Using a Room Metaphor to Ease Transitions in Groupware

Greenberg S. and Roseman, M. (2003)
Using a Room Metaphor to Ease Transitions in Groupware. In Sharing Expertise: Beyond Knowledge Management. (M. Ackerman, V. Pipek, V. Wulf, Ed.). Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, pages 203-256, January. Earlier version as Report 1998-611-02, January, 1998.

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Many groupware systems contain gaps that hinder or block natural social interaction or that does not let people easily move between different styles of work. We believe that the adoption of a room metaphor can ease people's transitions across these gaps, allowing them to work together more naturally. Using the TeamWave Workplace system as an example, we show how particular gaps are removed. First, we ease a person's transition between single user and groupware applications by making rooms suitable for both individual and group activity. Second, people can move fluidly between asynchronous and synchronous work because room artifacts persist. People can leave messages, documents and annotations for others, or work on them together when occupying the room at the same time. Third, we ease the difficulty of initiating real time work by providing people with awareness of others who may be available for real-time interactions, and by automatically establishing connections as users enter a common room. Fourth, we discuss how a technical space can be transformed into a social place by describing how a group crafts meaning into a room. We also argue that a room metaphor's seamless support of everyday activities will foster an environment where groups naturally share their expertise.

Bibtex entry

@INBOOK { 2003-RoomMetaphor-AckermanChapter,
AUTHOR = { Greenberg S. and Roseman, M. },
TITLE = { Using a Room Metaphor to Ease Transitions in Groupware },
BOOKTITLE = { Sharing Expertise: Beyond Knowledge Management },
PAGES = { 203-256 },
PUBLISHER = { MIT Press },
ADDRESS = { Cambridge, MA },
YEAR = { 2003 },
MONTH = { January },
EDITOR = { M. Ackerman, V. Pipek, V. Wulf },
NOTE = { Earlier version as Report 1998-611-02, January, 1998 },