Journal of the Association for Information Systems


This paper focuses on the development of a naming convention and the use of abbreviated names and a related ontology for science work and distant robotic action that comprise requests for a robotic rover during the NASA Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). We demonstrate how abbreviated names and an associated ontology support sharing and identifying information among teams and software tools. An ontology of distant action must take into account a dynamic environment, changing in response to physical events and intentional actions, and reflect the influence of context on the meaning of action. The nascent domain of Martian tele-robotic science, in which specialists request work from a rover moving through a distant landscape, as well as the need to consider the interdisciplinary teams involved in completing that work, required an empirical approach. The formulation of this ontology used ethnographic methods and grounded theory to study human behavior and work practice with software tools.