E-Business: Focus on Technology

Michael B. Spring
Department of Information Science and Telecommunications
University of Pittsburgh


The World Wide Web (WWW) and more generally the Internet are providing new ways of communicating and of doing business.  There are many facets to the developments and many technologies appearing and disappearing in the rush to develop this new area.  The course introduces E-business concepts and technologies.  The course is focused on providing the business case for e-business.  While it is more business focused than most technology courses, the strength of the course lies in the heavy focus on technology, heavier than any other such course the instructor is aware of.

The course was developed in response to requests for a seminar on e-business by Molde College in Norway and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Thailand.  It is part of a larger plan for a track on E-Business proposed for the Department of Information Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh.

The objectives of a student taking this course will be to:

Organization of the Course

The course has three themes -- business and information theory, technologies, case studies and examples.  In delivery, these topics are interwoven based on the needs and interests of the students.  Here, we present them in separate categories to help organize the pieces

NOTE:  The HTML versions of the PowerPoint presentations require Internet Explorer 5.0 or 5.5.  They can be viewed using Netscape but the additional windows opened are not resizable and the presentation is far from optimal. The PDF versions can be viewed using Acrobat reader on any machine


Students taking this course will be required to have completed at least one programming course that addresses object oriented programming:  C++ is acceptable, Java is preferred.



The course will be evaluated based on three criteria:

About the instructor

Michael Spring is an Associate Professor of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His research involves the application of technology to the workplace with particular attention large scale electronic document processing and visualization, intelligent agents, and interface design.

He received his Bachelor's in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, and his Ph.D. from the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. For more than a decade prior to joining the Department of Information Science, Dr. Spring served as Associate Director and then Director of the University External Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

He has led research projects in the areas of on-demand publishing, intelligent text conversion, and document database publishing. The “Planet Earth” project produced custom textbooks on demand using a database to compose and print complete 700+ page textbooks in less than two hours. Funded by Xerox in the 1980’s, he led a team that developed a virtual machine for the intelligent conversion of electronic documents.  During the 1990’s, with support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, he has developed a research testbed for exploring issues related to collaborative authoring of network based documents.

Current research efforts include models for docubases and computer based augmentation of collaborative authoring, intelligent agents and augmented interfaces, models and principles for design of human-computer interaction, and visualization and virtual information spaces. He currently is heading  projects funded by NIH, Deloitte and Touche, and Hewlett-Packard.