PORT: Peirce Online Resource Testbed
PORT is many things to many people. From one perspective, it is an online
resource containing the hand-written manuscripts of Charles Sanders Peirce.
From another perspective, it is a testbed for the development of collaborative
tools. From a third perspective, it is an experimental environment for
better understanding collaboration.
This site serves two purposes: as a mirror of the Peirce manuscripts
and as a experimental laboratory examining various aspects of collaboration.
With regard to the first purpose, the manuscripts below represent our mirroring
of these images. The tools and experiments sections below detail the work
that is being performed to better understand collaborative efforts.
One of the key elements of this effort was the identification of a meaningful
corpus of material that would attract scholars interested in contributing
to the experiment. The manuscripts chosen for this effort were those in
the Charles Sanders Peirce archive. This archive constitutes approximately
200,000 pages of material. Of course, this site will only contain a small
fraction of that material, initially.
The following manuscripts are currently available online at this site:
Additional manuscripts will be added in the near future. The goal is to
get approximately 200 pages of material scanned and put into the testbed.
This is a sufficient quantity of material that collaboration is necessary;
that enough features will be present to expose serious limations, needs,
and complexities; and to provide a non-trivial quantity of information
to be managed.
These tools will use the internet to allow people from many locations to
contribute to a common effort. The initial experiments concern tools for
transcribing handwritten material. The following tools will be integrated
into this testbed in the future:
INote - A tool
for collaboration that provides the capabilities to locate and attach notes
to areas on images. This tool was developed originally for the Blake Archive
at the Institute for Advanced Technology at the University of Virginia.
The development of the tools 'Transview' and 'CORE' constitutes a
major area of investigation on this testbed.
Transview - A tool that provides two different views of the same material.
This would allow one to view the original of a document or image and a
transformation of it (either a translation or a transcription). An overly
simplistic demonstration of how information would be presented in this
tool is provided by the hard coded web page available here.
CORE - CORE stands
for the Collaboration Online Research Environment. This is a tool that
provides information management capabilities for collaborators. It keeps
track of various commentaries made against a base piece of data -- tracking
the specific commentary; the author; the date and time; and links from
one portion of a document to another.
Theories concerning collaboration tend to view it from one of several different
perspectives. The most common perspectives focus on teams, team dynamics,
or communications. This testbed is intended to give us insight into a different
perspective - information evolution and managment. In particular, the tool
CORE will allow developers and users to track individual contributions
during a collaboration. We can couple the specific ways in which incremental
changes have occured with user feedback as to how the tools enhanced or
inhibited their contribution. This coupling of contribution with feedback
allows us greater insight into what is going on during a collaboration
and hence will allow better understanding of the dynamics of collaboration
and information management needs.
At present, one of our graduate students is examining the possible insights
into collaboration that can be achieved using the CORE tool. In particular,
as a contributor uses CORE, their actions will be recorded. The record
will contain information concerning who is using the tool, what they are
doing, and when they are doing it. The idea is that by searching these
records we can gain insights into the value of the tool and what functionality
is most commonly used. Her major contribution will be the identification
of what events can be tracked, what they might mean, and what conclusions
we can derive by looking at the total record. This work will be documented
in a Master's Thesis. This thesis will be added to this site when it is
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org