Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Web Annotations Systems Supporting Collaboration
Human Machine Interaction, Stockholm
Abtract: The Internet has paved the way for collaboration by letting users easily share objects and access to information, e.g. documents. Nowadays, the WWW can also be used as a channel of communication so interactivity among members in a group can be supported. The possibility to communicate at a distance has increased and novel ways of collaboration have ensued. Studies performed concern with the achievement of collaborative tasks mediated by computers by small or middle size (2-15 people) groups. We have developed a set of computer programs that these groups have used to discuss and develop shared Web-documents or Web sites in the frame of collaborative writing and collaborative learning. We have focused on supporting the need for communication that participants might have while working asynchronously, and on designing and studying this communication in the form of a text-based dialogue.
The central questions that we are examining in this study are:
1. How do small and middle size groups collaboratively discuss, annotate and communicate around Web documents and Web-sites?
2. How is asynchronous text-based communication used in a shared space by co-authors?
3. The use of visualization for helping users to navigate and understand the discourse.
Finally, these studies deal with the design of Web-based collaborative tools in the light of these issues. A number of case studies have been carried out, and the tools have been developed using the results of observation on the users' interaction with the systems. The studies indicate that the WWW can successfully be used for sharing documents and discuss their content. Also, asynchronous text-based communication was shown to be an effective medium for collaborative writing. The development of the prototypes has given general experiences on the development of collaborative web-based tools. These experiences suggest
that such tools should be designed in collaboration with the users. A method for the design of such tools has emerged from these experiences.
May 10, 2006 (Wednesday), 10:40, FASS 1014