HCI Bibliography Home | HCI Conferences | DOC Archive | Detailed Records | RefWorks | EndNote | Hide Abstracts
DOC Tables of Contents: 949596979899000102030405060708091011121314

ACM 22nd International Conference on Computer Documentation

Fullname:22nd International Conference on Computer Documentation
Note:The Engineering of Quality Documentation
Editors:Scott Tilley; Shihong Huang
Location:Memphis, TN, USA
Dates:2004-Oct-10 to 2004-Oct-13
Standard No:ISBN: 1-58113-809-1; ACM Order Number: 613040; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: DOC04
Links:Conference Home Page
  1. Keynote Address
  2. Awards
  3. Documentation quality
  4. Hypermedia documentation
  5. Document analysis 1
  6. Design of communication
  7. Lessons learned
  8. Document analysis 2
  9. DITA
  10. GDOC 4
  11. LID 1

Keynote Address

Improving documentation quality through advances in computational discourse BIBFull-Text 1
  Art Graesser


Keeping pace with members: the re-engineering (transformation) of STC BIBAFull-Text 2
  Thea Teich
The 2004 SIGDOC conference deals with the "implications of making communication design a systematic process of specification, creation, management, and evolution--in short, an engineering approach." Over the past three years, and more intensely, over the past 12 months or so, the STC board of directors has been using a similar approach to transform the Society for Technical Communication to an organization more responsive to the diverse and changing needs of its diverse and changing members and more able to take advantage of changing technology to meet those needs. The transformation is far from finished and far from concrete in its processes--but we are on the path and after months of members questioning, "why transform," the queries are now of the "how" variety. The presentation by STC immediate past president Thea Teich at the SIGDOC Diana Award luncheon will cover why and how STC is transforming, and why and how it will continue to be even more deserving of this Diana Award when its transformation is complete.
Way beyond ROI BIBAFull-Text 3
  Alan Cooper
Executives and technical managers are demanding that usability professionals justify their work with improved ROI. In his talk, Cooper shows how a better understanding of the economics of software moves us way beyond mere ROI to the dramatic reduction of the high rate of software project failure, currently well in excess of 50%.

Documentation quality

The documentation of quality engineering: applying use cases to drive change in software engineering models BIBAFull-Text 4-13
  Ashley Williams
This paper examines how documentation is used to create "quality" engineering processes in software development, focusing on recent industry trends of adopting use case driven software engineering models, to investigate a phenomenon that in this paper I call "genre dumping." The paper aims to address questions about how software development methods change under a use-case driven model. For example, is it really that easy to adopt the use case methodology? The paper draws from a 24-month case study of a small cross-disciplinary team of software designers, developers, testers, and managers who are helping build a large in-house application for a multinational financial services corporation called "Financial Capital" (pseudonym). This project was selected for study because a use case driven model was being applied to explicitly change software engineering practices: use cases were newly adopted and thus unfamiliar to those involved in the software development project.
   Presented are selected results of qualitative and quantitative analyses of textual and interview data. The findings are interpreted using rhetorical genre theory, which features a large and growing body of workplace research about the ways documents enable (and constrain) people to get work done. The results show that textual features of the documents of the older design methods persist in the newly adopted use cases and that readers' approaches to text-related meaning making also persist, indicating generic recurrence. The findings also show that conflict occurs at the same sites where recurrence occurs. The paper concludes with discussions of implications for technical communicators and genre theorists interested in technical communication.
Automatic evaluation of aspects of document quality BIBAFull-Text 14-16
  David F. Dufty; Danielle McNamara; Max Louwerse; Ziqiang Cai; Arthur C. Graesser
Coh-Metrix is a web-based application currently in development that automatically evaluates text. It uses two central concepts from discourse processing: text-based cohesion and situation-model based coherence. Cohesion is the degree to which components of the text are linked. Coherence is the representation of the world that the text conveys. Our intention is for Coh-Metrix to eventually map the cohesion of a text to the background knowledge and reading skills of the reader. Coh-Metrix will then be able to give feedback to a writer about which aspects of the text are cohesive and which lack cohesion. This will enable the writer to determine which aspects of the text need to be improved. Applications of Coh-Metrix on document quality as well as other future directions for the development of Coh-Metrix are discussed.
Revising documentation deliverables based on usability evaluation findings: a case study BIBAFull-Text 17-18
  Dave Yeats
As various usability-testing methods continue to gain in popularity in software development organizations, it is time to examine how software documentation can also benefit from usability evaluation. This short paper briefly describes a case study in which a software documentation team used the findings from a usability study of their software installation manual to justify a large change in the architecture of their information deliverables. Specifically, the team chose to cease delivery of their installation documentation in a printed manual format in favor of context-sensitive online help delivered directly in the installation wizard interface. The online help version of the installation instructions meets the users' usability requirements by allowing users to access information directly from the interface itself.

Hypermedia documentation

A next generation of digital genres: expanding eocumentation into animation and virtual reality BIBAFull-Text 19-26
  David E. Hailey
The purpose of this paper is to discuss virtual reality and interactive animation as potential documentation tools for training and information distribution and to discuss applications available for developing these genres.
A self-paced approach to hypermedia design for patient education BIBAFull-Text 27-32
  Debopriyo Roy
Traditional theories on multimedia design have considered the importance of modality effect to a large extent. The stress on modality effect has often de-emphasized the importance of what information architecture can do to control modality effect if information presentation is self-paced instead of system paced. We have considered a patient education module as our case study. I propose a conversational interactive patient education module as a solution which responds to individual reader needs during hypermedia interaction. In this article, I take an initial step towards this approach, testing patient education modules with and without narration to support text and static graphics. Our results suggest that levels of reader comprehension and accuracy for modules with and without narration have similar performance. Readers have shown a preference towards using narration, online text and graphics based on individual task, if the system permits a self-paced interaction. Thus, we argue that modality effect may be influenced with a self-paced system.
Documenting software systems with views IV: documenting web transaction design with UWAT+ BIBAFull-Text 33-40
  Damiano Distante; Scott Tilley; Shihong Huang
This paper describes an approach to documenting the conceptual design of Web Transactions using UWAT+. A Web Transaction is a collection of serial and/or parallel activities that contributes to achieving a user-oriented business objective using a Web-based application. UWAT+ is a meta-model for describing the various aspects of a Web Transaction in a holistic manner. It is an extension of the Transaction Design Model that is part of the Ubiquitous Web Applications (UWA) framework, a comprehensive framework for designing ubiquitous Web applications. A series of (extended) UML diagrams are used to graphically document the UWAT+ meta-model, which greatly facilitates adoption of the approach by practicing software engineers and technical writers. Use of the approach for documenting Web Transaction designs in both forward and reverse engineering processes is described.

Document analysis 1

Signal to noise ratio of information in documentation BIBAFull-Text 41-44
  Michael J. Albers
The signal to noise ratio is a common concept in radio communications and electronic communication in general. For a radio, the static is the noise. Too much static and the storm report gets drowned out, or at least you must listen closely to understand the announcer. Unfortunately, information designers do not posses a clear cut set of techniques available to electrical engineers. For information systems, taking the raw data in a system and deciding what is signal and what is noise proves to be extremely difficult. This paper will examine how the concept of signal to noise ratio can be applied to documentation. It will consider how the need to address different tasks and audience forces compromises on the writer to meet those different needs, when each audience has different definitions of which information constitutes signal and which constitutes noise.
Semantic thumbnails: a novel method for summarizing document collections BIBAFull-Text 45-51
  Arijit Sengupta; Mehmet Dalkilic; James Costello
The concept of thumbnails is common in image representation. A thumbnail is a highly compressed version of an image that provides a small, yet complete visual representation to the human eye. We propose the adaptation of the concept of thumbnails to the domain of documents, whereby a thumbnail of any document can be generated from its semantic content, providing an adequate amount of information about the documents. However, unlike image thumbnails, document thumbnails are mainly for the consumption of software such as search engines, and other content processing systems. With the advent of the semantic web, the requirement for machine processing of documents has become extremely important. We give particular attention to electronic documents in XML and in RDF/XML, with a view towards the processing of documents in the semantic web.
Exstatic: a generic static checker applied to documentation systems BIBAFull-Text 52-57
  S. N. I. Mount; R. M. Newman; R. J. Low; A. Mycroft
Exstatic is a generic static checker developed by the author to address many of the practical problems in program development. Static checking provides a valuable means for automating time consuming checks not only concerned with program correctness (writing the right program), but also to do with style (writing the program right). Previous static checkers have been closely coupled with compilation systems, and therefore tend to be applicable to the code itself and not to all of the textual information (such as makefiles, comments, documentation sources) surrounding the code. The generic nature of Exstatic allows it to overcome these boundaries, and indeed it can be applied to any medium for which there is a formally definable syntax and (to an extent) semantics. Exstatic can therefore be used to increase the productivity and quality of documentation of programs, checking for such things as adherence to house style, consistency with the program being documented and self consistency. This paper describes the design and use of Exstatic, with particular reference to its use in documentation systems.

Design of communication

Engineering creativity: the Bauhaus and the future of technical communication BIBAFull-Text 58-63
  Carrie Clegg Gilbert
In response to the steadily increasing adoption of content management strategies such as single sourcing in the practice of technical communication, many critics have noted the absence of adequate theory underlying such implementations. This article surveys the theoretical literature currently informing content management, discusses two traditional ways in which new theories develop, and proposes a third "hybrid" approach to theory creation. This approach is then applied by using a critical analysis of the Bauhaus to inform a possible theory base of content management, relying on the two fields' similar motivations and obstacles, a parallel that is illustrated with an example of reusable learning objects in e-learning.
Christopher Alexander's fifteen properties applied to the design of communication BIBAFull-Text 64-71
  John W., Jr. Stamey; Thomas L. Honeycutt
This paper examines Christopher Alexander's Fifteen Fundamental Properties of Living Structures, and their relationship to the design of communication through website development. The Fifteen Properties are found to describe and provide solutions to a number of common quality problems in websites. In the spirit of design patterns, originated by Alexander, each Property is presented as part of a pattern describing a design problem in the website context, and its resolution through appropriate application of the Property.
Solutions documentation BIBAFull-Text 72-74
  Vanadis Crawford; Angela Pitts; Rosalind Radcliffe; Leah Ann Seifert
In today's software environment, more and more products must be installed and configured in concert with one another. Unfortunately, most software is developed product-by-product and the approach to information development is in alignment with the individual development projects. In the end, a user may have to have as many as 20 publications open and 7 help systems up to understand how to implement the overall solution for his or her installation. This paper will discuss the need for cross-product, solutions-oriented documentation, the costs, benefits, and pitfalls of this type of documentation, and some ideas of how this type of documentation can be implemented.

Lessons learned

Assessing effectiveness of personality style in documentation BIBAFull-Text 75-82
  Kenneth Sayles; David G. Novick
This paper extends previous work by other researchers that indicated that users of computers preferred a computer with a personality that was similar to theirs. We conducted a similar experiment, but looking beyond preference to see if the personality of documentation would make a difference in the user's performance. Our data suggest did not indicate that personality match affects performance; and if such a relationship exists it is likely to be weak. We discuss the related research, describe our methodology, present our results, and describe their implications and limitations.
Cooperative writing: achieving coordination together and apart BIBAFull-Text 83-89
  Jason Swarts
Cooperative writing requires a coordinated, engineered process. Groups must achieve coordination at three levels: a shared contextual motivation that translates into group actions, which operationalize as drafting activities. The arrangement of material resources in face-to-face settings supports those communication events. When efforts at coordination are moved online, however, the material and temporal means of support change. Coordination efforts become distributed over time and media, affecting the quality of coordination achieved.
   This paper explores the ways that a group of writers built coordination through while drafting a survey research instrument. Based on this case study, I recommend ways to consider technology purchases to support cooperation.
Post-training support for learning technology BIBAFull-Text 90-96
  Sam, Jr. Snoddy; David G. Novick
To examine the effects of post-training support, we studied the introduction of new gradebook software in a public high school. The school's 108 faculty members received training on the software, and approximately half of the faculty received post-training support for eight weeks. The study measured the faculty's current computer usage, usage of earlier versions of the software, and their perceived skill levels in using the software. The data suggest that the faculty members who received post-training support maintained and raised their skill levels, while unsupported faculty had their skill levels decline.

Document analysis 2

Dynamic collaborative business processes within documents BIBAFull-Text 97-103
  Thomas B. Hodel; Harald Gall; Klaus R. Dittrich
Effective collaborate business process support is essential in today's business. In this paper, we address this aspect within documents. Often, such text documents are stored unsystematically in a rather confusing file structure with an inscrutable hierarchy and little access control. Business data, on the other hand, are stored in a systematic way in databases allowing multi-user, multi-site, user-/role-specific controlled access. We store text documents in databases and exploit these database capabilities: colloborative business processes then can be defined per document or any part of a document. In this paper, we present this dynamic collaborative business process concept and the prototype within documents for our database-based collaborative editor. We evaluate the potential of such business processes for the quality of communication and documentation.
Changes in scientific articles over two hundred years: a coh-metrix analysis BIBAFull-Text 104-109
  Michell Bruss; Michael J. Albers; Danielle McNamera
We analyzed texts from years 1800-2004 from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Two-thousand-word sections from about 20 articles published at 25-year intervals (1800, 1825, 1850, etc.) for a total of 127 articles were analyzed by a new tool (Coh-metrix) developed by McNamara, Louwerse, and Graesser [9] at the University of Memphis' Institute for Intelligent Systems. The study discerned significant differences in four general measurement areas: word information, connectives, causal cohesion, and syntactic complexity. Specifically, there was a significant decrease in concreteness, imagability, number of causal verbs, number of causal particles, number of connectives (including total number of connectives, and positive temporal and causal connectives), and the mean number of higher-level constituents per sentence and per word. We also found a significant increase in age of acquisition, syntactic complexity (measured in mean number of modifiers per noun phrase), and indicators of analytical and logical difficulty.
Four ways to investigate assemblages of texts: genre sets, systems, repertoires, and ecologies BIBAFull-Text 110-116
  Clay Spinuzzi
Genre theorists agree that genres work together in assemblages. But what is the nature of these assemblages? In this paper I describe four frameworks that have been used to describe assemblages of genres: genre sets, genre systems, genre repertoires, and genre ecologies. At first glance, they seem to be interchangeable, but there are definite and sometimes quite deep differences among them. I compare and contrast these frameworks and suggest when each might be most useful.


DITA authoring and specialization BIBAFull-Text 117
  Michael Priestley
DITA is an architecture for creating topic-oriented, information-typed content that can be reused and single-sourced in a variety of ways. It is also an architecture for creating new information types and describing new information domains based on existing types and domains. This allows groups to create very specific, targeted document type definitions using a process called specialization, while still sharing common output transforms and design rules developed for more general types and domains.


4th workshop on graphical documentation: UML style guidelines BIBAFull-Text 118-119
  Steve Murphy; Scott Tilley; Shihong Huang
The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is the de facto standard for visually representing modern software systems. This workshop will explore UML style guidelines and their effect on the efficacy of UML diagrams in the context of graphical program documentation. This work is part of an ongoing research program focused on assessing system redocumentation techniques. The workshop is a sequel to workshops held at SIGDOC 2001, SIGDOC 2002, and IWPC 2003.
Designing UML diagrams for technical documentation: continuing the collaborative approach to publishing class diagrams BIBAFull-Text 120-127
  Neil MacKinnon; Steve Murphy
This paper provides an updated discussion of the authors' ongoing efforts in developing a design framework for UML diagrams in technical documentation.
   UML diagrams are a key part of program design. They can enhance understanding of complex programming concepts, and assist in problem analysis and solution design. In a previous paper, "Designing UML diagrams for technical documentation" [1], the authors presented a collaborative process that applies established design principles to UML diagrams, improving diagram presentation and shrinking publication costs and schedules. This paper expands on that work, showing how the established process can now be applied to several different modeling tools, including IBM Rational XDE and Microsoft Visio. It also provides a detailed description of how to export modeling files to other file formats. The authors show how their process workflow has evolved over the past year as it has been applied by developers, writers, and graphic designers at IBM's Toronto Software Laboratory, and discuss ways in which they will continue to monitor and improve the efficacy of both the process and resulting diagrams.
Sequence diagram presentation in technical documentation BIBAFull-Text 128-133
  Gary Bist; Neil MacKinnon; Steve Murphy
A sequence diagram shows a series of events that occurs within a particular system. A sequence diagram can be extremely useful for design and analysis, since it shows logic flow visually. However, because even a simple programming sequence can stretch far beyond the confines of a single screen or printed page, authors of technical material must be able to identify and apply a set of best practices. The set of practices developed for the IBM Toronto Software Laboratory enables authors to reasonably present such diagrams within the limited confines of the publishing medium. Building on the work presented in the article "Designing UML diagrams for technical documentation" [1], this paper discusses an approach for dealing with the particular challenges of presenting sequence diagrams in technical documentation.


1st workshop on legal issues of documentation BIBAFull-Text 134-135
  Cem Kaner; Holger Kienle; Scott Tilley
Intellectual property, contracts, liability, and trespass are examples of legal issues that may be of interest to anyone involved in creating, managing, or using document artifacts. These legal issues both influence, and are influenced by, design of communication concerns such as content management systems, single sourcing technologies, and writing style policies. This workshop will explore legal issues of documentation in this context. The workshop is a sequel to a lively discussion session held at SIGDOC 2003.
Intellectual property aspects of web publishing BIBAFull-Text 136-144
  Holger M. Kienle; Daniel German; Scott Tilley; Hausi A. Muller
This paper addresses how intellectual property affects the Web in general, and content publishing on the Web in particular. Before its commercialization, the Web was perceived as being free and unregulated; this assumption is no longer true. Nowadays, content providers need to know which practices on the Web can result in potential legal problems. The vast majority of Web sites are developed by individual such as technical writers or graphic artists, and small organizations, which receive limited or no legal advice. As a result, these Web sites are developed with little or no regard to the legal constraints of intellectual property law. In order to help this group of people, the paper tries to answer the following question: What are the (typical) legal issues for Web content providers to watch out for? This paper gives an overview of these legal issues for intellectual property (i.e., copyrights, patents, and trademarks) and discusses relevant law cases. As a first step towards a more formal risk assessment of intellectual property issues, we introduce a maturity model that captures a Web site's intellectual property coverage with five different maturity levels.
Liability for defective content BIBAFull-Text 145-151
  Cem Kaner
Software publishers and information service providers publish information about their own products and about other products and people. Additional content might be incidental, such as discussion of the practice of accounting in documentation of a bookkeeping program. Or it may relate to a publisher's product, such as papers on the nature of a disease at the Web site of a manufacturer of a device used to diagnose that disease. Other content is irrelevant to the product, such as political articles on a company's Web site. In all of these cases, the publisher's technical publications or quality control staff might wonder whether they should check accuracy and tone of this content that is not direct documentation of the product under development. This article considers a variety of potential legal grounds for holding publishers accountable for content errors.