ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work

7-11 September 1997, Lancaster, UK

General Chairs: Tom Rodden, Lancaster University, UK

John Hughes, Lancaster University, UK
Program Chair: Wolfgang Prinz, GMD, Germany

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

This volume contains a collection of papers that encompass activities in the field. It includes papers addressing distribute virtual environments, the use of the Internet, studies of work and emerging models, theories and techniques to support the development of cooperative applications. The papers present emerging technologies alongside new methods and approaches to the development of this important class of applications.

The work in this volume represents the best of the current research and practice within CSCW. The collection of papers presented here will appeal to both researchers and practitioners alike, as they combine an understanding of the nature of work with the possibilities offered by new technologies.

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  • Text Document
    Frontmatter
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997)
  • Text Document
    Staging a Public Poetry Performance in a Collaborative Virtual Environment
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Benford, Steve; Greenhalgh, Chris; Snowdon, Dave; Bullock, Adrian
    We discuss the design of a CVE poetry performance and experiences arising from staging it to two hundred members of the public. The design, a collaborative effort between computer scientists, artists, poets and producers, addresses issues of. virtual world structure
  • Text Document
    The Social Construction and Visualisation of a Norwegian Offshore Installation
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Hepsø, Vidar
    This paper exemplifies how to make aggregated descriptions or requirements of work processes to serve as references or resources for future situated actions in the operations of a new oil installation It describes a joint organisational and IT-development process of a CSCW-application that supports personel in their daily preparations for operations. The paper discusses how the organisational members themselves were empowered to describe the proper format of representation, with activities, products, roles, responsibilities and co-ordination mechanisms in general.
  • Text Document
    Task Conflict and Language Differences: Opportunities for Videoconferencing
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Williams, Gayna
    Considerable research has found that adding audio to desktop conferencing improves problem-solving, but that there is no additional benefit from adding video This paper describes an experiment that supports these earlier findings, while suggesting that video may provide significant benefit when used in tasks involving speakers with different priorities and different linguistic capabilities The level of conflict in the experimental setting is consistent with that found in work settings, but is higher than that in most experimental situations Tasks involving a mix of native and non-native English speakers are not universal but may be increasingly common Thus, these findings provide encouragement to those working to improve videoconferencing technology
  • Text Document
    Constructing Common Information Spaces
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Bannon, Liam; Bødker, Susanne
    This paper investigates an important, yet under-researched topic in CSCW, namely shared, or common, information spaces. Precisely what is meant by this term, however, is not always obvious. We provide some background to work in the area, and then proceed to examine features of such spaces through examples. The work involved in both putting information in common, and in interpreting it, has often not been sufficiently recognized. We show how, in various ways, it often requires added work to place items in common, and open up the question of how this might affect use of the WWW, often seen as the ultimate common information space. While there is still a need for further elaboration of many dimensions of the concept, and linkage to related ideas, we believe that the issues raised by this exploration are of importance to the CSCW field.
  • Text Document
    MetaWeb: Bringing synchronous groupware to the World Wide Web
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Trevor, Jonathan; Koch, Thomas; Woetzel, Gerd
    The World Wide Web is increasingly seen as an attractive technology for the deployment and evaluation of groupware However the underlying architecture of the Web is inherently stateless - best supporting asynchronous types of cooperation This paper presents a toolkit for application developers, MetaWeb, which augments the Web with basic features which provide new and legacy applications with better support for synchronous cooperation. Using three simple abstractions, User, Location and Session, MetaWeb allows applications to be coupled as tightly or as loosely to the Web as desired The paper presents two distinct applications of MetaWeb, including the extension of an existing application, the BSCW shared workspace system, from which a number of observations are drawn
  • Text Document
    Effects of the amount of shared information on communication efficiency in side by side and remote help dialogues
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Karsenty, Laurent
    If the sharing of context is now widely acknowledged as a condition for successful communication, existing studies do not allow to determine whether it is necessary to restore the maximum of shared information to obtain the best communicative performance. To address this issue, three help dialogue conditions distinguished by the amount of shared information, are compared. The analyses are focused on the comprehension problems raised by each condition. The results highlight that the quality of a help dialogue is not necessarily linked to the quantity of shared information. They also exhibit that the inability to share some specific information strongly affects communication efficiency. Implications for the design of computer-mediated communication systems are drawn from these results
  • Text Document
    Rethinking CSCW systems: The architecture of Milano
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Agostini, Alessandra; De Michelis, Giorgio; Grasso, Maria Antonietta
    After eleven years, CSCW is a well recognized research field which has generated, among other things, some new theoretical findings on work practices and cooperation and some new systems that are successfully applied by several organizations. The evaluation of successful applications from the point of view of the above recalled CSCW theories indicates some requirements (openness, continuity, contextualization and language-action integration) that the new generation of CSCW systems should satisfy. The prototype of the MILANO system is a working example of how those requirements can be met and of the challenges a full development of the CSCW potential poses to system designers and developers.
  • Text Document
    Gatherers of Information: Some Remarks on the Mission Process at the International Monetary Fund
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Harper, Richard H.R.
    The paper reports findings from an ethnographic stuy of work practice at the International Monetary Fund in Wahsington, DC. In particular, it describes the mission process, drawing attention to important aspects of social organisation in that process. these aspects, relating to social validation, ritual, and the moral (as against the arithmetica) transformation of numbers, are cruicial to understanding the nature of missions and what role new technologies might play in them.
  • Text Document
    A Group-based Authorization Model for Cooperative Systems
    (ECSCW 1997: Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1997) Sikkel, Klaas
    Requirements for access control in CSCW systems have often been stated, but groupware in use today does not meet most of these requirements. There are practical reasons for this, but one of the problems is the inherent complexity of sophisticated access control models. We propose a general authorization model that emphasizes conceptual simplicity and show that several issues—in particular negative access rights and delegation of rights—can be solved elegantly in this model.