Collaborative support for informal information in collective memory systems

TitleCollaborative support for informal information in collective memory systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsAckerman, MS, Mcdonald, DW
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
KeywordsCMC, collaborative help, community memory, computer-mediated communications, corporate memory, cscw, expertise sharing, group memory, help, incremental formalization, informal information, information access, information refining, information retrieval, information systems, knowledge shairng, organizational memory, system

Informal information, such as the expertise of an organization or the workarounds practiced by a community, is a critical part of organizational or collective memory systems. From a user-centered perspective, a user merely wishes to get his work done, and to do this, he must solve his immediate problems. We have examined how to incorporate this problem solving into a collective memory, as well as how to incorporate the learning that accrues to it or from it. We report here on two systems, the Cafe ConstructionKit and the Collaborative Refinery, as well as an application, Answer Garden 2, built using these two systems. The Cafe ConstructionKit provides toolkit mechanisms for incorporating communication flows among people (as well as agents) into an organizational memory framework, and the Collaborative Refinery system provides mechanisms for distilling and refining the informal information obtained through these communication flows. The Answer Garden 2 application demonstrates the utility of these two underlying systems.