FCVW: Experiments in Groupware

FCVW: Experiments in Groupware

Ivan Tomek (Acadia University, Canada) and Elhadi Shakshuki (Acadia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-563-6.ch018
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Pervasiveness of Internet and increasing geographical dispersal of work teams result in continuously growing importance of groupware - software that supports collaboration within groups. Numerous applications have been developed to address collaboration needs and many are widely used but don’t fully satisfy work team requirements and the Internet potential. This paper surveys several groupware products and describes FCVW (Federated Collaborative Virtual Workspace), an experimental project designed to explore certain groupware aspects that are not sufficiently addressed by existing products.
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A Brief Survey Of Groupware

Applications designed for support of collaboration and social interaction initially focused on tools supporting individual work activities, such as shared access to documents, e-mail, scheduling of meetings, and synchronous and asynchronous communication. Eventually, it became clear that better results can be achieved by integrating tools supporting individual tasks into multifunctional environments. However, work on tools supporting parts of collaboration has not stopped. This is because research often needs to address specific major issues of collaboration, such as mutual awareness of team members, and because new concepts and technologies supporting collaboration, such as wikis (Leuf, B. & Cunningham W., 2001) and blogs (Maybury, M., 2004), emerge independently of groupware development and complement existing collaboration tools.

Groupware research and development intensified when technology made groupware more attractive by providing higher network communication bandwidth, new hardware and software platforms, faster CPUs, larger computer memories, better displays, and larger storage capacities at lower cost. The result of this effort is a long list of products that have been developed and used by researchers, work teams, and loosely connected individuals. Because the number of products is so large, we will begin our survey by offering a categorization of major approaches.

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