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Computer Supported Cooperative Work 13

Editors:Kjeld Schmidt
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 0925-9724
Links:springerlink.metapress.com | Table of Contents
  1. JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 1
  2. JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 2
  3. JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 3/4
  4. JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 5/6

JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 1

Adapting Virtual Reality for the Participatory Design of Work Environments BIBAKFull-Text 1-33
  Roy C. Davies
This paper describes the evolution of a standard PC-based virtual reality tool which has been adapted for the participatory design of work environments. Tool features, method of control and combination with other participatory design tools are investigated in the context of a particular design situation. This research is aimed at participatory design facilitators to aid in the adaptation of similar virtual reality systems for a similar purpose. The context of this work is the EnvisionmentWorkshop, in which a group of workers participate with design experts in using full-scale modelling, pedagogical drama, and democratic meetings to (re)design their workplace. A series of prototypes have been developed and tested during the design of a new university in the region using a case study methodology to provide high ecological validity. These were preceded by a task analysis, brainstorming and pilot study. The results suggest that such a tool can be constructed and used successfully by a small group of people using projected virtual reality. However larger groups suffer from a bottleneck at the input devices such that a virtual reality expert must take control and build what the participants wish.
Keywords: envisionment foundry - multiple-case study - participatory design - virtual reality - work environments
Small-Scale Classification Schemes: A Field Study of Requirements Engineering BIBAKFull-Text 35-61
  Morten Hertzum
Small-scale classification schemes are used extensively in the coordination of cooperative work. This study investigates the creation and use of a classification scheme for handling the system requirements during the redevelopment of a nation-wide information system. This requirements classification inherited a lot of its structure from the existing system and rendered requirements that transcended the framework laid out by the existing system almost invisible. As a result, the requirements classification became a defining element of the requirements-engineering process, though its main effects remained largely implicit. The requirements classification contributed to constraining the requirements-engineering process by supporting the software engineers in maintaining some level of control over the process. This way, the requirements classification provided the software engineers with an important means of discretely balancing the contractual aspect of requirements engineering against facilitating the users in an open-ended search for their system requirements. The requirements classification is analysed in terms of the complementary concepts of boundary objects and coordination mechanisms. While coordination mechanisms focus on how classification schemes enable cooperation among people pursuing a common goal, boundary objects embrace the implicit consequences of classification schemes in situations involving conflicting goals. Moreover, the requirements specification focused on functional requirements and provided little information about why these requirements were considered relevant. This stands in contrast to the discussions at the project meetings where the software engineers made frequent use of both abstract goal descriptions and concrete examples to make sense of the requirements. This difference between the written requirements specification and the oral discussions at the meetings may help explain software engineers' general preference for people, rather than documents, as their information sources.
Keywords: classification schemes - conceptual design - cooperative work - coordination - requirements engineering - requirements specification - small-scale classification
Empirical Study on Collaborative Writing: What Do Co-authors Do, Use, and Like? BIBAKDOI 63-89
  Sylvie Noel; Jean-Marc Robert
How do people work when they are collaborating to write a document? What kind of tools do they use and, in particular, do they resort to groupware for this task? Forty-one people filled out a questionnaire placed on the World Wide Web. In spite of the existence of specialized collaborative writing tools, most respondents reported using individual word processors and email as their main tools for writing joint documents. Respondents noted the importance of functions such as change tracking, version control, and synchronous work for collaborative writing tools. This study also confirmed the great variability that exists between collaborative writing projects, whether it be group membership, management, writing strategy, or scheduling issues.
Keywords: CSCW: Computer Supported Collaborative Work - computer supported collaborative writing - collaboration - collaborative writing - groupware
From Cards to Code: How Extreme Programming Re-Embodies Programming as a Collective Practice BIBAKFull-Text 91-117
  Adrian MacKenzie; Simon Monk
This paper discusses Extreme Programming (XP), a relatively new and increasingly popular 'user-centred' software design approach. Extreme Programming proposes that collaborative software development should be centred on the practices of programming. That proposal contrasts strongly with more heavily instrumented, formalised and centrally managed software engineering methodologies. The paper maps the interactions of an Extreme Programming team involved in building a commercial organisational knowledge management system. Using ethnographic techniques, it analyses how this particular style of software development developed in a given locality, and how it uniquely hybridised documents, conversations, software tools and office layout in that locality. It examines some of the many artifices, devices, techniques and talk that come together as a complicated contemporary software system is produced. It argues that XP's emphasis on programming as the coreactivity and governing metaphor can only be understood in relation to competing overtly formal software engineering approaches and the organisational framing of software development. XP, it suggests, gains traction by re-embodying the habits of programming as a collective practice.
Keywords: co-ordination work - ethnography - extreme programming - software development techniques - user-centred design

JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 2

Ambiguities, Awareness and Economy: A Study of Emergency Service Work BIBAKFull-Text 125-154
  Marten Pettersson; Dave Randall; Bo Helgeson
This paper derives from a study undertaken at an emergency service centre by researchers at the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. It forms part of a project involving partners at the university and in Swedish emergency service centres. The focus in this project was on the possibility of developing new technology for use in these centres. One vision for the new technology is to support distribution of calls and handling of cases across several centres. Historically the work has been conducted in a number of different centres, where responsibilities are thus primarily geographically localised and where, as a result, practices in the different centres may be distinctively local.
   The study has focused on features of work familiar to the CSCW community, including documenting and analysing current work practices, understanding the properties of the technology in question, and perhaps most importantly how the technology functions in use. Our focus in this paper exemplifies these themes through the analysis of three cases. In the first, the issue in question is the way in which an emergency is identified and dealt with, it being the case that a typical problem to be dealt with by operators, and more commonly in the days of mobile telephony, is that of multiple reporting of a single case. Of particular interest here is the phenomenon of listening-in, which is a function in the Computer Aided Dispatch system and by contrast that of 'overhearing', which is not. The second and third cases focus on the relevance of large paper maps, given the existence of computerized maps in these centres. Based on our own analysis and on work done by others in similar contexts, we develop an argument for a sense of organizational relevance that hopefully integrates existing analytic interests in emergency service work.
Keywords: ambiguity - awareness - control room study - design - emergency handling - ethnography - ethnomethodology - field study - safety critical work - technology-in-use
Organizational Memory as Objects, Processes, and Trajectories: An Examination of Organizational Memory in Use BIBAKFull-Text 155-189
  Mark S. Ackerman; Christine Halverson
For proper knowledge management, organizations must consider how knowledge is kept and reused. The term organizational memory is due for an overhaul. Memory appears to be everywhere in organizations; yet, the term has been limited to only a few uses. Based on an ethnographic study of a telephone hotline group, this paper presents a micro-level, distributed cognition analysis of two hotline calls, the work activity surrounding the calls, and the memory used in the work activity. Drawing on the work of Star, Hutchins, and Strauss, the paper focuses on issues of applying past information for current use. Our work extends Strauss' and Hutchins' trajectories to get at the understanding of potential future use by participants and its role in current information storage. We also note the simultaneously shared provenance and governance of multiple memories - human and technical. This analysis and the theoretical framework we construct should be to be useful in further efforts in describing and analyzing organizational memory within the context of knowledge management efforts.
Keywords: boundary objects - collective memory - contextualization - corporate memory - distributed cognition - information reuse - knowledge management - memory reuse - organizational memory - trajectories of information
Domestic Routines and Design for the Home BIBFull-Text 191-220
  Andy Crabtree; Tom Rodden

JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 3/4

Introduction to Special Issue on Context-Aware Computing in CSCW BIBDOI 221-222
  Albrecht Schmidt; Tom Gross; Mark Billinghurst
A Historical View of Context BIBAKFull-Text 223-247
  Matthew Chalmers
This paper examines a number of the approaches, origins and ideals of context-aware systems design, looking particularly at the way that history influences what we do in our ongoing activity. As a number of sociologists and philosophers have pointed out, past social interaction, as well as past use of the heterogeneous mix of media, tools and artifacts that we use in our everyday activity, influence our ongoing interaction with the people and media at hand. We suggest that ones experience and history is thus part of ones current context, with patterns of use temporally and subjectively combining and interconnecting different media as well as different modes of use of those media. One such mode of use is transparent use, put forward by Weiser as ubicomps design ideal. One theoretical finding is that this design ideal is unachievable or incomplete because transparent and more focused analytical use are interdependent, affecting and feeding into each other through ones experience and history. Using these theoretical points, we discuss a number of context-aware system designs that make good use of history in supporting ongoing user activity.
Keywords: adaptation - appropriation - context modelling - system design - theory - ubicomp
People-to-People-to-Geographical-Places: The P3 Framework for Location-Based Community Systems BIBAFull-Text 249-282
  Quentin Jones; Sukeshini A. Grandhi; Loren Terveen; Steve Whittaker
In this paper we examine an emerging class of systems that link People-to-People-to-Geographical-Places; we call these P3-Systems. Through analyzing the literature, we have identified four major P3-System design techniques: People-Centered systems that use either absolute user location (e.g. Active Badge) or user proximity (e.g. Hocman) and Place-Centered systems based on either a representation of peoples use of physical spaces (e.g. ActiveMap) or on a matching virtual space that enables online interaction linked to physical location (e.g. Geonotes). In addition, each feature can be instantiated synchronously or asynchronously. The P3-System framework organizes existing systems into meaningful categories and structures the design space for an interesting new class of potentially context-aware systems. Our discussion of the framework suggests new ways of understanding and addressing the privacy concerns associated with location aware community system and outlines additional socio-technical challenges and opportunities.
Modelling Shared Contexts in Cooperative Environments: Concept, Implementation, and Evaluation BIBAKFull-Text 283-303
  Tom Gross; Wolfgang Prinz
Users who work together require adequate information about their cooperative environment: about other group members presence and activities, about shared artefacts, etc. In the CSCW literature several concepts, prototypes, and systems for providing this group awareness information have been presented. In general, they capture information from the environment, process it, and present it to the users. This paper addresses the processing aspect; in particular, we present a concept for processing awareness information by means of awareness contexts. With this concept we address the problem of contextualising event notifications enabling the presentation of notifications in the appropriate user situation. We describe a lightweight model and its integration into an event and notification infrastructure. We report on an empirical study, and draw some conclusions for the design of context-awareness for cooperative environments.
Keywords: contexts - CSCW - evaluation - group awareness - modelling
Building Connections among Loosely Coupled Groups: Hebb's Rule at Work BIBAKFull-Text 305-327
  S. Carter; J. Mankoff; P. Goddi
Awareness of others interests can lead to fruitful collaborations, friendships and positive social change. Interviews of groups involved in both research and corporate work revealed a lack of awareness of shared interests among workers sharing an organizational affiliation and collocated in the same building or complex but still physically separated (e.g., by walls or floors). Our study showed that loosely coupled groups were less likely to discover shared interests in the way that many tightly collocated groups do, such as by overhearing conversations or noticing paraphernalia. Based on these findings we iteratively developed a system to capture and display shared interests. Our platform includes an e-mail sensor to discover personal interests, a search algorithm to determine shared interests, a public peripheral display and lightweight location-tracking system to convey those interests. We deployed the system to two groups for two months and found that the system did lead to increased awareness of shared interests.
Keywords: CSCW - social computing - peripheral displays - sensors
Building a Context Sensitive Telephone: Some Hopes and Pitfalls for Context Sensitive Computing BIBAKFull-Text 329-345
  Barry Brown; Rebecca Randell
Although the idea of making technology more context aware is an alluring one, this seemingly simple move hides a great deal of complexity. Even simple examples such as a context sensitive mobile phone which knows when not to ring, are unlikely to be successful. Any context sensitive technology is likely to make mistakes - like ringing in the middle of a film, or not ringing for an urgent call. Using three examples from fieldwork of alerting systems (two ringing phones and one medical alarm in a hospital), we suggest three guidelines for context systems which could genuinely assist users. First, we argue that context sensitive computing should be used defensively, where incorrect behaviour is tolerable. Second, that technology can provide structures to which people themselves can add context. Third, that technology can communicate context to users, allowing users to make sense of that contextual information themselves. Lastly we argue for an understanding of the long term use of technology use, dwelling with technology, a process which changes how the world is seen and experienced.
Keywords: alarms - context sensitive computing - dwelling - telephones

JCSCW 2004 Volume 13 Issue 5/6

Preface BIBFull-Text 347-348
  Carla Simone; Marilyn Tremaine
Ordering Systems: Coordinative Practices and Artifacts in Architectural Design and Planning BIBAKFull-Text 349-408
  Kjeld Schmidt; Ina Wagner
In their cooperative effort, architects depend critically on elaborate coordinative practices and artifacts. The article presents, on the basis of an in-depth study of architectural work, an analysis of these practices and artifacts and shows that they are multilaterally interrelated and form complexes of interrelated practices and artifacts which we have dubbed ordering systems. In doing so, the article outlines an approach to investigating and conceiving of such practices.
Keywords: architectural work - classification - coordinative artifacts - common information spaces - indexation - nomenclatures - notations
Push-to-Talk Social Talk BIBAKDOI 409-441
  Allison Woodruff; Paul M. Aoki
This paper presents an exploratory study of college-age students using two-way, push-to-talk cellular radios. We describe the observed and reported use of cellular radio by the participants. We discuss how the half-duplex, lightweight cellular radio communication was associated with reduced interactional commitment, which meant the cellular radios could be used for a wide range of conversation styles. One such style, intermittent conversation, is characterized by response delays. Intermittent conversation is surprising in an audio medium, since it is typically associated with textual media such as instant messaging. We present design implications of our findings.
Keywords: cellular radio - instant messaging - two-way radio - walkie-talkies
Increasing Workplace Independence for People with Cognitive Disabilities by Leveraging Distributed Cognition among Caregivers and Clients BIBAKFull-Text 443-470
  Stefan Carmien; Rogerio DePaula; Andrew Gorman; Anja Kintsch
This paper describes a group configuration that is currently employed to support the everyday living and working activities of people with cognitive disabilities. A client receiving face-to-face, often one-to-one, assistance from a dedicated human job coach is characteristic of this traditional configuration. We compare it with other group configurations that are used in cooperative and distributed work practices and propose an alternative configuration titled active distributed support system. In so doing, we highlight requirements that are unique to task support for people with cognitive disabilities. In particular, we assert that the knowledge of how to perform such activities is shared not only among people, but also between people and artifacts. There is a great potential for innovative uses of ubiquitous and mobile technologies to support these activities. A survey of technologies that have been developed to provide these individuals with greater levels of independence is then presented. These endeavors often attempt to replace human job coaches with computational cognitive aids. We discuss some limitations of such approaches and present a model and prototype that extends the computational job coach by incorporating human caregivers in a distributed one-to-many support system.
Keywords: active distributed support - disabilities - lifeline - MAPS - work group organization
Community-Building with Web-Based Systems - Investigating a Hybrid Community of Students BIBAKFull-Text 471-499
  Markus Rohde; Leonard Reinecke; Bernd Pape; Monique Janneck
This paper examines WiInf-Central, the virtual homeplace of a student community (on Information Systems) at the University of Hamburg, and focuses on processes of social identity and community-building. Drawing on social-identity theory and communities of practice as our theoretical basis, we illustrate that the processes of identity-building and positive in-group evaluation triggered by WiInf-Central serve as a means for students of Information Systems to assert themselves against faculty members and students of other disciplines. While our study reveals strong mechanisms of social exclusion, inclusion mechanisms have to be assessed in a more differentiated way. In particular, our study shows the emergence of several subgroups, which appear largely closed to other community members. We ascribe this to both the self-organized and the hybrid - half virtual, half real - nature of the community based on WiInf-Central.
Keywords: CommSy - communities of practice (COP) - e-community-building - hybrid and self-organized community of students - qualitative interviews - social identity theory (SIT)
Roles of Orientation in Tabletop Collaboration: Comprehension, Coordination and Communication BIBAKFull-Text 501-537
  Russell Kruger; Sheelagh Carpendale; Stacey D. Scott; Saul Greenberg
In order to support co-located collaboration, many researchers are now investigating how to effectively augment tabletops with electronic displays. As far back as 1988, orientation was recognized as a significant human factors issue that must be addressed by electronic tabletop designers. As with traditional tables, when people stand or sit at different positions around a horizontal display they will be viewing the contents from different angles. One common solution to this problem is to have the software reorient objects so that a given individual can view them right way up. Yet is this the best approach? If not, how do people actually use orientation on tables? To answer these questions, we conducted an observational study of collaborative activity on a traditional table. Our results show that the strategy of reorienting objects to a persons view is overly simplistic: while important, it is an incomplete view of how people exploit their ability to reorient objects. Orientation proves critical in how individuals comprehend information, how collaborators coordinate their actions, and how they mediate communication. The coordinating role of orientation is evident in how people establish personal and group spaces and how they signal ownership of objects. In terms of communication, orientation is useful in initiating communicative exchanges and in continuing to speak to individuals about particular objects and work patterns as collaboration progresses. The three roles of orientation have significant implications for the design of tabletop software and the assessment of existing tabletop systems.
Keywords: collaborative computing - co-located collaboration - computer-supported cooperative work - interface design - observational study - orientation - rotation - synchronous interaction - tabletop display
The MAUI Toolkit: Groupware Widgets for Group Awareness BIBAKFull-Text 539-571
  Jason Hill; Carl Gutwin
Group awareness is an important part of synchronous collaboration, and support for group awareness can greatly improve groupware usability. However, it is still difficult to build groupware that supports group awareness. To address this problem, we have developed the Multi-User Awareness UI toolkit (MAUI) toolkit, a Java toolkit with a broad suite of awareness-enhanced UI components. The toolkit contains both extensions of standard Swing widgets, and groupware-specific components such as telepointers. All components have added functionality for collecting, distributing, and visualizing group awareness information. The toolkit packages components as JavaBeans, allowing wide code reuse, easy integration with IDEs, and drag-and-drop creation of working group-aware interfaces. The toolkit provides the first ever set of UI widgets that are truly collaboration-aware, and provides them in a way that greatly simplifies the construction and testing of rich groupware interfaces.
Keywords: awareness - feedthrough - groupware interfaces - group widgets
Consistency Control for Synchronous and Asynchronous Collaboration Based on Shared Objects and Activities BIBAKFull-Text 573-602
  Jurgen Vogel; Werner Geyer; Li-Te Cheng; Michael Muller
We describe a new collaborative technology that bridges the gap between ad hoc collaboration in email and more formal collaboration in structured shared workspaces. Our approach is based on the notion of object-centric sharing, where users collaborate in a lightweight manner but aggregate and organize different types of shared artifacts into semi-structured activities with dynamic membership, hierarchical object relationships, as well as real-time and asynchronous collaboration. We present a working prototype that implements object-centric sharing on the basis of a replicated peer-to-peer architecture. In order to keep replicated data consistent in such a dynamic environment with blended synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, we designed appropriate consistency control algorithms, which we describe in detail. The performance of our approach is demonstrated by means of simulation results.
Keywords: ActivityExplorer - activity-centric collaboration - consistency control - object-centric sharing - peer-to-peer - replication - synchronous and asynchronous collaboration
Software Framework for Managing Heterogeneity in Mobile Collaborative Systems BIBAKFull-Text 603-638
  Carlos D. Correa; Ivan Marsic
Heterogeneity in mobile computing devices and application scenarios complicates the development of collaborative software systems. Heterogeneity includes disparate computing and communication capabilities, differences in users needs and interests, and semantic conflicts across different domains and representations. In this paper, we describe a software framework that supports mobile collaboration by managing several aspects of heterogeneity. Adopting graph as a common data structure for the application state representation enables us to develop a generic solution for handling the heterogeneities. The effect external forces, such as resource constraints and diverging user interests, can be quantified and controlled as relational and attribute heterogeneity of state graphs. When mapping the distributed replicas of the application state, the external forces inflict a loss of graph information, resulting in many-to-one correspondences of graph elements. A key requirement for meaningful collaboration is maintaining a consistent shared state across the collaborating sites. Our framework makes the best of maximizing the state consistency, while accommodating the external force constraints, primarily the efficient use of scarce system resources. Furthermore, we describe the mobility aspects of our framework, mainly its extension to peer-to-peer scenarios and situations of intermittent connectivity. We describe an implementation of our framework applied to the interoperation of shared graphics editors across multiple platforms, where users are able to share 2D and 3D virtual environments represented as XML documents. We also present performance results, namely resource efficiency and latency, which demonstrate its feasibility for mobile scenarios.
Keywords: collaborative systems - consistency maintenance - content adaptation - mobile computing - scene simplification