IIMS 92 contents
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Beyond hypermedia: Design and implementation of an active document system

Xiao-Dong Xia
Telecom Research Laboratories
Clayton, Victoria
With rapid advances in and convergence of such technologies as advanced workstations, computer networks, optical disk storages as well as artificial intelligence, an active document, as it is proposed in this paper, will become a new reality in the near future.

As with hypermedia information systems known to us today, an active document organises and represents multimedia information non-linearly in terms of a collection of nodes and links among the nodes, where nodes represent such diverse objects as concepts, unstructured text, graphics, images or voice message, and links denote some kind of relations among these objects. However, among others, the active documents extends hypermedia systems in the following important ways:

Documents in business and office communication are predominantly composed of such semi-structured, semantically rich generic objects as forms, tables, figures, concepts, people etc. Thus from the information processing point of view, it is both desirable and convenient to treat these generic objects as active objects in the object oriented programming paradigm, where the behaviour of the each object can be defined in terms of a set of attributes and a collection of methods defined over the attributes, and where the objects with similar behaviours are grouped into classes. Indeed, the key idea of the concept of the active document is that an active document is composed of a collection of such active objects whose behaviours are dynamically changeable chronologically and as a result of changes of interrelated objects.

Currently, we are in the process of designing and implementing a prototype of an active document. Specifically in this paper, we will first motivate the need for such an active document and discuss its enabling technologies, then describe and open architecture for the active document and detail main components of the active document. Finally, we will discuss the mechanisms used and issues in implementing the active document.

Author: Xiao-Dong Xia, Artificial Intelligence Section, Telecom Research Laboratories, PO Box 249, Clayton Victoria 3168, AUSTRALIA. Email: xia@trlamct.trl.oz.au

Please cite as: Xia, X. (1992). Beyond hypermedia: Design and implementation of an active document system. In Promaco Conventions (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 173-174. Perth, Western Australia, 27-31 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1992/xia.html

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