Figure 1 shows the two stages of the map maker system in action.


First, in the DESIGN INFORMATION CAPTURE stage the designer simply uses the electronic design notebook as a day to day tool for conceptual design, tagging parts of the notebook with visual markers when key ideas (in the designer's own conceptual framework) are expressed. This additional participation, not required for low level functioning of the map maker, is 20 or 30 seconds per hour to tag items of interest in notebook pages as they are generated, and 20 minutes per week to update the idea tag table (a machine readable outline of what the designer thinks are the current key ideas in developing the design).

A knowledge engineer (or well motivated designer) then creates a requirement to text graphic feature table based on the particular designer's notebook habits and design ideas. The table is generally quite short      for instance, one screenfull was used to cover the 76 notebook pages in the example. Updating the table would only take a couple of hours per month.

Then in the DESIGN INFORMATION USE phase, the map making system translates a user query in terms of design requirements into a text graphic data base query, which returns a set of notebook pages dealing with those requirements. The text graphic data base query is actually an expression in Professor Michael Genesereth's MRS      a lisp syntax logic programming system      with additional predicates that pertain to text graphic features. A particular logic query will contain predicates to select pages with the features determined to correlate with material about the requirements and parameters mentioned in the user query.

In spirit, the map maker system employs the "gold digger model"      convenient (easy), opportunistic, and initially shallow.

This approach has the following features:

convenient      for the designer

in vivo and in sito      "in life" and "in original place" where design is done, ie the living design notebook

informal/formal      the raw text graphic data on the pages is complete and informal, but easily lends itself to formal techniques and models (see the RESULTS section for a list)

opportunistic      does the easy things first (text graphic syntax driven feature recognition)

global      breadth first, takes whole notebooks as input

initially shallow      starts with text graphic syntax, but upwardly compatible with deep reasoning methods.

cumulative      the more tagging the designer does, the better the performance of the map maker; and as progress is made in the area of text graphic understanding, the more knowledge will be able to be recovered in the future from design documents of the past.