Putting objects to work: Hypermedia as the subject matter and the medium for computer-supported cooperative work

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Abstract

One can observe the following parallel developments: an increasing merge of computer, network and telecommunication technology, new needs and markets in the information and media industry, indications of changes in the way people use information in their work and in their home environments. A common factor is the digitalization of information at the time it is processed or — resulting in more possibilities — when it is created. But the progress in networks and basic technology is not paralleled to the same degree by advances in the development of corresponding applications which — in the end — are necessary to justify the immense investments, e.g. in information super highways. One important class of applications is support for the cooperation of spatially distributed people working with shared information objects. We propose that “hypermedia” serve not only as the “subject matter” of cooperation but also as a “medium” for coordination, communication, and cooperation by using specific object types and exploiting their properties. In order to provide examples of how hypermedia can support telecooperation, we will present the design and implementation of two group aware applications — SEPIA and DOLPHIN — which were developed at GMD-IPSI.