CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

Paper Report

Title: Object Lens : A "Spreadsheet" For Cooperative Work
Authors: Kum Yew Lai, Thomas Malone, Keh Chiang Yu
Citation: ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, Vol 6, No. 4, October 1988, Pages 332-353
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1993, pp. 474-484

In this paper, we describe an early prototype of a system, called Object Lens, which is believed to hare the property of spreadsheets, which is making accessible to non computer users the art of computers and communications.

There are three views for the Object Lens

Object Lens is a semiformal system which has the following three properties
Users of object lens can group collections of objects together into special kinds of objects called folders and can create rule based “agents” that process information automatically on behalf of their users.

There are other applications which use the object lens very extensively as follows: One frequently mentioned capability for cooperative work applications is ability to keep track of the tasks the people are supposed to do. The other is the intelligent message sorting i.e. if we incorporate any changes in any message it should be sorted according to their priorities. When we need to retrieve data from the database based on some specific query which satisfies the rules and returns the data in a presentable format. It is also using the inherent properties of hypertext since the object contains the semistructure of the data and their attributes.

Hence we can say that Object Lens is a system which integrates facilities for hypertext, object oriented databases, electronic messaging and rule based agents. It is an example of a semiformal system which represents knowledge in a way that both people and their computational agents can process intelligently.

Report prepared by: Kushal M Agrawal Email: kushala@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: February 26, 1997            Report date: February 28,1997