E-collaboration amongst researchers requires not only the people working together but all the layers of a collaborative system working together as well, starting at the point where people interface with the system. Although this article concentrates more on the technical infrastructure required for e-collaboration, the influence of the social and people issues on the conceptual design of the interface and the functionalities of the collaborative system will also be discussed. Often, the interface/interaction between the ‘soft’ and the ‘hard’ issues generates some interesting and dynamic effects between the layers of the infrastructure (Dourish, 1999).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Infrastructure: The basic framework for a system.
Architecture: A blueprint of the underlying structure for linking the components of a computerised system and associated digital resources. It is more common to present a logical view of the architecture in which the components are specified at the conceptual level.
E-Collaboration: The latest term for CSCW (see above).
Groupware: The technology that support collaborative working.
CSCW (Computer-Supported Cooperative Working): The use of computer-based technologies to undertake joint activities by two or more people.
Client-Server Architecture: A two-tier model which split the presentation for input/output (at the client) from the heavy-duty processing of information (at the server).
Collaboration Metaphor: A representation (on a computer screen) by which users can identify as a means for collaborative working, synchronously or asynchronously.
Community: A group of people who share common goals/interests and participate in joint activities.