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Computer Supported Cooperative Work 17

Editors:Kjeld Schmidt
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 0925-9724
Links:springerlink.metapress.com | Table of Contents
  1. JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 1
  2. JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 2/3
  3. JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 4
  4. JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 5/6

JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 1

Introduction to Special Issue on Learning and Work BIBFull-Text 1-3
  Timothy Koschmann
Sotto Voce: Facilitating Social Learning in a Historic House BIBADOI 5-34
  Margaret Szymanski; Paul Aoki; Rebecca Grinter; Amy Hurst; James Thornton; Allison Woodruff
This study examines visitors' use of two different electronic guidebook prototypes, the second an iteration of the first, that were developed to support social interaction between companions as they tour a historic house. Three studies were conducted in which paired visitors' social interactions were video- and audio-recorded for analysis. Using conversation analysis, the data from the use of prototype 1 and prototype 2 were compared. It was found that audio delivery methods were consequential to the ways in which visitors structurally organized their social activity. Further, the availability of structural opportunities for social interaction between visitors has implications for the ways in which the learning process occurs in museum settings.
Unpacking Tasks: The Fusion of New Technology with Instructional Work BIBADOI 35-62
  Christian Greiffenhagen
This paper discusses how a new technology (designed to help pupils with learning about Shakespeare's Macbeth) is introduced and integrated into existing classroom practices. It reports on the ways through which teachers and pupils figure out how to use the software as part of their classroom work. Since teaching and learning in classrooms are achieved in and through educational tasks (what teachers instruct pupils to do) the analysis explicates some notable features of a particular task (storyboarding one scene from the play). It is shown that both 'setting the task' and 'following the task' have to be locally and practically accomplished and that tasks can operate as a sense-making device for pupils' activities. Furthermore, what the task 'is', is not entirely established through the teacher's initial formulation, but progressively clarified through pupils' subsequent work, and in turn ratified by the teacher.
"What are We Missing?" Usability's Indexical Ground BIBAFull-Text 63-85
  Alan Zemel; Timothy Koschmann; Curtis LeBaron; Paul Feltovich
In this paper, we describe how usability provides the indexical ground upon which design work in a surgery is achieved. Indexical and deictic referential practices are used (1) to constitute participation frameworks and work sites in an instructional surgery and (2) to encode and manage participants' differential access to the relevancies and background knowledge required for the achievement of a successful surgical outcome. As a site for both learning and work, the operating room afforded us the opportunity to examine how usability, which is a critical design consideration, can be used as a resource for learning in interaction. In our detailed analysis of the interaction among participants (both co-present and projected) we sought to describe a particular case of how usability was produced as a relevant consideration for surgical education in the operating room. In doing so, we demonstrate a set of members' methods by which actors worked to establish and provide for the relevance of the anticipated needs of projected users as part of developing an understanding of their current activity.
In Absentia: Designing for Social Learning BIBDOI 87-90
  Pedro Hernández-Ramos; Geoffrey Bowker

JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 2/3

Settings for Collaboration: the Role of Place BIBDOI 91-96
  Luigina Ciolfi; Geraldine Fitzpatrick; Liam Bannon
Places: People, Events, Loci -- the Relation of Semantic Frames in the Construction of Place BIBAFull-Text 97-133
  Steve Harrison; Deborah Tatar
The central point of this paper concerns the way the particular contexts of people, events and loci constitute places through the pragmatics of being and acting in physical space and how this can give designers traction over place design. Although we focus here on meaning associated with the concept of "place", unlike some thinkers, we also believe that spaces have meaning. Our point is not to engage in a competition between phenomenologies, but to develop a rich description of the contribution to place of the semantic tangle of people, events, and loci as an aide in locating design alternatives. The semantic tangle consists of situated, mutually constituting resources. Patterns of moves and contexts that define and utilize those resources constitute different forms of place construction; in this paper, we focus on three: the linguistic participation of place, ritual, and ephemeral places. Approaches to CSCW may profit (1) from designing technology for multifaceted appropriation, (2) from designing specific places for specific people engaged in specific events in specific locations, or (3) by commutation, that is, a method of meaning making similar to detecting "just noticeable differences" by iteratively and self-consciously substituting related meaningful moves and contexts into the system of meaning.
Places: People, Events, Loci -- the Relation of Semantic Frames in the Construction of Place BIBFull-Text 135
  Steve Harrison; Deborah Tatar
Geographic 'Place' and 'Community Information' Preferences BIBAFull-Text 137-167
  Quentin Jones; Sukeshini Grandhi; Samer Karam; Steve Whittaker; Changqing Zhou; Loren Terveen
People dynamically structure social interactions and activities at various locations in their environments in specialized types of places such as the office, home, coffee shop, museum and school. They also imbue various locations with personal meaning, creating group 'hangouts' and personally meaningful 'places'. Mobile location-aware community systems can potentially utilize the existence of such 'places' to support the management of social information and interaction. However, acting effectively on this potential requires an understanding of how: (1) places and place-types relate to people's desire for place-related awareness of and communication with others; and (2) what information people are willing to provide about themselves to enable place-related communication and awareness. We present here the findings from two qualitative studies, a survey of 509 individuals in New York, and a study of how mobility traces can be used to find people's important places in an exploration of these questions. These studies highlight how people value and are willing to routinely provide information such as ratings, comments, event records relevant to a place, and when appropriate their location to enable services. They also suggest how place and place-type data could be used in conjunction with other information regarding people and places so that systems can be deployed that respect users' People-to-People-to-Places data sharing preferences. We conclude with a discussion on how 'place' data can best be utilized to enable services when the systems in question are supported by a sophisticated computerized user-community social-geographical model.
Communication Spaces BIBAFull-Text 169-193
  Patrick Healey; Graham White; Arash Eshghi; Ahmad Reeves; Ann Light
Concepts of space are fundamental to our understanding of human action and interaction. The common sense concept of uniform, metric, physical space is inadequate for design. It fails to capture features of social norms and practices that can be critical to the success of a technology. The concept of 'place' addresses these limitations by taking account of the different ways a space may be understood and used. This paper argues for the importance of a third concept: communication space. Motivated by Heidegger's discussion of 'being-with' this concept addresses differences in interpersonal 'closeness' or mutual-involvement that are a constitutive feature of human interaction. We apply the concepts of space, place and communication space to the analysis of a corpus of interactions from an online community, 'Walford', which has a rich communicative ecology. A novel measure of sequential integration of conversational turns is proposed as an index of mutal-involvement. We demonstrate systematic differences in mutual-involvement that cannot be accounted for in terms of space or place and conclude that a concept of communication space is needed to address the organisation of human encounters in this community.
Documents in Place: Demarcating Places for Collaboration in Healthcare Settings BIBAFull-Text 195-225
  Carsten Osterlund
The notion of place often connotes our understood reality populated with people, practices, meanings, and artifacts. This paper suggests that documents, whether electronic, paper-based, or set in stone, offer important insights into how people establish and maintain places for communication and coordination. Data from an ethnographic study in a large hospital system illustrates how doctors carefully craft their medical histories in various electronic record systems to demarcate specific places for their communication and coordination with specific collaborators. Such documents serve as portable places, allowing the doctors to navigate a constantly changing landscape of relevant patients, participants, times, and spaces. The documents demarcate such places by pointing out the interdependencies among particular participants, places, and times. Doctors care deeply about these documents and they play a central part not only in securing efficient communication and coordination but also in the socialization of newcomers. A study of the complex interrelationships between documents and place, therefore, offers important insights into organizational environments characterized by distributed and mobile work practices.
Place and Technology in the Home BIBAFull-Text 227-256
  Lynne Baillie; David Benyon
The home is a complex environment, designed for general use but shaped by individual needs and desires. It is a place often shared by several people with different demands and requirements. It is a place embedded with technologies utilised at various times by people in diverse ways. Until recently most home technologies have been primarily functional; aimed at easing domestic chores such as cooking, washing and cleaning. In the last few years information and communication technologies have added to the technological complexity of the home. Entertainment technologies have become increasingly dominant, as the simple TV has given way to video, DVD and satellite or cable services. Technologies converge and diverge to create new hybrid experiences; a trend which we see continuing. Moreover in the future ubiquitous and ambient computing devices and functions will become hidden and communications between devices will become more complex. It is against this background that we undertook a number of studies into the place of technologies and technology use in the home. We studied the placement and use of existing technologies in five homes in Scotland using a novel, multi-part, naturalistic methodology. Transcripts from the studies were analysed using a grounded theory approach in an attempt to draw out key, recurring concepts concerning technology use at home. Eight concepts -- place, learning, utility, interaction, control, cost, lifecycle and privacy -- emerged from this analysis. Additionally, four types of space were identified in homes; communication, work, leisure (private) and leisure (public). In this paper we focus on these four spaces and how they fit in with previous work on places and spaces in the home. We present a contextually grounded method of investigation of home technologies, the technology tour, and show how the four spaces in the home can be understood and represented as maps of the home layout that are often different for different members of the household. This understanding of place can be set alongside an understanding of technology where the themes of utility, interaction, cost and lifecycle are most important. General design issues that cross place and technology in the home are discussed in the final section of the paper. These can be used to sensitise designers of both artefacts and physical spaces to the needs of people and their use of technologies at home.
Of Coffee Shops and Parking Lots: Considering Matters of Space and Place in the Use of Public Wi-Fi BIBAFull-Text 257-273
  Alena Sanusi; Leysia Palen
Wireless local area networks -- or Wi-Fi networks -- are proliferating in some societies. Our interest in this exploratory essay is to illustrate how ostensibly free, publicly-accessible Wi-Fi requires users to apply conventional understandings of space and place (particularly commercial spaces and places) as they make sense of some ambiguities about proper use in those places. We show, through an examination of the metaphorical terms used to describe Wi-Fi, how spatial notions are employed in an attempt to define ownership of the signal and rights to its use. We consider how place-behaviors require evaluation of legitimacy of users in public places and of hospitality of Wi-Fi providers. We observe that commercial interests underpin notions of ownership, legitimacy and hospitality of social actors in public places like coffee shops and parking lots. As researchers considering matters of participation in virtual places, we must first have some appreciation for the normative constraints and conventions that govern the commercial public places in which users access "free" Wi-Fi.
Understanding Situated Social Interactions: A Case Study of Public Places in the City BIBAFull-Text 275-290
  J. Paay; J. Kjeldskov
Ubiquitous and mobile computer technologies are increasingly being appropriated to facilitate people's social life outside the work domain. Designing such social and collaborative technologies requires an understanding of peoples' physical and social context, and the interplay between these and their situated interactions. In response, this paper addresses the challenge of informing design of mobile services for fostering social connections by using the concept of place for studying and understanding peoples' social activities in a public built environment. We present a case study of social experience of a physical place providing an understanding of peoples' situated social interactions in public places of the city derived through a grounded analysis of small groups of friends socialising out on the town. Informed by this, we describe the design and evaluation of a mobile prototype system facilitating sociality in the city by (1) allowing people to share places, (2) indexing to places, and (3) augmenting places.

JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 4

Social Loafing in Technology-Supported Teams BIBAFull-Text 291-309
  James Suleiman; Richard Watson
This study examines the occurrence of social loafing in technology-supported teams along with methods for diminishing loafing. A controlled laboratory experiment with a 3x2x2 factorial design is used. The independent variables -- feedback, anonymity, and group size -- are manipulated experimentally. It was expected that social loafing -- a widely observed phenomenon -- would indeed occur in technology supported teams. It was also expected that the traditional means of reducing social loafing (i.e., identifiability and feedback) within physical work environments would also have similar effects within technology-supported work environments. As expected, social loafing is found to occur in teams operating in a technology-driven realm. An unexpected finding is that social loafing is measurable only when participants are provided self-feedback. While other forms of feedback have a positive influence on productivity, they fail to reduce this phenomenon, and identifiability of group members is found to have no observable effect on social loafing.
Physical and Digital Artifact-Mediated Coordination in Building Design BIBAFull-Text 311-351
  Melanie Tory; Sheryl Staub-French; Barry Po; Fuqu Wu
We conducted an ethnographic field study examining how a building design team used representational artifacts to coordinate the design of building systems, structure, and architecture. The goals of this study were to characterize the different interactions meeting participants had with design artifacts, to identify bottlenecks in the design coordination process, and to develop design considerations for CSCW technology that will support in-person design coordination meetings of building design teams. We found that gesturing, navigation, annotation, and viewing were the four primary interactions meeting participants had with design artifacts. The form of the design information (2D vs. 3D, digital vs. physical) had minimal impact on gesture interactions, although navigation varied significantly with different representations of design information. Bottlenecks in the design process were observed when meeting participants attempted to navigate digital information, interact with wall displays, and access information individually and as a group. Based on our observations, we present some possible directions for future CSCW technologies, including new mechanisms for digital bookmarking, interacting with 2D and 3D design artifacts simultaneously, and enriched pointing techniques and pen functionality.
The CACHE Study: Group Effects in Computer-supported Collaborative Analysis BIBAFull-Text 353-393
  Gregorio Convertino; Dorrit Billman; Peter Pirolli; J. Massar; Jeff Shrager
The present experiment investigates effects of group composition in computer-supported collaborative intelligence analysis. Human cognition, though highly adaptive, is also quite limited, leading to systematic errors and limitations in performance -- that is, biases. We experimentally investigated the impact of group composition on an individual's bias, by composing groups that differ in whether their members initial beliefs are diverse (heterogeneous group) or similar (homogeneous group). We study three-member, distributed, computer-supported teams in heterogeneous, homogeneous, and solo (or nominal) groups. We measured bias in final judgment, and also in the selection and evaluation of the evidence that contributed to the final beliefs. The distributed teams collaborated via CACHE-A, a web-based software environment that supports a collaborative version of Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (or ACH, a method used by intelligence analysts). Individuals in Heterogeneous Groups showed no net process cost, relative to noninteracting individuals. Both heterogeneous and solo (noninteracting) groups debiased strongly, given a stream of balanced evidence. In contrast, individuals in Homogenous Groups did worst, accentuating their initial bias rather than debiasing. We offer suggestions about how CACHE-A supports collaborative analysis, and how experimental investigation in this research area can contribute to design of CSCW systems.
Triage Drift: A Workplace Study in a Pediatric Emergency Department BIBAFull-Text 395-419
  Pernille Bjørn; Kjetil Rødje
This paper presents a workplace study of triage work practices within an emergency department (ED). We examine the practices, procedures, and organization in which ED staff uses tools and technologies when coordinating the essential activity of assessing and sorting patients arriving at the ED. The paper provides in-depth empirical observations describing the situated work practices of triage work, and the complex collaborative nature of the triage process. We identify and conceptualize triage work practices as comprising patient trajectories, triage nurse activities, coordinative artefacts and exception handling; we also articulate how these four features of triage practices constitute and connect workflows, organize and re-organize time and space during the triage process. Finally we conceptualize these connections as an assessing and sorting mechanism in collaborative work. We argue that the complexities involved in this mechanism are a necessary asset of triage work, which calls for a reassessment of the concept of triage drift.

JCSCW 2008 Volume 17 Issue 5/6

Preface to the Special Issue on 'Consistency Management in Synchronous Collaboration' BIBFull-Text 421-422
  Prasun Dewan
Multi-level Editing of Hierarchical Documents BIBAFull-Text 423-468
  Claudia-Lavinia Ignat; Moira Norrie
Collaborative editing enables a group of people to edit documents collaboratively over a computer network. Customisation of the collaborative environment to different subcommunities of users at different points in time is an important issue. The model of the document is an important factor in achieving customisation. We have chosen a tree representation encompassing a large class of documents, such as text, XML and graphical documents and here we propose a multi-level editing approach for maintaining consistency over hierarchical-based documents. The multi-level editing approach involves logging edit operations that refer to each node. Keeping operations associated with the tree nodes to which they refer offers support for tracking user activity performed on various units of the document. This facilitates the computation of awareness information and the handling of conflicting changes referring to units of the document. Moreover, increased efficiency is obtained compared to existing approaches that use a linear structure for representing documents. The multi-level editing approach involves the recursive application of any linear merging algorithm over the document structure and we show how the approach was applied for real-time and asynchronous modes of collaboration.
An Operational Transformation Algorithm and Performance Evaluation BIBAFull-Text 469-508
  Du Li; Rui Li
Operational transformation (OT) is an optimistic concurrency control method that has been well established in realtime group editors and has drawn significant research attention in the past decade. It is generally believed that the use of OT automatically achieves high local responsiveness in group editors. However, no performance study has been reported previously on OT algorithms to the best of our knowledge. This paper extends a recent OT algorithm and studies its performance. By theoretical analyses and performance experiments, this paper proves that the worst-case execution time of OT only appears in rare cases, and shows that local responsiveness of OT-based group editors in fact depends on a number of factors such as the size of the operation log. The paper also reveals that these two results have general implications on OT algorithms and hence the design of OT-based group editors must pay attention to performance issues.
A Multi-Versioning Scheme for Intention Preservation in Collaborative Editing Systems BIBAFull-Text 509-551
  Liyin Xue; Mehmet Orgun; Kang Zhang
Although the multi-version approach to consistency maintenance has been widely discussed and implemented in database systems, version control systems, and asynchronous groupware systems, its potential in real-time groupware systems is largely unexplored. Intention preservation is an important aspect of consistency maintenance in real-time collaborative editing systems, where multiple users cooperate with each other by concurrently editing the same document. The multi-version approach is supposed to be able to preserve individual users' concurrent conflicting intentions. In this article, we propose a new multi-versioning scheme that can preserve not only concurrent conflicting intentions but also contextual intentions while achieving convergence of the document under editing. By extending an existing multi-versioning scheme to a general one that specifies the conditions for convergence, we decouple the discussion of convergence from that of intention preservation. By constraining the general scheme, we arrive at the novel scheme that guarantees to preserve users' intentions. The correctness of the scheme has been formally verified. The design of an algorithm for consistent version composition and identification has been discussed in detail.
An Approach to Ensuring Consistency in Peer-to-Peer Real-Time Group Editors BIBAFull-Text 553-611
  Du Li; Rui Li
Real-time group editors allow distributed users to edit a shared document at the same time over a computer network. Operational transformation (OT) is a well accepted consistency control method in state-of-the-art group editors. Significant progress has been made in this field but there are still many open issues and research opportunities. In particular, established theoretic OT frameworks all require that OT algorithms be able to converge along arbitrary transformation paths. This property is desirable because group editors that implement such algorithms will not rely on a central component for achieving convergence. However, this has not been achieved in any published work to our knowledge. We analyze the root of this problem and propose a novel state difference based transformation (SDT) approach which ensures convergence in the presence of arbitrary transformation paths. Our approach is based on a novel consistency model that is more explicitly formulated than previously established models for proving correctness. SDT is the first and the only OT algorithm proved to converge in peer-to-peer group editors.