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TOIS Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809101112

ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems 2

Editors:John O. Limb
Dates:1984
Volume:2
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISSN 1046-8188; HF S548.125 A33
Papers:19
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 1
  2. TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 2
  3. TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 3
  4. TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 4

TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 1

Research Contributions

LDC-1: A Transportable, Knowledge-Based Natural Language Processor for Office Environments BIBAK 1-25
  Bruce W. Ballard; John C. Lusth; Nancy L. Tinkham
During the 1970s, a number of systems providing limited English-language processing capabilities were developed to permit computer access be casual or untrained users. Our interest is in adapting and extending techniques developed for these systems, especially those used in database query systems and our own English-language programming language system (NLC), for use in office environments. This paper describes the Layered Domain Class system (LDC), a state-of-the-art natural language processor whose major goals are (1) to provide English-language retrieval capabilities for medium-sized office domains that have been stored on the computer as text-edited files, as oppose to more restrictive database structures; and (2) to eliminate the need to call in the system designer when extensions into new domains are desired, without sacrificing the depth or reliability of the interface. In this paper we (a) provide an overview of LDC, including sample inputs; (b) briefly discuss the role of each module of the system, with special attention to provisions for users to adapt the system to deal with new types of data; and (c) consider the relation of our system to other formal and natural language interfaces that are in use or under development.
Keywords: Software engineering, Distribution and maintenance, Extensibility, Restructuring, Database management, Languages, Query languages, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Query formulation, Information systems applications, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Deduction and theorem proving, Knowledge acquisition, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language parsing and understanding, Human factors, Languages, Office automation, Natural language processing, Knowledge acquisition
An Iterative Design Methodology for User-Friendly Natural Language Office Information Applications BIBAK 26-41
  J. F. Kelley
A six-step, iterative, empirical human factors design methodology was used to develop CAL, a natural language computer application to help computer-naive business professionals manage their personal calendars. Input language is processed by a simple, nonparsing algorithm with limited storage requirements and a quick response time. CAL allows unconstrained English inputs from users with no training (except for a five minute introduction to the keyboard and display) and no manual (except for a two-page overview of the system). In a controlled test of performance, CAL correctly responded to between 86 percent and 97 percent of the storage and retrieval requests it received, according to various criteria. This level of performance could never have been achieved with such a simple processing model were it not for the empirical approach used in the development of the program and its dictionaries. The tools of the engineering psychologist are clearly invaluable in the development of user-friendly software, if that software is to accommodate the unruly language of computer-naive, first-time users. The key is to elicit the cooperation of such users as partners in an iterative, empirical development process.
Keywords: Software, Software psychology, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Natural language interfaces, Artificial intelligence, Natural language processing, Language parsing and understanding, Simulation and modeling, Applications, Management of computing and information systems, Software management, Software development, Experimentation, Human factors, Natural language, Limited context, Naive user, Discretionary user, Iterative design, Simulation, User-friendly, Ease-of-use, Empirical grammar, Task analysis, Engineering psychology
Interface Design and Multivariate Analysis of UNIX Command Use BIBAK 42-57
  Stephen Jose Hanson; Robert E. Kraut; James M. Farber
To understand how people interact with powerful computer systems, we analyzed, using several multivariate statistical analyses, the commands people use and the errors they made when performing office work with the UNIX operating system. The frequency of use across commands was very uneven. User's most frequent commands were those that performed editing-like functions on text and other objects (e.g., UNIX directories), those that returned orienting information to users, and those that helped to control and sequence other commands. People made mistakes frequently, and made them most, when they needed information about the command and file context in which they were working, and when they had to plan long sequences of commands without feedback. From these analyses we make several recommendations for a human-computer interface.
Keywords: Operating systems, Systems programs and utilities, Command and control languages, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human information processing, Information systems applications, Office automation, Human factors, Human computer interactions, Man-machine interface, Experimentation, Human factors, Measurement, Human-computer interaction, Command languages
Message Addressing Schemes BIBAK 58-77
  D. Tsichritzis
This paper defines and investigates different addressing schemes which can be used to route messages in mail systems. An analysis of finite state addressing schemes is carried out, and an illustrative example is given.
Keywords: Computer communication networks, Miscellaneous, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Electronic mail, Electronic mail routing, Message systems, Active messages, Database and message systems

TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 2

Research Contributions

The COSIE Communication Subsystem: Support for Distributed Office Applications BIBAK 79-95
  Douglas B. Terry; Sten Andler
Contemporary distributed office systems rely heavily on communication between workstation, file servers, printers, and other computerized components. The COSIE Communication Subsystem has been developed for an office system internetwork consisting of local networks of varying technologies. The communication facilities provide for the transmission of self-contained messages to mailboxes, which are referenced by capabilities and may be shared. A generalized method for pairing requests with responses supports a variety of communication paradigms, while a flexible routing algorithm permits diverse network topologies. The main emphasis in the design of the COSIE Communication Subsystem was on presenting simple mechanisms that allow more general policies and protocols to be explored.
Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Network protocols, Protocol architecture, Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed applications, Operating systems, Communication management, Message sending, Network communication, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Algorithms, Design, Internetworking, Office systems
Object Management in Distributed Information Systems BIBAK 96-122
  Peter Lyngbaek; Dennis McLeod
A simple model for object sharing in distributed office information systems is described. The model provides a small set of operators for object definition, manipulation, and retrieval in a distributed environment, modeled as a logical network of workstations. Relationships among objects can be established across work station boundaries, objects are relocatable within the distributed environment, and mechanisms are provided for access control and the dynamic sharing of objects among individual work stations. An object naming convention supports location-transparent object references; that is, objects can be referenced by user-defined names rather than by addresses. The primitive operations introduced can be used as the basis for the specification and stepwise development of office information models and systems of increasing complexity. An experimental prototype implementation of the distributed object sharing model is described.
Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Systems, Distributed systems, Information systems applications, Office automation, Design, Office information systems, Distributed office information management, Semantic data modeling, Nameservers
Channel Selection and Effective Communication for Managerial Decision Making BIBAK 123-140
  Eileen M. Trauth; Stephen K. Kwan; Susanna Barber
New office technologies provide a range of alternatives to traditional channels for corporate communications. This paper explores the effectiveness of print, electronic messaging, and videotape along both objective and subjective dimensions. While electronic messaging and videotape were not found to improve significantly over print either the recall of information or the quality of decisions made based on it, some interesting patterns were observed. The use of electronic messaging resulted in improved recall of information. Videotape tended toward the extremes: It was either the most or the least effective in disseminating information for learning. Subjects' attitudes about the influence of each channel on the quality of information were contrasted with the disposition toward use. In general, subjects had positive attitudes toward both electronic messaging and videotape. When asked about the likelihood of choosing a particular channel, given emphasis on certain information attributes, however, subjects consistently preferred print. These results suggest that both the communication context and user preconceptions must be taken into account when planning for the introduction of new technologies.
Keywords: Information systems, General, Information systems applications, Office automation, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Electronic mail, Computers and society, Organizational impacts, Experimentation, Management, Measurement, Performance, Evaluating communication channels, Video technology, Print, Electronic messaging, User study, Information attributes
The Dimensions of Accessibility to Online Information: Implications for Implementing Office Information Systems BIBAK 141-150
  Mary J. Culnan
Prior research has found a positive correlation between the perceived accessibility of information and information use. The underlying dimensions of information accessibility, however, have not been investigated empirically. The present field study measures end-user perceptions of three online information retrieval systems and one electronic mail system. User ratings of the four systems are collected and factor-analyzed. The results suggest that (1) physical access to a terminal and access to the actual information system are independent dimensions, (2) that accessibility is a multidimensional concept encompassing physical access to a terminal and the system, the command language, and the ability to retrieve the desired information successfully, and (3) that perceptions of accessibility are a function of prior user experience with online systems. In order to facilitate the acceptance of office information systems, organizations need to provide extensive support and training when the system is introduced, as well as ready physical access to the system over the course of its useful life.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Online information services, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Human factors, Management, Accessibility, End-user computing, Implementation strategies
The Design Requirements of Office Systems BIBAK 151-170
  Giampio Bracchi; Barbara Pernici
The original characteristics of an office information system, when compared to a conventional information system, imply the need for developing new design methodologies and models, or for substantially changing existing design approaches. In this paper the relevant features of office information systems are outlined and some existing office methodologies and models are classified and evaluated. Particular emphasis is given to the early phases of the design process, commonly called "conceptual" or "logical" design phases. The basic requirements for conceptual design methodologies in the office environment are derived from the analysis and evaluation of existing design approaches.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Design, Documentation, Office automation, Office modeling

TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 3

Editor's Introduction to the Special Issue

Selected Papers from the Conference on Office Information Systems BIBA 171-172
  Clarence Ellis
We need a Theory of the Office, encompassing ideas from fields as diverse as organizational design, computer science, ergonomics, operations research, and communications. Notions conveyed within this issue of the ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems (TOOIS) may be able to contribute to such a theory. Persons wanting to become knowledgeable in this field today must rely on lengthy, agonizing-frequently incomplete and deceiving-experience; which, even a partial theory of the office would alleviate. A theory would also be valuable to the large numbers of people who would like to judge, fit, and size office automation for their organizations. Finally, the office systems area has been scorned within some universities and university departments as not being a valid academic area in which to work and publish. I believe that a solid and utilitarian theory of the office would encourage many theoretical researchers to work on some exciting and useful office topics. The need exists, and it appears that the time is right. TOOIS welcomes such work to its pages.

Research Contributions

An Architecture for Object Management in OIS BIBAK 173-196
  Matts Ahlsen; Anders Bjornerstedt; Stefan Britts; Christer Hulten; Lars Soderlund
The design of an office information system (OIS) application development environment prototype, OPAL, is outlined. OPAL is based on an object management approach. The central concept is the packet, which is the principal data and action structuring device. The main ideas in OPAL are described, including novel data types, partitioned work spaces, object version management, multiple property inheritance, and incremental application development.
   A scheme for naming objects is proposed and discussed. There are basically two large advantages to such a scheme -- a very practical shorthand for referring to objects and a means for structuring information according to criteria not represented in the objects themselves. The latter property also supports viewing objects in different roles. Furthermore, the scheme is used to structure the whole object management system.
Keywords: Programming languages, Language constructs, Data types and structures, Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Languages, Query languages, Information systems applications, Office automation, Design, Languages, Application development tools, OIS, Object programming, Object databases
Task Support in an Office System BIBAK 197-212
  W. Bruce Croft; Lawrence S. Lefkowitz
A major goal of an office system is to support tasks that are central to office functions. Some office tasks are readily implemented with generic office tools, such as calendars, forms packages, and mail. Many tasks, however, involve complex sequences of actions which do not all correspond to tool invocations but, instead, rely on the problem-solving abilities of office workers. In this paper we describe a system (POISE) that can be used to both automate routine tasks and provide assistance in more complex situations. The type of assistance provided can range from maintaining a record of the tasks currently being executed to suggesting possible next steps and answering natural language queries about the tasks. The POISE system uses both a procedure-based and a goal-based representation of the tasks to achieve efficiency and flexibility. The mechanisms used by POISE are described with example procedures from a university office.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Information systems applications, Types of systems, Decision support, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Representations (procedural and rule-based), Design, Management, Natural language, Problem-solving, Tools
Managing Transient Internetwork Links in the Xerox Internet BIBAK 213-225
  Siranush Radicati
The Xerox Research Internet has been in operation for over a decade, and includes as many as 200 geographically-dispersed Ethernet local area networks. As Internets grow, it becomes unrealistic for both practical and economic reasons to expect them to be fully interconnected at all times.
   This paper presents an approach to the management of transient internetwork communication links in a datagram-based architecture, such as the Xerox Network Systems architecture. The major novelty lies in the idea of allowing high-level application programs to dynamically alter the internet topology, without the need for end users to be involved, or even to be aware of what is happening.
Keywords: Computer communication networks, Network architecture and design, Network communications, Network topology, Design, Internetworking, X.25, NS architecture
38 Offices: Analyzing Needs in Individual Offices BIBAK 226-234
  Raymond R. Panko
There are growing pressures in the office automation field to develop methodologies to determine the needs of individual offices. An exploratory study of two techniques, a 1983 version of MIT's Office Analysis Methodology and the Strategic Approach, is presented. The study suggests the need to extend the Type I/Type II typology of offices, previously suggested by this author and by Sprague [15]. It also determined that managers find fairly radical innovation extremely difficult to visualize.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Management of computing and information systems, Project and people management, Systems analysis and design, Design, Economics, Management, Business, Methodology, Taxonomy

Research Contribution

FORMANAGER: An Office Forms Management System BIBAK 235-262
  S. Bing Yao; Alan R. Hevner; Zhongzhi Shi; Dawei Luo
The form has become an important abstraction for data management in an office application environment. Structured office forms present data to users in an easily understood and easily manipulated manner. In this paper we classify forms systems in terms of three dimensions: data structuring, user interfaces, and programming interfaces. Current forms systems are analyzed under these dimensions. We have designed a comprehensive forms management system, FORMANAGER, that includes facilities for form specification, form processing, and form control. The system transforms data from a relational database into a hierarchical data structure which defines the form. The design and algorithms for implementation of the system are described, and future extensions to enhance the capabilities of forms systems are proposed.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Database management, Systems, Design, Office automation, Forms management, Relational database systems, Query processing

TOIS 1984 Volume 2 Issue 4

Research Contributions

Signature Files: An Access Method for Documents and Its Analytical Performance Evaluation BIBAK 267-288
  Chris Faloutsos; Stavros Christodoulakis
The signature-file access method for text retrieval is studied. According to this method, documents are stored sequentially in the "text file." Abstractions ("signatures") of the documents are stored in the "signature file." The latter serves as a filter on retrieval: It helps in discarding a large number of nonqualifying documents. In this paper two methods for creating signatures are studied analytically, one based on word signatures and the other on superimposed coding. Closed-form formulas are derived for the false-drop probability of the two methods, factors that affect it are studied, and performance comparisons of the two methods based on these formulas are provided.
Keywords: Database management, Physical design, Access methods, Information storage and retrieval, Library automation, Information systems applications, Office automation, Text processing, Text editing, Design, Performance, Document retrieval, Information retrieval, Office automation, Signature file, Superimposed coding, Text retrieval
Office Automation Projects and Their Impact on Organization, Planning, and Control BIBAK 289-302
  Charles E. Paddock; Richard W. Scamell
Implementing office information systems within an organization results in both technological and organizational change. Changes to the hardware, software, data, and personnel components of an organization tend to be more noticeable than changes to the organization, planning, and control attributes that permit these components to function as a unit. Recognizing these more subtle changes while the office automation effort is in its early stages can provide management direction for future efforts. A study designed to identify differences that exist between data processing and word processing departments that have begun office automation versus those that have not is described. Data on specific attributes of organization, planning, and control were collected from 26 data processing and 25 word processing managers. The results, discussed as propositions, show that significant differences do exist and raise other issues for future study.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Text processing, Miscellaneous, Administrative data processing, Business, Management of computing and information systems, Project and people management, Systems department, Management of computing and information systems, Systems management, Centralization/decentralization, Management, Performance, Office automation, DP/WP integration
Logical Routing Specification in Office Information Systems BIBAK 303-330
  Murray S. Mazer; Frederick H. Lochovsky
A message management system is an office information system for managing structured messages, integrating the facilities of computer-based message systems and database management systems, and adding to them the capability of "intelligent" handling of messages. This allows the office information system to support messages that can use information about themselves (such as structure and content) or about the system to effect their own processing. Logical routing of messages in an office information system is a function that can benefit from such intelligent processing.
   A framework and language are introduced for the specification of logical routing for messages in an office information system. By associating routing specifications with message types, the system assumes the responsibility both for evaluating the current message instance state to yield the next destination for the instance and for forwarding the instance. The user is freed from the need to direct explicitly each instance of a message type. The routing specifications are based on a variety of criteria, including message instance state and system characteristics. A routing specification language is described, with examples, and an implementation for a distributed workstation environment is outlined.
Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed applications, Information systems applications, Office automation, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Electronic mail, Design, Languages, Office information systems, Message management systems, Logical routing, Message types, Intelligent office systems

Practice and Experience

A Critical Appraisal of Task Taxonomies as a Tool for Studying Office Activities BIBAK 331-339
  Christopher A. Higgins; Frank R. Safayeni
Task taxonomies have been developed and used by many practitioners in studies related to office automation. Often the studies are used to indicate the potential for automation in an office. In other cases the taxonomies serve as a tool for evaluating the impact of various technologies. However, there are numerous problems associated with using taxonomies for such studies. These are related to three common assumptions that are made: (1) the assumption of categorization, (2) the assumption of finite representation, and (3) the assumption of technological validity. In this paper these assumptions are examined, their weaknesses and limitations are pointed out, and suggestions for the improvement of task taxonomies are made. The general conclusion drawn is that current task taxonomies are of questionable value in studies related to office automation.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Office automation, Design, Taxonomy, Measuring office activities