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December 2021

Digital library resources as a basis for collaborative work

Journal/Book: J Amer Soc Inform Sci. 2000; 51: 605 Third Ave, New York, NY 10158-0012, USA. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 228-245.

Abstract: The creation of large, networked, digital document resources has greatly facilitated information access and dissemination, We suggest that such resources can further enhance how we work with information, namely, that they can provide a substrate that supports collaborative work. We focus on one form of collaboration, annotation, by which we mean any of an open-ended number of creative document manipulations that are useful to record and to share with others. Widespread digital document dissemination required technological enablers, such as web clients and servers. The resulting infrastructure is one in which information may be widely shared by individuals across administrative boundaries. To achieve the same ubiquitous availability for annotation requires providing support for spontaneous collaboration, that is, for collaboration across administrative boundaries without significant prior agreements. Annotation is not more commonplace, we suggest, because the technological needs of spontaneous collaboration are challenging. We have developed a document model, called multivalent documents, which provides a means to address these challenges. In the multivalent document model, a document comprises distributed data and program resources, called layers and behaviors, respectively. Because most document functionality is implemented by behaviors, the model is highly extensible, and can accommodate both new document formats and novel forms of functionality. Among other applications, it is possible to use the model to effect a wide class of annotation types, across different document formats, without any administrative provisions. An implementation of the model has allowed us to develop behaviors that currently support some quite different but common digital document types, and a number of quite different annotation capabilities-some familiar, and some novel. A related implementation provides some analogous capabilities for geographic data. Such capabilities could have a beneficial impact on the ''scholarly information life cycle,'' i.e., the process by which researchers and scholars create, disseminate, and use knowledge.

Note: Article Wilensky R, Univ Calif Berkeley, Dept EECS, Berkeley,CA 94720 USA

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