Abstract - The Information Society 10(2)

History-enriched digital objects: Prototypes and policy issues

William C Hill and James D Hollan

Recording on digital objects (for example, reports, forms, electronic mail, or spreadsheets) the interaction events that comprise their use makes it possible on future occasions, when the objects are used again, to display graphical abstractions of the accrued histories as parts of the objects themselves. Further, it makes it possible to search for objects by their use and, under certain circumstances, to find people through objects used in common. Prototypes built to explore this idea, such as Vita Service and Edit Wear, demonstrate the costs and benefits of using objects in the context of their interaction histories. The prototypes also raise issues concerning the nature, ownership, and appropriate use of personal information.

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