How do people collaborate using paper documents around a table. An observational study (2007)

Author(s): Sulaiman AN, Olivier P

    Abstract: 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.

      • Date: June 2007
      • Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series
      • Pages: 41
      • Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
      • Publication type: Report
      • Bibliographic status: Published

      Keywords: annotations, collaboration, digital tabletops, distributed cognition, observational studies, tabletop collaboration


      Professor Patrick Olivier
      Professor of Human-Computer Interaction