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ACM Transactions on Information Systems 7

Editors:Robert B. Allen
Standard No:ISSN 1046-8188; HF S548.125 A33
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 1
  2. TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 2
  3. TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 3
  4. TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 4

TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 1


A New Name -- ACM Transactions on Information Systems BIBA 1
  Robert B. Allen
With this issue the Transactions becomes the ACM Transaction on Information Systems (TOIS). In addition, TOIS' charter has been expanded to formally include the field of Information Retrieval. These changes affirm the broad scope that the journal has been pursuing in recent years. As before, a wide variety of perspectives on information systems will be considered, including topics such as user and organizational interfaces, data models, system organization, knowledge bases, and new media. Of course, TOIS will also continue to examine the uses and impact of information systems. Thus, papers in areas such as electronic publishing, interactive video services, large text archives, UIMSs, intelligent tutoring systems, and cooperative work are encouraged.
   TOIS is primarily a research journal with an emphasis on quality and originality, as well as relevance. Moreover, TOIS has a Practice and Experience Section for papers that present novel insights without the usual rigor of Research Contributions. Together, the Associate Editors and I are committed to keeping TOIS the premier publication in its field. We will also strive to make TOIS a testbed for new information systems.

Research Contributions

Petri-Net-Based Hypertext: Document Structure with Browsing Semantics BIBAK 3-29
  P. David Stotts; Richard Furuta
We present a formal definition of the Trellis model of hypertext and describe an authoring and browsing prototype called αTrellis that is based on the model. The Trellis model not only represents the relationships that tie individual pieces of information together into a document (i.e., the adjacencies), but specifies the browsing semantics to be associated with the hypertext as well (i.e., the manner in which the information is to be visited and presented). The model is based on Petri nets, and is a generalization of existing directed graph-based forms of hypertext. The Petri net basis permits more powerful specification of what is to be displayed when a hypertext is browsed and permits application of previously developed Petri net analysis techniques to verify properties of the hypertext. A number of useful hypertext constructs, easily described in the Trellis model, are presented. These include the synchronization of simultaneous traversals of separate paths through a hypertext, the incorporation of access controls into a hypertext (i.e., specifying nodes that can be proven to be accessible only to certain classes of browsers), and construction of multiple specialized (tailored) versions from a single hypertext.
Keywords: Computation by abstract devices, Models of computation, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Text processing, Miscellaneous, Hypertext, Design, Languages, Theory, Access controls, Browsing semantics, Formal models, Petri nets, Synchronization, Trellis model of hypertext
Formative Design-Evaluation of SuperBook BIBAK 30-57
  Dennis E. Egan; Joel R. Remde; Louis M. Gomez; Thomas K. Landauer; Jennifer Eberhardt; Carol C. Lochbaum
SuperBook is a hypertext browsing system designed to improve the usability of conventional documents. Successive versions of SuperBook were evaluated in a series of behavioral studies. Students searched for information in a statistics text presented either in conventional printed form or in SuperBook form. The best version of SuperBook enabled students to answer search questions more quickly and accurately than they could with the conventional text. Students wrote higher quality "open-book" essays using SuperBook than they did with the conventional text, and their subjective ratings of the documentation strongly favored SuperBook.
   This work is a case study of formative design-evaluation. Behavioral evaluation of the first version of SuperBook showed how design factors and user strategies affected search and established baseline performance measures with printed text. The second version of SuperBook was implemented with the goal of improving search accuracy and speed. User strategies that had proved effective in the first study were made very easy and attractive to use. System response time for common operations was greatly improved. Behavioral evaluation of the new SuperBook demonstrated its superiority to printed text and suggested additional improvements that were incorporated into "MiteyBook," a SuperBook implementation for PC-size screens. Search with MiteyBook proved to be approximately 25 percent faster and 25 percent more accurate than that obtained with a conventional printed book.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information systems applications, Office automation, Documentation, Human factors, Evaluation, Hypertext, Information search
Context and Orientation in Hypermedia Networks BIBAK 58-84
  Kenneth Utting; Nicole Yankelovich
The core of hypermedia's power lies in the complex networks of links that can be created within and between documents. However, these networks frequently overwhelm the user and become a source of confusion. Within Intermedia, we have developed the Web View - a tool for viewing and navigating such networks with a minimum of user confusion and disorientation. The key factors in the Web View's success are a display that combine a record of the user's path through the network with a map of the currently available links; a scope line that summarizes the number of documents and links in the network; and a set of commands that permit the user to open documents directly from the Web View.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Human factors, Hypermedia systems, Hypertext systems, Network browsers
A Data Model for Flexible Hypertext Database Systems BIBAK 85-100
  Frank Wm. Tompa
Hypertext and other page-oriented databases cannot be schematized in the same manner as record-oriented databases. As a result, most hypertext databases implicitly employ a data model based on a simple, unrestricted graph. This paper presents a hypergraph model for maintaining page-oriented databases in such a way that some of the functionality traditionally provided by database schemes can be available to hypertext databases. In particular, the model formalizes identification of commonality in the structure, set-at-a-time database access, and definition of user-specific views. An efficient implementation of the model is also discussed.
Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Languages, Data manipulation languages (DML), Information storage and retrieval, Information storage, Design, Languages, Directed hypergraphs, Hypertext, Text management, Videotex databases

TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 2

Research Contributions

Object Specialization BIBAK 103-122
  Edward Sciore
Specialization hierarchies typically are treated as type-level constructs and are used to define various inheritance mechanisms. In this paper we consider specialization at the level of objects. We show that doing so creates a more flexible and powerful notion of inheritance by allowing objects to define their own inheritance path. Object specialization can also be used to model certain forms of versioning, implement data abstraction, and provide a "classless" prototype-based language interface to the user.
Keywords: Programming languages, Language constructs, Database management, Languages, Artificial intelligence, Deduction and theorem proving, Design, Languages, Delegation, Inheritance, Object-oriented database
An Algebra for Structured Office Documents BIBAK 123-157
  Ralf Hartmut Guting; Roberto Zicari; David M. Choy
We describe a data model for structured office information objects, which we generically call "documents," and a practically useful algebraic language for the retrieval and manipulation of such objects. Documents are viewed as hierarchical structures; their layout (presentation) aspect is to be treated separately. The syntax and semantics of the language are defined precisely in terms of the formal model, an extended relational algebra.
   The proposed approach has several new features, some of which are particularly useful for the management of office information. The data model is based on nested sequences of tuples rather than nested relations. Therefore, sorting and sequence operations and the explicit handling of duplicates can be described by the model. Furthermore, this is the first model based on a many-sorted instead of a one-sorted algebra, which means that atomic data values as well as nested structures are objects of the algebra. As a consequence, arithmetic operations, aggregate functions, and so forth can be treated inside the model and need not be introduced as query language extensions to the model. Many-sorted algebra also allows arbitrary algebra expressions (with Boolean result) to be admitted as selection or join conditions and the results of arbitrary expressions to be embedded into tuples. In contrast to other formal models, this algebra can be used directly as a rich query language for office documents with precisely defined semantics.
Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Languages, Query languages, Miscellaneous, Database applications, Information systems applications, Office automation, Languages, Management, Theory, Extended relational algebra, Forms processing, Many-sorted algebra, Nested relations, Structured document, Tuple sequences
Partitioned Signature Files: Design Issues and Performance Evaluation BIBAK 158-180
  Dik Lun Lee; Chun-Wu Leng
A signature file acts as a filtering mechanism to reduce the amount of text that needs to be searched for a query. Unfortunately, the signature file itself must be exhaustively searched, resulting in degraded performance for a large file size. We propose to use a deterministic algorithm to divide a signature file into partitions, each of which contains signatures with the same "key." The signature keys in a partition can be extracted and represented as the partition's key. The search can then be confined to the subset of partitions whose keys match the query key. Our main concern here is to study methods for obtaining the keys and their performance in terms of their ability to reduce the search space.
   Owing to the reduction of search space, partitioning a signature file has a direct benefit in a sequential search (single-processor) environment. In a parallel environment, search can be conducted in parallel effectively by allocating one or more partitions to a processor. Partitioning the signature file with a deterministic method (as opposed to a random partitioning scheme) provides intraquery parallelism as well as interquery parallelism.
   In this paper, we outline the criteria for evaluating partitioning schemes. Three algorithms are described and studied. An analytical study of the performance of the algorithms is provided and the results are verified with simulation.
Keywords: Database management, Physical design, Access methods, Information storage and retrieval, Library automation, Information systems applications, Office automation, Text processing, Text editing, Design, Performance, Access method, Document retrieval, Information retrieval, Office automation, Parallel search, Performance evaluation, Superimposed coding, Surrogate file, Text retrieval

TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 3

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue

Research and Development in Information Retrieval BIBA 181-182
  W. Bruce Croft
This Special Issue contains selected papers from the SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval held at Cambridge, Massachusetts in June, 1989. The papers were selected by the program committee and revised for publication in TOIS. Information retrieval is a diverse field of research, and the areas covered at this conference include formal models, search strategies, hypermedia, storage structures, evaluation, natural language processing, interfaces, and knowledge-based architectures. The unifying goal of this research is the efficient and effective retrieval of complex, multimedia objects, with a primary focus on text documents.

Research Contributions

Optimal Polynomial Retrieval Functions Based on the Probability Ranking Principle BIBAK 183-204
  Norbert Fuhr
We show that any approach to developing optimum retrieval functions is based on two kinds of assumptions: first, a certain form of representation for documents and requests, and second, additional simplifying assumptions that predefine the type of the retrieval function. Then we describe an approach for the development of optimum polynomial retrieval functions: request-document pairs (fl,dm) are mapped onto description vectors x(fl,dm), and a polynomial function e(x) is developed such that it yields estimates of the probability of relevance P(R|x(fl,dm)) with minimum square errors. We give experimental results for the application of this approach to documents with weighted indexing as well as to documents with complex representations. In contrast to other probabilistic models, our approach yields estimates of the actual probabilities, it can handle very complex representations of documents and requests, and it can be easily applied to multivalued relevance scales. On the other hand, this approach is not suited to log-linear probabilistic models and it needs large samples of relevance feedback data for its application.
Keywords: Numerical analysis, Approximation, Least squares approximation, Information storage and retrieval, Content analysis and indexing, Indexing methods, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Retrieval methods Experimentation, Theory, Complex document representation, Linear retrieval functions, Multivalued relevance scales, Probabilistic indexing, Probabilistic retrieval, Probability ranking principle
A Critical Investigation of Recall and Precision as Measures of Retrieval System Performance BIBAK 205-229
  Vijay V. Raghavan; Gwang S. Jung; Peter Bollmann
Recall and precision are often used to evaluate the effectiveness of information retrieval systems. They are easy to define if there is a single query and if the retrieval result generated for the query is a linear ordering. However, when the retrieval results are weakly ordered, in the sense that several documents have an identical retrieval status value with respect to a query, some probabilistic notion of precision has to be introduced. Relevance probability, expected precision, and so forth, are some alternatives mentioned in the literature for this purpose. Furthermore, when many queries are to be evaluated and the retrieval results averaged over these queries, some method of interpolation of precision values at certain preselected recall levels is needed. The currently popular approaches for handling both a weak ordering and interpolation are found to be inconsistent, and the results obtained are not easy to interpret. Moreover, in cases where some alternatives are available, no comparative analysis that would facilitate the selection of a particular strategy has been provided. In this paper, we systematically investigate the various problems and issues associated with the use of recall and precision as measures of retrieval system performance. Our motivation is to provide a comparative analysis of methods available for defining precision in a probabilistic sense and to promote a better understanding of the various issues involved in retrieval performance evaluation.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, General, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Retrieval models, Information storage and retrieval, Miscellaneous, Systems evaluation, Performance measurement, Experimentation, Measurement, Performance, Theory, Evaluation measures, Expected precision, Expected search length, Fallout, Generality, Information retrieval, Precision, Probability of relevance, Recall, Stopping criterion
Storing Text Retrieval Systems on CD-ROM: Compression and Encryption Considerations BIBAK 230-245
  Shmuel T. Klein; Abraham Bookstein; Scott Deerwester
The emergence of the CD-ROM as a storage medium for full-text databases raises the question of the maximum size database that can be contained by this medium. As an example, the problem of storing the Tresor de la Langue Francaise on a CD-ROM is examined in this paper. The text alone of this database is 700 megabytes long, more than a CD-ROM can hold. In addition, the dictionary and concordance needed to access these data must be stored. A further constraint is that some of the material is copyrighted, and it is desirable that such material be difficult to decode except through software provided by the system. Pertinent approaches to compression of the various files are reviewed, and the compression of the text is related to the problem of data encryption: Specifically, it is shown that, under simple models of text generation, Huffman encoding produces a bit-string indistinguishable from a representation of coin flips.
Keywords: Data, Data encryption, Data, Coding and information theory, Information storage and retrieval, Information storage, Computer applications, Arts and humanities, Algorithms, Security, Bit-maps, CD-ROM, Full-text storage, Huffman coding
Knowledge-Based Search Tactics for an Intelligent Intermediary System BIBAK 246-270
  Philip J. Smith; Steven J. Shute; Deb Galdes; Mark H. Chignell
Research on the nature of knowledge-based systems for bibliographic information retrieval is summarized. Knowledge-based search tactics are then considered in terms of their role in the functioning of a semantically based search system for bibliographic information retrieval, EP-X. This system uses such tactics to actively assist users in defining or refining their topics of interest. It does so by applying these tactics to a knowledge base describing topics in a particular domain and to a database describing the contents of individual documents in terms of these topics. This paper, then, focuses on the two central concepts behind EP-X: semantically based search and knowledge-based search tactics.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Search process, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Frames and scripts, Human factors, Bibliographic information retrieval, Document retrieval, Knowledge-based search tactics, Knowledge-based systems, Semantically based search
Information Retrieval Using a Hypertext-Based Help System BIBAK 271-291
  F. R. Campagnoni; Kate Ehrlich
Hypertext offers users a simple, flexible way to navigate through electronic information systems but at the potential risk of becoming lost in the network of interconnected pieces of information. A study was conducted on information retrieval using a commercial hypertext-based help system. It was found that the predominant search strategy was "browsing" (characterized by scanning tables of contents and paging through topics), rather than employing the indexes ("analytical search"). Although subjects did not get lost, individuals with better spatial visualization skills, as measured by a standardized test, were faster at retrieving information and returned to the top of the information hierarchy less often than those with poorer spatial visualization skills. These results support previous studies that have found a strong preference by users for browsing in hypertext systems and extend those findings to a new domain (help), a different type of user interface, and a different information architecture. In addition, the results demonstrate the importance of spatial visualization ability for efficient navigation and information retrieval in a hierarchical hypertext system.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Search process, Documentation, Human factors, Help systems, Hypertext, Individual differences, Visualization
The Constituent Object Parser: Syntactic Structure Matching for Information Retrieval BIBAK 292-316
  Douglas P. Metzler; Stephanie W. Haas
The Constituent Object Parser is a shallow syntactic parser designed to produce dependency tree representations of syntactic structure that can be used to specify the intended meanings of a sentence more precisely than can the key terms of the sentence alone. It is intended to improve the precision/ recall performance of information retrieval and similar text processing applications by providing more powerful matching procedures. The dependency tree representation and the relationship between the intended use of this parser and its design is described, and several problems concerning the processing of ambiguous structures are discussed.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Content analysis and indexing, Linguistic processing, Information storage and retrieval, Search and retrieval, Query formulation, Retrieval models, Selection process, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language parsing and understanding, Text analysis, Design, Dependency-based parsing, Precision, Relevancy judgments

TOIS 1989 Volume 7 Issue 4

Research Contributions

Work at Home for Computer Professionals: Current Attitudes and Future Prospects BIBAK 317-338
  Margrethe H. Olson
The subject of this paper is work performed in the home with computer and communications technology, also known as telecommuting. The article reports on two studies of work at home: a quasi-experimental field study of organizational telecommuting pilot programs, and an attitude survey comparing computer professionals who work at home to employees doing similar jobs in traditional office settings. The results of the field study demonstrated that working in the home had little impact on employee performance; however, supervisors were not comfortable with remote workers and preferred their employees to be on site. In the survey, work in the home was related to lower job satisfaction, lower organizational commitment, and higher role conflict. The survey also included computer professionals who worked at home in addition to the regular work day. The author suggests that performing additional unpaid work in the home after regular work hours may be an important trend that merits further investigation. The studies demonstrate that while computer and communications technology have the potential to relax constraints on information work in terms of space and time, in today's traditional work environments, corporate culture and management style limit acceptance of telecommuting as a substitute for office work.
Keywords: Computers and society, Social issues, Employment,; Computers and society, Organizational impacts, The computing profession, Occupations, Human factors, Management, Performance, Telecommuting
The 3DIS: An Extensible Object-Oriented Information Management Environment BIBAK 339-377
  Hamideh Afsarmanesh; Dennis McLeod
The 3-Dimensional Information Space (3DIS) is an extensible object-oriented framework for information management. It is specifically oriented toward supporting the database requirements for data-intensive information system applications in which (1) information objects of various levels of abstraction an modalities must be accommodated, (2) descriptive and structural information (metadata) is rich and dynamic, and (3) users who are not database experts must be able to design, manipulate, and evolve databases. In response to these needs, the 3DIS provides an approach in which data and the descriptive information about data are handled uniformly in an extensible framework. The 3DIS provides a simple, geometric, and formal representation of data which forms a basis for understanding, defining, and manipulating databases. Several prototype implementations based upon the 3DIS have been designed and implemented and are in experimental use.
Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Data models, Schema and subschema, Database management, Systems, Information systems applications, Office automation, Algorithms, Design, Languages, Management, Extensible database systems, Knowledge representation, Object-oriented databases, Office automation systems
C-TODOS: An Automatic Tool for Office System Conceptual Design BIBAK 378-419
  B. Pernici; F. Barbic; M. G. Fugini; R. Maiocchi; J. R. Rames; C. Rolland
Designers of office information systems, which share various features with information systems and software development, need to carefully consider special issues such as document and communication flows, user roles, user interfaces, and available technology.
   The ESPRIT Project, Automatic TOols for Designing Office Information Systems (TODOS), proposes an integrated environment for office design with tools for requirements collection and analysis, conceptual design, rapid prototyping, and architecture selection.
   Conceptual design is a central phase of office system design: It provides correct and complete functional requirements from which the office prototype will be developed and the final architecture chosen. C-TODOS, the conceptual design support tool developed within TODOS, is presented in this paper. The purpose of C-TODOS is to give the designer tools for supporting conceptual modeling activities with the goal of obtaining correct, consistent, and good quality office-functional specifications.
   This paper presents C-TODOS within the TODOS development environment and describes the basic features of the tool: the TODOS Conceptual Model, the Specification Database, and the Modeling, Query and consistency Checking Modules. The use of C-TODOS, through illustration of the development of a test case, and possible future research are discussed.
Keywords: Software engineering, Requirements/specifications, Languages, Methodologies, Tools, Database management, Logical design, Schema and subschema, Database management, Languages, Query languages, Management of computing and information systems, Software management, Software development, Design, Documentation, Analysis and design of systems, Design method, Design tool, Office automation systems, Semantic model, Semantic query language, Specification database