ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work

12-16 September 1999, Copenhagen, Denmark

General Chairs: Susanne Bødker, University of Aarhus, Denmark

Kjeld Schmidt, Technical University of Denmark
Program Chair: Morten Kyng, The Danish National Centre for IT Research, Denmark

The emergence of network facilities and the increased availability of personal computer systems over the last decade has seen a growing interest in the use of computers to support cooperative work. This volume contains the proceedings of the sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), a multi-disciplinary area which embraces both the development of new technologies and an understanding of the relationship between technology and society.

These proceedings present a collection of papers that encompass activities in the field, treating such subjects as virtual environments, uses of the Internet, studies of cooperative work and emerging models, studies of groupware systems in use in real-world settings, and theories and techniques to support the development of cooperative applications. The articles feature emerging technologies alongside new methods and approaches to the expansion of this important class of applications.

Audience: This work reflects the best of the current research and practice within CSCW. It will appeal to both researchers and practitioners whose work involves computer and information science, human-computer interaction, information systems, hypermedia, organisational/social informatics and social studies of science and technology.

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    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999)
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    Meeting at the desktop: An empirical study of virtually collocated teams
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Mark, Gloria; Grudin, Jonathan; Poltrock, Steven E.
    Corporate mergers, global markets, reduced willingness to relocate, and the increased need to reorganize and respond dynamically - we are entering an era of distributed organizations and groups. New technologies are needed that enable distributed teams to work as though virtually collocated. This case study examines how one such technology, desktop conferencing with application sharing, is used routinely by four groups within a major company. We discuss differing and evolving patterns of use. A range of difficulties arising from impoverished communication are documented. Success factors are identified, focusing on the use of technology facilitation and meeting facilitation. We conclude by describing benefits possible with this merger of communication and application sharing, as well as the challenges of organizational change that may be needed to achieve the benefits.
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    The adoption and use of BABBLE: A field study of chat in the workplace
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Bradner, Erin; Kellogg, Wendy A.; Erickson, Thomas
    One way to gain a principled understanding of computer-mediated communication (CMC) use in the wild is to consider the properties of the communication medium, the usage practices, and the social context in which practices are situated. We describe the adoption and use of a novel, chat-like system called BABBLE. Drawing on interviews and conversation logs from a 6-month field study of six different groups at IBM Corporation (USA), we examine the ways in which the technical properties of the system enable particular types of communicative practices such as waylaying and unobtrusive broadcast. We then consider how these practices influence (positively or negatively) the adoption trajectories of the six deployments.
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    The properties of mixed reality boundaries
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Koleva, Boriana; Benford, Steve; Greenhalgh, Chris
    Mixed reality boundaries establish transparent windows between physical and virtual spaces. We introduce a set of properties that allow such boundaries to be configured to support different styles of co-operative activity. These properties are grouped into three categories: permeability (properties of visibility, audibility and solidity); situation (properties of location, alignment, mobility and segmentation); and dynamics (properties of lifetime and configurability). We discuss how each of these properties can be technically realised. We also introduce the meta-properties of symmetry and representation. We then describe and compare two contrasting demonstrations, a performance and an office-door, that rely on different property configurations.
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    Activity Awareness: Framework for sharing knowledge of people, projects, and places
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Hayashi, Koichi; Hazama, Tan; Nomura, Takahiko; Yamada, Toshifumi; Gudmundson, Stephan
    In this paper we describe the concept of activity awareness, which gives workers indications of what is happening and what has happened recently in collaborative activities. The key feature of activity awareness is the use of individual workspaces, as opposed to shared workspaces We introduce an activity representation that can be extracted from workers' individual workspaces By using extracted activity information, it extends the scope of awareness from tight collaboration within a shared workspace to more loose collaboration. It enables workers to be aware of the latest information created within other members' individual environments and of the progress made by loosely connected groups We introduce three awareness nodes people, projects, and places In our model, individual activities interact at these awareness nodes. Our current implementation adopts a temporally threaded workspace model for representing individual activities and introduces an awareness presentation schema for representing the three awareness nodes. The temporally threaded workspace model captures a worker's activity as a sequence of changes to the information space of the individual's workspace An awareness presentation schema generates web pages to show awareness information about the monitored activities
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    Moving out of the meeting room: Exploring support for mobile meetings
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Bergquist, Jens; Dahlberg, Per; Ljungberg, Fredrik; Kristoffersen, Steinar
    Recent research in CSCW shows that people become mobile in order to meet. Such meetings take place everywhere. Therefore, they are difficult to conduct using traditional meeting support In this paper, we empirically examine mobility in face-to-face meetings. The objective is to characterise such encounters and suggest meeting support beyond the meeting room We have identified four dimensions of such mobile meetings, establishing meetings, multiple threads, briefings, and technology. The implications from this study complement existing research with guidelines for mobile meetings.
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    AREA: A cross-application notification service for groupware
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Fuchs, Ludwin
    This paper presents AREA, an integrated synchronous and asynchronous notification service for awareness information. AREA uses a semantic model of the client applications to support cross-application awareness. The service is based on the dichotomy of interest and privacy Notifications of user activities are a function of relevance in the current work situation and the privacy requirements of the involved users The paper motivates the AREA framework and discusses the system in terms of its formal modeling capabilities and its operational aspects This is followed by practical implementation considerations addressing the role of AREA as a groupware infrastructure Finally, a prototype groupware application is presented, which uses the AREA service to support user awareness
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    Six roles of documents in professionals' work
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Hertzum, Morten
    Documents are used extensively by professionals in their execution of their own work and to share information with others Professionals use and manage their documents in ways that are woven into their work activities and leave most of the. context unsaid because the documents are understood as belonging to a certain ongoing activity. Contrary to this, organisations have a strong interest in storing information in less persondependent ways than simply relying on their employees' memory and personal files To support document management effectively we need to balance the individual professionals' focus on their current activities against the long-term interests of the organisation, and we need a fuller understanding of the affordances and constraints of documents This study identifies six roles documents play in professionals' work, namely that documents serve (1) as personal work files, (2) as reminders of things to do, (3) to share information with some yet withhold it from others, (4) to convey meaning, (5) to generate new meaning, and (6) to mediate contacts among people Painstakingly standardised and very time-consuming methods are required for documents to convey meaning but such efforts are rarely considered worthwhile compared to relying on other document roles or rework
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    Augmenting the workaday world with Elvin
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Fitzpatrick, Geraldine; Mansfield, Tim; Kaplan, Simon M.; Arnold, David; Phelps, Ted; Segall, Bill
    This paper addresses the problem of providing effective, computer-based support for awareness and interaction in the distributed workaday world We report the story of how our content-based pure notification service, called Elvin, became widely adopted in our organisation and elsewhere, augmenting the virtual work environment, and providing perceptual resources for awareness. Examples of its uses include' support for interaction via bi-directional chat-like facilities as well as support for uni-directional notifications, for example push-based information from services such as WWW and email, and notifications of the activities of others through rooms bookings, version control changes, and so on. These uses have had a significant impact on the way people interact with information sources and on social cohesion within the organisation. The attraction of Elvin lies in its conceptual simplicity, absence of built-in policy, expressive power and multilingual range of simple APIs. Its uptake is largely a result of the Tickertape Elvin client, which provides a simple, compelling interface usable in numerous different situations. We contend that even though it does not try to be a collaboration-friendly notification service, Elvin is paradoxically very useful for collaborative awareness and interaction support
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    Meaning-making across remote sites: How delays in transmission affect interaction
    (ECSCW 1999: Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1999) Ruhleder, Karen; Jordan, Brigitte
    Distributed organizations increasingly rely on new video-supported communication technologies that may be subject to transmission delays. These delays systematically misalign the feedback one side receives from the other. Through microanalysis of video data from a video-supported' meeting in a geographically distributed company, we examine the impact of delay in such communication systems We specify some ways in which they may sublimmally affect communication between remote parties. We illustrate typical kinds of breakdown and conclude with observations about the impact of delays on distributed interaction and the ways in which these impacts can be mediated