Much of the current research in the design of virtual environments is centred on laboratory prototypes and emphasis is placed on supporting cooperation within the virtual world itself. By way of contrast, this paper places an emphasis upon the development of virtual enivronments that support cooperation within the real world. This external research focus situates virtual environments within the bricolage of material artefacts that people use in coordinating and accomplishing ordinary jobs of work. We elaborate the shift to the external environment of ordinary human jobs and users through an ethnographic study of searching for information in the library, and the design and evaluation of a prototype supporting the real world cooperation involved in getting the job of searching done.
This work combines our experience of ethnomethodologically informed system design and data visualisation work, the latter aimed at supporting cooperation. In this case, we wished to look at cooperation in the real world setting, and how this could be supported by our visualisation system. The major contribution here being, moving the focus of collaboration within the virtual world itself to supporting collaboration in the real world, around and about the virtual. The paper is co-authored by Nottingham University staff; Dr. Crabtree, an ethnographer working within the Computing Department, and Prof. Rodden, a world leader in this area. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Computer Science and Informatics