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TOIS Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213

ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems 3

Editors:Robert B. Allen
Standard No:ISSN 1046-8188; HF S548.125 A33
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 1
  2. TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 2
  3. TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 3
  4. TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 4

TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1
  Robert B. Allen

Research Contributions

A Database Design Methodology and Tool for Information Systems BIBAK 2-21
  Roger King; Dennis McLeod
A model and methodology for describing the information objects in an office information system and how such objects flow among the components of such a system are presented. The model and methodology support the specification of information objects at multiple levels of abstraction. An interactive prototype design tool based on the methodology and model has been designed and experimentally implemented.
Keywords: Design, Models and principles, Database management, Semantic modeling
Cursor Movement during Text Editing BIBAK 22-34
  John D. Gould; Clayton Lewis; Vincent Barnes
Nine participants used a full-screen computer text editor (XEDIT) with an IBM 3277 terminal to edit marked-up documents at each of three cursor speeds (3.3, 4.7, and 11.0 cm/s). These speeds occur when a user continuously holds down an arrow key to move the cursor more than one character position (i.e., in repeat or typamatic mode). Results show that cursor speed did not seem to act as a pacing device for the entire editing task. Since cursor speed is a form of system response, this finding is in contrast with the generally found positive relation between system-response time and user-response time. Participants preferred the Fast cursor speed, however. Overall, more than one-third of all keystrokes were used to move the cursor. We estimate that 9-14 percent of editing time was spent controlling and moving the cursor, regardless of cursor speed.
Keywords: Software, Miscellaneous, Software psychology, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Experimentation, Human factors, Computer-human interaction, Cursor, Engineering psychology, Terminal design, user interface
Query Optimization on Local Area Networks BIBAK 35-62
  Alan R. Hevner; O. Qi Wu; S. Bing Yao
Local area networks are becoming widely used as the database communication framework for sophisticated information systems. Databases can be distributed among stations on a network to achieve the advantages of performance, reliability, availability, and modularity. Efficient distributed query optimization algorithms are presented here for two types of local area networks: address ring networks and broadcast networks. Optimal algorithms are designed for simple queries. Optimization principles from these algorithms guide the development of effective heuristic algorithms for general queries on both types of networks. Several examples illustrate distributed query processing on local area networks.
Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed databases, Computer-communication networks, Local networks, Access schemes, Database management, Systems, Distributed systems, Query processing, Algorithms, Design, Distributed query optimization

Practice and Experience

A Prototype Electronic Encyclopedia BIBAK 63-88
  Stephen A. Weyer; Alan H. Borning
We describe a prototype electronic encyclopedia implemented on a powerful personal computer, in which user interface, media presentation, and knowledge representation techniques are applied to improving access to a knowledge resource. In itself, an electronic encyclopedia is an important information resource, but this work also illustrates the issues and approaches for many types of electronic information retrieval environments. In the prototype we make dynamic use of the structure and semantics of the text articles and index of an existing encyclopedia, while experimenting with other forms of representation, such as simulation and videodisc images. We present a long- term vision of an intelligent user-interface agent; summarize previous work related to futuristic encyclopedias, electronic books, decision support systems, and knowledge libraries; and outline current and potential research directions.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Experimentation, Human factors, Electronic books, Information browsing and viewing, Interactive simulations, Videodiscs
Electronic Calendars in the Office: An Assessment of User Needs and Current Technology BIBAK 89-102
  Christine M. Kincaid; Pierre B. Dupont; A. Roger Kaye
Manufacturers of integrated electronic office systems have included electronic versions of the calendar in almost every system they offer. This paper describes a survey of office workers, carried out to examine their use both of paper calendars and of electronic calendars that are commercially available as part of integrated office systems. It assesses the degree to which electronic calendars meet the needs of users. Our survey shows that the simple paper calendar is a tool whose power and flexibility is matched by few, if any, of the current commercially available electronic calendars. Recommendations for features that should be included in electronic calendars and automatic schedulers are included.
Keywords: Software engineering, Requirements/specifications, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information systems applications, Office automation, Design, Human factors, Electronic calendars, Electronic schedules, User preferences

TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 2

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue

Transportable Natural Language Processing BIB 105-106
  Bruce W. Ballard

Research Contributions

Transportable Natural Language Processing through Simplicity -- The PRE System BIBAK 107-120
  Samuel S. Epstein
PRE (Purposefully Restricted English) is a restricted English database query language whose implementation has addressed engineering goals, namely, habitability, interapplication transportability, performance, and use with a reliable database management system that supports large numbers of concurrent users and large databases. Habitability has not been demonstrated, but initial indications are encouraging. The other goals have clearly been achieved. The existence of the PRE system demonstrates that an explicitly "minimalist" approach to natural language processing can facilitate achievement of transportability.
Keywords: Software engineering, Distribution and maintenance, Extensibility, Portability, Database management, Languages, Query languages, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Query formulation, Retrieval models, Information systems applications, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Representations, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language parsing and understanding, Design, Human factors, Languages, Habitability, Natural language processing, Office automation, Query languages, Transportability
Transporting the Linguistic String Project System from a Medical to a Navy Domain BIBAK 121-140
  Elaine Marsh; Carol Friedman
The Linguistic String Project (LSP) natural language processing system has been developed as a domain-independent natural language processing system. Initially utilized for processing sets of medical messages and other texts in the medical domain, it has been used at the Naval Research Laboratory for processing Navy messages about shipboard equipment failures. This paper describes the structure of the LSP system and the features that make it transportable from one domain to another. The processing procedures encourage the isolation of domain-specific information, yet take advantage of the syntactic and semantic similarities between the medical and Navy domains. From our experience in transporting the LSP system, we identify the features that are required for transportable natural language systems.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human information processing, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language parsing and understanding, Text analysis, Languages, Natural language understanding, Sublanguage analysis, Transportability
Portability of Syntax and Semantics in Datalog BIBAK 141-164
  Carole D. Hafner; Kurt Godden
This paper presents a discussion of the techniques developed and problems encountered during the design, implementation, and experimental use of a portable natural language processor. Datalog (for "database dialogue") is an experimental natural language query system, which was designed to achieve a maximum degree of portability and extendability. Datalog uses a three-level architecture to provide both portability of syntax to new and extended tasks and portability of semantics to new database applications. The implementation of each of the three levels, the structures and conventions that control the interactions among them, and the way in which different aspects of the design contribute to portability are described. Finally, two specific, implemented examples are presented, showing how it was possible to transport or extend Datalog by changing only one "layer" of the system's knowledge and achieve correct processing of the extended input by the entire system.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Question-answering (fact-retrieval) systems, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Natural language interfaces, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Frames and scripts, Semantic networks, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language models, Language parsing and understanding, Design, Natural language lexical structures, Portability
Problems and Some Solutions in Customization of Natural Language Database Front Ends BIBAK 165-184
  Fred J. Damerau
This paper is concerned with some of the issues arising in the development of a domain-independent English interface to IBM SQL-based program products. The TQA system falls into the class of multilayered natural language processing systems. As a result, there is a large number of potential points at which customization to a particular database can be done. Of these, we discuss procedures that affect the reader, the lexicon, the lowest level of grammar rules, the semantic interpreter, and the output formatter. Our tests lead us to believe that the approach we are taking will make it possible for database administrators to generate robust English interfaces to particular databases without help from linguistic experts.
Keywords: Database management, Languages, Query languages, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Natural language interfaces, Artificial intelligence, Learning, Knowledge acquisition, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Human factors, Languages, Language understanding
ASK is Transportable in Half a Dozen Ways BIBAK 185-203
  Bozena Henisz Thompson; Frederick B. Thompson
This paper is a discussion of the technical issues and solutions encountered in making the ASK System transportable. A natural language system can be "transportable" in a number of ways. Although transportability to a new domain is most prominent, other ways are also important if the system is to have viability in the commercial marketplace.
   On the one hand, transporting a system to a new domain may start with the system prior to adding any domain of knowledge and extend it to incorporate the new domain. On the other hand, one may wish to add to a system that already has knowledge of one domain the knowledge concerning a second domain, that is, to extend the system to cover this second domain. In the context of ASK, it has been natural to implement extending and then achieve transportability as a special case.
   In this paper, we consider six ways in which the ASK System can be extended to include new capabilities:
  • -- to a new domain,
  • -- to a new object type,
  • -- to access data from a foreign database,
  • -- to a new natural language,
  • -- to a new programming language,
  • -- to a new computer family. Special-purpose applications, such as those to accommodate standard office tasks, would make use of these various means of extension.
    Keywords: Database management, Languages, Data manipulation languages (DML), Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Natural language interfaces, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Design, Languages, Natural language, Transportability, User interface
  • Transportability to Other Languages: The Natural Language Processing Project in the AI Program at MCC BIBAK 204-230
      Jonathan Slocum; Carol F. Justus
    We discuss a recently launched, long-term project in natural language processing, the primary concern of which is that natural language applications be transportable among human languages. In particular, we seek to develop system tools and linguistic processing techniques that are themselves language-independent to the maximum extent practical. In this paper we discuss our project goals and outline our intended approach, address some cross-linguistic requirements, and then present some new linguistic data that we feel support our approach.
    Keywords: Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language generation, Language models, Language parsing and understanding, Languages, Interlingual language models, Multilingual language models

    TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 3


    Processing Manuscripts Electronically BIB 233
      Robert B. Allen

    Research Contributions

    A Butler Process for Resource Sharing on Spice Machines BIBAK 234-252
      Roger B. Dannenberg; Peter G. Hibbard
    A network of personal computers may contain a large amount of distributed computing resources. For a number of reasons it is desirable to share these resources, but sharing is complicated by issues of security and autonomy. A process known as the Butler addresses these problems and provides support for resource sharing. The Butler relies upon a capability-based accounting system called the Banker to monitor the use of local resources.
    Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Network protocols, Protocol architecture, Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed applications, Network operating systems, Operating systems, Security and protection, Access controls, Operating systems, Organization and design, Distributed systems, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Design, Security, Autonomy, Resource sharing, Office automation, Personal computers, Process migration, Negotiation
    A Federated Architecture for Information Management BIBAK 253-278
      Dennis Heimbigner; Dennis McLeod
    An approach to the coordinated sharing and interchange of computerized information is described emphasizing partial, controlled sharing among autonomous databases. Office information systems provide a particularly appropriate context for this type of information sharing and exchange. A federated database architecture is described in which a collection of independent database systems are united into a loosely coupled federation in order to share and exchange information. A federation consists of components (of which there may be any number) and a single federal dictionary. The components represent individual users, applications, workstation, or other components in an office information system. The federal dictionary is a specialized component that maintains the topology of the federation and oversees the entry of new components. Each component in the federation controls its interactions with other components by means of an export schema and an import schema. The export schema specifies the information that a component will share with other components, while the import schema specifies the nonlocal information that a component wishes to manipulate. The federated architecture provides mechanisms for sharing data, for sharing transactions (via message types) for combining information from several components, and for coordinating activities among autonomous components (via negotiation). A prototype implementation of the federated database mechanism is currently operational on an experimental basis.
    Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Data models, Schema and subschema, Database management, Systems, Distributed systems, Information systems applications, Office automation, Algorithms, Design, Languages, Management, Office information systems, Distributed information management, Federated databases
    A Prototype System for the Electronic Storage and Retrieval of Document Images BIBAK 279-291
      G. R. Thoma; S. Suthasinekul; F. L. Walker; J. Cookson; M. Rashidian
    A prototype system has been implemented for electronic scanning, digitization, storage, retrieval, and display of images of biomedical documents. Paper documents are scanned and digitized at a scan density of 200 picture elements (pels) per inch by either a high-speed loose-leaf scanner with an automatic document transport or a book scanner with a manual book holder. Each scanner employs a high-resolution charge-coupled device (CCD) linear array operating at a sampling rate close to 10 MHz. The analog output signal of the CCD array is digitized into 1 bit per pixel two-tone images by means of dynamic thresholding. The digitized images are stored on magnetic disks to be processed and will eventually be transferred onto optical disks for archival storage. Existing on-line bibliographic databases developed by the National Library of Medicine are used as directories for the retrieval of document images. These images are displayed at a resolution of 200 pels/inch in both soft-copy (raster-refreshed CRT) and hard-copy forms.
       This prototype system, developed as part of a research and development program, offers the opportunity to investigate the areas of document image enhancement, image compression, and omnifont text recognition and to conduct experiments designed to answer key questions on the role of electronic document storage and retrieval technology in library information processing and the preservation of library documents.
    Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Information storage, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information storage and retrieval, Library automation, Information systems applications, Office automation, Equipment, Computer applications, Life and medical sciences, Medical information systems, Design, Documentation, Library science, Document retrieval systems

    Practice and Experience

    Design Implications of a Task-Driven Approach to Unstructured Cognitive Tasks in Office Work BIBAK 292-306
      Sidney E. Harris; Harvey J. Brightman
    Previous research in modeling office activities has been primarily oriented toward office work that is structured and organized. In this paper we report on efforts to develop a new methodology for needs assessment evaluation. We use the Critical Task Method to identify the "bottleneck cognitive tasks" of principals with an unstructured work profile. Data were collected on the computer-support needs of faculty researchers, and the finding indicate that a "knowledge-based" design offers the most promise for delivering effective support. In addition, the systems design suggests the integration of text, data, voice, and images.
    Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Information systems applications, Types of systems, Decision support, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Office automation, Management of computing and information systems, Project and people management, System analysis and design, Design, Management, Methodology, Models of work, Problem solving, Tools
    Usage Patterns in an Integrated Voice and Data Communications System BIBAK 307-314
      Robert T. Nicholson
    Recently, office communication systems have begun to integrate voice recordings into their mail and data communications facilities. The study of usage patterns on one such system shows that voice is used for informal, person-to-person communications, as opposed to the formal content of typed messages. Voice messages are generally sent to fewer recipients (often only one), and sometimes replace face-to-face meetings.
    Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information systems applications, Office automation, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Electronic mail, Design, Human factors, Electronic mail, Voice communications

    TOIS 1985 Volume 3 Issue 4

    Research Contributions

    An Imperative Sentence Processor for Voice Interactive Office Applications BIBAK 321-346
      Alan W. Biermann; Linda Fineman; Kermit C. Gilbert
    An imperative sentence processor that enables a user to manipulate text with connected speech and touch-graphics input is described. The processor includes capabilities to follow dialogue focus, execute a variety of imperative commands, and handle nested noun groups, pronouns, and other phenomena. A micromodel of the system, giving enough of the structure to enable the reader to observe internal mechanisms in considerable detail, is included. This processor is designed to be transportable to a number of other office automation domains such as calendar management, message-passing, and desk calculation. Various examples and statistics related to its behavior in the text manipulation application are given. The system has been implemented in PASCAL and can run on any machine that supports this language.
    Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Word processing, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language models, Language parsing and understanding, Speech recognition and understanding, Text processing, Text editing, Human factors, Languages, Computational linguistics, Voice interactive systems
    Document Architecture and Text Formatting BIBAK 347-369
      Arno J. H. M. Peels; Norbert J. M. Janssen; Wop Nawijn
    The formalization of the architecture of documents and text formatting are the central issues of this paper. Besides a fundamental and theoretical approach toward these topics, and overview is presented of the COBATEF system. The COBATEF system is a context-based text formatting system, for which a software, as well as a hardware, implementation is available.
       A unique feature of the system is its automatic text-element recognition mechanism, which is context based and consequently takes advantage of the implicit structure of text. A predefined layout for each type of text element then opens the way for a fully automatic text-processing system in which user control information can be reduced to an absolute minimum.
    Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Text analysis, Text processing, Document preparation, Design, Languages, Management, Automatic text element recognition, Document architecture, Formatting, Information streams, Typesetting
    Productivity Trends in Certain Office-Intensive Sectors of the U.S. Federal Government BIBAK 370-379
      Raymond R. Panko
    It is often said that office productivity is virtually stagnant, increasing only about 4 percent every 10 years. The methodology used to estimate this 4 percent figure is examined and found to be inaccurate! There is no known way to estimated overall national office productivity trends. Productivity trends in a single part of the economy, however, can be examined, namely, office-intensive sectors of the U.S. federal government. Productivity in these sectors is found to be anything but stagnant, having increased 1.7 percent annually from 1967 to 1981 and 3.0 percent annually from 1977 through 1981.
    Keywords: Computers and society, General, Computers and society, Organizational impacts, Economics, Measurement, Performance, Labor productivity, Office productivity

    Practice and Experience

    DITROFF/FFORTID, An Adaptation of the UNIX DITROFF for Formatting Bidirectional Text BIBAK 380-397
      Cary Buchman; Daniel M. Berry; Jakob Gonczarowski
    DITROFF/FFORTID, a collection of pre- and postprocessors for the UNIX DITROFF (Device Independent Typesetter RunOFF) is described. DITROFF/FFORTID permits formatting of text involving a mixture of languages written from left to right and from right to left, such as English and Hebrew. The programs are table driven or macro-generated to permit them to be used for any languages written from left to right and from right to left so long as fonts with the proper character sets can be mounted on a typesetting device supported by DITROFF. The preprocessors are set up to permit phonetic, unidirectional input of all of the alphabets needed using only the two alphabets (each case counts as an alphabet) available on the input device. These macro-generated preprocessors can be adjusted to the user's pronunciation, the language's rules about a letter's form, depending on its position in the word, and the language of the user's input keyboard. The postprocessor is set up to properly change direction of formatting when the text switches to a language written in a different direction. The collection of programs is also designed to allow use of any of DITROFF's preprocessors, such as PIC, EQN, TBL and the various device drivers.
    Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Word processing, Text processing, Document preparation, Format and notation, Design, Human factors, Languages, Bidirectional text, Bidirectional formatting, Macro, Preprocessor, Postprocessor
    Ensuring the Court Admissibility of Computer-Generated Records BIBAK 398-412
      Roger King; Carolyn Stanley
    An informal methodology is described for optimizing the likelihood of computer-generated records being admissible in a U.S. court of law. This methodology is intended for individuals who are converting to automated office procedures, as well as for those whose businesses are already highly computerized. However, this paper does not purport to be a formal legal guide; rather, it is intended as an overview of this issue.
    Keywords: Computer applications, Administrative data processing, Law, Legal aspects, Evidence, Records