, Volume 17, Issue 5-6, pp 423-468
Date: 26 Oct 2007

Multi-level Editing of Hierarchical Documents

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Abstract

Collaborative editing enables a group of people to edit documents collaboratively over a computer network. Customisation of the collaborative environment to different subcommunities of users at different points in time is an important issue. The model of the document is an important factor in achieving customisation. We have chosen a tree representation encompassing a large class of documents, such as text, XML and graphical documents and here we propose a multi-level editing approach for maintaining consistency over hierarchical-based documents. The multi-level editing approach involves logging edit operations that refer to each node. Keeping operations associated with the tree nodes to which they refer offers support for tracking user activity performed on various units of the document. This facilitates the computation of awareness information and the handling of conflicting changes referring to units of the document. Moreover, increased efficiency is obtained compared to existing approaches that use a linear structure for representing documents. The multi-level editing approach involves the recursive application of any linear merging algorithm over the document structure and we show how the approach was applied for real-time and asynchronous modes of collaboration.

*The work presented in this paper was done when the author was member of the GlobIS group at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.