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Colloquium - Whitehead

Hypertext Versioning in Complex Information Artifacts
University of California, Irvine

Hypertext links support navigation, analysis, visualization, and searching of the myriad inter-document relationships intrinsic to complex information artifacts. These artifacts are characterized by change, and technologies such as configuration management and document management have been developed to manage and control this change. Since these systems only provide change control for individual documents, and not for relationships, they present the problem of managing the change to hypertext links over time, a challenge addressed by hypertext versioning.

This talk presents experience from the Chimera open hypermedia system, and the WebDAV network protocol. These two efforts represent interventions in existing environments that support collaborative work on complex information artifacts. For Chimera, a link server was added to a software development environment, while existing applications and repositories were accommodated. For WebDAV, a network protocol was added to the personal computer environment, and existing repositories and applications were expected to conform to this new interoperability layer. These different control choices lead inevitably to different outcomes when hypertext versioning capability is added. Chimera's hypertext versioning is added to the link server, leading to the need for reconciling versioned relationships with the separately versioned documents stored in external repositories. For WebDAV, versioning and configuration management functionality is added to the protocol, and links and documents are versioned together since links are embedded in HTML.

Abstracting from the Chimera and WebDAV versioning experience, the talk presents a domain model for hypertext versioning. This model takes the form of a set of domain requirements, and rules detailing the design constraints caused by specific requirement choices. By systematically organizing domain knowledge, the model is expected to reduce the difficulty of adding hypertext versioning capability to future environments supporting cooperative development of complex information artifacts.

Refreshments will be served in ECOT 831 immediately following the talk.
Hosted by Kenneth Anderson.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)