START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Time and Space in Collaborative Information Seeking: The Clash of Effectiveness and Uniqueness
Roberto Gonzalez-Ibanez, Muge Haseki and Chirag Shah

Monday, 8:00am


Collaboration takes place in different time-space conditions. Past research has shown that these two dimensions may have different implications in the collaboration process as well as on its products, depending upon the task being performed. In collaborative information seeking (CIS), as a relatively new topic in information science, little is known about the effects of different temporal-spatial contexts. To address this, we conducted a user study involving 80 participants in 40 pairs, which were assigned to four experimental conditions, namely: co-located, remotely located with text chat, remotely located with audio chat, and asynchronous. Using quantitative methods, we investigated the effects of these conditions in terms of communication features, information synthesis, productivity, and user experience. Results regarding the space dimension suggest that behaviors of co-located users tend to overlap thus affecting their coverage of diverse and useful information. Conversely, when team members work remotely located, they can reach more independency, which leads them to explore more diverse and useful information with the added value of reducing both cognitive and affective load. With respect to the time dimension, we found that asynchronous collaboration enables participants to reach high levels of independency at the cost of effectiveness. These results provide interesting insights into how various spatial-temporal contexts in CIS could influence factors such as productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, and uniqueness.