ICSP5: Computer Supported Organizational Work
Integrating Active Databases, Coordination, Method Engineering, Process, and Workflow technologies
Introduction to CSCW: Research Traditions and New Directions
Rebecca E. Grinter
The last two decades have seen a large change in the way that people work using computers. In that time personal computers have arrived on peoples' desks, the Internet has evolved from a research network to a general communications medium, and organizations have become increasingly distributed geographically through acquisition and merger. At the confluence of these forces a need for research to support distributed work using these new technologies has emerged.
However, designing usable and useful systems is challenging as Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research has demonstrated. This result scales and becomes considerably more complex when the work of groups is reflected and embedded inside a computer system. Thus, research in Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) has emerged with a dual mission, to understand how groups work and using that knowledge to build systems that groups find usable.
This tutorial is designed for researchers and practitioners interested in learning about CSCW research.
The objective of this tutorial is to provide an overview of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) research. At the end of the tutorial participants should understand the history and evolution of CSCW research, approaches used to address CSCW topics, and questions of current interest within CSCW. Participants will also have been introduced to CSCW literature. To meet this objective the tutorial is divided into two parts: background and research directions.
Outline of the Tutorial
This section introduces CSCW research. Specifically CSCW concepts and assumptions are described and the character of research within the discipline are reviewed.
CSCW Concepts and Assumptions
The Character of Research in CSCW
This section begins with an overview of four technological directions: workflow systems, virtual environments, and computer-mediated communication. The second half of this section focuses on some of the organizational challenges that these systems will have to overcome in the areas of awareness and privacy, design and evaluation, and scaling up.
Information Gathering, Storing, and Filtering
Awareness and Privacy
Design and Evaluation Challenges
Scaling Up: Intraorganizational Collaborations
Acknowledgments I would like to thank Mark Ackerman, Jonathan Grudin and Steven Poltrock for sharing their knowledge of preparing CSCW tutorials with me.
References and Resources
Baecker, R. M. Readings in Groupware and Computer Supported Cooperative Work: Assisting Human-Human Collaboration. Morgan-Kaufmann Publishers, Mountain View, CA, 1993.
Computer Supported Cooperative Work: The Journal of Collaborative Computing http://www.wkap.nl/journalhome.htm/0925-9724
Proceedings of ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Held every two years. 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996. For this year's conference see http://www.acm.org/sigchi/cscw98/
Proceedings of European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW). Held every two years. 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997. For next year's conference see http://www.cti.dtu.dk/CSCW/ECSCW99.html
Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP). 1997.
Rebecca E. Grinter, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, holds a Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests focus on empirical studies of the collaborative aspects of developing large software systems. Specifically she has worked in areas of integration and examining the coordination required to assemble large systems, and more recently in architecture in the role of architect as coordinator among diverse groups. Beki has published a number of findings in the CSCW research area and has also reviewed for its conferences and journals and is currently on the program committee for ECSCW '99.
Rebecca E. Grinter
Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies
263 Shuman Boulevard, 2F-309
Naperville, IL 60566
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