OMG Internet SIG

Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) Working Group

Chair: Henry Rothkopf, MITRE
September 14, 1998 - 1:00 - 2:45 p.m.
 minutes by Craig Thompson, OBJS
OMG Internet Platform SIG homepage:
9/18/98 DRAFT - awaiting review by Henry

Attendees Background: The CSCW area has a rich history, including CSCW conferences, research in collaboration, and many products and prototypes but there is no widely adopted architectural framework that encourages interoperability of CSCW tools or makes such tools easy to develop based on lower level services. The CSCW WG is chartered to develop such a framework and to identify services missing from the OMG suite that might be widely useful and are needed for CSCW.

Introduction: Henry Rothkopf presented a draft reference model for collaborative environments. See presentation internet-98-09-06 and internet-98-09-07. He pointed out that we now have a variety of asynchronous and synchronous collaboration technologies (e.g., MITRE CVW tool, DARPA JFACC Collaboration Services).

Towards a CSCW Framework: Why do we need a CSCW framework? We need a place to talk about the structure, behavior, and constraints in conferencing and collaboration, for example, a meeting with 30 postage stamp people in video talking all at once does not work very well.

What's in scope? Conferencing, chats, virtual meeting rooms, roles, various modalities, interaction protocols like conversations and gestures, . For instance, we could say that a conference is a single medium collaboration. It provides a roster of participants and roles in their conference, media type, and access control. People have different visualizations of the task but can work together on the common view, for example in command posts where several kinds of information gathering, decisions, and calls for action must be coordinated.   One of the views of the CSCW Framework is as a capability maturity model showing increasing levels of sophistication.

Terminology: Collaboration terminology includes context, participant, sessions, conferences, roles, synchronous, asynchronous, (mixed) modality, agents, floor space, Comment: It would be a useful pre-architecture step to develop an ontology of these terms, which would scope the CSCW area. Also, it always helps to define terms.

Supporting Services: Another useful step is to identify existing and needed OMG services that can support CSCW, as well as identifying new requirements and changes needed for existing services.

There was a straw vote on who was most interested in security aspects (5), A/V aspects (4), overall framework (4), roles (Corey, Steve, Larry). A puzzle might be that big vendors and ORB vendors will not provide the primitives you want, e.g. non-repudiation of who said what in session.


Q: How is the concept of space related to session? Meeting room, diagnostic center, war room, might have physical notion or virtual physical but there is also a logical notion of sessions.

Q: What do we mean by context? Context could exist unto itself without people in the room, or with agents

Next Steps

The next meeting of CSCW WG will take place at OMG Burlingame on November 9, 1998.