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Next: Positioning (m2) Up: A discussion of the Previous: A discussion of the

    
5.3.1 Meta-information (m1)

The meta-information given in the elementary module Bibliographic information (m1a)  helps to satisfy the standard requirements for scientific publications. It makes the certification and the authenticity of the modules of the article explicit. In the modularised articles, we have presented the standard bibliographic data that are given in the original versions of the articles and that are easily collected, complemented with the corpus-specific unique identification code that is described in the reading guide to Appendix C.

In the elementary module Lists of domain-oriented index terms , the content-oriented index terms of each module of the article are listed. This gives the reader an overview of the physics content of the modules. In the modularised articles, we have included physics labels as an illustration, rather than as a proposal for a systematic domain oriented typology. In assigning these physics index terms to the various modules, we encountered the standard indexing problems. However, these are put into a new light, because an adequate characterisation of the modules does not simply depend on the choice of physics index terms. An important factor is the way these terms interact in complex search operations with the other types of characterisation of the same module (in particular by the conceptual function), and with the characterisations of the related modules.

For example, the question is whether we include the terms describing the method in the characterisation of the module Central problem. If we do so, the characterisations of the Methods and the Central problem will overlap. Indeed, many different modules in the modularised articles carry the same physics terms. However, this overlapping physics characterisation is not necessarily a problem, because the characterisation of the modules by their conceptual function expresses the different aspects of the same physics concepts.

In a modular environment it is not necessary to label each individual module with all relevant index terms. The module Central problem (and its characterisation) is linked to the method module (and its characterisation), so that the relation is also expressed indirectly.  A user can search for a module Central problem characterised by a particular index term that is connected, by means of a link expressing a dependency relation, to a Methods module carrying another domain-oriented label.

Because the method used to solve the problem is an important aspect of the goal of the article, we have labelled the Central problem modules A05-m2b and A08-m2b with index terms indicating the type of theoretical model and the type of experimental set-up that are used. For a more detailed characterisation of the methods, the labels associated to the appropriate Methods modules has to be taken into account.

For navigational purposes, a Map of contents (m1c)  is included in the modular article. It gives the reader an overview of the article, allowing for efficient navigation and for insight in the coherence of the article. The ongoing composition of the map also turned out to facilitate the creation of the modular structure. In the modularisation process, we filled in and refined the basic modules in the map in the course of the creation of the modules. In this manner, we had an overview of what had already been finished and what still had to be done.

The presentation of the contents in a map is more effective than a representation in a `table of contents'. A table of contents is a linear representation, which is typical for linear texts. In a map, non-linear texts can be visualised in more than one dimension. Such a map of contents can only fulfil its function when it is sufficiently clear itself. The implementation of the map as an interactive, graphical object therefore has to be carefully chosen.5.16 We immediately found that a complete presentation in a single picture of all modules in an article, as well as all links leading from and to these modules, is too complex to allow for insight in the structure of the entire article. The reader should be able to select the types of modules and links that are presented in the map, and to select how the modules are arranged.

In A08-m1c, we have given three kinds of maps. In the first one, the modules of the article are arranged by main module in order to provide a general overview of all modules (see A08-m1c in Appendix C). In that map, we also present: the main physics terms characterising the modules, the sequential routes linking the modules, the directly related mesoscopic and macroscopic modules and the associated links expressing range-based relations, as well as the most important links representing `problem solving dependency'. In the second map, the modules are arranged following the essay-type route (figure A08-m1c-F2). That map presents all modules, highlighting only the modules that are visited by that route, and the links expressing the sequential routes. The third kind of map focuses on a particular module, namely the Theoretical methods module A08-m3ci (figure A08-m1c-F3). It presents A08-m3ci, with its full characterisation, the complex modules that include A08-m3ci, its constituent modules and all links leading to and from A08-m3ci, as well as the modules that are linked to A08-m3ci. Furthermore, the map shows the main modules of the article, but no details of any other unrelated module.
We have presented in the module Abstract  the text provided in the original article, complemented with links. The abstracts of the modular articles can be improved. We do not address the issue of abstracting in detail in this work; it is the focus of another thesis prepared in our research project [Van der Tol, 1999]. 

The list of references of the original article is included in the module Lists of references (m1e) . We have linked that list to the particular parts of the modules that cite the references, and added for each module a separate list specifying and characterising the references included in it. The management of the references is particularly tedious and has to be supported by appropriate authoring tools.

The Acknowledgements  are copied directly from the original version of the article. We have added a link to the home page of the institutions that are acknowledged.  

We conclude that the meta-information is easy to cast in modular form, once all information is gathered. However, collecting and presenting the full meta-information by hand is an inordinate amount of work. Therefore, the author has to be assisted with tools alleviating that task (see section 6.2.2). The resulting modules constituting the Meta-information allow the modular articles to meet the communication criteria: the metadata are made explicit and grouped.  



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