The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #492

Title:The Intelligent Documentation Advisory System
Authors:Mellish,CS; Poynter,L; Tyson,P; Walker,J; Levine,J
Date:Sep 1990
Presented:Rejected by "Expert Systems '90", 10th Annual Technical Conference of the BCS SGES
Abstract:The IDAS project is a collaborative project investigating the design and development of an Intelligent Documentation Advisory System (IDAS). Our aim is to develop intelligent online technical documentation, presented via hypertext and natural language generation and constructed dynamically by expert systems technology using object-oriented techniques. The IDAS being designed is targeted at users of an Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) system and aims to replace part of the current paper-based documentation. The IDAS will represent the ATE using a qualitative model built with the needs of natural language generation in mind and implemented in an object-oriented framework. It will then present material to the user via a hypertext interface, but where the contents and connectivity of the hypertext modes are partially determined dynamically according to the system's knowledge of the users and their goals. In this way, it is hoped to improve on standard hypertext systems, where there is no sensitivity to the user and there can be significant "navigation problems". Techniques of natural language generation will be used to make the text in the hypertext modes sensitive to the context of the original documentation query. At present we are progressing towards a prototype implementation using the expert system shell Egeria. This paper describes the prototype system architecture, together with the plan for implementation. The collaborators in the IDAS project are Racal Research Ltd, Racal Automation Ltd, Edinburgh University and Expertech Ltd, with funding from the UK SERC and the Department of Trade and Industry.

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