Technology for Superimposed Information

Lois Delcambre
Computer Science and Engineering
Oregon Graduate Institute
Portland OR 97225


We are developing the notion of superimposed information at the Oregon Graduate Institute and we are applying our ideas for generic technology to support superimposed information in two projects. In this talk, we first briefly describe our DLI 2 project: "Tracking Footprints through a Medical Information Space" where we partnered with medical experts who do observational work to discover how clinicians actually seek and select information. The initial hypothesis was that the time and attention of experts is the resource that is in shortest supply. Our observational work in an intensive care unit of a major hospital has documented that experts often assemble small groupings of selected medical information (e.g., on the back of an envelope). These "bundles" of information help maintain situation awareness and support communication among a team of caregivers. Note that these bundles are useful, in part, because they consist of a hand-selected subset of the available information - representing the judgment of an expert about what is relevant. We also noticed that bundles often copy or reference information that exists elsewhere, from printed, electronic, and human sources. SLIMPad, the Superimposed Layer Information Manager scratchPad, is a tool for creating and viewing bundles of digital information, where information in the bundle (that has been copied) is directly linked to the original information in the base layer. Bundles are thus a form of "superimposed information." We will present three main contributions resulting from our work to date:

  1. the SLIMPad architecture that supports marks in a variety of formats,
  2. the generic representation for superimposed information (with an associated mapping language for transforming model-based information), and
  3. the SLIM API for application development, to shield the developer from details of the generic representation.

Finally, we will briefly describe our new project "Harvesting Information to Sustain our Forests" an NSF Digital Government project where we are partnering with the USDA Forest Service, USDI Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service.


Lois Delcambre is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Oregon Graduate Institute. Her research interests are in the database field with particular interest in modeling and representing information. Her recent work (with David Maier) has been in the area of superimposed information where there are two layers of information, each with their own data models and schemas. We are considering all sorts of information types and structures; we consider schemas and models to be optional; and we envision applications where there is not necessarily a DBMS. She has worked on a variety of research projects, involving a wide range of partnerships with industry, involving various applications, including apparel computer integrated manufacturing, satellite and space systems design, environmental information systems, corporate intranets, and instructional design for distance learning. She has written over 70 technical papers and is currently principal investigator on an NSF DLI 2 Project, an NSF Digital Government Project, and a DARPA Autonomic Information Assurance Project. She received her PhD in Computer Science at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1982, her MS in Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University in 1974, and her BS in Mathematics at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1972. She also served as a Systems Design and Software Development Manager at Clemson University from 1973 to 1979.