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ACM Transactions on Information Systems 11

Editors:Robert B. Allen
Standard No:ISSN 1046-8188; HF S548.125 A33
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 1
  2. TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 2
  3. TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 3
  4. TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 4

TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 1

Research Contributions

HDM -- A Model-Based Approach to Hypertext Application Design BIBAKPDF 1-26
  Franca Garzotto; Paolo Paolini; Daniel Schwabe
Hypertext development should benefit from a systematic, structured development, especially in the case of large and complex applications. A structured approach to hypertext development suggests the notion of authoring-in-the-large. Authoring-in-the-large allows the description of overall classes of information elements and navigational structures of complex applications without much concern with implementation details, and in a system-independent manner. The paper presents HDM (Hypertext Design Model), a first step towards defining a general purpose model for authoring-in-the-large. Some of the most innovative features of HDM are: the notion of perspective; the identification of different categories of links (structural links, application links, and perspective links) with different representational roles; the distinction between hyperbase and access structures; and the possibility of easily integrating the structure of a hypertext application with its browsing semantics. HDM can be used in different manners: as a modeling device or as an implementation device. As a modeling device, it supports producing high level specifications of existing or to-be-developed applications. As an implementation device, it is the basis for designing tools that directly support application development. One of the central advantages of HDM in the design and practical construction of hypertext applications is that the definition of a significant number of links can be derived automatically from a conceptual-design level description. Examples of usage of HDM are also included.
Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Data models, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information systems applications, Office automation, Text processing, Miscellaneous, Hypertext, Design, Languages, Derived links, HDM, Hypertext design models, Hypertext applications, Hypertext structures, Models
Semantic Data Modeling of Hypermedia Associations BIBAKPDF 27-50
  John L. Schnase; John J. Leggett; David L. Hicks; Ron L. Szabo
Many important issues in the design and implementation of hypermedia system functionality focus on the way interobject connections are represented, manipulated, and stored. A prototypic system called HB1 is being designed to meet the storage needs of next-generation hypermedia system architectures. HB1 is referred to as a hyperbase management system (HBMS) because it supports, not only the storage and manipulation of information, but the storage and manipulation of the connectivity data that link information together to form hypermedia. Among HB1's distinctions is its use of a semantic network database system to manage physical storage. Here, basic semantic modeling concepts as they apply to hypermedia systems are reviewed, and experiences using a semantic database system in HB1 are discussed.
   Semantic data models attempt to provide more powerful mechanisms for structuring objects than are provided by traditional approaches. In HB1, it was necessary to abstract interobject connectivity, behaviors, and information for hypermedia. Building on top of a semantic database system facilitated such a separation and made the structural aspects of hypermedia conveniently accessible to manipulation. This becomes particularly important in the implementation of structure-related operations such as structural queries. Our experience suggests that an integrated semantic object-oriented database paradigm appears to be superior to purely relational, semantic, or object-oriented methodologies for representing the structurally complex interrelationships that arise in hypermedia.
Keywords: Models and principles, Systems and information theory, General systems theory, Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Systems, Distributed systems, Database management, Database applications, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information storage and retrieval, Miscellaneous, Design, Management, Advanced hypermedia system architecture, Hyperbase management system, Semantic object-oriented database
An Investigation of Content Representation Using Text Grammars BIBAKPDF 51-75
  D. V. Rama; Padmini Srinivasan
We extend prior work on a model for natural language text representation and retrieval using a linguistic device called text grammar. We demonstrate the value of this approach in accessing relevant items from a collection of empirical abstracts in a medical domain. The advantage, when compared to traditional keyword retrieval, is that this approach is a significant move towards knowledge representation and retrieval. Text representation in this model includes keywords and their conceptual roles in the text. In particular, it involves extracting TOPIC predicates representing the research issue addressed and DESIGN predicates representing important methodological features of the empirical study. Preliminary experimentation shows that keywords exhibit a variety of text-grammar roles in a text database. Second, as intuitively expected, retrieval using TOPIC predicates identifies a smaller subset of texts than Boolean retrieval does. These empirical results along with the theoretical work indicate that the representation and retrieval strategies proposed have a significant potential. Finally, EMPIRICIST, a prototype system, is described. In it the text representation predicates are implemented as a network while retrieval is through constrained-spreading activation strategies.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Content analysis and indexing, Linguistic processing, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Text analysis, Design, Experimentation, Theory, Text grammar, Text representation for medical abstracts, Text representation for retrieval

Practice and Experience

TAE Plus: Transportable Applications Environment Plus: A User Interface Development Environment BIBAKPDF 76-101
  Martha R. Szczur; Sylvia B. Sheppard
The Transportable Applications Environment Plus (TAE Plus) is a NASA-developed user interface development environment (UIDE) for the rapid prototyping, evaluation, implementation, and management of user interfaces. TAE Plus provides an intuitive What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) WorkBench for designing an application's user interface. The WorkBench supports the creation and sequencing of displays, including real-time, data-driven display objects. Users can define context-sensitive help for a target application. They can rehearse the user interface and also generate code automatically. In addition, TAE Plus contains application services for the runtime manipulation and management of the user interface. Based on Motif and the MIT X Window System, TAE Plus runs on a variety of Unix- or VMS-based workstations. TAE Plus is an evolving system. User-defined requirements and new technology guide the development of each new version. Advances in virtual operating systems, human factors, computer graphics, command language design, standardization, and software portability are monitored and incorporated as they become available.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, User interface management systems, Design, Graphical user interfaces, Prototyping, User interface development tools

TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 2

Research Contributions

Designing Database Interfaces with DBface BIBAKPDF 105-132
  Roger King; Michael Novak
DBface is a toolkit for designing interfaces to object-oriented databases. It provides users with a set of tools for building custom interfaces with minimal programming. This is accomplished by combining techniques from User Interface Management Systems (UIMS) with a built-in knowledge about the specific kinds of techniques used by object-oriented databases. DBface allows users to create graphical constructs and interactive techniques by taking advantage of an object-oriented database environment and tools. Not only can database tools be used for creating an interface, but information about the interface being built is stored within a database schema and is syntactically consistent with all other schema information. Thus, an interface can deal with data and schema information, including information about another interface. This allows for easy reusability of graphical constructs such as data representations.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Data, Data storage representations, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Database management, Languages, Database management, Systems, Query processing, Database management, Database applications, Computer graphics, Graphics utilities, Design, Experimentation, Human factors, Graphical interfaces, Object-oriented databases, User interface management systems
Estimating Accesses in Partitioned Signature File Organizations BIBAKPDF 133-142
  Paulo Ciaccia; Pavel Zezula
We show that performance of some basic methods for the partitioning of signature files, namely Quick Filter and Fixed Prefix, can be easily evaluated by means of a closed formula. The approximation is based on well-known results from probability theory, and, as shown by simulations, introduces no appreciable errors when compared with the exact, cumbersome formulas used so far. Furthermore, we prove that the exact formulas for the two methods coincide. Although this does not imply that the two methods behave in the same way, it sheds light on the way they could be compared.
Keywords: Data, Files, Organization/structure, Database management, Physical design, Access methods, Database management, Systems, Query processing, Information storage and retrieval, Information storage, File organization, Design, Performance, Access method, Information retrieval, Performance evaluation, Superimposed coding
Incremental Clustering for Dynamic Information Processing BIBAKPDF 143-164
  Fazli Can
Clustering of very large document databases is useful for both searching and browsing. The periodic updating of clusters is required due to the dynamic nature of databases. An algorithm for incremental clustering is introduced. The complexity and cost analysis of the algorithm together with an investigation of its expected behavior are presented. Through empirical testing it is shown that the algorithm achieves cost effectiveness and generates statistically valid clusters that are compatible with those of reclustering. The experimental evidence shows that the algorithm creates an effective and efficient retrieval environment.
Keywords: Database management, Physical design, Access methods, Information storage and retrieval, Information storage, File organization, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Clustering, Retrieval models, Search process, Algorithms, Design, Performance, Best-match cluster search, Cluster validity, Cover coefficient, Dynamic information retrieval environment, Information retrieval, Information retrieval effectiveness, Information retrieval efficiency

Practice and Experience

A Reappraisal of Structured Analysis: Design in an Organizational Context BIBAKPDF 165-193
  Jorgen P. Bansler; Keld Bødker
We review Structured Analysis as presented by Yourdon and DeMarco. First, we examine the implicit assumptions embodied in the method about the nature of organizations, work processes, and design. Following this we present the results of an exploratory study, conducted to find out how the method is applied in practice. This study reveals that while some of the tools of Structured Analysis -- notably the data flow diagrams -- are used and combined with other tools, the designers do not follow the analysis and design procedures prescribed by the method. Our findings suggest that there is a gap between the way systems development is portrayed in the normative technical literature and the way in which it is carried out.
Keywords: Software engineering, Requirements/specifications, Methodologies, Tools, Software engineering, Management, Life cycle, Software engineering, Design, Methodologies, Representation, Models and principles, General, Computer applications, Administrative data processing, Business, Financial, Design, Documentation, Management, Design process, Qualitative empirical studies, Structured analysis

TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 3

Editorial: Virtual Worlds BIB 195-196
  Steven K. Feiner; Simon J. Gibbs

Special Issue on Virtual Worlds

Virtual Reality for Palmtop Computers BIBAKPDF 197-218
  George W. Fitzmaurice; Shumin Zhai; Mark H. Chignell
We are exploring how virtual reality theories can be applied toward palmtop computers. In our prototype, called the Chameleon, a small 4-inch hand-held monitor acts as a palmtop computer with the capabilities of a Silicon Graphics workstation. A 6D input device and a response button are attached to the small monitor to detect user gestures and input selections for issuing commands. An experiment was conducted to evaluate our design and to see how well depth could be perceived in the small screen compared to a large 21-inch screen, and the extent to which movement of the small display (in a palmtop virtual reality condition) could improve depth perception. Results show that with very little training, perception of depth in the palmtop virtual reality condition is about as good as corresponding depth perception in a large (but static) display. Variations to the initial design are also discussed, along with issues to be explored in future research. Our research suggests that palmtop virtual reality may support effective navigation and search and retrieval, in rich and portable information spaces.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Retrieval models Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Input devices and strategies, Interaction styles, Computer graphics, Hardware architecture, Three-dimensional displays, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Computer graphics, Three-dimensional graphics and realism, Virtual reality, Design, Human factors, 3D control and display, Palmtop computers, Virtual reality
A Design Method for "Whole-Hand" Human-Computer Interaction BIBAKPDF 219-238
  David J. Sturman; David Zeltzer
A disciplined investigation of "whole-hand" interfaces (often glove based, currently) and their appropriate use for the control of complex task domains is embodied by the design method for whole-hand input. This is a series of procedures -- including a common basis for the description, design, and evaluation of whole-hand input, together with an accompanying taxonomy -- that enumerates key issues and points for consideration in the development of whole-hand input. The method helps designers focus on task requirements, isolate problem areas, and choose appropriate whole-hand input strategies for their specified tasks. Several experiments were conducted to validate and demonstrate the use of the design method. The results of the experiments are summarized and discussed.
Keywords: Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Input devices, Interaction techniques, Interface design, User interface, Virtual environments
Evaluating 3D Task Performance for Fish Tank Virtual Worlds BIBAKPDF 239-265
  Kevin W. Arthur; Kellogg S. Booth; Colin Ware
"Fish tank virtual reality" refers to the use of a standard graphics workstation to achieve real-time display of 3D scenes using stereopsis and dynamic head-coupled perspective. Fish tank VR has a number of advantages over head-mounted immersion VR which makes it more practical for many applications. After discussing the characteristics of fish tank VR, we describe a set of three experiments conducted to study the benefits of fish tank VR over a traditional workstation graphics display. These experiments tested user performance under two conditions: (a) whether or not stereoscopic display was used and (b) whether or not the perspective display was coupled dynamically to the positions of a user's eyes. Subjects using a comparison protocol consistently preferred head coupling without stereo over stereo without head coupling. Error rates in a tree-tracing task similar to one used by Sollenberger and Milgram showed an order of magnitude improvement for head-coupled stereo over a static (nonhead-coupled) display, and the benefits gained by head coupling were more significant than those gained from stereo alone. The final experiment examined two factors that are often associated with human performance in virtual worlds: the lag (or latency) in receiving and processing tracker data and the rate at which frames are updated. For the tree-tracing task, lag had a larger impact on performance than did frame update rate, with lag having a multiplicative effect on response time. We discuss the relevance of these results for the display of complex 3D data and highlight areas requiring further study.
Keywords: Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Computer graphics, Three-dimensional graphics and realism, Human factors, Head-coupled display, Stereopsis, Virtual reality, Virtual worlds
The Role of Another Spatial Dimension in Software Visualization BIBAKPDF 266-286
  Hideki Koike
The primary objective of this article is to demonstrate the use of 3D-computer graphics in visualizing shapeless software information by focusing on performance monitoring of parallel/concurrent computer systems. Issues are addressed from two different perspectives: expressiveness of output media and user cognition. The former describes the limitations of 2D output media. The latter refers to a user's cognitive load when using 2D representations in a multiple-window environment. We show how these problems can be minimized by using a 3D framework. A prototype visualization system called VOGUE has been developed. A 3D framework is used to visualize the execution pattern of two parallel/concurrent computer systems: an electric power control system and a parallel manipulator system. Through these visualizations, we show the effectiveness of our framework. The applications of 3D frameworks to other kinds of software information are also described.
Keywords: Programming techniques, Concurrent programming, Distributed programming, Parallel programming, Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Software engineering, Distribution and maintenance, Version control, Programming languages, Language classifications, Concurrent, distributed, and parallel languages, Object-oriented languages, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Computer graphics, Three-dimensional graphics and realism, Virtual reality Computer graphics, Applications, Design, Human factors, Electric power control system, Information visualization, Parallel manipulator
Decoupled Simulation in Virtual Reality with the MR Toolkit BIBAKPDF 287-317
  Chris Shaw; Mark Green; Jiandong Liang; Yunqi Sun
The Virtual Reality (VR) user interface style allows natural hand and body motions to manipulate virtual objects in 3D environments using one or more 3D input devices. This style is best suited to application areas where traditional two-dimensional styles fall short, such as scientific visualization, architectural visualization, and remote manipulation. Currently, the programming effort required to produce a VR application is too large, and many pitfalls must be avoided in the creation of successful VR programs. In this article we describe the Decoupled Simulation Model (DSM) for creating successful VR applications, and a software system that embodies this model. The MR Toolkit simplifies the development of VR applications by providing standard facilities required by a wide range of VR user interfaces. These facilities include support for distributed computing, head-mounted displays, room geometry management, performance monitoring, hand input devices, and sound (audio) feedback. The MR Toolkit encourages programmers to structure their applications to take advantage of the distributed computing capabilities of workstation networks, improving the application's performance. In this article, the motivations and the architecture of the toolkit are outlined; the programmer's view is described; and a simple application is briefly described.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, Software libraries, User interfaces, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Input devices and strategies, Theory and methods, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Device independence, Interaction techniques, Computer graphics, Three-dimensional graphics and realism, Virtual reality, Design, Human factors, Interactive 3D graphics, User interface software

TOIS 1993 Volume 11 Issue 4

Special Issue on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

Guest Editorial BIB 319
  Thomas Malone; Norbert Streitz
Groupwork Close Up: A Comparison of the Group Design Process With and Without a Simple Group Editor BIBAKPDF 321-348
  Judith S. Olson; Gary M. Olson; Marianne Storrosten; Mark Carter
A simple collaborative tool, a shared text editor called ShrEdit, changed the way groups of designers performed their work, and changed it for the better. First, the designs produced by the 19 groups of three designers were of higher quality than those of the 19 groups who worked with conventional whiteboard, paper and pencil. The groups with the new tool reported liking their work process a little less, probably because they had to adapt their work style to a new tool. We expected, from the brainstorming literature and recent work on Group Support Systems, that the reason the designs were of better quality was that the supported groups generated more ideas. To our surprise, the groups working with ShrEdit generated fewer design ideas, but apparently better ones. It appears that the tool helped the supported groups keep more focused on the core issues in the emerging design, to waste less time on less important topics, and to capture what was said as they went. This suggests that small workgroups can capitalize on the free access they have to a shared workspace, without requiring a facilitator or a work process embedded in the software.
Keywords: Information systems, User/machine systems, Human factors, Human information processing, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Evaluation/methodology, Synchronous interaction, Design, Human factors, Collaboration, Concurrent editing, Face-to-face work, Group support system, Groupware, Small group behavior
Integration of Interpersonal Space and Shared Workspace: ClearBoard Design and Experiments BIBAKPDF 349-375
  Hiroshi Ishii; Minoru Kobayashi; Jonathan Grudin
We describe the evolution of the novel shared drawing medium ClearBoard which was designed to seamlessly integrate an interpersonal space and a shared workspace. ClearBoard permits coworkers in two locations to draw with color markers or with electronic pens and software tools while maintaining direct eye contact and the ability to employ natural gestures. The ClearBoard design is based on the key metaphor of "talking through and drawing on a transparent glass window." We describe the evolution from ClearBoard-1 (which enables shared video drawing) to ClearBoard-2 (which incorporates TeamPaint, a multiuser paint editor). Initial observations and findings gained through the experimental use of the prototype, including the feature of "gaze awareness," are discussed. Further experiments are conducted with ClearBoard-0 (a simple mockup), ClearBoard-1, and an actual desktop as a control. In the settings we examined, the ClearBoard environment led to more eye contact and potential awareness of collaborator's gaze direction over the traditional desktop environment.
Keywords: Information systems application, Communications applications, Computer conferencing and teleconferencing, Information interfaces and presentation, Multimedia information systems, Video, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Evaluation/methodology, Synchronous interaction, Design, Human factors, Eye contact, Gaze awareness, Gaze direction, Groupware, Seamless design, Shared drawing, Video conference
Capturing, Structuring, and Representing Ubiquitous Audio BIBAKPDF 376-400
  Debby Hindus; Chris Schmandt; Chris Horner
Although talking is an integral part of collaboration, there has been little computer support for acquiring and accessing the contents of conversations. Our approach has focused on ubiquitous audio, or the unobtrusive capture of speech interactions in everyday work environments. Speech recognition technology cannot yet transcribe fluent conversational speech, so the words themselves are not available for organizing the captured interactions. Instead, the structure of an interaction is derived from acoustical information inherent in the stored speech and augmented by user interaction during or after capture. This article describes applications for capturing and structuring audio from office discussions and telephone calls, and mechanisms for later retrieval of these stored interactions. An important aspect of retrieval is choosing an appropriate visual representation, and this article describes the evolution of a family of representations across a range of applications. Finally, this work is placed within the broader context of desktop audio, mobile audio applications, and social implications.
Keywords: Computer systems organization, Special-purpose and application-based systems, Information storage and retrieval, Content analysis and indexing, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Information interfaces and presentation, Multimedia information systems, Audio input/output, Information interfaces and presentation, User interfaces, Interaction styles, Information interfaces and presentation, Group and organization interfaces, Asynchronous interaction, Synchronous interaction, Design, Human factors, Audio interactions, Collaborative work, Multimedia workstation software, Semi-structured data, Software telephony, Stored speech, Ubiquitous computing
Phone-Based CSCW: Tools and Trials BIBAKPDF 401-424
  Paul Resnick
Telephones are the most ubiquitous, best-networked, and simplest computer terminals available today. They have been used for voice mail but largely overlooked as a platform for asynchronous cooperative-work applications such as event calendars, issue discussions, and question-and-answer gathering. HyperVoice is a software toolkit for constructing such applications. Its building blocks are high-level presentation formats for collections of structured voice messages. The presentation formats can themselves be presented and manipulated, enabling significant customization of applications by phone. Results of two field trials suggest social-context factors that will influence the success or failure of phone-based cooperative work applications in particular settings.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Programming languages, Language classifications, Specialized application languages, Human factors, Application generator, Cooperative work, Groupware, Interactive voice response, Phone-based interface, Semi-structured messages, Telephone bulletin board, Voice mail