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GROUP Tables of Contents: 97990103050709101214

GROUP'99: International Conference on Supporting Group Work

Fullname:Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work
Editors:Stephen C. Hayne
Location:Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Dates:1999-Nov-14 to 1999-Nov-17
Standard No:ISBN 0-89791-065-1; ACM Order Number 611990; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: GROUP99
Links:Conference Home Page
  1. Knowledge Support
  2. Informed Design
  3. Virtual Spaces/Teams
  4. Case Studies
  5. Algorithms and Techniques
  6. Evaluation and Impact
  7. Distributed/Shared Spaces
  8. Shared Learning
  9. User Perspectives
  10. Pragmatic Issues
  11. Methods
  12. Coordination and Negotiation
  13. Architectures
  14. Awareness and Orientation
  15. Coordination and Negotiation
  16. Awareness and Orientation

Knowledge Support

Concept Indexing BIBAKPDF 1-10
  Angi Voss; Keiichi Nakata; Marcus Juhnke
Marking text in a document is a convenient way of identifying bits of knowledge that are relevant for the reader, a colleague or a larger group. Based on such markings, networks of concepts with hyperlinks to their occurrences in a collection of documents can be developed. On the Internet, marked documents can easily be shared, concepts can be constructed collaboratively and the concept-document network can be used for navigation and direct access. Text marking, grounded concepts and the Internet as base technology are characteristics of our tool for managing so called "concept indexes". We describe the current and the new design and outline some application scenarios: electronic help desks, information digests on the Web, teaching design in virtual classes and planning under quality control in distributed teams.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Content Analysis and Indexing (H.3.1): Indexing methods; Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Management, Theory; collaboration, concepts, documents, knowledge management, software agents, text marking
Building Bridges: Customisation and Mutual Intelligibility in Shared Category Management BIBAKPDF 11-20
  Paul Dourish; John Lamping; Tom Rodden
Research into collaborative document use often concentrates on how people share document content. However, studies of real-world document practices reveal that the structures by which document corpora are organised may also, themselves, be important sites of collaborative activity. Unfortunately, this poses a problem. When category structures are used to understand a set of documents, the manipulation of those structures can interfere with shared understanding and intelligibility of the document space.
   We show how this problem arises in real-world settings, using a case arising from some recent field work. We outline a solution to the customisation/intelligibility problem, and show how it has been implemented in a system for personal and workgroup document management.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Content Analysis and Indexing (H.3.1); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Management, Theory; categorisation, customisation, document management, shared views, shared workspaces
Negotiation Support for Compiling Knowledge BIBAKPDF 21-29
  Marita Duecker; Bernd Gutkauf; Stefanie Thies
Critiquing systems, a special kind of knowledge-based systems, can be seen as a personal assistant helping to reflect on a particular design and to improve it. They have successfully demonstrated their capability to aid users during design tasks. Critiquing systems make knowledge and expertise of different domain experts available to end users of authoring tools. Unfortunately it is a quite demanding and time consuming task to get the expertise of different distributed domain experts into such a system and to maintain it. That might explain why many critiquing systems only exist as prototypical implementations. We propose a collaborative development environment for supporting domain experts in constructing design-oriented critiquing systems. Our approach intends to support rapid prototyping, establishment and maintenance of critiquing systems. Especially domain experts not familiar with programming shall be enabled to participate in this process. We expect to improve and to ensure the knowledge base's quality by supporting information exchange and negotiation processes between domain experts.
Keywords: Information Systems -Database Management - Systems (H.2.4); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Knowledge Representation Formalisms and Methods (I.2.4); Experimentation, Theory; critiquing systems, knowledge acquisition, negotiation support

Informed Design

Getting to Know the 'Customer in the Machine' BIBAKPDF 30-39
  John Hughes; Jon O'Brien; Dave Randall; Tom Rodden; Mark Rouncefield; Peter Tolmie
This paper reflects on the emerging results of a long-standing ethnographic study of everyday work in a large retail Bank. While customers as economic actors have often been overlooked in studies of computer supported work they are generally and necessarily the focus of commercial organisational life. The paper explicates the developing relationship between technology use and these organisational concerns through the notion of 'the customer in the machine.' Features of the contingent and skillful nature of everyday work are documented and used to comment on aspects of working with the 'customer in the machine' or 'virtual customers' within a rapidly changing commercial organisation.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Knowledge Representation Formalisms and Methods (I.2.4); Information Systems -Models and Principles - User/Machine Systems (H.1.2); Experimentation, Theory; computer supported cooperative work, customers, ethnography, retail financial services
It's All in the Words: Supporting Work Activities with Lightweight Tools BIBAKPDF 40-49
  Elizabeth F. Churchill; Sara Bly
The development of tools to support synchronous communications between non-collocated colleagues has received considerable attention in recent years. Much of the work has focused on increasing a sense of co-presence between interlocutors by supporting aspects of face-to-face conversations that go beyond mere words (e.g. gaze, postural shifts). In this regard, a design goal for many environments is the provision of as much media-richness as possible to support non-collocated communication. In this paper we present results from our most recent interviews studying the use of a text-based virtual environment to support work collaborations. We describe how such an environment, though lacking almost all the visual and auditory cues known to be important in face-to-face conversation, has played an important role in day-to-day communication. We offer a set of characteristics we feel are important to the success of this text-only tool and discuss issues emerging from its long-term use.
Keywords: Information Systems -Database Management - Systems (H.2.4); Computing Methodologies -Simulation and Modeling - Model Validation and Analysis (I.6.4); Design, Experimentation, Theory; computer mediated communication, distributed collaboration, interviews, presence, text-based communication, virtual environments
"Let's See Your Search-Tool!" -- Collaborative Use of Tailored Artifacts in Groupware BIBAKPDF 50-59
  Volker Wulf
Groupware applications should be tailorable to fit the requirements of dynamically evolving and differentiated fields of application. To encourage individual and collaborative tailoring activities, applications should be tailorable on different levels of complexity. A search tool has been developed which offers different levels of tailoring complexity by means of hierarchically organized component languages. Users can create alternative search tools and compound components by themselves. Search tool alternatives and compound components can also be shared among the users. When introducing this tool into an organization of the political administration, it turned out that the users had considerable problems in understanding the functioning of artifacts created by someone else. To ease cooperative tailoring activities, we have implemented features, which allow users to structure, describe, and explore shared components and search tool alternatives. Also we provided means to store and exchange examples for components' use.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Information Search and Retrieval (H.3.3); Design, Experimentation, Theory; annotation, exploration, groupware, learning, tailorability

Virtual Spaces/Teams

Supporting Cooperation Across Shared Virtual Environments BIBAKPDF 61-70
  Monika Busher; John Hughes; Jonathan Trevor; Tom Rodden; Jon O'Brien
As cooperative virtual environments have become more prominent as a means of allowing users to work together so has the need for users to understand the nature of these environments. This paper presents the development of a set of techniques to allow users to understand the properties of virtual environments as they move between different environments. The development of these techniques is informed by an ethnographic study of a multimedia art museum containing a wide range of different virtual environments.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Simulation and Modeling - Model Validation and Analysis (I.6.4); Experimentation, Theory; cooperative virtual environments, ethnographic studies, intersubjectivity, learnability
Perspective Layered Visualization of Collaborative Workspaces BIBAKPDF 71-80
  Hidekazu Shiozawa; Ken-ichi Okada; Yutaka Matsushita
Visual shared workspaces will be always staying on users' screens in the near future. Users will be moving frequently between their personal workspaces for personal and asynchronous work and shared workspaces for communication and synchronous cooperation. Also the system should supports users' everyday awareness of co-workers. For supporting such situation, this paper proposes a new technique to visualize workspaces as a set of layered virtual screens in three-dimensional space. In this way, groups' shared spaces are shown as background of users' personal spaces like as looking from a top personal layer down to a bottom public layer. In conventional groupware, user's workspace is divided into some shared spaces and a personal space to show all of them simultaneously, so the size of the personal space is very restricted. This layered perspective visualization alleviates this problem and also supports users' awareness by always showing shared spaces in background.
Keywords: Computing Milieux -Computers and Society - Organizational Impacts (K.4.3); Information Systems -Information Interfaces and Presentation - Group and Organization Interfaces (H.5.3); Human Factors, Theory; 3d user interfaces, CSCW, VNC, awareness, background, groupware, information visualization, layered workspaces, perspective view, shared workspaces, virtual desk-tops, virtual desktops
Supporting Virtual Team Collaboration: The TeamSCOPE System BIBAKPDF 81-90
  Charles Steinfield; Chyng-Yang Jang; Ben Pfaff
In this paper, we describe a collaborative system specifically designed to address problems faced by distributed (or virtual) teams. TeamSCOPE (Team Software for a Collaborative Project Environment) is a web-based work environment that has emerged from a research project studying the communication needs of internationally distributed engineering design teams. The paper begins by outlining some of the needs of virtual teams. An integrative framework that focuses on facilitation of group members' awareness of group activities, communications and resources is proposed. These needs and awareness requirements are then translated into a set of collaborative system design goals which have guided the implementation of TeamSCOPE. The features of TeamSCOPE are briefly reviewed, and some preliminary observations from early users are provided. We conclude by noting some of the new features planned for TeamSCOPE based on our early trials.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Experimentation, Theory; CSCW, collaborative systems, distributed group, groupware, virtual team

Case Studies

Supporting the Shared Care of Diabetic Patients BIBAKPDF 91-100
  Tim Kindberg; Nick Bryan-Kinns; Ranjit Makwana
This paper reports on a study of clinicians who care for diabetic patients, and on the design of an application to support their work. The clinicians' long-term activity is rooted in a series of private sessions with the patient. Clinicians exchange information but the timeliness, specificity and other salient features of the communication are often unsatisfactory. Problems consequently arise such as the omission or duplication of tests. We describe a conceptual framework to account for the effectiveness of knowledge-sharing in groups such as these, and use it to motivate an application aimed at improving the clinicians' levels of communication and coordination.
Keywords: Computer Applications - Life and Medical Sciences (J.3); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Experimentation, Human Factors, Theory; cooperative systems, knowledge sharing, medical informatics
The Coordinative Functions of Flight Strips: Air Traffic Control Work Revisited BIBAKPDF 101-110
  Johan Berndtsson; Maria Normark
Cooperation in time-critical and physically distributed work settings, such as air traffic control, requires extensive coordination between the involved actors. For this coordination to be efficient the controllers rely both on the comprehensive use of rules and procedures, and on artifacts supporting them in following these procedures. At the Copenhagen Air Traffic Control Center this coordination is largely carried out through the use of a flight plan database system, paper flight strips, and a closed-circuit television system. In relation to the introduction of a new and increasingly automated system in the year 2003 this paper discusses the coordinative functions served by these three, soon to be replaced, artifacts from a design perspective. Despite the skepticism expressed in previous research, our results show that a further computerization could be successful if the coordinative functions the system currently fulfills are properly preserved.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Applications and Expert Systems (I.2.1); Experimentation, Management, Theory; CSCW, air traffic control, automation, closed-circuit television system, computerization, coordination, computerization, flight strips
Supporting Shop Floor Intelligence: A CSCW Approach to Production Planning and Control in Flexible Manufacturing BIBAKPDF 111-120
  Peter Carstensen; Kjeld Schmidt; Uffe Kock Wiil
Many manufacturing enterprises are now trying to introduce various forms of flexible work organizations on the shop floor. However, existing computer-based production planning and control systems pose severe obstacles for autonomous working groups and other kinds of shop floor control to become reality. The research reported in this paper is predicated on the belief that the CSCW approach could offer a strategy for dealing with this problem. The paper describes the field work and its constructive outcome: a system that assists shop-floor teams in dealing with the complexities of day-to-day production planning by supporting intelligent and responsible workers in their situated coordination activities on the shop floor.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Experimentation, Theory

Algorithms and Techniques

A Distributed Algorithm for Graphic Objects Replication in Real-Time Group Editors BIBAKPDF 121-130
  David Chen; Chengzheng Sun
Real-time collaborative editing systems are groupware systems that allow multiple users to edit the same document at the same time from multiple sites. A specific type of collaborative editing system is the object-based collaborative graphics editing system. One of the major challenge in building such systems is to solve the concurrency control problems. This paper addresses the concurrency control problem of how to preserve the intentions of concurrently generated operations whose effects are conflicting. An object replication strategy is proposed to preserve the intentions of all operations. The effects of conflicting operations are applied to different replicas of the same object, while non-conflicting operations are applied to the same object. An object identification scheme is proposed to uniquely and consistently identify non-replicated and replicated objects. Lastly, an object replication algorithm is proposed to produce consistent replication effects at all sites.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Algorithms, Design, Reliability; collaborative editing, concurrency control, consistency maintenance, distributed computing, graphics editing
Reducing the Problems of Group Undo BIBAKPDF 131-139
  Matthias Ressel; Rul Gunzenhauser
Providing undo functionality in groupware has been identified as an important, but difficult problem. Existing solutions show deficiencies like lacking generality, being too complex, being inefficient, or failing to yield acceptable results in common situations. In this paper we describe a new approach which reduces local group undo to a transformation-based method for combining the effects of concurrently issued user commands. Besides transformations we introduce mirror and folding operators in order to build a unique and consistent multidimensional model of the user interaction. In this way the problems of group undo mentioned above can be either overcome or at least reduced.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Design, Experimentation, Theory; CSCW, consistency maintenance, group editors, operation transformations, real-time groupware, undo
An Access Control Framework for Multi-User Collaborative Environments BIBAKPDF 140-149
  Adrian Bullock; Steve Benford
A vital component of any application or environment is security, and yet this is often one of the lower priorities, losing out to performance and functionality issues, if it is considered at all. This paper considers a spatial approach to enabling, understanding and managing access control that is generally applicable across a range of collaborative environments and applications. Access control is governed according to the space within which subjects and objects reside, and the ability to traverse space to get close to an object. We present a framework that enables the SPACE access model [4], previously presented as an access model solely for collaborative virtual environments, to be applied across a number of collaborative systems. This framework is exemplified through mappings of the model to 3D and 2D collaborative environments, namely Spline [1], TeamRooms [19] and Orbit [16]. One particularly interesting feature of the model is the way in which it handles group access by considering how group credentials are determined. These credentials are presented to the model in the usual manner. We conclude by presenting some limitations of our approach, and workarounds.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Computing Methodologies -Simulation and Modeling - Model Validation and Analysis (I.6.4); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Design, Management, Theory; access control, collaborative systems, security

Evaluation and Impact

Evaluating the Usability of an Evolving Collaborative Product -- Changes in User Type, Tasks and Evaluation Methods Over Time BIBAKPDF 150-159
  Chris Nodder; Gayna Williams; Deborah Dubrow
The first users of a new technology are often engineers and enthusiasts. The functionality and interface that they find acceptable may be very different than the requirements of a more mainstream audience. This poses challenges for usability engineers in both defining user groups and then evaluating a product against usability goals, when both users and goals are changing as the technology matures. Usability evaluation methods for collaborative applications must evolve and iterate at least as fast as the products themselves. This paper describes the changes in approach taken by usability engineers between Version 1 and Version 3 of the Microsoft NetMeeting product.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Theory, Verification; NetMeeting, application sharing, collaborative tools, design consideration, development process, usability evaluation
An Investigation of the Influence of Network Quality of Service on the Effectiveness of Multimedia Communication BIBAKPDF 160-168
  Rob Procter; Mark Hartswood; Andy McKinlay; Scott Gallacher
In this paper we describe an experimental evaluation of multimedia packages intended for use as in-house training aids within a large UK bank. We focus on the influence of different kinds of media content and of network quality of service upon subjects' memory for, and comprehension of, the material. In particular, we observe that degraded quality of service has a greater influence on subjects' uptake of emotive/affective content than on their uptake of factual content. The results have implications for the more general application of multimedia communication.
Keywords: Computer Systems Organization -Computer-Communication Networks - General (C.2.0); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Theory, Verification; multimedia evaluation, network quality of service, training, vicarious learning
Impacts of PACS on Radiological Work BIBAKPDF 169-178
  Nina Lundberg
This paper identifies and analyzes the impacts on work practices and interdependencies in radiological work by PACS (Picture Archive and Communication System). It illustrates that when PACS was introduced not only technical devices were integrated, but the people, work practices and organizations as well. In addition, the paper illustrates how detailed workplace studies may identify substantial social changes, emerged from initially insignificant technical solutions that rapidly grows and quickly becomes embedded and central in large and complex networks as health care.
Keywords: Computer Applications - Life and Medical Sciences (J.3); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Experimentation, Theory: PACS, artifact, health care, technology impact, work practice

Distributed/Shared Spaces

Pavilion: A Middleware Framework for Collaborative Web-Based Applications BIBAKPDF 179-188
  P. K. McKinley; A. M. Malenfant; J. M. Arango
This paper describes Pavilion, an object-oriented middleware framework for developing collaborative web-based applications. Pavilion enables a developer to construct new applications by inheriting and extending its default functionality. Reusable and extensible Pavilion components include interfaces to common web browsers, a reliable multicast protocol tailored for delivery of web resources, a leadership protocol for floor control, and a highly modular proxy server that supports data type-specific plug-ins. The architecture and operation of Pavilion are described, followed by a discussion of VGuide, a synchronous VRML application built using Pavilion. VGuide enables one user to lead other users through virtual worlds in a synchronous manner.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Systems and Software (H.3.4); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Experimentation, Theory
Modeling Collaboration Using Shared Objects BIBAKPDF 189-198
  Christian Schuckmann; Jan Schummer; Peter Seitz
Many object-oriented toolkits and frameworks for groupware development provide shared objects as a basic service. This relieves developers of a lot of problems originating from the field of distributed systems. However, there is little support on how to use shared objects to actually build collaborative applications. In this paper we propose an object-oriented model for applications using shared objects. The model is discussed with respect to object-oriented reusability aspects and its applicability is tested against CSCW-specific aspects like the provision of group-awareness and coupling control. Furthermore, concrete model examples derived from an example application are shown for illustration.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Design, Management, Theory; groupware frameworks, object-oriented groupware design, shared objects, synchronous groupware
Modeling Shared Information Spaces (SIS) BIBAKPDF 199-208
  Marit Kjosnes Natvig; Oddrun Ohren
Many companies experience that their corporate intranet is getting complex and poorly manageable. We believe that developing a model for the website, or shared information space will make the management easier and provide solutions that support collaboration and knowledge sharing within the enterprise. The present paper proposes a meta model defining the conceptual building blocks of an information space. The meta model takes knowledge as well as information sharing into account by letting ontologies represent problem domains important to the enterprise, and be used as means of imposing structure on available information. To support the different needs of the employees the ability to interact with the information space through different perspectives is essential. An example of how the meta model can be deployed to support contextual retrieval of information in a workflow management application is described.
Keywords: Information Systems -Database Management - Systems (H.2.4); Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Systems and Software (H.3.4); Experimentation, Management, Theory; knowledge sharing, meta model, ontology, shared information space

Shared Learning

Use of Virtual Science Park Resource Rooms to Support Group Work in a Learning Environment BIBAKPDF 209-218
  Lydia M. S. Lau; Jayne Curson; Richard Drew; Peter M. Dew; Christine Leigh
This paper presents a detailed evaluation on the acceptability of a range of synchronous and asynchronous collaborative tools provided within the Virtual Science Park (VSP) for group work in a learning environment. In this study, the VSP was used to provide a web-based 'Resource Room' adopting the familiar 'folder' metaphor for structuring and linking resources, and a number of different user interfaces for interaction and sharing information. A list of criteria is established for the evaluation. By using scenario testing and structured questionnaires, qualitative feedback was collected from 43 Masters students. The findings reinforce and add to the concerns highlighted in other studies, in particular, the importance for shared awareness, privacy, conventions for interaction and the provision of an effective multimedia environment. More attention will be needed in these areas for effective use of these groupware tools.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Learning (I.2.6); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Experimentation, Theory, Verification; Virtual Science Park, co-operative learning, collaborative tools, common information space, evaluation
Oxymoron, a Non-Distance Knowledge Sharing Tool for Social Science Students and Researchers BIBAKPDF 219-228
  Camille Bierens de Haan; Gilles Chabre; Francis Lapique; Gil Regev; Alain Wegmann
Oxymoron is a World Wide Web based knowledge capitalization and sharing tool that was conceived and developed by a multidisciplinary team, comprised of adult education and distributed systems professionals from France and Switzerland. Oxymoron's aim is to support and facilitate the work of students and researchers in social science by providing them with a system where they can contribute and obtain knowledge about the relevant readings in their fields of interest.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Knowledge Representation Formalisms and Methods (I.2.4); Design, Theory; WWW, bibliography, groupware, knowledge management, methodology of research, organizational learning, reading cards, social sciences

User Perspectives

The Role of Expectations in Human-Computer Interaction BIBAKPDF 229-238
  Joseph A. Bonito; Judee K. Burgoon; Bjorn Bengtsson
This paper describes a pilot study on the role of expectations in human-computer interaction on a decision-making task. Participants (N=70) were randomly assigned to one of 5 different computer partners or to a human partner. After completing the rankings for the Desert Survival Task, participants engaged in a dialog with their computer or human partners. Results revealed that interaction with human partners was more expected and more positively evaluated than interaction with computer agents. In addition, the addition of human-like qualities to computer interfaces did not increase expectedness or evaluations as predicted. Correlation analysis for the five computer conditions demonstrated that expectations and evaluations do effect influence and perceptions of the partner. Discussion focuses on ways to coordinate expectations, interface design, and task objectives.
Keywords: Information Systems -Models and Principles - User/Machine Systems (H.1.2); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Experimentation, Management, Theory; computer-mediated communication, expectations, human-computer interaction, interactivity
User Population and User Contributions to Virtual Publics: A Systems Model BIBAKPDF 239-248
  Quentin Jones; Sheizaf Rafaeli
This paper provides a comprehensive review of empirical research into user contributions to computer-mediated discourse in public cyber-spaces, referred to here as virtual publics. This review is used to build a systems model of such discourse. The major components of the model are i) critical mass, ii) social loafing, and iii) the collective impact of individual cognitive constraints on the processing of group messages. By drawing these three components into a single model it becomes possible to describe the shape of a "user-contributions/user-population function" after controlling for context.
   Virtual publics can be created with the support of various technologies including email, newsgroups, webbased bulletin boards etc. Traditionally the choice of technology platform and the way it is used has largely depended on arbitrary factors. This paper suggests that choices of this nature can be based on knowledge about required segmentation points for discourse as they relate to a particular type of technology. This is because the "user-contributions/user-population function" will map differently to different classes of technology. Similarly the different classes of technologies used to enable virtual publics will each have different stress zones at which users will experience information overload resulting from computer mediated discourse.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Systems and Software (H.3.4); Design, Experimentation, Theory; computer mediated communication, coordination theory, discourse structures, group communication, group communication, information overload, systems theory, virtual communities
An Investigation of Social Loafing and Social Compensation in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work BIBAKPDF 249-257
  Andy McKinlay; Rob Procter; Anne Dunnett
The effects of computer-mediated communication on social loafing in brainstorming tasks and social compensation in decision-making tasks are examined. In the first experiment, subjects performed a brainstorming task in either nominal, face-to-face or computer-mediated brainstorming group conditions. Production blocking, in which brainstorming group members interfere with each other's output, was minimised, but the nominal group still out-performed the other groups. In the second experiment, subjects performed a group decision task in face-to-face and computer mediated communication conditions. Social compensation in the presence of social loafing was seen to occur in the first condition, but not in the second. The paper concludes by discussing some of the consequences of both experiments for the future role of computer-mediated communication in group work.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Experimentation, Theory, Verification; computer-mediated communication, computer-supported cooperative work, social compensation, social loafing

Pragmatic Issues

Pragmatic Solutions for Better Integration of the Visually Impaired in Virtual Communities BIBAKPDF 258-266
  Thorsten Hampel; Reinhard Keil-Slawik; Bastian Ginger Claassen; Frank Plohmann; Christian Reimann
This article introduces and discusses issues in the design of user interfaces for visually impaired people in the domain of virtual communities. We begin by pointing out that collaborative virtual environments provide additional means for visually impaired people which may help to accomplish a better integration into existing communities and social activities. We give a short introduction to the way visually impaired people usually work with a PC and show how their method of information access differs to sighted people. We then take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of existing adaptations to operating systems. Based on this analysis we describe some requirements for user interfaces the usability for visually impaired people without losing the attractiveness and intuitiveness for the sighted. We finally describe a prototype of a special IRC-Client, called BIRC, and discuss its advantages and limitations.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Information Systems -Information Interfaces and Presentation - User Interfaces (H.5.2); Design, Theory; chat, internet, user interface, virtual communities, visually impaired
Augmenting Recommender Systems by Embedding Interfaces into Practices BIBAKPDF 267-275
  Antonietta Grasso; Michael Koch; Alessandro Rancati
Automated collaborative filtering systems promote the creation of a meta-layer of information, which describes users' evaluations of the quality and relevance of information items like scientific papers, books, and movies. A rich meta-layer is required, in order to elaborate statistically good predictions of the interest of the information items; the number of users' contributing to the feedback is a vital aspect for these systems to produce good prediction quality. The work presented here, first analyses the issues around recommendation collection then proposes a set of design principles aimed at improving the collection of recommendations. Finally, it presents how these principles have been implemented in one real usage setting.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Experimentation, Theory; paper interface, recommender system
"Making Place" to Make IT Work: Empirical Explorations of HCI for Mobile CSCW BIBAKPDF 276-285
  Steinar Kristoffersen; Fredrik Ljungberg
This paper addresses issues of user interface design, relating to ease of use, of handheld CSCW. In particular, we are concerned with the requirements that arise from situations in which a traditionally designed mobile computer with a small keyboard and screen, may not be easily used. This applies to many mobile use contexts, such as inspection work and engineering in the field. By examining two such settings, we assert that what is usually pointed to as severe shortcomings of mobile computing today, for example: awkward keyboard, small display and unreliable networks, are really implications from a conceptual HCI design that emphasise unstructured, unlimited input; a rich, continuous visual feedback channel and marginal use of sound. We introduce MOTILE, a small prototype that demonstrates some alternative ideas about HCI for mobile devices. We suggest that identifying complementing user interface paradigms for handheld CSCW may enhance our understanding not only of mobile computing or handheld CSCW, but the CSCW field as a whole.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Interfaces and Presentation - User Interfaces (H.5.2); Design, Experimentation, Theory; audio, direct manipulation, handheld CSCW, tactile input, user interface design, video


From Description to Requirements: An Activity Theoretic Perspective BIBAKPDF 286-295
  Phil Turner; Susan Turner; Julie Horton
This paper demonstrates how activity theoretic concepts can be used in conjunction with an ethnographically informed approach to derive requirements on a work situation. We present a case study based on a series of collaborative design episodes, the structured description derived from it and show how a preliminary set of contextually-grounded requirements on supporting the design process can be created.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Experimentation, Theory; WWW, activity theory, contextual analysis, ethnography, requirements
A Design Process for Embedding Knowledge Management in Everyday Work BIBAKPDF 296-305
  Marcel Hoffmann; Kai-Uwe Loser; Thomas Walter; Thomas Herrmann
Knowledge Management Software must be embedded in processes of knowledge workers' everyday practice. In order to attain a seamless design, regarding the special qualities and requirements of knowledge work, detailed studies of the existing work processes and analysis of the used knowledge are necessary. Participation of the knowledge owners and future users us an important factor for success of knowledge management systems. In this paper we describe characteristics of knowledge work motivating the usage of participatory design techniques. We suggest a design process for developing or improving knowledge management, which includes ethnographic surveys, user participation in cyclic improvement, scenario based design, and the use of multiple design artifacts and documents. Finally we explain the benefits of our approach. The paper is based on a case study we carried out to design and introduce a knowledge management system in a training company.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Knowledge Representation Formalisms and Methods (I.2.4); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Design, Management, Theory; knowledge management, knowledge work, organizational learning, organizational memory systems, participatory design

Coordination and Negotiation

The Geography of Coordination: Dealing with Distance in R&D Work BIBAKPDF 306-315
  Rebecca E. Grinter; James D. Herbsleb; Dewayne E. Perry
Geographically distributed development creates new questions about how to coordinate multi-site work. In this paper, we present four methods product development organizations used to coordinate their work: functional areas of expertise, product structure, process steps, and customization. We describe the benefits and difficulties with each model. Finally, we discuss two difficulties that occur irrespective of the model used: consequences of unequal distribution of project mass, and finding expertise.
Keywords: Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Design, Experimentation, Theory; collaborative work, coordination mechanisms, geographically distributed development
Intertwining Perspectives and Negotiation BIBAKPDF 316-325
  Gerry Stahl; Thomas Herrmann
Cooperative work typically involves both individual and group activities. Computer support for perspectives allows people to view and work in a central information repository within personal contexts. However, work in personal perspectives encourages divergent thinking. Negotiation in group perspectives is needed to converge on consensus, shared understanding, and cooperation. Negotiation processes on their own can delay progress. By intertwining perspective and negotiation mechanisms, individual results can be systematically merged into a group product while work continues. Personal perspectives on shared information are thereby intertwined and merged into a shared group understanding. WEBGUIDE is a prototype system that integrates perspective and negotiation mechanisms; its user interface has been mocked up in detail to work out the many issues involved. We have begun to use partial implementations of WEBGUIDE to support cooperative intellectual work in small research groups.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Experimentation, Theory; CSCL, WebGuide, negotiation, perspectives


Collaboration Transparency in the DISCIPLE Framework BIBAKPDF 326-335
  Wen Li; Weicong Wang; Ivan Marsic
Sharing single-user software applications is a major goal of synchronous groupware particularly because the majority of applications continues to be developed for single users. We present a mechanism for sharing collaboration-transparent single-user applications in our DISCIPLE collaboration framework. DISCIPLE is the equivalent of a Web browser that allows sharing applets (Java components, both transparent and aware of collaboration). It allows users with no programming background to quickly assemble arbitrary collaborative applications. Even though the presented solutions are specific to Java, many apply to other platforms as well. We introduce a novel concept of resource servers to solve the problem of resource access in collaboration-transparent applications. We also discuss the limitations of the framework in particular and of sharing collaboration-transparent applications in general. The framework has been implemented and tested on a variety of applications. Preliminary experimental results are reported.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Design, Experimentation, Theory; CSCW, CSCW frameworks, JavaBeans, collaborative systems, collaboration, collaboration-transparent applications, distributed computing, dynamic reconfiguration, runtime dynamics, synchronous groupware
Runtime Dynamics in Collaborative Systems BIBAKPDF 336-345
  Du Li; Richard R. Muntz
The importance of supporting flexible roles and dynamic policies has long been recognized in the CSCW (Computer-Supported Cooperative Work) literature but unfortunately never with a systematic solution. This paper proposes a taxonomy of runtime dynamics in collaborative systems in general and discusses our solution in the COCA framework. Firstly, individual participants can take roles, drop roles, and switch between roles as a collaboration runs, Secondly, a role can be transferred from one participant to another at runtime. Thirdly, session-wide, authorized participants can change the definition of roles and coordination policies on the fly while keeping the mapping between roles and participants. When such changes happen on the fly, the runtime environment of the sites which are potentially affected, including the state information within the computation modules and the communication channels, must be handled properly according to the semantics of the collaboration itself.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Computing Methodologies -Artificial Intelligence - Distributed Artificial Intelligence (I.2.11); Experimentation, Theory; CSCW, collaboration, collaborative systems, distributed computing, dynamic reconfiguration, runtime dynamics
A System Architecture for the Extension of Structured Information Spaces by Coordinated CSCW Services BIBAKPDF 346-355
  Peter Manhart
The World Wide Web is an emerging platform for information systems; however established system architectures for web systems focus mainly on the creation and storage of consistent hypermedia information structures and on the efficient distribution of the resulting documents. The interaction between the information users is seldom supported.
   As many application scenarios profit greatly from human interaction, the paper presents a platform- and application-independent generic system architecture designed to extend existing web-based information systems by coordinated services for human interaction. One prototype implementation of the architecture supports user awareness and human interaction on corporate web sites.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Systems and Software (H.3.4); Design, Experimentation, Theory; CSCW services, group interaction, system architecture, web-based human interaction

Awareness and Orientation

Recognition and Reasoning in an Awareness Support System for Generation of Storyboard-Like Views of Recent Activity BIBAKPDF 356-364
  Datong Chen; Hans-Werner Gellersen
Awareness support system are based on formal and specific context information such as location, or on video-mediated general context information such asa view into a remote office. We propose a new approach based on fusion of these different kinds of context information. In this approach we distinguish white box context, used by the awareness system for reasoning, and black box context, which can only be interpreted by humans. Our approach uses a variety of perception techniques to obtain white box context from audio and video streams. White box context is then used for further processing of context information, for instance to derive additional context. It is further used to generate a storyboard-like multimedia representation of collected and extracted context information. This storyboard provides a condensed view of recent activity to collaboration partners.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Experimentation, Theory; awareness support systems, collaboration awareness, context recognition, context-awareness, groupware

Coordination and Negotiation

Facilitating Orientation in Shared Hypermedia Workspaces BIBAKPDF 365-374
  Jorg M. Haake
Shared workspaces are an important means for supporting long-term synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. Shared workspaces themselves become difficult to manage due to increasing size and constant change. This is especially true for shared hypermedia workspaces. Thus means for managing the shared hypermedia workspace in terms of keeping an overview of the group's work and coordinating changes become necessary.
   In this paper we propose a shared hypermedia workspace model representing not only shared content but also team and process related information. Four complementary tools facilitate orientation and coordination in the shared workspace: a group aware content browser, a group aware overview browser, a shared workspace search tool, and a shared process space browser. Together, these tools should enable groups to stay aware of each other's activities and to control the level of awareness according to their needs.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Systems Applications - Types of Systems (H.4.2); Experimentation, Theory; awareness, collaboration support, cooperative work, coordination, orientation, shared hypermedia workspace

Awareness and Orientation

Getting Some Perspective: Using Process Descriptions to Index Document History BIBAKPDF 375-384
  Paul Dourish; Richard Bentley; Rachel Jones; Allan MacLean
Process descriptions are used in workflow and related systems to describe the flow of work and organisational responsibility in business processes, and to aid in coordination. However, the division of a working process into a sequence of steps provides only a partial view of the work involved. In many cases, the performance of individual tasks in a larger process may depend on interpretations and understandings of how other aspects of the work were conducted.
   We present an example from an ethnographic investigation of one particular organisation, and introduce a mechanism, which we call "Perspectives," for dealing with it. A "Perspective" uses the process description to provide an index into the history of a document moving through a process. Perspectives allow workflow systems to manage and present information about the execution of specific process instances within the general frame of abstract process descriptions.
Keywords: Information Systems -Information Storage and Retrieval - Content Analysis and Indexing (H.3.1); Experimentation, Theory; awareness, process execution, process modeling, visualisation, workflow