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ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems 5

Editors:Robert B. Allen
Dates:1987
Volume:5
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISSN 1046-8188; HF S548.125 A33
Papers:23
Links:Table of Contents
  1. TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 1
  2. TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 2
  3. TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 3
  4. TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 4

TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 1

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue

Object-Oriented Systems BIB 1-2
  Frederick H. Lochovsky

Research Contributions

Data Model Issues for Object-Oriented Applications BIBAK 3-26
  Jay Banerjee; Hong-Tai Chou; Jorge F. Garza; Won Kim; Darrell Woelk; Nat Ballou; Hyoung-Joo Kim
Presented in this paper is the data model for ORION, a prototype database system that adds persistence and sharability to objects created and manipulated in object-oriented applications. The ORION data model consolidates and modifies a number of major concepts found in many object-oriented systems, such as objects, classes, class lattice, methods, and inheritance. These concepts are reviewed and three major enhancements to the conventional object-oriented data model, namely, schema evolution, composite objects, and versions, are elaborated upon. Schema evolution is the ability to dynamically make changes to the class definitions and the structure of the class lattice. Composite objects are recursive collections of exclusive components that are treated as units of storage, retrieval, and integrity enforcement. Versions are variations of the same object that are related by the history of their derivation. These enhancements are strongly motivated by the data management requirements of the ORION applications from the domains of artificial intelligence, computer-aided design and manufacturing, and office information systems with multimedia documents.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human information processing, Database management, Logical design, Data models, Information systems applications, Office automation, Design, Theory, Composite object, Object-oriented database, Schema evolution, Version management
Integrating an Object Server with Other Worlds BIBAK 27-47
  Alan Purdy; Bruce Schuchardt; David Maier
Object-oriented database servers are beginning to appear on the commercial market in response to a demand by application developers for increased modeling power in database systems. Before these new servers can enhance the productivity of application designers, systems designers must provide simple interfaces to them from both procedural and object-oriented languages. This paper first describes a successful interface between an object server and two procedural languages (C and Pascal). Because C and Pascal do not support the object-oriented paradigm application, designers using these languages must deal with database objects in less than natural ways. Fortunately, workstations supporting object-oriented languages have the potential for interacting with database objects in a much more integrated manner. To integrate these object-oriented workstations with an object server, we provide a design framework based on the notion of workstation agent objects representing principal objects in the database. We distinguish two types of agents: proxies, which forward most messages to the principal objects, and deputies, which can cache state for their principal and act with more autonomy. The interaction of cache, transaction, and message management strategies makes the implementation of deputies a nontrivial problem. The agent metaphor is being used currently to integrate an object server with a Smalltalk-80 workstation.
Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed applications, Programming languages, Language constructs, Abstract data types, Database management, General, Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Systems, Design, Languages, GemStone, Object-oriented environment, Object server, Smalltalk-80
Iris: An Object-Oriented Database Management System BIBAK 48-69
  D. H. Fishman; D. Beech; H. P. Cate; E. C. Chow; T. Connors; J. W. Davis; N. Derrett; C. G. Hoch; W. Kent; P. Lyngbaek; B. Mahbod; M. A. Neimat; T. A. Ryan; M. C. Shan
The Iris database management system is a research prototype of a next-generation database management system (DBMS) intended to meet the needs of new and emerging database applications, including office information and knowledge-based systems, engineering test and measurement, and hardware and software design. Iris is exploring a rich set of new database capabilities required by these applications, including rich data-modeling constructs, direct database support for inference, novel and extensible data types, for example, to support graphic images, voice, text, vectors, and matrices, support for long transactions spanning minutes to many days, and multiple versions of data. These capabilities are, in addition to the usual support for permanence of data, controlled sharing, backup, and recovery.
   The Iris DBMS consists of (1) a query processor that implements the Iris object-oriented data model, (2) a Relational Storage Subsystem (RSS) -like storage manager that provides access paths and concurrency control, backup, and recovery, and (3) a collection of programmatic and interactive interfaces. The data model supports high-level structural abstractions, such as classification, generalization, and aggregation, as well as behavioral abstractions. The interfaces to Iris include an object-oriented extension to SQL.
Keywords: Programming languages, Language constructs, Abstract data types, Data types and structures, Database management, Logical design, Data models, Database management, Languages, Data description language (DDL), Data manipulation language (DML), Query languages, Database management, Systems, Query processing, Transaction processing, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Relation systems, Representation languages, Semantic networks, Artificial intelligence, Programming languages and software, Languages, Iris DBMS, LISP, Object-oriented DBMS, OSQL persistent objects, SQL
A Shared, Segmented Memory System for an Object-Oriented Database BIBAK 70-95
  Mark F. Hornick; Stanley B. Zdonik
This paper describes the basic data model of an object-oriented database and the basic architecture of the system implementing it. In particular, a secondary storage segmentation scheme and a transaction-processing scheme are discussed. The segmentation scheme allows for arbitrary clustering of objects, including duplicates. The transaction scheme allows for many different sharing protocols ranging from those that enforce serializability to those that are nonserializable and require communication with the server only on demand. The interaction of these two features is described such that segment-level transfer and object-level locking is achieved.
Keywords: Programming languages, Language constructs, Abstract data types, Data types and structures, Modules and packages, Operating systems, Storage management, Segmentation, Virtual memory, Database management, Physical design, Deadlock avoidance, Database management, Systems, Distributed systems, Transaction processing, Information storage and retrieval, Information storage, File organization, Information storage and retrieval, Information search and retrieval, Clustering, Retrieval models, Design, Experimentation, Languages, Performance, Asynchronous communication, CAD transaction processing, Data models, Locking, Object clustering, Object-oriented databases, Object server
KNOs: KNowledge Acquisition, Dissemination, and Manipulation Objects BIBAK 96-112
  D. Tsichritzis; E. Fiume; S. Gibbs; O. Nierstrasz
Most object-oriented systems lack two useful facilities: the ability of objects to migrate to new environments and the ability of objects to acquire new operations dynamically. This paper proposes Knos, an object-oriented environment that supports these actions. Knos' operations, data structures, and communication mechanisms are discussed. Kno objects "learn" by exporting and importing new or modified operations. The use of such objects as intellectual support tools is outlined. In particular, various applications involving cooperation, negotiation, and apprenticeship among objects are described.
Keywords: Programming techniques, Concurrent programming, Programming languages, Language constructs, Data types and structures, Information systems applications, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Design, Languages, Distributed knowledge, Messages, Objects, Office and application support tools

TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 2

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Issue

Computer-Supported Cooperative Work BIB 113-114
  Irene Greif; Clarence Ellis

Research Contributions

Semistructured Messages Are Surprisingly Useful for Computer-Supported Coordination BIBAK 115-131
  Thomas W. Malone; Kenneth R. Grant; Kum-Yew Lai; Ramana Rao; David Rosenblitt
This paper argues that using a set of semistructured message templates is surprisingly helpful in designing a variety of computer-based communication and coordination systems. Semistructured messages can help provide automatic aids for (1) composing messages to be sent, (2) selecting, sorting, and prioritizing messages that are received, (3) responding automatically to some messages, and (4) suggesting likely responses to other messages. The use of these capabilities is illustrated in a range of applications including electronic mail, computer conferencing, calendar management, and task tracking. The applications show how ideas from artificial intelligence (such as inheritance and production rules) and ideas from user interface design (such as interactive graphical editors) can be combined in novel ways for dealing with semistructured messages. The final part of the paper discusses how communities can evolve a useful set of message type definitions.
Keywords: Models and principles, User/machine systems, Database management, Logical design, Data models, Schema and subschema, Database management, Languages, Data description languages (DDL), Database management, Systems, Distributed systems, Information storage and retrieval, Content analysis and indexing, Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information systems applications, Office automation, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Frames and scripts, Representations, Text processing, Document preparation, Format and notation, Design, Economics, Human factors, Management, Computer-supported cooperative work, Information Lens, Semistructured messages
Project Nick: Meetings Augmentation and Analysis BIBAK 132-146
  Peter Cook; Clarence Ellis; Mike Graf; Gail Rein; Tom Smith
The Software Technology Program of MCC is investigating the early part of the design process, before requirements are established, for large-scale distributed systems. Face-to-face meetings are an important activity during this phase of a project since they provide a medium for direction, exploration, and consensus building. Project Nick is attempting to apply automated facilities to the process, conduct, and semantic capture of design meetings. Primary topics covered in this paper are meeting analysis, meeting augmentation, and a model of meeting progression that serves as the framework for our work.
Keywords: Software engineering, Management, Models and principles, General, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Information systems applications, Types of systems, Decision support, Design, Management, Conferences design, Conversations, Decision support, Electronic blackboard, Facilitation, Meeting augmentation, Models of meetings, Presentation, Semantic capture
WYSIWIS Revised: Early Experiences with Multiuser Interfaces BIBAK 147-167
  M. Stefik; D. G. Bobrow; G. Foster; S. Lanning; D. Tatar
WYSIWIS (What You Is What I See) is a foundational abstraction for multiuser interfaces that expresses many of the characteristics of a chalkboard in face-to face meetings. In its strictest interpretation, it means that everyone can also see the same written information and also see where anyone else is pointing. In our attempts to build software support for collaboration in meetings, we have discovered that WYSIWIS is crucial, yet too inflexible when strictly enforced. This paper is about the design issues and choices that arose in our first generation of meeting tools based on WYSIWIS. Several examples of multiuser interfaces that start from this abstraction are presented. These tools illustrate that there are inherent conflicts between the needs of a group and the needs of individuals, since user interfaces compete for the same display space and meeting time. To help minimize the effect of these conflicts, constraints were relaxed along four key dimensions of WYSIWIS: display space, time of display, subgroup population, and congruence of view. Meeting tools must be designed to support the changing needs of information sharing during process transitions, as subgroups are formed and dissolved, as individuals shift their focus of activity, and as the group shifts from multiple parallel activities to a single focused activity and back again.
Keywords: Software engineering, Tools and techniques, User interfaces, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Human information processing, Information systems applications, Types of systems, Information systems applications, Miscellaneous, Design, Human factors, Collaborative systems, Computer-supported collaboration, Computer-supported group work, Computer-supported meetings, Multiuser interfaces, WYSIWIS
Contexts -- A Partitioning Concept for Hypertext BIBAK 168-186
  Norman M. Delisle; Mayer D. Schwartz
Hypertext systems provide good information management support for a wide variety of documentation efforts. These efforts range from developing software to writing a book. However, existing hypertext systems provide poor support for collaboration among teams of authors. This paper starts by briefly describing properties of several existing hypertext systems. Then several models for forming partitions in a hypertext database are examined and contexts, a partitioning scheme that supports multiperson cooperative efforts, are introduced. The semantic issues involved in defining contexts are explored in detail.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Systems and software, Information systems applications, Office automation, Text processing, Document preparation, Design, Management, Cooperative work, Hypertext systems, Version control
Data Sharing in Group Work BIBAK 187-211
  Irene Greif; Sunil Sarin
Data sharing is fundamental to computer-supported cooperative work: People share information through explicit communication channels and through their coordinated use of shared databases. This paper examines the data management requirements of group work applications on the basis of experience with three prototype systems and on observations from the literature. Database and object management technologies that support these requirements are briefly surveyed, and unresolved issues in the particular areas of access control and concurrency control are identified for future research.
Keywords: Database management, Logical design, Database management, Systems, Database management, Database applications, Design, Languages, Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW)

TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 3

Research Contributions

A Knowledge-Based Message Management System BIBAK 213-236
  Shi-Kuo Chang; L. Leung
The design approach of a knowledge-based message management system is described. A linguistic message filter is used to filter out junk messages. Relevant messages are then processed by an expert system, driven by user-defined alerter rules. An alerter rule base for a secretarial office is illustrated. Further research topics in knowledge-based design, evaluation, and learning are also discussed.
Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed databases, Information systems applications, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Design, Database alerting technique, Expert system, Knowledge-based system, Message filter, Office information system
Description and Performance Analysis of Signature File Methods for Office Filing BIBAK 237-257
  Christos Faloutsos; Stavros Christodoulakis
Signature files have attracted a lot of interest as an access method for text and specifically for messages in the office environment. Messages are stored sequentially in the message file, whereas their hash-coded abstractions (signatures) are stored sequentially in the signature file. To answer a query, the signature file is examined first, and many nonqualifying messages are immediately rejected. In this papaer we examine the problem of designing signature extraction methods and studying their performance. We describe two old methods, generalize another one, and propose a new method and its variation. We provide exact and approximate formulas for the dependency between the false drop probability and the signature size for all the methods, and we show that the proposed method (VBC) achieves approximately ten times smaller false drop probability than the old methods, whereas it is well suited for collections of documents with variable document sizes.
Keywords: Database management, Physical design, Access methods, Information storage and retrieval, Library automation, Information systems applications, Office automation, Text processing, General, Design, Performance, Document retrieval, Information retrieval, Office automation, Signature files, Superimposed coding, Text retrieval
An Experimental Study of People Creating Spreadsheets BIBAK 258-272
  Polly S. Brown; John D. Gould
Nine experienced users of electronic spreadsheets each created three spreadsheets. Although participants were quite confident that their spreadsheets were accurate, 44 percent of the spreadsheets contained user-generated programming errors. With regard to the spreadsheet creation process, we found that experienced spreadsheet users spend a large percentage of their time using the cursor keys, primarily for the purpose of moving the cursor around the spreadsheet. Users did not spend a lot of time planning before launching into spreadsheet creation, nor did they spend much time in a separate, systematic debugging stage. Participants spent 21 percent of their time pausing, presumably reading and/or thinking, prior to the initial keystrokes of spreadsheet creation episodes.
Keywords: Programming languages, Language classifications, Applicative languages, Human factors, Performance, Programming errors, Spreadsheets
Cost-Benefit Methodology for Office Systems BIBAK 273-289
  Peter G. Sassone
The time savings times salary (TSTS) approach is a widely used methodology for the financial justification of office information systems, yet its theoretical basis is largely unexplored. In this paper, we identify its underlying economic model, including five critical assumptions. We find that the model, though somewhat restrictive, is not unreasonable. However, we find that the time-saving-times-salary calculation, per se, is implicitly based on a very particular assumption about how saved time will be used. This assumption has neither a behavioral nor normative basis, and we conclude that the TSTS calculation is not meaningful in most cases. An alternate approach, the hedonic wage model, is proposed. This model overcomes most of the deficiencies of the TSTS approach, although it has somewhat greater data requirements and computational complexity. A case study illustrating the use of the hedonic wage model is presented.
Keywords: Models and principles, Systems and information theory, Value of information, Information systems applications, Office automation, Equipment, Computers and society, Organizational impacts, Management of computing and information systems, General, Economics, Management of computing and information systems, Project and people management, Systems analysis and design, Economics, Management, Measurement, Performance, Theory, Cost benefit, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Financial analysis, Hedonic wage model, Productivity, Resource allocation, Time savings, Work profile matrix

TOIS 1987 Volume 5 Issue 4

Research Contributions

Cooperating Knowledge-Based Assistants for the Office BIBAK 297-326
  A. Roger Kaye; Gerald M. Karam
This paper presents an approach to high-level support of office workers by embedding office knowledge in a network of distributed cooperating knowledge-based or expert "assistants" and servers. These knowledge-based systems incorporate both factual and procedural knowledge and are capable of making use of existing conventional office technology. They constitute a form of computer-supported cooperative work. We describe a common architecture for our assistants and servers that incorporates several key features. Our systems are capable of supporting concurrent multiple consulations or tasks and have facilities for the interruption and resumption of consulations as appropriate. The various assistants and servers, which may reside on different machines, cooperate in solving problems or completing tasks by passing messages. We propose a taxonomy of the general office knowledge normally used by office workers, together with a frame and rule-based knowledge representation scheme. We also describe an experimental system, written in PROLOG, that incorporates the above design principles.
Keywords: Computer-communication networks, Distributed systems, Distributed applications, Information systems applications, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Office automation, Design, Experimentation, Theory, Collaborative systems, Computer-supported cooperative work, cooperating expert systems, Distributed systems, Expert systems, Knowledge-based systems

Editorial: Introduction to the Special Section

Selected Papers from CHI+GI'87 BIB 327
  Irene Greif

Selected Papers from CHI+GI'87

Evolution of an Organizational Interface: The New Business Department at a Large Insurance Firm BIBAK 328-339
  Andrew Clement; C. C. Gotlieb
This paper describes how the work organization and computer system of the New Business Department at a large life insurance firm have interacted and evolved over time. The dynamics of interaction are explained largely in terms of the economic incentive to reduce the length of transaction-processing chains and the more political goal of extending managerial control. It is argued that examining the interaction of organizations and computer systems can contribute to a better theoretical understanding of the development of large computer systems and offer guidance to designers of user-computer interfaces. A graphical technique for depicting organizational interfaces is presented.
Keywords: Computers and society, Organizational impacts, Management of computing and information systems, Project and people management, Systems development, Design, Human factors, Management, Business case study, Managerial control, On-line computer system, Organizational interface, Organizational study
Strategies for Encouraging Successful Adoption of Office Communication Systems BIBAK 340-357
  Susan F. Ehrlich
The adoption of new computer communication systems into organizations requires behavioral change. Planning for successful adoption requires knowledge of individual organizational communication patterns and the relationship between those patterns and particular communication system solutions. This paper documents a sequence of studies of organizational communication. Needs for office communication systems were identified, as were social and psychological factors temporarily inhibiting their use. Strategies for assuring smooth adoption of such systems are highlighted.
Keywords: Information systems applications, Communications applications, Computer applications, Social and behavioral sciences, Psychology, Sociology, Computers and society, Organizational impacts, Management of computing and information systems, Installation management, Performance and usage measurement, Human factors, Adoption, Communication, Electronic mail, Office automation, Office systems, Sociology, Voice mail
Behavioral Experiments on Handmarkings BIBAK 358-377
  John D. Gould; Josiane Salaun
Handmarkings or handwritten editing marks can be used as direct editing commands to an interactive computer system. Five exploratory experiments studied the potential value of handmarkings for editing text and pictures, as well as for some specific results. Circles are the most frequently used scoping mark, and arrows are the most frequently used operator and target indicators. Experimental comparisons showed that handmarkings have the potential to be faster than keyboards and mice for editing tasks. Their ultimate value will, however, depend on the style and details of their user-interface implementation.
Keywords: Software, Miscellaneous, Software psychology, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Experimentation, Human factors, Computer-human interaction, Direct manipulation, Engineering psychology, Gestures, Handmarkings, Terminal design, User interface

Practice and Experience

Augmenting Thesauri for Information Systems BIBAK 378-392
  Roy Rada; Brian K. Martin
A thesaurus can be a critical component of an office information system. Access to various sets of documents can be facilitated by thesauri and by the connections that are made among thesauri. In the projects described in this paper, the thesauri are stored and manipulated through a relational database management system. The system detects inheritance properties in a thesaurus and uses them to guide a human expert in decisions about how to augment the thesaurus. New strategies will extend our ability to augment existing thesauri.
Keywords: Information storage and retrieval, Content analysis and indexing, Thesauri, Artificial intelligence, Applications and expert systems, Office automation, Artificial intelligence, Knowledge representation formalisms and methods, Relation systems, Design, Relational database management systems
Office-by-Example: An Integrated Office System and Database Manager BIBAK 393-427
  Kyu-Young Whang; Art Ammann; Anthony Bolmarcich; Maria Hanrahan; Guy Hochgesang; Kuan-Tsae Huang; Al Khorasani; Ravi Krishnamurthy; Gary Sockut; Paula Sweeney; Vance Waddle; Moshe Zloof
Office-by-Example (OBE) is an integrated office information system that has been under development at IBM Research. OBE, an extension of Query-by-Example, supports various office features such as database tables, word processing, electronic mail, graphics, images, and so forth. These seemingly heterogeneous features are integrated through a language feature called example elements. Applications involving example elements are processed by the database manager, an integrated part of the OBE system. In this paper we describe the facilities and architecture of the OBE system and discuss the techniques for integrating heterogeneous objects.
Keywords: Programming languages, Processors, Parsing, Operating systems, Process management, Concurrency, Data storage representations, Models and principles, User/machine systems, Human factors, Database management, General, Security, Integrity, Protection, Database management, Logical design, Database management, Physical design, Access methods, Recovery and restart, Database management, Languages, Query languages, Database management, Systems, Query processing, Information systems applications, Office automation, Word processing, Information systems applications, Communications applications, Electronic mail, Computer graphics, Methodology and techniques, Interaction techniques, Languages, Image processing, General, Image processing software, Text processing, Document preparation, Languages, Algorithms, Languages, Management, Performance, Integration, Memory-resident database, Query optimization, Screen management, Two-dimensional parsing