- Computers require formally represented information to support users but uses often cannot provide it. This paper looks at an approach called 'incremental formalization', when users express information informally and the system supports them in formalizing it. Incremental formalization requires a system architecture that can integrate formal and informal representations and enable and support moving information upward in formality. The system should include tools to capture naturally available informal information and knowledge-based techniques to suggest possible formalization of this informal information. The Hyper-Object Substrate (HOS), a system with these characteristics, has been applied to a variety of domains, including network design, archaeological site analysis and neuroscience education.