The peer-to-peer (p2p) systems have promising characteristics to the sharing of digital resources—digital contents, processing power, bandwidth, and storage—in a free and equal way, among the members in a community of equals (peers) (Androutsellis-Theotokis & Spinellis, 2004; Barkai, 2001; Fattah, 2002; Milojicic et al., 2002; Oram, 2001; Schoder, Fischbach, & Schmitt, 2005). A member of a community could decide when and what he wants to share, knowing that to obtain something of his interest, he should offer something in return, and that the success of his community depends in some way on his own contribution and participation. This property is very interesting in academic environments and very reaching and diversified in collaboration forms, expression ways, and formal or informal relationships.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Legal Defined Framework: A legal framework defined by an organization to protect itself from the misused of its own institutional system by its users. This framework consists primarily of formal internal regulations or contracts.
Peer-to-Peer Collaborative Network: A network based on a peer-to-peer architecture to share digital resources in a free and equal way among members. The resources could be digital contents, processing power, bandwidth, and storage.
Knowledge Building Community: A community in which the primary goal is knowledge creation and sharing, rather than the construction of specific products or the completion of tasks.
Extensible Application with Variable Geometry: A software application structured in plug-ins, with each plug-in supporting a specific functionality, allowing adding or removing plug-ins without code recompilation. The Firefox Web browser is a notable example.
Institutional System: A system (e.g., information system) belonging to an organization (e.g., enterprise, university), used by its members to accomplish the mission of the organization, with two important properties: the organization must ensure the quality of service to its users and the organization could be responsible for the misused of the system by its users.
Wireless Campus: With the advances in wireless networking technologies, they are becoming a crucial component of a campus network. Improvements in the bandwidth and security of Wi-Fi technology make it possible for all members of a academic institution to access the Internet and all the services of the institution, using their personal laptops, without finding a place to physically connect to the campus network, without the threat of an unauthorized user accessing confidential data and information systems, and without the risk on a virus-infected computer infiltrating the campus network.