Task Support in an Office System
A major goal of an office system is to support the tasks that are central to the office functions. Some office tasks are readily implemented with generic office tools, such as calendars, forms packages and mail. Many tasks, however, involve complex sequences of actions that do not all correspond to tool invocations and, instead, rely on the problem-solving ability of the office workers. In this paper, we describe a system (POISE) that can be used to both automate routine tasks and provide assistance in more complex situations. The type of assistance provided can range from maintaining a record of the tasks currently being executed to suggesting possible next steps and answering natural language queries about the tasks. The POISE system uses both a procedure-based and a goal-based representation of the tasks to achieve efficiency and flexibility. The mechanisms used by POISE are described with example procedures from a university office.