I Know What You Did With Your Documents: A Solution to Track Interactions with Physical Documents

Type of Thesis: 
Master Thesis

Daily users struggle with organsing and re-finding their stored documents, photos, emails, etc. Personal Cross-Media Information Management investigates the opportunities to provide the user with an alternative to the Desktop Metaphor where we step away from the file hierarchies used to store our information. Our cross-media PIM system is a solution which unifies all organisational structures such as email, bookmark and file hierarchies but also the physical classification structures such as bookshelves or piles of papers on the desk. This approach to PIM makes it possible to construct our own personal cross-media information space with less fragmentation of the information. By providing a tool for centralising all these possible ways of storing our information, we allow the user to re-find the information no matter where or how the information has been stored. Often, users only need information which is relevant in a certain context, such as the slides of a course when studying for that course. Therefore, we include a context-aware component to provide the user with the context-relevant information instead of the currently used static file system.




A lot of people still use physical artefacts such as paper, books or photos to store information. Our cross-media PIM system supports the organisation of these physical artefacts besides the digital information. To be able to provide the user with feedback on where the needed physical artefact is, we first need to identify and track the physical artefacts. The subject range is quit broad where current research focus on basic document tracking on desks or flat surfaces. Of course, users do not only use their desk to place their artefacts but also bookshelves and drawers. The focus is directed to identify and track documents and books in a chaotic desk environment and taking in account the organisation strategies of piles and files in bookshelves. Nevertheless, users often annotate documents or create new documents by just writing on paper. Therefore, we open the subject of document tracking by including the creation and change of physical documents. Current technologies such as digital pen and paper solutions may provide an opportunity to reach this goal.

The thesis goal is to find a solution on document identification and tracking as well as integrating the possibility to track new created paper documents and document changes such as annotations. First, several available tools and techniques will be inquired to see whether current solutions may be used. The solution will be implemented as a plug-in to our PIM system so that the user may have feedback on the position and/or changes of the physical documents or books. 


Background Knowledge: 
  • Java
Technical challenges: 
  • You will learn about image processing techniques.
  • You will learn about organisation strategies of artefacts.
  • You will learn about digital pen interaction.
  • You will learn about our cross-media PIM framework.
Beat Signer
Academic Year: