The Information Grid: A Framework for Information Retrieval and Retrieval-Centered Applications

Ramana Rao, Xerox PARC

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 6, 1993


The Information Grid (InfoGrid) is a framework for building information access applications that provides a user interface design and an interaction model. It focuses on retrieval of application objects as its top level mechanism for accessing user information, documents, or services. We have embodied the InfoGrid design in an object-oriented application framework that supports rapid construction of applications. This application framework has been used to build a number of applications, some that are classically characterized as information retrieval applications, others that are more typically viewed as personal work tools.

This work was presented at the Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) '92 and is published in the proceedings. It was done in collaboration with PARC researchers Stuart Card, Herbert Jellinek, Jock Mackinlay, and George Robertson.

In addition to presenting the Infogrid work, I will step back and present a broader survey of ideas and related work on the role of retrieval in the user interface of computer workspaces and discuss future areas of interest.


Ramana Rao has worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) since 1986. His research has focused primarily on user interfaces for information access, paper user interfaces and document imaging, object-oriented programming, reflection, and window systems. He is one of the principle designers of the Common Lisp Interface Manager, a user interface programming interface standard for Common Lisp. Prior to joining PARC, Ramana worked at a startup company that developed presentation graphics applications for the IBM PC and a consulting company that designed and built a fault-tolerant file server for a major minicomputer company. Ramana received his BS and MS degrees in computer science and engineering from MIT.


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