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Webvise: Browser and Proxy Support for Open Hypermedia Structuring Mechanisms on the WWW. Kaj Grønbæk, Lennert Sloth, & Peter Ørbæk InterMedia - Aarhus University of Aarhus {kgronbak,les,poe}@intermedia.au.dk. …or addressing the challenge:. “- if you notice a connection make a link!”

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Webvise: Browser and Proxy Support for Open Hypermedia Structuring Mechanisms on the WWW

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Webvise: Browser and Proxy Support for Open Hypermedia Structuring Mechanisms on the WWW

Kaj Grønbæk, Lennert Sloth, & Peter Ørbæk

InterMedia - Aarhus

University of Aarhus


…or addressing the challenge:

“- if you notice a connection make a link!”

(Tim Berners-Lee, this mornings keynote)


  • What is open hypermedia?

  • The Webvise open hypermedia service for the Web

    • The Webvise client for authoring and browsing

    • The Webvise proxy service for read-only browsing

    • (Demo)

  • Application domains

  • Work in progress

  • Status and conclusion

Open hypermedia for the WWW

  • Users may create their own structures (links, collections, annotations etc.) on the Web

  • Structures (contexts) are stored in separate databases

  • Many layers of structure on top of the same Web documents

  • Users may apply one or more layers at a time

Link object

I medfør af § 93, stk. 2 i bekendtgørelse nr. 1053 af 18. december 1995 om levnedsmiddelhygiejne og egenkontrol m.v. og § 20, stk. 2 i bekendtgørelse nr. 931 af 6. december 1995 om materialer og genstande bestemt til at komme i berøring med levnedsmidler fastsættes:

  • Ændringsbekendtgørelse nr. 1053 af 18. juli 1997 om .....

Combining structure and content

Combined HTML, etc.

WebviseClient or Proxy


Arbitrary Web pages


links, notes, guided tours

(Contexts of structure for

various subject areas)




Open hypermedia basic architecture


  • Uses standard on-the-wire protocols (TCP/IP and HTTP)

  • OHP: Open Hypermedia Protocol - standards proposal put forward by OHSWG (http://www.ohswg.org)

  • Standard on-the-wire operation format: XML

Web Browsers

Office apps.

Office apps.

Web server



Web server










Datamodel for open hypermedia structures

  • Extensible model

  • Open for new structuring mechanisms

  • Open for new locating methods

  • Open for collaboration

LocSpecs: Locating segments of data

  • A locSpec is used to specify a certain location within a node’s content

  • LocSpecs use several attributes to hold location information:

    • Reference, Selection, Selection context, Axis specification.

    • In most cases one of these attributes is sufficient

  • Example: Text document

    • Reference: a bookmark ID or a HTML target name

    • Selection: the text of the span to search for

    • Selection context: some surrounding text

    • Axis: a position, such as start position, and stop position

  • Detecting and repairing inconsistencies


request = (MessageHeader, (endpoint)*, linkType, HyperSpace)













<version>v1.0</version> <url>http://www.daimi.aau.dk/Realindex.html</url>

<attributes> <name>baseUrl</name><value>[url]http://www.daimi.aau.dk/[/url][frameName][/frameName]</value> <name>frameName</name><value>MAINWINDOW</value> <name>docTitle</name><value>DAIMI</value>







<context>no graphics.

Announcements: </context>



response = (LinkId, (EndPointId)*) Ex.:


request = (MessageHeader, contentSpec, locSpecList, direction)


















response = (ResponseCode, endpointList)

Examples of open hypermedia protocol (OHP) operations


Webvise user interface

Internet Explorer extension

  • Entries added to the context menu (right button menu)

  • COM communication with Webvise

Proxy server link decoration

  • Readers only interface

  • Visual indication on top of augmented pages

MS Office integrations

  • Word and Excel extended with menu and toolbar

  • Supports seamless integration of local documents and Web documents

  • COM communication with Webvise

Application domains

Works best with stable sources, such as:

  • Digital libraries

  • Document repositories on intranets

  • Law services

    Specific examples:

  • Agricultural advisory service

    • help farmers in understanding environmental directions and laws published on governmental servers.

  • Digital library usage in student projects

  • Site-Reviews

    • Journalist publishing Internet-based news sites

Work in progress: Collaboration Support

  • Collaboration on documents is coordinated by means of

    • Locking

    • Event notification

    • Versioning

  • A variety of modes for coupling users

    • Uncoupled

    • Loosely coupled

    • Tightly coupled

Work in progress: Link types

Types are used to distinguish among links with different semantic meaning


  • Teachers may use link types such as "introductory", "experienced", and "advanced" to distinguish sources based on the knowledge required to read them.

  • They may discuss the quality of the sources, by introducing link types such as "recommend as primary reading", "recommend as background reading", "useless" etc.

  • The teachers may use the type mechanisms to generate filtered browsers, queries etc.

Conclusion and Status

  • Project undertaken in cooperation with TeleDanmark Internet - the biggest Danish Internet service provider

    • Stable prototypes being used for pilot experiments

  • Shares infrastructure with other services

    • Ariadne guided tour system (presented at WWW7)

    • Mimicry system for linking in time-based media (also at WWW8)

  • Potentials for standardization of Internet protocols and datamodel for hypermedia based on external structures

  • Potential integrations with WebDav mechanisms for full blown authoring support

    Prototype accessible from http://www.cit.dk/coconut

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