Atomate It! End-user Context-Sensitive Automation using Heterogeneous Information Sources on the Web

Max Van Kleek, Brennan Moore, David Karger, Paul André, Monica C. Schraefel


The transition of personal information management (PIM) tools off the desktop to the Web presents an opportunity to augment these tools with capabilities provided by the wealth of real-time information readily available. In this paper, we describe a next-generation personal information assistance engine that lets end-users delegate to it various simple context- and activity-reactive tasks and reminders. Our system, Atomate, treats RSS/ATOM feeds from social networking and life-tracking sites as sensor streams, integrating information from such feeds into a simple unified RDF world model representing people, places and things and their time-varying states and activities. Combined with other information sources on the web, including the user's online calendar, web-based e-mail client, news feeds and messaging services, Atomate can be made to automatically carry out a variety of simple tasks for the user, ranging from context-aware filtering and messaging, to sharing and social coordination actions. Atomate's open architecture and world model easily accommodate new information sources and actions via the addition of feeds and web services. To make routine use of the system easy for non-programmers, Atomate provides a constrained-input natural language interface (CNLI) for behavior specification, and a direct-manipulation interface for inspecting and updating its world model.


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