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Developing complex information systems: The use of a geometric data structure to aid the specification of a multi-media information environment.

Warman, A. R (1990) Developing complex information systems: The use of a geometric data structure to aid the specification of a multi-media information environment. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The enormous computing power available today has resulted in the acceptance of information technology into a wide range of applications, the identification or creation of numerous problem areas, and the considerable tasks of finding problem solutions. Using computers for handling the current data manipulation tasks which characterise modern information processing requires considerably more sophisticated hardware and software technologies. Yet the development of more 'enhanced' packages frequently requires hundreds of man-years. Similarly, computer hardware design has become so complicated that only by using existing computers is it possible to develop newer machines. The common characteristic of such data manipulation tasks is that much larger amounts of information in evermore complex arrangements are being handled at greater speeds. Instead of being 'concrete' or 'black and white', issues at the higher levels of information processing can appear blurred - there may be much less precision because situations, perspectives and circumstances can vary. Most current packages focus on specific task areas, but the modern information processing environment actually requires a broader range of functions that cooperate in integrating and relating information handling activities in a manner far beyond that normally offered. It would seem that a fresh approach is required to examine all of the constituent problems. This report describes the research work carried out during such a consideration, and details the specification and development of a suggested method for enhancing information systems by specifying a multimedia information environment. This thesis develops a statement of the perceived problems, using extensive references to the current state of information system technologies. Examples are given of how some current systems approach the multiple tasks of processing and sharing data and applications. The discussion then moves to consider further what the underlying objectives of information handling - and a suitable integration architecture - should perhaps be, and shows how some current systems do not really meet these aims, although they incorporate certain of the essential fundamentals that contribute towards more enhanced information handling. The discussion provides the basis for the specification and construction of complete, integrated Information Environment applications. The environments are used to describe not only the jobs which the user wishes to carry out, but also the circumstances under which the job is being performed. The architecture uses a new geometric data structure to facilitate manipulation of the working data, relationships, and the environment description. The manipulation is carried out spatially, and this allows the user to work using a geometric representation of the data components, thus supporting the abstract nature of some information handling tasks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Library Science, Information Science, Multimedia Communications
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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