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GROUP Tables of Contents: 97990103050709101214

GROUP'97: International Conference on Supporting Group Work

Fullname:Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work
Note:The Integration Challenge
Editors:Stephen C. Hayne; Wolfgang Prinz; Mark Pendergast; Kjeld Schmidt
Location:Phoenix, Arizona
Dates:1997-Nov-16 to 1997-Nov-19
Standard No:ISBN 0-89791-897-5; ACM Order Number 611970; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: GROUP97
Links:Conference Website
  1. Tutorials
  2. Workshops
  3. Panels
  4. Supporting Intergroup Working
  5. Research Tools and Methods
  6. Virtual Environments
  7. Case Studies
  8. Workflows 'In the Wild'
  9. Conferencing Applications
  10. Collaborative Spaces
  11. Workflow Architectures
  12. Experiences with Collaborative Environments
  13. Workflow Applications
  14. Agent Technology
  15. Enhancing Communication
  16. Integrative Environments
  17. Group Awareness
  18. Issues in Technology Supporting Learning
  19. Algorithms and Formalizations


Developing Collaborative Applications on the Web BIBA 1
  Andreas Girgensohn; Alison Lee
The goal of the tutorial is to provide insights and understanding into how to develop interactive and collaborative applications using the Web as a rapid prototyping and development platform. At the end of the tutorial, participants will have a basic understanding to begin developing collaborative applications using this platform.
   In the tutorial, we will introduce and demonstrate how one can use commonly available Web tools in combination with Web browsers to design, develop, and deploy interactive and collaborative applications. For example, we will discuss how HTML in combination with CGI scripts, JavaScript, and Java can be used to create applications and what kind of tools on the server-side are helpful.
Real-World Groupware Frameworks: Digital LinkWorks and OpenText LiveLink BIBA 1
  Bruce McIndoe
The purpose of this tutorial is to provide a full-day, intensive, under-the-hood look at two real-world application integration frameworks: Digital Equipment Corporation LinkWorks and OpenText LiveLink. These frameworks enterprise enable virtually any off-the-shelf or custom application through the creation of business aware objects using framework services such as workflow, electronic filing, versioning, sharing, and security. The framework provides a consistent environment in which to deploy enterprise-wide applications, implement organizational policy and have it consistently applied, and support virtual workgroups regardless of geographic location. It will also be shown how these frameworks can be used to create extranets with partners while still controlling application access and the information created.
Construction Search and Retrieval of a World-Wide Web (WWW) Expert Knowledge Base BIBA 1
  Mark Ginsburg
Too often, expert groups form, work together, and then disband within an organization and leave no record of their collaboration. This tutorial describes, in the World-Wide Web (WWW) context, approaches to capturing individual contributions in an extensible (accommodating multiple media types) and flexible (allowing various choices for categorizing the submissions) manner to form an expert knowledge base. Furthermore, techniques are described to allow efficient search and retrieval of the knowledge base.
Using Social Network Analysis to Study Computer Networks BIBA 1
  Barry Wellman
Our aim is to demonstrate the usefulness of social network analysis -- its principles, techniques and findings -- for understanding how people and groups interact using computer-mediated communication. When a computer network connects people or groups, it is a social network. Social network analysis can help researchers and developers to go beyond studying individuals and small groups. The approach traces patterns of connectivity among individuals and groups, and links these patterns to variations in social and technical outcomes.
   We first provide an overview of the basic concepts of social network analysis and present relevant findings; we demonstrate where social network data can be, and have been used to study computer-mediated communication. We show how to design social network research, collect social network data, and use software packages to analyze these data. The tutorial should be of interest both to researchers and to developers of groupware, enabling them able to deal with loosely-bounded as well as tightly-coupled systems.
Methods, Tools and Technologies for Coordination and Workflow Management BIBA 2
  Frank von Martial
The 21st century organization will be organized around processes, not tasks. Teams, not individuals, will be the focus of organization performance and design. Customer needs will shape business units. Coordination and workflow management systems will be the core enablers in building and running these organizations.
   This tutorial is designed for researchers, advanced developers and technical managers interested in coordination and workflow management technology and how it is likely to involve. Coordination technology is viewed both from an organizational and a software engineering point of view. Some questions dealt with are: How can the workflow in a customer oriented organization be modeled? Where is a need for coordination technology in designing and managing modern organizations? What is the role of information technology for (re-)engineering organizations? What are CSFs in managing a workflow management project? What do workflow products and standards offer and where remains research to do? Besides workflow management other techniques for coordination will be presented such as groupware, agent modeling, process design, planning, communication and conflict management. The section on practical aspects of carrying out successful workflow management projects benefits from the lecturers industrial experience in that domain.
Collaborative Technologies BIBA 2
  Lisa Neal
The objective of this tutorial is to examine existing and emerging technologies for collaboration, focusing how to select and deploy tools to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst co-located and geographically-dispersed groups, telecommuters, and networked communities.
   This tutorial will cover collaborative technologies, including email, videoconferencing, computer-supported meeting rooms, and computer conferencing. The latter category includes electronic whiteboards, application-sharing, screen-sharing, IRC, and the use of the Internet and Web.
   The tutorial will cover specific examples of tools in each category, using demos, videotapes, and descriptions, and will also cover tools like Microsoft NetMeeting that span multiple categories. The tutorial will cover issues related to selection, deployment, and use of collaborative technologies, including protocols, training, evaluation, and research.


Tailorable Groupware: Issues, Methods, and Architectures BIBA 2
  Anders Morch; Oliver Stiemerling; Volker Wulf
The goal of this workshop is to bring together people from academia and industry who share an interest in groupware systems from the point of view of tailoring them, and who wish to participate in ongoing discussions with the aim of broadening the scope and deepening the understanding of some key issues in this area.
   We intend to bring together wide ranging views dealing with all aspects of end user development of groupware systems. The result will be a collection of position papers with subsequent discussions that will be compiled by the workshop organizers.


The Role for Technology in Knowledge Management BIBA 3-6
  Dirk Mahling; James Bair; William Ives; Nan Lower; David Smith; Rudy Ruggles
The purpose of this panel is to explore the role of technology in knowledge management. While it is common wisdom that business and information technology are becoming intertwined to a degree that makes them inseparable, the driving forces are not so clearly recognized.
   Do we know the needs of the field of knowledge management, which is only emerging, or do we repackage existing technologies to suit a new trend? At which point should technology enter the picture in a knowledge management project? Should technology drive the project or merely serve in the implementation? How can emerging technologies be leveraged? When does technology bias us toward non-optimal solutions? All these questions, and more, must be addressed by practitioners of knowledge management.
Issues in Technology Supported Learning BIBA 7-8
  Melissa Glynn; Doug Vogel; Robert Briggs; Howard Brown; Debra Cunningham
This panel will discuss advances in technology supported learning as well the issues of teacher adoption. A body of literature now exists that suggests that technologies like Group Support Systems can have a positive impact on learning outcomes, yet difficulties exist in gaining teacher support for classroom use. A mix of educators from the K-12 level and researchers will discuss the opportunities for building teacher interest and acceptance.

Supporting Intergroup Working

Using Internet Technology within the Organization: A Structurational Analysis of Intranets BIBAKPDF 9-18
  Rens Scheepers; Jan Damsgaard
Many organizations are implementing Internet technology, specifically Word Wide Web technology, inside the organization in the form of an "organizational Internet" or intranet. Intranet technology can unify dispersed computer based information systems in the organization into one rich "system". Thus, intranets can have a major impact on organizational processes, for example cross-functional information sharing and collaboration. We focus on the social aspects surrounding intranet implementation. We seek to answer how intranet implementations shape and how they are shaped by social structures employed by organizational agents. We adapt structuration theory into an explanatory device to analyze intranet implementation and we apply it to four cases. We conclude that, intranets are initially more shaped by, rather than shaping social structures, but that this may change over time. The following learning points are condensed: Firstly, intranets are socially constructed and implementers need to be cautious when seeking to transplanting Web technology into an organizational context. Secondly, intranets typically evolve in sophistication over time. Finally, institutionalization is isolated as the key challenge in intranet implementation.
Keywords: Intranet, Implementation, Social, Structuration theory
Merging Multiple Perspectives in Groupware Use: Intra- and Intergroup Conventions BIBAKPDF 19-28
  Gloria Mark
Intergroup cooperation is characterized by groups having different work roles and experiences. When cooperating with a flexible groupware system, groups may face the problem of using conventions that are not congruent. This paper describes the experience of convention use between heterogeneous groups using a groupware system in a real work setting. We discovered that intragroup conventions can transfer from prior work experience and be robust. The method used in POLITeam for supporting conventions is compared with other methods for groupware users when heterogeneous groups were involved.
Keywords: Groupware, CSCW, Conventions, Intergroup, Shared workspace
Fostering Interdepartmental Knowledge Communication Through Groupware: A Process Improvement Perspective BIBAKPDF 29-37
  Ned Kock
This paper presents a review of the organisational learning literature that points to process improvement (PI) groups as an appropriate tool for organisational knowledge communication. Based on that review, the impact of support provided by a class of groupware systems, e-mail conferencing (EC), on knowledge dissemination in organisations is examined in the context of PI groups. The study suggests that, overall, EC support seems to have a positive impact on knowledge dissemination in organisations, when used in combination with a group methodology for PI.
Keywords: Action research, Groupware, E-mail conferencing, Process improvement groups, Organisational learning

Research Tools and Methods

Recognising 'Success' and 'Failure': Evaluating Groupware in a Commercial Context BIBAKPDF 39-46
  Steve Blythin; John A. Hughes; Steinar Kristoffersen; Tom Rodden; Mark Rouncefield
This paper reports on the installation and use of two commercial 'groupware' systems, a videolink and electronic document exchange, in a major clearing bank in the UK. It suggests some of the complexities involved in evaluating groupware in a business such that recognising and understanding even such gross terms as 'success' and 'failure' is far from easy. Consequently it argues that a more nuanced appreciation of success and failure needs to be developed and, therefore, some form of ethnographic, 'illuminative' evaluation may prove commercially worthwhile.
Keywords: Groupware, Ethnographic studies of work, Evaluation
CEVA: A Tool for Collaborative Video Analysis BIBAKPDF 47-55
  Andy Cockburn; Tony Dale
Video protocol analysis is a standard technique in many research disciplines including human-computer interaction and computer supported cooperative work. It is notoriously time consuming, and a variety of single-user computer based tools have been developed to ease the task.
   This paper examines collaborative video analysis. The motivation for groupware tools for video analysis is described, and the desirable features of such tools are identified. The design, implementation, and preliminary evaluation of a prototype synchronous groupware tool for video analysis, CEVA, are described.
Keywords: Collaborative video analysis, Evaluation, Groupware, User interfaces, Design
A First Step to Formally Evaluate Collaborative Work BIBAKPDF 56-60
  Ricardo Baeza-Yates; Jose A. Pino
We present an initial attempt to formally evaluate performance measures related to CSCW applications. In particular, we study the relations between the quality of the output, the number of people and time spent on the overall task and the total work done. We introduce a novel application to illustrate our ideas: collaborative retrieval. We propose a specific heuristic to the case when many people search for the same information, thereby increasing the recall and precision of the answer. We apply our evaluation methodology to this case.
Keywords: CSCW, Quantitative evaluation, Collaborative retrieval

Virtual Environments

Requirements for a Virtual Collocation Environment BIBAKPDF 61-70
  Steven E. Poltrock; George Engelbeck
We analyze how physically collocated teams work together now and what services they require to work together across distances, focusing on real time interactions because those interactions justify collocating teams today. We explain how Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) are organized in system development programs and how their physical collocation facilitates communication, collaboration, and coordination within the team. Interactions within IPTs take two forms: scheduled meetings and opportunistic interactions. Scenarios of scheduled IPT meetings help motivate and identify requirements for supporting distributed meetings. Opportunistic interactions are far more common than scheduled meetings, and more difficult to observe and analyze because they are not scheduled or predictable.
Keywords: Virtual collocation, Team work, Computer supported cooperative work, Requirements, Opportunistic interactions, Collaborative work
Informing the Design of Collaborative Virtual Environments BIBAKPDF 71-80
  Steve Benford; Dave Snowdon; Andy Colebourne; Jon O'Brien; Tom Rodden
This paper addresses the design of Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs). More specifically, it considers key design issues concerning the use of either real world 'facsimile' representations or more abstracted means of delivering CVEs. We suggest that the use of ethnographic studies of the context-of-use of the CVE under development is a useful means of informing these design issues in contrast to more in-principle means of drawing conclusions. This approach is illustrated by informing the development of a virtual environment from and ethnographic study of work.
Keywords: Information sharing, Ethnographic studies of work, Information visualisation, Design of CVEs
Virtual Classrooms and Communities BIBAKPDF 81-90
  Lisa Neal
This paper describes how collaborative technologies, including a corporate intranet, email, videoconferencing, audioconferencing, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), NetMeeting, Virtual Places, WorldsAway, and other Internet-based conferencing tools, can be used to teach classes to geographically-dispersed participants. The paper covers the motivation for virtual classrooms, the selection and use of delivery technologies, deployment strategies and issues, participant feedback, and the Virtual University that evolved from the initial distance learning classes.
   We found that the use of a variety of collaborative technologies accommodated the multiple aspects of communication in the class, providing richer communication than any one technology alone and fostering the sense of community that was important to the success of students in class. The virtual classroom provided an effective and cost-saving alternative to face-to-face instruction, allowing us to reach more students in more locations than we would have without distance learning.
Keywords: Distance learning, Distance education, Training, Collaborative technologies

Case Studies

Infrastructure Management as Cooperative Work: Implications for Systems Design BIBAKPDF 91-100
  Robert J. Sandusky
This case study looks at the data communications network management organization (NMO) within a large financial institution and applies concepts from Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and other domains to develop a practical framework for describing work within this and other similar organizations. Network management is one form of infrastructure management, which is comprised of two kinds of work: real-time supervisory control work and design work. While many studies of group work focus on the activities of small groups of people engaged in either real-time supervisory control or design work, examinations of organizations where both kinds of work occur are relatively rare. Here the focus is on the work patterns and data forms that are found within the NMO. Some of the implications of the analysis in regard to the design of CSCW systems are presented and discussed.
Keywords: Real-time supervisory control, Distributed supervisory control, CSCW, Information compounds, Boundary objects, Communities of practice
Locating the Scene: The Particular and the General in Contexts for Ambulance Control BIBAKPDF 101-110
  John C. McCarthy; Peter C. Wright; Patrick Healey; Andrew Dearden; Michael D. Harrison
Ambulance control involves distributed group work using a mix of computer and communications technologies. The implementation of computer technologies has had mixed results in this area, evidenced by serious failures in the London Ambulance Service in 1992. Often failures are due to inadequate attention to integration of organisational and technical aspects of work. We report a field study of the organisation of one aspect of the work of ambulance control, locating the scene of an emergency. The study was carried out in two ambulance control centres, one predominantly urban and highly computerised and the other largely rural and minimally computerised. Our analysis shows that the particulars of 'locating the scene' are best seen in terms of the use of different technologies to link representations and represented. This research has implications for understanding task and context and the integration of technology and organisation in design, particularly with respect to using similar computer-based technologies in both ambulance control centres.
Keywords: Task, Context, Organisational field study, Representations, Ambulance control
Internal Information Brokering and Patterns of Usage on Corporate Intranets BIBAKPDF 111-118
  Clarie M. Vishik
Intranets radically changed the character of intermediation in information retrieval. The increased number of publishers and resources led to the establishment of new ways to support quality of electronic content and efficiency of retrieval. New kinds of internal information brokers emerge to deal with the selection and gathering of resources and to create or adapt information management, processing, and retrieval tools. The paper discusses the character of corporate internal information brokering in a networked environment and examines some information usage and access patterns that affect internal redistribution of resources, based on the experiences of one of the groups involved in Schlumberger Intranet work.
Keywords: Intranet, Information retrieval, Social informatics, Information brokering, Access patterns

Workflows 'In the Wild'

Understanding the Role of Documents in a Hierarchical Flow of Work BIBAKPDF 119-127
  Peter Mambrey; Mike Robinson
Studies of work and document flow in a German Ministry show that when documents cross organisational boundaries their status, and associated responsibilities change. These changes, trajectories, deadlines, are recorded on the document. Workflow, in this case, is not abstract, pre-specified, independent, conceptually or physically separated from the artefact whose movement it controls. It is inscribed, developed, and updated on the artefact itself. This empirical fusion of workflow with objects has major advantages. It enables strong bureaucratic rules to be reconciled with local, ad-hoc, fine-grained contingencies and discretionary action. This is an important lesson for the design of organisational CSCW systems.
Keywords: Workflow, Work practice, Boundary object, CSCW, Organisational processes
Telework Under the Co-Ordination of a Distributed Workflow Management System BIBAKPDF 128-137
  Wilhelm Dangelmaier; Stephan Kress; Rudiger Wenski
Telework is considered as an innovative work organization form for new decentralized structures. The flexibility of telework in the dimensions time and location of task execution must make it possible to take advantage of this work organization for the companies competitiveness. Today, telework is mainly used for isolated tasks and those with few cross references to others. But telework will only achieve its full potential, if attention is given to the fact that work in companies is normally co-operative work. For this co-operative work business process modeling and workflow management is accepted as a supporting methodology.
   The increasing effort for co-ordination and monitoring is seen to be the main obstacle of co-operative telework. The use of existing workflow management systems for the support of co-operative telework is currently not possible; there is no tool available with specific co-ordination and planning functionality for this purpose.
   In this paper, we will define a specific business process model which is oriented for the modeling of decentralized structures especially for telework and the direct support by a workflow management system (WFMS). Compared to traditional WFMS, our system is extended by a module for the planning and monitoring functionality required for monitoring of teleworkers and their time management. The system is built using Internet-technology and is using platform-independent WWW-software for the user interface.
Keywords: Telework, Workflow management, Co-ordinator, Intranet
Of Maps and Scripts: The Status of Formal Constructs in Cooperative Work BIBAPDF 138-147
  Kjeld Schmidt
The received understanding of the status of formal organizational constructs in cooperative work is problematic. The paper shows that the empirical evidence is not as strong as we may have believed and that there is evidence from other studies that contradicts what we may have taken for granted for years. This indicates that the role of formal constructs is more differentiated than generally taken for granted. They not only serve as 'maps' but also as 'scripts'.

Conferencing Applications

GSS for Cooperative Policymaking: No Trivial Matter BIBAKPDF 148-157
  Kees Wim van den Herik; Gert-Jan de Vreede
Through its intrinsic complexity policy making presents a challenging supportive process for GSS support. This paper presents two case studies for GSS to support policy-making. Apart from meeting process and outcome we measured policy context, preparation and long-term impact. Results suggest that GSS support reached the limit for effective group support. Idea generation, visual modeling and anonymity appear highly successful in a multi party policy environment, whereas lack of expression possibilities of the support system, divergence of goals and views of participants, and sense of voting is evaluated less favorable. On method, assessment of the impact long after the session surfaces new insights, thus stressing the need for more longitudinal research in GSS.
Keywords: Group support, Policy making, Experimental research
Toward Knowledge Management Systems in the Legal Domain BIBAKPDF 158-166
  Deborah L. Edwards; Dirk E. Mahling
This paper reviews the technical and organizational basis for knowledge management in large law offices. Based on a taxonomy of knowledge consisting of administrative data, declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, and analytical knowledge a number of relevant knowledge management characteristics are extracted. Knowledge currency, knowledge dispersion, knowledge documentation, and the retrieval of implicit knowledge are among the main issues that constitute the arena for knowledge management in the field of law offices. Finally, a set of high level specifications for technology based knowledge management tools in large law firms are provided.
Keywords: Knowledge management, Knowledge flow, Workflow, Task analysis
The CDT mStar Environment: Scalable Distributed Teamwork in Action BIBAKPDF 167-176
  Peter Parnes; Kare Synnes; Dick Schefstrom
This paper presents the mStar environment, which creates an environment for truly scalable distributed teamwork. It can be and is being used on a daily basis for electronic meetings, distributed electronic education and daily work. It creates a new teamwork environment which allows users to collaborate even if they are not present at the same physical location.
   The mStar environment includes: the multicast WhiteBoard -- mWB, which allows for collaborative reviewing of text and images; mChat, which allows for text based group chat; mVote, which allows for distributed voting and mWeb for shared WWW objects. These are all desktop and IP-multicast based and symmetric.
   The mStar environment also includes mMOD, which is a VCR-like tool for recording and playback of teamwork sessions, and mTunnel, which is an application for handling IP-multicast traffic on narrow links in the network (such as ISDN/modem) and network segments that does not support IP-multicast. It allows for scaling and transforming of the network based data in various ways.
Keywords: IP-multicast, Desktop conferencing, Distributed presentations, Digital recoding, Teamwork, Distance education, Better-than-being-there

Collaborative Spaces

Augmenting and Multiplying Spaces for Creative Design BIBAKPDF 177-186
  Edmundo P. Leiva-Lobos; Giorgio De Michelis; Eliana Covarrubias
Creative design is a very peculiar work practice that as not been studied very much from the viewpoint of the cooperation shaping it. In this paper we present the main findings of a case study conducted on an industrial design project with the aim of analyzing how its actors cooperate.
   The main findings of our field study involve: on the one hand, recognition of the major role played by physical arrangements of the work space in shaping the practice of creative designers; on the other, the distinction between the different work spaces where different phases of a design project are performed. On the basis of discussion of the above we outline the requirements for a cooperative support system for creative design as a system augmenting and multiplying the work spaces where it is performed.
Keywords: Creative design, Work spaces, Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), Knowledge creation, Learning, Situatedness
Collaborative Workspace for Time Deferred Electronic Cooperation BIBAKPDF 187-196
  Uta Pankoke-Babatz; Anja Syri
This paper proposes collaborative workspaces as an electronic environment for time deferred team-like cooperation. The design requirements are derived from an investigation of work practices employing simple collaborative workspaces in ministerial units. In addition to facilities for sharing of material among a dedicated group, a collaborative workspace needs to provide appropriate behavior and awareness information to support cooperation. A concept for the technical realization proposes CSCW enablers to allow flexible adaptation of collaborative workspaces to different purposes and to changing user needs.
Keywords: Collaborative workspace, Sharing, Asynchronous cooperation, Awareness, Electronic behavior setting, CSCW enablers
Collaborative Virtual Workspace BIBAKPDF 197-203
  Peter J. Spellman; Jane N. Mosier; Lucy M. Deus; Jay A. Carlson
Today's collaboration tools fall primarily into two categories: "session-centric" tools, such as most desktop video teleconferencing, and "document-centric" tools, such as Lotus Notes and document management systems. Both have important strengths and several weaknesses. For example, session-centric tools support synchronous collaboration, but when the session is over, no trace of the collaboration is left; they don't support "persistence". Document centric tools may support persistence, but they poorly support real-time collaboration.
   Consequently, a new type of "place-based" system is being developed at MITRE and elsewhere. This paper describes the Collaborative Virtual Workspace (CVW), a MOO-based (Multi-User Dimension, Object Oriented) collaboration framework in which people interact with documents and each other in a shared virtual space, using both synchronous and asynchronous tools. Currently integrated are tools for audio and video conferencing, document management, chat, and whiteboarding. This paper describes current CVW functionality and implementation, discusses initial lessons from deployment within MITRE, and proposes a number of improvements in capability based on those lessons.
Keywords: Collaboration framework, Virtual environments, MUD, MOO

Workflow Architectures

Internet-Based Workflows: A Paradigm for Dynamically Reconfigurable Desktop Environments BIBAKPDF 204-213
  Hemang Lavana; Amit Khetawat; Franc Brglez
The Internet-based desktop environment as defined in this paper consists of a cross-platform browser, a number of server icons (host nodes), a number of application icons (program nodes) and a number of data icons (file nodes). In contrast to typical desktops of today, where data icons may be dragged and dropped onto application icons for execution, this environment allows (1) user-defined and reconfigurable execution sequences by creating dependency edges between program nodes (application icons) and file nodes (data icons); (2) data-dependent execution sequences by dynamic scheduling of path as well as loop executions; (3) host-transparency as to the location of applications and data (both can reside on any host with a unique IP address).
   We argue that the Internet-based workflow paradigm is suitable for creation of dynamically reconfigurable desktop environments. The summary of 450 Internet-based experiments demonstrates (1) the value of making the desktop recordable, and (2) the feasibility of rendering it collaborative.
Keywords: Internet, Desktop, Workflows, Reconfigurable, Collaborative, Recordable, Petri net
A Web Based Enterprise Workflow System BIBAPDF 214-220
  Charles K. Ames; Scott C. Burleigh; Stephen J. Mitchell
A web-based system for the computer mediation of work through an organization was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A distinctive feature of this system, named "WWWorkflow", is the careful separation of process mediation from product data management. This paper describes the design, functionality, and user interface of the system, discusses the role WWWorkflow fulfills in organizational intranets, and concludes with lessons learned from deployment the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at the Johnson Space Center, Houston.
Automated Process Support for Organizational and Personal Processes BIBAKPDF 221-230
  Kevin Gary; Tim Lindquist; Harry Koehnemann; Ly Sauer
We propose two views on process: an organizational view and a personal process view. Information technology applies Automated Workflow technology to define, execute, and track an organization's automated business processes. Calendaring tools provide a form of personal process view through scheduled work items. However, the personal, or individual, view of the process space has largely been ignored. We maintain that as organizations become increasingly decentralized, a single organization's process space is becoming difficult to recognize. Individuals of the organization are asked to do work that spans organizational, functional, and even geographic boundaries. An integrated view of organizational workflows and personal processes is needed to address these new demands. In this paper we argue for the need to integrate organizational and personal processes. We then propose a component-based process modeling approach and supporting process architecture that integrates these process spaces. Finally, we describe our recent efforts at developing Java prototype process tools that realize the proposed modeling technique and supporting architecture.
Keywords: Workflow, Personal process, Components

Experiences with Collaborative Environments

From Workplace to Development: What Have We Learned So Far and Where Do We Go? BIBAPDF 231-240
  Rebecca E. Grinter
Development methodologies such as user-centered or participatory design require a commitment to the process at the beginning of the development project. However, it is not always possible to introduce a new development methodology. When new methodologies can not be used the question of how research can contribute to the design of systems becomes important. Studies of the workplace have provided one solution by offering insights into the work on a setting-by-setting basis. This paper argues that workplace studies as a corpus can also offer systems designers valuable information to support their decisions.
Evolving Orbit: A Process Report on Building Locales BIBAKPDF 241-250
  Tim Mansfield; Simon Kaplan; Geraldine Fitzpatrick; Ted Phelps; Mark Fitzpatrick; Richard Taylor
The wOrlds project at the DSTC is experimenting with computer-based collaboration support. Our goal is to provide support for the workaday activities of distributed groups. To facilitate this we are in parallel developing a theory of collaborative activity (the locales framework) and a series of prototypes to test this theory. In this paper we briefly overview the theory and then describe the evolution of the three versions of our Orbit prototype. The prototypes focus on providing a range of facilities, including shared distributed objects, multiple personalizable views, user-controllable presence and awareness of user activities, and the ability to participate in multiple activities simultaneously, with varying degrees of intensity.
Keywords: Computer-supported cooperative work, Locales framework, CSCW, Collaborative systems, Prototyping
"I Love the System -- I Just Don't Use it!" BIBAKPDF 251-260
  Jakob E. Bardram
This paper addresses how studies of work can provide the basis for redesigning existing information technology (IT). The paper reports on a field study of the differences in work practices of hospitals using a computer system and hospitals not using the system. We shall present the variety of strategies healthcare workers have adopted to coordinate their widely distributed activities, and discuss the consequences for these strategies when using the computer system. The paper concludes that the design of groupware should recognize the multiplicity of artifacts in the workplace (both manual and computational) and the need for interconnecting groupware with Information Systems.
Keywords: Computer supported cooperative work, Activity theory, Time coordination, Workplace studies, Cooperative information systems

Workflow Applications

Organizational Metaphors as Lenses for Analyzing Workflow Technology BIBAKPDF 261-270
  Steinar Carlsen; Reidar Gjersvik
We analyze possible organizational use of workflow technology based on contemporary organizational theory for the purpose of understanding flexible workflow. Organization theory is entered through Gareth Morgan's "Images of Organization", which describes eight metaphors that can be consciously applied for the study of organizations. All metaphors contribute to this study, but some give more important contributions. Based on the brains-metaphor, we show how workflow is linked to organizational learning and how it can be extended to actually support aspects of it. Inspired by the culture-metaphor we focus on social reality construction and how user oriented process models may contribute to support the construction of shared realities and shared meaning. Utilizing the flux and transformation-metaphor, we argue against "generic" business processes except as templates for adaptation.
Keywords: Flexible workflow technology, Organization theory, CSCW
Enhancing Workflows by Web Technology BIBAKPDF 271-280
  Wolfgang Grather; Wolfgang Prinz; Sabine Kolvenbach
This paper presents a hybrid approach for the support of workflows in a ministerial environment that integrates a Web-based interface into a groupware platform. A scenario of the application area is examined to identify the basic requirements for an adequate user support. The basic POLITeam approach for the support of workflows by electronic circulation folders is introduced. Focal point of the paper is the design of the Web-based interface for the interaction with electronic circulation folders and its seamless integration into the groupware platform.
Keywords: Workflow, Electronic circulation folder, HTML, Internet, JAVA
Integrating Synchronous Multimedia Collaboration into Workflow Management BIBAKPDF 281-290
  Michael Weber; Gerhard Partsch; Siegfried Hock; Georg Schneider; Astrid Scheller-Houy; Jean Schweitzer
Two different areas of distributed group work are supported by workflow management systems and real-time collaboration systems. Workflow management systems support work being structured in steps such that each step can be handled with the results of former steps and the expertise of the person working on that step. On the other hand, multimedia collaboration systems are best suited for unstructured group activities. Audiovisual connectivity and shared documents enable flexible group processes. All coordination tasks are left to the conference participants. This paper introduces an integration concept and prototype system which combines the advantages of both types of CSCW-systems.
Keywords: Workflow management, Teleconferencing, Conference assistant, Brokerage, Trading

Agent Technology

SOaP: Social Agents Providing People with Useful Information BIBAKPDF 291-298
  Angi Voss; Thomas Kreifelts
We describe how a system of communicating software agents can help people in finding useful information. The agents operate on the Web because it constitutes an almost universal source of information. Search engines on the Web provide information with high recall and tolerable precision, but they can only be as good as the queries asked.
   Agents can exploit and supplement search engines by providing information without being asked precise questions or without explicit questions at all. Agents can do that with little overhead for the users by exploiting bookmark collections as sources of self-descriptions on the Web, by recording queries, results, and assessments, and by sharing all this among anonymous users as well as groups of users known to each other.
Keywords: Software agents, Recommender systems, Collaborative filtering, Multi-agent systems, World Wide Web
WorkWeb System -- Multi-Workflow Management with a Multi-Agent System BIBAKPDF 299-308
  Hiroyuki Tarumi; Koji Kida; Yoshihide Ishiguro; Kenji Yoshifu; Takayoshi Asakura
Current office systems independently manage workflows and personal schedules. However, they cannot be managed independently, because of resource constraints. The "WorkWeb System" is an expanded workflow system that is able to manage and control office resources. The "BPT agent" in the system autonomously manages each workflow process instance, trying to acquire the necessary resources to complete it in time. The WorkWeb System also provides visual interfaces to manage and control office goals and several workflow re-planning algorithms to handle exceptional cases. This paper illustrates how the resource management and workflow dynamic scheduling are performed, and discusses issues involved with this system.
Keywords: Workflow systems, Multi-agent systems, Schedule management, Dynamic rescheduling
Flexible Specification of Workflow Compensation Scopes BIBAKPDF 309-316
  Weimin Du; Jim Davis; Ming-Chien Shan
This paper addresses specification issues of workflow process compensation. The main consideration is to reduce the number of workflow activities that have to be compensated and re-executed when a failure occurs, as both can be very expensive. The main contribution of the paper is flexible compensation scoping strategies that allows process designers to specify compensation scopes in a simple way based on data dependencies between workflow activities. The specification helps the workflow engine to avoid unnecessary compensation at run time. The proposed techniques are simple to implement, but also have the potential of significantly reducing compensation overhead.
Keywords: Workflow, Compensation, Compensation scope

Enhancing Communication

Facilitating Idea Generation in Computer-Supported Teleconferences BIBAKPDF 317-324
  Kenneth A. Graetz; Nicole Proulx; Cassie B. Barlow; Laura J. Pape
In the current study, 2- and 4-person groups brainstormed ideas for new television shows. Groups then selected and further developed one of their ideas. Three meeting formats were compared: face-to-face, standard teleconferencing, and teleconferencing combined with an electronic brainstorming tool. Results indicated that, although they allocated the same amount of time to the brainstorming phase of the task, groups using the electronic brainstorming tool generated significantly more ideas than groups in the other two conditions. The effectiveness of computer-supported teleconferencing for facilitating distributed groups is discussed.
Keywords: Idea generation, Electronic brainstorming, Distributed collaboration, Teleconferencing
An Experimental System for Transactional Messaging BIBAKPDF 325-330
  Allen E. Milewski; Thomas M. Smith
With the growing use of electronic mail come challenges in how to aid users in handling ever-increasing volumes of email. Firsthand experience as well as the systematic study of users' email patterns suggest that a large fraction of messages are parts of larger transactions. We have implemented an approach toward structuring messages that is intended to help users carry out some of these transactions. Our approach has been to make message structure both general-purpose and optional. Two studies support the applicability and the acceptance of the messaging model. The system, which provides capabilities that are largely absent from conventional email systems, has been deployed in an internal trial.
Keywords: Email, Structured messaging, Media choice

Integrative Environments

Bridging the Gap between Face-to-Face Communication and Long-Term Collaboration BIBAKPDF 331-340
  Stefanie N. Lindstaedt; Kurt Schneider
During the different phases of a project, stakeholders have different communication needs and make use of different communication media to satisfy them. A group memory system must be able to support and capture these different communication types. We describe two systems, GIMMe and FOCUS, the integration of which allows us to support and effortlessly capture electronic mail conversations and structural changes in their organizational hierarchy as well as face-to-face demonstrations of software prototypes. As media and style of collaboration change, the emerging group memory goes through a metamorphosis that parallels group members' changing demands. This approach promises low initial effort and the potential to grow in value.
Keywords: Group memory, Prototype, Design rationale, CSCW, Organizational learning
Flexible Support for Business Processes: Extending Cooperative Hypermedia with Process Support BIBAKPDF 341-350
  Jorg M. Haake; Weigang Wang
In this paper, we present a cooperative hypermedia based process support system aimed on flexible business processes. An analysis of the communication, coordination and cooperation requirements of business processes reveals a gap in current computer support. We propose to address these requirements by extending a cooperative hypermedia system with process support. The resulting system called CHIPS uses hypermedia based activity spaces to model the structural, relational, and computational semantics of both individual tasks and processes. Application examples demonstrate that the CHIPS system retains the intuitive usability of hypertext and can support a wide range of business processes.
Keywords: Hypermedia, Cooperative work, Activity space, Flexible workflow
Developing the Cooperative Mission Development Environment BIBAKPDF 351-357
  Christopher Rouff; Mary Ann Robbert
The Cooperative Mission Development Environment (CMDE) was developed to unite independent applications and databases into a cooperating tool set capable of sharing data. As missions developed stand-alone tools to meet immediate needs and to automate paper functions, a proliferation of development and automation tools came into existence. It soon became apparent that data in one tool could be used by another tool and a significant improvement in productivity could be obtained by combining the tools and sharing the data between them. This paper examines: how the independent systems arose, why the need developed to integrate the independent systems, the integration approaches considered, the process used for integration, how coordination between tool developers was handled, challenges faced during integration, plus current challenges, and future plans.
Keywords: Client/server, Middleware, Islands of computing, Integrating databases

Group Awareness

Compositional Features for Promoting Awareness Within and Across Cooperative Applications BIBAKPDF 358-367
  Carla Simone; Stefania Bandini
The existing computational mechanisms for promoting awareness are based on Awareness Models referring to spatial metaphors. These models are mainly based on the notions of focus and nimbus which allow one to compute different measures of awareness between objects. The point made in this paper is that these approaches are focused on how awareness information is produced and perceived but not on how it affects the behavior of the objects. This aspect is relevant if one takes seriously the issue of making awareness mechanisms fully visible and accessible to the involved actors for the purpose of adaptability. We propose the reaction-diffusion metaphor in order to deal with the above requirements. The related Model of Awareness is presented, compared with the Spatial Models and illustrated by some examples.
Keywords: Models of awareness, Coordination mechanisms, CSCW infrastructures
Valentine: An Environment for Home Office Worker Providing Informal Communication and Personal Space BIBAKPDF 368-375
  Shinkuro Honda; Hironari Tomioka; Takaaki Kimura; Takaharu Oosawa; Ken-ichi Okada; Yutaka Matsushita
In this paper, we propose the virtual office environment which integrates the natural communication and the secure private space. The features of this system are described below. 1) This system has virtual shared room which is based on the idea of "Shared Room Metaphor". 3D graphics on SGI workstation is used for this system. It uses Ethernet (TCP/IP) for signal connection and FDDI (UDP/IP) for continuous media (i.e., realtime audio/video streams). 2) This system realizes the field of view of human being to support natural communication between members by using our "Around View" technique. 3) "Sound Effect" are also used to help users feel the presence of other members. For instance, members hear the opening-sound of the door when someone logs in our system and the sound of footsteps when someone is walking around our virtual room. 4) Sometimes this system avoids unlimited flow of awareness. A person concentrating his/her work may not want to perceive excessive awareness of others. To support such situation, we define "Awareness Space" which restricts the field where other member's awareness is transmitted. Awareness Space changes in size with the degree of concentration which is measured through two factors; the movement of a chair and the frequency of keyboard typing. 5) "Headphone Metaphor"; a picture of headphone is attached above his/her image and changed its color depending on the degree of concentration. The view of this headphone enables other members to recognize his/her state and it can be a criterion he is available to communicate or not.
Keywords: Virtual office, Informal communication, Personal space, Presence, Awareness space, Concentration
SISCO: Providing a Cooperation Filter for a Shared Information Space BIBAKPDF 376-384
  John A. Mariani
A rationale for the extension of database technology to support collaboration through the provision of awareness information gathering and presentation is presented. The design and implementation of SISCO, a transparent cooperation filter for a multi-user generic object-oriented database is described. By trapping all accesses made to the shared objects, from both cooperation-aware and unaware database clients, awareness information is gathered. By making the filter responsible for the cooperation mechanisms, the underlying database is left unaltered. SISCO-D is based on a desktop-based browser, but is cooperation aware. The shared browser forms a test-bed for the investigation of awareness presentation techniques.
Keywords: Databases, Shared information space, Awareness, Cooperation filter, Shared desktop

Issues in Technology Supporting Learning

NYNEX Portholes: Initial User Reactions and Redesign Implications BIBAKPDF 385-394
  Alison Lee; Andreas Girgensohn; Kevin Schlueter
The prevalence of audio and video options on computers, coupled with the promise of bandwidth, have many prognosticators predicting a revolution in human communications. But what if the revolution materializes and no users show up? We were confronted with this question when we began deploying and studying the use of a video-based, background awareness application within our organization. Repeatedly, new users raised strong concerns about self-presentation, surveillance, privacy, video snapshots, and lack of audience cues. We describe how we addressed these concerns by evolving the application. As a consequence, we are also redesigning the user interface to the application.
Keywords: Awareness, Audience, Collaboration, Design, Glance, Portholes, Privacy, Reciprocity, Surveillance, Web
MEDIATE: Video as a First-Order Datatype BIBAKPDF 395-404
  Steinar Kristoffersen
This paper describes MEDIATE, a toolkit for developing collaborative multimedia applications. Fieldwork in a large UK bank indicated that the use of video conferencing to support distributed work is associated with expectations and requirements significantly different from telephone or text. In particular, practices of Flexible Interaction Management are brought to the fore. To improve support for collaboratively working with, and across a video link, video needs to be natively supported by groupware applications. MEDIATE offers video as an integrated, first-order datatype -- capturing, processing and switching multimedia streams locally -- within a connection-oriented model. The most important theoretical implication of this work is that MEDIATE explicates an advanced understanding of cooperative work as Multimedia-Enhanced Collaborative Situations. On the practical level, MEDIATE supports rapid development of collaborative multimedia applications.
Keywords: Collaborative multimedia, CSCW, Groupware toolkits
Integration of Face-to-Face and Video-Mediated Meetings: HERMES BIBAKPDF 405-414
  Tomoo Inoue; Ken-ichi Okada; Yutaka Matsushita
The design and evaluation of HERMES, the videoconferencing system that integrates face-to-face and video-mediated meetings, are presented. Spatial design of the meeting space with an automatic video control mechanism was employed to support both local and remote communication. The evaluation of the system revealed that the design was effective in solving the problematic behavior that participants tend to fix their eyes on the monitor when they use a conventional system with lined up seats.
Keywords: Videoconferencing, Meeting support, CSCW, Groupware, Visual design, Spatial design

Algorithms and Formalizations

Team Automata for Groupware Systems BIBAKPDF 415-424
  Clarence (Skip) Ellis
This paper introduces a mathematical model of groupware systems called Team Automata. We use this model at the architectural level, to describe components of a groupware system, and their interconnections. The multiple automata constituting the team interact via shared actions -- transitions which multiple automata perform synchronously together. The paper concludes by illustrating the application of this model to the analysis of real time shared application groupware. The model suggests that there are design alternatives for shared application groupware which have mostly gone unexplored.
Keywords: Groupware, Automata, Formal models, Architecture, Groupware components, CSCW systems
A Generic Operation Transformation Scheme for Consistency Maintenance in Real-Time Cooperative Editing Systems BIBAKPDF 425-434
  Chengzheng Sun; Yanchun Zhang; Xiahua Jia; Yun Yang
In real-time cooperative editing systems, independent operations on any part of the shared document may be generated from multiple cooperating sites. It is very important and technically challenging to ensure that the effect of executing an operation at remote sites, in the presence of concurrent execution of independent operations, achieves the same effect as executing this operation at the local site at the time of its generation, thus preserving its intention and maintaining system consistency. In this paper, we investigate the technical issues involved in preserving intentions of concurrent operations, explain the reasons why traditional serialization-based concurrency control strategies and existing operational transformation strategies failed to solve these problems, and propose a generic operation transformation scheme for intention preservation and consistency maintenance in real-time cooperative editing systems. The proposed scheme has been implemented in an Internet-based prototype REDUCE (REal-time Distributed Unconstrained Cooperative Editing) system.
Keywords: Intention preservation, Consistency maintenance, Distributed computing, Cooperative editing, CSCW
Serialization of Concurrent Operations in a Distributed Collaborative Environment BIBAKPDF 435-445
  Maher Suleiman; Michele Cart; Jean Ferrie
In a distributed groupware system, objects shared by users are subject to concurrency and real-time constraints. In order to satisfy these, various concurrency control algorithms [4] [11] have been proposed that exploit the semantic properties of operations. By ordering concurrent operations, they guarantee consistency of the different copies of each object. The drawback of these algorithms is that in some situations they can result in inconsistent copies, a non-respect of user's intentions, and in the need to undo and redo certain operations.
   The principal objective of the this paper is to present an algorithm that overcomes these problems. The algorithm is based on the notion of user's intention, and also on the construction of equivalent histories by exploiting and combining some general semantic properties such as forward/backward transposition.
Keywords: Groupware systems, Concurrency control, Distributed systems, Multi-user editors, Operation transposition