This periodical is published by the Association for Computing. Copyright © 1997 ACM, Inc.

HyperActive: extending an open hypermedia architecture to support agency

J. Alfredo Sánchez
John J. Leggett
John L. Schnase

ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Vol. 1, No. 4 (Dec. 1994), Pages 357-382

[Abstract] ..... [Index Terms] ..... [Review]
[Full Text in PDF Format, 2044 KB]


Agency and hypermedia have both been suggested as powerful means to cope with future information management and human-computer interaction requirements. However, research projects have included interface agents only marginally in the context of hypermedia systems. This article proposes a set of criteria for characterizing interface agents and offers a perspective view of ongoing research in the field using those criteria as a framework. The need to provide a supporting infrastructure that facilitates testing and experimentation of interface agents is stressed. The article describes an existing open hypermedia architecture and introduces an extended architecture that includes provisions to support the development and operation of interface agents. A prototype instantiating this system architecture is presented, as well as an initial assessment of the potential and requirements of interface agents in a hypermedia environment.

General Terms


Categories and Subject Descriptors

I.7.2 Computing Methodologies, TEXT PROCESSING, Document Preparation, Hypertext/hypermedia.
H.5.2 Information Systems, INFORMATION INTERFACES AND PRESENTATION, User Interfaces, Interaction styles.

From Computing Reviews

Claudiu Popescu

The authors make a contribution to the development of hypermedia tools and techniques. This paper presents a new approach, namely using interface agents, that is, processes that are executed independently. The advantage of this method is that the agents carry out some tasks and let the user concentrate on the creative work. An agent is a model for a tool used in creating or reading hypermedia.

The paper has five sections. Section 1 is a good introduction. It states the problem and reveals the advantages and drawbacks of the method. In section 2, a framework for the characterization of interface agents is given. This three-page theoretical section is clearly presented, with figures. Section3 studies some related works. A useful table compares 20 products that use agents, using 13 criteria.

Section 4 is the core of the paper, where the authors' contribution to the field is presented. A proposed architecture (called HyperActive) for an agent-aware hypermedia system is presented. The section describes the proposed model, the design goals, the architecture of the system, and the prototype of HyperActive. The many figures and screen images make this section clear and easy to understand.

Section 5 covers some conclusions and further possible developments. The paper ends with a list of 65 useful references. They are mentioned appropriately in the text.

The problem is new and important. A good survey of the theory and existing solutions is presented. The proposed HyperActive architecture is interesting and explained well.

This research paper is intended for computer specialists in hypertext and hypermedia. It fulfills its purposes. I recommend it to those who want to improve their knowledge of the field.