Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984

In this collection we collect material from the first Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Co-sponsored by: Digital Equipment Corporation, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, 13-15 August 1984
, Endicott House, Dedham, Massachusetts

The material is from the files of Randy Trigg -
 scanned and edited by Kjeld Schmidt, 2019

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  • Text Document
    An Office Information System based on Intelligent Forms
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Ellis, Clarence A.
    This paper summarizes some design ideas and implementation alternatives for a distributed Office Information System (abbreviated OIS herein). Our design is aimed toward efficient and elegant distributed implementations which support facilities such as intelligent forms, dynamic coupling of migrant processes, and consistent recomilation of system components during execution. Explanation of and rationale for these facilities is presented within this memo. Rationale is based upon years of study and modeling of offices, and design, implementation and measurement of prototype OISs within the Office Research Group at Xerox PARC.
  • Text Document
    The Representation of Debate as a Basis for Information Storage and Retrieval
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Lowe, David
    Interactive computer networks offer the potential for creating a body of information on any given topic which combines the best available contributions from a large number of users. This paper describes a system for cooperatively structuring and evaluating information through well-specified interactions by many users with a common database. A working version of the system has been implemented and examples of its use are presented. At the heart of the system is a structured representation for debate, in which conclusions are explicitly justified or negated by individual items of evidence. Through debates on the accuracy of information and on aspects of the structures themselves, a large number of users can cooperatively rank all available items of information in terms of significance and relevance to each topic. Individual users can then choose the depth to which they wish to examine these structures for the purposes at hand. The function of this debate is not to arrive at specific conclusions, but rather to collect and order the best available evidence on each topic. By representing the basic structure of each field of knowledge, the system would function at one level as an information retrieval system in which documents are indexed, evaluated and ranked in the context of each topic of inquiry. At a deeper level, the system would encode knowledge in the structure of the debates themselves. This use of an interactive system for structuring information offers many further opportunities for improving the accuracy, currency, and accessibility of information.
  • Text Document
    Computer Networking as a Vehicle for Citizen Participation: A Case Study of the White House Conference on Productivity
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Hiltz, Starr Roxanne
    In The Network Nation, the possibility of dispersed citizens using computer mediated communication to discuss matters of political policy and to formulate recommendations or coordination political action was discussed. In the Spring of 1983 such a scenario was enacted. At that time, the American Productivity Center (APC) in Houston, Texas, organized and coordinated and effort to use EIES (the Electronic Information Exchange System) as a means of formulating private sector recommendations for improving productivity in the U.S., to be presented at the White House Conference on Productivity the following fall. About 200 people worked together in seven different task groups to produce the recommendations. This is a report on the computer conferences and on the reactions of the participants to theier experiences. The data presented here were gathered through participant observation in one of the working groups, (including attendance at the meetings in Houston and Pittsburgh); by the use of the Survey system on EIES to administer and online survey to the participants; and by use of a conference analysis program on EIES which counts amount of participation by each member of a conference.
  • Text Document
    Tradeoffs in Designing Organizations: Implications for New Forms of Human Organizations and Computer Systems
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Malone, Thomas W.; Smith, Stephen A.
    In this paper, we develop a model that can be applied to a wide range of problems in organizatio theory and computer science including: (1) explaining historical changes in the structure of American business organizations. (2) predicting changes in the structure of human organizations that may result from the widespread use of computers, and (3) analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of decentralized task scheduling in computer networks.
  • Text Document
    An Office Study: Its Implications on the Understanding of Organizations
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Barber, Gerald R.
    The results of an office study are presented. The goals of the study were to determine some parameters of the problem solving and knowledge level processing that occurs in a particular organization. The problem solving processes in the organization are described and the relationship between these problem solving processes and some characteristics of the knowledge used to solve the problems is discussed. In addition we describe the impact exceptions have on the evolution of the organization and identify two mechanisms that help the organization adapt to change. The implications of the results of the study on the understandig of organizations are discussed. Areas of further study are described.
  • Text Document
    Task Support in an Office System
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Croft, W. Bruce; Lefkowitz, Lawrence S.
    A major goal of an office system is to support the tasks that are central to the office functions. Some office tasks are readily implemented with generic office tools, such as calendars, forms packages and mail. Many tasks, however, involve complex sequences of actions that do not all correspond to tool invocations and, instead, rely on the problem-solving ability of the office workers. In this paper, we describe a system (POISE) that can be used to both automate routine tasks and provide assistance in more complex situations. The type of assistance provided can range from maintaining a record of the tasks currently being executed to suggesting possible next steps and answering natural language queries about the tasks. The POISE system uses both a procedure-based and a goal-based representation of the tasks to achieve efficiency and flexibility. The mechanisms used by POISE are described with example procedures from a university office.
  • Text Document
    XCP: An Experimental Tool for Managing Cooperative Activity
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Sluizer, Suzanne; Cashman, Paul M.
    A project usually requires the cooperative efforts of more than one person to accomplish ist goals. As the number of people working on a project increases, the time spent in coordinating their efforts multiplies, and difficulties often arise. Communication breakdowns cause major problems because communication is the cornerstone of effective cooperation. Decision making becomes complicated because areas of responsivility are ambiguous. Procedures which are set up to ensure critical actions occur often degrade over time. XCP is an experimental coordinator tool which assists an organization in implementing and maintaining it procedures. Its goal is to reduce the costs of communicating, coordinating, and deciding by carrying out formal plans of cooperative activity in partnership with its users. It tracks, prods, and manages the relational complexity as captured in the formal plan, so that human resources are available for more productive tasks. It can aid in the training of new staff because they do not have to learn a procedure in an ad hoc fashin. A protoype has been implemented in the VAX LISP language, and runs on a VAX 11/785, 11/780, or 11/750 processor under the VMS operating system.
  • Text Document
    Development of Interllectual Capability
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Jaques, Elliott
    This paper is concerned with the subject of the ability of individuals to engage in goal-directed behavior in problem-solving and in everyday work. It concentrates upon one aspect only of this ability; namely, that of intellectual capability - or what tends currently to be referrred to as cognitive processes. It addresses a number of connected issues: first, what is the nature of cognitive processes, defined here as the processes by which individuals form or pattern the world which they construct and work with?; second, how is it possible to measure the scale or degree of complexity of cogrnitive processes - defined here as cognitive power - and by the same token, to measure the size of the world which a person can construct and live in?; and thirs, what is the pattern of development of the cognitive power of an individual - how does it mature and grow?
  • Text Document
    TEXTNET: A Network-Based Approach to Text Handling
    (Readings of Workshop on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 1984, 1984) Trigg, Randall H.; Weiser, Mark
    This paper describes a new system for text structuring called Textnet. The Textnet approach uses one uniform data structure to capture graph-like pools of text as well as embedded hierarchical structures. Using a semantic network formalism of nodes connected by typed links, the relationships between neighboring pieces of thext are made explicit. We also describe our partial implementation of the Textnet approach which makes use of an object-oriented window/menu-driven user interface. Users peruse the network by moving among object menus or by reading text along a path through the network. In addition, critiquing, reader linking, searching, and jumping are easily accessible operations. Finally, the results of a short trial with users are presented.