ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work

14-18 September 2003, Helsinki, Finland

General Chairs: Kari Kuutti, University of Oulu, Finland, Eija Helena Karsten, University of Turku, Finland
Program Chairs: Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Sapient London & University of Sussex, UK, Paul Dourish, University of California Irvine, USA

This volume gathers together the technical papers presented at the 8 European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW), held in Helsinki Finland. ECSCW is an international forum for multidisciplinary research covering the technical, empirical, and theoretical aspects of collaboration and computer systems. The 20 papers presented here have been selected via a rigorous reviewing process from 110 submissions. Both the number of submissions and the quality of the selected papers are testimony to the diversity and energy of the CSCW community. We trust that you will find the papers interesting and that they will serve to stimulate further quality work within the community. The technical papers are complemented by a wider set of activities at ECSCW 2003, including tutorials, workshops, demonstrations, videos, posters and a doctoral colloquium. Together these provide rich opportunities for discussion, learning and exploration of the more recent and novel issues in the field. This conference could not have taken place without considerable enthusiasm, support and participation, not to mention the hard work of a number of people. In particular, we would like to thank the following: • The authors, representing over 17 countries and 97 institutions, who submitted a paper. So many submissions of such high quality are the basis of a good conference. • The members of the program committee who so diligently reviewed and discussed papers. Their collective decisions result in a good scientific program and their feedback to authors strengthens the work of the community.

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  • Text Document
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eigth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003)
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    System Guidelines for Co-located, Collaborative Work on a Tabletop Display
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Scott, Stacey D.; Grant, Karen D.; Mandryk, Regan L.
    Collaborative interactions with many existing digital tabletop systems lack the fluidity of collaborating around a table using traditional media. This paper presents a critical analysis of the current state-of-the-art in digital tabletop systems research, targeted at discovering how user requirements for collaboration are currently being met and uncovering areas requiring further development. By considering research on tabletop displays, collaboration, and communication, several design guidelines for effective co-located collaboration around a tabletop display emerged. These guidelines suggest that technology must support: (1) natural interpersonal interaction, (2) transitions between activities, (3) transitions between personal and group work, (4) transitions between tabletop collaboration and external work, (5) the use of physical objects, (6) accessing shared physical and digital objects, (7) flexible user arrangements, and (8) simultaneous user interactions. The critical analysis also revealed several important directions for future research, including: standardization of methods to evaluate colocated collaboration; comparative studies to determine the impact of existing system configurations on collaboration; and creation of a taxonomy of collaborative tasks to help determine which tasks and activities are suitable for tabletop collaboration.
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    Supporting Collaboration Ubiquitously: An augmented learning environment for architecture students
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Iacucci, Giulio; Wagner, Ina
    While CSCW research has mostly been focusing on desktop applications there is a growing interest on ubiquitous and tangible computing. We present ethnographic fieldwork and prototypes to address how tangible computing can support collaboration and learning. The student projects at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna is a relevant case to study, for the variety and distributed character of the cooperative arrangements, and for the richness of interactions with heterogeneous physical artefacts. After describing current practices, we propose qualities of the environment that support collaboration and learning: creative density, multiple travels in materials and representations, re-programming (seeing things differently), and configurability. We then describe several prototypes that address in various ways these qualities. Finally we discuss how tangible and ubiquitous computing supports collaboration in our case by providing intermediary spaces, and dynamic objectifications.
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    Informing the Development of Calendar Systems for Domestic Use
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Crabtree, Andy; Hemmings, Terry; Rodden, Tom; Mariani, John
    This paper contributes to the design of Groupware Calendar Systems (GCSs) for use in domestic life. We consider a number of ethnographic studies of calendar use in domestic circumstances to illuminate the design space and inform design reasoning. GCSs have been employed in the workplace for sometime and have been informed by studies of ‘calendar work’. As design moves out of the workplace and into the home, the unique demands of domestic use now need to be considered. Existing insights into calendar work are restricted to the workplace however, and are constrained by analytic taxonomies. In the absence of first-hand knowledge of calendar use in domestic settings, we suspend the use of taxonomies and describe the ‘interpretive work’ implicated in calendar work in order to explicate real world practices of calendar use in domestic life. These novel studies draw attention to a corpus of accountable work-practices that impact directly on design. In particular, they emphasize the need for design to consider how the physical and the digital may be merged to support collaboration ‘anywhere, anytime’; the necessity of devising negotiation protocols supporting computer-mediated communication; and the development of collaborative access models and interaction techniques to support data sharing.
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    Group-to-Group Distance Collaboration: Examining the “Space Between”
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Mark, Gloria; Abrams, Steve
    Organizations are moving towards a new type of work: group-to-group collaboration across distance, supported by technologies that connect rooms across distance into large collaboration spaces. In this study we report on distributed group-to-group collaboration in the domain of space mission design. We use the metaphor of the “space between” distant groups to describe the connections, interdependencies, and gaps that exist. To the extent that the “space between” remains wide, the risk for design errors increases. We found that different teams, who had different processes and methodologies, were able to form hybrid solutions. However, their hybrid solutions addressed mostly terms and results, and did not address the deeper methodologies that created the results. We also found that some individuals acted as information bridges across sites, representing the teams in articulation. To a large extent small groups were used for reconciling perspectives, but the majority of results were not communicated and integrated back into the larger team. We discuss the challenges that group-to-group collaboration designers face in meeting requirements for supporting these new technologies.
  • Text Document
    Reconsidering Common Ground: Examining Clark's Contribution Theory in the OR
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Koschmann, Timothy; LeBaron, Curtis D.
    The constructs of "common ground" and "grounding" are frequently invoked in the CSCW literature as a mechanism by which participants engaged in joint activity coordinate their respective understandings of matters at hand. These constructs arise from a model of conversation developed by Herbert Clark and sometimes referred to as "contribution theory." We describe here the basic features of this theory and attempt to apply it in analyzing a fragment of enacted interaction. The interaction was recorded during an abdominal surgery performed with the aid of an endoscopic camera. We encountered difficulties, however, in applying contribution theory as an analytic framework within this concrete setting. We found further that the notion of common ground represents a confusing metaphor rather than a useful explanatory mechanism. We conclude with a suggestion that researchers in the future seek ways of constructing descriptions of joint activity that do not rely on the troublesome notions of grounding and common ground.
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    Applying Cyber-Archaeology
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Jones, Quentin
    Online spaces that enable public shared inter-personal communications are of significant social and economic importance. This paper outlines a theoretical model and methodology, labeled cyber-archaeology, for researching the relationship between such spaces and the behaviors they contain. The methodology utilizes large-scale field studies into user behavior in online spaces to identify technology-associated user constraints to sustainable patterns of online large-scale shared social interactions. Empirical research was conducted to assess the validity of both the theoretical model and methodology. It was based on the analysis of 2.65 million messages posted to 600 Usenet newsgroups over a six month period, and 478,240 email messages sent to 487 email lists managed by Listserv software over a 5-month period. Overall, our findings support a key aspect of the model, namely that individual ‘information overload’ coping strategies have an observable impact on mass-interaction discourse dynamics. Further, that it is possible to demonstrate a link between technology type and information overload impacts through field studies of online behavior. Cyber-archaeology is discussed in terms of its ability to offer insight into aspects of CMC-tool usability, technology design, and to guide future empirical research.
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    Dependable Red Hot Action
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Clarke, Karen; Hughes, John; Martin, Dave; Rouncefield, Mark; Sommerville, Ian; Gurr, Corin; Hartswood, Mark; Procter, Rob; Slack, Roger; Voss, Alex
    We present a brief observational, ‘ethnographic’, study of the Roughing Mill in a steel plant and use material from recorded activities to provide ‘illustrative vignettes’ of some aspects of the accomplishment and problems of everyday work. The account provides a ‘bottom up’ method for developing a more sophisticated and situated view of the problems of dependability. The paper documents the social organisation of work in the Roughing Mill, the interaction between the computer scheduler and the skill of the mill operator in accomplishing ‘dependable’ production of steel plates from slabs.
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    ‘Repairing’ the Machine: A Case Study of the Evaluation of Computer-Aided Detection Tools in Breast Screening
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Hartswood, Mark; Procter, Rob; Slack, Roger; Soutter, James; Voss, Alex; Rouncefield, Mark
    In this paper, we consider the problems of introducing computer-based tools into collaborative processes, arguing that such an introduction must attend to the sociality of work if it is not to impact negatively upon the work that they are intended to support. To ground our arguments, we present findings from an ethnomethologicallyinformed ethnographic study carried out in the context of the clinical trial of a computerbased aid in medical work. Our findings highlight the problematic nature of traditional clinical trials for evaluating healthcare technologies, precisely because such trials fail to grasp the situated, social and collaborative dimensions of medical work.
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    Moving to get aHead: Local Mobility and Collaborative Work
    (ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2003) Bardram, Jakob E.; Bossen, Claus
    Local mobility is a central aspect of collaborative work that is in need of close analysis. Between the face-to-face interaction of offices or control rooms and longdistance interaction facilitated through e.g. telephones, e-mail, the www or teleconferences lie a number of work-settings in which actors move about continuously in order to accomplish their work. They do so because they need to get access to knowledge, resources, persons and/or places. We analyze the integral nature of mobility to this kind of work practice from the ethnographic description of a hospital department, and the challenges that actors have to face to accomplish their work. Based on this ethnographic case, we propose a set of concepts for understanding local mobility as an intermediate field of distributed cooperation between centres of coordination and remote collaboration. Finally, we introduce the concept of ‘mobility work’ as complementary to the concept of ‘articulation work’.