CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work


Paper Report

Title: Computer Supported Co-operative Work: Cases and Concepts
Authors: Mike Robinson
Citation: This article is originally published in the Proceedings of Groupware '91, published by the Software Engineering Research Centre - SERC, P.P. Box 424, 3500 AK Utrecht, the Netherlands
Reprinted in:


In this paper, seven example applications are given to illustrate the range of technology, and the negative as well as positive aspects of the learning process that is CSCW. They are:

Some "CSCW specific concepts" are emerged from these discussions and examples, such as Articulation Work, Situated Action, Mutual Influence, Shared Information Space, Shared Material, Double Level Language, and Equality.

Seem to be basic to CSCW, but they are not a checklist, or taxonomy, against which applications can be measured - although it is interesting to notice their absence or presence in particular applications, and to consider how this relates to their usefulness or otherwise. They also from a preliminary agenda for research, design, and implementation of future CSCW applications.

Discussions on "Why CSCW Applications Fail" is also evoked, and it should be interesting to check if these CSCW concepts are strongly implemented or misssing.

In short, the unique quality, and some of the excitement of CSCW is well sumarised by Lyytinen:

"CSCW is neither solely a tool or technology business, nor just a new way to study computer impact on the work place. Instead, in CSCW, equal emphasis is put on the distrinctive qualities of co-operative work processes, and on questions of design: how to mould computer technology to fit into and support these work processes. Due to the prominent role placed on the process of design, the issue in CSCW is not just how the work process is currently organised, but also how it could be organised."
              K. Lyytinen.  
              CSCW - Issues and challenges.
              Technical report, Department of Computer Science, 
              University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, 1989

Report prepared by: Haowei Hsieh, Email: haowei@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: 01/17/1997            Report date: 01/22/1997