After all the raw information is available, the requirements engineer or elicitor must begin to identify the abstractions present in this information. These abstractions can be used as the basis for a variety of requirements documents, including chapters of the specification, classes in an object-oriented model of the requirements, node names in a hypermedium representation of the requirements, etc.
Recently, Leah Goldin, one of Berry's Ph.D. students developed AbstFinder, a tool that assists the requirements engineer in finding abstractions in the confusing mass of documents the client delivers to the requirements engineers at the start of the development of a software-based computing system. Her thesis described a method for using the tool and presented an industrial strength case-study that demonstrated the effectiveness of the method and the tool for the task of abstraction identification.
It is now time to build a production quality version of the tool, with a groovy WIMP interface. Any takers?
For further information:
Goldin, L. ``A Method for Aiding Requirements Analysts in Requirements Elicitation for Large Software Systems'', Ph.D. Dissertation, Faculty of Computer Science, Technion, Haifa, Israel, May, 1994 FTP
Leah Goldin's Ph.D Thesis and AbstFinder Source Code FTP
Goldin, L. and Berry, D.M., ``AbstFinder, A Prototype Natural Language Text Abstraction Finder for Use in Requirements Elicitation'' Automated Software Engineering, 4:4, 375-412, October, 1997 PDF ps.Z