return to curriculum vitae

Dagobert Soergel
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

New vistas for knowledge-based information support in complex organizations

[Full Text PDF]

The complexity of modern organizations requires a new generation of information support. It requires knowledge-based decision support systems which assist in the identification and acquisition of information needed as well as in the processing of that information as it applies to the problem at hand; we could speak of computer-enhanced intellectual work. It furthermore requires intensive support for collaborative work both in problem analysis and decision making and in the preparation of messages/documents. This in turn requires an integrated information system that includes as much as possible of the internal information and references to additional internal and relevant external information sources. To administer such a system we need to develop new techniques of Information Structure Management that integrate database and expert systems, information retrieval, and hypermedia systems based on the recognition of the common core that all of these systems share. Classification research can help to provide the conceptual underpinnings for such a system. Vast amounts of knowledge must be organized with appropriate knowledge representation schemes. We mention two examples. Basic to such a system is a classification of functions of the organization (business functions) together with an indication what types of information are needed for each function and how this information must be processed. Such a classification is best arranged in a frame hierarchy. Such a system also needs an organized set of message/document schemas to support the creation of messages/documents through man-machine cooperation, the selection and distribution of documents, the handling of messages/documents by the receiver, and the extraction of just the right parts of messages/documents for an information need. Again, such a set of message/document schemas is best arranged in a frame hierarchy, where each frame has a slot for each section of a standard message/document outline and additional slots for other information (such as sender/author). More generally, classification research is in an excellent position to assist in the definition of an organization-wide conceptual schema that defines all the types of information available and/or needed in an organization in the highly structured and orderly way required for Information Structure Management.
top of page