November 08, 2004
CSCW - The Short Form

The Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2004 conference is there in Chicago this week. Being so close, I was able to justify my attendance to those that coordinate such things at work. Since what I work with is collaborative systems (in an engineering sense, but not in an evaluative sense) it was a pretty easy argument, though the actual direction into innovative collaboration - what one would expect at an academic conference - is unlikely.

Work duties reared their head immediately after registration, however, so I'll have limited time to attend. But over the weekend I pulled myself away from hearth and home to attend two tutorials.

On Saturday evening was Herbsleb and Olson's Whirlwind Tour of CSCW Research. Billed as a rapid overview of CSCW concepts, areas and problems, it met every expectation - including that of a whirlwind.

Sunday I spent the day in Analysing Social Interaction in Computer-Mediated Communications Systems. Billed as taught by Marc A Smith and Susan Herring, Herring was ill, so Smith ran the day. I'd seen snippets of Smith's work with Usenet evaluations at MSFT, so this was not a disappointment; in reviewing the notes, Herring's focus on discourse analysis is far beyond my recollection of the linguistics course I took 15 years ago, so I don't know how much more I would have gained by her presentation, beyond more direction for reading.

Sunday's session involved a lot of much needed interaction in the form of discussing projects being undertaken or begun. I'm the odd duck out (my B.A. in English and no structured graduate education in the areas involved - just some hunches and bits and pieces I've picked up along the way from work and lurking), so my ideas aren't as fully developed or underpinned as yet. The other people in the seminar are doing interesting work - analysis of weblog usage by political campaigns, the use of collaborative spaces by artists, and analysis of NASAs use of collaborative tools for mission planning were only the ones I thought I understood.

Both days were brain-fillers; I've got notes and citations galore to jot down, so look for citations to flow through over the next few days between commitments. And then I get to dive into the multi-hundred page proceedings... If you're not in Chicago, there are backchannels open for lurking. Even without going to the meat of the conference, the packaging is delicious!

Posted by esinclai at November 08, 2004 07:10 AM |