Tools for Computer Supported Collaborative Work

The terms Collaborative Work, Groupware, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, and Group Decision Support Systems have all come to mean nearly the same thing - utilizing the computer and computer networks to work together more effectively. To be included in this list built-in collaboration i.e. two way, pull and push, capability is key. The information provided here has been broken down into major categories. The differences between these categories are becoming more arbitrary, however, as increased information technology capability provides the user with sophisticated and integrated solutions. Companies are beginning to provide integrated packages to satisfy all the needs of the customer.

General E-mail Information Sharing Text Based Conferencing VideoteleconferencingLiving Worlds Workflow Technology Decision Making

General Pointers:

CSCW Related Pages Pointer
General Discourse on Collaboration

Electronic Mail

Eudora Pro sorts incoming and outgoing messages, supports multiple e-mail accounts, and launches Internet applications from within a message.

cc:Mail from Lotus Corp. is a LAN-based messaging system that includes integrated electronic forms , calendaring and scheduling capabilities, and can reach through gateways to the Internet, WWW, and public messaging systems.

Novell's Groupwise is an integrated E-mail, group scheduling, personal calendaring, and task management product.

BeyondMail by Banyan Systems, Inc., is designed to allow a team of people respond to requests for information, allows "hot-link" to the Web, and automates mail management.


Formerly known as MS-Mail. Needs Exchange

 Note that most inter/intranet browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator also include an electronic mail module.

Free web based e-mail sites

    Hotmail     Rocketmail     Juno     Yahoo     Infoseek  Net@ddress Excite 


Information Sharing / Intranet Products:

Collabra Server
Collabra Server by Netscape Corporation, is a group conferencing product that lets users participate in virtual meetings. Popular applications include product development, help desk, customer service, reengineering, project management, task forces, ISO 9000, company announcements, and human resources. Collabra also offers connectivity to Lotus Notes, Internet Newsgroups, E-mail participants, etc.

Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange Server is the E-Mail server with integrated groupware that makes it easier to communicate. It combines electronic mail, group scheduling, electronic forms, and groupware applications on a single platform that you can manage with a centralized administration program. Is able to access groupware applications over Internet or any other network.

FirstClass by SoftArc Inc. is a high performance multiplatform communications system that integrates full fledged E-mail with workgroup communications services. FirstClass provides an integrated solution for office electronic mail; workgroup conferencing with electronic discussion, file sharing, and collaboration; access to existing databases; and remote access and on-line information services with an intuitive, multi-tasking interface. See also Who Uses FirstClass

Goldmeal is a set of UNIX e-mail, groupware, and office application tools.

GroupWise by Novell is a workgroup productivity software that combines electronic mail, personal calendaring, group scheduling, task management, rule-based message management, and workflow routing into a single application.

Lotus Notes
Notes is a client-server environment that allows users(or client) to communicate securely over a local area network or telecommunications link, with a document residing on a shared computer(or server). Notes combines an application development environment, a document database, and a sophisticated messaging system, to create custom applications . Domino is the new Notes product aimed at combining the power of the internet and Lotus Notes.

This set of tools can visually track, integrate, and manage multiple project releases and so accelerate project builds. They can alos be use to inspect and manipulate multiple versions of source files and to compare and merge concurrent modifications to the files.


Text Based Conferencing:

The UseNet - Groupware Discussion news://comp.groupware/
This is the original and now very large worldwide system in use for multi-way text based conversation on the web. There are over 15,000 active newsgroups in this system. Browser vendors such as Netscape and Microsoft provide a separate program which allows you to connect and interact with the UseNet.

Conferencing on the World Wide Web
Hundreds of web and computer based conferencing systems are outlined. Mostly simple text based threaded discussions.

Discussion Web
Conferencing discussions on the Web. You will need to register to use it.

New Jersey Institute of Technology's The Electronic Information Exchange System II
A comprehensive environment for electronic mail and computerized conferencing, with hierarchical response, keywords, sub-discussions, global search, filters and forms.


Videoteleconferencing Products (desktop):


Inexpensive ($178 for color) turnkey camera which connects into your parallel port for use over internet.


From White pine software. Inexpensive ($99) product for use over the internet.


Free software from Microsoft provides basic conferencing capability over the internet - video, audio, whiteboard and application sharing. Does not include hardware.


Intel ProShare Conferencing introduces fully-integrated, standards-based systems that let you video conference and share data with multiple callers at the same time.

PictureTel Desktop Videoconferencing Products
Provides specifications for PictureTel Live 200 Series, Live PCS 100, Live PCS 50 products. Other products specifications are also provided.

From Creative Labs (CL) allows you to communicate with associates anywhere in the world with live video, voice, interactive whiteboards, real-time application sharing. CL also has a Web Phone product.

Complete package with private or project rooms, whiteboards, calendars, and multiple pointers.

General Specifications List

From North Carolina State University - detail on a number of different systems.

Desktop Videoconferencing Products
Another list providing comparisons of various videoteleconferencing products and links to the manufacturers or developers.

Videoconferencing Testbed -
From Purdue University


Living Worlds

While the prices of desktop videoteleconferencing systems have dropped considerably in the last 2-3 years, some inherent problems remain with this method of communication. The first is bandwidth. It requires significant bandwidth to scan multiple images and then pass them over the internet to all the participants. The second is what is known as the real estate problem. This refers to the limited amount of two dimensional material that can fit on your computer screen. An emerging method for dealing with this problem is the use of virtual reality and avatars. Read on. Living Worlds (LW) is a term applied to the next generation of virtual reality on the internet. In a LW you assume a personna, called an "Avatar". Your avatar may look like you or may look like anything you wish it to be - e.g. a lion's head on the body of a horse. You may then roam around in the virtual reality worlds, meet and talk with (using voice and text) other avatars.

Contact Consortium

Information on what's happening in Avatar development with many interesting links.

Internet based software that enables real-time voice communication between multiple people in graphically rich virtual reality worlds. Download the software from here. Once you have installed the software, you will need to access the primary onlive server at this University of Texas site.

The largest virtual reality / avatar community. Hundreds of sites. Life-like figures. Text based communication.

The Palace

Text based communication with cartoon figures and multiple rooms.


As with everything else now there is a Microsoft entry into the field called V-chat.

The Freewalk Project
& The Casual Meeting Group virtual reality combined with video teleconferencing.

Worlds Chat
3D Internet virtual worlds for the recording and multi-media entertainment industries

An environment based upon group spaces. It combines 2D desktop-like worlds with videoteleconferencing.


Work and Process Flow Technology Products:

Action Workflow Enterprise Series
A suite of powerful software products that integrates the WEB, line-of-business and production applications into one collaborative workflow process. Features includes ad-hoc workflows, projects and time management, personal and queue work, workflow restart, negotiations, and e-mail-based reminders.

IBM FlowMark is a workflow management system that allows companies to select the applications most suited to their needs. IBM suggests that FlowMark be integrated with other IBM products such as Lotus Notes,. Image Plus, Business Process Modeler to meet all the business needs of an organization. This site provide specific application scenarios.


Provides the ability to develop forms, menus, micros; fill in the forms; and connect them to multiple databases.


Provides easy-to-use workflow technology to include an object oriented desktop metaphor, characterized by intuitive icons that enable users to graphically map out and create workflows with simple drag and drop steps.

Plexus FloWare Desk Software
An enhanced desktop application for creating and managing electronic folders, and routing them from individual to individual. With FloWare, once a transaction has been completed with Windows application, the transaction can be routed to the next step or steps in a business process via FloWare workflow engine services.

Scitor Process

From Scitor Corporation. A sophisticated product for mapping out processes - also utilizes simulation.

Workflow Systems
Novell's GroupWise WorkFlow builds on the infrastructure of a network and the GroupWise messaging product to automate everyday business processes.


Decision Making Products:

Decision making software that helps groups resolve issues, make decisions, and take action.

CoNexus is a group process tool designed to transparently support facilitated groups as they solve problems.

A full set of tools for gathering, organizing and prioritizing issues - all web browser based.
Basic & Advanced Brainstorming &  Prioritization, Voting and Surveys, Performance Appraisal via 360 degree assessment, Employee Opinion Survey, Control Self Assessment, HTML Customized Survey, Action Planning, Chat Rooms. Supports multi-criteria evaluations.

Group VISA - Visual Interactive Sensitivity Analysis
Facilitates modeling and analysis in a way which is both visual and interactive.

A tool that allows multiple users to graphically create and analyze sources and solutions to problems

MeetingWorks(tm) for Windows,

MeetingWorks InternetEdition, and MeetingKit(r) for Windows all of which support brainstorming as well as other tools for electronic meeting support. Free 8 participant license.

Resolver Ballot
Allows a group to judge 200 ideas by 8 criteria by 10 stakeholder groups with lots of plotting and stats.

Team Expert Choice
A system that uses small keypads using radio wave technology along with some interesting survey, analysis and synthesis software to gather opinions & make decisions in groups. Recently ported to work on PC networks as well.

Terry College of Business TCBWorks
A discussion and voting mechanism set up on the Web. You can log in using test as your user and password.

Ventana / Group Systems
Ventana is a leading vendor in group decision support systems and distributed collaboration. Web tools are implemented thru Citrix Winframe.


Last updated June 1999 by John Saunders. Past contributors include Giovanni Grasso, Lynn Peterson and Julia Taylor.