Call for Papers

Workshop on Virtual Documents,
Hypertext Functionality and the Web

at the Eighth International World Wide Web Conference

Tuesday May 11, 1999 - Toronto, Canada

Deadline: 1 March 1999

Goals, Approach, and Participant Requirements

The goal of this workshop, HTF/VD1, is to discuss the role of hypertext functionality for virtual documents on the Web. Participants should contribute positions or scenarios that clarify either how the Web can be improved to support more systems based on sophisticated hypertext or virtual documents and/or how HTF and VD models can be added to the Web. This workshop will have as one of its goals a written report of the state of hypertext in virtual documents on the Web and a broader and grander vision of applications on the Web. We expect participants to be prepared to write as well as talk, and we will aim at shaping their position statements and the workshop discussion to the delivery of such a final report. The final report plus longer versions of selected papers may be included in a proposed monograph series by Addison-Wesley.

Why this workshop?

This will be the first workshop on virtual documents following discussions started at the WWW7 conference in Australia by members of the Reuse of Web Information/Flexible Hypertext workshop and the Hypertext Functionality workshop. By "hypertext functionality", we mean much more than browsing by clicking on "goto" links from one node to another. The focus of the HTF series is on the identification of characteristics that define and describe the "hypertextuality" of software systems. For instance, it aims at describing new ways to view a system's knowledge and processes from a conceptual point of view, to let users access and navigate through the items of interest, to enhance the system's knowledge through comments and relationships, and to customize information and display to the individual users and their tasks.

"Virtual documents" are web documents for which the content, nodes or links, or all three, are created as needed. There already exist several kinds of virtual documents on the web for which the content is determined dynamically. First, a template can be used for which node contents are substituted at runtime. Second, applications, like Maple or Mathematica, can be used to generate values for one time use. Third, CGI scripts and search engines can be used to compose virtual documents from fragments of other documents for the user on demand. Fourth, metadata can be generated for summarization for users, where the extraction and summarization is done on the fly for the user. Finally, natural language generation techniques can be employed to dynamically construct virtual documents from underlying data in data or knowledge bases. Now we need to answer questions about how to handle virtual documents and virtual application domains. How are virtual documents defined and managed? The management of this class of documents requires new understandings of bookmarking, versioning, authentication, structure, ownership, navigation, collaboration, and reuse of components. Issues of security, data protection, verification, and access control need to be addressed. Finally we need to answer the questions about how to determine if these web information systems are actually improving service to the users.

Position papers

Those interested in participating are expected to submit a 3-5 page position paper (in valid HTML only) by March 1, 1999 to ALL of the organizers:


Fabio Vitali is an assistant professor with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bologna, Italy. His research interests lie around Web information systems, versioning and markup languages. Fabio has been involved with hypertext and the Web for several years.

Maria Milosavlejevic is a research scientist in the Intelligent Interactive Technology group at CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences in Australia. She is interested in the use of natural language generation technology in the domain of electronic catalogues. Maria has been involved in the adaptive/dynamic hypertext workshops for several years.

Carolyn Watters is an associate professor with the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University, Canada. Her research areas focus on evolution of Web resources to support hypertext applications. Carolyn has been involved with the hypertext functionality workshops for several years.

Program Committee

Helen Ashman,
Michael Bieber,
Peter Brusilovsky,
Jon Oberlander,
Harri Oinas-Kukkonen,
Fran¨ois Paradis

Past workshops

There have been a series of previous Hypertext Functionality (HTF) workshops, which began in conjunction with the ACM Hypertext Conferences. The first three HTF workshops concentrated on the identification and organization of hypertext functionalities that could form the core of hypertext systems in a wide variety of application areas. HTF4 examined issues related to the incorporation of advanced hypertext functionality in web-based applications. HTF5, held in conjunction with the ICSE conference in Kyoto, May 1998, examined the impact of HTF on software engineering. There have also been several workshops on the use of adaptive and dynamic hypertext techniques, such as the 2nd Workshop on Adaptive Hypertext and Hypermedia, held in conjunction with the Ninth ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedi, 20-24 June 1998, the Workshop on Reuse of Web-based Information and 2nd Flexible Hypertext Workshop, held in conjunction with the 7th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW7). Brisbane, Australia. April 1998, the Flexible Hypertext Workshop, held at the Eighth ACM International Hypertext Conference (Hypertext'97), the Intelligent educational systems on the World-Wide Web, held in conjunction with the 8th World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AI-ED 97), the Workshop on Adaptive Systems and User Modeling on the World Wide Web, held in conjunction with the Sixth International Conference on User Modeling (UM'97), the Workshop on User Modelling for Information Filtering on the World Wide Web, held in conjunction with the Fifth International Conference on User Modeling (UM'96), and the Workshop on Adaptive Hypertext and Hypermedia held in conjunction with the Fourth International Conference on User Modeling (UM'94). The idea for a workshop focusing on Virtual Documents arose at WWW7 because of the realization of commonalities in focus and interests.