Doug’s idea of Hyperscope is almost seven years old. At iMorph, we built a prototype about 4 years ago. More recently Eugene set up a Hyperscope team and did some outstanding work. I am surprised that it has not become a product yet.
The original Hyperscope paper is here. Here is a summary of its high level features.
1. Converting different types of documents to a common format called I-File (intermediate file) an XML format
2. Providing flexible viewing (collapse levels, view the first line of every para, highlight verbs and nouns in different colors etc.)
3. Provide granular addressing (to a para, to a sentence or even a phrase or a word)
4. Collaborative annotations
5. Semantic Linking or Typed Linking (Rich linking capabilities far beyond what we have in browsers today)
InfoScope is inspired by the Hyperscope efforts and some of what we learned in working with early prototypes. Things have changed since Doug’s original proposal.
1. Since all documents are converging towards an XML format, we need to support fewer (OXML, ODF, XHTML) formats
2. We can incrementally develop these features as browser extensions (viewing extensions, linking extensions, annotations etc.) or web components. This allows easy adoption of select features.
3. Infoscope becomes a set of features in existing heavily used product like Microsoft Office, Open Office instead of being a stand alone product.
3. We can use AJAX to provide better user experience for marking, linking, annotations and viewing.