[BSCW] [Visualgroup]

BSCW: asynchroneous communication and collaboration via WWW

The BSCW system (Basic Support for Cooperative Work; developed by GMD and now with OrbiTeam Software GmbH) is based on the notion of a shared workspace, a joint storage facility that may contain all kinds of objects such as documents, tables, graphics, spreadsheets or links to Web pages. A workspace can be set up and objects stored, managed, edited or downloaded for modification with a normal Web browser. The BSCW system will keep the members of a group informed about each other's relevant activities in the shared workspace.

Features in the currently available Version 4.1.3 of the BSCW system include: authentication, version management, locking of documents, discussion forums, different access rights, search facilities, an interface to document format conversion facilities, Annotations and Ratings to documents, Archiving of workspaces, Email distribution of documents, Support for WebDAV, and Attachment to Notes.

Participating in a BSCW group cooperation requires a registration as member of the group. If you are registered as a member of the VGK BSCW group, then you may login on our BSCW server (password required). If you have forgotten your password, you have to register again. To access the VGK workspace, non-members first have to be invited by one of the group members. If you want to test the BSCW system, you may use the public BSCW server at GMD.

For further information on BSCW please address yourself to  


VisualGroup is an extension of the open source application server Zope (Z Object Publishing Environment). VisualGroup has been developed at the KMRC and is used in the current version 1.0 as a content management system at the KMRC and as a document repository in seminars and lectures at University of Tübingen. As such it is a functionaal prototype that is not publicly available. It's successor Bebop however has been released as an OpenSource project.

Like BSCW it uses a familiar tree metaphor of nested folders and files. This repository view is enhanced with a direct and intuitive representation of group aspects and activities. All participants, for instance, are represented by portraits and changes are visualized before they are stored in the database. If someone proposes to delete a document, the name of the document is crossed out and the owner of the document can decide whether s/he accepts or rejects this proposal. Besides that it supports versioning, mass data import/export, and WYSIWYG editing. It can easily be configured and extended with new data models.

VisualGroups main function in the context of the Virtual Ph. Programme is the agenda, a tabular representation of deadlines and tasks. An agenda can be used to organize a whole seminar in a single web page. At the beginning of the seminar the agenda lists placeholders for all tasks or documents and these placeholders are filled in the course of the seminar in a way that one immediately sees whether the expected contributions are in time or late. All the users need to do is to fill the placeholder to signal their responsibilty for a task, and upload their contribution later on. Both steps can be conducted with a few clicks and without special editors in any web browser.

The access to VisualGroup is restricted to members of the VGK group. Click here if you are already registered.

Last updated 30 Jun 2005
VGK Team Münster Team Tübingen Team Freiburg