Re: informal annotation

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From: Dan Brickley (
Date: Tue Sep 26 2000 - 18:01:02 PDT

On Tue, 26 Sep 2000, Dave Long wrote:

> I visited a radiology department recently,
> and was reminded of how much real offices
> run on informal annotations: sticky notes
> with settings or warnings, taped signs of
> the latest deltas for procedures, pencil
> and paper as tools for efficient workflow
> rather than instruments for bureaucratic
> tortures, etc.
> As users of software, however, we lose
> the ability to help our colleagues (or
> our future forgetful selves) via simple
> immediate annotations. If I wish to put
> a note that will appear when the "Print
> Setup..." dialog does, stating "don't
> select paisley paper -- it shreds all
> jobs in the output tray [DL 26sep00]",
> I will be bummed.
> At the source level, no one can seriously
> expect developers to work in a language
> without comments -- yet we don't give our
> end users any equivalent way to do their
> work, or working around. Why not?

Sounds like a trailer for

Tracking Footprints through an Information Space:
Leveraging the Document Selections of Expert Problem Solvers

        We focus on one example of expert problem solving, the health care
        field, where the medical record of a patient can be a large, complex,
        and geographically distributed collection of documents, created by a
        diverse array of health professionals, for divergent purposes, over an
        extended period of time. Sorting through such a collection, even an
        electronic one, to find needed information can be a formidable and time
        consuming task.
 -> etc.

They've done some really nice stuff based on real world use of informal
annotations in a medical context, and exploring software equivalents
of these practices based on topicmaps and metadata...

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