CCE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Timothy J Ellis

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

William Hafner


In the workplace many work orders are handwritten on paper rather than recorded in a digital format. Despite being archived, these documents are neither referenced nor analyzed after their creation. Tacit knowledge gathered though employee documentation is generally considered beneficial, but only if it can be easily gathered and processed.

This study attempted to determine if value exists within these handwritten documents; in this case from a public work organization possessing work orders. As employees make notes in the field, they generate work orders containing free-form handwritten comments. These work orders are brought back and, after their initial review, are no longer used.

To assess these work orders, the researcher created a model that allows an expert panel to systematically assess the value of the handwritten comments. This model followed a recursive procedure in order to form a general consensus. From this consensus, the results were compared to the experts' suggestions of value within an acceptable significance range. The model was also analyzed for repeatability both in a single instance as well as across multiple implementations. Once the prototype system had been tested, a secondary implementation of the instrument was used to further validate the model.

Through a quantitative test and a qualitative survey, the researcher was able to determine that the work order assessment process was valid for this study. The consensus ratings were found to have statistically significant similarities, and this was further strengthened by the feedback from the expert panel. While there was some concern over the cost effectiveness of the survey, the expert panel agreed that the process was generalizable for other topics and repeatable for future implementations.

A quantitative test based on metrics defined by the expert panel revealed that the overall value of the repositories was less than the minimum threshold. Despite a lack of positive results for overall value, the researcher proposed future work and discussed potential areas of study that may still be applicable to the domain of handwritten comments.

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