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What the Map Says About Using the Web

Note that information is depicted as medium : content—for example, paper : assignment. Contrary to what Marshall McCluhan said, in Web Business Engineering, the medium is not the message. This separation of information into medium and content will play an important role when we get to the step on designing Web solutions based on our maps. Suffice it to say that each offline medium suggests a possible place where a business can use an online medium instead—for example, email : assignment in place of paper : assignment. Moreover, each agent and combination of agents indicates a possible place where a business can substitute the Web instead. Single-agent substitutions are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Three possible single-agent Web substitutions (Reprinted with permission from Flor, N. [2000], Web Business Engineering, Addison-Wesley Longman)

There are also multiagent substitutions, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

A possible three-agent Web substitution (Reprinted with permission from Flor, N. [2000], Web Business Engineering, Addison-Wesley Longman)

Not shown are two-agent substitutions, or substitutions involving the instructor and students. Given that each medium and combination of agents depicts a possible place where a business can substitute the Web, you can see that there are many different ways to use the Web to support this relatively simple mailing process—too many, in fact. This is similar to a road map on which there are often many different ways to go from point A to point B. We need some way of trimming down the possibilities, and this is where the value model comes in. The value model is an interactive, computational model of the information activity map.

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