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Computer Supported Cooperative Work 15

Editors:Kjeld Schmidt
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 0925-9724
Links:springerlink.metapress.com | Table of Contents
  1. JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 1
  2. JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 2/3
  3. JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 4
  4. JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 5/6

JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 1

Computer Support for Social Awareness in Flexible Work BIBAKDOI 1-28
  Susanne Bødker; Ellen Christiansen
How do we conceptualize social awareness, and what support is needed to develop and maintain social awareness in flexible work settings? The paper begins by arguing the relevance of designing for social awareness in flexible work. It points out how social awareness is suspended in the field of tension that exists between the ephemerality and continuity of social encounters, exploring ways to construct identity through relationships by means of social encounters -- notably those that are accidental and unforced. We probe into this issue through design research: In particular, we present three exploratory prototyping processes in an open office setting (examining the concepts of a shared calendar, personal panels, and ambient awareness cues). Field studies, conducted in parallel, have contributed to a conceptual deconstruction of CSCW concepts, resulting in a focus on cues to relatedness, to belonging, and to care. Analyzing these three prototypes in their microcosmic usage setting results in specific recommendations for the three types of applications with respect to social awareness. The experiences indicate that the metaphors a 'shared mirror' and 'breadcrumbs' are promising foundations on which to base further design. We present these analyses and suggest that the metaphors work because of their ability to map experiences from the physical space into conceptual experiences. We conclude that social awareness in flexible work must be constructed indirectly, presenting itself as an option, rather than as a consequence of being able to overhear and oversee.
Keywords: 'new' offices; ambience; design research; flexibility; social awareness
Temporality in Medical Work: Time also Matters BIBAKDOI 29-53
  Madhu C. Reddy; Paul Dourish; Wanda Pratt
CSCW has long been concerned with the distribution of activities in time and in space, but the problems of distributed work have often taken analytic and technical precedence. In this paper, we are interested in the issue of temporality in collaborative work. In particular, we want to examine how the temporal organization of action is experienced by those who are involved in it. To investigate this phenomenon, we conducted a field study of medical workers in a surgical intensive care unit. Through this study, we highlight the temporal organization of the work. In particular, we introduce and describe three temporal features -- temporal trajectories, temporal rhythms, and temporal horizons -- that emerge from and influence the work of healthcare providers as they attempt to seek, provide, and manage information during the course of their daily work.
Keywords: collaborative work; medical work; information seeking; temporality
Sensemaking in Technology-Use Mediation: Adapting Groupware Technology in Organizations BIBAKDOI 55-91
  Jürgen P. Bansler; Erling Havn
Understanding how people in organizations appropriate and adapt groupware technologies to local contexts of use is a key issue for CSCW research, since it is critical to the success of these technologies. In this paper, we argue that the appropriation and adaptation of groupware and other types of advanced CSCW technologies is basically a problem of sensemaking. We analyze how a group of "technology-use mediators" (Orlikowski et al. Org. Sci. (1995) 6(4), 423) in a large, multinational company adapted a groupware technology (a "virtual workspace") to the local organizational context (and vice versa) by modifying features of the technology, providing ongoing support for users, and promoting appropriate conventions of use. Our findings corroborate earlier research on technology-use mediation, which suggests that such mediators can exert considerable influence on how a particular technology will be established and used in an organization. However, we also find that the process of technology-use mediation is much more complex and indeterminate than prior research suggests. The reason being, we argue, that new, advanced CSCW technologies, such as "virtual workspaces" and other groupware applications, challenge the mediators' and users' sensemaking, because the technologies are equivocal and, therefore, open to many possible and plausible interpretations.
Keywords: appropriation; customization; groupware; sensemaking; tailoring; technology adaptation

JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 2/3

Information Infrastructures for Distributed Collective Practices BIBFull-Text 93-110
  William Turner; Geoffrey Bowker; Les Gasser; Manuel Zacklad
Modern Information Infrastructure in the Support of Distributed Collective Practice in Transport BIBAKFull-Text 111-121
  John Leslie King
Transport is one of the oldest and most important forms of distributed collective practice. This paper traces the role of information and communication technologies in the transformation of transport-based distributed collective practice, focusing on the evolution of technologies that place control of the transport infrastructure in the hands of end users. Examples of this shift are provided, including an analysis of the events of September 11, 2001 as forms of distributed collective action.
Keywords: communications; distributed collective practice; information infrastructure; transportation; terrorism
Pushing the Distribution Model to its Limits: Distributed "listening" in a Helpline BIBAKFull-Text 123-148
  Christian Licoppe
Our case study explores the extent to which a "Distributed Cognition"-like ethnographic approach can be used to analyze situations which are not at first sight compatible with the precepts of computational cognition. In the first part of the paper, we analyze the collective listening of phone calls in a helpline. We show why collective listening can be considered a "distributed collective practice", with a mode of coordination based on repeated verbal re-enactments of difficult phone calls, rather than upon the discrete computational steps normally assumed in the standard model. In the second part of the paper, we analyse the organizational and interactional learning which takes place when collective listening is re-mediated by using e-mail exchanges rather than telephone conversations to communicate distress. Our conclusion discusses critically the viability of the distribution model in a context of collective listening.
Keywords: cooperative work; distributed cognition; distribution models; email-based interaction; phone-based interaction
Experiences in Automating the Analysis of Linguistic Interactions for the Study of Distributed Collectives BIBAKFull-Text 149-183
  Gabriel Ripoche; Jean-Paul Sansonnet
An important issue faced by research on distributed collective practices is the amount and nature of the data available for study. While persistent mediated interaction offers unprecedented opportunities for research, the wealth and richness of available data pose issues on their own, calling for new methods of investigation. In such a context, automated tools can offer coverage, both within and across collectives. In this paper, we investigate the potential contributions of semantic analyses of linguistic interactions for the study of collective processes and practices. In other words, we are interested in discovering how linguistic interaction is related to collective action, as well as in exploring how computational tools can make use of these relationships for the study of distributed collectives.
Keywords: computational tools; distributed software problem management; interaction modeling; large-scale automated analyses; speech acts
Scientific Data Collections and Distributed Collective Practice BIBAKDOI 185-204
  Melissa H. Cragin; Kalpana Shankar
As the basic sciences become increasingly information-intensive, the management and use of research data presents new challenges in the collective activities that constitute scholarly and scientific communication. This also presents new opportunities for understanding the role of informatics in scientific work practices, and for designing new kinds tools and resources needed to support them. These issues of data management, scientific communication and collective activity are brought together at once in scientific data collections (SDCs). What can the development and use of shared SDCs tell us about collective activity, dynamic infrastructures, and distributed scientific work? Using examples drawn from a nascent neuroscience data collection, we examine some unique features of SDCs to illustrate that they do more than act as infrastructures for scientific research. Instead, we argue that they are themselves instantiations of Distributed Collective Practice (DCP), and as such illustrate concepts of transition, emergence, and interdependency that may not be so apparent in other kinds of DCPs. We propose that research into SDCs can yield new insights into institutional arrangements, policymaking, and authority structures in other very large-scale socio-technical networks.
Keywords: distributed collective practice; e-Science; Long-Lived Digital Data Collections; scientific data collections; scientific information infrastructure; socio-technical systems
Documentarisation Processes in Documents for Action (DofA): The Status of Annotations and Associated Cooperation Technologies BIBAKDOI 205-228
  Manuel Zacklad
In this paper, we focus on situations where documents serve to coordinate the work of a distributed collective engaged in common goal-directed activities. After defining the concept of semiotic products as resulting from symbolic communicational transactions, we present some coordination strategies which can be used to compensate for the spatio-socio-temporal distribution typical of these transactions. Among these strategies, it is proposed to study in detail the documentarisation strategy, which makes the material substrate mediating the transactions relatively durable and endows it with attributes making its further use possible. In our study of documentarisation processes, several novel concepts are introduced and used to describe Documents for Action (DofA), their characteristics and the conditions that should be respected for correctly annotating them.
Keywords: document; Document for Action (DofA); documentarisation; annotation; cooperative writing; newsgroup
A Methodological Framework for Socio-Cognitive Analyses of Collaborative Design of Open Source Software BIBAKFull-Text 229-250
  Warren Sack; Françoise Détienne; Nicolas Ducheneaut; Jean-Marie Burkhardt; Dilan Mahendran; Flore Barcellini
Open Source Software (OSS) development challenges traditional software engineering practices. In particular, OSS projects are managed by a large number of volunteers, working freely on the tasks they choose to undertake. OSS projects also rarely rely on explicit system-level design, or on project plans or schedules. Moreover, OSS developers work in arbitrary locations and collaborate almost exclusively over the Internet, using simple tools such as email and software code tracking databases (e.g. CVS).
   All the characteristics above make OSS development akin to weaving a tapestry of heterogeneous components. The OSS design process relies on various types of actors: people with prescribed roles, but also elements coming from a variety of information spaces (such as email and software code). The objective of our research is to understand the specific hybrid weaving accomplished by the actors of this distributed, collective design process. This, in turn, challenges traditional methodologies used to understand distributed software engineering: OSS development is simply too "fibrous" to lend itself well to analysis under a single methodological lens.
   In this paper, we describe the methodological framework we articulated to analyze collaborative design in the Open Source world. Our framework focuses on the links between the heterogeneous components of a project's hybrid network. We combine ethnography, text mining, and socio-technical network analysis and visualization to understand OSS development in its totality. This way, we are able to simultaneously consider the social, technical, and cognitive aspects of OSS development. We describe our methodology in detail, and discuss its implications for future research on distributed collective practices.
Keywords: empirical studies; methodology; software development; open source

JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 4

Special Issue: Collaboration in e-Research BIBDOI 251-255
  Marina Jirotka; Rob Procter; Tom Rodden; Geoffrey C. Bowker
Remote Collaboration Over Video Data: Towards Real-Time e-Social Science BIBAKDOI 257-279
  Mike Fraser; Jon Hindmarsh; Katie Best; Christian Heath; Greg Biegel; Chris Greenhalgh; Stuart Reeves
The design of distributed systems to support collaboration among groups of scientists raises new networking challenges that grid middleware developers are addressing. This field of development work, 'e-Science', is increasingly recognising the critical need of understanding the ordinary day-to-day work of doing research to inform design. We have investigated one particular area of collaborative social scientific work -- the analysis of video data. Based on interviews and observational studies, we discuss current practices of social scientific work with digital video in three areas: Preparation for collaboration; Control of data and application; and Annotation configurations and techniques. For each, we describe how these requirements feature in our design of a distributed video analysis system as part of the MiMeG project: our security policy and distribution; the design of the control system; and providing freeform annotation over data. Finally, we review our design in light of initial use of the software between project partners; and discuss how we might transform the spatial configuration of the system to support annotation behaviour.
Keywords: video analysis; e-social science; groupware; synchronous collaboration
Developing Digital Records: Early Experiences of Record and Replay BIBAKDOI 281-319
  Andy Crabtree; Andrew French; Chris Greenhalgh; Steve Benford; Keith Cheverst; Dan Fitton; Mark Rouncefield; Connor Graham
In this paper we consider the development of 'digital records' to support ethnographic study of interaction and collaboration in ubiquitous computing environments and articulate the core concept of 'record and replay' through two case studies. One focuses on the utility of digital records, or records of interaction generated by a computer system, to ethnographic inquiry and highlights the mutually supportive nature of digital records and ethnographic methods. The other focuses on the work it takes to make digital records support ethnography, particularly the work of description and representation that is required to reconcile the fragmented character of interaction in ubiquitous computing environments. The work involved in 'making digital records work' highlights requirements for the design of tools to support the endeavour and informs the development of a Replay Tool. This tool enables ethnographers to visualize the data content of digital records; to extract sequences of relevance to analysis and remove non-relevant features; to marry recorded content with external resources, such as video; to add content from internal and external resources through annotation; and to reorder digital records to reflect the interactional order of events rather than the recorded order of events.
Keywords: CSCW; digital records; ethnography; e-Social Science; record and replay
Enriching the Notion of Data Curation in E-Science: Data Managing and Information Infrastructuring in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network BIBAKFull-Text 321-358
  Helena Karasti; Karen S. Baker; Eija Halkola
This paper aims to enrich the current understanding of data curation prevalent in e-Science by drawing on an ethnographic study of one of the longest-running efforts at long-term consistent data collection with open data sharing in an environment of interdisciplinary collaboration. In such a context we identify a set of salient characteristics of ecological research and data that shape the data stewardship approach of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. We describe the actual practices through which LTER information managers attend to the extended temporal scale of long-term research and data sets both through data care work and information infrastructure development. We discuss the issues of long-term and continuity that represent central challenges for data curation and stewardship. We argue for more efforts to be directed to understanding what is at stake with a long-term perspective and differing temporal scales as well as to studying actual practices of data curation and stewardship in order to provide more coherent understandings of e-Science solutions and technologies.
Keywords: cyberinfrastructure; data stewardship; information management; ecology; long-term perspective; scientific collaboration
What can Studies of e-Learning Teach us about Collaboration in e-Research? Some Findings from Digital Library Studies BIBAKFull-Text 359-383
  Christine L. Borgman
e-Research is intended to facilitate collaboration through distributed access to content, tools, and services. Lessons about collaboration are extracted from the findings of two large, long-term digital library research projects. Both the Alexandria Digital Earth Prototype Project (ADEPT) and the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) project on data management leverage scientific research data for use in teaching. Two forms of collaboration were studied: (1) direct, in which faculty work together on research projects; and (2) indirect or serial, in which faculty use or contribute content to a common pool, such as teaching resources, concepts and relationships, or research data. Five aspects of collaboration in e-Research are discussed: (1) disciplinary factors, (2) incentives to adopt e-Learning and e-Research technologies, (3) user roles, (4) information sharing, and (5) technical requirements. Collaboration varied by research domain in both projects, and appears partly to be a function of the degree of instrumentation in data collection. Faculty members were more interested in tools to manage their own research data than in tools to facilitate teaching. They also were more reflective about their research than teaching activities. The availability of more content, tools, and services to incorporate primary data in teaching was only a minimal incentive to use these resources. Large investments in a knowledge base of scientific concepts and relationships for teaching did not result in re-use by other faculty during the course of the project. Metadata requirements for research and for teaching vary greatly, which further complicates the transfer of resources across applications. Personal digital libraries offer a middle ground between private control and public release of content, which is a promising direction for the design of digital libraries that will facilitate collaboration in e-Research.
Keywords: collaboration; digital libraries; e-Research; e-Science; e-Learning; human-computer interaction; information seeking; information retrieval
Walking the Tightrope: The Balancing Acts of a Large e-Research Project BIBAKFull-Text 385-411
  Katherine A. Lawrence
Although e-Research has received much attention and acclaim in recent years, the realities of distributed collaboration still challenge even the most well-planned endeavors. This case study of an e-Research project examines the 'balancing acts' associated with multidisciplinary, geographically distributed, large-scale research and development work. After briefly describing the history and organizational design of this information technology and atmospheric science research project, I identify five paradoxical challenges that cannot be resolved: research versus development, harmony versus conflict, consensus versus top-down decision making, frequency and modes of communication, and fast versus slow pacing. Although collaboration and communication technologies supported the project's management and organization, most of the complexities faced by the team were not technological in nature. From the five paradoxical challenges associated with the project, I distill three cross-cutting issues that could be relevant to other e-Research projects of this magnitude: satisfying the multiple needs of a multidisciplinary project, managing information, and engaging all participants. I identify the practical implications of these challenges and issues, specifically that organizational and low-tech solutions -- not the introduction of more sophisticated technology tools -- are needed to solve these challenges and to better streamline coordination.
Keywords: collaboration technology; communication; distributed work; e-Research/cyberinfrastructure; geographic dispersion; information management; multidisciplinary scientific research; paradox; project management; technology development

JCSCW 2006 Volume 15 Issue 5/6

Special Issue: CSCW and Dependable Healthcare Systems BIBFull-Text 413-418
  Rob Procter; Mark Rouncefield; Ellen Balka; Marc Berg
The Wireless Nursing Call System: Politics of Discourse, Technology and Dependability in a Pilot Project BIBAKDOI 419-441
  Casper Bruun Jensen
This paper discusses a research project in which social scientists were involved both as analysts and supporters during a pilot with a new wireless nursing call system. The case thus exemplifies an attempt to participate in developing dependable health care systems and offers insight into the challenges of developing and supporting such systems. The analysis proposes that while dependability is not simply a technical issue, neither is it something, which can be improved merely by adding a social dimension. Instead, it argues that dependability is a relative concept, which may mean different things conditional on how it is specified in practice and who gets to do this. This relativity makes it important to relate the question of how to support dependable health care systems to an analysis of both the politics of technology within specific projects and to the politics of discourse, through which the researcher becomes involved in such projects.
Keywords: dependability; discourse; health care; politics; technology
Seamless Integration: Standardisation across Multiple Local Settings BIBAKFull-Text 443-466
  Gunnar Ellingsen; Eric Monteiro
The pressure towards tighter or "seamless" integration of health information systems is a recurring issue with both practical and analytical relevance. It taps into a discourse in the IS literature in general and organisation and management science in particular. Unfortunately, the prevailing perception of integration in the IS literature is as a predominantly technical issue. The CSCW literature, however, is attentive to the socio-technical aspects of integration. Building on this -- but supplemented with recent elaborations in science studies -- we aim at exploring the unintended consequences of information systems integration. A user-led perspective implies emphasising the tailoring to local needs based on in-depth studies of the micro practices. We argue, however, that the condition for such an approach is radically undermined by politically motivated, regional changes towards integration with implicated standardisation. Enforcing order in the form of standards across multiple local settings, seemingly a prerequisite for tight integration, simultaneously produces disorder or additional work in other locations for other users. Empirically, our study is based on a large, ongoing integration effort at the University hospital of Northern Norway, specifically studying work practices and perceptions across multiple laboratories.
Keywords: integration; standardisation; unintended consequences; work practices
Achieving Dependability in the Configuration, Integration and Testing of Healthcare Technologies BIBAKFull-Text 467-499
  David Martin; Mark Hartswood; Roger Slack; Alex Voss
This paper presents two case studies, which highlight the practical work involved in developing and deploying dependable healthcare systems. It shows how dependability is a thoroughgoingly practical, contexted achievement. We show how dependability is an outcome of the reasoning and argumentation processes that stakeholders engage in, in situations such as design and testing. What becomes relevant during these interactions stands as the dependability criteria that must be achieved. Furthermore, we examine the way in which different dependability criteria need to be managed, and even relatively prioritised, before finally discussing the types of work this provokes at the boundaries of organisations, particularly when integrating work and technologies.
Keywords: configuration; dependability; ethnography; healthcare; integration; testing
Multidisciplinary Medical Team Meetings: An Analysis of Collaborative Working with Special Attention to Timing and Teleconferencing BIBAKDOI 501-535
  Bridget Kane; Saturnino Luz
In this paper we describe the process of a multi-disciplinary medical team meeting (MDTM), its functions and operation in colocated and teleconference discussions. Our goal is to identify the elements and mechanics of operation that enhance or threaten the dependability of the MDTM as a "system" and propose technologies and measures to make this system more reliable. In particular, we assess the effect of adding teleconferencing to the MDTM, and identify strengths and vulnerabilities introduced into the system by the addition of teleconferencing technology. We show that, with respect to the system's external task environment, rhythms of execution of pre-meeting and post-meeting activities are critical for MDTM success and that the extension of the MDTM to wider geographic locations with teleconferencing might disrupt such rhythms thereby posing potential threats to dependability. On the other hand, an analysis of vocalisation patterns demonstrates that despite difficulties related to coordination and awareness in video-mediated communication (evidenced by increased time spent in case discussion, longer turns, decreased turn frequency and near lack of informal exchanges) the overall case discussion structure is unaffected by the addition of teleconferencing technology into proceedings.
Keywords: ethnography; healthcare; interaction analysis; multidisciplinary medical team meetings; teleconference
Loose Coupling and Healthcare Organizations: Deployment Strategies for Groupware BIBAKFull-Text 537-572
  David Pinelle; Carl Gutwin
Healthcare organizations are often organized in a modular, loosely coupled fashion where separate and semi-autonomous work units specialize in different areas of care delivery. This partitioning allows each unit to adapt to emerging practice standards in its area of expertise and to adjust to its local work environment. However, organizational loose coupling can limit the flow of information within organizations and can make it difficult to coordinate services when patients' care is dependent on professionals from more than one unit. Groupware systems have the potential to improve coordination and information access in healthcare organizations. However, modularity and loose coupling make it difficult to introduce new systems when they span more than one unit, since authority is not always centralized and since perceptions and frames of reference on new deployments differ across units. In this paper, we define a groupware deployment framework for loosely coupled healthcare organizations that has two parts: a set of deployment challenges and a set of deployment strategies. The deployment challenges include: difficulties centralizing deployments, perceptions of inequity, role conflicts, and problems achieving critical mass. The deployment strategies outline a preliminary set of approaches for addressing the difficulties of deploying CSCW systems in loosely coupled healthcare organizations. We illustrate the framework by presenting a case study of a groupware deployment in a home care setting.
Keywords: deployment planning; groupware deployment; healthcare; human service organizations; loose coupling