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[*] Designing the Next Generation of User Support Tools: Methodology
Koratkar A., Douglas R., Gerb A., Jones J., Peterson K, van der Marel R.P.
in `Observatory Operations to Optimize Scientific Return II', Quinn P., ed., Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 4010 p. 90-97, 2000
© 2000. SPIE. All Rights Reserved.


In this paper we present a strategy for developing the next generation of proposal preparation tools so that we can continue to optimize scientific returns from the Hubble Space Telescope in an era of constrained budgets. The new proposal preparation tools must be built with two goals: (1) to facilitate scientific investigation for observers, and (2) to decrease the effort spent on routine matters by observatory staff. We have based our conclusions on lessons learned from the Next Generation Space Telescope's Scientist's Expert Assistant experiment. We conclude that: (1) Compared to existing Hubble Space Telescope's Phase II RPS2 software, a modern set of proposal tools and an environment that integrates them will be appreciated by the user community. From the user's perspective the proposed software must be more intuitive, visual, and responsive. From the observatory's perspective the tools must be interoperable and extensible to other observatories. (2) To ensure state-of-the-art tools for proposal preparation for the user community, there needs to be a management structure that supports innovation. Further, the development activities need to be divided into innovating and fielding efforts to prevent operational pressures from inhibiting innovation. This will allow use of up-to-date technology so that the system can remain fluid and responsive to changes.

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Last modified October 18, 2000.
Roeland van der Marel, marel@stsci.edu.
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