On automated message processing in electronic commerce and work support systems: speech act theory and expressive felicity
ACM Transactions on Information Systems
Electronic messaging-whether in an office environment or for electronic commerce-is normally carried out in natural language, even when supported by information systems. For a variety of reasons it would be useful if electronic messaging systems could have semantic access to, i.e., have access to the meanings and contents of, the messages they process. Given that natural language understanding is not a practicable alternative, there remain three approaches to delivering systems with semantic
... ess: electronic data interchange (EDI), tagged messages, and the development of a formal language for business communication (FLBC). We favor the latter approach. In this paper we compare and contrast these three approaches, present a theoretical basis for an FLBC (using speech act theory), and describe a prototype implementation. * File: KimMoore-v7.1.tex. This work was funded in part under contract DTCG39-86-C-80348, between the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Pennsylvania, with Steven O. Kimbrough as principal investigator. Thanks to Major Michael J. Thornburg (U.S. Army) and Ronald M. Lee for useful suggestions and comments, to Michael Covington for stimulating discussions, and to the anonymous referees for a number of helpful suggestions. Biographies Steven O. Kimbrough is Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His main research areas are in: decision support (focusing on model management and on information retrieval), electronic commerce, computational theory of rationality (focusing on defeasible reasoning and on evolutionary models of cognition), and logic modeling. From 1985 to 1995, he was principal investigator for the U.S. Coast Guard's KSS (knowledge-based decision support systems) project. Scott A. Moore is Assistant Professor in the Computer & Information Systems Department, University of Michigan Business School. His research program focuses on office information systems, from the technology needed to make it possible to the theory underlying it. He is also investigating electronic commerce and document retrieval. The broad areas of applicability for his research are in workflow automation, EDI, and information retrieval. Other lines of research have led him to construct a DSS for investigating fleet mixes, an environment for creating and investigating mathematical models, a prototype of a document retrieval system based on a formal language, a message management system (MMS) for an office environment, and a work management system.