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International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 34

Editors:B. R. Gaines; D. R. Hill
Dates:1991
Volume:34
Publisher:Academic Press
Standard No:ISSN 0020-7373; TA 167 A1 I5
Papers:41
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 1
  2. IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 2
  3. IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 3
  4. IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 4
  5. IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 5
  6. IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 6

IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 1

The Action-Modifier-Object-Attribute (AMOA) Classification of User-Oriented Functions BIBA 1-22
  James A. Carter; Jo-Anne M. Lukey; Michael F. Schweighardt
This paper discusses the rationale for and the development of the Action-Modifier-Object-Attribute classification of user-oriented functions. The AMOA classification combines the benefits of an open, expandable theoretical organization of functions with the benefits of an existing taxonomy based on extensive empirical research findings. The resulting AMOA hierarchy can be used to design highly (functionally) integrated user-oriented systems as well as common user interfaces (and user interface management systems) for a variety of different types of applications.
A Graphical, Database-Querying Interface for Casual, Naive Computer Users BIBA 23-47
  Clifford G. Burgess
The main thrust of this work is to present to the naive user, information on the database with which he is interacting, which will enable him to produce quickly and easily, meaningful database queries. This information is presented as a multi-level picture, and the testing performed concentrates on the presentation aspects of the picture.
   The characteristics of a specific group of casual, naive database users, namely doctors, were employed in the derivation of requirements for the database interface. A graphical interface, with natural language query processing, is presented as satisfying these requirements. The interface provides a picture of the logical database structure; the user can also interact with the picture in order to ascertain the types of data held by the database. An initial test was conducted with the primary purpose of validating the acceptability of the interface by the doctors. As intimated, follow-on testing considered variations to the basic picture, using both tree and network structures with differing levels of heading interrelationship information, to discover user preferences among some of the available options. These latter tests were performed with a group of doctors and a group of teachers.
   The results indicate that the test subjects were comfortable with the interface and it enabled them to produce database queries quickly, easily and efficiently. There was no statistically significant differences in the speed of entry or correctness of queries over the different picture variations. For the doctors, there were statistically significant results for the subjective preference of one particular picture variant among those considered; for the teachers there were indications of concurrence with the doctors' preference but not at a level that was statistically significant. There was a statistically significant rejection by the test population of pictures closely following the form of an entity-relationship diagram.
Learning from Examples -- A Uniform View BIBA 49-68
  Matjaz Gams; Matija Drobnic; Marko Petkovsek
We compare different empirical learning methods regarding their strategy of reduction of the subset with important examples in a measurement space. In this way a uniform view of AI and statistical methods alike is presented. Theoretically they are all based on the Bayes' classifier. They all construct a classification rule which partitions measurement space into target sets. Advantages and drawbacks of different methods are highlightened by simple examples. Error analyses enable deeper understanding of the learning and classification process in real world domains, characterized by incomplete and noisy data. Good error estimate is based on the balance between bias and variance. A deviation of the Laplacean error estimate is presented. We presented new mechanisms that use redundant knowledge in the explicit form. One of such systems, GINESYS (Generic INductive Expert SYstem Shell) is shortly presented. Heuristic reasoning and empirical results indicate that a proper use of redundant knowledge significantly increases classification accuracy. Over 10 basic AI and statistical systems were tested on two oncological domains. Results show that older AI methods provide usable information regarding the structure of data, but, on the other hand, their classification accuracy is often lower than that of the statistical methods. Standard statistical systems often achieve good classification accuracy, but are more or less non-transparent to users. Some new AI systems construct robust redundant knowledge, provide explanations in a humanly understandable way and outperform the classification accuracy of standard statistical methods.
The NPL Electronic Paper Project BIBA 69-95
  E. R. Brocklehurst
Electronic Paper is a flat panel display which can be written on by means of a special scribing device. The handwritten symbols, drawing, characters and script are interpreted and the intended result is displayed on the screen. Thus text can be crossed out, words inserted, and perfectly drawn tables and diagrams added with a minimum of training and a maximum of ease. This paper describes the rationale of the project, gives an overview of the collaborative effort, explains how it was implemented and the extent to which it achieved its objective -- to demonstrate a novel type of interface which emulates paper as an input device, and which leaves an intelligent computer to do the rest.
Propositional Representation for Graphical Knowledge BIBA 97-131
  James Geller
Multi-media interfaces with a graphics and a natural language component can be viewed as a Natural Language Graphics systems without a host program. We will investigate a theory of Natural Language Graphics that is based on the notion of "Graphical Deep Knowledge" defined in this research. Graphical Deep Knowledge is knowledge that can be used for display purposes as well as reasoning purposes and we describe the syntax and semantics of its constructs. This analysis covers forms, positions, attributes, parts, classes, reference frames, inheritability, etc. Part hierarchies are differentiated into three sub-types. The usefulness of inheritance along part hierarchies is demonstrated, and criticism of inheritance-based knowledge representation formalisms with a bias towards class hierarchies is derived from this finding. The presented theory has been implemented as a generator program that creates pictures from knowledge structures, and as an augmented transition network grammar that creates knowledge structures from limited natural language input. The function of the picture generation program TINA as a user interface for a circuit board maintenance system and as part of a CAD-like layout system is demonstrated.

IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 2

Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Groupware: An Introduction to the Special Issues BIB 133-141
  Saul Greenberg
Findings from Observational Studies of Collaborative Work BIBA 143-160
  John C. Tang
The work activity of small groups of three to four people was videotaped and analysed in order to understand collaborative work and to guide the development of tools to support it. The analysis focused on the group's shared drawing activity -- their listing, drawing, gesturing and talking around a shared drawing surface. This analysis identified specific features of collaborative work activity that raise design implications for collaborative technology: (1) collaborators use hand gestures to uniquely communicate significant information; (2) the process of creating and using drawings conveys much information not contained in the resulting drawings; (3) the drawing space is an important resource for the group in mediating their collaboration; (4) there is a fluent mix of activity in the drawing space; and (5) the spatial orientation among the collaborators and the drawing space has a role in structuring their activity. These observations are illustrated with examples from the video data, and the design implications they raise are discussed.
Twinkling Lights and Nested Loops: Distributed Problem Solving and Spreadsheet Development BIBA 161-184
  Bonnie A. Nardi; James R. Miller
In contrast to the common view of spreadsheets as "single-user" programs, we have found that spreadsheets offer surprisingly strong support for cooperative development of a wide variety of applications. Ethnographic interviews with spreadsheet users showed that nearly all of the spreadsheets used in the work environments studied were the result of collaborative work by people with different levels of programming and domain expertise. We describe how spreadsheet users cooperate in developing, debugging and using spreadsheets. We examine the properties of spreadsheet software that enable cooperation, arguing that: (1) the division of the spreadsheet into two distinct programming layers permits effective distribution of computational tasks across users with different levels of programming skill; and (2) the spreadsheet's strong visual format for structuring and presenting data supports sharing of domain knowledge among co-workers.
Design for Conversation: Lessons from Cognoter BIBA 185-209
  Deborah G. Tatar; Gregg Foster; Daniel G. Bobrow
When studying the use of Cognoter, a multi-user idea organizing tool, we noticed that users encountered unexpected communicative breakdowns. Many of these difficulties stemmed from an incorrect model of conversation implicit in the design of the software. Drawing on recent work in psychology and sociology, we were able to create a more realistic model of the situation our users faced and apply it to the system to understand the breakdowns. We discovered that users encountered difficulties coordinating their conversational actions. They also had difficulty determining that they were talking about the same objects and actions in the workspace. This work led to the redesign of the tool and to the identification of areas for further exploration.
The Portland Experience: A Report on a Distributed Research Group BIBA 211-228
  Margrethe H. Olson; Sara A. Bly
From 1985 for three years, the System Concepts Laboratory (SCL) of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center had employees in both Palo Alto, California, and Portland, Oregon. The Portland remote site was intended to be a forcing function for the lab to focus on issues of interpersonal computing in a geographically distributed organization. Interpersonal computing supports people communicating and working together through computers; it includes tools to support interaction separated by time and/or space as well as face-to-face interaction and meetings. A consultant to the laboratory took on the role of outside observer to provide insight into questions about the process of working in a distributed organization and about tools for supporting collaboration in a distributed organization. The primary collaborative work of the lab itself was design. The major tool that developed to support the cross-site environment was Media Space, a network of video, audio and computing technologies. With the Media Space, SCL members were able to make significant progress in supporting their distributed design process. The SCL experience adds to the existing knowledge of collaboration by focusing on intellectual effort where the primary resource is information. The activities of the lab depended on reciprocal interdependence of group members for information. Their work required them to be in touch with one another to share and coordinate information, yet lab members were often not together physically or temporally. The SCL work forced the boundaries of social place to extend beyond the boundaries of physical place.
Power, Ease of Use and Cooperative Work in a Practical Multimedia Message System BIBA 229-259
  Nathaniel S. Borenstein; Chris A. Thyberg
The "Messages" program, the high-end interface to the Andrew Message System (AMS), is a multimedia mail and bulletin board reading program that novices generally learn to use in less than an hour. Despite the initial simplicity, however, Messages is extremely powerful and manages to satisfy the needs of both experts and novices through a carefully evolved system of novice-oriented defaults, expert-oriented options, and a help system and option-setting facility designed to ease the transition from new user to sophisticated expert. The advanced features of the system facilitate types of cooperative work that are not possible with other mail or bulletin board systems, but which would also be impossible in large heterogeneous communities if the system were not so easily used by both novices and experts. A major example of such cooperative work is the Andrew Advisor system, a highly-evolved and sophisticated system that uses the AMS to solve the problems of distributed support for a very diverse user community in a heterogeneous computing environment. The evolution of the Advisor system and its uses of the AMS mechanisms are considered as a detailed example of the power and limitations of the AMS.
Electronic Meeting Support: The GroupSystems Concept BIBA 261-282
  Joseph S. Valacich; Alan R. Dennis; J. F., Jr. Nunamaker
In recent years, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the use of information technology to support face-to-face group meetings. Such Electronic Meeting System (EMS) environments represent a fundamental shift in the technology available for group meetings. In this paper, we describe the development and evaluation research conducted at the University of Arizona that has led to the installation of one EMS at more than 30 corporate and university sites around the world. Based on our experiences in working with student groups in controlled laboratory experiments and with organizational work groups in the field, we are convinced that EMS technology has the potential to dramatically change the way people work together by effectively supporting larger groups, reducing meeting and project time, and enhancing group member satisfaction.
Computer-Mediated Communication, De-Individuation and Group Decision-Making BIBA 283-301
  Martin Lea; Russell Spears
This paper discusses social psychological processes in computer-mediated communication (CMC) and group decision-making, in relation to findings that groups communicating via computer produce more polarized decisions than face-to-face groups. A wide range of possible explanations for such differences have been advanced, in which a lack of social cues, disinhibition, "de-individuation" and a consequent tendency to antinormative behaviour are central themes. In these explanations, both disinhibition and greater equality of participation are thought to facilitate the exchange of extreme persuasive arguments, resulting in polarization. These accounts are briefly reviewed and attention is drawn to various problematic issues. We provide an alternative model and explanation based on social identity (SI) theory and a re-conceptualization of de-individuation, which takes into account the social and normative factors associated with group polarization. Predictions from both sets of explanations are explored empirically by means of an experiment manipulating the salience of the discussion group, and de-individuation operationalized as the isolation and anonymity of the participants. In this experiment we were able to partial out the effects of the CMC technology which have confounded comparisons with face-to-face interaction in previous research. The results challenge the explanations based on persuasive arguments, while being consistent with our SI model. We discuss our approach in relation to other very recent research in group computer-mediated communication and offer a reinterpretation of previous findings.
Task and Non-Task Functions of a Computer Conference Used in Professional Education: A Measure of Flexibility BIBA 303-318
  Judith Weedman
In order to examine the ability of computer mediated conferences to provide variety in communication, data were gathered on task-related and non task-related uses of a computer-mediated conference in use at a research university. The conference was organized by the graduate students of a professional school to provide additional opportunities for communication between the students, faculty, staff and some professionals in the field. Data were gathered twice, in 1987 and 1989, and were of two types, printouts of the content of the conference and surveys of the participants. Four measures of content data were used: (1) the number of items (strings of entries forming discussions) originating with task-related and non task-related entries; (2) the lifespans of items; (3) the total number of entries falling into task and non-task categories; and (4) flexibility in moving between functions as indicated by opposite category responses. Three banks of questions from the survey instrument provided data concerning participants' perceptions of variety supported by the conference: (1) task-related and non task-related motivations for using the conference; (2) analogies to other communication; and (3) measures of the extent to which the conference provided interactions between people which did not take place otherwise.
   Analysis of survey and perception data revealed variety and flexibility in patterns of interaction, with a higher level of non-task content than had been found in other studies. The computer conference environment was found to be very supple, supporting a wide range of topics and interactions between individuals who differed in status and in the degree to which they knew one another outside the conference.

IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 3

Multidimensional Audio Window Management BIBA 319-336
  Michael Cohen; Lester F. Ludwig
This paper proposes an organization of presentation and control that implements a flexible audio management system we call "audio windows". The result is a new user interface integrating an enhanced spatial sound presentation system, an audio emphasis system, and a gestural input recognition system. We have implemented these ideas in a modest prototype, also described, designed as an audio server appropriate for a teleconferencing system. Our system combines a gestural front end (currently based on a DataGlove, but whose concepts are appropriate for other devices as well) with an enhanced spatial sound system, a digital signal processing separation of multiple sound sources, augmented with "filtears", audio feedback cues that convey added information without distraction or loss of intelligibility. Our prototype employs a manual front end (requiring no keyboard or mouse) driving an auditory back end (requiring no CRT or visual display).
Liveware: A New Approach to Sharing Data in Social Networks BIBA 337-348
  Ian H. Witten; Harold W. Thimbleby; George Coulouris; Saul Greenberg
While most schemes that support information sharing on computers rely on formal protocols, in practice much cooperative work takes place using informal means of communication, even chance encounters. This paper proposes a new method of enabling information sharing in loosely-couple socially-organized systems, typically involving personal rather than institutional computers and lacking the network infrastructure that is generally taken for granted in distributed computing. It is based on the idea of arranging for information transmission to take place as an unobtrusive side-effect of interpersonal communication. Update conflicts are avoided by an information ownership scheme. Under mild assumptions, we show how the distributed database satisfies the property of observational consistency.
   The new idea, called "Liveware", is not so much a specific piece of technology as a fresh perspective on information sharing that stimulates new ways of solving old problems. Being general, it transcends particular distribution technologies. A prototype database, implemented in HyperCard and taking the form of an electronic directory, utilizes the medium of floppy disk to spread information in a (benign!) virus-like manner.
rIBIS: A Real-Time Group Hypertext System BIBA 349-367
  Gail L. Rein; Clarence A. Ellis
This paper describes rIBIS, a real-time group hypertext system, which allows a distributed set of users to simultaneously browse and edit multiple views of a hypertext network. At any time, rIBIS users can switch back and forth between tightly coupled and loosely coupled interaction modes. The paper describes the high-level architecture and user interface of the rIBIS system. Early use of the rIBIS system by a software system design team suggests that users' acceptance increases as they continue to use the tool. We conclude that rIBIS effectiveness is affected by both people and implementation issues.
Modelling Groupware in the Electronic Office BIBA 369-393
  Steve Cook; Gary Birch; Alan Murphy; John Woolsey
This is a report on a project now completed, to explore ideas for a distributed software system intended to enhance people's ability to communicate effectively and conveniently, to give them information about each others' status and whereabouts, and to support them in planning and executing various kinds of computer-supported office tasks both alone and in collaboration. The purpose of the project was to explore architectural issues, user-interface issues, and the definition of possible future products. The approach taken was to create software models of scenes written by a multi-disciplinary team, and to create performances using these models. The paper reviews the objectives of the project, discusses the approach, architecture and implementation, and draws conclusions both about the approach adopted and the ideas explored.
Post-Mechanistic Groupware Primitives: Rhythms, Boundaries and Containers BIBA 395-417
  Peter Johnson-Lenz; Trudy Johnson-Lenz
We are exploring a middle path bridging two prevailing but polar opposite approaches to groupware: (1) mechanism -- making groups work through the use of explicit forms and procedures; and (2) context or open space -- allowing groups to self-organize. A group is a living system, and its work is a creative, dynamic process. Appropriate forms come and go. Computer-supported groups need groupware that provides more than procedural mechanisms and open space. They need groupware that can be tailored for their changing needs and evolving purposes. Life is organized in rhythms, boundaries and containers. Using tailorable groupware of our own design, we have implemented post-mechanistic groupware primitives that bridge the prevailing approaches to groupware in six steps: open space (context), timing, rhythms, boundaries, containers and procedures (mechanism). In the laboratory of our on-line learning community, we tailor the groupware to support the purpose and flow of a variety of educational activities. In the years ahead, nearly all organizations will be affected by rapid and fundamental change. Those that thrive will be in a state of continuous, accelerated learning regardless of their purpose. We believe that the educational principles of purpose-centered groupware explored here potentially apply to any computer-supported group work. As the virtual reflection of developing society, purpose-centered groupware is an essential part of the necessary transition to a vital, sustainable culture.
Structure and Support in Cooperative Environments: The Amsterdam Conversation Environment BIBA 419-434
  Elizabeth A. Dykstra; Robert P. Carasik
This paper discusses theory and concepts in designing a synchronous shared workspace to support human interaction, and a description of such a system. The Amsterdam Conversation Environment (ACE) supports group interaction in face-to-face meetings. ACE does not, however, support meeting process; instead it is designed to support conversation and stimulate interaction among group participants.
   The ACE design emerges from design conversations seeded with several specific concepts. One is the notion of semi-structured computer applications, which leave room for the development, by users, of group conventions to structure how the group interfaces with the computer support environment. A related topic is the difficulty of setting "support" boundaries: what should the machine do or enable vs what are the structure and function responsibilities of user group members themselves? Another concept is the development of user-languages as a reflection of group experience and coherence. A third concept is the transition away from group-member equivalence within computer-mediated conversation (a currently favored view in the design of "democratic" computer systems) toward encouraging variety and stimulating "next actions" among users. Using these and other concepts, we create an overall conceptual picture of what ACE does, how it feels, and how the user interface looks and works, which we call the "design image". We conclude with some thoughts about the next steps in the project.
Obstacles to User Involvement in Software Product Development, with Implications for CSCW BIBA 435-452
  Jonathan Grudin
This paper addresses one particular software development context: large product development organizations. It describes common obstacles that product developers face in obtaining knowledge about actual or potential users of their systems and applications. Many of these obstacles can be traced to organizational structures and development practices that arose prior to the widespread market for interactive systems. These observations apply to user involvement in human-computer interface development in general, but have particular relevance to CSCW and groupware development.
Cooperative Prototyping: Users and Designers in Mutual Activity BIBA 453-478
  Susanne Bødker; Kaj Grønbæk
In most development projects, descriptions and prototypes are developed by system designers on their own utilizing users as suppliers of information on the use domain. In contrast, we are proposing a cooperative prototyping approach where users are involved actively and creatively in design and evaluation of early prototypes. This paper illustrates the approach by describing the design of computer support for casework in a technical department of a Danish municipality. Prototyping is viewed as an ongoing learning process, and we analyse situations where openings for learning occur in the prototyping activity. The situations seem to fall into four categories: (1) Situations where the future work situation with a new computer application is simulated to some extent to investigate the future work activity; (2) situations where the prototype is manipulated and used as a basis for idea exploration; (3) situations focusing on the designers' learning about the users' work practice; (4) situations where the prototyping tool or the design session as such becomes the focus. Lessons learned from the analysis of these situations are discussed. In particular we discuss a tension between the need for careful preparation of prototyping sessions and the need to establish conditions for user and designer creativity. Our conclusion is that users and designers should prepare to learn from breakdowns and focus shifts in cooperative prototyping sessions rather than trying to avoid them.

IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 4

The Use of Command Language Grammar in a Design Tool BIBA 479-496
  Chris Firth; Richard C. Thomas
A tool has been built based on Moran's Command Language Grammar (CLG). It can take a user-interface design written in CLG and check its consistency and validity using syntactic and semantic rules. The reasons CLG was used for the design representation are discussed. There is a description of the formal syntax and semantics developed here by refinement of work by Moran and Sharratt. Implementation is briefly covered, followed by a short case-study based on the Apple Macintosh "Note Pad" utility. Strengths and weakness of CLG are discussed, and suggestions made for useful features in future design tools.
Natural-Language Generation -- An Overview BIBA 497-511
  Agnieszka Mykowiecka
In this paper an overview of the problems connected with natural-language (NL) generation as well as some already existing systems are presented. The realization of NL interfaces to computer systems has become recently a very promising goal of AI. Although a lot of research has been already done, no satisfying solution exists as yet. This overview is conducted as a basis for newly started research and may help researchers to become acquainted with what has already been done in the field.
An Experiment in Modeling Human Visual Learning BIBA 513-526
  Bruce Zak; John Carroll; Kathleen Swigger
This paper describes an experiment that was conducted for the purpose of modeling human learning of visual patterns. A simple visual pattern game, called Merlin, was used as the vehicle for this experiment as it exhibits a feature known as non-serializable subgoals and, as such, is somewhat difficult to master. While subjects played a computerized version of the game, their moves and times between moves were recorded by a computer. Each subject was also asked to keep a written record of the strategies they discovered while playing the game. Finally, after the subjects declared that they had mastered the game, they were interviewed and asked to describe their overall strategies.
   Programs were then written in Prolog that attempted to model the processes that human subjects used to master the game. The purpose of constructing these "machine learning" programs was to gain insight into the ways that learning (especially visual pattern learning) is actually accomplished by human beings.
   Four parallels between human learning and machine learning were examined: (1) the use of macro strategies; (2) the simplification of the search space by using rotations and reflections; (3) the recognition of symmetrical board positions; and (4) improvement with practice.
How to Get People to Say and Type What Computers Can Understand BIBA 527-547
  Elizabeth Zoltan-Ford
This study tested whether people can be shaped to use the vocabulary and phrase structure of a program's output in creating their own inputs. Occasional computer-users interacted with four versions of an inventory program ostensibly capable of understanding natural-language inputs. The four versions differed in the vocabulary and the phrase length presented on the subjects' computer screen. Within each version, the program's outputs were worded consistently and presented repetitively in the hope that subjects would use the outputs as a model for their inputs. Although not told so in advance, one-half of the subjects were restricted to input phrases identical to those used by their respective program (shaping condition), the other half were not (modeling condition). Additionally, one-half of the subjects communicated with the program by speaking, the other half by typing. The analysis of the verbal dependent variables revealed four noteworthy findings. First, users will model the length of a program's output. Second, it is easier for people to model and to be shaped to terse, as opposed to conversational, output phrases. Third, shaping users' inputs through error messages is more successful in limiting the variability in their language than is relying on them to model the program's outputs. Fourth, mode of communication and output vocabulary do not affect the degree to which modeling or shaping occur in person-computer interactions. Comparisons of pre- and post-experimental attitudes show that both restricted and unrestricted subjects felt significantly more positive toward computers after their interactions with the natural-language system. Other performance and attitude differences as well as implications for the development of natural-language processors are discussed.
Knowledge Representation and Control in "gm1", an Automated DNA Sequence Analysis System Based on the MGR Architecture BIBA 549-573
  C. A. Fields; H. D. Pfeiffer; T. C. Eskridge
The identification of genes by DNA sequence analysis is a formally unspecified pattern recognition problem. Genes are identified in practice by constructing and evaluating models that represent the spatial relations between a number of components that can be identified by pattern matching. This is currently done interactively, with the aid of a variety of pattern matching and statistical analysis tools. gm1 automates gene identification by integrating the application of these tools with automated model generation. Models of genes are constructed by a task-specific algorithm implemented using the MGR architecture, a general automated problem solving architecture. The development of gm1 demonstrates the versatility of the MGR architecture as a tool for building automated systems for scientific data analysis.
Text Planning -- How to Make Computers Talk in Natural-Language BIBA 575-591
  Agnieszka Mykowiecka
Computer-based generation of natural-language utterances is a complex task the aim of which is to enable computer systems to communicate with their users in natural-language. The focus of this paper is on the problem of how to generate coherent and well-structured texts. After an overview of the features which influence a text's shape, various methods of choosing the contents and planning the structure of a text (from simple texts to more general ones) are discussed. Since no universal theory of text structure has been developed so far, this review may serve as a starting point for further research on the subject.
High Precision Touchscreens: Design Strategies and Comparisons with a Mouse BIBA 593-613
  Andrew Sears; Ben Shneiderman
Three studies were conducted comparing speed of performance, error rates and user preference ratings for three selection devices. The devices tested were a touchscreen, a touchscreen with stabilization (stabilization software filters and smooths raw data from hardware), and a mouse. The task was the selection of rectangular targets 1, 4, 16 and 32 pixels per side (0.4 x 0.6, 1.7 x 2.2, 6.9 x 9.0, 13.8 x 17.9 mm respectively). Touchscreen users were able to point at single pixel targets, thereby countering widespread expectations of poor touchscreen resolution. The results show no difference in performance between the mouse and touchscreen for targets ranging from 32 to 4 pixels per side. In addition, stabilization significantly reduced the error rates for the touchscreen when selecting small targets. These results imply that touchscreens, when properly used, have attractive advantages in selecting targets as small as 4 pixels per size (approximately one-quarter of the size of a single character). A variant of Fitts' Law is proposed to predict touchscreen pointing times. Ideas for future research are also presented.

IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 5

The Design of a Memory Efficient Palantype Transcription System BIBA 615-630
  R. Dye; J. L. Arnott; A. F. Newell
Machine shorthand transcription systems have been used to provide verbatim transcripts of speech in Law Courts and as transcription aids for hearing impaired people for a number of years. All current transcription systems, however, rely heavily on dictionary look-up procedures in order to give a high quality transcription of the shorthand code. These systems require large memories and are usually expensive and non-portable. This paper describes a new transcription technique which results in a very compact and portable transcription system and which is therefore particularly suitable as an aid for the hearing impaired.
Integrating Methods of Human-Computer Interface Design with Structured Systems Development BIBA 631-655
  A. G. Sutcliffe; M. McDermott
Various methods for specification and design of the human-computer interface have been proposed but practice of such methods is not widespread. Possible reasons for this may be the lack of integration of human-computer interface design with software engineering and the specialized nature of HCI methods. A method of interface design is proposed which integrates the development of the human-computer interface with structured systems analysis and design. The method covers task and user analysis, interface specification and dialogue design. A case study of a library system is used to illustrate the method which is discussed in relation to different approaches that have been adopted for interface specification and design. It is argued that software design methods should cover all aspects of process design and the human-computer interface.
The Importance of Rough Approximations for Information Retrieval BIBA 657-671
  Padmini Srinivasan
The objective here is to present the results of our study which show that rough approximations contribute to the improvement of recall in information retrieval (IR). The information retrieval literature provides ample evidence of situations in which less than 40% of the relevant documents are retrieved. A major reason for this is the problem of search vocabulary and the burden it imposes on the user who is expected to specify all possible terms that refer to the subject of interest. The theory of rough sets provides a framework for organizing the vocabulary in such a way that this constraint is reduced. The model also provides a set of search strategies that are flexible and user oriented. These strategies are based on approximate descriptions of objects such as queries and documents. This study concludes that retrieval strategies within the rough set model perform significantly better than retrieval within the vector model using the cosine formula, in document ranking as well as in recall. The paper concludes by demonstrating a methodology for document clustering using rough sets. This work is a continuation of earlier work by the author on the application of rough sets to information retrieval.
An Experience in Knowledge Acquisition for Expert Control of Industrial Processes BIBA 673-685
  S. Parthsarathy
Designing expert systems for process control requires capturing in a formal framework the knowledge of process operations as is practiced by experienced human operators. It also necessitates taking into consideration the reasoning styles of process experts. In an attempt to understand the mechanics involved, a real life, operational process was taken up for study under the AUTO_SAFE project. This paper presents the experience, to provide a reference for workers in this domain.
Animated Demonstrations vs Written Instructions for Learning Procedural Tasks: A Preliminary Investigation BIBA 687-701
  Susan Palmiter; Jay Elkerton; Patricia Baggett
Animated demonstrations have been created due to the development of direct manipulation interfaces and the need for faster learning, so that users can learn interface procedures by watching. To compare animated demonstrations with written instructions we observed users learning and performing HyperCard authoring tasks on the Macintosh during three performance sessions. In the training session, users were asked either to watch a demonstration or read the procedures needed for the task and then to perform the task. In the later two sessions users were asked to perform tasks identical or similar to the tasks used in the training session. Results showed that demonstrations provided faster and more accurate learning during the training session. However, during the later sessions those who saw demonstrated procedures took longer to perform the tasks than did users of written instructions. Users appeared to be mimicking the training demonstrations without processing the information which would be needed later. In fact, when users had to infer procedures for tasks which were similar to those seen in the training session, the text group was much better at deducing the necessary procedures than the demonstration group. These findings indicate that animated demonstrations, as they were implemented for this study, were not robust enough to aid in later transfer.
Another Approach to Formalizing the Point and Interval Calculi BIBA 703-716
  Elzbieta Hajnicz
In this paper a formalization of point calculus (Vilain & Kautz) and interval calculus (Allen) is presented. Semantics for this formalization is based on the point and interval temporal structures described by van Benthem. Finally, an attempt to translate these calculi into the instant tense logic and the extended tense logic accordingly is suggested.
A Formalization of Absolute and Relative Dates Based on the Point Calculus BIBA 717-730
  Elzbieta Hajnicz
In this paper we present a formalization of absolute and relative dates based on a formalization of the point calculus. We discuss three extensions of the point calculus, namely absolute dates, relative dates and both kinds of dates. An approach to translate the point calculus with relative dates to a tense logic is suggested.
The Impact of Experience on the Design of User Interface BIBA 731-749
  Ali R. Montazemi
This study reports an empirical investigation of the effects of domain-relevant experience on the choice of presentation mode. An expert system with a variety of presentation modes was developed and then tested using 47 nurses to measure the usefulness of alternative modes of presentations. The major findings show that experienced as well as novice nurses were equally satisfied with presentation modes that required surface knowledge to decode information content. However, when the presentation mode required deep knowledge for interpreting information content, novice nurses tended to prefer pictorial interfaces. The implication of these findings on the design and development of expert systems is discussed.

IJMMS 1991 Volume 34 Issue 6

Introduction to the Special Issue on AI and Legal Reasoning BIB 751
  Edwina L. Rissland
Reasoning with Cases and Hypotheticals in HYPO BIBA 753-796
  Kevin D. Ashley
HYPO is a case-based reasoning system that evaluates problems by comparing and contrasting them with cases from its Case Knowledge Base (CKB). It generates legal arguments citing the past cases as justifications for legal conclusions about who should win in problem disputes involving trade secret law. HYPO's arguments present competing adversarial views of the problem and it poses hypotheticals to alter the balance of the evaluation. HYPO uses Dimensions as a generalization scheme for accessing and evaluating cases. HYPO's reasoning process and various computational definitions are described and illustrated, including its definitions for computing relevant similarities and differences, the most on point and best cases to cite, four kinds of counter-examples, targets for hypotheticals and the aspects of a case that are salient in various argument roles. These definitions enable HYPO to make contextually sensitive assessments of relevance and salience without relying on either a strong domain theory or a priori weighting schemes.
Building Explanations from Rules and Structured Cases BIBA 797-837
  L. Karl Branting
A central task underlying many of the activities of attorneys is inferring the legal consequences of a given set of facts. GREBE (GeneratoR of Exemplar-Based Explanations) is a system that uses detailed knowledge of the facts and reasoning of specific past cases, together with legal rules and common-sense knowledge, to determine and justify the legal consequences of new cases. GREBE can apply either rule-based reasoning or case-based reasoning to goals at any level of its analysis. GREBE uses an approach to case-based reasoning in which new cases are compared with the smallest collections of precedent facts that justified an individual inference step in the explanation of a precedent case. This enables knowledge of the interactions among individual inference steps in a precedent to be used in case comparison. Case comparison is also assisted by an expressive semantic network representation of case facts. Techniques are presented for retrieving and comparing cases represented in this formalism. GREBE's output is a memorandum that justifies a legal conclusion in terms of the applicable precedents and legal rules.
CABARET: Rule Interpretation in a Hybrid Architecture BIBA 839-887
  Edwina L. Rissland; David B. Skalak
Rules often contain terms that are ambiguous, poorly defined or not defined at all. In order to interpret and apply rules containing such terms, appeal must be made to their previous constructions, as in the interpretation of legal statutes through relevant legal cases. We describe a system CABARET (CAse-BAsed REasoning Tool) that provides a domain-independent shell that integrates reasoning with rules and reasoning with previous cases in order to apply rules containing ill-defined terms. The integration of these two reasoning paradigms is performed via a collection of control heuristics, which suggest how to interleave case-based methods and rule-based methods to construct an argument to support a particular interpretation. CABARET is currently instantiated with cases and rules from an area of income tax law, the so-called "home office deduction". An example of CABARET's processing of an actual tax case is provided in some detail. The advantages of CABARET's hybrid approach to interpretation stem from the synergy derived from interleaving case-based and rule-based tasks.