Documenting Work: From Participant Observation to Participant Tracing
Distributed work is hard to observe. A focus on the more tangible aspects of this work, namely documents, provides a useful lens into the work practices of organizational members in general, and those working in heterogeneous and distributed environments in particular. Imagine the distributed collaboration going into the production of this book involving many research teams distributed across the globe, the publishers, and the editors. The individual chapters have taken form first by circulating among co-authors and then reviewers and editors to finally end up at the publisher. Multiple databases, organizing schemes, email servers, and cloud-based systems have been part of this process as documents have flowed among distributed participants.