Figuring Out How to Figure Out: Supporting Expertise Sharing in Online Systems

  • Thomas Erickson
  • Christine A. Halverson
  • Wendy A. Kellogg
Part of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work book series (CSCW)


In large organizations, people often take part in processes in which they have no prior experience. In such situations a common problem is figuring out how to begin, and a common solution is the simple expedient of talking to others who have more expertise. However, in large distributed organizations, this expedient is often not so simple. In this chapter, we describe two applications—Babble, and its Web-based successor, Loops—which people have turned to this end. We discuss the design of the systems, with particular attention to the ways in which they make people and their activities visible and thus available to one another, and illustrate how people make use of this availability in seeking expertise. We conclude with a discussion of the ways in which the functionality of such systems can aid people in drawing upon one another for assistance and expertise.


Usage Pattern Bulletin Board Chat Room Online System Global Corp 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Erickson
  • Christine A. Halverson
  • Wendy A. Kellogg

There are no affiliations available

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