CSCW - Related Papers

Requirements Engineering for Cooperative Systems - Ian Sommerville and Tom Rodden

This paper addresses the problem of ‘production-quality’ CSCW software development where software is developed from an agreed statement of the system requirements. In particular, we are concerned with ways in which requirements specifications for CSCW systems can be developed and with the integration of ethnography into traditional specification methods. Existing approaches to requirements engineering are briefly described as are our experiences of using ethnographic studies in systems requirements analysis.
We suggest that existing requirements analysis methods and ethnography must both evolve to accommodate the strengths of the other approach to produce an effective and complete method of deriving cooperative system requirements. An investigation of the changes required to notations for system description and analysis methods is a long- term research goal. However, we suggest shorter-term results can be obtained by using integrated tools for ethnography and requirements capture.

Sommerville, I. and Rodden, T. (1994). Requirements engineering for cooperative systems. Collaborative Computing. 1 (4), 219-35.

Cooperative Work in Software Testing - David Martin, John Rooksby, Mark Rouncefield, Ian Sommerville

Substantial effort in the development of any large system is invested in testing. Studies of testing tend to be either technical or concerned with the cognitive ability of testers. Our experience is that testing is not technical but socio-technical, involving a great deal of human and organisational effort, and that testing is not simply the kind of decontextualised ‘puzzle solving’ many cognitive approaches imply. We believe that cooperative work is foundational to getting testing done. In this position paper, we use data from four ethnographic studies to discuss just what that cooperative work is.

Rooksby, J., Martin, D., Rouncefield, M., et al. (2008). Cooperative Work in Software Testing. Proc. 2008 international workshop on Cooperative and human aspects of software engineering (ICSE 2008 Workshop), Leipzig, Germany.

An architecture for tailoring cooperative multi-user displays - Richard Bentley, Tom Rodden, Peter Sawyer and Ian Sommerville

A range of architectures have emerged which support real- time cooperative user interfaces. These architectures have tended to centralise the management of the interface and thus provide only limited support for user-centred development and interface tailoring. This paper considers the problems associated with the development of tailorable cooperative interfaces and proposes an architecture which allows such interfaces to be developed using an incremental, user-centred approach.
The architecture presented in this paper has emerged within the context of a project investigating cooperative interface development for UK air traffic control. We conclude that the architecture is equally applicable to other Command and Control domains, where a shared information space forms the focus for the work taking place.

Bentley, R., Rodden, T., Sawyer, P. and Sommerville, I. (1992). An Architecture for Tailoring Cooperative Multi-user Displays. Proc. CSCW92., ACM Press, Toronto, 187-194.

Architectural support for cooperative multi-user interfaces - Richard Bentley, Tom Rodden, Pete Sawyer, Ian Sommerville

This paper is concerned with the design and development of a software architecture that provides mechanisms to support rapid multi-user interface construction and distributed user interface management. The developed architecture addresses the demands of both user interface systems and the constraints of the distributed infrastructure. A central concern is the need for rapid user interface prototyping resulting from the highly dynamic and flexible nature of cooperative work. Rapid prototyping requires mechanisms which make the information that determines interface configuration visible, accessible and tailorable.
In this paper, we examine the implications of rapid prototyping for distributed multi-user interface architectures. We also discuss the demands of multi-user interface management, and the problems of meeting these in a distributed environment. Finally we present a multi- user interface architecture which has been designed to address these problems, and demonstrate the architecture's suitability by discussing its implementation in a multi-user interface prototyping environment.

Bentley, R., Rodden, T., Sawyer, P. and Sommerville, I. (1994). Architectural support for multi-user interfaces. IEEE Computer. 27 (5), 37-46.

‘Talking about (my) Generation’: Creativity, Practice, Technology & Talk - David Martin, Jacki O’Neill and Dave Randall

This paper describes the findings of an ethnomethodological enquiry into the work of graphic designers. We explore the collaborative nature of graphic design as undertaken by a small team of designers working in a packaging design company. In doing so, we attempt to explicate the way in which practice, talk and technology are intricately bound up in such a way as to constitute a creative process. We describe a series of scenic features, ‘orderings’, and ‘talkaboutables’ which are characteristic of this process and which may be entailed in other creative contexts and hence can be important topics for CSCW design for creativity.

Martin, D., OʼNeill, J., & Randall, D. (2009). “Talking about (my) Generation”: Creativity, Practice, Technology and Talk. ECSCW 2009.

Colour management is a socio-technical problem - Jacki O'Neill

This paper describes how achieving consistent colour reproduction across different devices is a complicated matter. Although there is a technological infrastructure for managing colour across devices this is very rarely used as intended. This infrastructure has been created by modelling the problem of colour management as a wholly technical one. In this paper we illustrate the importance of understanding the management of colour as a socio- technical problem, by describing the findings of a multi- sited ethnography of designers and print shops. Our analysis of the ethnography reveals that designers build up practical, tangible, visual understandings of colour and that these do not fit with the current solution, which requires users to deal with colour in an abstract manner. This paper builds on previous research in CSCW which has considered the importance of socio-technical systems, bringing the work into a previously unexplored domain. It shows how an understanding of the social can also be central when designing technical infrastructures.

O'Neill, J., Martin, D., Colombino, T., Roulland, F. and Willamowski, J. (2008). Colour management is a socio-technical problem. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW '08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 599-608.

Asymmetrical collaboration in print shop-customer relationships - Jacki O’Neill, David Martin, Tommaso Colombino, Jennifer Watts- Perotti, Mary Ann Sprague, Geoffrey Woolfe

The service provider-customer relationship, although not perhaps considered a typical collaborative relationship, is clearly collaborative work. However, such work is constrained by the very (service) nature of the relationship. Customer-service provider interaction can be characterised as interaction at the boundaries of organisations, each of which is likely to have their own workflows and orientations. Many service organisations attempt to facilitate this interaction by configuring their customers, using standardised forms or applications. In this way they bring the customers workflow into line with their own. In this paper we describe field work examining one particular service relationship; that between print shops and their customers. A notable feature of print shop-customer relationships is that customers prepare the material that the print shop then prints. This makes the standardization of workflows difficult, particularly within the service relation- ship. Technologies exist which aim to automate and standardize the workflow from cus- tomers to print shops. However, they have, up to now, largely failed to live up to their promise, leaving print shops to adopt ad hoc solutions. This paper describes the hidden work that the print shops do to make the service relationship work.

O'Neill, J., Martin, D., Colombino, T., Watts-Perotti, J., Sprague, M.A., Woolfe, G.J. (2007). Asymmetrical collaboration in print shop-customer relationships. In ECSCW. 231-250.

Designing for Diagnosing: Introduction to the Special Issue on Diagnostic Work - Monika Buscher, Jacki O’Neill, John Rooksby

When faced with anything out of the ordinary, faulty or suspicious, the work of determining and categorizing the trouble, and scoping for what to do about it (if anything) often go hand in hand – this is diagnostic work.
In all its expert and non‐ expert forms diagnostic work is often both intellectual and embodied, collaborative and distributed, and ever more deeply entangled with technologies. Yet, it is often poorly supported by them. In this special issue we show that diagnostic work is an important and pervasive aspect of people's activities at work, at home, and on the move. The papers published in this Special Issue come from a range of domains including, ambulance dispatch, a friendly fire incident and anomaly response for the NASA space shuttle; software, network and photocopier troubleshooting; and users attempting to use a new travel management system. These papers illustrate the variety of work that may be thought of as diagnostic. We hope that bringing a focus on diagnostic work to these diverse practices and situations opens up a rich vein of inquiry for CSCW scholars, designers, and users.

Büscher, M., O'Neill, J. and Rooksby, J. (2009). Designing for Diagnosing: Introduction to the Special Issue on Diagnostic Work. Comput. Supported Coop. Work. 18, 2-3 (June 2009), 109-128.

Ontology Building as Practical Work: Lessons from CSCW - Yuwei Lin, Rob Procter, Dave Randall, John Rooksby and Wes Sharrock

Ontologies are a key technology for the realisation of the e-Science aims of increasing the sharing and re-use of scientific data, and of greater collaboration in research. Ontology building can be thought of sociologically. By this we mean, the work undertaken and the problems and difficulties entailed can be understood in terms of the practices of knowledge workers and the practical nature of ‘sorting things out’. It does appear that many of the problems in the work of ontology building carry a resemblance to problems in software engineering, particularly the engineering of cooperative systems. In this paper, we discuss research in the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) that has focused on classification and which, we believe, throws some light on ontology building. We then introduce some early data from our own ethnographic studies of ontology building.

Lin, Y., Procter, R., Rooksby, J., Randall, D. & Sharrock, S. (2007). Ontology Building as Practical Work: Lessons from CSCW. Paper presented at the 3rd e-Social Science Conference at Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, 7-9 October 2007.

Text Chat In Action
- Jacki O'Neill, David Martin

Synchronous text communication is becoming recognized as a valuable workplace communication medium yet some studies of group text chat indicate that its properties can lead to interactional incoherence. We consider this issue through a detailed analytic examination of text chat transcripts by showing how participants manage their interactions through considering multiple threads, turn taking and topic change. We reveal the routine practices that participants employ to create and manage coherent interaction. These practices arise from the turn taking system in operation, which facilitates straightforward repair of misunderstandings. We conclude by considering the implications of this for design and for the organisation and management of interactions of various forms.

O'Neill, J. & Martin, D. (2003). Text chat in action. In Proceedings of the 2003 international ACM SIGGROUP conference on Supporting group work (GROUP '03). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 40-49.

The Group Facilitator: A CSCW Perspective - Stephen Viller

What unites CSCW research is the need to help people work together (Greif, 1988) or, to be more precise, "...the support requirements of cooperative work." (Bannon & Schmidt, 1989). An important contribution to the understanding of these requirements, therefore, are the results from research into group working, its structure, and dynamics. A well recognised concept in group work is the role of the group facilitator; someone who's responsibility it is to assist the group in acheiving its objectives. This recognition, however, is not yet reflected by work published under the CSCW banner. This paper aims to take to take a first step at addressing this omission.

Viller, S. A. (1991). The group facilitator: a CSCW perspective. In L. Bannon, M. Robinson & K. Schmidt (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work: ECSCW’91 (pp. 81-95). 24-27 September 1991, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

Practically Accomplishing Participation - David Martin, Jackie O'Neill

With the emergence of technologies designed to support social activities online, it is beneficial to explore their potential in novel application areas. These studies, in the research tradition of Bowers et al. (1996), can be used to evaluate and develop technologies while providing the opportunity to study the social practices that develop around their use. We examine the use of online seminar technologies in a new situation of rising interest – networking events - in six exploratory studies. These events encouraged 'networking' interaction between guests. Evaluation was conducted through ethnomethodological analysis of recordings of text and audio interaction. We present findings of dual technical and social interest. Socially, we reveal practises employed by participants in achieving taking-part-in-these-events. Participants employ everyday interactional competencies and develop them for the situational specifics. Technically, we evaluate the applications for the purposes of networking events. Through locating the difficulties participants exhibit and highlighting their interactional practises we provide a design resource. The central focus is on the practical accomplishment of participation. Much of the activity concerns its achievement and maintenance. Participation is a mutually accomplished social interactional activity founded on presence, which involves constructing shared understandings for all practical purposes. Where understandings deteriorate participants 'work' to re-establish participation. Troubles arise and participants engage in interactional practices to work out what is going on and identify and resolve problems. The work involved in and the fragility of participation is demonstrated. We highlight how this pre-work, which is foundational to networking, occupies much of the interaction before offering ideas aimed at reducing this.

Martin, D. & O'Neill, J. (2002). Practically accomplishing participation.