collaborating the wiki Way  
             Working together is faster and easier with a collaborative workspace

image from computer world

A collaborative workspace or shared workspace is an inter-connected environment in which all the participants in dispersed locations can access and interact with each other just as inside a single entity. The environment may be supported by electronic communications and groupware which enable participants to overcome space and time differentials. These are typically enabled by a shared mental model, common information, and a shared understanding by all of the participants regardless of physical location.

Communication comes in two forms: synchronous and asynchronous. Asynchronous communication includes email, and shared file systems where information is based back and forth in a non-interative, sequential manner. The popularity of synchronous forms has developed over recent years with the increase in processing capabilities and the widespread availablilty of high speed internet providers. These include video and voice messaging services including shared whiteboard capabilities. Program sharing has also become available to allow remote users to share much more detailed information through CAD packages, spreadsheets, etc. and have access to these in real time. Definition from:

The Collaborative Workspace supports synchronous cooperation and participation by providing a shared informational space and coordination tools as resources to manage teamwork in a collaborative way. The system design was based on a paper-based metaphor, resulting in a top-projected space where virtual sheets of paper can be created, edited, rotated and shared by the participants. Every document is contained into a Rotate able Window that implements the basic functionalities for sharing virtual objects into a horizontal stage in a collaborative context. The collaborative workspace interface is developed using the Collaborative Workspace Framework, a toolkit based on the Microsoft Vista technology for the development of robust horizontal interfaces.

                     Virtual Workspace will save Corporations money

Electronic collaborating workspace creates a virtual workspace bringing together all the design contributors, which has several advantages over the traditional approaches. Many corporations have used e-mail, phone, or fax to collaborate internally, which limits their communications with suppliers in order to negotiate prices. Internal communications help the people who are developing products; however, they do not really know how their design changes were going to affect their suppliers. The traditional approach can be compared to designing in a box. Corporations need to allow their suppliers and manufacturers the ability to collaborate within your applications and improve the creative process. Linking people by the way of a virtual workspace can decrease problems downstream in the product life cycle. The sooner corporations can figure out when to scrap something, the cheaper it is. The ever changing international business world has many corporations outsourcing manufacturing. Since much of their product designs are created off site, many corporations are turning to collaborative design software, which can virtually connect geographically dispersed designers.When corporations outsource things they have less and less control, what corporations are trying to do is use technology in order to reduce that time and distance."

                              The Benefits of Virtual Library Collaboration

Librarians benefit from electronic collborating workspace because it maximizes the libraries knowledge base which increase patron satifaction. Electronic collaboration gives libraries the ability to recruit, train, and retain quality staff along with the abilty to exploit and promote the use of information seeking skills. The Internet is a medium that can assist location-independent collaboration among five groups within the US educational system: libraries, university faculty, professors, school teachers, and students. While collaboration between universities and schools is desirable, historically, professors and university faculty needed to travel to the schools in order to interact with the students and their teachers. The goal of virtual collaboration is to make the interaction and collaboration among these location-dependent groups easier and more convenient. The benefits of electronic collaborating workspace is the creation of long-term communities which consists of scholars, libraries, public schools and colleges all linked together via the Internet. In addition both academic and public libraries can use virtual collaboration for researching information, archiving, and the development of electronic documents, which can be utilized by both employee and patron. Two examples of how libraries can benefit from electionic collaborations is 1) and 2)

                                     Fraternal Organizations

Many may not see fraternal organizations a corporations since they are technically in the profit making business. However, fraternal organiztions are comprised of members who each bring to the organization their individual talents and experience. Since these organizations rely on the volunteerism of its members these organzations have slowly begun to utilize new technology. The electronic collaboration workspace can enhance and fill the desperate need these organiztions have for better communication while reducing costs, speeding up the collaboration process and creating more sucessfull events. Many Fraternal organizations need to reduce the cost of planning events since any profit from the events will be donated to charity and the oragzizations would like to donate as much money as possible to the charity. Here is one example is the order of the eastern star.

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