Factors Influencing the Co-Evolution of Computer-Mediated Collaborative Practices and Systems: A Museum Case Study


  • Paul F. Marty

    Corresponding author
    1. Assistant Professor in the College of Information at Florida State University. His research interests include museum informatics, computer-supported cooperative work, information behavior, and usability engineering. He studies museums as sociotechnical systems, and is particularly interested in the evolving role of the information professional in the museum and the social implications of introducing new technologies into the museum environment.
    • Address: College of Information, 101 Louis Shores Building, Florida State University, Tallahassee FL 32306-2100 USA

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This article offers an analysis of the process of co-evolution as observed in the computer-mediated collaborative systems and practices of a university museum. It presents results from a longitudinal case study of the design and development of a collaborative process to pack and move a museum's collections over a period of five years. Drawing upon a specific set of collaboration records spanning 18 months, the article identifies three factors that influenced the co-evolution of the computer-mediated collaborative systems and practices in use at the museum. The article concludes by examining the potential impact of these factors on the design of computer-mediated collaborative systems, in order to shed light on the wider issue of co-evolution of collaborative systems and practices in all organizations.