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Computer Supported Cooperative Work 12

Editors:Kjeld Schmidt
Publisher:Kluwer Academic Publishing
Standard No:ISSN 0925-9724
Links:www.wkap.nl | Table of Contents
  1. JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 1
  2. JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 2
  3. JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 3
  4. JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 4

JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 1

The Camera as an Actor: Design-in-Use of Telemedicine Infrastructure in Surgery BIBAK 1-20
  Margunn Aanestad
This paper describes the evolving interrelationship between a pre-established work practice and a new technology, with an emphasis on how the technology itself participates in the process and introduces changes, while at the same time being changed itself. The case study concerns the introduction of multimedia communication technology into a surgical operating theatre. Concepts from Actor-network theory are found to provide a useful perspective on the description and analysis of the case. The technology and the work practice are viewed as a new heterogeneous actor-network, whose configuration changed continuously. These changes are conceptualised as alignment attempts where the different actants' interests are translated and inscribed into e.g. artefacts, rules or routines. The alignment of this heterogeneous network was achieved through a continuous process of design, test and redesign of different configurations of people, practices and artefacts. The relevance of the findings is discussed, related to how we may think about design of open and generic technologies. Viewing design as design of configurations; the creation of a well-working mix of people, practices and artefacts, may be a helpful and relevant design metaphor.
Keywords: actor-network theory, alignment, configuration, design-in-use, health care, inscriptions, telemedicine, translations, video-mediated communication, work practice
Synchronizations in Team Automata for Groupware Systems BIBAK 21-69
  Maurice H. Ter Beek; Clarence A. Ellis; Jetty Kleijn; Grzegorz Rozenberg
Team automata have been proposed in Ellis (1997) as a formal framework for modeling both the conceptual and the architectural level of groupware systems. Here we define team automata in a mathematically precise way in terms of component automata which synchronize on certain executions of actions. At the conceptual level, our model serves as a formal framework in which basic groupware notions can be rigorously defined and studied. At the architectural level, team automata can be used as building blocks in the design of groupware systems.
Keywords: CSCW, formalization, groupware systems, master-slave, peer-to-peer, synchronizations, team automata framework
A Patchwork Planet: Integration and Cooperation in Hospitals BIBAK 71-95
  Gunnar Ellingsen; Eric Monteiro
The 'seamless' integration of a collection of information systems has been recognised as vital in promoting and realising the collaborative aspects of work. This emphasis on the collaborative role of integration supplements other studies in CSCW focusing on more singular tools for collaboration. Empirically, we analyse the design and use of an electronic patient record system (EPR) in large hospitals in Norway. We discuss the conditions for and types of integration of EPR with the host of related information systems in hospitals. We formulate design principles for the integration of collaborative information systems based on a pragmatic study of the productive role of redundant, fragmented and ambiguous information.
Keywords: ambiguity, collaborative work practices, electronic patient records (EPR), fragmentation, hospital information systems, integration, redundancy
Infrastructure Management as Cooperative Work: Implications for Systems Design BIBAK 97-122
  Robert J. Sandusky
This 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 techniques 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. 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: boundary objects, communities of practice, CSCW, distributed supervisory control, information compounds, real-time supervisory control

Book Review

"Workplace Studies: Recovering Work Practice and Informing System Design," edited by Paul Luff, Jon Hindmarsh and Christian C. Heath BIB 123-125
  Pamela Hinds
"People in Control: Human Factors in Control Room Design," edited by Jan Noyes and Matthew Bransby BIB 127-131
  Erik Vinkhuyzen
"Wireless World -- Social and Interactional Aspects of the Mobile Age," edited by Barry Brown, Nicola Green and Richard Harper BIB 133-136
  Oskar Juhlin

JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 2

The Role of Objects in Design Co-Operation

The Role of Objects in Design Co-Operation: Communication through Physical or Virtual Objects BIB 145-151
  Claudia Eckert; Jean-Francois Boujut
Against Ambiguity BIBAK 158-183
  Martin Stacey; Claudia Eckert
This paper argues that the widespread belief that ambiguity is beneficial in design communication stems from conceptual confusion. Communicating imprecise, uncertain and provisional ideas is a vital part of design teamwork, but what is uncertain and provisional needs to be expressed as clearly as possible. Understanding what uncertainty information designers can and should communicate, and how, is an urgent task for research. Viewing design communication as conveying permitted spaces for further designing is a useful rationalisation for understanding what designers need from their notations and computer tools, to achieve clear communication of uncertain ideas. The paper presents a typology of ways that designs can be uncertain. It discusses how sketches and other representations of designs can be both intrinsically ambiguous, and ambiguous or misleading by failing to convey information about uncertainty and provisionality, with reference to knitwear design, where communication using inadequate representations causes severe problems. It concludes that systematic use of meta-notations for conveying provisionality and uncertainty can reduce these problems.
Keywords: ambiguity, collaborative design, communication, knitwear, knowledge level, metanotation, negotiation, sketching
Boundary Objects and Prototypes at the Interfaces of Engineering Design BIBAK 185-203
  Eswaran Subrahmanian; Ira Monarch; Suresh Konda; Helen Granger; Russ Milliken; Arthur Westerberg
The primary hypothesis of this paper is that internal and external changes in design and manufacturing organizations affect the viability of boundary objects (representations, drawings, models -- virtual and physical) and require changes in the underlying distributed cognitive models. Internal and external factors include new advances in technologies, insights into organizational processes, organizational restructuring and change of market focus. If the above hypothesis is true, then there are consequences for the methodologies of designing computational support systems for co-operative engineering work. We provide evidence by describing three empirical studies of engineering design we have performed in large organizations. We investigate how changing technologies disrupt the common grounds among interfaces and how this opens debate on the role of boundary objects, especially in the product visualization and analysis arena. We then argue that changes in market forces and other factors leading to changes in organizational structures often lead to erosion of common understanding of representations and prototypes, above all at the interfaces. We conclude by making the case that every structural and information flow change in engineering organizations is accompanied by the potential deterioration of the common ground. This requires the synthesis of new common grounds to accommodate the needs of new interfaces.
Keywords: boundary objects, cognitive models, engineering design, interfaces
Intermediary Objects as a Means to Foster Co-operation in Engineering Design BIBAK 205-219
  Jean-Francois Boujut; Eric Blanco
In this paper we argue that co-operation is a particular way to co-ordinate an industrial activity and that it is particularly suited to collaborative design activity. Through a well documented case study of the development of a front truck axle, we point out several key features of co-operation in an industrial setting. We particularly pay attention to the interfaces between the actors involved in the collaborative process. We observed the pre-eminence of the representations and the objects created, manipulated, and finally we claim that they support knowledge creation and therefore allow the development of a common understanding of the design situation (i.e. the problem and the solution). We propose the concept of "intermediary object" as a conceptual framework for the involvement of objects in the design process. We demonstrate the power of this concept in the analysis and modelling of particular design situations and in the development of specific objects that foster co-operation in real design situations.
Keywords: collaborative design, computer aided design, concurrent engineering, empirical studies, intermediary objects
Design Tools and Framing Practices BIBAK 221-239
  Friedrich Glock
In the paper design processes are conceived as social processes of interpretation and construction of meaning, and potentially of context generation. A reconstructive approach to design research is suggested which studies design processes in terms of social interaction. Designers' interpretative works are based on their capabilities acquired through enculturation, like practices, routines, and skilled use of tools. Examples taken from case studies are described and some concepts for description are suggested. Descriptive design research might be more apt in stimulating designers' reflections on their practices and routines and thereby initiating learning processes rather than yet another design method.
Keywords: case study, design methodology, design practices, design tools, representations

JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 3

Making a Case in Medical Work: Implications for the Electronic Medical Record BIBAK 241-266
  Mark Hartswood; Rob Procter; Mark Rouncefield; Roger Slack
The introduction of the electronic medical record (EMR) is widely seen by healthcare policy makers and service managers alike as a key step in the achievement of more efficient and integrated healthcare services. However, our study of inter-service work practices reveals important discrepancies between the presumptions of the role of the EMR in achieving service integration and the ways in which medical workers actually use and communicate patient information. These lead us to doubt that technologies like the EMR can deliver their promised benefits unless there is a better understanding of the work they are intended to support and the processes used in its development and deployment become significantly more user-led.
Keywords: collaborative work, CSCW design, electronic medical record, healthcare, membership categorisation, service integration
The Gift of the Gab?: A Design Oriented Sociology of Young People's Use of Mobiles BIBAK 267-296
  Alex S. Taylor; Richard Harper
This paper reports ethnographically informed observations of the use of mobile phones and text messaging services amongst young people. It offers a sociological explanation for the popularity of text messaging and for the sharing of mobile phones between co-proximate persons. Specifically, it reveals that young people use mobile phone content and the phones themselves to participate in the practices of gift exchange. By viewing mobile phone use in this way, the paper suggests a number of possibilities for future phone-based applications and supporting hardware.
Keywords: design, ethnography, mobile phones, mobiles, phones, short messaging, SMS, teenagers, texting, texters, young people
Recomposition: Coordinating a Web of Software Dependencies BIBAK 297-327
  Rebecca E. Grinter
In this paper, I revisit the concept of recomposition -- all the work that development organizations do to make sure that their product fits together and into a broader environment of other technologies. Technologies, such as Configuration Management (CM) systems, can ameliorate some of a software development team's need to engage in recomposition. However, technological solutions do not scale to address other kinds of recomposition needs. This paper focuses on various organizational responses to the need for recomposition. By organizational response, I mean how individuals engage in recomposition so that the organization can assemble software systems from parts. Specifically, I describe how those responses are manifested in the day-to-day communications and responsibilities of individuals throughout the organization. I also highlight how changes in an organization complicate recomposition. The paper concludes with a discussion of three features of software development work that are revealed by recomposition: the affects of environmental disturbances on development work, the types of dependencies that require recomposition, and the images of organizations required to manage the recomposition.
Keywords: empirical studies, recomposition, software development
Tree-Based Concurrency Control in Distributed Groupware BIBAK 329-350
  Mihail Ionescu; Ivan Marsic
We present a novel algorithm, called dARB, for solving the concurrency control problem in distributed collaborative applications. The main issue of concurrency control is resolving the conflicts resulting from simultaneous actions of multiple users. The algorithm reduces the need for manual conflict resolution by using a distributed arbitration scheme. The main advantages of our approach are the simplicity of use and good responsiveness, as there are no lock mechanisms. Our algorithm requires the applications to use a tree as the internal data structure. This makes it application independent and suitable for general collaborative applications. The tree requirement is reasonable since many new applications use XML (extensible Markup Language) for data representation and exchange, and parsing XML documents results in tree structures. Example applications of the algorithm, a group text editor and a collaborative 3D virtual environment called cWorld, are implemented and evaluated in the DISCIPLE collaboration framework. We also introduce awareness widgets that users avoid generating the conflicting events and help in manual conflict resolution.
Keywords: concurrency control, distributed algorithms, groupware
A Citation Analysis of Influences on Collaborative Computing Research BIBAK 351-366
  Clyde W. Holsapple; Wenhong Luo
Collaborative computing has emerged as a major subject of study within the field of business computing. It is concerned with the use of computers to facilitate or enable the work of multiple participants engaged in collaborative ventures. Researchers and educators can benefit from an analysis that identifies journals with greatest impacts on development of the collaborative computing subject area. The benefits include an appreciation of the top outlets for publishing and the leading sources for monitoring development in collaborative computing research, plus the most important reference discipline journals for finding support for these developments. This study employs a citation analysis methodology to determine the journals that have had the greatest influence on multiparticipant, collaborative computing research. Over 19,000 citations from four base journals across an 8-year period are collected and analyzed.
Keywords: citation analysis, collaborative computing, influential journals, journal rankings

JCSCW 2003 Volume 12 Issue 4

Evolving Use of Groupware

Introduction to Special Issue on Evolving Use of Groupware BIB 367-380
  J. H. Erik Andriessen; Marike Hettinga; Volker Wulf
Creating Heterogeneity -- Evolving Use of Groupware in a Network of Freelancers BIBAK 381-409
  Bettina Torpel; Volkmar Pipek; Markus Rittenbruch
This contribution is a long-term study of the evolving use of the organization-wide groupware in a service network. We are describing the practices related to organization-wide groupware in conjunction with local groupware-related practices and how they have proceeded since the organization was established. In the discussion of these practices we are focussing on issues such as: 1. tendencies for proliferation and integration, 2. local appropriations of a variety of systems, 3. creative appropriations, including the creation of a unique heterogeneous groupware fabric, 4. the design strategy of multiple parallel experimental use and 5. the relation between disparate local meanings and successful computer supported cooperative practice. As an overarching theme we are exploring the explanatory value of the concepts of objectification and appropriation as compared to the concepts of design vs. use.
Keywords: evolving use, freelancers, groupware fabric, multiple approaches of groupware use, multiple parallel experimental use, objectification and appropriation, organization-wide groupware, Participatory Design, service network
Virtual Teams and the Appropriation of Communication Technology: Exploring the Concept of Media Stickiness BIBAK 411-436
  Marleen Huysman; Charles Steinfield; Chyng-Yang Jang; Kenneth David; Mirjam Huis in 't Veld; Jan Poot; Ingrid Mulder
This paper reports on an exploratory study of the evolving use of communication tools by six globally distributed teams. The analysis suggest that although teams have similar start-up conditions they evolve in different ways. We describe these differences as being a result of the different routine patterns of media use that the team members mutually enacted. Based on an analysis of six US-Dutch virtual teams, we propose the notion of 'media stickiness', a phenomenon the teams experienced during the process of structuring media-use patterns. We will argue that in the case of virtual teams, the evolution of media usage seems to be path dependent. Steps taken by a team in the early stages of its life cycle constrain later flexibility in terms of media usage. Media stickiness has several implications both for the way to manage virtual teams as well as for the way teams deal with information problems that seem to be endemic for global virtual teams.
Keywords: appropriation, communication technology, media stickiness, virtual teams
Constructing Interdependencies with Collaborative Information Technology BIBA 437-464
  Helena Karsten
Interdependencies are constructed when people gradually build mutual relationships between themselves. In this study the focus is on interdependencies at work, in long-term projects or groups. Viewing interdependence relationships dynamically, as social practices, it is possible to appreciate the complex and situated nature of this formation. The main goal of the study is to develop a theoretical account of the dynamics of the intertwined processes of interdependence construction and collaborative technology appropriation and use. The main dimensions of this account are: (1) how interdependence is constructed and established as a social process, (2) how information and communication are involved in these processes, and (3) in what ways collaborative information technology can contribute to or hamper these processes. The first dimension builds upon structuration theory. Three earlier case studies are re-visited with the approach, with the outcome of several issues to be explored. The theoretical approach opens up an extensive research program of interdependence construction in relation to collaborative information technology appropriation and use.
The Appropriation of Interactive Technologies: Some Lessons from Placeless Documents BIBAK 465-490
  Paul Dourish
Appropriation is the process by which people adopt and adapt technologies, fitting them into their working practices. It is similar to customisation, but concerns the adoption patterns of technology and the transformation of practice at a deeper level. Understanding appropriation is a key problem for developing interactive systems, since it critical to the success of technology deployment. It is also an important research issue, since appropriation lies at the intersection of workplace studies and design. Most accounts of appropriation in the research literature have taken a social perspective. In contrast, this paper explores appropriation in terms of the technical features that support it. Drawing examples from applications developed as part of a novel document management system, it develops an initial set of design principles for appropriable technologies. These principles are particularly relevant to component-based approaches to system design that blur the traditional application boundaries.
Keywords: appropriation, customisation, deployment, design, document management, flexibility, visibility