RE: Word Plug-in for DAML editing

From: Bob Balzer (
Date: 08/10/01

As Joe indicated in his message, our approach to DAML markup
in the (PowerPoint) Briefing Associate is based on tying the markup
to the construction of the document -- specifically providing the
author with a set of ontologically marked construction elements (in
a toolbar "palette") that the author selects and incorporates
into diagrams. These construction elements are not simple PowerPoint
autoshapes or images, but objects from an ontology with user-settable 
attributes (properties) as defined by that ontology. Some of those
attributes get set as a side effect of their manipulation through PowerPoint
(i.e. giving them a label, changing their size or color, attaching them
to another object through a connector), while the others are modified
through the attribute interface.

Inside PowerPoint the author interacts with the semantic content through 
this object model. When the briefing is exported, these objects and their 
attributes are converted to DAML markup.

For Word, we're looking for similar construction elements that the author
could use to build the content of his/her document. We are thinking of using
the ontology as a "template" that indicates what fields/aspects of the
concept should be filled in with values or free text to describe the
concept. Many of those fields/aspects would be or contain other ontological
Authors would be able to select and edit recent or commonly used objects,
values, or 
text for those fields. The result could be rendered with or without an
identifying icon 
in an expandable tabular form or with some NL generation as a textual
paragraph. Multiple
viewers would exist to display different aspects of the object.

These construction objects could also be associated with already existing
blocks of text
or objects so that semantic content can be added bottom up as well as top

For our initial Word plug-in, we're starting at the bottom detecting
references to
ontological object instances (e.g. reference to a specific person, place,
event, etc)
in typed text and adding the DAML markups to reify that reference. That
markup will alter
the rendering of the text to indicate that it references a specific object
and like a URL
it will be made into a hyperlink that the author can traverse to examine the
referenced object
(that exists outside and independent of the document).

We will also provide autocomplete and disambiguation services for such
references identified
in the text.

Hope this helps in clarifying our current thinking on how a Word plug-in
could work to
facilitate and encourage semantic markup without requiring authors to see or
understand DAML.


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of joe rockmore
> Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 2:01 PM
> To:
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: Word Plug-in for DAML editing
> it seems to me that the approaches described in the article referenced
> below are all dealing with the idea that when producing a document, you
> want the author to tag certain elements of the doc in XML without
> explicitly seeing the tags.  since the user interface is just another
> surface syntax for the underlying XML, i don't think that there is enough
> of a gain.  (i do think there is some gain, as most people don't want to
> deal with the awkward (to a human) syntax of XML any more than 
> they do with
> that of html.)  i am reminded of the software diagramming wars of a few
> years ago, when everybody and their cousin had a different diagramming
> method that they were pushing (this predates UML).  all "good" methods had
> concepts like abstraction and information hiding, as needed productivity
> enhancers.  old-style flowcharting was seen as poor since it was just a
> different surface syntax for the code, not fundamentally different (i.e.,
> not at a different level of abstraction).  in a like manner, tagless
> editors or the like still are just doing XML tagging, albeit in a nicer
> human-accessible way.
> by the way, by now i have seen several examples of similar approaches to
> generating XML markup in an intelligence document during 
> production without
> the author seeing any XML.  a typical one (done by Office of Naval
> Intelligence based on JIVA tools) allows the user to highlight a word and
> then simply pick a tag from a pull-down menu.  obviously, this is limited
> to few tags with little structure (no ontology!), but it is seen by the
> development organization as an 80/20 solution (80% of the value for 20% of
> the work).  i can get anyone appropriately cleared more info if 
> you want to
> see it.
> however, when we start applying this approach to DAML, at least the more
> featureful aspects of DAML, things fall apart.  it is not difficult to get
> accross to people the idea of a tag, and then to provide a nice user
> experience to establish the tags.  but to get the full power of DAML, you
> will be doing much more than simply tagging elements of a 
> document.  making
> assertions, that are not specifically associated with any single piece of
> text (and thus don't fall neatly into the tagging paradigm), is going to
> need some different user experience models, which can then be supported by
> nice interfaces.
> i'd like to hear from those of you who thinking along these lines 
> (like the
> teknowledge (LA) folks) how you see the "tagless editor" growing into the
> "DAML-less assertion maker" or some such.
>      ...joe
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> At 11:16 AM -0400 7/21/01, John Flynn wrote:
> >
> >One of the candidates discussed during the Killer Applications breakout
> >sessions was a plug-in to support creating/editing ontologies/instances
> >directly in Word. This email is in the spirit of continuing that general
> >discussion. There are several Word plug-in approaches for direct XML
> >editing. I 'm not suggesting the one below is any better than others;
> >however, the article does an excellent job in describing why 
> this approach
> >is important.
> >
> >If XML is to have the same transforming effect on document-oriented
> >applications that it has had on transactional, business-to-business
> >applications, it will have to be easily applied by authors who 
> are experts
> >in the subject matter, but have little knowledge of markup and 
> less desire
> >to learn it. This article describes an XML editor that does exactly that:
> >it allows the rest of us to create valid XML in a familiar 
> context without
> >extensive knowledge of the rules of XML or the DTD behind the document.
> >
> >Full article:
> >
> >
> >
> >We will set up an email list ( on Monday to facilitate
> >continued discussion leading to a consensus on a DAML Killer Application.
> >
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> >
> >John
> >

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