8 June, 2005 at 05:18 Leave a comment

Placeless Documents Project – Papers

In no particular order:

  • Caching Documents with Active Properties
    Eyal de Lara, Karin Petersen, Douglas B. Terry, Anthony LaMarca, Jim Thornton, Mike Salisbury, Paul Dourish, Keith Edwards and John Lamping.

    Presented at HOTOS-VII Hot Topics in Operating Systems

    [Copy in PDF format]

    Copyright: (C) IEEE 1999  

  • Presto: An Experimental Architecture for Fluid Interactive Document Spaces.
    Paul Dourish, W. Keith Edwards, Anthony LaMarca and Mike Salisbury.

    ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 6(2), 1999.

    Traditional document systems use hierarchical filing structures as the basis for organising, storing and retrieving documents. However, this structure is very limited in comparison with the rich and varied forms of document interaction and category management in everyday document use. Presto is a prototype document management system providing rich interaction with documents through meaningful, user-level document attributes, such as “Word file”, “published paper”, “shared with Jim”, “about Presto” or “currently in progress”. Document attributes capture the multiple different roles that a single document might play, and allow users to rapidly reorganise their document space for the task at hand. They provide a basis for novel document systems design and new approaches to document management and interaction. In this article, we outline the motivations behind this approach, describe the principal components of our implementation, discuss architectural consequences, and show how these support new forms of interaction with large personal document spaces.

    [Copy in PDF format]


  • Extending Document Management Systems with User-Specific Active Properties
    Paul Dourish, W. Keith Edwards, Anthony LaMarca, John Lamping, Karin Petersen, Michael Salisbury, Douglas B. Terry and James Thornton.
  • ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 18(2), 2000.

    Document properties are a compelling basis for the design of a document management infrastructure. They avoid many of the problems of traditional hierarchical storage mechanisms, reflect higher-level concerns more meaningful to users, provide a means to integrate the perspectives of multiple individuals and groups, and do this all within a uniform interaction framework. However, document properties can reflect not only categorisations of documents and document use, but also expressions of desired system activity, such as sharing criteria, replication management and versioning. We propose augmenting property-based document management systems with active properties that carry executable code and can get involved in the provision of document-based services. The combination of document properties as a uniform mechanism for document management, and active properties as a way of delivering document services, represents a new paradigm for document management infrastructures. We describe the Placeless Documents system, an experimental prototype we have developed to explore this new paradigm. Placeless Documents is based on the seamless integration of active properties. We present the fundamental design approach, explore the challenges and opportunities it presents, and show how our architecture deals with them.

  • A Programming Model for Active Documents
    Paul Dourish, W. Keith Edwards, Jon Howell, Anthony LaMarca, John Lamping, Karin Petersen, Michael Salisbury, Doug Terry and Jim Thornton

    Proc. ACM Symp. User Interface Software and Technology UIST2000, San Diego, November 2000.

    Traditionally, designers organize software system as active end-points (e.g. applications) linked by passive infrastructures (e.g. networks).  Increasingly, however, networks and infrastructures are becoming active components that contribute directly to application behavior.  Amongst the various problems that this presents is the question of how such active infrastructures should be programmed.  We have been developing an active document management system called Placeless Documents.  Its programming model is organized in terms of properties that actively contribute to the functionality and behavior of the documents to which they are attached.  This paper discusses active properties and their use as a programming model for active infrastructures.  We have found that active properties enable the creation of persistent, autonomous active entities in document systems, independent of specific repositories and applications, but present challenges for managing problems of composition.

  • Balancing Generality and Specificity in Document Management Systems
    W. Keith Edwards and Anthony LaMarca

    Proceedings of the Seventh IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (Interact’99), Edinburgh, Scotland, August 30-September 3, 1999.

This paper describes an experiment to extend the reach of the document-centric metaphors of computing to new physical and virtual objects in the workplace. By bringing these entities into the sphere of electronic documents, we leverage usersU knowledge and expectations about how documents work, and also leverage existing tools and applications that understand and manipulate documents. Being able to use general-purpose tools on semantically-loaded content types can be useful, but there are potential pitfalls with the loss of the functionality provided by special-purpose applications. We investigate a solution to this problem that strikes a balance between generality and specificity by allowing application functionality and user interface components to be associated with the document and used by general-purpose applications that operate on that document.

[Copy in PDF format]

  • Taking the Work out of Workflow: Mechanisms for Document-Centered Collaboration
    Anthony LaMarca, W. Keith Edwards, Paul Dourish, John Lamping, Ian Smith and Jim Thornton.

    Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW’99), Copenhagen, Denmark, September 12-16, 1999.

    There are two aspects to technical support for collaborative activity; support for content work and support for coordination. The design of CSCW systems must typically address both of these, combining them in a collaborative application. This approach, however, suffers from a variety of well-known problems, not least the compatibility between collaborative and single-user applications, working styles and practices. In this paper, we describe an alternative approach that makes coordination and collaborative functionality an aspect of the collaborative artifact rather than a collaborative application. We present an infrastructure and a series of application examples to illustrate the idea of document-centered collaboration, in which coordination and collaboration are separated from and independent of applications.

    [Copy in PDF format]

  • Using Properties for Uniform Interaction in the Presto Document System
    Paul Dourish, W. Keith Edwards, Anthony LaMarca and Michael Salisbury.

    Proc. ACM Symp. User Interface Software and Technology UIST’99.

    Most document or information management systems rely on hierarchies to organise documents (e.g. files, email messages or web bookmarks). However, the rigid structures of hierarchical schemes do not mesh well with the more fluid nature of everyday document practices. This paper describes Presto, a prototype system that allows users to organise their documents entirely in terms of the properties those documents hold for users. Properties provide a uniform mechanism for managing, coding, seaching, retreiving and interacting with documents. We concentrate in particular on the challenges that property-based approaches present and the architecture we have developed to tackle them.

    [Copy in PDF format]


  • Building Bridges: Customisation and Mutual Intelligibility in Shared Category Management.
    Paul Dourish, John Lamping and Tom Rodden

    In Proc. ACM Conf. Supporting Group Work GROUP’99.

    Research into collaborative document use often concentrates on how people share document content. However, studies of real-world document practices reveal that the structures by which document corpora are organised may also, themselves, be important sites of collaborative activity. Unfortunately, this poses a problem. When category structures are used to understand a set of documents, the manipulation of those structures can interfere with shared understandings of the document space. Customisation can interfere with mutual intelligibility.

    We show how this problem arises in real-world settings, using a case arising from some recent field work. We outline a solution to the customisation/intelligibility problem, and show how it has been implemented in a system for personal and workgroup document management.

    [Copy in PDF format]


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