Using multimedia to support cooperative editing
By Cooperative Editing we mean te coordinated manipulation of information by a group of authors. During the editing process the (co-)authors need to communicate their ideas, drafts and constraints (remotely or face-to-face) until a final version of the information is achieved. For the different phases of this process - discussion of ideas, editing, cross-checking - different media or media integration are adequate. Furthermore, analysing the transition from individual work to group work, within differenthuman activities, two pitfalls are often detected if computer support is considered: a) technological communication difficulties, especially if the group is remotely located on heterogeneous hardware, associated with a fall in productivity and frequent social inadequacies of the group's computer support; b) the lack of integrated media processing tools available for group editing. In order to solve these problems, we suggest that Multimedia can be applied in two ways: to effectively sup port the necessary group communication links; and to enhance the expressiveness of the information edited. To test this statement we have been conceptualising and implementing a prototype system. Most of the techniques involved can be used in other tools that need multimedia capabilities or that support other specific types of group activities. The innovative aspects of the work are the use of multimedia techniques to support demanding applications, possibly on cross-platforms, and the integration of several concepts to support cooperation.