JCSCW Vol. 22 (2013)

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  • Journal Article
    Supporting Effortless Coordination: 25 Years of Awareness Research
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 2013) Gross, Tom
    Significant progress has been made in awareness research in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work over the last 25 years. This survey addresses awareness and effortless coordination—that is, how a mutual understanding in distributed teams can be gained and maintained, while still keeping the team members’ coordination efforts to a minimum. I characterise the origins of awareness and its ethnographically-informed and the technology-oriented roots, and discuss the notion of awareness. I review technical solutions for awareness support—both in applications as seen by users, and in base technology as seen by developers. Design tensions in awareness research and solutions are identified. A discussion contrasts awareness as seen from a users’ activity and effort perspective versus awareness as seen from a systems’ support and automation perspective.
  • Journal Article
    Differentiated Awareness-Support in Computer Supported Collaborative Work
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 41365) Kolfschoten, Gwendolyn L.; Herrmann, Thomas; Lukosch, Stephan
    Awareness has, for decades, been a topic of interest in CSCW research, as it is a critical condition for effective coordination of collaborative work. In this special issue we present papers that discuss overviews of awareness aspects as well as research challenges for awareness in new settings and conditions. Awareness continues to be a topic of research especially in new (virtual) interaction environments and in various challenging domains in which collaboration is becoming an answer to the increasing complexity of interconnected systems and globalization.
  • Journal Article
    Sharing Knowledge and Expertise: The CSCW View of Knowledge Management
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 41487) Ackerman, Mark S.; Dachtera, Juri; Pipek, Volkmar; Wulf, Volker
    Knowledge Management (KM) is a diffuse and controversial term, which has been used by a large number of research disciplines. CSCW, over the last 20 years, has taken a critical stance towards most of these approaches, and instead, CSCW shifted the focus towards a practice-based perspective. This paper surveys CSCW researchers’ viewpoints on what has become called ‘knowledge sharing’ and ‘expertise sharing’. These are based in an understanding of the social contexts of knowledge work and practices, as well as in an emphasis on communication among knowledgeable humans. The paper provides a summary and overview of the two strands of knowledge and expertise sharing in CSCW, which, from an analytical standpoint, roughly represent ‘generations’ of research: an ‘object-centric’ and a ‘people-centric’ view. We also survey the challenges and opportunities ahead.
  • Journal Article
    From Artefacts to Infrastructures
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 2013) Monteiro, Eric; Pollock, Neil; Hanseth, Ole; Williams, Robin
    In their initial articulation of the direction of the CSCW field, scholars advanced an open-ended agenda. This continuing commitment to open-ness to different contexts and approaches is not, however, reflected in the contents of the major CSCW outlets. The field appears to privilege particular forms of cooperative work. We find many examples of what could be described as ‘localist studies’, restricted to particular settings and timeframes. This focus on the ‘here and now’ is particularly problematic when one considers the kinds of large-scale, integrated and interconnected workplace information technologies—or what we are calling Information Infrastructures—increasingly found within and across organisations today. CSCW appears unable (or unwilling) to grapple with these technologies—which were at the outset envisaged as falling within the scope of the field. Our paper hopes to facilitate greater CSCW attention to Information Infrastructures through offering a re-conceptualisation of the role and nature of ‘design’. Design within an Information Infrastructures perspective needs to accommodate non-local constraints. We discuss two such forms of constraint: standardisation (how local fitting entails unfitting at other sites) and embeddedness (the entanglement of one technology with other apparently unrelated ones). We illustrate these themes through introducing case material drawn on from a number of previous studies.
  • Journal Article
    Computational Coordination Mechanisms: A tale of a struggle for flexibility
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 41487) Cabitza, Federico; Simone, Carla
    Coordination mechanisms (CMs) can be defined as any kind of computable construct whose aim is to organize activities performed by a group of actors that are called to collaborate for some purpose or reason. As such, CMs can be observed, conceived for and applied in a vast number of coordinative practices in almost every work setting. The advent of information and communication technologies has raised the issue of how these technologies could be used to help cooperating actors governing the increasing complexity of collaboration in modern organizations. This issue has been at the core of CSCW from its foundation until today: the field studies therein conducted have highlighted the flexibility by which human beings master this complexity. The requirement of flexibility has become one of the necessary conditions to guarantee the effectiveness of any computer support of coordination. The paper presents the main paradigms and approaches that have been proposed to fulfil this challenging requirement. The story shows that this effort has really been a sort of a struggle for either conceptual and technological solutions that are still to be fully realized and generally adopted in the field of work.
  • Journal Article
    A Review of 25 Years of CSCW Research in Healthcare: Contributions, Challenges and Future Agendas
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 41487) Fitzpatrick, Geraldine; Ellingsen, Gunnar
    CSCW as a field has been concerned since its early days with healthcare, studying how healthcare work is collaboratively and practically achieved and designing systems to support that work. Reviewing literature from the CSCW Journal and related conferences where CSCW work is published, we reflect on the contributions that have emerged from this work. The analysis illustrates a rich range of concepts and findings towards understanding the work of healthcare but the work on the larger policy level is lacking. We argue that this presents a number of challenges for CSCW research moving forward: in having a greater impact on larger-scale health IT projects; broadening the scope of settings and perspectives that are studied; and reflecting on the relevance of the traditional methods in this field - namely workplace studies - to meet these challenges.
  • Journal Article
    Reflections on 25 Years of Ethnography in CSCW
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, 2013) Blomberg, Jeanette; Karasti, Helena
    In this article we focus attention on ethnography’s place in CSCW by reflecting on how ethnography in the context of CSCW has contributed to our understanding of the sociality and materiality of work and by exploring how the notion of the ‘field site’ as a construct in ethnography provides new ways of conceptualizing ‘work’ that extends beyond the workplace. We argue that the well known challenges of drawing design implications from ethnographic research have led to useful strategies for tightly coupling ethnography and design. We also offer some thoughts on recent controversies over what constitutes useful and proper ethnographic research in the context of CSCW. Finally, we argue that as the temporal and spatial horizons of inquiry have expanded, along with new domains of collaborative activity, ethnography continues to provide invaluable perspectives.
  • Journal Article
    Grounding Privacy in Mediated Communication
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, No. 1, 41306) Romero, Natalia A.; Markopoulos, Panos; Greenberg, Saul
    This paper addresses the need of interpersonal privacy coordination mechanisms in the context of mediated communication, emphasizing the dialectic and dynamic nature of privacy. We contribute the Privacy Grounding Model—built upon the Common Ground theory—that describes how connected individuals create and adapt privacy borders dynamically and in a collaborative process. We present the theoretical foundations of the model. We also show the applicability of the model, where we give evidence from a field study that illustrates how it can describe privacy coordination mechanisms amongst users of an instant messaging application and a desktop awareness system. The model describes efficient and effective factors that communicators consider in their decisions to use mechanisms for coordination. The Privacy Grounding Model aims to help designers reflect on how their system supports, or fails to support, people’s need for lightweight and distinctive privacy coordination mechanisms, and in particular how communicators within the system create and use privacy border representations for grounding their needs to interact with each other.
  • Journal Article
    Book Review
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, No. 1, 2013) Randall, David W.
  • Journal Article
    Unearthing the Infrastructure: Humans and Sensors in Field-Based Scientific Research
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 22, No. 1, 41306) Mayernik, Matthew S.; Wallis, Jillian C.; Borgman, Christine L.
    Distributed sensing systems for studying scientific phenomena are critical applications of information technologies. By embedding computational intelligence in the environment of study, sensing systems allow researchers to study phenomena at spatial and temporal scales that were previously impossible to achieve. We present an ethnographic study of field research practices among researchers in the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), a National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center devoted to developing wireless sensing systems for scientific and social applications. Using the concepts of boundary objects and trading zones, we trace the processes of collaborative research around sensor technology development and adoption within CENS. Over the 10-year lifespan of CENS, sensor technologies, sensor data, field research methods, and statistical expertise each emerged as boundary objects that were understood differently by the science and technology partners. We illustrate how sensing technologies were incompatible with field-based environmental research until researchers “unearthed” their infrastructures, explicitly reintroducing human skill and expertise into the data collection process and developing new collaborative languages that emphasized building dynamic sensing systems that addressed human needs. In collaborating around a dynamic sensing model, the sensing systems became embedded not in the environment of study, but in the practices of the scientists.