Group Discussion Results

Three times 1 hour was devoted to group discussion. Results were presented by the group chairs to the whole workshop. (Usually 10 minutes + 1 slide per discussion group). Below are the (only slightly edited) transcripts (minus drawings) of those slides.

A-1: Information Representation

chaired by Jenifer Tennison
  1. Social construction of information
  2. Driving through different views
  3. Top level goal and underlying knowledge
  4. AI knowledge representation
  5. Incorporation of multiple senses creatively
  6. Basic interactions to enable social construction of representation
  7. Virtual environments provide remote, persistent representation
  8. Requirement for clarity and precision

A-2: User Interfaces and Clients

chaired by Gavin Bell
  1. Separate model and representation (allows multi-modal interaction)
  2. Allow world (server) to communicate to the client the actions it supports - client decides how to represent the actions
  3. Need to specify common set of actions (client functionality) --> problem of different modalities
  4. Client-server interaction
  5. Import/export of information to/from other systems
  6. Client should be customizable by user
  7. Server technology has impact on usability (LAG!!
  8. Monolithic clients are bad, Clusters of separate functionality good (cyberdog, hotjava)

A-3: Integration of the 'real world'

chaired by Doree Duncan Seligmann
  1. VE should at least be as good as real world (RW), e.g. objects should at least have the same functionality as their RW counterparts (but could have more)
  2. Integrate our everyday tools + RW services - electronic or real - don't reinvent but rather integrate common standards.
  3. Social conventions:
  4. Underlying structure should be abstract, allows for multiple representations (text, 2D, 3D, audio) and multiple operations. Should be easy enough for users to develop.

B-1: Spatial Organization and Navigability

chaired by Jolanda Tromp
  1. More spatial metaphors for the Web (in particular cues for paths)
  2. Cues:
  3. Path:
  4. Search Engines:
  5. 3-D Metaphors:
  6. [lovely drawing skipped] More (forced) tagging of web-pages. An example is the living document system used for this workshop preparation.

B-2: Collaboration and CSCW in VEs

chaired by Daniel Schneider
  1. Sharability of things:
  2. Ergonomics:
  3. new framework for design --> build collaboration into the system
  4. synchronous discussion tools
  5. support for different roles
  6. Need more research on how people work
  7. Ownership: who can do what ?
  8. Generally: more creativity needed (not necessarily rebuild the world)
  9. VE vs. CSCW (Computer supported collaborative work): VEs include "being there, are multipurpose and have persistence.

B-3: Large Scale systems and distributed architectures

chaired by Yoshiaki Araki
  1. We should replace old-fashioned MOO architecture with distributed systems.
  2. We should separate huge MOO DB into clients, many types of servers (routing, user id, location, ....)
  3. Clients and Servers should have (partial) database replication
  4. Database consistency is a quality-of-service parameter

C-1: Community (Users, Social Aspects, Evolution etc)

chaired by Rob van der Haar
  1. Why do we need them?
  2. Communities through time:
  3. Communities as problem solving tool ?
  4. Positive:
  5. Negative: temporary existence
  6. Tools + medium + context will result in different types of community
  7. Ownership: social rules vs. "digital" [??]
  8. Design: initiators, catalysts, splitting/merging

C-2: Integration of the WWW

chaired by Chris Hand
  1. What's the point ? C.f. aims of WWW: sharing, communication, hypertext, platform independence, collaboration, ....
  2. Are webbed VE's productive ?
  3. Cyberspace desktops

C-3: Objects in collaborative Work

chaired by Jay M. Williams. Note that Jay came down with a flu and couldn't attend, so this group was less prepared than others.
  1. Need right level of abstraction for the problem at hand - simple as possible (multiple levels are ok)
  2. Standardized programming interfaces (at protocol level) for objects needed to build a VE.
  3. Objects (at user level) do not have to look the same

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