WebGrid-II Release

Brian Gaines (gaines@cpsc.ucalgary.ca)
Thu, 1 Jan 1998 21:02:20 -0700

Happy New Year everyone!

We are releasing WebGrid-II on a new server:-


WebGrid-I remains in operation on:-


WebGrid II is an update of our original WebGrid program that is compatible
with it and offers the same mode of operation for basic repertory grid
elicitation. In addition, WebGrid II offers new modes of operation that
make more capabilities available.

** Online Information **

A small icon showing a white question mark on a blue background appears in
each section of all the WebGrid screens. Clicking on this icon provides
information on how to use the WebGrid capabilities in the relevant section.

The information facility can be turned on and off as required. The
information is diplayed in a separate window so that it does not interfere
with the eliciation and analysis.

** Customizing WebGrid **

WebGrid II allows the user to specify the header and footer material to
appear on each screen and to customize background and text colors and
rules. This can be used to customize WebGrid for particular applications
and to support links to other applications.

** Multimedia Annotation **

WebGrid II allows text or HTML annotation to be input for each element and
each construct. This annotation is displayed, for example, in triadic
elicitation so that pictures, sounds and comments may be made available, as
well as hypermedia links to other material.

** Saving and Exporting Data **

WebGrid has always supported local saving of grid data. Since both the grid
data and the server address are held in hidden fields inside the documents
returned, it has always been possible to save a grid on the user's machine
and continue elicitation and analysis at a later date by simply opening the
saved file in a web browser.

WebGrid II extends this capability by holding data in the documents in a
tab-separated format that can be read by spread sheet and statistical
analysis packages, and by providing facilities to return the data to the
user as a file not embedded in HTML. The file formats available include
that of RepGrid allowing WebGrid data to be exported to RepGrid.

** Categorical and Numerical Constructs **

WebGrid II allows the basic repertory grid to be extended with additional
forms of construct such as categorical constructs (equivalent to naming
each value of a rating scale) and numerical constructs (equivalent to
rating scales with a large number of values).

The extended grids can be analyzed in the same way as conventional grids.

The availability of these extensions is controlled by the level of
operation that is specified:-

* Ratings: specifies a normal repertory grid with a fixed rating scale and
limited analysis capabilities similar to WebGrid I. This mode is intended
to offer a simple sytem to normal users.

* +Names: specifies an extended repertory grid where constructs can be
named and the rating scale specified separately for each one. This mode
also makes available more complex analysis capabilities such as that of
weighting the constructs in the cluster analyses.

* +Categories: specifies a further extension in which categorical
constructs are supported.

* +Numbers: specifies a further extension in which numerical constructs are

** Extended Analysis Capabilities **

As already noted, weights may be specified for constructs and, in addition,
the parameters for each analysis can be specified. For example, in
Principal Components analysis the components to be graphed can be specified
and the analyzed data can be returned in text form for use in other

** Interactive Graphical Output **

The graphical plots returned by Cluster (FOCUS) and Map (PrinCom) are
interactive. If the analysis of an element or construct appears anomalous
the user can click on its name in the plot and WebGrid takes them to a
screen which shows the detailed values and allows them to be edited.

** Full Support of Exchanging and Comparing Grids **

WebGrid I supported the comparative analysis of exchanged grids and grids
with the same elements. However, the original grid had to be stored on the
server and there was no facility for normal users to do this. WebGrid II
supports users in caching their grids on the server and making them
available to others in studies using grid exchange methodologies.

No password or special privileges are required to do this. Grids are
retained for a period of 3 months and it is simple to extend the period by
caching them again. Privacy cannot be guaranteed but the grid name is a
complex one generated at random. It is only returned to the user who
requested the cache so that it is not easy to access a cached grid unless
one is given the name.

** Expert System Capabilities **

WebGrid II supports the development and operation of expert systems based
on repertory grid elicitation. Rules may be developed by entailment
analysis and inferences may be made on test cases based on these rules.

The rule induction and inference procedures support open-world semantics
and correctly handle cases with missing data. Rules with exceptions may be
generated to give smaller models that are more natural to people.

Brian and Mildred