application (LinkWorks by DEC). The system mainly provided shared workspaces, electronic circulation folders, e-mail functionality and an awareness service.
When introducing the application to the different parts of the government administration, the users got a one-day introduction seminar where the participants guided by a trainer were sitting at computers. The trainer focused on those functions, he assumed being most relevant in supporting the cooperative work processes identified before. As most of the users did not have any experience with word processing, an introduction to these single user applications was provided during the course, as well. After the seminar user advocates supported the users. These project members visited the users on a regular basis, provided additional explanation, solved problems and gained requirements for the redesign of the application (cf. Mambrey, Mark and Pankoke 1996). The user advocates documented the problems, which had to be solved. They met periodically to compare their experiences from the different fields of application. Moreover, a telephone hot-line was set-up for the users. About once a year we conducted semi-structured interviews with the users to get profounder insights into the pattern of usage and to derive requirements for the redesign of the application. The findings presented here come from a variety of different sources: interviews, experiences of user advocates, discussions among user advocates and protocols of the telephone hot-line.
In the following we will document problems users encountered when building up mental models concerning certain groupware functions. Besides, we will report on learning activities the users carried out cooperatively.
To realize shared workspaces and document sharing, LinkWorks contained a function, which allows to display the same object at the interface of different users. Being displayed, the object could be manipulated by the users according to the given access rights. Sharing was indicated by a blue background color underlying the object's name field. Objects got shared by attaching them as a link to a mail which was sent to other users. LinkWorks applied a similar mechanism to distribute copies of documents to other users. The object sharing was implemented for individual documents as well as for folders. Documents shared among users allowed each of them to manipulate the original. Shared folders allowed each of the users to manipulate the original objects inside the folder (cf. copy or delete them).
Users had considerable problems to understand the document sharing function, and therefore, the difference between sharing a document and sending a copy of a document. Already during the one-day training seminar, these problems became evident in the state representative body. After a detailed verbal explanation and some exercises concerning both concepts, the participants asked the trainer how to send back a shared document after modification. The trainer who worked later as a