Groupware systems are an essential component for communication, coordination, and collaboration within numerous companies. The shared databases of these groupware systems form organizational memories comprised of company knowledge collected over time. One key problem is finding relevant information objects in these ever-expanding organizational memories. Groupware systems’ basic functionalities and mechanisms are insufficient for the support of users wishing to find information objects because they are restricted to basic full-text searches, and to navigation through context-sensitive views and categories. Topic maps, on the other hand, provide strong paradigms and concepts for the semantic structuring of link networks. They therefore represent a significant solution to the problem of organizing and navigating large and growing organizational memories. The K Discovery project examines the application of topic map concepts to groupware-based system environments to address the above-mentioned challenges. Based on the research, the K-Discovery project introduces a conceptual framework as well as architectural and implemental approaches with which to create new contexts and knowledge structures. This is achieved by generating topic maps that represent the semantic relations between information objects stored within organizational memories. These can then be visualized using innovative user interfaces that have also been developed as part of this research project. Finally, several cases are described to show the suitability of the proposed K-Discovery framework for daily use in standard office environments. Among other scenarios, the K-Discovery system has been applied to the project management environment of the Institute of Information Management at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland (http://www.iwi.unisg.ch). In another evaluation the K-Discovery system is applied to ad hoc workflows for semantic associative navigation in process networks.
- Conceptual visuals
- Prototypes and live tests