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Glossary » Groupware

access privileges

based on a person’s identity or the identity of their group, access privileges define what capabilities or features are available to them when they access a system, what files they can read or write, what programs they can run, what…

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the principle that in many multi-user situations, someone must be identifiable in order to take responsibility for actions or for decisions. In these cases, anonymity is not always effective or achievable (though users may be anonymous to other users while…

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active badge

a small badge that someone can pin to their clothes which enables a computer system to determine their current location. This can be used in groupware systems to provide basic awareness information about coworkers or friends wearing active badges, though…

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the ability to participate in interactions with other people without being identified. Anonymity can be at various levels, including hiding a person’s name and other characteristics, such as age and gender; from simply making their name accessible but nonobvious, to…

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asynchronous groupware

software used to help people to work in groups, but not requiring those people to be working together at the same time. (asynchronous = not coordinating at a single point in time).

Examples include:

electronic mail the routing of forms

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an online representation or manifestation of a person, generally in visual form. An alternate personality on the internet. An embodiment of a person’s interactions with others in a virtual world.

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the sense of what other people are doing, even when you’re not communicating with them directly.

Awareness is useful for coordinating with others in collaborative tasks where direct communication is not always necessary. Awareness also refers to indirect forms of…

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the amount of data that can be transmitted across a network during a given period of time. Variance in bandwidth is also an important measure.

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business process reengineering, the analysis of how work is done within a business and how it can be restructured for greater efficiency and profitability, especially by examining the workflow within the organization.

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call control

same as session control; the mechanism for determining who is involved in a call (session) and for setting up the call. A call is the term used most frequently for telephone sessions. The term session is used more often in…

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centralized architecture

an architecture for distributed applications, which may involve multiple processes and which depends on one central process to serialize all events. Serialization is necessary to make sure that actions performed by multiple participants in a conversation are in a single…

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change bars

lines along the edge of text that indicate where changes have been made since the previous version of the text. These are useful when multiple people have been editing a document together and need to track each other’s work. Change…

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software that enables multiple people in realtime to write messages in a public space, usually in typewritten text. As each person submits a message, it appears at the bottom of a scrolling screen.

Chat groups are usually formed by having…

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group activity that takes place in a specific location; co-located groupware is groupware designed for users who are at the same location, thus generally eliminating the need for phone or videophone connections, but often creating challenges in providing anonymity and…

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collaborative drawing

2 or more people conversing with the use of drawings or working together to create a drawn artifact. Conversing and creating an artifact are very different types of tasks, though there exists a continuum between them, such that it’s difficult…

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collaborative writing

multiple people composing text together. Collaborative writing systems may provide both realtime support and non-realtime support. Word processors may provide asynchronous support by showing authorship and allowing users to track changes and make annotations to documents. Authors collaborating on a…

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a distributed research group coordinating their activities through electronic communication, remote instrumentation, and shared data analysis tools.

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commons problem

a problem in group behavior where what is best for an individual will actually be harmful for the group as a whole.

If a village has a Commons area for grazing cattle then this Commons area can be a strong…

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conversational prop

an object used in a conversation, serving as the focus of the conversation, to provide context, or simply to clarify a point. In general, communication is achieved through 3 primary mechanisms: speech; gestures of the hands, face, and body; and…

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used to refer to the sharing of information between users, including which objects get shared and how often changes get transmitted between users. Tight coupling refers to situations where almost all information is shared between users and changes are transmitted…

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critical mass

the number of people who need to be using a system before it can be successful; often thought of as the number of people contributing in a groupware system to make the value of the system to each individual greater…

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computer-supported collaborative learning, the use of groupware tools in collaborative learning situations.

Tools might include email, videoconferencing, or any other tool that people might use to work together or for collaborative problem-solving, such as collaborative writing systems and scientific collaboration…

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computer-supported cooperative work. The field of study that examines how technology affects group interaction, and how technology can best be designed and built to facilitate group work.

Despite the name, this field of study doesn’t restrict itself to issues of…

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computer-supported meeting environments.

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computer-supported meeting rooms.

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