JCSCW Vol. 15 (2006)

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  • Journal Article
    Information Infrastructures for Distributed Collective Practices
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 38869) Turner, William; Bowker, Geoffrey; Gasser, Les; Zacklad, Manuel
  • Journal Article
    Pushing the Distribution Model to its Limits: Distributed “listening” in a Helpline
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 2006) Licoppe, Christian
    Our case study explores the extent to which a “Distributed Cognition”-like ethnographic approach can be used to analyze situations which are not at first sight compatible with the precepts of computational cognition. In the first part of the paper, we analyze the collective listening of phone calls in a helpline. We show why collective listening can be considered a “distributed collective practice”, with a mode of coordination based on repeated verbal re-enactments of difficult phone calls, rather than upon the discrete computational steps normally assumed in the standard model. In the second part of the paper, we analyse the organizational and interactional learning which takes place when collective listening is re-mediated by using e-mail exchanges rather than telephone conversations to communicate distress. Our conclusion discusses critically the viability of the distribution model in a context of collective listening.
  • Journal Article
    The Wireless Nursing Call System: Politics of Discourse, Technology and Dependability in a Pilot Project
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 2006) Jensen, Casper Bruun
    This paper discusses a research project in which social scientists were involved both as analysts and supporters during a pilot with a new wireless nursing call system. The case thus exemplifies an attempt to participate in developing dependable health care systems and offers insight into the challenges of developing and supporting such systems. The analysis proposes that while dependability is not simply a technical issue, neither is it something, which can be improved merely by adding a social dimension. Instead, it argues that dependability is a relative concept, which may mean different things conditional on how it is specified in practice and who gets to do this. This relativity makes it important to relate the question of how to support dependable health care systems to an analysis of both the politics of technology within specific projects and to the politics of discourse, through which the researcher becomes involved in such projects.
  • Journal Article
    Loose Coupling and Healthcare Organizations: Deployment Strategies for Groupware
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 39052) Pinelle, David; Gutwin, Carl
    Healthcare organizations are often organized in a modular, loosely coupled fashion where separate and semi-autonomous work units specialize in different areas of care delivery. This partitioning allows each unit to adapt to emerging practice standards in its area of expertise and to adjust to its local work environment. However, organizational loose coupling can limit the flow of information within organizations and can make it difficult to coordinate services when patients’ care is dependent on professionals from more than one unit. Groupware systems have the potential to improve coordination and information access in healthcare organizations. However, modularity and loose coupling make it difficult to introduce new systems when they span more than one unit, since authority is not always centralized and since perceptions and frames of reference on new deployments differ across units. In this paper, we define a groupware deployment framework for loosely coupled healthcare organizations that has two parts: a set of deployment challenges and a set of deployment strategies. The deployment challenges include: difficulties centralizing deployments, perceptions of inequity, role conflicts, and problems achieving critical mass. The deployment strategies outline a preliminary set of approaches for addressing the difficulties of deploying CSCW systems in loosely coupled healthcare organizations. We illustrate the framework by presenting a case study of a groupware deployment in a home care setting.
  • Journal Article
    Modern Information Infrastructure in the Support of Distributed Collective Practice in Transport
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 2006) King, John Leslie
    Transport is one of the oldest and most important forms of distributed collective practice. This paper traces the role of information and communication technologies in the transformation of transport-based distributed collective practice, focusing on the evolution of technologies that place control of the transport infrastructure in the hands of end users. Examples of this shift are provided, including an analysis of the events of September 11, 2001 as forms of distributed collective action.
  • Journal Article
    Achieving Dependability in the Configuration, Integration and Testing of Healthcare Technologies
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 39052) Martin, David; Hartswood, Mark; Slack, Roger; Voss, Alex
    This paper presents two case studies, which highlight the practical work involved in developing and deploying dependable healthcare systems. It shows how dependability is a thoroughgoingly practical, contexted achievement. We show how dependability is an outcome of the reasoning and argumentation processes that stakeholders engage in, in situations such as design and testing. What becomes relevant during these interactions stands as the dependability criteria that must be achieved. Furthermore, we examine the way in which different dependability criteria need to be managed, and even relatively prioritised, before finally discussing the types of work this provokes at the boundaries of organisations, particularly when integrating work and technologies.
  • Journal Article
    Walking the Tightrope: The Balancing Acts of a Large e-Research Project
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 4, 38930) Lawrence, Katherine A.
    Although e-Research has received much attention and acclaim in recent years, the realities of distributed collaboration still challenge even the most well-planned endeavors. This case study of an e-Research project examines the ‚balancing acts’ associated with multidisciplinary, geographically distributed, large-scale research and development work. After briefly describing the history and organizational design of this information technology and atmospheric science research project, I identify five paradoxical challenges that cannot be resolved: research versus development, harmony versus conflict, consensus versus top-down decision making, frequency and modes of communication, and fast versus slow pacing. Although collaboration and communication technologies supported the project’s management and organization, most of the complexities faced by the team were not technological in nature. From the five paradoxical challenges associated with the project, I distill three cross-cutting issues that could be relevant to other e-Research projects of this magnitude: satisfying the multiple needs of a multidisciplinary project, managing information, and engaging all participants. I identify the practical implications of these challenges and issues, specifically that organizational and low-tech solutions – not the introduction of more sophisticated technology tools – are needed to solve these challenges and to better streamline coordination.
  • Journal Article
    Developing Digital Records: Early Experiences of Record and Replay
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 4, 2006) Crabtree, Andy; French, Andrew; Greenhalgh, Chris; Benford, Steve; Cheverst, Keith; Fitton, Dan; Rouncefield, Mark; Graham, Connor
    In this paper we consider the development of ‘digital records’ to support ethnographic study of interaction and collaboration in ubiquitous computing environments and articulate the core concept of ‘record and replay’ through two case studies. One focuses on the utility of digital records, or records of interaction generated by a computer system, to ethnographic inquiry and highlights the mutually supportive nature of digital records and ethnographic methods. The other focuses on the work it takes to make digital records support ethnography, particularly the work of description and representation that is required to reconcile the fragmented character of interaction in ubiquitous computing environments. The work involved in ‘making digital records work’ highlights requirements for the design of tools to support the endeavour and informs the development of a Replay Tool. This tool enables ethnographers to visualize the data content of digital records; to extract sequences of relevance to analysis and remove non-relevant features; to marry recorded content with external resources, such as video; to add content from internal and external resources through annotation; and to reorder digital records to reflect the interactional order of events rather than the recorded order of events.
  • Journal Article
    Multidisciplinary Medical Team Meetings: An Analysis of Collaborative Working with Special Attention to Timing and Teleconferencing
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 39052) Kane, Bridget; Luz, Saturnino
    In this paper we describe the process of a multi-disciplinary medical team meeting (MDTM), its functions and operation in colocated and teleconference discussions. Our goal is to identify the elements and mechanics of operation that enhance or threaten the dependability of the MDTM as a “system” and propose technologies and measures to make this system more reliable. In particular, we assess the effect of adding teleconferencing to the MDTM, and identify strengths and vulnerabilities introduced into the system by the addition of teleconferencing technology. We show that, with respect to the system’s external task environment, rhythms of execution of pre-meeting and post-meeting activities are critical for MDTM success and that the extension of the MDTM to wider geographic locations with teleconferencing might disrupt such rhythms thereby posing potential threats to dependability. On the other hand, an analysis of vocalisation patterns demonstrates that despite difficulties related to coordination and awareness in video-mediated communication (evidenced by increased time spent in case discussion, longer turns, decreased turn frequency and near lack of informal exchanges) the overall case discussion structure is unaffected by the addition of teleconferencing technology into proceedings.
  • Journal Article
    Seamless Integration: Standardisation across Multiple Local Settings
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 15, No. 0, 39052) Ellingsen, Gunnar; Monteiro, Eric
    The pressure towards tighter or “seamless” integration of health information systems is a recurring issue with both practical and analytical relevance. It taps into a discourse in the IS literature in general and organisation and management science in particular. Unfortunately, the prevailing perception of integration in the IS literature is as a predominantly technical issue. The CSCW literature, however, is attentive to the socio-technical aspects of integration. Building on this – but supplemented with recent elaborations in science studies – we aim at exploring the unintended consequences of information systems integration. A user-led perspective implies emphasising the tailoring to local needs based on in-depth studies of the micro practices. We argue, however, that the condition for such an approach is radically undermined by politically motivated, regional changes towards integration with implicated standardisation. Enforcing order in the form of standards across multiple local settings, seemingly a prerequisite for tight integration, simultaneously produces disorder or additional work in other locations for other users. Empirically, our study is based on a large, ongoing integration effort at the University hospital of Northern Norway, specifically studying work practices and perceptions across multiple laboratories.