Please help with the SIGWEB Digital Library Project

From: Michael Bieber (
Date: Fri 29 Jan 1999 - 09:51:44 CST

Hi Everyone,

_(fwd link)_I'd like to invite the entire SIGWEB community to participate in the design and implementation of SIGWEB's Digital Library project.

We're going to form four task forces to consider different parts of the project:
- A: Standard Archive Formats

Details of each, as well as the project goals and future steps are attached below.

_(fwd link)_Please email me if your are interested:
- you would like to work on (a) particular task force(s)

We'll organize a time to meet at the upcoming Hypertext'99 Conference, but let's do some on-line communications in preparation.



  Michael Bieber
  Computer and Information Science Department   New Jersey Institute of Technology   E-Mail: URL:


SIGWEB's DL Project: HyNIC

* Description of the term HyNIC
* HyNIC Goals
* HyNIC Tasks and Task Forces
* Future Steps

The name "HyNIC" comes from the idea Doug Engelbart described in this Hypertext'98 keynote address: Networked Improvement Communities (NICs). Engelbart defines NICs as organizations which continuously improve their meta-improvement structures, i.e., continuously improve the processes they use to improve their products and services. SIGWEB, as a professional society, is continuously looking for ways to improve service to our members. We view the HyNIC as a continuously evolving resource for our community.

To create an advanced, hypermedia-enhanced digital library, and eventually a NIC for the hypermedia and WWW research communities, to be managed under the auspices of ACM SIGWEB.

Note that many of these tasks will be worked on simultaneously.

Determine the standard archive format(s) for HyNIC's content and metainformation. The content will contain all possible media formats (text, graphics, audio, animation, etc.). These formats must fully support hypermedia structures --- nodes, links and composites, metainformation about all of these, versioning, and the broad range of hypermedia features that the research community has been developing over the years. (See Future Steps below for what's to come, and thus what to support.)

Determine an architecture, within which HyNIC contents can reside anywhere in the world, and community members will be able to access them, all hypermedia features, and tools. Process enactment and communication tools should be planned into the architecture. (See Future Steps below for what's to come, and thus what to support.)

This task force would plan the implementation of the HyNIC project. This includes helping to set up the environment based on the results of task forces, sending out calls for participation (see below) and generally helping to manage the project.

This task force will work closely with SIGWEB's leadership to determine all the ways that the HyNIC effort should support SIGWEB as a professional society. As a first step this task force will help identify stakeholders in the hypermedia and WWW communities, and their needs. It then will determine the different tasks and processes that these stakeholders will want to perform, and determine the ways the HyNIC effort can partially or fully support these. We need to ensure that HyNIC's design can serve all appropriate activities. (See Future Steps below for what's to come.)

(a) Incorporate structured communication features into the HyNIC architecture, so people can actively discuss the contents, as well as refer to the contents in other general discussions within the community.

(b) Create the initial contents. We will put out a call to all community members to make archived content available through our architecture, in our standard formats. To the extent feasible, we also will include access to existing published materials.

(c) Put out a call for community members (as well as commercial companies) to contribute tools supporting hypermedia features (navigation, structural and content query, annotation, trails, overviews, etc.). We also include tools to manage the knowledge maps (step d) and for managing process representation and process enactment (step f). The tools must work within the HyNIC architecture and be compliant with the archive and metainformation standard formats. Tool output must be in a universally accessible and shareable data format. Many tool outputs themselves become part of the digital library. In many cases we expect the various hypermedia research groups to modify existing research tools to comply with the agreed-upon standards. Similarly we hope commercial companies will choose to make their tools compliant and donate them free-of-charge for use in conjunction with HyNIC. We also hope this will spawn a great amount of new research into hypermedia tools.

(d) Put out a call for community members to contribute conceptual views and other knowledge mappings of the corpus, using the tools contributed in step C. These would provide top-level interfaces for HyNIC, representing the knowledge and structure of the hypertext community.

(e) Put out a call for community members to provide sharable instances of the hypermedia features: indexes, tours, annotations, glossaries, links, etc., using the tools contributed in step C. We especially would encourage professors to have students produce these for the community under their guidance.

(f) Put out a call for community members to encode the community processes using the tools contributed in step C.

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