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Supporting Research Collaboration through Bi-Level File Synchronization

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Association for Computing Machinery


In this paper, we describe the design and use of Cimetric, a file synchronization application that supports scholarly collaboration. The system design incorporates results of earlier studies that suggest replicating content on a user's personal devices may have different characteristics than replicating content to share it with collaborators. To realize this distinction, Cimetric performs bi-level synchronization: it synchronizes local copies of a versioned repository among collaborators' computers, while it separately synchronizes private working files between each user's personal devices. Through a year's worth of in-house use of Cimetric in a variety of configurations, we were able to investigate key file synchronization issues, including the role of cloud storage given the ability to sync between peers; the strengths and weaknesses of a bi-level design; and which aspects of the synchronization process to reveal to users.


Marshall, Catherine C.; Wobber, Ted; Ramasubramanian, Venugopalan; Terry, Douglas B. (2012): Supporting Research Collaboration through Bi-Level File Synchronization. Proceedings of the 2012 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/2389176.2389202. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 165–174. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA