JCSCW Vol. 05 (1996)

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  • Journal Article
    Normalized Interactions between autonomous agents
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 2-3, 35217) Pitt, Jeremy; Anderton, Matthew; Cunningham, Jim
    The CEC Project GOAL (Esprit 6283) aims to develop generic software tools to support a new project management paradigm, in which projects are collaborative, decentralised and inter-organizational. To support inter-organizational interaction, communication and cooperation, we are developing a design framework for formalizing the flow of information between organizations, specifying access to and provision of project services, and defining project-wide standards and procedures. This framework is based on normalizing interactions between autonomous software agents by specifying messages and protocols for inter-agent communication and cooperation. This paper reviews the framework, and then focusses on the specification and implementation of a case study, the automation of a distributed document review procedure. This is both a successful proof of concept and a demonstration of how Artificial Intelligence technologies can support inter-organizational project management. It also points the way to ‘agent brokering’, an enhancement of object brokering in distributed open systems, where the satisfaction of service requests can be subject to negotiation.
  • Journal Article
    Your place or mine? Learning from long-term use of Audio-Video communication
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 1, 35125) Dourish, Paul; Adler, Annette; Bellotti, Victoria; Henderson, Austin
    Workstations and personal computers are increasingly being delivered with the ability to handle multimedia data; more and more of us are linked by high-speed digital networks. With multimedia communication environments becoming more commonplace, what have we learned from earlier experiences with prototype media environments? This paper reports on some of our experiences as developers, researchers and users of flexible, networked, multimedia computer environments, or “media spaces”. It focusses on the lessons we can learn from extended, long-term use of media spaces, with connections that last not hours or days, but months or years. We take as our starting point a set of assumptions which differ from traditional analytical perspectives. In particular, we begin from the position that that real-world baseline is not always an appropriate point of comparison for new media technologies; that a set of complex and intricate communicative behaviours arise over time; and that media spaces connect not only individuals, but the wider social groups of which they form part. We outline a framework based on four perspectives — individual, interactional, communal and societal — from which to view the behaviour of individuals and groups linked by multimedia environments. On the basis of our long-term findings, we argue for a view of media spaces which, first, focuses on a wider interpretation of media space interaction than the traditional view of person-to-person connections, and, second, emphasises emergent communicative practices, rather than looking for the transfer of face-to-face behaviours.
  • Journal Article
    Contexts, work processes, and workspaces
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 2-3, 1996) Agostini, Alessandra; Michelis, Giorgio; Grasso, Maria Antonietta; Prinz, Wolfgang; Syri, Anja
    In this paper a framework for the conceptual modelling of organizational contexts is provided and it is embodied into an extension of the TOSCA organizational handbook. The context of a work process is relevant since the effectiveness of the cooperation among its actors is highly dependent on their awareness of it. It requires, on the one hand, that the context is made available in terms of visibility and/or transparency; on the other, that at any time a selection is made so that only what is relevant to the context is provided, leaving the rest in the background. With respect to the first requirement a model of the organizational context is needed, so that all the information regarding its dimensions can be linked together. With respect to the second requirement, a work process model provides some guidelines for designing a system offering a selective access to the context of a work process. The workspace metaphor is a good paradigm to make that information ready at hand, since it is the natural framework within which people do their work.
  • Journal Article
    Object-oriented activity support: A model for integrated CSCW systems
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 1, 35125) Teege, Gunnar
    This paper proposes a model for integrated CSCW systems, the model of Object-Oriented Activity Support OOActSM. In contrast to existing systems for the support of collaborative work, the model aims at the integrated support of all aspects of CSCW in a single frame system. The major properties of our model are the use of “activity” as the basic concept and the use of object-oriented mechanisms for providing solutions of typical CSCW problems. I demonstrate how all major aspects of current CSCW systems can be supported and integrated with each other in our model.
  • Journal Article
    Modelling co-operation in the design of knowledge production systems: The MADE IN'COOP method
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 2-3, 35217) Zacklad, Manuel; Rousseaux, Francis
    This paper presents the latest developments of the MadeIn 'Coop method for modelling the human-machine and human-human co-operation process, and an application of this method for the design of a more co-operative version of the C 3 I System CHEOPS. We first consider that the design of software systems for organizations is tied more and more to the perspective of ‘compound’ Knowledge Production Systems that link humans and machines engaged in a co-operative problem solving process. After exposing the four principles upon which MadeIn 'Coop rests for modelling co-operation, we present an artificial problem solving dialogue between CHEOPS and its users. Consistent with the ‘ Group Cognitive Processes Theory ’ framework, we propose a dialogue analysis according to two complimentary points of view: the ‘Collective Problem Solving model’, and the ‘Coordination model’. This analysis should help system designers to identify new system functionalities to assist problem solving.
  • Journal Article
    Cooperation between humans and machines: First results of an experiment with a multi-level cooperative organisation in air traffic control
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 2-3, 1996) Lemoine, M. P.; Debernard, S.; Crevits, I.; Millot, P.
    The increasing air traffic and the ensuing increasing burden on air traffic controllers suggest to attempt to provide enhanced assistance to air traffic controllers. As it is difficult to reduce the number of primary tasks, a solution is to give active assistance to controllers by means of computer tools that allow for optimal control in order to maintain the level of safety and at the same time regulate the air traffic controllers' workload. The objective of our research is to propose and validate a new organisation of air traffic control. It aims at integrating both levels of the organisation of air traffic control: a tactical level managed by a radar controller and a strategic level managed by a organic controller. Our study at first addresses the tactical level, aiming at ‘horizontal cooperation’ consisting in dynamic allocation of control tasks between a human air traffic controller and an assistance tool. The results of this first approach has oriented the study toward the implementation of a scheduling module for the tactical level. This paper reports the functionalities of air-traffic control and the results of few preceding experiments. A description of the new multi-level organisation is given, to conduce to the presentation of experimental platform, experimental protocol and the first results of experiments.
  • Journal Article
    Negotiation based on constraints in cooperation
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 2-3, 35217) Huguet, M. J.; Erschler, J.; Terssac, G.; Lompré, N.
    This paper presents some aspects of cooperation in organizations. In the first part, we present the importance to coordination processes within an organization. Indeed, the information perceived by the company no longer pertains to the realm of the repetitive, predictable and programmable. In this context of limited rationality, how can one define an efficient and acceptable decision coordination and distribution structure? We argue that the intervention of man in the decisional process remains inescapable on account of the limitations of the coordination process, and define several forms of cooperation between decision centers on an industrial site. In the second part, the assumption retained is that for the management of a production system the decision is made through a network of decision centers. The approach presented puts forward the development of decision and cooperation aid tools only exploiting the information contained in the constraints linking together the decision variables so as to highlight the degrees of freedom effectively available to the decision maker. Finally, we discuss about cooperation and power, where the power issue cannot be disregarded.
  • Journal Article
    Information needs in technical work settings and their implications for the design of computer tools
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 1, 35125) Paepcke, Andreas
    We interviewed information workers in multiple technical areas of a large, diverse company, and we describe some of the unsatisfied information needs we observed during our study. Two clusters of issues are described. The first covers how loosely coupled work groups use and share information. We show the need to structure information for multiple, partly unanticipated uses. We show how the construction of information compounds helps users accomplish some of this restructuring, and we explain how structuring flexibility is also required because of temperamental differences among users. The second cluster of issues revolves around collections of tightly coupled work groups. We show that information shared within such groups differs from information shared across group boundaries. We present the barriers to sharing which we saw operating both within groups and outside, and we explain the function of resource and contact broker which evolved in the settings we examined. For each of these issues we propose implications for information tool design.
  • Journal Article
    Collaborative conceptual design: A large software project case study
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 4, 35400) Potts, Colin; Catledge, Lara
    During software development, the activities of requirements analysis, functional specification, and architectural design all require a team of developers to converge on a common vision of what they are developing. There have been remarkably few studies of conceptual design during real projects. In this paper, we describe a detailed field study of a large industrial software project. We observed the development team's conceptual design activities for three months with follow-up observations and discussions over the following eight months. In this paper, we emphasize the organization of the project and how patterns of collaboration affected the team's convergence on a common vision. Three observations stand out: First, convergence on a common vision was not only painfully slow but was punctuated by several reorientations of direction; second, the design process seemed to be inherently forgetful, involving repeated resurfacing of previously discussed issues; finally, a conflict of values persisted between team members responsible for system development and those responsible for overseeing the development process. These findings have clear implications for collaborative support tools and process interventions.
  • Journal Article
    Supporting articulation work using software configuration management systems
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 5, No. 4, 35400) Grinter, Rebecca E.
    Software product development is a highly collaborative activity, where teams of developers need to collaborate to produce a system. It is also a domain where systems are used to try to help the developers coordinate their work. This paper describes the results of an empirical study of the use of one such system, a configuration management tool. Specifically it describes three aspects of the support that the tool provides: the challenges of representing the work, the need to support both individuals and groups working together, and how the assumptions about software development built into the tool interact with others in the organization. The study suggests that long after the initial adoption the tool and the organization continue to interact with each other. It also opens up questions for empirical studies of the organizational context behind the tool usage.