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Where Did You Put It? Issues in the Design and Use of a Group Memory

Berlin, Lucy M.; O'Day, Vicki L.; Jeffries, Robin; Paepcke, Andreas; Wharton, Cathleen



Abstract: Collaborating teams of knowledge workers need a common repository in which to share information gathered by individuals or developed by the team. This is difficult to achieve in practice, because individual information access strategies break down with group information - people can generally find things that are on their own messy desks and file systems but not on other people's. The design challenge in a group memory is thus to enable low-effort information sharing without reducing individuals' finding effectiveness. This paper presents the lessons from our design and initial use of a hypertext-based group memory, TeamInfo. We expose the serious cognitive obstacles to a shared information structure, discuss the uses and benefits we we have experienced, address the effects of technology limitations, and highlight some unexpected social and work impacts of our group memory.

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