[unrev-II] NoteCards meets gIBIS

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Fri Sep 14 2001 - 11:29:32 PDT

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    This is a paper about Aquanet, which is a predecessor to VKB.

    "Aquanet brings together two separate but convergent lines of hypertext
    research. First, over the last five years we have been observing people
    using NoteCards [Hala87] for a variety of knowledge structuring tasks. Of
    particular interest are our investigations into representing the structure
    of argumentation in hypertext [Mars87][Mars89] and our use of the
    NoteCards-based IDE system for analyzing knowledge in instructional design
    tasks [Russ87][Jord89]. Second, we have been influenced by the ideas
    introduced in gIBIS [Conk88] and its subsequent generalization, Germ
    [Brun88]. The gIBIS and Germ tools provide a valuable counterpoint to
    NoteCards since they were explicitly designed to support the construction
    and maintenance of constrained knowledge structures.
    These two lines of research have highlighted the discrepancies between the
    needs of users engaged in knowledge structuring tasks and the functionality
    provided by information management and presentation hypertext systems like
    Intermedia and KMS. Two discrepancies stand out. First, information
    management hypertext systems focus on nodes and the local connections
    between them. But in knowledge structuring tasks it is important to see and
    manipulate a global view of the network. Second, information management
    systems provide only a simple node-link data model. Knowledge structuring
    tasks often require a richer language for expressing the interconnections
    among nodes. "

    VKB: Visual Knowledge Builder is found at http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/~haowei/VKB/

    It includes an 8 mb download but does not include source code. I have
    written to see about VKB going open source.

    "Traditionally, building knowledge-based systems has been a process
    involving professional knowledge engineers. While this process works for
    well-defined tasks in limited domains, it is too expensive for domains
    where the representation must change frequently and is not feasible for
    problems where experts' understanding of the domain and task changes during
    the course of problem solving. The alternative approach investigated in
    this project is one of "incremental formalization." This approach allows
    users to initially enter their understanding of their domain, task, and
    solutions in less formal representations and provides computer support for
    the gradual formalization of this knowledge. The project includes: (1)
    designing knowledge representations and interfaces for capturing emergent
    understandings and enabling incremental formalization, (2) developing
    mechanisms for recognizing implicit structure within informally represented
    information, (3) investigating interfaces for suggesting formalizations,
    uses of automated formalization, and trade-offs between suggesting and
    automating formalization, (4) creating tools which aid the development of
    shared languages and support collaborative knowledge-building tasks, and
    (5) improving understanding of knowledge-building processes and the
    relative merits of prototypes through observations of individual and
    collaborative tasks requiring domain modeling."

    I went to the VKB web site while reading the TouchGraph forum on graphing text:
    There may be a relationship between VKB and that forum. In fact, VKB is
    suggestive of one of the directions TouchGraph and similar projects might
    want to explore.


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