According to Doug Engelbart, and thus to our current project, we need to augment our collective capability to approach urgent, complex problems in order to gain more rapid and better comprehension to result in speedier and better solutions.
To increase the speed and quality of our comprehension is an issue of how we can interact with the relevant information we have at hand and to access and interact with the information which is useful and not immediately at hand or even known.
When reading documents in order to understand an issue it is not practical to expect the knowledge worker to have the time to read every word in ever possibly relevant document to evaluate their relevance and to extract the specifically useful information, including both specifically sought information and that which is relevant but the reader was not aware of.
What the knowledge worker is dealing with is meaning encoded in symbols. Relevant steps when decoding the symbols, of which we are primarily dealing with text, include trying to extract what the author actually meant and what the author’s paradigm was, the coherence of the thought process and the accuracy of citations and references to data.
There are many relevant symbol spaces (for a more in-depth look at this please visit my site http://symbolspace.info), including social media, knowledge graphs, paper books and so on, and how to connect within and between them will be a major issue in making advanced viewSpecs possible, but that is outside of the scope of this article. Here is a basic laundry list of some potentially useful ViewSpec interactions though:
- Automatic text summarisation to help decide which documents to read further
- Information about the author to understand the author’s perspective
- Citation and Link analysis to understand how documents relate
- Specify the depth of the hierarchy to view: headings only, full text or headings with first line of every paragraph etc. to skim the document to get a feel for what sections cover what information
- Choose to view only sentences with a specific keyword in order to see how that specific keyword is covered. Also useful for when reading and forgetting what a term was and quickly being able to see the first time it was used/introduced in the document
- Setting how the text should appear, such as colour coding text based on a glossary and specifying aspects of the typography and layout to the readers preferences
- Follow explicit links which the author has set, in a manner which allows the reader to efficiently get further information (ie. links to specifically relevant sections, not just to whole documents or books or whole videos but to specific paragraphs and to specific moments in videos) and to judge the veracity of the information as presented
- Follow implicit links based on the text to search the web, references and more
- Using glossaries to allow the author to elaborate on specific terms with some effort and quality without the need to do it every time the term is used
- Using ‘hyper’-glossaries to connect to other information spaces, such as transitioning between documents and knowledge graphs
- Most clearly presenting the author’s intention and making it as verifiable as possible
- Provide multiple levels of access for readers, such as provided through approaches to glossaries and glossary-view mechanisms
- During the authorship organise the information the author has access to and has produced, in a flexible way to help the author then by showing relationships, patterns and to determine what is relevant the understanding as well as preserving these views for readers
- Publish (make public) the information/document in technical formats which makes them as accessible to systems to analyse and present to the reader as possible, through different reader perspectives and over different time periods (integrated archiving)
Ability to specify what to view in the document, to set a ViewSpec, on the fly, without cognitive load for the trained user, with as little effort as a twist of the hand which a sculptor or painter might make. These view interactions should include:
In this model the author has a clear obligation to make published material as useful and accessible to the reader, not only the reader within the very specific domain but also the more general reader, since the goal is the Concurrent Development, Integration, and Application of Knowledge, not simply to publish a document for the sake or it.