The Eighth ACM International Hypertext Conference

Southampton, UK
April 6-11, 1997




Franca Garzotto, Politecnico di Milano

Paolo Paolini, Politecnico di Milano/University of Lecce


Full Day


Limited exposure to hypermedia applications is useful, but not strictly required.


We will first demonstrate some example of hypermedia applications, informally discussing requirements and problems for designers. We then motivate the need of conceptual primitives to support hypermedia design, introducing general concepts such as: structure (static), behaviour (dynamic), interaction, layout, Hyperbase, Access, in-the-large, in-the-small, etc.

The core of the course is the examination of the three main step of design: Hyperbase design in-the-large, Access design, Hyperbase design in-the-small. Each step is examined under the structure, behaviour and layout point of view. The Hyperbase is the set of objects constituting the backbone of the application. The design in-the-large of the hyperbase is based upon the concepts of node, component, entity, collection, link, type and hyperbase schema. The design in-the-small of the hyperbase is based upon the concepts of node, slot and frame. The Access is the set of mechanisms that allow the reader to locate the objects (of the Hyperbase) of his/her interest. The design of the Access is based upon the concepts of collection, collection component, collection link, guided tour, index, search and query. A sizable number of applications (between 5 and 10) will be used to demonstrate the use of the concepts.

We will then discuss notions related to modularization and reuse, pointing out the relevance of these features to increase the quality of multimedia applications, and to reduce their costs. We will classify different types of reuse, presenting examples from commercial and research applications, and deriving from them technical hints and recommendations for a better handling of reuse.

WW applications are in principle similar to other hypermedia applications; in practice current technical limitations require an adaptation of general concepts and techniques. Such adaptation are examined, also with the help of examples (running in local copy, in order to be sufficiently fast). The different phases of design will be examined, outlining an optimal design cycle.

Finally we will examine the different aspects of development: the life-cycle, the tools (for design, implementation and runtime) and the planning.

A discussion with the participants will conclude the course.



The approach presented in these courses is the result of many years of experience, gained by the instructors, in developing and analyzing hypermedia applications and tools (both in research and industrial environments) in various fields - technical documentation, decision support systems, education, training, information points, museum exhibitions, multimedia interfaces to information systems. The technical approach proposed in this course have been successfully tested by researchers and developers, from companies and research institutions in several countries.


Franca Garzotto is Research Associate at the Department of Electronics and Information, Politecnico di Milano, where she presently serves as Managing Director of the Hypermedia Laboratory. She has a Degree in Mathematics from the University of Padova (Italy) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Politecnico di Milano. She has been active in the following research fields: data base systems, conceptual modeling of documents, hypertext and hypermedia modeling, hypermedia authoring systems, multimedia development tools, multimedia evaluation. She has been involved in various ESPRIT research projects in the above fields. She was tutorial chair of ECHT'90 and ECHT'92, and member of the program committee of the conferences ACM HT'91, ACM HT'93, ACM ECHT'92, ACM ECHT'94, ACM MM'95, ICHIM'95, ACMHT'96, ACM MM'96. She served as Program Chair of the International Workshop on "Hypermedia Design", held in Montpellier - France in June 1995 ( in cooperation with ACM SIGLINK, INRIA, CWI, and GMD). She served as Co-Chair (with Manfred Thuring) of the International Workshop on "Evaluation and Quality Criteria for Multimedia Applications", held at the ACM conference on multimedia - MM'95 - in San Francisco - CA, November 1995.


Paolo Paolini is Full Professor at University of Lecce (Italy) and Technical Director of HOC-Hypermedia Open Center at Politecnico di Milano. He has a Master and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He has been active in the following research fields: data base modeling and systems, programming languages, distributed data bases, data bases views, hypertext and hypermedia modeling, hypermedia authoring systems, multimedia application development tools. He has been technical responsible of various European research projects in the above fields, with research grants from the European Commission. He served as General Chair of the ACM international conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia in 1992 (ECHT'92). He has been member of the Program Committee of various editions of VLDB'xx, ACM ECHT'xx, and ACM HT'xx conferences, and is currently Associated Editor of ACM Transactions on Information Systems(TOIS).

These Web pages are maintained by the Multimedia Research Group
The conference organisers can be contacted at