Re: Cascade Collaborative Document Processor was: Re: [unrev-II] Fw: $60 Million in Funding for High-Risk Research -- Proposers? Meetings

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Fri Jan 12 2001 - 12:08:33 PST

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] Re: Cascade Collaborative Document Processor"

    On 9/7/00, I sent an interesting email with links regarding CASCADE based on
    Doug's augmentation theories.:

    > The CASCADE (Computer Augmented Support Collaborative Authoring and Document Editing)
    > project is based on the augmentation theories of Engelbart (1984,1988,1992). CASCADE was
    > developed to augment and aid document review tasks. Reviewers communicate through documents
    > and annotations created. A number of tasks are off-loaded from reviewers or inspectors so that
    > more time and effort can be allocated for the primary (review) task. In addition, CASCADE’s
    > interaction style using point-and-clicking, in-line, color-coded and form-based annotations - are
    > intuitive and “natural” for reviewing textual documents. This would be true for software
    > artifacts, e.g. source code listing. From this perspective, software inspection tasks could be
    > facilitated by the use of the CASCADE system. CASCADE involves SGML/XML, hypertext,
    > multimedia, DBMSs ,network protocols, system design, visualization, data mining, social
    > computing, and intelligent agents to name a view. CASCADE is an email-centric environment that
    > allows groups of people to work together writing, revising, commenting, and discussing
    > documents. CASCADE offers a number of notable features including, placement of annotations
    > at specific locations, color coded labeling, flexible comment classifications, and navigational
    > tools. With minor reorganization and a few enhancements, CASCADE can serve as a testbed for
    > asynchronous software inspection research.
    > CASCADE, has been developed to augment commenting and review on electronic documents, is a
    > three-tier client server application. Its design was guided by four principles most simply
    > described as: augmentation, information utilization, visualization, and agents. Each is briefly
    > elaborated on here.
    > Augmentation. Given some task, only a small portion of the subtasks require cognitive
    > processing (Engelbart, 1961; Engelbart, 1962). In CASCADE, the system is so structured as to
    > offload the mechanical tasks to the computer. For example, making a hypertext comment
    > requires 10-15 actions (depending on how the process is defined). Only one of these tasks,
    > writing the comment itself, actually requires the commenter - the rest can be done by the
    > system. “Augmentation”, as used by Engelbart (1984,1988,1992), involves task analysis and
    > redesign to create a set of processes that optimize the human side of the human computer
    > interaction. CASCADE currently augments comment and comment review processes. This current
    > research will extend the augmented processes to inspection and defect collection.
    > Information Utilization. Zuboff (1984) uses the term “informating” to refer to a process
    > where an information stream generated by a computer is used to improve the process. She draws
    > parallels between automation and information, and automating and informating. CASCADE uses
    > information about documents, groups, and actions to inform simple functions. For example,
    > sending mail begins with the subject, recipient, and originator fields of a mail note filled in.
    > CASCADE knows the email addresses, and how group members like to receive their mail. Clicking
    > one button attaches the document. The user simply types the note and the document is sent out.
    > This kind of redesign is called “information” in the Zuboffian sense of the term as a direct
    > parallel to “automation”.
    > Visualization. The visualization of data can increase the speed with which targets of
    > opportunity can be addressed. CASCADE has a set of visual navigation tools that increase the
    > speed with which sets of documents, document components, and areas within documents can be
    > accessed. Current research is aimed at assessing the utility of these tools contrasted with other
    > mechanisms for accessing particular documents. Apart from navigational tools, CASCADE
    > provides visualization tools, that augment activity analysis, tracking and reporting on various
    > forms of activity in a way that supports different views, and controls access to a large complex
    > document set.
    > Agents. There are many things that we would like others to do for us. With advances in
    > computing power and techniques, it is increasingly possible to design simple software programs
    > (agents) that appear to be intelligent (in some cases the learning algorithms and control logic
    > merit that title). In CASCADE, the current plan for agent design focuses on simple
    > “contribution” agents that do little tasks on behalf of the user. For example, the communication
    > agent keeps track of where people “live” when they are using CASCADE. Knowing that, the agent
    > can check those places when someone wants to contact them. The CASCADE communication agent
    > does just this. It keeps track of who a user wants to talk to and watches for them. When found,
    > it let’s the user know, and if the timing is still right, sets up an interactive talk session.
    > CASCADE is a multiple-platform three-tier client-server application and its screen is divided
    > into four main panels. Across the top are menus. Across the bottom are status and informational
    > panels. On the left-hand side of the CASCADE screen, there is a file
    > navigational panel showing the user available documents and folders. The majority of the screen
    > is the main viewer where the document is displayed. To make a comment, the user simply clicks
    > the mouse at a target location in the document. The comment creation and review dialogs allow
    > comments to be entered and comment types to be classified. Once a comment is created, it will
    > appear as a color coded label inside the document and will be available for all users to view.
    > Users can quickly identify comments through an intra-document navigational facility, called the
    > mural bar, located at the right most of the
    > window. CASCADE also has a number of security features. User privileges and document
    > permission enforce accessibility and operations inside CASCADE.
    > "This research is still in its early stages. A number of questions are still being explored. Among
    > these are the development of an optimized application protocol and refinement of the database
    > structure. There are also questions about overall process efficiency that may require violation
    > of some of the conceptual principles of DBMS design. While locking has been implemented at a
    > gross level in the current version, a more accurate assessment of the capability of the system
    > will have to await the implementation of element level locking which is currently being
    > implemented. Also, the incorporation of augmented XML document construction and XML
    > document display will represent an important step in the refinement of the system as a usable
    > system for practical application."
    > References
    > Appendix E, Bordin Sapsomboon thesis (Shared Defect Detection : The Effects of Annotations
    > in Asynchronous Software Inspection)
    > *Off-loading routine tasks to computer for allowing humans to focus on high-level cognitive
    > tasks

    Jack Park wrote:

    > From: Jack Park <>
    > > Home page is
    > >From that page, we motor around and eventually stumble on this one:
    > "Welcome to the home page for CASCADE. CASCADE is a research initiative to
    > study the development of net based collaborative authoring systems. CASCADE
    > stands for Computer Augmented Support for Collaborative Authoring and
    > Document Editing. Over the last couple of years, I have made a number of
    > presentations of CASCADE. I have selected two that provide slightly
    > different introdcutions for inclusion here: "
    > There is even software you can download. Not open source, near as I can
    > tell.
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jan 12 2001 - 12:19:59 PST