LivingDocuments research

LivingDocuments addresses the following Design Patterns that have been identified in Y3.

PATTERN LD1: Conversation-oriented collaborative document creation through stable and unstable collaboration artefacts

Developing plans and processes requires a mix of conversations and summarization of agreement. Messaging-based interaction in which annotated document versions are sent to all participants leads to versioning problems and poses severe barriers to conversations as it is often difficult to retain the context of a conversation.

The sketched problem is spanning phases I-III (or even beyond) of the knowledge maturing model, which have different requirements for support. Particularly phases I+II require flexibility and openness to change, while the goal of phase III is stabilizing and resolving conflicting views. The solution needs to provide ways of mixing the two modes of interaction without prescribing a certain process sequence.

Solution: stable and unstable areas of collaboration The two areas are represented by (i) a real-time collaborative editor for synchronous and asynchronous modes of collaboration, and (ii) an area for commenting on the document in which opinions can be expressed enabling sharing opinions and conversations quickly. Users can summarize the agreement reached in the commenting part in the stable document editor.

LivingDocuments addresses the following Design Patterns that have been identified in Y3.

PATTERN LD2: Conversation-oriented collaborative document creation through nested documents

Conversations about documents often take very different forms: some of them consist of simple comments, while other topics evolve into more extensive discussions. While the simple, low-barrier commenting paradigm works well for small discussions, larger conversations often suffer from lack of overview, which eventually also leads to less likelihood for reaching agreement.

The sketched problem poses a barrier for transitioning from phase II to phase III. While phase II emphasizes the openness to new opinions, phase III requires agreement. Agreement, however, can only be reached if participants retain the big picture of conversations even if they only peripherally join it.

Solution: Contextualized discussions as sub documents. As conversations about specific issues can evolve into long and complex interactions, possibilities for discussions are offered that have an anchor in the document they emerge from. They take the form of sub documents in which again a stable and unstable parts are available. This allows for mixing different levels of maturity within one document and accounts for the fact that “documents” usually cover more than one knowledge maturing process instance.

PATTERN LD3: Indicate knowledge maturity in shared document spaces

Document spaces with larger numbers of users, but only a small percentage of them actually participated actively in the creation process suffer from the uncertainty of users about status and level of maturity of the content of the documents. This translates into uncertainty about judging usefulness and relevancy of the information they find, particularly with respect to outdatedness, but also trustworthiness.

For individuals who have not been part of the creation process, it is not easy to see to which stage progress has been made. Furthermore, as usually there is no systematic gardening of document spaces, it is not easy to recognize how the relevancy has been affected by external changes. This all makes it difficult to judge maturity of knowledge, which is needed to assess relevancy for a specific information seeking situation at hand. Furthermore, trusting knowledge contained in documents by unknown others requires cues to build trust relationships in the first place.

Solution: Indicators on entities that are involved in the conversation act as cues. for the user to build trust relationships. These indicators are based on manual assessment, but also automated analysis of log data. They can be applied on