Support for Collaborative Authoring via Electronic Mail: The MESSIE Environment
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
MESSIE is a collaborative authoring environment to support the production of large-scale documents by teams of geographically distributed groups of authors working with hetereogenous systems. The environment allows authors to submit text at various stages of gestation (e.g. list of topics, first draft) to a shared filestore via email. All authors collaborating on a document can read each others' contributions, and add suggestions, comments and additional material directly to the document. The system integrates automatically answered electronic mail, shared file store administration, and a version control tool in a UNIX environment. The paper describes design and implementation strategy, and reports observations and a number of changes which were made during a 4-month trial period with three collaborative authoring teams.