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  1. Groupware is software that was developed to support teams by providing team members with powerful and convenient ways to schedule their interactions, communicate with each other, and record and update group output. Another (less catchy) name for computer supported collaborative work (CSCW) is computer supported teamwork. Much of the early research in this area was focused on understanding the complex relationships between the social aspects of teamwork and the technical features of groupware and looking for ways to improve the quality both of the teamwork and the groupware. In more recent years, economists have begun to examine groupware and CSCW as well in the interest of determining efficient methods of organizing cooperative work and using groupware.

    Here are a couple of good introductory articles on the special problems of databases used to support group applications:

    Heer, J. Viegas, F. B., and Wattenburg, M. (2009). Voyagers and voyeurs: Supporting asynchronous collaborative visualization. Communications of the ACM, 52(1), 87-97.

    Nedelko, Z. (2008). The role and importance of groupware for teamwork. The Business Review, 10(1), 211-217.

    But the fact remains that many groupware applications and the data that support them are improvised or otherwise knocked together:

    Microsoft (2011). CSCW in Microsoft research group. Enabling cross-lingual conversation in real time:

    Case Assignment
    When you’ve had a chance to read these sources and pursue any other research in the background readings and other areas that seem useful to you, please write a paper discussing the question:

    Differences and connections between groupware and ordinary databases.

    Your paper should take a definite stand on the issues, and develop your supporting argument carefully. Using material from the background information and any other sources you can find to support specific points in your argument is highly recommended; try to avoid making assertions for which you can find no support other than your own opinion.

    Your paper is to be structured as a point/counterpoint argument, in the following manner.

    – Begin this paper by stating your position on this question clearly and concisely
    – Citing appropriate sources, present the reasons why you take this position. Be sure to make the most effective case you can.
    – Then present the best evidence you can, again citing appropriate sources, against your position — that is, establish what counterarguments can be made to your original position.
    – Finally, review your original position in light of the counterarguments, showing how they are inadequate to rebut your original statement.

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