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A Web of Coordinative Artifacts: Collaborative Work at a Hospital Ward

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Association for Computing Machinery


This paper reports from a field study of a hospital ward and discusses how people achieve coordination through the use of a wide range of interrelated non-digital artifacts, like whiteboards, work schedules, examination sheets, care records, post-it notes etc. These artifacts have multiple roles and functions which in combination facilitate location awareness, continuous coordination, cooperative planning and status overview. We described how actors achieve coordination by using different aspects of these artifacts: their material qualities, the structure they provide as templates and the signs inscribed upon them that are only meaningful to knowledgeable actors. We finally discuss the implication for the design of CSCW tools from the study.


Bardram, Jakob E.; Bossen, Claus (2005): A Web of Coordinative Artifacts: Collaborative Work at a Hospital Ward. Proceedings of the 2005 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/1099203.1099235. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 168–176. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA