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Volume 2. Tacit and Explicit Understanding in Computer Support

"INTERPRETATION IN DESIGN: THE PROBLEM OF TACIT AND EXPLICIT UNDERSTANDING IN COMPUTER SUPPORT OF COOPERATIVE DESIGN"
Gerry Stahl, PhD dissertation in Computer Science, University of Colorado, August 1993

This work analyzes the central role of interpretation in non-routine design. Based on this analysis, a theory of computer support for interpretation in cooperative design is constructed. The theory is grounded in studies of design and interpretation. It is illustrated by mechanisms provided by a software substrate for computer-based design environments, applied to a sample task of lunar habitat design.
Computer support of innovative design must overcome the problem that designers necessarily make extensive use of situated tacit understanding while computers can only store and display explicit representations of information. The automation techniques used for routine design are not applicable: techniques are needed to support creative, tacit human understanding with explicit computer representations.
The process by which designers transform their tacit pre-understanding into explicit knowledge is termed “interpretation”. Interpretation is necessary for solving design problems and collaborating with other designers. Considerable explicit knowledge is thereby generated in the natural course of designing. Often this knowledge includes the most valuable information that can be presented to designers who revisit these design projects or undertake similar projects in the future. If representations of this knowledge have been defined using computer-based design support systems, then the representations can be captured by these systems for the support of subsequent design work.


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table of contents

THE PROBLEM OF TACIT AND EXPLICIT UNDERSTANDING IN COMPUTER SUPPORT OF COOPERATIVE DESIGN

CHAPTER 1. OVERVIEW
1.1. Understanding Interpretation
1.2. The Methodology of Design
1.3. The Example of Lunar Habitat Design
1.4. The Analysis of Situated Interpretation
1.5. Tacit and Explicit Knowledge in Design
1.6. Consequences for a Theory of Computer Support
1.7. Previous Software Systems for Design
1.8. Hypermedia in the HERMES System
1.9. Perspectives in Hermes
1.10. The HERMES Language
1.11. Conclusion
Part I. Interpretation in Design
CHAPTER 2. THREE METHODOLOGIES OF DESIGN
2.1. Alexander: the Structure of a Design Situation
2.2. Rittel: Deliberating from Perspectives
2.3. Schön: Tacit Knowing and Explicit Language
CHAPTER 3. INTERPRETATION IN LUNAR HABITAT DESIGN
3.1. Situations of Privacy and the Problem of Representation
3.2. Perspectives on Privacy
3.3. Capturing the Language of Privacy
CHAPTER 4. HEIDEGGER’S PHILOSOPHY
4.1. Definition of the Situation as Basis for Tacit Understanding
4.2. The Role of Shared Traditions and Personal Perspectives
4.3. Interpretation as Explication in Language
Part II. The Problem of Tacit and Explicit Understanding
5.1. Applying Heidegger’s Philosophy to Design
5.2. The Social and Human Grounding of Interpretation
5.3. Transformations of Tacit to Explicit Understanding
CHAPTER 6. A THEORY OF COMPUTER SUPPORT
6.1. A People-Centered Approach
6.2. Supporting Situated, Perspectival, Linguistic Interpretation
6.3. A Model of Computer Support
CHAPTER 7. RELATED COMPUTER SYSTEMS FOR DESIGN
7.1. External Media for Design
7.2. Perspectives for Deliberation
7.3. Languages for Human Problem-Domain Communication
Part III. Computer Support of Cooperative Design
CHAPTER 8. REPRESENTING THE DESIGN SITUATION
8.1. A Computationally Active Medium for Designers
8.2. Knowledge Representation in the Hermes Substrate
8.3. Lunar Habitat Design Environments
CHAPTER 9. INTERPRETIVE PERSPECTIVES FOR COLLABORATION
9.1. A Scenario of Cooperation
9.2. A Hypermedia Implementation of Perspectives
9.3. Evolving Perspectives
CHAPTER 10. A LANGUAGE FOR SUPPORTING INTERPRETATION
10.1. An Approach to Language Design
10.2 Encapsulating Explicit Mechanisms in Tacit Forms
10.3 Defining Interpretive Critics
Conclusion
CHAPTER 11. CONTRIBUTIONS
11.1 Contributions to a Philosophy of Interpretation
11.2 Contributions to a Theory of Computer Support
11.3 Contributions to a System for Innovative Design BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX
A. Programming Walkthrough of the Hermes Language
B. Tacit Usage of the Hermes Language
C. Explicit Structure of the HERMES Language