As a vice president of the Salt Lake Valley Officials Association, I have yearned for the time when it would be easier to evaluate the officials who referee basketball games for the Salt Lake County Recreation Department.

That time apparently has arrived, although it would cost some money for a battery-powered laptop personal computer and a disk containing the entire text of the basketball rule book published by the National Federation of State High School Associations.The possibility of using a computer, rather than a book, to help a fellow referee learn by his mistakes exists because of Folio Inc., a 3-year-old company based in Provo. The company is distributing a new computer software called Folio VIEWS.

Company president Bradley D. Pelo is so charged up about his new software that he invited me for a demonstration and even transfered part of the basketball rule book to a disk, bringing complicated computer workings down to my level. The new program has great potential for many users, including legislators, tax preparers and even those preparing church talks.

Application of the VIEWS program seems almost limitless.

Pelo and his fellow Folio executives recently started shipping their VIEWS programs. The announcement came during a Personal Computing Forum, a meeting of executives and analysts from the computer industry. At the same time, Folio executives announced they had formed some business alliances with some businesses and organizations such as Provo-based Novell and WordPerfect.

Here is how VIEWS works:

If I want to explain "traveling" violations to a referee being evaluated, I simply press a few buttons on the laptop computer keyboard. Every time "traveling" is mentioned in the rule book it brings that part of the text to the screen. The word "traveling" is highlighted in blue.

Within a few seconds I can help the referee, whereas searching through the book for the applicable rule takes several minutes. Also, I can insert some notes in the text and as the operator scrolls down the text the section numbers are automatically changed on the screen.

I can highlight a particular section of the text with the push of a button

Pelo said VIEWS has a "window" feature enabling the user to simultaneously work in up to 10 windows, any of which can be used to create views, search for information, edit or prepare new documents. There are many other features too numerous to mention here.

The concept for Folio's view processing system was the brainchild of Curtis D. Allen, Folio vice president of advanced development. "When we began the development process over two years ago, our goal was to develop a system which would give people access to substantial textual documents and explore information and organize it in ways which would be meaningful and useful to the individual."

He said view processing isn't a novel concept and others have software systems that allow people to tie together information from a variety of sources. Pelo said in the near future software programs will contain graphics so a disk containing information about a tiger, for example, would also contain a picture of a tiger.

Pelo said VIEWS could have application in the legislative process. A legislator with a laptop personal computer and a disk containing the Utah Code could quickly turn to any subject, just by pressing a few buttons.

For example, a legislator learning about a new liquor bill could push the appropriate keys on the keyboard and find out how many times liquor is mentioned in the code.

The same is true for people preparing church talks. They can use a disk containing the text of a church book, include notes from other sources, cross reference, refer to footnotes and include their own thoughts and reduce the talk preparation time to almost nothing.