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Developing mathematical theories of the physical world: Open Access research on fluid dynamics from Strathclyde

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Comparing and integrating methods of design activity documentation across synchronous and asynchronous modes of collaborative work

Eng, N.L. and Giess, M and Conway, Alastair and Bracewell, R. and Clarkson, P.J. and McMahon, C.A. and Ion, William (2008) Comparing and integrating methods of design activity documentation across synchronous and asynchronous modes of collaborative work. In: NordDesign, 2011-08-20.

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Abstract

Longer lifecycles and a shifting industrial focus from simple product delivery to through-life support have increased the need to retain organisational knowledge for the duration of product lifecycles and beyond. This fragmentation of work across time and organizations buries organizational understanding of design processes and of the underpinning design rationale in many disparate representations. Further, existing report-based documentary practices tend to omit key information which could compromise an engineer’s ability to comprehend and reuse this information in addition to requiring significant additional authoring work. Emerging approaches to documentation are discussed and compared as cognitive technologies in a snowmobile drive shaft example. One design episode is assisted by interactively documenting decisions in an IBIS-based tool whose output forms the design record. The other is passively documented via an activity-modelling approach and media-enhanced records (MEMS). This work provides examples on situating discussions about engineering design documentation practices and describes improvements for further development and testing of both the activity-modelling and media-enhanced records and the IBIS-based approaches.