(ISSN 0972-7272) The peer reviewed  journal

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Volume 2 Issue 1 March 2004


The Iter Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Collaboration Between Information Specialists and Subject Specialists in the Arts and Humanities

Clare Beghtol
Faculty of Information Studies
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


The arts and humanities have received less attention in discussions of the uses of electronic information because their particular characteristics do not appear to lend themselves readily to collaboration through technology. This paper describes some aspects of the Iter Project, which is a web-based project that utilizes extensive collaboration between scholars and students of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and scholars and students in Information Studies. Collaboration takes places at all levels of the Project—between the project partners and between professional and student staff members. Examples of some of the collaboratory procedures for one aspect of the Iter Project, the Iter Bibliography, are described. Extensive collaboration ensures quality control for records in the Bibliography and for the management of the Bibliography database itself. The Project is a model for cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration, negotiation across boundaries, and the creation of excellent records for humanities scholars and research projects.

Supporting Collaborative Grid Application Development within the e-Science Community

Cornelia Boldyreff, Phyo Kyaw, David Nutter, and Stephen Rank
Department of Computing and Informatics
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS, UK
Email: {cboldyreff,pkyw,dnutter,srank}


Collaboration by use of common artifacts is at the core of e-science. A recent enabling technology is the Grid, which ties together heterogeneous computation and data resources through the use of middleware, linking the techniques and resources to infer higher-level knowledge. This article presents results from research and development of Grid technology for semantic interoperability between scientific artifacts on the web. The research employs the ‘industry-as-laboratory’ approach to software development. This means development of theory and models through successive implementations, their deployment in pilot studies and subsequent evaluation studies. The research is exemplified through the case of the OSCAR project, which is directed to the domain of bioinformatics.

Collaboration, communication and categorical complexity: A case study in Collaboratory evaluation

Bryan Richard Cleal, Hans H.K. Andersen & Hanne Albrechtsen
Cognitive Systems Engineering Centre
Risø National Laboratory, Denmark
Email: {bryan.richard.cleal,hans.Andersen,hanne.albrechtsen}


This article presents findings from an empirical evaluation of a collaboratory supporting film research. Few collaboratories have been formally evaluated. The article makes a case for looking at wider work-based contexts users engage in. Focussing on key features of the prototype system, it is shown that the design, while providing adequate functionality, fails to support the way users currently work. The relative advantages and disadvantages of this outcome are then assessed. Acknowledging the need for consistency in design, the article concludes that this should not be at the expense of diverse approaches to scientific practice.

Sites for Collaborative Work: Cuba / Norway 

Katherine Goodnow
University of Bergen, Norway


This article presents results from experiments with collaborative and cross-cultural workspaces for participants from different countries. It draws on the case of a master’s program of screenwriting offered by a university in Norway and a film school in Cuba. The research indicates that despite variations and differences amongst the participants at technological levels as well as cultural contexts, the participants gradually learned how to use the Internet for community building. It is concluded that there is a need to consider online as well as off-line contexts for identifying the users’ needs for tools for cross-cultural collaboration.

Collaborative Information Searching in an Information-Intensive Work Domain: Preliminary Results

Preben Hansen*) and Kalervo Järvelin+) * SICS – Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Box 1263, 164 29 Kista, Sweden.
+ University of Tampere, Center for Advanced Study, FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Finland,                               E-mail:



In this article we empirically investigate collaborative activities within information seeking and retrieval processes made in a real-life setting of the patent domain, at The Swedish Patent Office (PRV), Sweden. Generally, an information seeking and retrieval activity is regarded as an individual and isolated process. The study shows that the patent task performance process actually involves highly collaborative activities and aspects throughout all the different stages of the information seeking and retrieval process. The paper specifically reports on collegial - and group-related collaborative activities and external and internal collaborative activities.

Collaborative Research and Documentation of European Film History: The COLLATE Collaboratory

Adelheit Stein 1 , Jürgen Keiper 2 , Laura Bezerra 2 , Holger Brocks 1 , Ulrich Thiel 1
1 Fraunhofer IPSI (Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute),
Darmstadt, Germany
Email: {stein,brocks,thiel}
2 Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF,
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Email: {keiper,bezerra}



Whereas various collaboratories have been established since the early 1990s in the domain of natural sciences, we find so far only few comparable efforts in the arts and humanities aside from experimental systems with very limited functionality. the COLLATE system is one of the first working collaboratories in the humanities. Based on extended user requirement studies it was developed and evaluated in real life for an application dealing with the heritage of historic European film making. The implemented system employs innovative technologies for digital information management on order to allow content-based access to the digitized document collection. It also provides a comfortable Web-based work environment for supporting distributed user groups in their collaborative, document-centered knowledge working. In this article we describe our collaboration concept and the resulting system design decisions, illustrating by some concrete examples how the current real-life users interact with the COLLATE system and their distributed collaboration team.

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