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

Paper Report

Title: Computer-Mediated Communication Requirements for Group Support (Excerpts)
Authors: Murray Turoff
Citation: Journal of Organizational Computing, 1, 85-113 (1991)
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, pp.


This paper talks about the requirements of computer-mediated communication (CMC) for group support. An overview of CMC's historical evolution is presented. Advantages of CMC include opportunity for group to exhibit "collective intelligence", asynchronous support of communication process, self-tailoring of communication structures by users and groups, and the integration into the communication system of other computer resources and information systems.

The main advantage of using CMC is in the very fundamental nature of the communication medium. The asynchronous approaches to group problem solving free individuals to deal with problems in those cognitive processes at which they excel. Seven asynchronous group process factors are also presented.

A CMC metaphor is also presented. The metaphor components discussed are conferences, messages, activities and notifications. A conference can be tailored according to activities. An activity can be attached to any communication item. When triggered, it will execute a program or procedure in the local or remote host. Notification functions include alerting, closure and tracking. The concepts of roles, privileges, and tickets are also discussed.

Finally, the components of two CMC systems are presented. These components include an object-oriented database, distributed user and group agents, a master virtual machine, and a SGML interface specification language.

Report prepared by: Yew Kuan Choo Email: ykchoo@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: 02-21-97 Report date: 02-23-97