertexts from given full-text files, a close coupling of basic hypertext notions (links, nodes) to the formal specifications of a frame representation model, and conceptual navigation and filtering facilities which allow a user-defined level of information granularity when accessing hypertext knowledge bases.
Knowledge Based Document Classification Supporting Integrated Document Handling BIBA 189-196
  Helmut Eirund; Klaus Kreplin
An experimental office system currently being developed at Olivetti research integrates two major requirements of office work: content based document retrieval and mail distribution. In this system documents are described and classified by their semantic structure that provides access to abstract concepts contained in the document. The derivation of the semantic structure of a document supports both an efficient retrieval by content and an intelligent mail filtering through document semantics. A knowledge based classification system automatically generates the conceptual description of a document to be inserted into the system by means of content analysis, and associates the document to an appropriate predefined type. The classification system closes the gap between electronic document entry systems and processing of (semi-) structured document content.
Shared Books: Collaborative Publication Management for an Office Information System BIBA 197-204
  Brian T. Lewis; Jeffrey D. Hodges
A Shared Book helps the users of an office information system create a multiple-part publication and manage it throughout its life cycle. The Shared Book supports simultaneous collaboration both by allowing different workers to work on different parts at the same time and by ensuring that workers use the current revision of each part. It protects publication information by providing locking and access control. The Shared Book communicates the publication's current state to each worker through a What-You-See-Is-What-I-See (WYSIWIS) display. Early users report that the Shared Books application has improved their productivity by simplifying their file management and by helping them track the production status of their publications. Shared Books will be part of the next release of the Xerox ViewPoint document processing system. In this paper we present the results of our study of publication management needs and describe how Shared Books supports them. We also describe some interesting aspects of its user interface and implementation.
Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Hierarchical Display of Hypertext Structure BIBAK 205-212
  Steven Feiner
Most recent hypertext systems support hierarchy only as a restricted subset of directed graph structure. Consequently they do not provide many of the capabilities for graphical information hiding and structure manipulation that a tree makes possible. This paper describes display techniques developed for IGD, a hypertext system that supports the creation of large graphical documents whose arbitrary directed graph structure is embedded in a strict hierarchy. IGD offers the full generality of arbitrary keyworded links, while simultaneously allowing hierarchies to be easily manipulated and displayed with much of their structural detail selectively abstracted.
Keywords: Hypertext, Hypermedia, Directed-graph display, Graph browser, Display decluttering, Electronic documents


Employing Voice Back Channels to Facilitate Audio Document Retrieval BIBA 213-218
  Chris Schmandt
Human listeners use voice back channels to indicate their comprehension of a talker's remarks. This paper describes an attempt to build a user interface capable of employing these back channel responses for flow control purposes while presenting a variety of audio information to a listener. Acoustic evidence based on duration and prosody (rhythm and melody) of listeners' utterances is employed as a means of discriminating responses by discourse function without using word recognition. Such an interface has been applied to three tasks: speech synthesis of driving directions, speech synthesis of electronic mail, and retrieval of recorded voice messages.
Browsing within Time-Driven Multimedia Documents BIBA 219-227
  Stavros Christodoulakis; Stephen Graham
We present the software design and the interfaces of an interactive browser for time-driven multimedia objects. Time-driven multimedia objects may have as their main resource voice or animation sequences. Several important application environments such as training systems, home entertainment systems, do-it-yourself manuals may involve time-driven multimedia objects and they may be implemented with such browsing interfaces. Such applications may be implemented using easy to replicate optical disks such as CD-ROMs, and distributed to a large user community.
Interactive Retrieval of Office Documents BIBA 228-235
  W. B. Croft; R. Krovetz
Office information systems are being used to describe and store documents with complex structure and multimedia content. Users of these systems can potentially make very complex specifications of the structure, layout and content of the documents they wish to retrieve. Although these complex queries could be more effective in identifying relevant documents, it is important that a well-defined model of retrieval is used, both as the basis for the retrieval strategies and the user interface. In this paper, we present a system (OFFICER) for the retrieval of office documents that is based on a model of plausible inference. The OFFICER query interface allows the specification of uncertain queries and combines uncertainties in the matching of queries and documents to produce an overall ranking for the documents.
An Experimental Multi-Media Bridging System BIBA 236-242
  E. J. Addeo; A. B. Dayao; A. D. Gelman; V. F. Massa
The prototype system, which is described in this paper and called the Multi-Media Bridge, is designed to test service concepts and evolving technologies that make possible the deployment of multi-media group communications in future broadband networks. It incorporates such features as extended quality audio, full-motion video, graphics and data multi-point communications capability. The Bridge could serve as either a separate vendor entity or as an integral part of a network-based complex. The multi-shelf architecture of the experimental system allows a variety of technical problems and issues to be autonomously addressed. The shelves, designated Audio, Video, Graphics, and Data, are functionally integrated by a distributed control capability. A graphics user interface was developed which can be realized on any PC or workstation that supports the MIT X-Windowing system. It provides users with the flexibility to dynamically invoke each medium at any time and control various modes of media integration.

Object-Oriented and Distributed Databases

An Application Oriented Approach to View Updates BIBA 243-249
  Johannes Klein; Andreas Reuter
Views are an indispensable mechanism for providing flexible database access in a workstation environment. On the other hand, views created from more than one base relation have complex and in some cases contradicting update semantics. In this paper we suggest to distinguish between object types as the units for data manipulation and views as the data structures materializing these objects. Hence, the same view can represent different object types, and depending on which of them the user is granted access, we can infer simple and coherent semantics, even for complex view definitions.
Aggregation and Generalization Hierarchies in Office Automation BIBA 250-264
  M. Bever; D. Ruland
Integrated database support is an essential part in Office Automation. Because of the variety of objects, their relationships and operations, more sophisticated data modelling concepts such as aggregation and long fields, cross references, aggregation hierarchies, and generalizations are needed. In this paper, we show their importance to Office Automation. Because long fields and aggregation are already supported by existing data models, we focus on the two data abstraction concepts: aggregation hierarchy and generalization. Besides structural aspects a restricted set of operations is defined. Then we discuss an implementation on the basis of a relational engineering prototype database system, that already supports long fields, aggregation and aggregation hierarchies.
Object Flavor Evolution in an Object-Oriented Database System BIBA 265-275
  Qing Li; Dennis McLeod
The ability to gracefully accommodate dynamic evolution is essential in data-intensive office information systems. Among the wide spectrum of kinds of conceptual database modification, there is an important subkind which involves changes to the fundamental semantics of objects, vis-a-vis their nature as symbolic, abstract, type (set), relationship (mapping), or behavioral (procedure). This kind of change is termed "object flavor evolution". For example, a real-world concept modelled in a database as a symbolic object (e.g., a string denoting the name of a person) may later evolve to or be alternatively viewed as an abstract object (e.g., a person entity). This paper examines object flavor evolution in the context of a simple, extensible object-oriented database model; this model is the kernel of an experimental prototype system termed PKM (for "personal knowledge manager") currently under development. The PKM object-oriented modelling constructs and operations are presented, along with a description and analysis of specific kinds of object flavor evolution.
Supporting OIS Design through Semantic Queries BIBA 276-283
  B. Pernici
Office information system design is a complex activity which needs conceptual modeling to represent office data and activities in a formal way. The problem of retrieving information from conceptual schemas of office systems is addressed, to support the designer in the different phases of office information system design. A semantic query language is proposed, based on a semantic representation of the TODOS Conceptual Model for office design.

Object-Oriented, Organizational, and Market Systems

An Object Oriented System Implementing KNOs BIBA 284-290
  Eduardo Casais
We discuss a distributed object-oriented system written in LISP that implements KNOs (KNowledge acquisition, dissemination and manipulation Objects). The system emphasizes advanced features like object autonomy, mobility and dynamic inheritance. The objects are active, independent entities that can travel in a local area network and protect themselves from external aggressions. A dynamic inheritance mechanism enables them to modify their behaviour during their lifetime. We give a description of our system, illustrate its functionality with selected examples, and discuss its advantages for software development and Office Information Systems.
A Commitment-Based Communication Model for Distributed Office Environments BIBA 291-298
  Charles C. Koo; Gio Wiederhold
In an office environment where agents cooperate to accomplish a certain tasks, the agents perform their tasks based on certain plans. To ensure the integrity of their teamwork, agents communicate with one another to coordinate their plans. Meanwhile, tasks are distributed to other agents via this communication process. This report describes a commitment-based communication model for autonomous agents to synchronize and track their activities in office environments. The communication model includes a communication process, a set of protocols to bind commitments, a set of communication operators and a set of commitment tracking operators.
Market Automation: Self-Regulation in a Distributed Environment BIBA 299-308
  Ross M. Miller
Initial studies of the stock market crash of October 1987 indicate that insufficient linkages between related securities markets, exacerbated by computerized trading, can lead to market instability. This paper examines how the market mechanism can be made more "intelligent," so that it can provide much of the stabilization currently left to the computer-driven arbitrage activities of independent traders while at the same time enhancing market liquidity. This intelligent market mechanism employs techniques derived from concurrent control theory to link markets together in a way that effectively creates new, synthetic securities markets that coexist with current securities markets. This mechanism permits continuous trade in all markets so that the stabilizing activities of arbitrage occur as a direct by-product of the basic operation of the market mechanism. When the speed of communication between markets is fast relative to the pace of trading, this mechanism will operate so that at the operational level it is completely transparent to traders in the market, giving the appearance of a single, fully-linked free market system. This mechanism and the principles upon which it is based have broader applications to computerized markets in manufacturing and the service industries beyond financial markets.
The Ubik Configurator BIBA 309-315
  Peter de Jong
Ubik is a system within which organizational structure, concepts, and actions are described and organizational applications are executed. Ubik represents an organization not with one global model, but with multiple overlapping models which can be physically distributed within multiple knowledge bases. There is a basic computational object in Ubik called the Ubik Configurator. The Configurator is used to specify organizational concepts, handlers, goals, and constraints. Configurators are linked together in lattices within a model. There are different types of models built using the configurator. Ubik models support the communication between distributed applications and the control of the parallel execution of applications. Development models support the continual evolution necessary in a large organization to cope with the changing external environment. Due process models support the resolving of conflicts between conflicting models. Organizational models describe the end-users organization and applications.