[Air-l] Collaborative Research in Intranets

Charles S Hendricksen veritas at u.washington.edu
Fri Aug 10 17:05:43 PDT 2001


    There must be a lot of distributed scientific research being conducted on the WWW.  I've been working as a facilitator with research teams for several years now using tools that I've developed and appropriating existing software as needed by the research team.  The tools do not interest me nearly as much as the behavior of the team, especially when measured with the metric of participation.  The tools are, of course inseperable from the environment, but so are issues like funding, publication of products, and the research methodology.  By methodology, I refer to how research is conducted rather than how data is analysed.

    Of particular interest to me is research with these characteristics:
1) long-term (over three years)
2) large-scale (perhaps 7 to thirty researchers)
3) dedicated to the thorough examination of a well-bounded issue domain
4) interdisciplinary
5) fluid, distributed membership
6) web-based
    The research efforts I've been advocating are driven by the criticism of documents, to include essays, references, definitions, models, papers, etc.  The use of asynchronous tools is preferred in order to allow reflection and to blunt power structures.  Synchronous activity is of course not to be denied!  However, such meetings need to be documented (where are the minutes of your last meeting?)

    I expect there are a few of you doing work on similar projects, but that the WWW sites are protected from public viewing.  I would like to share experiences with others as fortunate as myself working with such exciting enterprises.

           Charlie Hendricksen     veritas at u.washington.edu

           "Information technology structures human relationships."
           "Models relate ideas."

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