This submission details a proposal for a workshop to be held in conjunction with the ACM Hypertext '97 conference in Southampton. The proposed workshop would be the third workshop of this series. The previous two workshops were HTF I, held in conjunction with the ACM ECHT '94 conference in Edinburgh, and HTF II, held in conjunction with Hypertext '96 in Washington. Both workshops were very successful, raising many important and topical discussions among the attendees. Trip reports on the two workshops were published online as well as in SIGLINK newsletters.
The proposed workshop would be reported and published in the same way that the previous workshops were. Position papers of participants would be electronically published on a WWW page, and paper copies would be disseminated to participants. A final report would be written from minutes of the workshop and submitted to the SIGLINK newsletter edition reporting on the conference.
The primary interests of this workshop are all aspects of providing hypertext functionality to software systems which do not have it. Many specialised information systems are designed with little or no hypertext functionality, yet there are many that can benefit from it.
This workshop focuses on hypertext and hypermedia as value-added support functionality, and on the entire process of embedding hypertext functions into non-hypertext oriented information systems. These include a large base of scientific and business applications that people use primarily for their underlying analytic functionality, i.e., not for reading or navigating among large amounts of display information. Hypertext features both supplement and give users access to the application's primary activities. For many of these systems, hypertext will be integrated so seamlessly that users will be unaware of its presence.
This workshop proposes a cross-disciplinary approach to addressing the problems of supporting hypertext functionality (HTF) in a distributed environment for legacy applications and databases, and other systems that dynamically generate their content, offering support for differing user requirements. Our aim is to bring together researchers from a number of relevant fields, including distributed systems, open hypermedia systems, the World Wide Web, management information systems, and systems analysis, design and development, in order to bring a variety of perspectives to address these problems. This cross-disciplinary environment will foster the exchange of useful ideas and promote collaboration between researchers in different fields. One important goal of the proposed workshop is to identify common research interests and to promote subsequent collaboration and cooperation among participants.
Both groups are interested in issues related to providing hypertext functionality to systems which do not inherently possess it already. The HTF workshop is concerned with the broader aspects of how information systems are improved/changed by hypertext functionality, what hypertext functionality should be provided to other information systems,how it should be utilised and what sort of information or operational environment is best benefited by it. In contrast, the OHS workshop concentrates on the technological aspects of providing hypertext functionality, and examines the technical specifications, requirements and standards of hypertext "engines" and their integration.
Some joint activities between the two workshops are recommended, as this will provide each community with insights into the topics of the other. HTF researchers will gain an understanding of the technologies involved in integration of hypertext functionality, what functions are possible and what areas remain unsolved problems. OHS researchers will gain an understanding of the uses to which their technologies are put, as well as discovering some new problem areas not currently addressed. During HTFII, participants had arrived at a list of core hypertext functionality in terms of features for nodes, links, views/models, and browsers. This list will be shared with OHS III participants to discuss implementation mechanisms for these features.
The organisers have held exploratory discussions with the organiser of the OHS III workshop, and we have agreed that one or two joint sessions should be arranged. Also, organisers of each workshop will distribute position papers to participants of both workshops.
Based on the amount of discussion at the last workshop, this workshop will last two days, starting at 0900 and concluding at 1730. Participants will be encouraged to continue discussions informally. An informal dinner on the first evening will foster this aim. Pre-workshop activities will include the distribution of the position papers of all invited participants, who will be expected to have read them before the workshop. Discussion topics will be finalised after assessing the contributions of the invited participants. A draft agenda is :
09:00 Introduction to the workshop; introduce each participant 09:45 Session 1: 10:45 Coffee break 11:00 Session 2: 12:30 Lunch break 14:00 Session 3: 15:45 Coffee break 16:00 Session 4: 17:30 Close of day's proceedings. 19:00 Informal dinner
09:00 Session 5: 10:45 Coffee break 11:00 Session 6: 12:30 Lunch break 14:00 Session 7: 15:45 Coffee break 16:00 Issues arising from earlier discussion. Future research issues and possible collaborations. 17:30 Workshop closeThe agenda will include at least one joint session with the Open Hypermedia Systems workshop (OHS III). The following proposal for joint sessions is under discussion with the OHS III organisers:
Post-workshop activities will include the reporting of the outcomes of the workshop. A final report taken from the minutes of the meeting will be compiled and disseminated via the SIGLINK newsletter and Web pages. The position papers and final report will be published electronically on the New Jersey Institute of Technology Web server, and will also appear as a NJIT technical report.
The number of participants is ideally not more than twenty. The aim is to have representatives from all relevant hypertext research and development areas, and to promote discussion between the different research groups on topics of mutual interest.Researchers and developers from many areas will be able to contribute and benefit from the discussions. Distributed systems researchers will contribute an understanding of the potential of distributed systems to support future hypermedia systems with ready-made security and communications software, while benefiting from finding out the state of the art in information system-oriented hypermedia research and understanding the special requirements that hypertext functionality may have in a distributed environment. Open hypermedia systems researchers will be able to contribute by briefing participants on recent developments in interfacing hypermedia systems to external display applications, while benefiting from discussing the requirements of extra-application HTF. World Wide Web researchers will be able to contribute by briefing us on advanced Web research into interfacing legacy databases via APIs and Common Gateway Interface scripts, use of mobile code technologies such as applets and servlets, and into handling distributed information collections. They would benefit from discovering alternative approaches to interfacing legacy applications, while adequately representing and supporting the different needs of users. Information systems developers will be able to contribute by characterising the requirements of system integration and users. They will benefit from discussions with researchers in these other fields influencing system integration.
The proposed workshop would be advertised in the appropriate fora, inviting interested parties to submit a position paper. All of the organisers will assess the submitted position papers for their relevance to the workshop and the potential for the authors to contribute usefully to the workshop discussions.
All of the organisers of the proposed workshop were participants and organisers of one or both of the previous workshops of the same name.
Michael Bieber Michael Bieber is Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the New Jersey Institute of Technology's CIS Department, where he directs the Hypermedia Information Systems Lab. He holds a JOVE Faculty Fellowship in the Automation Technology Section at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Michael is active in the ACM Hypertext conferences and co-chairs the Hypermedia in Information Systems "minitrack" at the annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. He also serves as the treasurer of ACM SIGLINK.
Harri Oinas-Kukkonen is Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the University of Oulu in Finland. His research interests include information systems development, CASE, hypermedia design, and usability engineering. His hypertext functionality implementation in MetaEdit+ CASE environment is an exemplary piece of work in the hypertext functionality research stream. He was one of the organizers of the HTF1 and HTF2 workshops.
V. Balasubramanian ("Bala") is President of E-Papyrus, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the areas of hypermedia, web-based document delivery, document management, groupware and user interface design. He is currently designing an authoring and publishing system using document management and Web technologies for a large financial institution to deliver product and services marketing information to brokers, clients and the general public. Prior to this, Bala was also instrumental in introducing Web-based information services at Hoffmann-La Roche, a pharmaceutical company. He has also consulted for IBM, Bell Atlantic, and AT&T. He was a co-organizer for HTFII. He is also a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University.
Helen Ashman has been working on Defence Hypermedia Information Systems since 1990. Her interests are in modelling of hypermedia concepts, hypermedia developments in the World Wide Web and hypermedia integration in distributed systems. She is joint Programme Chair (with Paul Thistlewaite of ANU) of the forthcoming IW3C2 7th International World Wide Web conference, to be held in Australia in 1998. She also acted as joint editor of the Technical Futures theme of the regional Australian World Wide Web conference (Ausweb '96). At previous ACM Hypertext conferences, she has participated in the Hypertext '93 Workshop on Hyperbase Systems, Seattle USA, November 1993, and the HTFI and HTFII workshops as mentioned above. Additional participation in the ACM Hypertext conferences includes refereeing for '94, '96 and '97.