Organizing personal web 2.0 content with Hypersea

Paper Title: 
Organizing personal web 2.0 content with Hypersea
Authors: 
Georgios Styliaras and Sotiris Christodoulou
Abstract: 
Hypersea is a system based on spatial hypertext, node linking and other hypertext research features and its aim is to facilitate users to visually organize content originated from web2.0 and other multimedia sources. This paper discusses Hyper-sea philosophy and principles, and provides a discrete catalogue of its modelling features. Hypersea can be used for any kind of on-line or off-line content. However its design is focused on information pieces coming from online web2.0 applications, that are stored as structured nodes with visual and spatial characteristics that can be explicitly or implicitly linked. Addition-ally, we illustrate examples for organizing web2.0 content and, vice versa, we propose how existing web2.0 applications may benefit from Hypersea visualization characteristics. For example, blog entries and Facebook profiles, which are displayed as long text-based pages, can be reorganized in order to enable the user to focus and navigate towards the desired information. Finally, implementation details along with some evaluation results and future work conclude the paper.
Full PDF Version: 
Submission type: 
Full Paper
Responsible editor: 
Decision/Status: 
Reject
Reviews: 

Solicited Review by Fabian Abel:

In the given article the authors present Hypersea, a platform for organizing (Web) content in a graphical manner. For example, users can drag-and-drop content onto a panel and organize the different content objects in groups (islands). The authors report about the core features of their environment, discuss how Hypersea can be applied for organizing Web 2.0 content and list feedback from users who applied Hypersea to organize cultural data relevant for the Archaeological Museum of Ioannia.

Unfortunately, the article seems to be out of scope for the given journal as it lacks relevance for the Semantic Web community. The authors state that their system is based on some OWL ontology. However, in the article the authors do not further discuss the usage of their ontology or discuss why Hypersea uses such an ontology and what benefits Hypersea gains from using the ontology. Moreover, most f the concepts that are of relevant for Hypersea (e.g. Documents or Annotations) could also be modeled with other existing ontologies such as FOAF, Tag Ontology, MOAT or Dublin Core Metadata Terms. Overall, it seems that the article would better fit at conferences such as IUI or CHI or at conferences/journals related to knowledge management.

The Hypersea system itself seems to be very exciting. To prove the advantages and usability of the system, it would be good to compare the system with existing systems. For example, systems like http://www.popplet.com/ or http://groupme.org/ also allow for organizing Web 2.0 content in groups. And, of course, systems like Delicious also allow for organizing Web 2.0 content. These systems may not feature such advanced functionality like Hypersea, but nevertheless it could be interesting to compare these systems for specific tasks theoretically as well as in a user study (e.g. one could ask users to organize content about specific topics and then compare in and analyze which of the systems (and features) allow best for organizing the resources, re-finding the resources, etc. - metrics such as "time required for"¦" or "judgements by participants stating how much a user enjoyed using the system" could be applied).

Solicited Review by Francesca Carmagnola:

The paper presents a system called Hypersea that has the goal of facilitating users to visually organize content originated from web 2.0 and other multimedia sources.
I agree with the authors when they claim that the great advantage of such a system is that it offers a visualizing tool to represent hypertext structures in space instead of as text links, like traditional other systems.
It is my opinion that works led into spatial hypertext representation field would benefit from this research.
Despite this considerations, I have some remarks concerning the way this paper is structured.
In the following my comments.

Section 1:
I think that the authors should dedicate a separate section to related work, which is at the moment merged into the introduction. This whoud give your research more value.

Section 2:
This section introduces the Hypersea environment by listing its definitions and concepts. Due to the great amount of concepts, I would recommend to insert a figure that helps showing inclusion relationships occurring between arcipelago, seas, complexes of islands and island. The figure may be taken from one of the example presented in Section 4.
Moreover, I think that the essential definition should be listed and presented in a different order which may support the comprehension: from the most general concept to the most specific, that is, arcipelago, seas, complexes of island, island, node, struct, etc.
With particular reference to the "levels of comprehension" , the 2nd level is not complete: whic information can be provided by the position, the size, the color and the label of structs, or nodes?
This section is very hard to follow, due to the great amount of definitions. Why do not introduce an example which may lead the reader along all these definitions?

Section 3:
This section describes the operations that a user can perform in editing and navigation modes. However there are too many lists and sub-lists and the comprehension is compromized. I think that a so deep level of detail is not necessary.

Section 4:
I guess that the first part of this section, from "The expressivness...to...as they exist in Facebok for example" may be moved into the introduction, since it shows how web 2.0 applications may benefit from the application of the Hypersea environment.

Section 6:
I think that this is the weakest part of the paper. Indeed, in this section a kind of evaluation with real users is presented but it is very poor.
There are too many unsolved questions and this decreases the positive impact of this work.
For example:
How the evaluation sample has been defined? How the evaluation has been led? Were users required to freely interact with Hypersea or they have been assigned with some specific tasks? How the initial heuristic evaluation rules have been defined? How results have been assessed? Users were required to compile a questionnaire? Is a re-design of the interface or the implementation of new functionalities be planned?

Solicited Review by Olaf Hartig:

I reject this submission for three reasons: (1) there is no research contribution, (2) the relevance for the special issue (or the journal in general) is only marginal, and (3) the quality of the submission hardly qualifies for a scientific journal.

(1) there is no research contribution
It is not at all clear what research question the authors aim to address in this submission. The submission just presents a system and some user interface ideas implemented in that system. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a constructive review without even knowing what the authors aim to achieve.

(2) the relevance for the special issue (or the journal in general) is only marginal
I don't see any relationship between the presented system and the Semantic Web. Only using OWL as an internal format to represent the data that the system has to store, is not enough.

(3) the quality of the submission hardly qualifies for a scientific journal
In what follows, I enumerate quality criteria that the submission does not sufficiently live up to.
* In general, the whole introduction appears unorganized. I don't see any focus in the different paragraphs nor a line of thought that connects the paragraphs. Instead, the whole text appears as a loose collection of things that seemed relevant or related for an introduction of the HyperSea system. An introduction cannot begin with "HyperSea is a system that ..." Before reading a description of the presented system, I want to know what is the context of the presented work, what is the problem addressed in the paper, why is that problem relevant, has that problem been addressed before, why are other approach unsuitable, etc.
* The paper uses terminology without properly introducing it. Examples are "spatial hypertext", "visual cue", "hypertext pattern". Maybe these terms are well-known in the hypertext or HCI community. However, the article has been submitted to a Semantic Web journal and, thus, should not assume knowledge of these terms.
* Many sentences rely on unproven claims and implicit assumptions. A few examples:
- The second paragraph on page 2 (starting with "Although a lot of research has taken place ...") contains several unjustified claims, e.g. "These applications ignore these research results", or "users perform operations, not always effectively." Furthermore, that paragraph lacks citations for the works referred to.
- "The environment also supports special metadata like date(s) and place for the majority of the nodes." (Sect.1) -- What makes "date(s) and place" "special" over other kinds of metadata?
- "inhibit users from creating deep and complex hierarchies of data. Instead, Hypersea encourages users to represent deep hierarchies in space." (Sect.2) -- Why are "deep hierarchies in space" (whatever that is) better than "deep and complex hierarchies of data"?
* Many sentences are vague or unclear. A few examples:
- An example for a sentence which is completely meaningless is the following: "Hypertext patterns define a classification of navigation types among hypertext nodes and allow extracting results about the expressiveness and the quality of hypertext." (Sect.1, page 2) -- What are "hypertext patterns"? For whom "allow" "hypertext patterns" to extract "results about ..."? From what may "results about ..." be extracted? What do I have to understand of "expressiveness" of hypertext? What is "quality of hypertext"? --- Notice, this is just one example; the text contains many sentences that are equally unclear.
- "For example, spatial hypertext systems [10, 15] enable integrating content from different sources, ambiguity and implied relationships and annotations." (Sect.1) -- Why are "different sources, ambiguity and implied relationships and annotations" something spatial? What is meant by "integrating content from [...] ambiguity and implied relationships"?
- "... we outline some implementation details regarding [...] the use of the ontology ..." (end of Sect.1) -- What is _the_ ontology - what ontology do the authors mean here?
- "... we [...] conclude the paper with some evaluation results ..." (end of Sect.1) -- What is "some evaluation results"? That should be a bit more specific. What has been evaluated? BTW, the evaluation itself is not at all satisfying any scientific standards (http://iswc2011.semanticweb.org/tutorials/but-i-did-a-user-study-vs-what... ).
- "This decision was made in order to ..." (Sect.2) -- Which decision?
- The introduction of the two levels of detail at the begin of Sect.2 is very abstract. Remember the old phrase: A picture says more than a thousand words!
- Sect.2 defines "Node" as "an abstraction of a simple piece of information [...]" and goes on to say that "a node may represent [...]: a user, a group of users, ..." -- User or groups of users are not pieces of information!
- "... (we refer to it as content type) ..." (Sect.2) -- What is "it"?
- What is a "web 2.0 information object" (Sect.2)?
- Based on the definitions of "List" and "Collection" (Sect.2) I don't see how these things are _spatial_ structures. To me "an ordered or unordered list" as well as "a set" are just mathematical structures.
- The definitions of the concepts "Annotation", "Metadata", and "Levels of comprehension" are not a definition at all. BTW, it's bad style to start with saying what something is not. Furthermore, it is not clear how "Metadata" is different from "Annotation".
- "An island is a subspace that ..." (Sect.2) -- A subspace of what?
- "For example a film trailer [...] has the following attributes ..." (Sect.2) -- What do the authors mean by "attribute" here? That term has never been introduced before.
- "For instance the size of an island indicates the volume of content inside it." (Sect.2) -- What is "the volume of content inside" an island? How do we measure such a volume?

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