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Center for Content and Knowledge Engineering (CCKE)

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J. van den Berg
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  Chair Electronic Document Technology
  Chair Cognition and Communication
 

Projects in the area of Electronic Document Technology and Information Systems

  • The ClassMate project (Jan Herman Verpoorten a.o.)
    ClassMate is an application framework and software architecture for e-learning, focusing on the reusability of both the software components and the content. The project is initially funded by the University Board, with support of Sun MicroSystems, and started in collaboration with colleagues from Computer Science and Physics Computer Science. ClassMate is close to its publication as an 'open source' project (under the GNU license). This applies to the core software classes of the framework and the interaction components (plusschemas, demo applications, technical and user documentation, etc.). At this moment, the framework is extended with an authoring environment for interactive 'ClassMate' content (in XML), and the management of sessions and session persistency (e.g. exams) in a Learning Management System (also under development). In essence, ClassMate is a highly specialised library consisting of educational widgets and viewers, combined with a software core representing the modeling. Components are not to be used in an IDE, but the target application is generated at runtime in the client, based on an (XML) specification. The framework modeling is generic and covers an entire range of educational applications. The results of this research are used in the next project.
  • Dynamic content from a user's perspective (Jan Herman Verpoorten)
    Dynamic content is almost always understood as content generated at runtime and dependent on particular variables. The presentation of such content is program- controlled, rather than user-controlled. From a user's perspective very little seems dynamic. The research focuses on possibilities for end-users to gain maximum control on the view and structure of content, i.e. user-control instead of program-control. This way, users might be able to optimize the presentation of content for a particular task. The research approach focuses on an software architecture, capable to handle specialised viewers and retrieval components. Viewers will handle the results delivered by the retrieval components. Retrieval components will handle the delivered content and the results of other retrieval components. Content (in XML) accompanied with (references to) viewer and retrieval components can be viewed in several ways, dependent on the user's preference and the nature of the content itself. This approach borrowes some elements from IBM's UIMA concept, but is unique in its application and implementation.
  • Reference architectures for cyber-classes (Leen Breure)
    In the last years, several types of digital documents have been studied as classes (the cyber-classes), among others with the purpose to improve the accompanying user software on the basis of generic properties. In this project the research is focussed on a class-specific interpretation of the data-, task- and presentation models for this user software. These three together should offer builders within a particular cyber class a foothold: a so-called reference architecture.
  • Progenetor (editorial framework) (Leen Breure)
    Encoding content in XML format is often looked upon as a valuable investment, because it bears the promise of reusability. The use of structured mark-up, like XML, increases precision in location and retrieval of content, but does not automatically generate new texts. This requires editorial work: texts must be explored, before fragments can be selected, arranged and, perhaps with slight modifications, aggregated into a new structure. Particularly documents on cultural heritage must be made available in different composition on different platforms (PC, web, mobile devices and in print) and will, therefore, go through a detailed process of reviewing and editorial enrichment. Most XML editors offer no project support beyond maintaining a simple list of the texts being edited. However, users may want to switch between different tools, picking the software most suitable for a specific task. A coordinating framework would be helpful, which supports these activities: to maintain the content collection separate from an XML editor and to provide easy access to the different programs used, integrating input and output streams. This project will make such a framework available in the form of a tool kit, named PROGENETOR. It will be based on templates and a special tag set, with an HTML user interface, using HTML forms for entering parameters. PROGENETOR acts as a thin layer of 'glue' between standard XML, XSLT and JavaScript code, and is therefore easy to customize in detail. PROGENETOR is not another XML editor, but an editorial application suitable for working with content collections on disk, at different levels, and particularly useful at an authoring stage preceding publication through software for dynamic websites, like Cocoon and eXist. It is written in Delphi, and has a built-in XML parser and XSLT transformer (fully Internet Explorer compatible), which makes processing fast.
  • Vechtstreek-project (Leen Breure, Jörgen van den Berg, Hans Voorbij, Herre van Oostendorp (CCI))
    This project will study and deliver a generic modelling and implementation strategy for a system that helps "to read" the cultural landscape: an integral multimedia presentation based on underlying GIS-databases, with digitised cultural heritage material connected to it. It will allow the same material to be viewed from different perspectives, on different levels of detail to demonstrate the dynamics of the cultural landscape over time. The dynamic aspect pertains to both, the presentation and the access of information. Using personalisation and adaptation techniques the system will be capable of coping with the dynamic information requirements of different user groups: (1) local and regional civil services, policy makers in regional planning projects, (2) professionals involved in designing and constructing projects, (3) local people participating in decision making processes, (4) educational programmes, and last but least, (5) visitors from outside the region wanting an in-depth acquaintance. The region of the river Vecht has been chosen as example and test case, because it is not only known for its rich cultural and natural heritage, but also because it is subject to high pressure on space for construction activities, resulting in a decline of the traditional agriculture. The river Vecht – streaming North from Utrecht into the former Zuider Zee and being part of the lowland river system of the Rhine Delta – was used by the Romans as a strategic connection route to the north. Castles built during the Middle Ages also point to the strategic significance of the river. On either side of the river are lakes, and peat lands turned into grassland. For centuries the peat has been dug out for burning, leaving artificial lakes. Most villages are situated along the river, where from early 1600 onward, rich Amsterdam merchants built their country houses in Paladian architecture, with formal gardens, high trees and lush parks, alternating with open agricultural land and distant views, leaving a distinctive mark on the look and feel of the Vecht valley as a cultural landscape. (for more information, see: www.vensteropdevecht.nl
  • A Semantic Structure for the Scientific Article (A. de Waard, L. Breure, H. van Oostendorp). Despite the advent of computer centered ways of creating and accessing scientific knowledge, the format of the scientific research article has remained basically unchanged. In this NWO funded CASIMIR project we develop in cooperation with Elsevier a model of a more appropriate form for research publications to structure scientific articles, based on a rhetorical structure which is ubiquitous in (natural) science papers. The model has three components: defining rhetorical elements inside the documents, the identification of the argumentational relationships between these elements; and the connection of data elements and entities to external sources. In a next step of the project we will model a corpus of articles and test the sufficiency of the model. In a final phase we will develop and test appropriate authoring tools and test these with real users.