Development and understanding of automated capture environments to support long-term use: report I.
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The aim of the research is to integrate flexible hypermedia infrastructures to automated capture environments in order to support long-term use. Previous work by the group at GATECH has aimed at making capture a ubiquitous service at any point in time and over a short period of time. The real use of the infrastructure has created the interesting problem of having too much information available. The objective of the joint research is to find flexible and customizable information access solutions that scale over time, increasing the benefit of captured memories for the human as time passes and more information is captured. This overall goal involves many computer science issues ranging from multimedia manipulation to human-computer interaction. Our approach to this problem is to view capture as only one part of the information acquisition process in any given application. We introduce a spiral model for capture that stresses how the capture repository must be viewed as an ever—growing container for activities and knowledge that occurs before, during and after live capture sessions. As the repository grows over time, specialized automated services must be created that add structure by highlighting inter-relationships between the captured experiences and activities that occur outside of capture. Moreover, flexible services for structuring and accessing the information must be provided. The main activities of the joint research are: l. The definition of a spiral model to describe the research challenges of an automated capture service to support long-term activities. 2. A generic Infrastructure for Capture and Access- InCA. InCA provides not only the framework for a run-time environment to support the capture of many live activities, but also an extensible information model for captured experiences that will be used to link activities occurring during a live session to those that occur outside of the live session, as described by the spiral model. 3. The development of a generic and open infrastructure to Store, Extend, Retrieve, and Visualize Evolutionary information, that is, to SERVE captured information to humans. The SERVE infrastructure will support specialized services that occur outside of live capture and serve to augment the information contained in a capture repository and to generate automatic associations between related experiences. 4. The continued experimentation within the educational domain as well as the development of expertise in the domain of distributed collaborative design meetings. These activities are split between researchers in the ICMC-USP, Brazil, and researchers in the Future Computing Environments Group at GATECH, U.S.A. These institutions are particularly well positioned to do meaningful research on automated capture environments. The FCE Group, lead by Dr. Gregory Abowd, invented the Classroom 2000 system, the foremost demonstration of a large-scale automated capture environment. The USP Group, with extensive experience in the modeling and design of hypermedia systems, is lead by Dr. Maria da Graca Pimentel, who has worked closely with the PCB Group to extend the capabilities of the Classroom 2000 system over the past year. This collaboration originally involved 8 different graduate students, 3 from USP, as well as Dr. Maria Pimentel and Dr. Renata Fortes, faculty members from USP who visited Georgia Tech in post-doctoral programs. This proposal has been able to feed this collaborative activity. Dr. Abowd's group, funded by NSF, has been involved in building the InCA framework for developing capture applications for different domains. The group at USP has undertaken several activities toward developing of the SERVE infrastructure. Both groups are collaborating in the development of a new educational capture environment and one to support distributed design meetings. The results of the research applied to the educational domain will benefit directly part of the teaching activities in both USP and GATECH, while the research applied to distributed collaborative design meetings could benefit any other software development teams.