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The Computer User as Toolsmith : The Use, Reuse and Organization of Computer-Based Tools - Saul Greenberg

The Computer User as Toolsmith

The Use, Reuse and Organization of Computer-Based Tools

Hardcover

Published: 29th January 1993
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Computing environments that furnish a large set of tools (such as editors, mail programs, and language processors) are difficult to use, primarily because there is no means of organizing the tools so that they are at hand when needed. Because of the dearth of knowledge of how users behave when issuing commands to general purpose computer systems, existing user support facilities are ad hoc designs that do not support natural work habits. The Computer User As Toolsmith describes several empirical studies from which the author has developed a computer version of a handyman's workbench that would help users with their online activities. For the practitioner and interface designer, the guidelines and principles offered here are directly applicable to the rational design of new systems and the modernization of old ones.

"...thoughtfully and carefully written. It is well referenced, with over 100 citations. The author describes in clear and precise detail how he took his initial premises about tools and their reuse, and developed a research and analysis program to test them." G.R. Mayforth, Computing Reviews

List of figures
List of tables
Foreword
Acknowledgments and dedication
Introductionp. 1
Using physical toolsp. 1
Soft tools in general-purpose computing environmentsp. 4
Outlinep. 8
Studying UNIXp. 11
Choosing UNIXp. 11
Techniques for analyzing activities of UNIX usersp. 16
Data collection for the current studyp. 21
Using commands in UNIXp. 26
Frequency distributions of commands for large groupsp. 26
Usage frequency of particular commands between groupsp. 27
Frequency distributions and command overlap between individualsp. 30
Growth of the command vocabularyp. 32
Relations in command sequencesp. 34
Techniques for reusing activitiesp. 40
History mechanismsp. 41
Adaptive systemsp. 52
Reuse through programming by examplep. 59
Recurrent systemsp. 65
A definition of recurrent systemsp. 65
Recurrent systems in the non-computer worldp. 67
Recurrent systems in information retrievalp. 73
UNIX csh as a recurrent systemp. 74
Reuse opportunities in UNIX csh - potential and actualp. 84
Conditioning the distributionp. 84
Actual use of UNIX historyp. 102
Principles, corroboration, and justificationp. 108
Principles and guidelinesp. 108
Corroborationp. 112
Stepping backp. 118
Concluding remarksp. 121
Organizing activities through workspacesp. 123
Relating activitiesp. 124
Implications: suggestions workspacesp. 127
Implementationsp. 131
A workspace system: description and issuesp. 141
The WORKBENCH systemp. 141
Pragmatic concerns and research questionsp. 155
Conclusionp. 159
Argument of the bookp. 159
Contributionsp. 160
Looking to the futurep. 161
Appendix A: A sample tracep. 164
Appendix B: Summary statistics for each subjectp. 169
Referencesp. 177
Author indexp. 183
Subject indexp. 185
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521404303
ISBN-10: 0521404304
Series: Cambridge Series on Human-Computer Interaction
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 204
Published: 29th January 1993
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 25.3 x 17.7  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.58