Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work ECSCW ’91

pp 49-64

CSCW and Distributed Systems: The Problem of Control

  • Tom RoddenAffiliated withLancaster University
  • , Gordon BlairAffiliated withLancaster University

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The user-centred philosophy of CSCW challenges the established principles of many existing technologies but the development of CSCW is dependent on the facilities provided by these technologies. It is therefore important to examine and understand this inter-relationship. This paper focuses on distributed computing, a technology central to the development of CSCW systems. The nature of both CSCW and distribution are compared by using a common framework. In this discussion, control emerges as the major problem in supporting CSCW systems. It is argued that existing approaches to control in distributed systems are inadequate given the rich patterns of cooperation found in CSCW. A number of recommendations are made for improving distributed support for CSCW.