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JCSCW Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213141516

Computer Supported Cooperative Work 6

Editors:Kjeld Schmidt
Publisher:Kluwer Academic Publishing
Standard No:ISSN 0925-9724
Links:www.wkap.nl | Table of Contents
  1. JCSCW 1997 Volume 6 Issue 1
  2. JCSCW 1997 Volume 6 Issue 2/3
  3. JCSCW 1997 Volume 6 Issue 4

JCSCW 1997 Volume 6 Issue 1

A Collaborative Schema Integration System BIBAK 1-18
  P. Beynon-Davies; L. Bonde; D. McPhee; C. B. Jones
Conceptual modelling as applied to database development can be described as a two stage process: schema modelling followed by schema integration. Schema modelling is the process of transforming individual user requirements into a conceptual schema: an implementation-independent map of data requirements. Schema integration is the process of combining individual conceptual schemas into a single, unified schema. Single-user tools for schema modelling have enjoyed much success partly because the process of schema modelling has become relatively well formalised. Although a number of formal approaches to conducting schema integration have been proposed, it appears that schema integration tools have not enjoyed the same level of success. This we attribute not so much to the problem of formalisation but to the inherent collaborative nature of schema integration work. This paper first discusses the importance of collaboration to schema integration work. It then describes SISIBIS, a demonstrator system employing the IBIS (Issue Based Information System) scheme to support collaborative database design.
Keywords: Database design, Schema integration, CSCW, Hypermedia
Collaborative Writing is Hard to Support: A Field Study of Collaborative Writing BIBAK 19-51
  S. G. Tammaro; J. N. Mosier; N. C. Goodwin; G. Spitz
This paper documents the results of a field test of Instant Update, a collaborative writing tool by a geographically dispersed department at the MITRE Corporation. Thirty-six participants were given Instant Update software and free training and support in exchange for their cooperation with data collection. These participants spent a great deal of time writing and communicating with each other about their written work. They began the pilot test with enthusiasm, using Instant Update for many types of documents and anticipating many benefits. After three months of experience they rated the actual benefits they received from the software lower than they had expected. Their usage became much more refined. They continued to use it for some types of documents, but stopped for others. The collaborative writing software was used successfully to create joint documents that have a consistent format and are produced on a regular basis (such as weekly activity reports) and for documents that provide access to shared information (such as a vacation calendar). It was used less successfully for the production of documents that require a complex work flow and have a changing group of contributors. We concluded that although collaborative writing is difficult to support and the currently available collaborative writing tools need to be improved before they can meet the needs of most co-writers, they are adequate for some types of tasks. Documents that are well defined and are created by experienced users who can cooperate well can benefit from the currently available tools.
Keywords: Computer-supported writing, Collaborative editing, Collaborative writing, Cooperative work, Group communication
When Are Group Scheduling Tools Useful? BIBAK 53-70
  Jane N. Mosier; Susan G. Tammaro
A geographically dispersed department at the MITRE Corporation participated in a field test of groupware tools. This paper documents the results of their use of a group scheduling tool, Meeting Maker Version 1.5. Research in the late 1980s showed that early group scheduling tools were not useful, in part because they only benefited some users and hence critical mass could not be attained. This study was undertaken to determine whether and how far the tools have evolved. Participants said that Meeting Maker made it easy to schedule meetings and maintain their calendars, and 90% wished to continue using it after the study was complete. Problems were noted when not everyone used or had access to the tool, and three generic solutions are discussed: capabilities that allow users to communicate with non-users, capabilities that allow users to stay connected, and lightweight methods of participation.
Keywords: Critical mass, Diffusion of innovation, Group calendaring, Group scheduling
Groupware Environments as Action Constitutive Resources: A Social Action Framework for Analyzing Groupware Technologies BIBAK 71-93
  Ojelanki K. Ngwenyama; Kalle J. Lyytinen
Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) is a relatively new and dynamic field dealing with the development and use of groupware technologies in organizations. Several frameworks and models have been proposed for studying CSCW, each conveying a different perspective and theoretical basis. Although these frameworks have contributed much to our understanding of the field, they can be criticized for a lack of holistic understanding of the complex social activity that is constitutive of groupwork. This often leads to the failure of otherwise well designed CSCW applications. In this paper we take up this challenge and propose a social action framework for analyzing groupware technologies. The framework is based on Habermas's theory of social action and four action categories, and the idea that groupware applications serve as sets of rules and resources which mediate group interactions. We demonstrate the value of the framework by analyzing a wide range of existing groupware technologies for their appropriateness to specific groupwork situations in terms of their espoused or implicit assumptions of groupwork, and the action constitutive resources they provide. Our analysis points out that a host of current groupware applications can be fairly easily classified and examined by the way they are configured to support different types of social action. It also suggests that, when implementing groupware applications, developers should critically evaluate: (a) the need for supporting a rich variety of action types, (b) the possible role of computer support in the specific groupwork situations, and (c) the underlying assumptions of groupwork embedded in the groupware platform. Finally, we will discuss how the framework can inform future research and development in the field.
Keywords: Computer supported cooperative work, Groupware, Group support systems, Decision support systems, Communication systems, Collaboration technology, Coordination systems, Social action theory

Book Reviews

"Transforming Organisations Through Groupware: Lotus Notes in Action," edited by Peter Lloyd and Roger Whitehead BIB 95-98
  R. H. R. Harper
"Groupware and Authoring," edited by Roy Rada BIB 99-101
  Mike Sharples
"Cooperating Heterogeneous Systems," by David G. Schwartz BIB 102-104
  Carla Simone

JCSCW 1997 Volume 6 Issue 2/3

Groupware and the World Wide Web

Preface BIB v-vi
  Richard Bentley; Uwe Busbach; David Kerr; Klaas Sikkel
The World Wide Web as Enabling Technology for CSCW: The Case of BSCW BIBAK 111-134
  Richard Bentley; Thilo Horstmann; Jonathan Trevor
Despite the growth of interest in the field of CSCW, and the increasingly large number of systems which have been developed, it is still the case that few systems have been adopted for widespread use. This is particularly true for widely-dispersed, cross-organisational working groups where problems of heterogeneity in computing hardware and software environments inhibit the deployment of CSCW technologies. With a lightweight and extensible client-server architecture, client implementations for all popular computing platforms, and an existing user base numbered in millions, the World Wide Web offers great potential in solving some of these problems to provide an 'enabling technology' for CSCW applications. We illustrate this potential using our work with the BSCW shared workspace system -- an extension to the Web architecture which provides basic facilities for collaborative information sharing from unmodified Web browsers. We conclude that despite limitations in the range of applications which can be directly supported, building on the strengths of the Web can give significant benefits in easing the development and deployment of CSCW applications.
Keywords: World Wide Web, BSCW, Enabling technologies, Information sharing
Challenges for Cooperative Work on the Web: An Analytical Approach BIBAK 135-156
  Alan Dix
This paper investigates some of the issues which will determine the viability of the World Wide Web as an infrastructure for cooperative work. In fact, taking a weak definition of collaboration, the Web is already a very successful collaborative environment. In addition, it is already being used as the basis for experimental and commercial groupware. The paper takes this as a starting point and uses analytic methods developed in the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work to investigate the reasons for the Web's present success, its strengths and weaknesses as a platform for CSCW, and prospects for future development.
Keywords: World Wide Web, Client-server, Cost-benefit, CSCW framework, User-interface architectures
Structured Cooperative Authoring for the World Wide Web BIBAK 157-174
  Manuel Romero Salcedo; Dominique Decouchant
Alliance is a structured cooperative authoring application that allows people spread out across different locations to work together on document production and maintenance. It uses the World Wide Web as an infrastructure to accomplish distributed document management, asynchronous group awareness, and communication and cooperation among distributed authors. A particular feature of Alliance is that it can handle temporary disconnections from the network without disrupting the cooperative editing. In this article we report our experience in designing and implementing Alliance, focusing on the mechanisms that needed to be developed in order to support cooperative authoring using the Web.
Keywords: Asynchronous cooperative authoring, Group awareness, CSCW, World Wide Web, Disconnected editing
Distributed Coordination and Workflow on the World Wide Web BIBAK 175-200
  Antonietta Grasso; Jean-Luc Meunier; Daniele Pagani; Remo Pareschi
This paper describes WebFlow, an environment that supports distributed coordination services on the World Wide Web. WebFlow leverages the HTTP Web transport protocol and consists of a number of tools for the development of applications that require the coordination of multiple, distributed servers. Typical applications of WebFlow include distributed document workspaces, inter/intra-enterprise workflow, and electronic commerce. In this paper we describe the general WebFlow architecture for distributed coordination, and then focus on the environment for distributed workflow.
Keywords: Distributed workflow, Coordination technology, Collaborative systems, World Wide Web
Enterprise-Level Groupware Choices: Evaluating Lotus Notes and Intranet-Based Solutions BIBAK 201-225
  Mark Ginsburg; Katherine Duliba
This paper considers collaborative software at the enterprise level, specifically Lotus Notes and alternatives which use Intranet-based (World Wide Web) technologies. We examine the strategic reasons, both short-term and long-term, motivating firms' choices in the decision phase and organizational issues in the implementation phase in three exploratory case studies. We review prior coordination technology literature to show that our focus on the decision faced by senior management of which groupware system to implement is a useful and novel perspective to pursue. We argue that this choice, and its consequences, is of crucial importance to the firm. To understand more fully the nature of the decision, we consider a thematic pair of related issues: Internet standards and interoperability. Why are so-called 'Open Systems' a major factor to some firms and not important to others? Why is the proprietary nature of Lotus Notes a stumbling block to some firms and a strategic advantage to others? We explore enterprise-level groupware expectations and requirements in our case studies to address these interesting questions. The final section focuses on predicting change to understand when an organization might reverse its initial enterprise-wide collaborative strategy.
Keywords: Enterprise-level groupware, Lotus Notes, Intranet, World Wide Web, Standards, Interoperability
Virtual Society: Collaboration in 3D Spaces on the Internet BIBAK 227-250
  Rodger Lea; Yasuaki Honda; Kouichi Matsuda
The Virtual Society (VS) project is a long term research initiative that is investigating the evolution of the future electronic society. Our vision for this electronic society is a shared 3D virtual world where users, from homes and offices, can explore, interact and work. Our first implementation of an infrastructure to support our investigation is known as CommunityPlace and has been developed to support large-scale shared 3D spaces on the Internet using the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). Obviously, such an ambitious project cuts across many different domains. In this paper we outline the goals of the Virtual Society project, discuss the architecture and implementation of CommunityPlace with particular emphasis on Internet related technologies such as VRML and present our views on the role of VRML and the Internet to support large-scale shared 3D spaces.
Keywords: Distributed virtual environment, Internet, Collaboration, Consistency, VRML

JCSCW 1997 Volume 6 Issue 4

Negotiating Boundaries: Configuration Management in Software Development Teams BIBAK 251-274
  Hilda Tellioglu; Ina Wagner
Using case-study material from three small software development teams, this paper analyses the regionalisation of 'design spaces'. Its main purpose is to understand problems and practices of cooperative work in such spaces. 'Configuration management' is used to denote both a practice and supporting software tools and their relationship. A major concern is how to develop practices and tools that support cooperation across multiple organisational and social boundaries while simultaneously being 'respectful of regionalisations'.
Keywords: Configuration Management (CM), CSCW, Articulation work, Empirical studies
Informing General CSCW Product Development through Cooperative Design in Specific Work Domains BIBAK 275-304
  Kaj Grønbæk; Preben Mogensen
Cooperative analysis and design is often considered only to be applicable in settings where a system is being developed solely for the 'user' participants in the process. This paper, however, argues that there are quite good prospects in applying cooperative analysis and design techniques in specific use settings to inform development of general CSCW products. We describe and discuss the application of cooperative -- i.e., participatory -- analysis and design techniques in a project developing a general cooperative hypermedia framework as well as specific hypermedia applications to support sharing of materials in the engineering domain. In our project, a single engineering company (Great Belt Link Ltd.) was chosen as the user organization. The paper summarizes the process from observational studies, over a future workshop and cooperative prototyping activities, to a pilot installation. We describe how these activities informed the general hypermedia framework and application design. Use scenarios and prototypes with example data from the users' daily work were used as sources both to trigger design ideas and new insights regarding work practice. Common participants in specific activities and general development activities supported transfer of work domain knowledge into general features of the product being developed. Mutual challenging characterized the interaction between specific cooperative analysis and design activities and general development activities. Prototypes, scenarios, materials from the work practice, and concise bullet list summaries were used as mediating artifacts in this interaction rather than comprehensive requirement and design specifications.
Keywords: Cooperative analysis, Cooperative design, Cooperative prototyping, CSCW, Shared materials, Cooperative hypermedia, Product development
Supporting Cooperation through Customisation: The Tviews Approach BIBAK 305-325
  Markus Wasserschaff; Richard Bentley
User interfaces for groupware systems rarely reflect the different requirements for support of their end-users. Here we present an approach to designing multi-user interfaces for cooperative systems which builds on previous work from the HCI community in the area of end-user customisation. Using this approach we have developed an approach and a system prototype based on tailorable views, or Tviews, which allows end-users engaged in group working to configure their cooperative system interfaces to support their different tasks, preferences and levels of expertise. Tviews are user interface components which can be dragged and dropped over representations of application objects to customise presentation, interaction and event updating properties, and can themselves be tailored using high-level, incremental customisation techniques. We discuss the implications of this work for CSCW system development by reference to studies of work carried out by the CSCW community which point to a need for more flexible and tailorable system interfaces.
Keywords: BSCW, Customisation, Groupware user interfaces, Shared workspace systems, Tailorability
Hypermedia Use in Group Work: Changing the Product, Process, and Strategy BIBAK 327-368
  Gloria Mark; Jorg M. Haake; Norbert A. Streitz
Hypermedia structures have been integrated with CSCW functionality to develop the DOLPHIN system, an electronic meeting room environment. In this paper, a study is reported investigating how the DOLPHIN environment affects group work. Different aspects of group problem solving were examined to understand the effects of working with hypermedia: the group's product, cognitive factors, and the group process. The results showed that groups can easily work with hypermedia structures, and that these structures influence groups to produce a different product, to use a different strategy, and to use a different collaborative style, namely of dividing up their labor. The experimental results are explained in a model which suggests the involvement of both procedural and semantic components in hypermedia use. We discuss wider implications of hypermedia for CSCW and group work.
Keywords: Collaborative style, Cooperation support, Division of labor, Electronic meeting room, Electronic whiteboards, Empirical study, Evaluation, Group process, Hypermedia


On the Relevance of Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action for CSCW BIBAK 369-389
  Wes Sharrock; Graham Button
We examine the argument put forward by Ojelanki Nygwenyama and Kalle Lyytinen that Juergen Habermas' theory of communicative action is relevant for the analysis and design of groupware systems. We suggest that CSCW champions of Habermas often overlook the fact that his theory can be criticised in its own right, and go on to outline its contestable character in an appraisal of his understanding of the 'ideal speech situation'. We then move to Nygwenyama and Lyytinen's implementation of Habermas' schema and argue that their categories of analysis are both arbitrarily constructed and applied. In conclusion, we question the extent to which grand, holistic, synthesising sociological theories offer a way forward for designers and point to the difficulties of practically applying Nygwenyama and Lyytinen's categories of analysis.
Keywords: Habermas, Groupware, Social action, Communicative action

Book Reviews

"Cognition in the Wild," by Edwin Hutchins BIB 391-395
  Graham Button
"Aramis or The Love of Technology," by Bruno Latour BIB 396-399
  David Middleton
"Cognition and Communication at Work," edited by Y. Engestrom, and D. Middleton BIB 400-402
  Yvonne Rogers