Much of my work in computer science at the University of Colorado in Boulder can be characterized as explorations of personalizable software. For me, that term increasingly meant designing hypermedia systems that would allow people to explore information from different personal perspectives. This theme persisted in my research from the time that I joined Gerhard Fischer’s lab as a beginning graduate student in 1989 and became a research assistant for Ray McCall until I transitioned into educational software upon graduation in 1993.
The switch to educational software stretched across many years and several roles, including software developer, post-doc, research professor, visiting scientist and associate professor. The development of WebGuide played a central role in the transition, since WebGuide applied the mechanisms of personalizable software and computational perspectives to an educational application. While the highlights of this work are presented in Group Cognition, a number of writings that did not make it into that volume fill in important aspects of my explorations of personalizable software.
The present volume has been assembled to make those essays available in an organized way. This book is structured in four sections, corresponding roughly to phases in the development of my research on personalizable software: (1) Structured Hypermedia, (2) Personalizable Software, (3) Software Perspectives, (4) Applications to Health Care, Education and Publishing.