Ubiquitous Metainformation and the WYWWYWI Principle

Joseph Catanio, Nkechi Nnadi, Li Zhang, Michael Bieber, Roberto Galnares


Computer systems should provide what you want, when you want it (the WYWWYWI principle, pronounced "why why why"), but they frequently do not. Our research encourages a new philosophy of design based on the WYWWYWI principle, and the tools for authors to provide this easily. Comprehensive metainformation embodies the WYWWYWI principle. Metainformation includes the structural relationships, content-based relationships, user-declared link-based relationships, and metadata around an element of interest. Combined, the metainformation goes a long way towards establishing the full semantics for (the meaning of and context around) a system's elements. We take a three-pronged approach to providing metainformation on a grand scale. First, we provide a systematic methodology for systems analysts to determine the relationships around elements of interest in their information domains - relationship analysis. Relationship analysis will result in a comprehensive set of a domain's structural relationships. Second, we provide a Metainformation Engine, which automatically generates sets of structural and content-based relationships around elements of interest as links, as well as metadata within static and virtual documents. Third, we provide an infrastructure for widespread link-based services within both static and virtual documents. This approach provides the inspiration as well as a sound foundation for a ubiquitous embracing of the WYWWYWI principle in the everyday systems people use, both on the Web and beyond.

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