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Seeing What you are Hearing: Co-ordinating Responses to Trouble Reports in Network Troubleshooting

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Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands


Real time team co-ordination is a central problem for CSCW, but previous attempts to build novel systems to support it have not been greatly successful. One reason for this is that teams have often evolved highly effective work practices involving paper. In contrast to these prior negative findings, we present an instance of a successful digital system to support real-time co-ordination. Our system is designed to co-ordinate rapid responses to serious network failures in a telecommunications company. A critical reason for our system’s success is that (in contrast to many prior studies) the primary data in our setting is speech. The support team must co-ordinate responses to trouble reports sent in voicemail messages. Our fieldwork suggests that because speech is ephemeral and not inherently visual, existing paper practices make it hard to extract information from those messages in order to construct shared visual representations of the major elements of the work. This in turn makes it difficult to co-ordinate work. Our novel system makes visible the content of these messages along with the actions that team members are taking to deal with them. An 8-month system field trial showed that making important aspects of individual work visible enhanced awareness and team co?ordination


Whittaker, Steve; Amento, Brian (2003): Seeing What you are Hearing: Co-ordinating Responses to Trouble Reports in Network Troubleshooting. ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0068-0_12. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN: 978-94-010-0068-0. pp. 219-238. Full Papers. Helsinki, Finland. 14–18 September 2003