Working together inside an emailbox
In this paper we look at a situation in which email is not simply a channel for collaboration and communication but a site of collaboration itself, involving email inboxes that are jointly accessed by more than one person. We conducted two studies of shared email usage. We learned about a diversity of shared email practices in 14 schools, museums, and support centers through semi-structured interviews and (where feasible) site visits. We also explored in depth one type of shared email usage: executives and assistants sharing an emailbox. We describe the strategies that people use today to meet their collaborative needs by exploiting mailbox structures they currently have. We close with a discussion of email as a site of reinvention – i.e., where users’ work practices have given existing technology new meanings.