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How do people collaborate using paper documents around a table. An observational study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD



A study was conducted to observe how small-groups collaborate in an authoring and annotation task using paper documents around a table. The study was part of an exercise in understanding collaboration issues around a table, with an attempt to explore three aspects of such collaboration: how people deal with paper documents; how people use annotations; and how people perform co-located collaborative authoring. The task was to individually annotate a particular document, combine individual annotations into one common document, and finally to jointly write a summary for the document. The study was analyzed within a distributed cognition framework and examined the task, the participants, and the tools. The analysis demonstrated that many factors contributed to making collaboration work. These include: elements of participants’ actions (conversations, body position, gaze, gestures, and stylized actions), spatial characteristics of the setting and participant behaviour (dividing the workspace, and the position and orientation of artefacts on the workspace), and the artefacts themselves. These observations have been used to identify the factors that should be taken into account when designing a computer system to support co-located synchronous collaboration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sulaiman AN, Olivier P

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2007

Pages: 41

Print publication date: 01/06/2007

Source Publication Date: June 2007

Report Number: 1030

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne