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Computer Supported Cooperative Work 9

Editors:Kjeld Schmidt
Publisher:Kluwer Academic Publishing
Standard No:ISSN 0925-9724
Links:www.wkap.nl | Table of Contents
  1. JCSCW 2000 Volume 9 Issue 1
  2. JCSCW 2000 Volume 9 Issue 2
  3. JCSCW 2000 Volume 9 Issue 3/4

JCSCW 2000 Volume 9 Issue 1

Introduction BIB 1-4
A Coordination Language for Building Collaborative Applications BIBA 5-31
  Mauricio Cortes
A collaborative application must support the interaction of a group of users that share some information and have common or complementary goals. Many conflicting situations can arise during a computer supported meeting when two or more participants access this shared information. In addition to data consistency issues (data-level conflicts), collaborative applications must address the specification of interaction rules to control the way users can interact through the application (user-level conflicts) with each other. These interaction rules can vary from session to session, and even during the same session, as users need to establish new ways to interact with each other. We have developed a coordination programming language that helps programmers build new collaborative applications or reengineer single-user applications. This language allows programmers to decouple coordination from computational issues. While a computational program describes the information that is being shared, a coordination program determines how a group of users can share this information. Given a computational program, developers can build multiple coordination programs. End-users will be able to select the coordination program that best suit their needs to run their collaborative session. A language runtime interpreter executes these coordination programs. This interpreter controls the execution of user actions that are applied to the set of shared objects. Finally, new coordination programs can be loaded in the runtime interpreter at any time, allowing end-users to change the interaction rules during an ongoing collaborative session. A description of the runtime interpreter and its implementation is included.CSCW, distributed systems, groupware, programming languages, software engineering
A Tale of Two Toolkits: Relating Infrastructure and Use in Flexible CSCW Toolkits BIBA 33-51
  Paul Dourish; W. Keith Edwards
The design of software toolkits embodies a fundamental tension. On the one hand, it aims to reduce programmer effort by providing prefabricated, reusable software modules encapsulating common application behaviours. On the other, it seeks to support a range of applications, which necessitates avoiding an overly-restrictive commitment to particular styles of application behaviour. We explore this tension in the domain of collaborative applications, which we believe are particularly subject to problems arising from this tension. Based on an analysis of the basic issues of flexibility in toolkit design, we explore opportunities for the design of toolkits which avoid application style commitments, with illustrations from two toolkits which we have developed. A comparative analysis of these two approaches provides insight into the underlying questions and suggests new design opportunities for toolkits that provide a framework for application enhancement and extension.collaboration infrastructure, collaborative toolkits, reuse, specialisation, tailorability, toolkit design
Design of Extensible Component-Based Groupware BIBAK 53-74
  Jakob Hummes; Bernard Merialdo
Tailoring is identified as a key requirement for CSCW applications. One major tailoring mechanism is the extension of an application at run-time to change its behavior. This article shows how synchronous CSCW component-based applications can be designed to be extensible at run-time. We propose to split the act of tailoring into two steps: the design-time customization of new components in visual builder tools and their insertion into the running application. Thus the customization tool is not required to be part of the application. This article presents a new design pattern for extensibility and gives several examples based on that pattern. With the help of the pattern extensible application frameworks can be systematically created from a non-extensible application design. The different possibilities to place insertion points into the application design are discussed with respect to flexibility and ease of deployment. Finally, we present the advantages and limitations of this approach.
Keywords: customization, design pattern, extensibility, Java Beans, tailoring
Tailoring as Collaboration: The Mediating Role of Multiple Representations and Application Units BIBAK 75-100
  Anders I. Morch; Nikolay D. Mehandjiev
In this paper we see tailoring as indirect long-term collaboration between developers and users: initiated by developers when they build software systems, and responded to by end users when they later tailor the systems. We have identified two features we consider important when supporting this kind of collaboration: multiple representations and application units. Their main benefit is that they can enhance communication between developers and users, hence making it easier for users to do the tailoring. We present two tailorable systems we have built to test these ideas. One of the systems (ECHOES) is a collaborative system based on multiple representations, and the other system (BasicDraw) is an individual productivity tool based on multiple representations and application units. We discuss lessons learned from the two projects and suggest directions for future work, including identifying some challenges that need to be overcome in order to bring end-user tailoring out of the prototyping laboratory and into user organizations.
Keywords: application units, end-user tailoring, indirect long-term collaboration, multiple representations, tailorable software systems
Users as Composers: Parts and Features as a Basis for Tailorability in CSCW Systems BIBA 101-122
  Gunnar Teege
Tailoring CSCW systems by composing components has received some attention in the last few years. The underlying ideas and techniques usually come from the domain of software engineering. We take a closer look at the specific situation and requirements when applying composition for tailoring CSCW systems and relate it to other kinds of tailoring mechanisms. We then describe the different approach of feature composition, originating from the domain of telecommunication networks. Roughly, the difference can be characterized as composing either parts or properties ("features"). We argue, that in many cases feature composition is better suited for tailoring CSCW systems than the normal approach. Hence, feature composition should be applied, in addition to the normal approach, in tailorable CSCW systems. We show how both approaches can be combined in a single system and demonstrate their use with an example from the workflow management domain.component architectures, customization, feature composition, feature interactions, integration, tailoring
Tailoring Groupware: The Cooperative Hypermedia Approach BIBA 123-146
  Weigang Wang; Jorg M. Haake
Tailoring groupware has to deal with adapting properties of a shared information space as well as with adapting properties of the cooperation support to the group's needs. In this paper, an approach for tailoring both aspects of groupware in an integrated fashion is proposed. This approach uses cooperative hypermedia as a unifying representation of shared information structures, functionality, and the coordination medium of a shared application. It enables cooperative definition of shared information structures, shared process models and their access models not only before collaboration starts, but also on the fly, when emergent processes evolve. The proposed approach addresses tailoring at all stages of the development and use of a groupware application. A prototype system called CHIPS is presented and different possibilities of tailoring in CHIPS are discussed. Examples of CHIPS demonstrate that the cooperative hypermedia approach to tailoring groupware can support the adaptation to different evolving tasks and processes performed by changing teams.access control, cooperative hypermedia, flexibility, group process, information structure, meta-model, tailoring

JCSCW 2000 Volume 9 Issue 2

Editorial BIB 155
  Kjeld Schmidt
Temporal Coordination -- On Time and Coordination of Collaborative Activities at a Surgical Department BIBA 157-187
  Jakob E. Bardram
An activity is inseparably bound up with time, and interdependent cooperative activities thus need to be coordinated in time. The nature of time is therefore an ever-present issue in the design of computer systems supporting coordination. Based on Activity Theory this paper defines the concept of Temporal Coordination. Then, based on in-depth studies of the socio-temporal aspects of coordinating cooperative work at hospitals, the paper explores this notion of temporal coordination. This analysis identifies some of the highly intertwined temporal problems, constraints, interests, and conflicts, which arise when work subject to temporal limits is to be coordinated. The paper then introduces the PATIENT SCHEDULER, which is a prototype designed during this project to illustrate how aspects of temporal coordination can be supported by computer technology.Activity Theory, coordination technology, hospitals, scheduling, systems design, Temporal Coordination, time management
Workflow Systems: Occasions for Success and Failure BIBA 189-214
  Rebecca E. Grinter
Workflow technologies have created considerable discussion within the computer supported cooperative work community. Although a number of theoretical and empirical warnings about the difficulties of workflow systems have appeared, the technologies continue to be built and sold. This paper examines the use of one workflow-like system and outlines three cases when the technology supported the work of its users. Comparing these successful occasions with some reports of difficulties, this paper draws conclusions about the circumstances that led to tool usage.configuration management (CM), empirical studies, software development, workflow systems
Talking Work: Language-games, Organisations and Computer Supported Cooperative Work BIBA 215-237
  Andy Crabtree
This paper asks the question: how might CSCW system design obtain and be informed by an adequate real-world, real-time understanding of work and organisation on any occasion of work-oriented design? The problem is not a new one but foundational within contemporary research and development communities. Building on established, albeit contentious, sociological reasoning within CSCW, this paper proposes that existing approaches may be complemented through a methodological or procedural attention to the relationship between language, work and the local production of organisation. As such, this paper outlines a practical strategy or approach towards producing real-world understandings of work and organisation within the constraints of design. The approach is derived from work and lessons learnt in conducting ethnographic studies in the course of accomplishing the Dragon Project; an interdisciplinary project involved in the development of a production version prototype of a global customer service system supporting the commercial activities of a large geographically distributed shipping company.distributed organisations, ethnography, instances, language-game, mapping grammar, problem-solution space for design
The Organisation in Ethnography -- A Discussion of Ethnographic Fieldwork Programs in CSCW BIBA 239-264
  R. H. R. Harper
Ethnography is now one of the key approaches used within the CSCW community to specify the role of computer based systems in work practice. Yet what ethnography involves as a program of inquiries is only discussed in a piecemeal way in the literature. This paper attempts to make up for that absence by describing one fieldwork program (or programme) developed over a number of projects in which ethnography has been allied with computer systems and work practice design. The discussions will be of interest to both expert practitioners of ethnography and novices.computer systems design, CSCW, ethnography, methods, organisations, the International Monetary Fund, work practice

JCSCW 2000 Volume 9 Issue 3/4

Introduction to the Special Issue on Adaptive Workflow Systems BIB 265-267
  Mark Klein; Chrysanthos Dellarocas; Abraham Bernstein
Techniques for Supporting Dynamic and Adaptive Workflow BIBA 269-292
  Peter J. Kammer; Gregory Alan Bolcer; Richard N. Taylor; Arthur S. Hitomi; Mark Bergman
The unpredictability of business processes requires that workflow systems support exception handling with the ability to dynamically adapt to the changing environment. Traditional approaches to handling this problem have fallen short, providing little support for change, particularly once the process has begun execution. Further, exceptions vary widely in their character and significance, challenging the application of any single approach to handling them. We briefly discuss the classification of exceptions, highlighting differing impacts on the workflow model. Based on this discussion, we suggest principal goals to address in the development of adaptive workflow support, including strategies for avoiding exceptions, detecting them when they occur, and handling them at various levels of impact. We then identify a number of specific approaches to supporting these goals within the design of a workflow system infrastructure. Finally, we describe the implementation of many of these approaches in the Endeavors workflow support system.business processes, distributed workflow, dynamic/adaptive workflow, Endeavors, exceptions, workflow management systems
ML-DEWS: Modeling Language to Support Dynamic Evolution within Workflow Systems BIBA 293-333
  Clarence Ellis; Karim Keddara
Organizations that are geared for success within today's business environments must be capable of rapid and continuous change. Dynamic change is a large and pervasive problem which surfaces within organizational workflows as well as within soft ware engineering, manufacturing, and numerous other domains. Procedural changes, performed in an ad hoc manner, can cause inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and catastrophic breakdowns within organizations. This document is concerned with change, especially dynamic change, to organizational procedures. We explain a taxonomy of change modalities, and present a modeling language for the unambiguous specification of procedural change. This language, call ML-DEWS, complements the formal model of dynamic change previously presented by the authors. Issues of exception handling, temporal specification, and participatory change are conveniently handled within the framework presented in this document.case migration, change modalities, dynamic procedural change
A Light Workflow Management System Using Simple Process Models BIBA 335-363
  Alessandra Agostini; Giorgio de Michelis
Workflow management systems are considered a hot technology. Nevertheless, up to now they have not had the diffusion other packages such as productivity tools, E-mail systems and groupware platforms have. We believe that this fact is due to the many limitations of current workflow technology (weak support for changes; complex exception handling mechanisms; limited openness to and integrability with other system components;) and that radically new workflow management systems should be designed and developed in order to offer adequate products to the market. In this paper, we outline the main innovative features of the workflow management component of the Milano system making it highly flexible and adaptable. Particular attention is paid to its modelling framework, which is based on a class of net systems well supported by efficient algorithms, and to the services it offers to both workflow designers and actors. The most relevant aspects of the MILANO workflow management system are also illustrated through a realistic example.dynamic changes, exception handling, Petri Nets, process models, workflow management systems
Supporting Different Dimensions of Adaptability in Workflow Modeling BIBA 365-397
  Monica Divitini; Carla Simone
This paper discusses the theme of workflow system adaptability in relation to process modeling. Starting from a discussion on the role of formal constructs in cooperation, the main claim is that adaptability involves different dimensions of process modeling. These dimensions concern the possibility to flexibly combine a rich set of basic categories in order to obtain the most suitable language for modeling the target business process and the work practices around it; to take into account various levels of visibility of the contexts of definition and use of a process model; and finally to allow for temporary as well as permanent modifications of the process itself. Ariadne, a notation conceived for the above purpose, is illustrated by means of a working example. Moreover, the paper presents the main design principles governing Ariadne's implementation.agent-based architectures, articulation work, coordination mechanism, process modeling
A Knowledge-based Approach to Handling Exceptions in Workflow Systems BIBA 399-412
  Mark Klein; Chrysanthos Dellarocas
This paper describes a novel knowledge-based approach for helping workflow process designers and participants better manage the exceptions (deviations from an ideal collaborative work process caused by errors, failures, resource or requirements changes etc.) that can occur during the enactment of a workflow. This approach is based on exploiting a generic and reusable body of knowledge concerning what kinds of exceptions can occur in collaborative work processes, and how these exceptions can handled (detected, diagnosed and resolved). This work builds upon previous efforts from the MIT Process Handbook project and from research on conflict management in collaborative design.adaptation, failure handling, process exception, re-design
Configuration for Adaptation -- A Human-centered Approach to Flexible Workflow Enactment BIBA 413-434
  Gert Faustmann
The advantages of today's process management, such as efficiency and quality aspects, are achieved by enforcing detailed models of work processes. However, real world processes can be planned to a limited degree only and sometimes planned parts of the process must be changed, creating a need for additional, unforeseen activities. This paper suggests an approach that configures parts of a detailed process model with different support strategies. The explicit modelling of these support strategies allows them to be changed if demanded by the situation. When enacting such a process model it is then possible to vary the degree to which the model determines the work of individuals. The concept is based on an earlier enactment concept which allowed workers to freely choose methods for their tasks according to the situation. Besides the incorporation of different support strategies, the extended enactment strategy gives workers the opportunity to negotiate about changing a currently too restrictive support strategy, giving scope for deviations from the planned process where additional actions are required.adaptive workflow, exception handling, flexibility, process model hierarchy, workflow management
Work-arounds and Boundary Crossing in a High Tech Optronics Company: The Role of Co-operative Workflow Technologies BIBA 435-455
  Niall Hayes
This study examines how some employees coped with the exceptions that they encountered with their on-going use of a co-operative workflow technology in an optronics company. By drawing on the case material, this paper will indicate that approaches which view work as being capable of being planned and managed through the formal authority of the hierarchy are insufficient. Instead, this paper will suggest that exception handling, work-arounds and improvisation are more characteristic of human activity. Computer supported co-operative work will be conceptualised as being embedded in a dynamic relationship between the context it is situated within, and the actors that engage in it. The principles underlying ethnography have informed the research approach.collaborative workflow technology, CSCW, ethnography, exception handling, improvisation, interpretive study, work-arounds