Going Virtual: Distributed Communities in Practice - page 32


Endnotes

  1. CBR is a form of AI but instead of using ‘classical’ rules, the system's expertise is held (or embodied) in a library of past cases. Each case holds a description of the problem. It will also record the solution or the outcome. If a user has a problem (s)he matches their problem against the cases in the case base and retrieves similar cases. These are then used to suggest a solution. The solution is tried and revised where necessary. This new case will then be entered as a new case to the case base.

  2. Some people consider a knowledge base to be part of an expert system and that it contains facts and rules which are needed for problem solving, however, the term is now more widely used to mean that it is a searchable electronic resource (which may simply be a database) which is used for the dissemination of information, often via the Internet or an intranet. It may be accessible to the public. An example is the Microsoft knowledge base which is available on the Microsoft support site. As problems arise and are solved they are written up and entered into the knowledge base. Any Microsoft user can access the site and type in their problem query. The system should then return a number of possible solutions—all without the need to contact a technician.

  3. A data warehouse is a consolidated view of enterprise data. The data will have come from a variety of sources (production and transaction data). The data warehouse will therefore contain a wide variety of data. The data are optimised for reporting and analysis and are designed to support management decision making. As the data are from a variety of sources but are optimised they present a coherent picture of business conditions at a single point in time. It is easier to run queries over data which have been warehoused than over data which are in several different locations and systems.

  4. alidade: special telescopic sighting device

  5. An intranet is an internal network which is contained within an organisation. It can be used for collaboration, to share files and use websites as it typically uses Internet protocols and looks like a mini, private version of the Internet.

  6. The full list of CoP characteristics offered by Wenger (1998, pp. 125-126) is:

    There are sustained mutual relationships. They do not have to be harmonious—they may be conflictual

    There are shared ways of doing things together

    There is a rapid flow of information and also a rapid propagation of innovation

    Introductory preambles are non-existent. It is as if conversations and interactions are simply continuing an on-going process

    Problems to be discussed are set up very quickly

    When members offer a description of who ‘belongs’ there is a lot of overlap in the different descriptions

    The members know what each other knows, what they are able to do and how they can make a contribution ‘mutually defining identities’

    The appropriateness of actions and products is easily assessed

    There are specific tools, representations and other artefacts

    There is a shared background—stories, insider jokes

    The members have their own language in the form of jargon

    There are certain styles which indicate membership

    A certain view of the world which comes out in ‘a shared discourse’

  7. Interdisciplinary working group, meeting bi-weekly in order to examine and discuss the implications and impact of the Internet. The group consists of members from diverse backgrounds including students, system operators, computer consultants, professors.

  8. A MUD is a multi-player, interactive, social experience, managed by a computer. They are now accessed via the Internet but were around before the Internet when they were accessed by telnet. They are inventively structured and often take place in a theme, such as an old castle. They were originally a form of text-based on-line game where the players engaged in combat, puzzles and adventure. The player logs in and adopts a character. Many MUDs are still text-based but some now use a Virtual Reality environment. Even though the players' characters can be seen, the focus is still on the textual exchanges between the players who are logged in. There are many MUDs each with its own rules, name, character, ‘feel’.

  9. Avatar: an interactive representation of a human in a virtual reality environment

  10. Coffee talk: essentially a communication meeting for all of the employees in a business entity (usually a business unit within the organisation) with a general manager. They are management driven in that they are scheduled by the general manager and are a primary vehicle for him/her to share "strategic" information about the business, for example the progress being made, the direction it is taking. They also include a lot of more general information such as the introduction of new employees, visitors from other locations, upcoming events, employee reward and recognition. Although the general manager leads the meeting it is usual to have a number of speakers covering specialist topics, for example IT issues, Research and Design projects. One of the useful facets of the coffee talk is the way it acts as a place to "legitimise" things, for example if a speaker needs the organisation's support to do something or to introduce a new policy then it can be presented at the coffee-talk, after previous discussion with the general manager. Thus the message automatically has the support of the general manager.

  11. Stan means that for his first visits he was well prepared with OHP slides and that they had to make a lot of formal presentations

  12. EHS (Environmental Health and Safety)

  13. ICQ is an Internet instant messaging Tool which enables quick and easy communication with a user-defined list of contacts. This can include quick messages, chat, e-mail, file transfer. Importantly, there is a window on the desktop (which can be minimised) which shows by virtue of color which of the user's contacts are logged onto their machines and whether they are available for contact or not. A fuller description is available in Moody, G. (1998, July 2). Searching for a Net Community Computer Weekly, p. 47.

  14. cube = cubicle. Open plan offices.