- Text DocumentCommunities and other Social Structures for Knowledge Sharing - A Case Study in an Internet Consultancy Company(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Ruuska, I.; Vartiainen, M.This research aims at understanding how people share knowledge in their everyday work in a project-based company. The social structures for knowledge sharing are characterised as formal, informal, and quasi-informal structures. They vary from those with high formalisation to the informal, and even include structures which are invisible and unrecognised in the organisation. They also vary in their composition. They may share the same or different space, and communication is based on face-to-face or virtual interaction. Data was collected by means of documents and interviews (n=18) during the autumn of 2002 and the winter of 2003 from an Internet consultancy company. The study shows the great variety of formal, informal, and quasi-informal social structures that are used for knowledge sharing in the case company. In all, sixteen different structures were found. The number of formal structures is smaller than the number of informal ones. Their analysis in terms of five dimensions also shows their great heterogeneity.
- Text DocumentUses of information sources in an Internet-era firm: Online and offline(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Quan-Haase, A.; Cothrel, J.Most research on the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the workplace has focused on companies that adopted ICT after many years of working without it. However, companies that have been “always connected” may offer different lessons. In this study, we look at how workers at an Internet-era company obtain information they need to do their jobs. We look at both human and documentary sources of information
- Text DocumentKnowledge Sharing in Knowledge Communities(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) van den Hooff, B.; Elving, W.; Meeuwsen, J.M.; Dumoulin, C.This paper investigates the contribution of ICT to knowledge sharing in communities of practice. A theoretical model is built that identifies the possible influence of ICT on the extent to which knowledge is shared within a community, as well as a number of variables that determine the extent to which this contribution is realized. This theoretical model was tested within two ICT-facilitated communities for professionals in the area of working conditions. The results of these case studies show that ICT’s most important contribution to knowledge sharing in communities consists of the realization of a shared information base (communality) and facilitating communication independent of time and place (connectivity). The results also show that trust among members of a community, and their identification with the community, are important influences on knowledge sharing. Task interdependence and the community’s information culture are also identified as important influences.
- Text DocumentMultimedia Fliers: Information Sharing With Digital Community Bulletin Boards(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Churchill, E.F.; Nelson, L.; Denoue, L.Community poster boards serve an important community building function. Posted fliers advertise services, events and people’s interests, and invite community members to communicate, participate, interact and transact. In this paper we describe the design, development and deployment of several large screen, digital community poster boards, the Plasma Posters, within our organization. We present our motivation, two fieldwork studies of online and offline information sharing, and design guidelines derived from our observations. After introducing the Plasma Posters and the underlying information storage and distribution infrastructure, we illustrate their use and value within our organization, summarizing findings from qualitative and quantitative evaluations. We conclude by elaborating socio-technical challenges we have faced in our design and deployment process.
- Text DocumentEmail as Spectroscopy: Automated Discovery of Community Structure within Organizations(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Tyler, J.R.; Wilkinson, D.M.; Huberman, B.A.We describe a method for the automatic identification of communities of practice from email logs within an organization. We use a betweenness centrality algorithm that can rapidly find communities within a graph representing information flows. We apply this algorithm to an email corpus of nearly one million messages collected over a two-month span, and show that the method is effective at identifying true communities, both formal and informal, within these scale-free graphs. This approach also enables the identification of leadership roles within the communities. These studies are complemented by a qualitative evaluation of the results in the field.
- Text DocumentWe Can See You: A Study of Communities' Invisible People through ReachOut(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Soroka, V.; Jacovi, M.; Ur, S.Virtual communities are a great tool, both at home and in the workplace. They help in finding new friends and solving complicated problems by creating a virtual family or a giant group-mind. However, building a virtual community is not a trivial task. Many problems need to be addressed for a new community to be successful. While many of these problems are features of the medium, participants themselves are still the major part of the equation. Understanding the behavioral patterns of virtual community members is crucial for attracting participants and facilitating active participation. In this paper, we describe our findings from analyzing more than a year of activities of a workplace community. Our community used ReachOut, a tool developed in our group to support semi-persistent collaboration and community building. Throughout the year, all users’ activities were logged, providing us with very detailed information. Not only do we know of people’s postings to the community, but we can also track lurking behavior that is usually hidden. This allows us to check several hypotheses about non-active participants’ behavior and propose some directions to increase active participation in virtual communities.
- Text DocumentAdding Connectivity and Loosing Context with ICT: Contrasting learning situations from a community of practice perspective(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Arnold, P.; Smith, J.D.The promise of information and communication technologies is that it increases connectivity. By providing a spectrum of technologies such as email, web conferencing, telephones, and chat, ICTs bring people who are geographically dispersed together in community. Such communities can provide a new context for learning
- Text DocumentEpisteme or practice? Differentiated Communitarian Structures in a Biology Laboratory(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Créplet, F.; Dupouët, O.; Vaast, E.This paper explores the different social structures coexisting within a biology laboratory. This work draws upon an empirical study and the results are analysed using the social network analysis toolbox. We evidence that actors form links between them in order to carry out cognitive activities. Depending on the content of this activity, resulting networks can take different shapes. When dealing with scientific knowledge, actors tend to form an epistemic community, whereas they form a community of practice when they seek to enhance their skills in setting experiments. Moreover, these two structures are connected by means of boundary objects and boundary spanners.
- Text DocumentSynchronizing Asynchronous Collaborative Learners(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Lundin, J.This paper addresses the issue of different levels of progress in asynchronous collaborative learning activities. The context for this research is organizations of distributed and mobile practitioners. When introducing collaborative learning parallel to daily work tasks we cannot assume that all participants have the same possibility to actively engage. Therefore the learners can be at different levels of progress in the collaborative learning activity. To facilitate collaborative activity the progress of the participants has to be synchronized in some way. The main problem addressed in this paper is the difficulty for participants to keep a common progress, to enable discussions, in asynchronous collaborative learning. To address this problem three methods for synchronization (synchronization points) are suggested: locked scenes, written instruction and collaborative production. The three methods were implemented and evaluated in an organization using a Net-scenario, the Net-scenario as a system and a methodology based on role-playing to initiate collaborative learning. This system was suitable to use in the evaluation since it can be used asynchronously as well as synchronously, supports distributed participants and is dependent on collaborative discussion concerning the content presented.
- Text DocumentBabel in the international café: A respectful critique(Communities and Technologies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Communities and Technologies 2003, 2003) Trayner, B.This paper reflects on the case of participants with different first languages conversing in “The International Café” in an online workshop about Communities of Practice. It describes the context of the café within the workshop and an informal translation experiment designed to bring together community members with different first languages. In the light of this experiment the paper critically reflects on the effectiveness of translation for negotiating meaning in international community conversations. It discusses the value of cultivating global literacies where language is considered not as a technical issue requiring translation equivalence, but as something that shapes individual and collective worldviews, where the fine-tuning and exploration of situated meanings of people with different first languages is viewed as integral to the process of interacting, learning and sharing knowledge in an international community. The reflections highlight a connected issue of time: for participating in, facilitating and designing for such conversations. Finally, international conversations in the café are contextualised as part of a broader issue of clarifying the purpose and principles behind cultivating a truly international online community workshop. Four key issues arising from this reflective critique are tentatively offered as inter-connected design factors for international online community environments.